Those who are not soap opera fans often wonder: why are so many people so dedicated to their soaps and the characters who populate their soaps? Why do soap fans get so worked about their soaps, particularly their cancellations? What do soaps bring to our lives? Who are soaps fans loyal to—the networks/advertisers or their soaps. We often find it difficult to find replacements for the products advertise on our soaps. And we certainly can’t simply find another show to replace our soaps, which mean so much to us. If a network/advertiser treats our soaps well, we will be loyal to their products, as know how the system works—you scratch our backs, we scratch yours. And vice versa: if networks/advertisers treat our soaps poorly (especially by cancelling them, as difficult as it may be, we will find a replacement product).
Soap characters are our extended family. To some they are the only family they have. We live with them and through their ups and downs often for decades at a time. Sometime we can’t count on a lot of other things, but for many of us, over the course of most of our lives we could count on our soap families’ being there at the same time, in the same place 5-days-a-week. We have formed deep bonds with our soap families. These bonds are so deep that we celebrate, mourn, laugh, and cry with them, as do audiences the world over. When the stresses we experience become too much to bear, we can count on our soaps and their characters, even the ones we dislike! Soaps are our light in the storm through many of our darkest hours.
One example of what soaps bring to our lives is life-saving information. Many of us got tested for HIV when we saw AIDS slowly steal Stone Cates’ life away on General Hospital. Others made sure to get checked out for prostate cancer when Michael Baldwin was diagnosed with it on The Young and the Restless, and likewise as we watched Monica Quatermaine struggle with her breast cancer on General Hospital. We knew the healing power of bonding with others who had shared a similar trauma when Erica Kane opened up about her experience with rape on All My Children. Teenagers remembered never to give in to bullies when Shane Marasco attempted suicide because of a bully’s actions on One Life to Live. We knew some of the pain of being homeless thanks to Stephanie Forrester’s story on The Bold and the Beautiful. And more recently on The Bold and the Beautiful, fans met a transgendered woman, Maya Avant, and began to understand her struggle, and will more so as her story continues. Countless other examples exist of our being aided and supported through our life journeys by soap characters and their own.
And those bonds are part of the reason we do not take lightly the cancellation of our soaps.
ABC/Disney, we gave you our loyalty for decades as we watched All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital and SOAPnet. You took this loyalty for granted and canceled the former two soaps. We will keep up our boycotts of you, your products, and your advertisers until you restore All My Children and One Life to Live to your daytime lineup and SOAPnet to cable. Once you do that, you will have our valuable loyalty once again.
CBS/Proctor & Gamble, for years we welcomed your products into our homes because we knew that doing so helped keep our soaps on the air. You betrayed us by canceling Guiding Light and As the World Turns. Now we buy your competitors’ products and will continue to do so, until you reverse “The Guiding Light Massacre” and bring the aforementioned soaps back to your daytime lineup.
NBC/Universal: because you have let Days of Our Lives remain on your programming schedule and because you did the right thing by selling the rights to Passions to DirecTV, we give you break. However, we haven’t forgotten how you canceled Another World and Santa Barbara—and we want them back. Be the first one to bring back your soaps, and you will be soaps fans’ number one network for years to come.
TNT, we thank for having brought back Dallas. Time Warner, parent company to TNT, we thank you for having picked up Dallas. As soon you close the deal to bring Dallas home to CBS, you will create loyal customers of your film for life we promise you this. While we boycott Disney films, we will happily go to see ones funded by Warner Brothers, which you also own.
To reiterate, to the networks who carry/carried our soaps, we say: when you respect our soap family and keep our shows on the air, we will be loyal viewers and consumers of products advertised during our shows. But when you cancel our shows without a thought to how much we care for our soaps and soap families, without telling us that our soaps are in trouble and you need our help to make them more profitable, we will exercise our power to boycott you and your sponsors. We will make you pay, literally, until you bring our shows and families back.
A group of SOS campaigns have created a formal petition that will be launched Friday. We’ll let you know where! And, soap fans, when you think of all soaps have meant to you over the years, you will sign it.
And Remember: Stay Soapy,
Your blog Editor-in-Chief