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  Daytime TV and new subject matter
By chrissy n 2.18.2000

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Diehard soap fans who care about what is going on off screen as well as on have probably heard about the dismal ratings soaps are garnering. Many nay-sayers predict serialized television won't be around five years from now.

I say the nets should introduce new subject matter. I'm not suggesting soaps should defenestrate the prettiness and begin looking like NYPD BLUE. That wouldn't interest me.

I love the beautiful clothes and makeup, and the spacious sets with showroom furniture.

I used a magazine to decorate our dwelling.

But I feel if soaps are going to survive and thrive and be a part of the television landscape a half a decade from now, the writers and producers must introduce new topics.

I vote for gay characters, more blacks and Orientals. Where are the chubby men and zoftig women? Women who are 6'0; men of Napoleon's stature?

And when scribes pen tales of adultery and misbegotten children, they could strive to make the stories brighter, fresher, more engaging.

There are certainly ways to create problems in relationships without resorting to love triangles.

Frankly, I don't believe that people with good self-esteem, would for any length of time, anyway, compete for anyone's affections.

I believe that most people would say, Hey, if such-and-such doesn't want me, screw it and move on to something else.

Also, it would behoove soaps to cease using romance novels as inspiration. To break into print, I considered writing a romance, so I read scads of them, and quickly learned that most are essentially the same.

Joe and Debbie meet, fall madly in love. There are pages and pages of story before the first kiss. But it happens; something breaks them up--a misunderstanding, whatever. They pine and yearn for each other. Something cataclysmic takes place, resulting in the reunification of Joe and Deb. And during the separation, couples in romances are celibate.

Romances, or penny dreadfuls sell by the truckloads, and I've enjoyed many of them, and their contents should be a part of soaps, but many shows are now coming off like one endless bodice-ripper. And viewers are yawning, and turning off the shows.

When GUIDING LIGHT'S, Reva Shayne Lewis discovered that she had been married to a king, and her sister, Cassie, an ex lap dancer became involved with this king, who has a nefarious brother who is a prince, I thought, I'm outta here. I'd rather watch repeats of PETTICOAT JUNCTION.


Soaps are in dire need of new subject matter, of characters who aren't doctors or cops. How about a leading man who was a chef? Felicia Gallant, of the late ANOTHER WORLD was a romance novelist.

And something other than problems engendered by man/woman love should beset daytime's heroes and heroines.

When I was a girl, soaps offered viewing diversity. ONE LIFE TO LIVE had a social conscious. DARK SHADOWS was about vampires and witches. The crimebusters on EDGE OF NIGHT figured out head scratching, eyebrow raising mysteries.

I wish today's soaps had wordsmiths as talented as the ones of yesteryear.

 
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