When I put this blog into limbo (again) in early 2018, I didn’t think there was much else to say about those shows I loved so much. And while I still watched some of the remaining shows from time to time, I wasn’t hooked enough to get deeply involved on that day to day basis.
I feel a bit foolish dusting this blog off again. After all, coming back from the dead is only really a surprise once. Then you become James Stenbeck or Stefano DiMera, returning from certain death as if it was a round trip ticket!
But a few interesting things have happened recently.
Earlier this year, the brilliant Elana Levine released HER STORIES, a rich volume capturing the history of soaps. (It is a slow read for me, but that is a high compliment – every time I read a few paragraphs or pages I end up falling down a rabbit hole and reading or researching THAT tangent!)
We’ve had this dreadful pandemic, and people have been looking for ways to connect and I was floored when Alan Locher launched a YouTube channel to facilitate reunions of many of our favorite actors, particularly from the P&G shows (where Alan was part of the PR team for years).
It’s been moving and meaningful to see so many familiar faces (more on that later).
And now, tonight, as I sit a few feet from my TV, there’s a two hour special about to play on ABC about soaps. On ABC! (Somewhere, Brian Frons is shaking his head.)
I have always taken a wary view of any coverage of soap opera in the media or any nighttime special. It’s so hard to capture out of context, and most news coverage, if they manage to cover it at all, covers the over the top elements of soap at the expense of the seconds and minutes that tie it all together.
But I am hearing good things and am optimistic, especially after reading a few previews…..
So, there may be a few fresh posts here and there for a while.
Not sure if this blog is “back” officially, but hell, who knows what the search for tomorrow will bring in THIS time? Very strange times indeed. Let’s just take it one day at a time……
One thought on “Plot twist”
what a nice surprise! welcome back.
unlike you, i wasn’t expecting much from abc’s ‘the story of soaps.’ here are my ramblings:
less than a minute in and there were the bitch slaps and catfights. pretty much set the superficial tone for what followed. despite the focus on hyped-up, over-the-top drama, for a lot of viewers, the real pleasure of soaps is watching (and listening to) a couple of characters just having a conversation.
first: the shameful absence of the p&g soaps. i knew the focus would be on the abc shows, but the reality is that soaps’ breakout into mainstream was built upon the and success (and enormous profitability) of the p&g soaps (‘as the world turn,’ in particular) in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
and for all the focus on luke and laura’s wedding, it’s worth noting that soap’s first super couple was atwt’s jeff and penny. while no movie stars asked to attend, their 1959 wedding was a taste of what would come 20 years down the road.
but, at least they did acknowledge irna phillips (but not ted corday). sad to say, my expectations were so low i wouldn’t have been surprised (though i would have been pissed) if they didn’t.
i want to know who the blond diva with the white boa from atwt was. i’m guessing eileen fulton, but they cut to susan lucci before becker could say.
maurice bernard: ‘even if the show’s not good, they (fans) think it’s great.’ while there are fans who stick with their show come what may, there are also fans who don’t. and the attitude that there are no rules and that writers can make up any shit they please and fans will simply follow along is part (how big a part i can’t say), but of why soap viewership has declined.
of course, ‘dallas’ was not the first prime time soap. peyton place was — on abc, no less. and irna phillips was story consultant.
why was jon hamm there when it would have been so much more interesting to hear from matthew weiner, who often talked about the soap troupes he used in ‘mad men.’ of course, that would have required the show have some structure… and maybe a proper introduction of the interviewees — and what expertise they brought to the conversation. and it would have been nice if their comments were relating to a larger point being made. as it was, so many of the comments seemed random and unrelated — and repetitious.
not to pile onto andy cohen, but his observation that soaps are no longer necessary was, well, self-serving?
glad they included jill farren phelps’s observation that reality shows and cheaper and easier to produce than scripted shows, because that’s been a huge driver.
finally: i don’t recall who said ‘how can you keep up with ‘general hospital’ when you’re binge-watching ‘orange is the new black,’ but there’s a real cognitive dissonance in abc doing a show ostensibility celebrating soaps where the explicit message is that the daytime soaps are not necessary.
I still haven’t seen the whole special yet (my DVR was not cooperative when I tried to watch) but I have a feeling our responses are similar.