Standing Up For Soaps!

David Arwood

David Arwood

 

Every soap fans feels battered by the many cancellations and loss of our favorite shows and beloved stars, but there is one thing soap fans should not feel and that is defeated! We have the power to bring our soaps back, but it will require thinking outside the box and taking our case to the political and economic leaders who can make a difference. The most successful movements have been those that combined passion with practicality and the movement to bring back the soaps is on the cusp of that magical partnership. Now it’s up to us!

So what can soap fans do to breathe life into the genre and bring back our soaps? The answer lies both within and without. First, we must get organized and put pressure on those decision makers who can make a difference. These decision makers sit in the executive offices of broadcast networks as well as in governmental offices. We must make our voices heard in every possible way to make sure decision makers know that we love our soaps and want them back. We must also let them know that if we get them back we will support them by watching and remaining as loyal as we ever have. We must be willing to up our game and withhold our support from networks that dismiss soap operas as a genre. As they say, money talks and in the world of television ratings equals money. We are the most loyal fans on Earth and we love to watch television in the daytime. Without us, there are no ratings and so there is no money. That message above all else needs to be presented forcefully and in all activities, we must be smart, direct and effective!

They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease so let’s squeak! This blog is called “Let’s Talk About Soaps” so let’s talk about soaps and let’s talk about them a lot! Let’s tell everyone who matters and can make a difference about the magic of soaps. Let’s tell them that soaps aren’t just some television genre where shows come and go. Let’s tell them that soaps are part of American history! In fact, soaps are part of US social, economic and political history. The first soap went on the air, not on television, but on radio in the 1930’s when Americans suffering through the Depression needed the escape soaps offered to making it through the tough times. Soaps have been offering this therapeutic device ever since and the soaps that remain on the air still do.

Soaps also moved America in new directions. How many viewers were moved to speak about adultery, abuse and alcoholism because they saw their soap families confront these issues? How many women were empowered to pursue a career or fight for their rights because of what they saw on the soaps? How many people came to accept the once thought of unacceptable like mixed-race love or gay rights because the soaps made it acceptable? Soap Operas have changed America and should not be discarded so easily. When we lose a soap we lose a piece of America!

Soaps are also an integral part of the economic history of America. They are not best known by their industry moniker “Daytime Dramas.” They are best known as “Soap Operas” and that is because Procter & Gamble created the genre to sell Ivory Soap! It was a historic achievement for a major American company to partner with the entertainment industry to create a sales vehicle. With a captive audience of mostly women, Procter & Gamble had its own platform to advertise all of their products and it worked beyond the company’s wildest dreams, bringing them fame and riches. When the soaps no longer offered that platform because of VCR’s, cable TV options, etc. the company turned its back on the soaps and left fans high and dry. Do you feel like buying Ivory Soap or Tide after what Procter & Gamble did to “Another World,” “Guiding Light” and “As the World Turns?” I don’t!

Soaps don’t belong in some forgotten history book, they belong in the Smithsonian! Soaps don’t belong in a list of cancelled TV shows, they belong on the air so we fans can enjoy them

That first Procter & Gamble soap hit the airwaves in the 1930’s and the studio was in New York City. Today there are no soaps in New York City and that must change. We need to take the message to city leaders that they are missing out on billions in revenue from this lost production. A recent study showed the cost of lost production. When movies and television leave an area like New York or Los Angeles they take with them tens of thousands of jobs and billions in economic revenue. Bringing the soaps back to NYC could result in up to 40,000 new jobs and $4 billion in revenue. DO you think Mayor De Blasio and city leaders would want another $4 billion pumped into the NYC economy? I do!

It’s not just actors, writers, director, producers and camera operators who come to work, its caterers, set designers, costumers and all the small businesses that open to service these people. We must tell the story of soaps to the city leaders. We must write them, email them, attend city meetings and ask them about bringing soap production back to the city. Do they know what they are missing and that there is a loyal fan base waiting for the soaps to return to NYC? Probably not! Let’s tell them!

We can’t stop at New York City Hall though. We must take the movement to Albany and to the steps of the Governor’s Mansion and the state legislature. Governor Cuomo speaks frequently about boosting business in New York and the state has a special movie and television commission that works every day to lure new production from California and away from other states. The state legislature has even passed tax breaks and other incentives to bring production to the state. This is all well and good, but as they say charity begins at home. Why focus all efforts on getting new production or taking it from other states? Why not spend some time simply reinvigorating production that is ready to go now in New York City. The infrastructure and talent remain in the city. Let’s lobby the Governor and the legislature to give incentives and tax breaks to the networks that already have headquarters in NYC and who can get the soaps back on the air.

We have to keep up the economic pressure on the companies that own the current soaps and the rights to the cancelled soaps. The boycott against ABC has been effective and we need to examine the pressure we can bring to bear on Procter & Gamble and Sony. At the same time we must support the networks and companies that still support soaps and soap fans. I know this is hard, but we have to watch the soaps that remain even if we don’t have a history with them. I know many of you are loyal to Erica Kane but she is not with us at the moment, and she would be the first to do whatever it takes to get what she wants! Do you know what is going to make ABC rethink its position and bring back our beloved soaps? When they see CBS and NBC thrive because the ratings for “Days of Our Lives,” “Young & the Restless” and “Bold & the Beautiful” go up they will jump back into soaps big time. They will strengthen their commitment to “General Hospital” and they will bring back “All My Children” and “One Live to Live.” Nothing motivates businesses like competition and when the competition is making money from soaps, ABC will be back in the soap business!

 

Finally, we have to be prepared to not rest on success. When the soaps come back will we watch and support them? We must! If we don’t they will not stay on the air and this time they will never come back. Watcher every soap you can find and be vocal in your support for soaps and soap fans. Don’t take them for granted as in the past and don’t get mesmerized by the latest fad like the “Jerry Springer Show” or the OJ trial, which drew viewers away from soaps and helped get them cancelled.

 

Are we as soap fans willing to stand up for soaps? I say yes!

Amazing News!!!! And This is Just the Beginning!

Trevor McBain over at one of our fave soap blogs says there is a “HUGE” rumor that “Port Charles” is coming back to ABC! AMC and OLTL can’t be far behind, we say! But don’t give up the fight! Now is the time to really re-dedicate ourselves and show ABC/Disney we will never give in–and to work to get GL, AW, ATWT, and Dynasty back. One thing anyone can do quickly is sign our petition, if you haven’t already. Here’s the link: http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/savedaytimetv

Soap Recurring Themes #9

All pregnant women have the same crazy craving: pickles and ice cream!

Can anyone think of an example of this, recent or long ago, on any soap?

Remember to sign-up, top right upper corner.

Comment!!!! We love hearing from you!
Stay soapy,

Akbi

Soap Recurring Themes #8

When a character gets injured and then gets addicted to painkillers. At first it’s a secret, then a friend or family member finds out, then there’s the big confrontation with that friend or family member. Or now there’s an official intervention.

Never have I seen it happen so fast as it seemed to with Asher on AMC just before it went off the air (and will be back soon).

Can anyone else think of any? Post in the comments!

And subscribe to our blog–upper right-hand corner.

And, as always, fear not, our soaps–maybe even Another World, As the World Turns, and Guiding Light (Loving? Now that would be a real coup considering the way it ended! So awesome! But who could be Ally Prescott Bowman besides Laura Wright??!?!) WILL BE BACK SOON! Keep the faith!

Stay soapy,

Akbi

True Blue Soap Monday 4-14-14

Photo on 4-14-14 at 12.02 PM

 

There’s me, cuz I’m a true blue soap fan and it’s True Blue Soap Monday! I

Soap fans, we’d love to see your pics of yourself in blue for this True Blue day. Post in the comments or link us!

Have a soapy day!

Akbi, Blog Editor

 

Column: Soap Recurring Themes #7

Characters A and B are “slow-dancing.” Character C comes over and says, “May I cut in?” But C doesn’t really want to dance with the one s/he supposedly came to dance with, he just wants to have an important conversation. 🙂

Can anyone think of memorable moments like these? Post in the comments! Also, remember to subscribe (upper right-hand corner).

Our soaps are on their way back–never forget!

And remember to wear blue, take a selfie, and post it to Facebook or other social media on the 17th–True Blue Soap Fan Day!

This Petition Will Help Bring Our Soaps Back and Seal the Deal

My fellow soap fans: As a die-heard soap lover myself, I implore to sign the petition linked below. It asks Disney/ABC to return AMC and OLTL to their original time slots and lengths, keep GH safe in its, and return SOAPnet to the cable lineup showing all soaps all the time.

I ask you to do this in honor of the memory of all the soap industry members who have passed on before us, on and off-screen, such as Asa Buchanan, Delia Abbott Sally Spectra, Michael Zaslow, Myrtle Fargate, Mona Kane, Hope Manning-Thornhart, Aunt Phoebe, Doug Marland, Jeanne Cooper, and any others, again, on and off-screen who held a special place in your heart.

We will save the soaps. For us—and for them.

http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/savedaytimetv

Soap Fans, Listen Up: We OWN Disney/ABC. Read On!

Sweeney Todd was the Demon Barber of Fleet Street who butchered his clients. Anne Sweeney was the soap opera butcher of Disney/ABC who not only butchered ABC’s longstanding daytime lineup, but stabbed millions of ABC fans in the back . On March 14, 2011, she and her henchman, Brian Frons, orchestrated and oversaw the startling cancellation of “All My Children” (AMC) and “One Life to Live (OLTL),” soap operas that had been in ABC’s daytime lineup for decades. But Sweeney did not act alone. A whole host of bottom-line-obsessed, shortsighted executives in their corner offices with sprawling views of LA, such as Brian Frons, as mentioned, and Bob Iger, head of Disney/ABC decided to place AMC and OLTL on the chopping block and hack them off the ABC daytime lineup.

In the March 25th issue of the New York Times, author Delia Ephron wrote a piece as an uber-fan of The Good Wife in response to the events of its latest episode that left fans stunned and bewildered. In the subtitle of the article, she writes, “A great show like “The Good Wife” isn’t just something you watch. There is ritual, expectations built up over years. Love.” And of what took place on the show this past week she writes that it, “…dashed my dreams and broke my heart.” As a soap fan, I feel her pain. That last sentence brought a lump to my throat. I felt the same way when, on “General Hospital (GH),” Bobby sees Felicia in the hospital and with just one look at Bobby, Felicia realizes it was Bobby’s daughter, BJ’s, heart that saved Felicia’s daughter Maxie from certain death. Felicia collapses in guttural, choking tears as Bobby runs to catch and comfort her. What soap fan doesn’t have at least one memory like that? And is it any wonder that feeling people of all backgrounds would form attachments to characters who live through such traumas, but also ecstatic highs, fear-filled suspense, and wild adventure? These are our families and our friends for whom we feel, as Ephron noted, love. Over years and years, our lives and hearts include them in their daily functioning.

Given this attachment and devotion that forms to and for soap operas in particular, what happened after Sweeney, Frons, and others committed their daytime massacre, should surprise no one. The fan backlash began.

Protests, boycotts, petitions all demanded that Disney/ABC reverse their misguided, to say the least, decision to cancel AMC and OLTL (along with the decisions to replace them with the worst kind of cultural dreck: “reality-based programming”). We vowed to make them hurt where a corporation feels the most pain—the bank. And we have. ABC/Disney has been hemorrhaging millions of dollars since soap fans organized boycotts of its television stations, theme parks, movies, and merchandise.

The production company Prospect Park showed us a glimmer of hope (and the respect we deserve) when it leased the rights to both AMC and OLTL from Disney/ABC and began producing and showing them online. Even this glimmer of hope may not have been what it seemed. The executives at the helm of Prospect Park (named for the Hollywood neighborhood has studios) had been affiliated with Disney/ABC. Some fans have proposed that the leasing of rights by Disney/ABC to Prospect Park may have been simply a way to placate fans and end the boycotts of Disney/ABC and their advertisers.

Disney/ABC also owns shares of Hulu, one of the platforms the online versions of AMC and OLTL were shown on

Anyway, because of a pending lawsuit with—you guessed it—Disney/ABC, the Prospect Park-produced online versions of those shows are on indefinite hiatus. Meanwhile the shows that replaced AMC and OLTL, “The Chew,” “The Revolution,” and “Katie,” are all either cancelled or in the ratings doldrums. And now there are murmurings that ABC/Disney wants full legal possession of the rights to AMC and OLTL, now we will be waiting for them to pick them up as they left it when It last air on TV.

Additionally, a replacement for Anne Sweeney has been named, Bob Sherwood. Now, he had not proven himself to be any friend of the soaps during his tenure as head of ABC News, at one point trying to axe “General Hospital” to put “Good Afternoon America” in its place.

But ultimately, THE FANS/VIEWERS/CONSUMERS have the power in this complex situation. Incredible leaders, such as Cole Bell of Boycott ABC 7 across America and Boycott ABC 7 among other SOS groups, have and are doing the hard work for us–we simply need to follow. And show ABC/Disney what we as consumers, their bread and butter, will and won’t stand for. Disney/ABC like any corporation in this capitalistic economy we live in and by, ultimately cares for revenue, which is ultimately provided by us, the FANS/VIEWERS/CONSUMERS. And we have shown and are showing them a simple formula to stanch the revenue-hemorrhaging that even people as thick as Frons and Sweeney should have be able to follow: that they will lose revenue if they don’t bring AMC and OLTL back and they will gain a great deal of it if they do bring them back. I’m not sure how we could spell it out more simply. We fans/viewers/consumers have the power. And we will continue to wield it in the way we see fit and fair—boycotts of Disney/ABC and their advertisers—until AMC, OLTL, and GH are safe in their one-hour lengths on television and SOAPnet is restored, showing all soaps, all the time.

To the fans: look out for a petition to Disney/ABC in a couple of days that will demand all I’ve mentioned above. Info will be available here, on our Facebook page, and on our Twitter account. It will take seconds to sign, but could get us everything we want. We can do this!

To Disney/ABC, and Mr. Sherwood especially: we at letstalkaboutsoaps.com ask you once again to end the bloodshed. Bring back AMC and OLTL to their original time slots, leave GH safe in its current length and time slot, and return SOAPnet to the cable lineup as well, showing only soaps all the time. We will make it worth your trouble. And we will continue to wage a bloody and unpleasant (for everyone) war if you don’t.

Column: Soap Recurring Themes #6

By Akbi Khan, Blog Editor

A asks B a loaded question, often one that could change the course of a storyline, then someone comes in and interrupts, a phone rings, a loud sound is heard, etc. and they just drop it and move to the new topic of conversation or their conversation ends. In this way, a storyline is extended by days, weeks, months, years.

Can you fans think of any such examples? I can think of many, but one recent one was when Maxie tried to tell Lulu about 10 million times that Connie wasn’t her child, and every time she tried, some minor occurrence would stop interrupt her, but she would never get back around to telling her! Arg!

So if you can think of any similar examples from your favorite soaps, past or present, please leave them in the comments.

And remember to subscribe to our blog! Upper right corner! 🙂

Rest In Peace, AJ Quartermaine

by Akbi Khan, Blog Editor

I’m completely devastated. AJ Quartermaine is gone. Frank Valentini (FV) and Ron Carlivati (RC) brought him back in a stroke of genius. And we had him for a year or two. And now he’s gone. And he’s going back to Bold and the Beautiful, where he’s appreciated and where many consider him at home. Sean Kanan‘s disappointment at how AJ was mis/used by RC and FV (whom I otherwise have only good things to say about) in this past year and being let go early from his contract only make the pain sting more.

But the shock hurts the most. When he got shot, I assumed the writers would do something like put him in a coma indefinitely and ship him off to some facility, so he could bring his chiseled features and flirty smile back to Port Charles at any time. But looking at his blue, motionless face in that hospital bed, it all felt so final.

I had gotten backed up on my GH-watching, so last night, unable to sleep, I decided to do some catching up. I was fast forwarding commercials and went too far into yesterday’s episode and stopped right on Carly saying the words, “AJ’s dead.” I think I dropped the bag of Craisins from my hand. I don’t remember for sure. I mostly remember sitting there in the dark fast-forwarding through every other storyline (as much as I care about those characters too), desperate to understand why and how this was happening.

There’s not much more to say about AJ’s death (may he rest in peace), except that, as we soap fans know, no one is ever really dead on soaps—so this isn’t necessarily goodbye.

What I do want to say is: I have 100% had it with Sonny Corinthos. He has devolved from the impish, charming, junior mobster Sonny of the early to mid-1990’s (the Matt and Claire Labine days) to a heartless sociopath. You can see it on his face when Maurice Benard acts (which is a testament to Benard’s acting—wow) he looks like he’s made of stone. Like all the pain and hurt from his past, not to mention what he’s had to do to become this untouchable mob boss has restructured his face. He’s no longer the unbearably handsome Sonny involved in truly loving relationships with wives and children. His face is expressionless, his soul caring for nothing but how he feels and what he needs.

And all his proclamations of love for his children are empty lip service—what has he done lately to show that he loves even one of them? And now shooting AJ? How will Michael ever forgive him? And how will fans?