American Soaps Overseas: Popular Much?

????????????????????????????????????Hey, soap fans! Have you ever wondered whether American soap operas were and/or are popular overseas? Well, wonder no more. Here is one example, written by a LTAS contributor “Lidia”. She is a young Spanish woman and has a fascinating story to tell about the popularity of American soaps overseas. Read on, fans!

I was born at the beginning of the 90s.

TV series are something I’ve grown up with. Personally, I am a huge fan of Xena the Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I’ve also consumed an endless list of series and I’ve enjoyed them greatly.

I’ve always lived surrounded of a TV culture that, daily or weekly, allowed me to visit for a while someone else’s life, and usually that someone else was American. And these series that surrounded me were of all kinds and genres, Family, Comedy, Action, Science Fiction, Horror… and also of course Soap Operas.

All these series have made me and people very different than me, people that may never set foot in the USA, become strangely familiarized with the American lifestyle, culture and even history. With the curious and strange (for us) American high school hierarchy, with American dollars, with American presidents, with Thanksgiving… through our TVs, American culture entered our homes, and it was very welcome!

But, even though I’ve always lived surrounded by all this, even in the 90s this was a pretty new situation in Spain.

It may be strange to read this for an American, because you’ve been enjoying a great variety of TV shows for decades (even from the 50s and 60s, I Love Lucy, Bewitched, The Brady Bunch… and I’m not even sure all of them were aired in Spain! Talk about how strong American culture is), but in Spain, when we look back with TV nostalgy… we don’t have to look back much, because it’s all pretty recent in comparison.

Because in Spain, back then, we only had two networks (although, ironically enough, in some aspects they were much more productive than nowadays). I was born at the same time as channel plurality in our TVs, in 1990.

I tell you all this because it’s important to keep it in mind to fully appreciate how big of a deal it is that Spanish audiences keep some things, certain soap operas, certain characters and moments, so close to their hearts.

All these was important because in the years that followed this birth of multiple TV channels, in these first decades of TV in Spain, what was aired was carefully chosen, and it was supposed to be a big hit for the audiences, it became part of our popular culture.

These decades gave us shows that had their golden age in our TVs and endure in people’s memories as fantastic products that made us love the small-screen. American cop shows, family sitcoms… and Soap Operas.

A huge and very beloved part of these TV revolution were those great series about wealthy families and colossal financial empires, with archetypical characters, fabulous openings… the 80s was a glorious moment for American Soap Operas. Those were dramas starred rich and powerful families, where its members hate each other for their wine or oil businesses, and they ruled TV audiences for years and won their hearts with those wicked villains, those love triangles—and even quadrilaterals–those mansions and those stories full of secrets and unexpected twists.
For the audiences, the characters, their lives full of luxury and intrigues, the whole package was just fascinating.

falcon crestA great example of all this was “Falcon Crest”, which apparently was more successful in Europe than in the United States. In Spain, people loved how very involved the wine culture was on a story level. Even just the opening theme is one of the most famous from TV shows history. An everyday conversation back then might probably include some references to certain character who became part of our TV culture… because Angela Channing was a celebrated villainess par excellence. “Falcon Crest” was one of the firsts Soap Operas to arrive on Spanish TV. Here, it truly became a social phenomenon. Each new chapter made thousands of homes stay paralyzed, everyone looking at the screens, tuned to the wine/love stories of those characters.

Alexis ColbiSpeaking of TV villainesses becoming popular icons… if “Dynasty” had an added bonus, it was Joan Collins, another great wicked villain: Alexis stole the scenes every time she appeared. And, even though the show was famous for the incoherence in its scripts and the apparitions/disparitions of characters, in a sense, it also laid the foundations of the genre in our screens, and “Dynasty” is still a synonym of glamour for us.

Dallas JRAnother great Soap Opera to arrive here was “Dallas”, of course, the show that made the breakthrough. It was the first luxury saga, set on a Texas ranch, that told parallel stories of several families whose members were by no means moral exemplars, to the point that “good” characters were a rarity. What the Spanish audiences enjoyed was its narrative structure: several entwined plots giving us a story about a Texan family, the Ewings, millionaires from the oil and cattle industries. And also, once again, people loved the unforgettable villain: J.R., another villain that would influence greatly our popular culture, even being named and referenced in a lot of programs and pictures by comedy actors such as Lina Morgan on Spanish TV.

Dallas also paved the way for other classic shows to try to make a comeback. In summer of 2012 it was on the news that TNT Spain would air the “Dallas” revival, to the joy of the online community of fans of the show… even though a couple of months ago we learned about its cancellation after three seasons. Fans wondered, is this the destiny for the Soap Opera genre?

Spanish network la Sexta announced in 2011 plans for having its second channel completely devoted to Soap Operas and telenovelas, making a profit from its association with Televisa.

This genre is so beloved in Spain that our studios have tried to replicate the success with some projects hugely inspired by the classic American productions. One example would be “Herederos”, in 2007, a production that followed the line of the great American Soap Operas and told the story of a wealthy family from the bullfighting scene, the Orozcos, living under the scrutiny of the press and fighting internal disputes, with intrigues, the fights between classes, double morals and plenty of betrayal. The main character was played by a very well-known Spanish actress, Concha Velasco, and it was impossible not to see references to shows such as Falcon Crest, Dynasty, or the recent Brothers & Sisters.

The problem for the Spanish audience of today, young people like myself that were born after the successful era of this genre, is that first of all we would have to learn to differentiate two different genres that are seen as one and the same nowadays: Soap Operas and telenovelas. This confusion is, in this case, damaging the Soap Opera genre because young audiences are not very keen of Latin American telenovelas (although this genre also has its own audience and tends to be successful in terms of numbers).

Meanwhile, we are living with a trend in which everything “retro” is fashionable, a trend driven by nostalgia that makes young people want to experience everything that made a hit decades ago (remember the “A-Team” movie, for example…). Just mentioning any of the great American Soap Operas evokes the idea of those popular TV shows that we’ve heard about so much, but in most cases never had the occasion to watch.

AMC OLTLI should say the confusion between Soap Operas and telenovelas in Spanish audiences’ minds is not damaging at all in the case of American audiences. Univisión is huge in the USA thanks to their telenovelas. We learned, much to our surprise, of the cancellation of classic Soap Operas such as “All My Children”, “One Life to Live”… while each new Televisa or Telemundo production is sold to an average of 20 countries.

Some people think Soap Operas today would be almost obsolete formulas for being “serialized dramas that require a hard loyalty that nowadays would be difficult to get”. But actually, that hard loyalty from audiences is today much easier and normal than it used to be before the Internet. Online communities of fans have had a huge impact on shows such as “Lost”, “Breaking Bad” or “Game of Thrones”. The only difference would be the genre, it might be that the audience’s taste has changed… but even that would be arguable.

daysofourlivesIf “Grey’s Anatomy” still works, it is thanks to its distinctly Soap-Opera-esque quality, very much in the tradition of shows like “General Hospital” or “Days of Our Lives”, that allows them to keep, through thick and thin, a large number of captive audiences that have endured ups and downs and some very bizarre moments.

General HospitalIt’s not so much that the tastes have changed—people still like a good Soap Opera. What may have changed, in fact, are expectations. We expect quality TV.

TV business has changed. We are living a new golden era for TV shows. In foreign countries like Spain we can enjoy an endless amount of American shows, for all kinds of tastes, being aired with less than a week of difference than in the USA. Now there are very different kinds of creators, genres, broadcasting…

Then, why would it have to be the end of ANY genre? Especially given how much television owes to THIS genre. Right now, there is an audience for pretty much any genre you can think of, and definitely there is an audience eagerly waiting for the great return of Soap Operas.

Then, what are networks waiting for?

Lidia,

As always, soap fans, stay soapy! And don’t forget to comment. And subscribe to our blog (upper-right-hand corner of the main page).

Your Editor-In-Chief

Akbi Khan

LTAS December promo

1. We will be posting an interview with Dr. Donald Boudreau, author of “American Business and Daytime Drama.” He is a soap fan, a brilliant business thinker, a wonderful writer, and one of the most gracious and kind people. You’ll see all this reflected in our interview, guaranteed.

2. We will also be posting an interview with an advertising industry insider who has some fascinating insights into soaps and their relationships to advertisers. We drew inspiration from Carolyn Hinsey’s recent column on the same topic.

3. Our Cliffhanger Friday columns for “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “The Young and the Restless,” penned by Casey Hutchinson and Sofia Bryan will be starting up.

4. And we have a surprise interview in the works. I wish I could tell you more—I’m itching to—but I you’ll see it soon enough.

And as always, soap fans, stay soapy!

–Your Editor-in-Chief, Akbi Khan

Photo on 5-2-14 at 3.42 PM #3

Those Who Will Not Be Silenced

Susan memoirKim's bookIt’s hard to overstate the affection which devoted fans of a soap opera feel toward the actors who play the characters they follow on TV every day. We’re talking about true, dyed in the wool fanatics here. These are the people, more than anyone, that the actors are talking about – and talking to – when they thank their fans for their support, because they are the people who provide encouragement and a human connection between the actor and their fans, and who most passionately inspire others to join the ranks of the fandom. We all know the type: They familiarize themselves with the actors’ career prior to appearing on the show, they write fan mail to the actors, they attend events where the actors are scheduled as guests. And they listen, very carefully, to everything the actors say.

 Which is why the irony is so overpowering that, many times, the actors really can’t say anything at all. It’s not their fault, it’s in their contracts. They’re working under a gag order.

What is a gag order? Put simply, it’s a clause in an actor’s contract (they’re also used for people in the Department of Defense who handle top secret classified government secrets) that requires them not to reveal sensitive information about their show or be outwardly critical of its producers. Basically they are obligated – under contract – to avoid saying anything that embarrasses the show, angers fans, or otherwise risks the profits of the suits behind the cameras. And these gag orders are serious business; if you violate one, losing your job on the show is the least of your worries. You could be looking at a hefty lawsuit.

This is why it’s so impressive when an actor is willing to risk such harsh consequences in the name of the truth. A prime example would be Kim Zimmer (Reva from Guiding Light CBS), who wrote a book entitled “I’m Just Saying” in which she was brutally and beautifully honest about her feelings towards the studio’s production methods on her show. In the book, she accuses the studio of abandoning their pride in a job well done, and concerning themselves only with churning out an hour of television (of whatever quality) as quickly as possible. She became disgusted with the caliber of her own soap, and she told everyone about it at hers bosses’ expense. It’s the kind of thing anyone under a gag order risks being severely disciplined for, but she loved Guiding Light too much to keep quiet.

 Another prime example Susan Lucci (Erica Kane, AMC) : Her rage is captured in excerpts published by the NY Post on Saturday.”An iconic show was losing out to greed … If Brian Frons could show his bosses that he could save the network 40 percent … he could keep his job even if the rest of us lost ours,” she writes, referencing the decision to go with a cheaper show — food talk show “The Chew — in the place of the classic soap. “I watched Brian Frons’ decisions destroy the production of our show and the lives of people on both sides of the country.”

Yet when this does happen, all too often there’s no appreciation for the courage of the outspoken actors, because there’s so little understanding of the risk they are taking. I’m hoping to put a stop to that, right here and now, at least for anyone who reads what I’m writing here. Let’s not be too hard on those actors who abide by their contracts and keep silent at all costs – they have good, personal reasons to do so – but please, let’s give credit where credit is due and acknowledge the downright heroism of those whom no order can gag!

By Eternalendrea,

Remember two things, soap fans, you have a voice, and an important one, at that. Use it! And two, as always, stay soapy!

We Need Alexis Carrington Colby!

IDynasty’ve been watching the new “Dallas” on TNT, and I’ve seen how or favorite Southfork family has been brilliantly and successfully resurrected as a prime time soap. The new Dallas combines the best of the past with engaging new stories for the next generation of Ewing’s, Barnes’ and their associates. As I’ve watched how easy it was to become reengaged with the Ewing’s of Dallas one thought keeps coming into my mind: We need Alexis Carrington Colby back!

Yes, it is time for the powers that be to realize that Americans are eager to catch up with their favorite night time soap families from the 1980’s and it is time for them to bring Dynasty back! Dynasty was a unique soap because the writers were not afraid to tackle the most controversial issues of the day. At least they did at first, until circumstances of the day caused the producers and writers to pull back and be more cautious. With society at a much different place now, imagine the ground breaking and dramatic storylines a new generation of Carrington’s and Colby’s cold bring to life on the television screen.

Dynasty premiered in 1981, and it was far ahead of its time. Think back to that year. 1981 was the year that Ronald Reagan moved into the White House ushering in an age of business, riches, greed, opulence and entrepreneurship. It was the perfect time for a show like Dynasty. Americans loved to watch the Carrington’s live large and they came to represent the 1980’s in the most perfect way.

 Still, 1981 ushered in a conservative era when women still had subordinate roles in the workplace, for the most part, and 1981 was the year that AIDS burst onto the scene, setting back the gay rights movement for another two decades. Dynasty’s writers and creators pushed the envelope with topics like women in positions of corporate power and a gay character in a relationship with another man. Americans had not seen anything like it, even on the powerhouse Dallas, which had more traditional storylines. The Dynasty writers had to constantly calibrate just how far they could go to tell the stories the wanted to tell.

 Two characters were central to these ground breaking stories. There was Steven Carrington, the family son and heir to the empire. Steven was handsome and smart, and he was rebellious and independent. Steven was also gay, and in a relationship with another man. The very first season was crafted around the trial of Steven’s father and family patriarch Blake Carrington for killing Steven’s gay lover when he found them in a compromising position. Americans were riveted to their televisions when Steven testified in great detail about his relationship with another man and when Blake was cross examined and angrily revealed his feelings towards gay men. Topics like this simply were not discussed on American TV in 1981, not until Dynasty came along, that is. Sadly, when the AIDS epidemic burst onto the scene, the topic became taboo and the Dynasty writers had to scale back their provocative story, even making Steven straight and pairing him with Heather Locklear’s Sami Jo.

 The second character to break through with amazing stories was the one and only Alexis Carrington Colby, played to perfection by Joan Collins. I have to say that one of the television moments that I will never forget was the last few minutes of that first season when the prosecution in Blake’s trial called their surprise witness, his ex-wife Alexis! It immediately became television history. The producers had not yet cast Alexis, so they had to have the actress wear a hat with a black veil to cover her face. When the show returned in the fall of 1981, Joan Collins was under the veil, but in that episode in the spring, it was just a woman and a veil, and the audience immediately knew that this woman meant business!

 Alexis is what set Dynasty apart from its main rival Dallas. That show of course had its ruthless corporate villain, JR, but Americans were used to men playing the role of greedy vicious businessmen. 1981 was only one year after the movie “9 to 5” which shined the spotlight on the plight of American women in the work place. In 1981, most women who worked outside the home worked in the hospitality industry, were teacher or nurses or worked retail. Those who were in the corporate world were most likely part of the secretarial pool. No one had seen an ambitious woman charge the corporate board room and do whatever it took to reach the top. Not until Alexis did it!

 Alexis was ambitious and determined to get what she felt was rightfully hers. When she didn’t get it from her ex-husband Blake, she chose to get it by any means necessary. She would use her children, her knowledge of people’s past for blackmail purposes, and most of all she would use her sexuality. Who can ever forget how she went after Cecil Colby, convinced him to marry him and then watched as he had a heart attack during their passionate night of sex? For 1982 this was shocking, but Americans loved it! Unlike the storyline of a gay man dealing with his sexuality in a time of AIDS, America was ready for a strong woman to enter the corporate arena with a men and beat them at their own game, so the writers made Alexis bigger than life and were not even afraid to have her roll around in the mud fighting with her arch nemesis, and Blake’s wife Krystal.

 Dynasty ended in 1989, and like all series, sputtered to an end, suffering from storylines that were no longer fresh and cutting edge. There was a two part mini-series a few years later to wrap up loose ends and it seemed like the end of Dynasty for good. Today, however, we have seen the rebirth of Dallas, and it works! The new Dallas is riveting and most important it is fresh, focusing on modern and contemporary issues like alternative energies and the tension in Texas between the law enforcement authorities and the Mexican drug cartels. The characters are familiar, but they are modern. The older Ewings have one foot in the past and the other in the present and the younger generation is fully engaged in the issues that contemporary 20-somethings face every day. There was even a three-way sex scene!

 Imagine what Dynasty could be today if it was reborn. Its not 1981 anymore and there are no boundaries. Americans have come to accept the most controversial subjects and there would be no limit to what the writers could do. Steven could be out and would probably be married to his lover. Younger Carringtons could be involved in any number of situations and there would really be no limit.

 Best of all, Alexis could be unleased and watching Joan Collins reprieve her iconic role would be incredibly entertaining. With the children of the ‘80’s now the adult and parents of the new millennium, there is a craving for the icons of that incredible decade; Dallas has proved that.

So now, with one voice, the fans of Dynasty are proclaiming – BRING BACK DYNASTY AND BRING BACK ALEXIS CARRINGTON COLBY!

David Arwood

David Arwood

Written by David Arwood.

 

 

 

 

And thank you, soap fans, for reading. Remember to comment, subscribe (in the upper left-hand corner), and most of all,

STAY SOAPY!

DirecTV Considering Creation of Soap Channel!

Direct TV logoIn 2007 DirecTV bought the rights to air Passions from NBC, hoping to target a soap audience. Why? Because they have been targeting soap fans for years, knowing how loyal, passionate, and dedicated we are. Now they simply want insurance of sorts that if they create a channel for our soaps, there will be support for it.

For us soap fans, DirecTV would be an ideal dwelling for our soaps. Not only would we not be at the behest of ABC/Disney and other broadcast networks, who have shown little if any interest in the desires of soap fans, but we would be giving over care of our soaps to a channel that has shown such an interest.

A simple way to show DirecTV our passion and loyalty would be to imitate the coupon campaign started by various groups involved in the Save Our Soaps movement, and to create a Facebook group named something akin to “I Would Pay DirecTV to Air My Soaps.”

Now we have a specific company interested in us and what we want! Another way to show DirecTV our interest in their picking up our soaps is to use Facebook and Twitter to post and Tweet about it.

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/directv

https://twitter.com/DIRECTV

Write to Direct TV (fill out this form).

https://support.directv.com/app/ask

For the soap fans who prefer to use a template to sent to directv we compose one for you below, you can just copy and paste..

To Whom It May Concern:

 

My name is ___________.

 

I am writing to you to express my unequivocal support for the creation of a DIRECTV channel dedicated to showing daytime serials that the networks have foolishly abandoned. These include, most recently, All My Children and One Life to Live, but there are many more, as you undoubtedly know. Soap fans are a large, loyal, and dedicated fan group. We will not let you down. Know that if you create such a channel it will have millions of viewers immediately. And I am one of them.

Thank you for your time.

 

Sincerely,

________________________

From Shawn Brody (leader of Fans United) interview in regard of Soap Net:

DirecTV was one of the last bastions for SOAP Net. DirecTV promised soap fans early on they would not pull the plug on SOAP Net until they were absolutely forced to by Disney, and they were good to their word and maintained SOAP Net until Disney stopped the network feed. DirecTV was attuned to what soap fans wanted.

So let’s do it, soap fans! Let’s make directv our new home for our soap channel.

Comment below, subscribe (in the upper right-hand corner), post on Facebook, and Tweet about this.

rp_Photo-on-5-20-14-at-6.21-PM-2-300x2001-e14008261479551.jpg

As always, stay soapy!

Follow the Money, trilogy, part 3 “How the Networks Treat Actors As Expendable”

Bryan FronsI’ve mentioned in the past about the means by which a television network generates its income – makes its money – discussing factors such as the importance of advertising dollars, the way in which viewers consuming advertising and buying pitched products keeps that cash coming, and even how this producing this income itself stimulates local economies and becomes important to politicians wishing to benefit their city or state. But no discussion of this sort is complete without understanding and acknowledging the very fulcrum of the entertainment industry, without which there is no show, no viewers, and therefore, no money. So, let’s talk about the men and women who really make this all possible. Let’s talk about the actors.

You’d think it would be obvious, but networks tend to forget (or worse yet, actually manage to otherwise believe) that beloved actors and the characters they portray are the lifeblood of their programs. These are no easily replaced common laborers. They are talented individuals with the drive and dedication to spend years studying and refining their art, before fearlessly entering an industry infamously hostile to newcomers and carrying forward despite the difficulties. In so doing, they make television shows what they are, and what they are is what the viewing audience wants to watch.

Bryan Frons, ex President of ABC Daytime, in a veritable cataclysm of egregious disrespect for both his own actors and those who watch his networks’ programs, once stated that he could train his viewers just as he trains his dogs. Shortly after this, he canceled seven primetimes and 2 soap operas (AMC and OLTL )shows that were beloved by the fans, believing he could relieve himself of the wearying burden of paying the veteran actors sustaining them (who had most certainly earned their keep, considering the shows’ success) and replacing them with new talent for new programs. Not surprisingly, this was a disaster. As fallout of his outrageous comments and actions, a boycott of ABC/Disney Daytime erupted, and Mr Frons was fired a few months later.

And let’s be clear: Even when networks do cancel and replace shows with less dramatic turbulence, as happens far more often, the programs brought in to replace them (headed by new actors which the audience does not yet know) as usually failures. The Desperate House Wife and Brother and Sister were both canceled after ten years as leading primetime shows, only to be replaced (by a network that didn’t want to pay proven, veteran actors) by new tries that flopped in short order.

So, sorry, network guys. These dogs aren’t quite so easily trained. We like what we like – and whom we like – and if you don’t treat them with the respect they deserve, we just might have to bite.

By Eternalendrea

Comment, subscribe (upper right-hand corner), and let’s dish, discuss, and commiserate!

Related Posts, Soap Opera’s and Politics.

Follow the Money, (pt2, Making The Viewers Voices heard)

Follow The Money, (pt. 1 The Network)

How The Internet Is Eating TV Alive

Soap Box

Follow The Money (pt 1, The Network)

follow the money 2The utter disdain with which television networks routinely treat their viewers is as baffling as it is appalling. It’s as if these monstrous entities don’t realize that, while cash does not change hands directly between them and the audience, it is that audience that is the ultimate source of their money. Yes, networks collect from advertisers, who pay a fee in exchange for a given network running their promotional spots – widely known as commercials – during programming, but why are these advertisers willing to pay for such a service? It isn’t because Mr Clean is just that desperate to have his shiny bald head seen and appreciated by the masses. Rather, it’s because the corporation that produces Mr Clean (and a myriad other products) believes that if they spend a little money having that polished beauty displayed now, a lot of money will come back to them later. And for the most part, that’s a sound strategy – except that it doesn’t work if no one (or not enough) in the viewing audience then drives down to their local supermarket to buy Mr Clean. Without those purchases, it just isn’t worth it to put Mr Clean on the air, and the network loses advertising money. This means the real power in television is in the hands of the viewers, and when they become irate over a network practice, they will make their voices heard.

 One need look no further than famous political commentator Rush Limbaugh for an example of the impact viewer displeasure can have on those at the top. Radio works in much the same way as television in that it is supported by advertiser money, a fact which Limbaugh learned all too well when he took it upon himself to call political activist Sandra Fluke – who publicly advocated views contrary to Limbaugh’s own – a “slut” on national airwaves. The fallout was devastating, with listeners bombarding Limbaugh with angry calls and e-mails stating that he had gone too far with the personal insult. Fearing massive boycotts, advertisers responded by fleeing the program in droves, and in a matter of weeks Limbaugh’s income stream was threatening to collapse. Desperate to stop this potentially lethal hemorrhage, Rush Limbaugh was forced to apologize on-air to Sandra Fluke, a first for a man who bases his radio personality on pride and arrogance.

 And yet, in most cases, networks on television insist on taking this kind of viewer-delivered beating before they will respect the will of their audience. ABC-Disney has already incurred the wrath of their viewers by attempting to cancel the popular daytime soap operas All My Children and One Life to Live, a move that has led to boycotts of the network and its advertisers. They would do well to learn their lesson quickly. In business, time is money, and stubborn network executives without a care for the real source of their income risk losing a lot of time.

 

Eternalendrea,

Comment, subscribe (upper right-hand corner), and let’s dish, discuss, and commiserate!

 

 

Related Posts, Soap Opera’s and Politics.

How The Internet Is Eating TV Alive

Soap Box

 

How the Internet is Eating TV Alive

“The Online Omnivore”

by Eternalendrea

TV vs internet picIn general, the Internet has been of tremendous service, and its impact on the television industry is no exception. The advent of YouTube has allowed fans to easily rewatch beloved clips and listen to the music of their favorite shows. Online message forums have made it possible for these enthusiasts to correspond with one another all over the world and share opinions and ideas about their common love on a scale never before imagined, let alone realized. The truly die-hard have even invested their time and talent into the writing of fan fiction, or simply “fanfic”, fictional prose set in the universe of a particular program. All of this, being online, makes the passion of a fan base apparent to everyone, thus increasing a show’s exposure and making it more likely that its audience will grow. It’s hard to argue that this is anything but a great boon.

But perhaps there really can be too much of a good thing, and the once-benevolent Internet now threatens to devour the entire television industry and absorb it completely. Alas, this is no exaggeration. Television shows are increasingly being made available online, not in individual scenes or songs, but as whole episodes to be watched in front of a computer monitor rather than a television screen. There could be no more perfect example than the recent broadcast of the Daytime Emmy Awards, which last week were streamed live over the Internet rather than actually aired on a real network. This marked the first time, ever, that the Emmy’s were not made available via television. It’s a usurpation of TV’s domain unparallelled in history (even television’s rising to prominence over radio can’t compare, as people still listen to the radio), and an unconscionable overstepping of the Internet’s bounds.

And who is driving this slow but inexorable move to the online realm of cyberspace? Primarily the young, and its easy to understand why. Young people are practically married to their computers already, relying mostly on them for their news and passive entertainment. Watching shows online is only natural for them; they do everything else in front of their PC’s, why not this as well? But the inexperience of youth is a poor guide in understanding one of the fundamental, essential lessons of life: There is a place for everything, and everything ought be kept in its place.

In her book “I’m Just Saying”, TV soap star Kim Zimmer (Echo DiSavoy of One Life to Live and Reva Shayne of Guiding Light) touched on this issue when she worried about a Guiding Light special being planned for the benefit of Hurricane Katrina victims, and which would feature the show’s actors speaking directly to the audience. Zimmer was so upset about the plan to air this “episode” on television that she initially refused to be a part of it, rightly observing: “If the episode airs in the Guiding Light time slot, I am no longer Reva Shayne – I’m Kim Zimmer.” But she saw how things changed when the producers modified their plans, and decided instead to make this special an online-only installment. It was amazing: What would have broken the fourth wall on television and threatened “Guiding Light”’s suspension of disbelief, made for a fitting and touching extra for fans (or simply victims of Hurricane Katrina) who cared enough to look it up on the Internet. The problem was solved, and Zimmer withdrew her objection, happily participating in the project.

We do well to learn the lesson Kim teaches us (or perhaps learned for herself): TV and the Internet are not one and the same, and they shouldn’t be interchangeable. What works on one doesn’t necessarily have any place on the other. If we allow these separate and disparate media to merge, we risk losing the unique artistic possibilities inherent in each. Let’s allow television and computers to work together; we don’t need either one trying to annex the other.

Comment, subscribe (upper right-hand corner), and let’s dish, discuss, and commiserate!

As we LOVE hearing what you have to say, so please comment! Let’s get a discussion going!

 

Stay Soapy,

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?

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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!

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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