Soap Operas as a Stabilizing Agent

A blog article by Bonniejean Alford (Educator, Activist, World Citizen)

When I was a little girl I would watch the soap operas that aired on ABC with my mother.  All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital became a part of my life.  And for decades, they have been a part of American life.  But now they have been cancelled, well two of the three have been cancelled.

You may be wondering why this fits in with this blog devoted to the social evolution of our society.  Well simply, this is a major evolution of the entertainment industry.  For my entire life, as well as the entire life of my mother and many other American and world citizens, the day time soap operas were a staple of American Entertainment.  Yes, they were, and are, often over the top, eccentric, and at times a bit ridiculous.  But they offered consistency and stability in an entertainment world that is constantly shifting and changing.

There is little left from one year to the next.  Shows people love get cancelled without warning and shows that seem to have little quality survive decades.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the decisions made by entertainment executives.

And the drivel they produce at alarming rates leaves much to be desired in the search for leisure time activities.

If you look to the past, classics were created that even today stand the test of time.  Take for instance Gone with the Wind, the 1939 Academy Awards best picture.  This film memorialized the struggles of the Civil War and one woman’s role within it.  Even today it is a film that can be watched with reverence and remembrance of a time when going out to the movies was something special.  Now, when I go, I am overwhelmed with the choices, most of which leave me with a feeling of “why did I bother?”.

Now, I don’t mean to put soap operas in the same category as a classic such as Gone with the Wind, but both are important stabilizing agents in the culture of American society.  In a way, they are in the same category.  Much like the mass production of non-classic films being produced in the film industry, the day time television slots are being given to more talk shows and reality television, both of which we have more than enough.  The reason, cost and a lack of viewer interest.

I admit, like many Americans, I don’t watch the antics portrayed on the soap operas every day.  But I know it has been there whenever I wished to watch, like a trusted friend is there when you wish to talk.  And when I watch, I am taken back to those moments with my mom and my sisters when life wasn’t so bad in the midst of all the chaos.  But now that is gone (or will be come September).

And we are losing so much more than a collection of outrageous and sometimes impossible plot lines.  We are losing a part of history.  We are losing something that for decades upon decades have provided Americans with joy, sadness, and a day time activity.

I am left wondering if the increase in dual partner working households and single parent homes is in part to blame for the lowering of viewership of the day time line up.  As a feminist bent on having full equality in American Society I end with the knowledge that maybe, just maybe, the loss of this stabilizing agent in society is a fair price to pay on the road to true equality of the sexes.

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49 thoughts on “Soap Operas as a Stabilizing Agent

  1. I have not watched soap operas but my thoughts relate to other forms of media. Shows changed from ideas/thought processes related soap operas into an unrealistic form of life that allow people sitting on their couches to be able to thrive off of. Shows on MTV such as Jersey Shore or The Real World, attempt to give people sitting on their couches not only drama to thrive from but the feeling to do something unrelaistic or things that would be out of their reach to do but could enjoy watching someone else. For instance, my boyfriend enjoys music but never thought of trying to DJ music. Since watching Jersey Shore and following DJ Pauly D, he has began to DJ and attempt to be more than “just the life of the party” (Ok, he’s actually really good at.)

    In a way, I do agree with your thought process when it comes to the different types of house holds. I think that it has to deal with the idea that families are busier with their career so in the day time the children are off at day-cares or at day camps, not to mention that children are in school which decreases the opportunities for the younger generations to watch it. It might possibly be the fact that there are an immense amount of channels/programs to watch on television. I know in my house hold that does not have cable watch the simple channels. My grandpa has his order of shows that are actually old reruns of things such as “I Love Lucy” or “Bonanza” but he also makes sure to watch Jeopardy at 330, Two and a Half Men at 6pm and then the various shows that are new episodes that he does enjoy.

    1. I think reality television, particularly what MTV’s been putting out, is definitely the heir apparent to soap operas. People seem to clamor for sensationalist drama, and shows like “Jersey Shore” and “Teen Mom” provide a level of melodrama that is in a way more impactful than soaps because it’s “really happening” (whether it’s scripted or not). You don’t have the soap opera plotlines so much (the mother sleeping with her cousin’s uncle’s brother), but you do get a similar level of gasps from what pops up in these shows.

      1. I’m surprised to hear someone besides myself believe that shows such as “Teen Mom” can have an impact on somebody’s life. When they first brought this show to air I was almost angered at the fact that they did not think of it sooner (before I became pregnant at 17). To see someone’s trule life on television and the real struggles of parenting and relationships which are never truly understood until experienced, made the struggles of motherhood easier to understand. Although nobody can ever truly know the hardships of being a teen mom until they actually experience it, I believe this show has made it possible for teens and adults to experience that struggle closer than anyone can verbally describe. And in that sense, I believe it has had a nation wide positive impact on teenagers.

  2. My mom is almost addicted to Soap Operas. She has been religiously watching the soap operas every day for a very long time. During these times, nobody dared to change the channel. The soap operas became part of her life, and part of almost every American. I think that ABC is cancelling the two soap operas not because of their ratings, but because talk shows are cheaper, more profitable, and it attracts more viewers. I believe that the soap operas are making money, but ABC wants to make more money.

  3. Maybe it’s because I’m of a later generation, but I do not see the social significance in soap operas, at least not one that extends beyond “Dynasty” and the 1980s. Now game shows, those were the big TV experience of my childhood. I remember curling up on the bed with my parents and watching “Jeopardy” or “The Price is Right” or “Wheel of Fortune”, trying to answer the questions, getting most of them wrong. I remember rooting for people on these shows, celebrating when they won, booing when they lost. Sure, game shows have always been a little silly, but at least the appeal was that somebody out there had enough knowledge or wits or something to know all the answers or figure out all the puzzles (or know the price of a good-sized ham AND a washer and dryer). Nowadays these shows seem to be driven solely by gimmicks— the models on “Deal or No Deal”, the cold hard cash flying away from contestants on “Million Dollar Drop”.

    Or maybe this is the way it’s always been done (Vanna White could be considered a gimmick in this light). The shows of today are just a continuation of the good old shows that came before. In that sense, we lose little with the cancelation of two soaps— it’s just like finishing a good book; you move on to something else. And there’s always Telemundo.

    1. I see what you mean when you say we can relate entertainment shows to a good book, in the sense that we will move on to something else. But I do think the older generation will find this more difficult, as to the mere fact that they have incorporated these sopa opera shows into their daily schedule. I work in a nursing home of over 300 residents and I can positively say that more than half of those residents find much enjoyment watching their soap opera shows. And after speaking to most of them about the cancellation they are very saddened and dissapointed. As for myself, the cancellation will have little affect on me, but to see the little enjoyment they appreciate and look forward to, be taken away, it just breaks my heart. Too bad there are not many spanish speaking residents, you are right they would absolutely love Telemundo.

  4. My great grandma still watches the only soap opera that comes on ABC. It plays a huge role in her life because it takes her back to how her and her mother and sisters used to watch them growing up. She says besides the news that’s the only thing left on television for her. If that gets cancelled, she won’t watch TV anymore. They are cancelling shows like that for profit and putting shows on the air that the later generation will tune into, most likely. Shows like “I love Lucy” were cancelled for reasons being most of the people who seem to watch those shows either grew out of it or were dying off. Television shows play a huge role in American, and everyone else’s life; if everything they do and say on TV is in every reality show it starts to seem like the right things to follow after. There is a difference between soap operas and the shows out now, back then it was more romance and a little drama. With shows like Jersey Shore, it’s all about hooking up and fighting

    1. There are some who would argue soap operas are all about hooking up and fighting (the people who made “Soapdish”, for one. And “Tootsie” for another). And there are people who, like you and Bonniejean, see soap operas as a living part of history that’s being cut for profit and replaced with more transient fare. But “Jersey Shore” isn’t the only thing on television. There’s also “Mad Men” and “The Office” and a variety other great shows that develop their characters as fully as soaps ever did. And shows like “16 and Pregnant” are enlightening people across the country to the hardships in teen pregnancy in addition to providing a means for parents to start a dialogue with their kids. It’s purely up to the American public to latch onto the good stuff and leave off the bad. It’s also up to us to hope the great stuff keeps going!

  5. Although I have grown into a reality show junkie, television today isn’t what it use to be. Growing up, my family and I would sit in the family room on Monday nights to tune into CSI Miami and Two and a Half men. It became a ritual after family dinners. I do have to agree with you Bonniejean and how you said watching those shows reminded you of a less hectic time you would spend with your family. Today when two and a half men comes on, I still think back to the times we’d sit and watch it as a family before everyone started moving on with their lives. But sadly, I am always reminded of Charlie Scheen’s crazy acts in the media. Movie stars and celebrities do not have the respect for themselves or respect for their viewers that they use to. Today you can find Britney Spears flashing her private parts and Charlie Scheen talking exclusively about his coke binges. The sad reality being, people would much rather catch up on their gossip than pick up a real BOOK.
    I am guilty of being sucked into gossip magazines, but what amazes me is what lengths certain people will go to in order to get their name published. American’s have single handedly turned celebrities into royalty. And for what cause? We are shocked when one of their marriages last longer than 10 years and find it acceptable to have children out of wed-lock. These people are supposed to be recognized purely for their talent, not their ability to drink and get laid every night. I personally believe that in a world filled with as many problems as we face today, plenty of other things are more important than how fat someone looks in a bathing suit.

    1. Hear, hear! I totally agree with you on the gossip mag point. I’m sick of seeing some smear about some celebrity’s body or marriage or extramarital affair. There was definitely a short time where the media wasn’t blowing up gigantic spreads of celebrity misery or imperfection, and I long for that time. Where is the real news? Why do I know more about Brangelina’s adoption plans than I do about military actions in Darfur?

      1. It’s sad for me to sit here and have to try and think of a time when gossip wasn’t as popular as it is today. I can honestly say that I know more about the newest record deal made than I do about the war overseas. That’s a sad fact to have to admit and I’m ashamed of it. But that’s also just adding to the point of how corrupt our priorities are for some people in this country.

  6. I did not even know that they are canceling soap operas, but I don’t agree with it. It is okay for MTV to air all their shows that in some instances are just as inappropriate if not more inappropriate than soap operas. It’s okay to have shows like Maury and Jerry Springer on TV, but yet not soap operas; that just don’t make sense. Soap operas have been around for decades, and I think it is just going to cause many problems. Once the entertainment executives realize how many people they have affected, I feel like they will put them back on TV.

    1. It’s not a question of appropriate or inappropriate— sometimes it’s just about the ratings. Soap operas probably haven’t been generating enough money to make up for how much they cost to produce. Reality TV and talk shows are ideal for networks because they’re cheap to produce (even cheaper that soaps, which themselves started out as the ideal discount alternative to costly narrative TV). Soap operas were produced in order to make money, airing in daytime slots when housewives and other women who didn’t work outside the home would be watching, so companies could advertise all their female- and house–centered products to the best audience.

      If they were to bring soaps back, it’d probably be in a different time slot, since not as many people (or not as many in a profitable demographic) watch TV during the day anymore. And if these new soaps were going to be aired at a different time, it’d probably be closer to prime time, when they would have to compete with “Desperate Housewives” anyway.

    2. I completely agree, shows that are inappropriate are attracting more viewers. This is most likely because people enjoy watching the drama from those talk shows, the inappropriateness is not the “norm” in our society which makes us want to continue watching.

  7. I don’t know much about soap operas or even whats playing on television but it does seem the newer generation is kicking out the previous generation. I think most of us can agree that sadly as the years pass it seems the morals of modern society seems to be in a sort of decline so I do think this is a bad to cancel the shows just to have this stupid modern junk to be shown for the youth of today. honestly most TV shows are just made to kill off brain cells. Although this does not really have an impact on myself I can see your concern about the cancellation of such shows.

    1. That’s a really good point Ahmed. It seems as if every generation brings new preferences and items along with them. I notice this with my parents and myself. They find the most entertainment in just going to the movies, where to me that gets boring after a while. It’s also funny to see how we are changing so fast from one generation to the next. My dad just learned how to text for example! It can be both a good and bad thing. Although advances in technology and medicine will be beneficial, as we move closer to new advances, we move further away from what we really know and understand.

      1. I completely agree with you. I think our generation is based on consumerism and our ‘wants’ rather than the simple pleasures the previous generation had. They had some kind of appreciation and discipline but now what happens is we get something, then we get bored, and then look to something else. I think we lack the basic moral of appreciating the small things.

      2. Yes, but the question is why? Why aren’t we able to sustain the focus and appreciation to live like previous generations? I think a great deal of it has to do with innovation and the high-speed media that is getting fired at us during every waking hour. Most of our brains are no longer wired to live simply and enjoy simple things. We are wired to work/do homework, check emails on our smart phones, listen to Pandora and post a ‘tweet’ simultaneously. When we stray from this juggling act, it feels unnatural.

        Is it possible to change this mode of operation–that is the question for the ages. I think families have a big responsibility to make sure their kids are getting “unplugged” for a portion of their day (or week) to focus on face time instead of Facebook. If families were to slow down and teach their children how to appreciate simpler things or to have traditions like “family game night,” that would be a great starting point.

  8. It truly is all about the money and that’s the driving force behind the decisions that are made. With different generations come many changes. People acquire different tastes and this leads to changes in entertainment. Unfortunately many of these changes are based solely on money. There are countless new movies and tv series that are all just a way for people to make some cash. Soap operas have died off because they don’t bring in enough money. This has a lot to do with the changing times and shift to reality shows.

    1. Yes everything is based on profit and money. You are right, there are so many new movies out every week it becomes even overwhelming to just choose what to see. I find that many are just so pointless that I have refrained from going to the theatre altogether so to not waste the ridiculous $20 it costs for just a pair of tickets, and have an end resulf of dissapointment. But as our younger generation becomes more fond of reality TV shows this is just a preview as to many others shows which will be soon to follow in cancellation.

  9. I think that Sope Operas could be a stabilizing agent. I don’t watch them and neither does anyone in my family (as far as I know). It’s very clear that they have been on the decline for the past decade, but that doesn’t mean that they will completely disappear. I think that they will become more of a niche show on specialty channels. These and other niche shows have been showing up everywhere over the past decade as well.

    Perhaps the increase in reality/talk TV is also because of broader appeal, not just cost. That’s not to say reality and talk shows are good (most aren’t).

    1. Maybe the soap opera reruns will eventually be on channels such as MeToo TV one day in the future. I did not think of that, I had assumed they would be completely off the air, including their reruns. But MeToo TV is a channel dedicated to the older generation and plays shows such as I Love Lucy and many others I cannot name. So there is a possibility that many people will be able to enjoy the reruns of their soaps in the near future. As for the reality shows, I truly do believe there is a broader appeal to them and is another prime reason for the increase of these shows.

  10. When I hear the words “soap opera” it reminds me of my childhood, every time I would go over to my grandparents house my grandma would be cooking in the kitchen watching her soap operas… all day long. Although I haven’t seen one in forever, I was not aware that they were being cancelled. But I could see the reason being that they aren’t bringing in enough money anymore, where reality shows are attracting more and more viewers. This is very sad because most of the TV shows they are coming out with, I find to be very ridiculous. I didn’t realize this until recently, but I noticed that as I’ve gotten older I no longer watch TV nearly as much as I used to. The reason being that these reality shows are just a waste of my time. Seeing how television has transformed from one generation to the next, it makes me wonder what types of shows will be airing in the following generations.

  11. I truly agree with you and I see where you are coming from. Although I personally never tuned into watch the Soap operas I always remember my aunt and my grandma doing so. Both whom cared for me while my mother was at work, they found these shows fascinating. As a child I didn’t understand the fascination with the ridiculous story lines but as I grew older the drama enticed me and when my aunt or grandma was watching one of the soap operas I would become fixated on it. Although I had no idea who the characters were I still found it fascinating. I currently work at a nursing home where many of the elders relgiously watch their soaps and find much enjoyment out of it. These residents (a term used for those living at a nursing home) are truly saddened by the cancellation of these shows. This was a luxury for them, a distraction from the call lights alarming around them, an imaginary getaway, and an escape from the real world.

    I am a working mother and wife, and as the soul provider for my family I work any chance I am given. I am never home during daily hours to watch the soap operas but there is a T.V in every resident’s room and it is mostly tuned into the soap opera channels. I do have to admit that I do become distracted at times while trying to follow the story line of who killed who, why is she or he in the hospital, who’s pregnant now, and who is in love with who. But I can positively say that my husband, who stays at home with the kids, would never watch a soap opera. So I do believe the switch of roles in our society and the dual partner working household has greatly affected the number of viewers for the soap operas. And sadly, this affects more than just the young viewers and middle aged viewers, it will affect our elders, who’s past time is catching up on last weeks missed episode due to a schedule BINGO activity.

  12. When I hear ‘Soap Operas’ at first I think about One life to live, and Guiding light. But then I think about things like Jersey Shore. Now days, it seems like that’s our ‘Soap Opera.’ I looked up the definition of a soap opera and it is as stated; “–noun
    a radio or television series depicting the interconnected lives of many characters often in a sentimental, melodramatic way.” …HEY WAIT A MINUTE! That sounds just like Jersey Shore, Real housewives of Orange County, The Kardashians, the list goes on. While some may categorize these shows as reality television, I do believe they are also a form of soap operas. These characters are super melodramatic, and way over the top. Their lives are examined like an ant under a spyglass, and there is a lot of drama- hence a sort of sentiment. People LOVE these shows and demand them, and come home from work or call off something to see their favorite show. I believe these are also stabilizing agents.

  13. I can really relate to this post about a television series being a stabilizing agent within one’s life. I, for one, religiously watched Scrubs throughout its tenure on both NBC and ABC. For me, it was a show that I could relate well to: the quirky funny lead, best friend, and on again-off again girlfriend have all been constants in my life throughout the last five years. I found the show relating to my life in many instances and was able to glean some teachings and knowledge from it (yes, learning from a comedy..gasp!). When the show was cancelled, I know that it affected me, if only in a slight manner. That crutch that I had leaned on constantly was now gone. The funny portrayals of what I faced daily had disappeared. It was not difficult to face, but it was noticeable to me how it became just that little bit harder everyday.

  14. I definitly understand where your coming from Bonniejean. Me and my mother were just talking about this a few days ago. My mother, my grandma, and I would always watch soaps during the day on our days off. Now all that’s left are paid programming and reality tv (which I am not a fan of). But being feminist and working toward equality I’ll take any loss to gain such a great victory.

  15. I agree soap operas are dying in daytime television but mostly because of low rating and high production costs. Talk shows and game shows cost less to make and rate higher. Much of the audience have many more ways in our society today to be entertained. Nowadays, there is the computer with Facebook, blogs, and all social media, and you can surf the web. That’s where many of the T.V. audience has gone, T.V. is just a business. The Oprah show also offered stability and entertainment for many people as well. Every person has their own stabilizing agent, mine is Xbox.

  16. It seems to to me that the decline of soap operas has more to do with changes in American society than any other factor. In their heyday, soap operas were designed pretty much for housewives. However, as a percentage of the female population, the amount of stay at home wives or mothers has dropped significantly. Beyond that, the stability and unchanging qualities–the over-the-top dramatizations, and their almost farcical nature–are not conducive to the longevity of a television series. Without significant change of time, programs become stagnant and repetitive.

    1. I do agree that Soap Operas were mainly watched by stay at home moms, but I think many people found comfort in the fact that they were always there. I used to watch “Days of our Lives” with my little sister when we were out of school for the summer during high school. Yes, the characters and the plot lines were ridiculous (one time an alien space ship landed with attractive 18 year old twins inside it!). The cool thing about that show was that you could miss it for a week and you would come back and the plot line would still be in the same “day.” My sister or I would fill the other one in on the drama that had happened while the other one was away. There was something comforting in knowing that “Days of our Lives” would be on at 1pm eastern time every single day during the week without fail. People get used to things that are reliable and soap operas are reliable. We are creatures of habit and I can foresee many people being upset that their soap operas are being replaced by some new talk show or reality show about being a dog stylist or a taxidermy interior designer etc. I would agree that soap operas became a part of our American culture and it will be strange when that day comes when you will make a pop culture reference about “Passions” and nobody will know who Timmy is or what the “eff” you are talking about.

      1. I can relate to this and I remember “Passions”, got a little laugh out of this. It’s true when you say that nobody will know who characters are when relating back to old television shows. It’s interesting looking back and having these kinds of memories and to share them. In my opinion I feel that going forward that generations to come won’t share memories like this since the industry of entertainment evolves so quickly. Yes shows come to an end but in this day and age when it’s over it’s over and it’s rare to hear someone say “Remember…” because there is always something new to replace that show. Today it seems as if memories (on anything) stay in the past.

  17. I can relate to the stability of what soap operas brought to entertainment industry. Growing up on “Days of Our Lives” there was always something to look forward to. I have caught myself flipping through the channels and have come across an episode and found myself watching it for a few minutes. I then realized that it’s the same drama but has evolved to present day, same plots same power struggle, just better style and the actors/actresses (who are still on the soap) are older. Entertainment makes and effort to change with society but it’s funny how things get masked. Today it’s about reality t.v. which I don’t get, I can barely sit through 5 minutes of it. It seems as if we get caught up in other peoples lives and worry too much about what they are doing next that we can’t focus on our own reality. Soap Opera or reality show?

  18. Bonniejean,
    I was never a big fan of soap operas, they always reminded me of the cliche all rich and all beautiful characters. But I do believe that some of the television shows have definitely downgraded! Nothing anymore relates to our history and none of the current shows deserve to be called pop-cultural. Without knowing the history, people end up losing their identity and it might tough for them to pass things on in the future. Teens aren’t given much variety nowadays, best option in my opinion is not having a television at all.

  19. My grandma has been watching soap operas for years and years and I’ve never really understood the appeal of them. It seemed like every episode was the exact same where someone would cheat on someone or there would be fighting between friends and family members. I guess thats why people like them. The story lines can be very similar to peoples everyday lives. Everyone can relate to relationship and family problems. As for why the popularity of soap operas have declined, it definitely could have something to do with the time of day there on or peoples interests have changed to reality shows. People see shows like the Real World, Jersey Shore, Keeping up with the Kardashians, etc. and are automatically more interested in those shows because they are whats popular nowadays.

  20. Soap operas were a big part of my older sister’s everyday life. She would get up early every morning just to watch her favorite, All My Children. Soap Operas seem to be so popular to women, due to the fact women like to relate shows such as that to there everyday lives. My sister Anne would always say she was just like a certain character in the show. She believed they acted the same and everything. Since then there has been a decline in the amount of viewers for these soap operas. I do agree with you, the reason for this is the push for gender equality. The rise in duel working households and single parent homes has a huge impact on the amount of viewers for these soap operas. Since gender equality has moved closer to that, more women are working then ever before. This leads to the main audience of these shows having to leave for work at the times these shows come on. The majority of women aren’t stay at home moms any more and don’t have all the time in the world to get up early to watch Soap Operas. So I do believe the push for having equality among the sexes is the main reason for the decline in the number of soap operas on T.V today.

  21. I do agree that Television networks are coming out with a lot of horrible game shows and reality television, but it is their attempt to make money and increase viewership. I personally don’t like reality television, game shows, nor some of the generic cop shows that riddle a networks time slots, but the truth of the matter is other people do. There have been many canceled television shows that I wish would have made it (like the Unusuals, Dollhouse, or Firefly) but many of the potentially good shows flopped because there was not enough viewership (or the Fox network screwed up). Basically what I am trying to get at is, television networks are trying to please a large audience and make money, and because they are trying to increase profits, it makes it hard to please everyone. Yes, I do agree, there is a lot of crummy shows out there, but they are targeted a specific audience, not everyone. The trick is finding that one show you do like, sticking with it, and hoping that the network executives think the show is profitable.

  22. I personally don’t have enough time to watch soap operas but when I do I notice a significant change in the quality presented. I do agree that classic shows get removed because there are not much viewers but it’s like the old saying, “out with the old, in with the new”. As we all grow we all have different interests and they continue to change, for instance, when the shows “Who’s the boss” and “Genie” I watch them because I like them but I also like to watch current soap operas when they are on as well. I’m sure that for people that have their favorite soap operas it’s is always a sad day when the season finale eventually comes to an end, then they have to decide what to watch next. The producers or the ones that make the shows have to figure out what people like to watch and focus on a certain interest group, they don’t focus on everyone, just certain people. So I do agree with this blog but I also agree that it needs to happen because we all have different interests that continue to change and need shows to keep us entertained.

  23. In my opinion many soap operas are getting cancelled simply because of our young generation likes “reality” TV, but in reality it isn’t really “reality.” What I mean by this is stupid dumb shows such as Jersey Shore, where a bunch of young people party and get drunk is more highly viewed than actual shows that actually have meaning. Many young people need to understand that these shows are fake and are all scripted. In a way these shoes can be related to soap operas but in a modern way. This is why I dislike watching TV because of all the nonsense they put out now a days disgust me. Nothing is entertaining anymore like it used to be.I now understand when older people say back in my day this or that was better because back in my day TV was a lot better than it is now. Who knows how its going to be in a few years from now if its already like this. I wouldn’t know because I don’t watch as much TV anymore.

  24. I watch soap operas! I love them, they’re great. It’s fun over dramatic drama in every episode. Soap opera’s like “One Life To Live” and “General Hospital,” have been around for so many generations, and I think producers are realizing they’re not getting as many ratings. Teens now are watching like everyone said, “Teen Mom” and “Jersey Shore.” They find a sense of “reality” out of those shows, which in real life, it’s all fake. I think that shows where people are acting stupid and are getting drunk are more of what teens and young adults want to watch because they find it more interesting rather than shows where real life situations make occur. In my opinion, shows on MTV are ridiculous and set a bad example for younger kids. On a normal channel, they are showing sex scenes and people falling over because they’re drunk. I don’t think something like this should be aired in case of a younger one being around. I agree though, the shows now that are aired are very stupid and pointless with no meaning.

  25. I actually used to love watching soap operas. They were so full of drama and crazy storylines. I remember growing up watching them with my mother and sister, when we were sick or had the occasional day off from school. Although I do not have time now to watch them I am sad to hear that the shows I grew up watching are no longer around and there for me to turn on if I would have the time. With women being the majority of the viewers of soap operas. and with so many of them working to support families and themselves, this leaves little or no time for television. This being said the drop in ratings and the current reality television fad has taken over most of the television networks causing many shows to be cancelled. Soap operas may not hold a place in everyone heart or be the most remembered shows out there, but I certainly will think of the good memories that came along with watching them.

  26. Even though I have not watched much of the American soap operas, I have certainly watched a lot of Korean and Chinese dramas. They are apart of people’s lives. They make our society better and more entertaining. There dramas could be viewed as something of similar meaning to the American soap operas. It is something that we can enjoy with the family. When I was back in China, I remember every weekend, my family, along with my aunts, uncles, and their family members, would gather at my grandparents’ house. And as a family activity, we would watch whatever new drama was showing on television. it is part of our culture and it has also become part of our lives.

  27. I too watched soap operas with my mother every day. We would watch them as my father worked and my siblings were in school, so I understand the familiarity and comfort that comes along with them. So it saddened me when I heard that these, almost, traditions were being cancelled. Although soap operas are by no means “quality television”, but what is on TV these days is absolutely atrocious. There was something so innocent about soap operas, perhaps it was the horrible acting and awful sound even though the story lines were quite ridiculous and sometimes scandalous. It is sad to watch something that was on the air for 40 years disappear and even worse, it is sad to see what they are being replaced with.

  28. I believe the act of having a whole BABY for attention is just ludicrous. Babies are flat out hard, not easy. To get Attention is supposed to be easy too, not hard soo whats the connection. I know a lot of teens and young people in their 20’s that have kids and every one of them would take back having a baby so soon. Every one. Having a baby for a new fad is out of our minds stupid. You want to try a new fad? Buy some sunglasses. Buy some new shorts. Not get pregnant, haha. That’s silly honestly. Im almost 20 and I don’t want a kid any time soon. And I know sort of what it’s like I used to take care of my niece when she was a baby, same with my nephew and my cousin. It’s hard for even just 1 day. And these girls want that, every day for like 3, 4, 5 years? So stupid. Plus, the guy 9 times out of 10 doesn’t stay? Whats a teen BOY gonna want a baby for. He’s gonna wanna buy the new releases for Xbox not help his baby momma buy things for his baby.

  29. You make many vivid points on how it is heart breaking to many people on soap operas being canceled is a life changing effect. In today’s world we are so caught up in the reality t.v that we don’t watch much of the traditional television. Even though I wasn’t born for majority of the original soap operas I still remember my dad and mom watching late night t.v of old episodes and loved all the shows. I understand that sometimes though a show can get played out, meaning people just don’t have the time or a new and better show is coming out. This is how I feel people stop watching shows and that’s how they get canceled. Though it is a terrible thing for the people who still love and watch the show. How would you feel to have one of your favorite soap operas canceled?

  30. I never watched soap operas nor did I think of them as a stabilizing agent. I actually heard that many men liked those soap operas also. I do not believe in classifying shows for men or women. I particularly love desperate housewives and I will yell it to the world. People look at me weird when I say it but people cannot help what they like. Also growing up with a single mother I always hated hearing about women inequality. I am not a sex and I don’t play favorites to either sexes but I am male. I particularly think females are stronger than people think. People think physical strength matters but it doesn’t. Women can tolerate pain (Birth, I would hate to even watch in class.) and mental strength. I always believed women were strong and they should not have needed a show to show the world how strong they are.

  31. I was never a soap opera junky because I was either in school or working during those hours but now they have replaced soap operas with reality shows which are the new junky at least for me they are. 🙂 They are both the same sort of. They tell stories and show how people live and make fools of themselves but it’s entertainment.

  32. ABC had a lot of television shows that taught good moral value, which TV is losing more and more. Being named after a character on ABC’s “Life Goes On” and my brother being named after Kevin Arnold on ABC’s “The Wonder Years” made me realize why these shows were so popular. People could easily connect to them. ABC had shows the whole family could get together to watch and look back on (or up to, for the younger kids) their coming of age experience. I think it’s important we get shows like this back on the air.

  33. I do agree with the article. I have never watched a soap opera but I do have a general idea of what it is. I guess I actually have seen bits and pieces of one while my mom watched it. It was the most dramatic thing in the world. I often made fun of it, in good fun of course. The soap opera my mom watched was not something I’d be into, however I will admit that a soap opera is infinitely better than reality T.V. At least in soap operas the lives of the characters are staged. When looking at reality shows such as Jersey Shore and Keeping up with the Kardasians, I wonder how they exist. The stupidity and pointlessness of them is to the point where I answer the question of how foreign countries think Americans are stupid. This is how others see us! Instead of producing a more quality show, we end up producing entertainment’s biggest joke. Though I do think talk shows bring quality humor and entertainment I do agree with Bonniejean.

  34. A lot of the content that comes out of Hollywood is made as an attempt to make money. Decisions are made based on ticket sales or viewership. While I may not have watched soap operas I am a big television fan. Like you have stated soaps had a purpose of providing stability and that is what made it successful and kept it around. The things that are having the most success in our entertainment industry is when it is being led by the creators and artists. Their vision is what drives the project and they know how to appeal to their audience. Once we are able to see television as an art form and not a business we will see many shows not get cancelled because they will be fulfilling the vision they set out to achieve.

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