Okay, okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a junkie…a soap-opera junkie.
The term comes because way-back-when, most daytime shows were sponsored by soap companies (Ivory, Oxydol, Tide, etc.).
I go to lunch at 11:30. “Days of Our Lives” comes on at noon, and I have to be back at work by 12:30, so I religiously record the second half every day. When I get home after work, I enjoy watching the second half.
Had anyone told me long ago that I would be so “tuned in,” I would have scoffed.
When television first became part of middle-class homes, Mom loved watching “The Edge of Night” and “As the World Turns,” as did most of her contemporaries. If one had to be gone for an episode, they would call a neighbor to get caught up.
At the time, I sort of smirked, and thought how silly all these women were to be so caught up in a “soap opera.” (They even had them on the radio, before TV, you know. I remember Mom listening to some of those, too, like “Ma Perkins“ and “Search for Tomorrow”).
For a large share of my adult life, I was never at home when soap operas aired. Infrequently, I’d be home, and get somewhat interested in a story line.
At that time, there were soaps galore… take your pick. You had General Hospital, Search for Tomorrow, All My Children, etc.…lots of drama going on.
The story line that snared me was “Days of Our Lives.” I also really liked “Another World” but it’s now long gone (to another world?). On the rare occasions I was home and could catch up a little on “Days,” I learned there was an evil man (Stephano), and many, many good people, though some were better than others. Some cheated and even had illegitimate babies; some were under Stephano’s spell. This is a strong Catholic group, but they have a real hard time sticking with the program (Marlena was even possessed by the Devil at one time). I was intrigued with what the story writers would come up with next…and how they could keep track of everything that went before to avoid incest. Lots of inter-marrying there.
I like a good story line, and I like to “love” or “hate” some of the people. And once in a while, they throw in a plot you never expect. Just as I enjoy an interesting book that may sometimes be over the top, I also like the never-ending twists and turns of a good “soap.”
Soaps actually have done some good…bringing awareness to such topics as AIDS, cancer, gay couples, homelessness, etc.
Still, for me, it’s simply a wonderful form of escape. I can watch a “soap opera” fairy tale and be taken away to “another world.” Doesn’t hurt anyone, isn’t (very) addictive or high in calories, and you can find yourself championing the “good guys.”
Of course, there was a period of night-time soap operas, too…the most well-known being “Dallas.” Men and women alike were all ears to find out “who shot JR.”
When I worked at colleges, often students (male and female) were clustered around the TV for one or another soap during their lunch hour. That was before I ever got drawn in to the ongoing saga of John-Marlena-Roman-Bo-Hope-Stephano, etc.
One thing I like about “Days,” is they bring characters back in, after a long absence. New viewers have to figure it out all over again.
Also…these people never age. Marlena and Kate are “great-grandmothers-to-be.” They’ve had great facelifts, I guess. They look about 35. Go figure.
The fun is the next story line, the next twist or turn…just like in a good book. It’s relaxing to enter “another world” for a break from reality. I don’t apologize for doing that.
Soaps add bubbles to routine of daily life