OK, I admit it, the title of this post sounds a bit melodramatic, but then isn’t that what soap operas
are were all about, melodrama? And now they’re slowly dying off, one by one, almost reminiscent of the characters in the shows that seemed to do the same thing, die off. Miraculously, some of the characters were resurrected. I don’t think the shows will be that lucky.
The latest two soap operas to bite the dust are ABC’s “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.”
Do you care? Do you, or have you ever, followed a soap opera? It’s OK; you can admit it if you do or if you have. You certainly would not be alone.
Recently when I heard the announcement about the last episode of “All My Children” airing on Friday, September 23, 2011, my reaction surprised me, especially since I don’t watch “All My Children.” I never did. (The final episode of “One Life to Live” comes in January 2012) The soap opera I used to tune into on a somewhat regular basis was “As the World Turns,” which also succumbed to cancellation last September.
That particular cancellation made me sad, well; maybe nostalgic would be a more appropriate word choice.
That’s because my mom watched “As the World Turns.”
One of my earliest memories of childhood is observing my mom ironing while she watched “As the World Turns.” Later on when I was in high school, I sometimes walked home for lunch (yes, we were actually allowed to do that) and my mom had ATWT on, so I often watched it with her for those few minutes. Well, those few minutes were enough to get me hooked and I continued watching sporadically during college, while working, while being a stay-at-home mom and when I returned to working part-time.
That was the nice thing about soap operas; you could tune in whenever and realize you had missed absolutely nothing!
So why are soap operas dying off?
I’ve heard it’s because they’re too expensive, there aren’t that many women at home during the day anymore, they move too slowly and other various reasons. Today’s audiences want fast-paced action; they want reality-type shows. By the way, I don’t understand the reality show label. Once the cameras are rolling, in my opinion, reality ends.
One good thing that did come from soap operas is they helped bring taboo subjects out into the open. Sensitive topics like drug abuse, alcoholism, rape, homosexuality and yes, cancer were included in the soap opera story lines way before such things made their way into prime time.
Granted the slow death of soap operas is no big deal. The demise of two more is not earth shattering news, not even close.
Still, this slow demise makes me a little bit sad somehow because another link to my past is disappearing; another piece of my mom, another thing we shared is disappearing too.
And loss is about missing all those little links and pieces isn’t it?