Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Bold and the Ridiculous

Recently Pam was jilted by lover Stephen on The Bold and the Beautiful.  She told older sister Stephanie that "he had business in Texas," which was funny (Stephen was played by Patrick Duffy who recently started work on the reboot of Dallas) but for me as a viewer totally unsatisfying.  His dating her at all was mystifying, frankly, being that a few years ago Pam kidnapped Stephen's adult daughter Donna (who at the time was married to Stephanie's ex-husband Eric), tied her to a chair in a cabin, covered her with honey and then aimed a bear at her.  It was high drama, I tell you.  Apparently the writing team over at B&B is far more progressive than I am because I don't think that I could become seriously romantically attached to anyone who tried to kill another human being, let alone one of my own children. 

B&B is one of two soaps left on the CBS schedule these days.  Its sister show, The Young and the Restless, is still there, too, but in the past few years both Guiding Light (the longest running broadcast show in history, it ran for seventy-two years starting on NBC radio in 1937) and As the World Turns (which started on CBS television in 1956 and was on for 54 years) have been cancelled.  Just a few months ago ABC cancelled All My Children leaving One Life to Live and General Hospital.  NBC has been limited to Days of Our Lives for a couple of years now. 

So why is all of this a big deal?  B&B is the highest rated soap opera in the world; according to Guiness World Records it's shown in 110 countries.  According to World Atlas there are only 196 countries in the world to begin with.  So some where between half and three quarters of the world are watching this particular soap and I have to wonder what people in other countries think if this is the best we can do.  Most of the time *I* think the writers are smoking crack and at least I get the cultural references.  Today (SPOILER IF YOU WATCH) Jackie was convinced by the image of Sally Spectra (RIP Darlene Conley) to continue ripping off Forrester Creations, when about six months ago Forrester humiliated them when one of their designers did just that.  Or was it a year ago?  When Sally said recycle she apparently meant storylines.  Jackie, by the way, is played by Leslie Anne Down and her son Nick is played by Jack Wagner; in real life, Down is five years older than Wagner.  I've heard of Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome (SORAS) but really?

Jack Wagner was on General Hospital for eight years on and off in the 80s and 90s.  Don't worry, I'm not subjecting you to "All I Need."  GH spawned it's own hit in the 80s.  Enjoy!




  1. I have to confess that I've never seen a daytime soap opera episode in its entirety. In high school, I remember visiting a friend twice at the same time of day a month apart. She was watching her soap opera and the action was the same in both episodes. A character was giving birth... wow that was a long labor!

    Lately I've been watching Downton Abbey which is a period drama but actually it's a nighttime soap opera. Without spoiling too much, I can say that in one episode a character said she was pregnant and in the next episode, she had an 8-month old.

  2. Hi Jazzy,
    I remember watching Days of Our Lives growing up with my late Mom. Of course forty years ago, the plots weren't as far fetched as your description of them sounds today.

    But, isn't that part of the fun? I thought the movie, Soapdish a few years ago--starring Sally Field, Kevin Kline, and Whoopi Goldberg was delightful in it's gentle skewering of daytime drama conventions.

    And like Bccmee, the only "drama" I tend to watch these days is on PBS--imported from the Brits. I love Downton Abbey!

    Thanks for a trip down memory lane.

    Cheers! Grati

  3. When I was a teenager, General Hospital was my show. As soon as I walked in the door I had to turn it on. Eventually, I thought, why am I watching this!? The story lines were just so preposterous (Really, how many times can one character die?).

    As for people in other countries...I spent a summer in the Middle East when I was in college. A lot of people genuinely believed that real life for an American was like Baywatch!!! Kind of a scary thought.

  4. I was so grateful when the one soap opera I was addicted to went off the air "The Edge of Night". Anyone remember that one? I far prefered the evening soaps like Dallas or Dynasty. Funny you should mention Downton Abbey, bccmee. I never would have considered it a soap, but I can see what you mean.

  5. @bccmee...I didn't have much of a coice as a kid; my grandmother and great-grandmother were addicted to their "stories" and would STOP EVERYTHING to watch from 12:30-4:00 every single day.

    @Gratiana...I LOVE that movie! I love RDJ and Kevin Kline both in this and in "Chaplin," I'd love to see them do something else together.

    @memythoughtsandwhoknows...one of my friends took the day off school when Luke and Laura got married, so I get the GH addiction even if I don't share it.

    @phylly3...I remember "Edge of Night"...and I loved Dallas!

  6. My mom was a big "Days of our Lives" fan and was always telling me that Hope and I were "exactly the same age!"

    Haven't thought about B&B for years (I watched it briefly during the summer after my sophomore year of hs), and am amazed that it is still running.

  7. Yes my sister, soap operas were something like a religion at grandma's house. I think the only time she relented on it was during the winter olympics if they were on at the same time. I used to watch 'Santa Barbara' and I hate to admit this but I was upset that it was preempted the day the Challenger exploded (I know that's bad but in my defense I was 6 or 7).


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