Saturday, February 11, 2006

the middle-aged and the complacent


i deserved a night off from watching "my stories" so i forced myself to watch both thursday's and friday's soaps when i got home from work yesterday. mentally exhausted, i took a nap until 9 and then went out. glad this week is over. my friends are like "god, when are you going to do yourself a favor and start picking weeks that don't suck?" i plan to start tomorrow with a good week - i've earned it.

so thursday's soap was the young and the restless. when i was growing up i was friends with sisters named lisa and leslie, who lived a block away. their parents were going through a divorce and were left with babysitters a lot, and they LOVED the young and the restless. we were like six or seven years old, mind you. my mom had two rules for us when we were little: no bad tv and no going over to friends' houses when they had babysitters. i can't blame my mom now, but back then it felt very oppressive. i remember being at lisa and leslie's house one day, playing barbies while they watched the young and the restless with their babysitter and feeling very, very guilty.

i will not bore you with plot points, as i stopped listening and just observed the mechanics of soap operas. here are some observations:

* when a soliloquy wont work, a flashback or daydream/hallucination might be in order. to mark as such, it should be filmed in a gauzy light, and the audio should sound a little bit echoy/underwater-like.

* none of my friends or family have ever been arrested, framed, kidnapped, or hospitalized for something random and serious (except for when fb got hit by a supershuttle van). my life is boring.

* there are A LOT of commercial breaks for an hour-long show, and all of them are for housecleaning products, over-the-counter drugs, and i can't believe it's not butter.

* no one wears t-shirts or sweaters. they all look very over-done for never doing anything but standing around talking and crying and blackmailing.

* sometimes you can tell that they're reading off of cue cards. i mean, i'm sure that the actors don't have much time to memorize their scripts or work on the nuances of their roles, since the show is on for an hour EVERY WEEK DAY, but when their eyes are scanning off in the distance while they speak, it really sort of loses the credibility that it sooo had before.

* all of the main characters in all of these soaps seem to be from "prominent" families - wealthy, influential, business magnates - who all worry about the press . . . yet they're all in really small towns.

friday was one life to live. i should have watched the bold and the beautiful, because eb told me that when she spent a semester in ghana, everyone there was OBSESSED with the bold and the beautiful. the episodes that aired in ghana were from like 1982, and some ghanians thought that they were real people, and mostly people would talk about the episodes incredulously, like "WHY would she DO that?!?!?!" they asked eb to mail them new episodes when she got home.

one life to live definitely featured the worst story line of all of the soaps i watched this week: a crazed woman is living in a basement with her newborn baby, hiding because she faked her own death so that the father of the baby, who is on death row (framed for her murder), can fake HIS own death so that they can be together. um, what? maybe he wouldn't be on death row if you hadn't faked your death. christ, why am i even questioning this show's logic?

for all of the smut my mother convinced me soaps were filled with in the early 80s, i only saw ONE scene of unmarried people sharing a bed, and i didn't even see it until friday, and they were, yes, TALKING.

btw, one life to live comes on right after all my children, and my vcr had taped the very end of amc, which is what i had watched monday. they're STILL at that masquerade ball, and still will be monday (way to drag out a story line), because the scenes from the next episode show the ballroom exploding and some old dude yelling "is anyone alive?" - DRAMA!!!!

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