A Soap Opera can be defined as “a television drama series dealing typically with daily events in the lives of the same group of characters.”
To be more specific it’s a world where anything can happen. Where real life situations occur but are over exaggerated to the nth degree. Where people can die and come back 5 years later alive and kicking. Where kidnapping and car accidents are the norm. Where people have facial reconstruction surgery coupled with amnesia and boom you have a soap opera story.
Soap Operas get so much flack for their storytelling. And I will be honest being someone who has watched soap operas and who still likes to keep up on the happenings via YouTube, I have gotten completely frustrated with certain storylines. But then there are moments when the show can shine, and you can relate to the drama unfolding, or just find it really intriguing and entertaining.
When I was younger I used to watch All My Children with my mom. Although I don’t remember the storylines much, I do remember being interested. Then when I got a little older I developed my own personal favorite; Passions. Oh boy that one was a crazy one! It had an old lady witch named named Tabitha who had a demon baby and woman named Sheridan who was caught between loving two brothers. She was in love with and engaged to one brother named Luis then got into some boat accident went lost at sea and then was found and nursed to health by the second brother Antonio. Of course with no memory of being in love already, the woman falls in love with Antonio. So when she comes back to town with this new love interest, her old flame is both shocked and thrilled, causing a major love triangle. The triangle becomes a square when Luis’ current love interest Beth fakes a pregnancy to keep him around, after he finds out Sheridan is alive, he’s adamant about wanting to be with her. Well, I’m sure you can guess the rest…drama! Pretty sure she even wore a bag of flower on her stomach for months to continue the pregnancy charade. And she even kidnapped Sheridan and kid her in a sound proof basement. Can you say psycho? There was also Theresa who was playing a surrogate for her ex Ethan’s baby with his new wife Gwen and ended up cheating with him and getting pregnant a second time, making her carry twins. Like what? Is that even possible. See this is my point in Soaps anything goes. Damn I can’t even believe how much I actually remember, I think I watched that soap while I was in middle school! haha.
In the Soap World you kind of have to suspend reality. They ask you to forget the nature of real life and play in their world. Soap actors are vast, each cast is pretty huge. They kind of have to be, considering the show is aired for an hour Mondays through Fridays. And usually the scenes you watch on TV are done in one take. Soap actors are some of the hardest working actors if you ask me. And sometimes there are some really amazing gems within the cast that you can just see moving on to prime time television or feature films. Soap actors are just getting better and better. Although I guess that does depend on which soap opera you watch.
My favorites used to include One Life to Live and General Hospital. Now that One Life to Live is no longer on the air, General Hospital is the only one I really keep up with, but it isn’t as consistent as I used to. Because well life kind of prevents me from being able to watch it, and most of my favorites have left. 😦 But every once in a while I’ll see something pop up on their Facebook page about a couple I used to like or a big reveal in the making and I’ll do a little catching up. It’s safe to say that if you stop watching for a few months, you can tap back in and the same storyline will still be front and center. It’s kind of hysterical. I’ll think to myself wait, hasn’t this chick been wearing that same outfit for like a year. I’m over exaggerating but seriously soap opera time rolls at snail’s pace. I’ve also dabbled in watching some amazingly cute couples on Guiding Light when it was on, As the World Turns when it was on, and Days of Our Lives.
One of the downfalls to being a soap fan, is when your favorite actor decides it’s time to leave the show. And when that said character is part of one of your favorite couples, the betrayal can feel real! I am still nursing the fact that the original Lulu Spencer left General Hospital, and this happened like a long while ago. I’m still not over it. Lulu was recast and now it leaves people having to pretend like it’s not a totally different person. You know
what I’m saying when they do the little introduction… “The role of Lulu Spencer will now be played by Emme Rylan.” GAH! It’s painful. I don’t not like her, I just was so in love with the old Lulu, she was the only one who really took over that role. Sure she was played by several younger actresses in the past, but once they age a child, (you know when they show up from boarding school 5 years later and they are all smoking hot and grown up) the actor usually remains the same.
The old Lulu played by Julie Marie Berman was the perfect match for Dominic Zamprogna who plays her husband Dante. They had really great chemistry. I still see there is a connection with the new actress, but it’s not the same. It’s difficult to see one of your favorite couples change dramatically. Sure she’s playing the same character, but she’s a different actress, kind seems like he’s cheating. Speaking of cheating, in current General Hospital time Dante cheated on Lulu and now they are getting a divorce. Totally sucks. Like really sucks. Sometimes that’s the down side to soap operas, someone always has to cheat. And it’s usually the least likely character.
In 2010, it was Patrick who cheated on Robin and they went through hell and back. And of course just when things started looking up and they were starting to rebuild the actress playing Robin-Kimberly McCullough decided she was leaving, and they killed her off, throwing us fans into a tailspin of emotions. It was great storytelling and Jason Thompson who played Patrick was phenomenal in his grieving moments. That’s who I meant when I said sometimes there are true soap opera gems. But as usual Robin’s character wasn’t really “burnt beyond recognition” which is the usual excuse for being able to bring a character back. Because there’s usually a whole big evil scheme that went down to kidnap said person and keep them from their loved ones for years all because of some crazy agenda or blackmail. And of course when the audience knows all the pieces to the puzzles you sit and wait months for the big reveal and for the character to make their big reveal. It can be actually really exciting. Haha.
And then there is always the whole oh we may be possibly related storyline, but we fell in love before we knew it. And now its creepy and weird. [SEE: Jared and Natalie (One Life To Live)] Or the tempered with paternity tests. That’s a fun one too!
Now in real General Hospital time, McCullough and Thompson finished their last arc on the show for the foreseeable future as Thompson too has recently left the show to take over a role on The Young and the Restless. You’ll see actors pop up all over a bunch of soaps, it’s like the most interchangeable business. And it’s also where many actors get their start. [See: Bethany Joy Lenz (known from One Tree Hill) on Guiding Light and also hey there Jesse Lee Soffer (known for Chicago PD) –As The World Turns.] Seriously that’s pretty frustrating too when they leave your soap for another, especially if it’s not one you watch. But I can imagine like with anything in life, you can get stuck and need to shake this up every
once in a while. Thompson played Patrick for 10 years, seems he needed a change. McCullough came back to finish off the couples storyline, which was a very cheesy but happy ending. While Robin was gone for so long, Patrick’s character went through many relationships with several women, he almost married two. It was kind of a hot mess and I wasn’t a fan of it. It wasn’t that I didn’t like him with some of the women, the two he almost married were great, but not for Patrick. In my eyes Patrick and Robin are just one of those epic soap opera love stories. It’s a shame that sometimes the best of them have to be tragically ripped about for storylines. The cheating storyline, the death storyline, the divorce storyline were all really hard to watch, because when you analyze tv couples like a fangirl is supposed to and let’s face it you ship your couples hardcore, it becomes really saddening when they split. When you refer back to good old happy times and they are now moving on from each other. Watching a soap opera is like riding a roller coaster. But day time television wouldn’t be the same without them.
What soaps do you watch?
P.S. Who else misses Soapnet? I loved that channel, they used to play all my soaps at night so I could watch what I missed turning the day! #NoIdonothaveDVR
*I do not take any credit for the images or clips used.*