The REAL story of soaps

The “real” Genoa City

Dear ABC and People

Hello! Hope you’re all safe and healthy.

How nice of you to think of us soap fans when you created The Story of Soaps special.

An A for effort. You tried, and we appreciate it. Some bits of it were nicely done.

But overall….well, I’m reaching for my most diplomatic language.

It might have been a fun Buzzfeed listicle-style schedule filler for you folks at ABC, but for some of us, it didn’t really hit the mark.

Or come anywhere near it.

But hey, next time you want to craft content about the history of soaps?

You should reach out to a journalist named Rose Schmidt.

She’s not a megastar reporter – not yet.

Rose isn’t, to the best of my knowledge, a big soap fan. I mean, it’s possible that her mom, grandma or aunt might have memories of their “story,” but she doesn’t say much about soaps on social media.

She’s relatively new in her field. She graduated from high school in 2013, attended journalism school, and has been working at TV stations in Wisconsin for the last few years.

And yet?

Somehow, with little knowledge of the genre, Ms. Schmidt turned in the best, most respectful piece of media on soaps I have seen….well, possibly in my entire damn life.

Somehow, against all odds, she turned out a piece of reporting that

  • Didn’t make fun of soaps or the fans who watched/watch them
  • Had a respectful tone
  • Didn’t connect the entire worth of the genre to nighttime shows, or who acted on a show before they won an Oscar, etc.
  • Didn’t ask unrelated figures for comment
  • Didn’t pass opinion on the genre or call a time of death for soaps

I mean, she even tied a local historical element into the story.  Milwaukee, you see, is near a little Wisconsin town you may have heard of: Genoa City.

(As for the soap connection to Lake Geneva, another nearby town about 90 minutes from Milwaukee, you’ll have to watch the video.)

There’s also a guest appearance by the always-excellent and knowledgeable Elana Levine, who released Her Stories earlier this year to great acclaim.

I’m being snarky, but it almost makes me want to cry how damn good this piece is. And at the risk of repeating myself, this reporter was not an expert.

And yet.

I’m sure ABC and People spent thousands to clear clips and produce a ninety minute (after commercials) special. It’s a shame that in just over 6 minutes, they got their asses kicked by a young journalist (and her much smaller production team).

3 thoughts on “The REAL story of soaps

  1. Ha! Thanks, Patrick. Well put! This reporter did tell me that her family watches soaps! In fact she told me they have a nickname for General Hospital I have never heard before— Genny Hospy! Glad you are blogging again.

    Hi Elana, thanks for the comment! I’m doing a bit here and there when I have something to say!

    PS I am still reading the book! I have the bad habit of reading a page or two and then seeing something I didn’t know and following that tangent. Good for knowledge, bad for progress through the pages! Definitely looking forward to talking about it when I am done.

  2. thanks for passing this on.

    re the thousands abc and people spent clearing the rights to the clips: among those who commented one of the biggest complaints was the poor quality of many of the clips. some thought they were lifted from youtube, rather than the network.

    and, for the record, there are times diplomatic language is vastly overrated.

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised re: accessing clips from YT. It may have been a way to get around more detailed clearance. A big chunk of the clips were short enough to fall under fair use, as well.

  3. Thanks for alerting me to Rose’s piece on soaps. Very respectful and informative. Very refreshing! I did thoroughly enjoy the piece. Interesting to hear all those Wisconsin connections to the soap world!

    I, too, would enjoy seeing what Rose would produce about the soaps if she had a larger budget and 60 minutes of airtime.

    I sent her a thank you on Twitter! Just amazed that a recent grad did so much better than so many others. I wish we had more pieces like this one.

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