Tips for better soap living.

Guys, I am seven days behind and completely lacking in motivation to get caught up. I tried last night! I really did! But I failed out after forcing myself through one episode. I’d like to say it’s because my life is so busy and important, but I think we all know that would be a filthy, filthy lie.

I'm doing stuff Lori

THINGS

Anyway, lest this blog become nothing but dust and tumbleweeds, here’s some filler from my drafts folder. A little while ago I was laughing about Sam waiting around the hospital for hours just to ask Patrick if he’d spoken to Elizabeth yet, and it started me thinking about how truly weird Daytime soaps are as a genre, and how conditioned we all are to just accept the weirdness. I’m not even talking about the stuff like evil twins and back from the dead so much as all the bizarre conventions of every day soap life. Like:

The Real Estate Market. Soap people are perfectly content to live in hotels. Why rent an apartment when you can just live in a five star hotel suite for years at a time?

Ric Nina and Franco

At least one of these people is a functioning adult
who ought to own some furniture.

It’s especially convenient for new arrivals, because anyone who visits a soap town for the day inevitably ends up deciding to move there on the spot and never goes back to wherever their life was previously based to take care of petty details like quitting their job, breaking their lease, moving their things, or saying  goodbye to any of their friends and family. “I’ll just live in a hotel for months with no belongings, never speaking to anyone I’ve ever known before!” say new soap transplants. “That’s totally normal, right?”

The Little Big Town. Soap towns are at the same time huge metropolises with universities, airports, high class hotels, and a thriving criminal underbelly, but also small towns where literally every person knows each other. Which sounds exhausting, honestly. I don’t even know the names of the people who share my driveway.

The Cabin in the Woods. When any soap character strays more than 10 feet off the road, they are bound to run into an abandoned yet fully furnished and probably unlocked cabin in which to: have sex, store a kidnap victim, get into a shootout with a rival mobster.

(Who owns these cabins? Why are they never there themselves? What do they think when they come back and find bullets/chains/condom wrappers strewn all over?)

The Careless Whisper. Soap people are either selectively deaf or capable of inhuman hearing, depending on whether it’s sweeps or not. See related:

The Not-So-Interior Monologue. When you have a secret that no one can know, it’s always best to explain it out loud in public, as often as possible. Don’t worry if other people are in the room with you when you feel compelled to talk to yourself about something that will ruin your life if anyone else finds out. They won’t be able to hear you unless it’s a sweeps week, and then it won’t matter if you’re talking on a different continent. If it’s sweeps, SOMEONE WILL HEAR YOU.

The World’s Greatest/Worst Detective. In a similar vein, all soap characters are either inhumanly intuitive and capable of sussing out the fact that something is wrong based on zero evidence… or they are completely oblivious no matter how obviously sketchy another character is acting. There is no in between.

Denise

“Everything about this is totally normal!”

The Delayed Reaction. That 30 seconds after a dramatic revelation when a soap person will just stare blankly without speaking until we hit the commercial break. See above for the reason why no one else finds this a suspicious response to a simple yes or no question.

The Functioning Alcoholic. All soap homes — including the hotel rooms and abandoned cabins — come equipped with a fully stocked liquor cabinet with fancy barware, decanters of hard alcohol, and often, bizarrely, water. Who keeps room temperature water constantly lying around on the off chance someone’s going to stop by unannounced? Of course that’s a constant danger in soap towns, due to…

Sonny's barware

Mmm… lukewarm water and bourbon.

The Bad Phone Etiquette. No one in soap towns uses the phone like a normal person. By which I mean they mostly don’t use it at all. Why call (or email, or text) when you can just trek all over town and show up unannounced at someone’s home or work to have a five second conversation? On the rare occasions when a soap person does make plans over the phone, they will never, ever specify a particular time and place to meet and always hang up without saying goodbye. Soap people are super rude, actually.

The Unemployment Line. Jobs in soap land are a nice to have, but no one other than doctors and cops really needs them. Higher degrees can be obtained in a few months to a year, and then you only need to show up when the plot requires you be at your job. Don’t worry about paying for the expensive hotel suite you live in, either! Either the owner will owe you a favor or the salary from your one hour of work per week will totally cover it.

Maxie and Lulu lead very busy lives

What do we do all day? NO ONE KNOWS

The Nanny. Despite the fact that many of them either have no jobs or never bother going, almost every soap parent has a live in nanny. How else to find the time to run all over town having every single conversation in person?

The Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome. Fortunately, none of these unemployed people need to afford their nannies for long due to the infamous SORAS, in which a toddler will go away to boarding school and come home a teenager the next year. This becomes especially complicated when children in the same age group aren’t SORASed together, leading to awkward situations where a nineteen year old who was born on screen five years ago is suddenly babysitting for a three year old born on screen ten years ago.

Cameron and Molly

One of us is older than the other.
The answer may surprise you!

The Jack of All/No Trades. Every soap lawyer is an expert at every type of law specialty, and every soap doctor can perform every type of surgery. (Want a cardiac surgeon to operate on your brain? No problem! He’ll go in through the neck. It will be fiiiiiine.) The inverse is that when someone is the best at their chosen profession, every other unnamed doctor in the hospital is apparently a garbage monster who would probably accidentally amputate all your limbs with a chainsaw. Don’t even get me started on THOSE BUTCHERS at Mercy.

ETA the following soap space/time mysteries from the comments:

The Monthday. The phenomenon by which Halloween can last an entire month and then two days later, it’s Thanksgiving. Soap people are even worse at letting the holidays breathe than Target.

The Creative Geography. All soap towns — now matter where they are physically located — are only an hour away from: Mexico, Europe, Martha’s Vineyard, all of Canada, the Dominican Republic, Australia, Las Vegas, the coast of landlocked Bolivia. Possible explanations for this include the theory that: all soap people are actually Time Lords, that soap towns are dotted with naturally occurring wormholes, or that soap people live in Truman Show-like environments and are just too stupid to realize that “Mexico” is literally a sound stage where the same bar they always go to has a sombrero stuck on the wall. You decide what seems more plausible.

despair-divider

What’s your favorite weird daytime soap trope? Will the actual show ever be watchable again? Has Rebecca Herbst’s hair finally grown out of its hideous in-between stage?

Weigh in in the comments while I gird my loins for a catch up marathon.

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24 thoughts on “Tips for better soap living.

  1. The soap opera jet…where you can go from anywhere to Europe in 35 minutes. Followed closely by the soap opera suitcase which will have attire for 52 weeks in a carry-on. Usually including a dress and a tiara.

    • I didn’t even know they flew planes. I just thought occasionally they all hung out in airports so they could run into each other and have random conversations. I thought the preferred form of transportation from one end of the earth to the other was to go up or down a staircase and then voila you were at your destination. Course you’ve had characters use a staircase like the Martin kids on AMC and presumably Aidan on GH and then disappear for long periods of time if they ever are actually seen again.

    • that’s the one that I was going to say the jet…

      or how about just going all over town, you don’t drive, take the bus, nothing, you’re just in one place one minute, and like she said being unannounced in another place, the next….

      susan

      Followed closely by the soap opera suitcase which will have attire for 52 weeks in a carry-on. Usually including a dress and a tiara.

      oh that’s not just soaps, remember mr and mrs howell on Gilligan’s island…..she took enough clothes…and how on earth did her trunks fit on that little boat of theirs…..that’s what I want to know, so you wonder where soaps got their ideas from…lol…look to mainstream television…

  2. The time jumps are hilarious/maddening. An event that clearly happened the night before on a soap suddenly becomes a few days ago or a week ago. Or a huge tragedy that was four years ago turns into five. Women giving birth when they’re only like four months pregnant, and the show makes it seem like the baby is only a month premature.

    Improper retelling of a character’s past/information can also be frustrating for me. People who were married in the past are now only referred to as people who dated or vice versa, to lessen or exacerbate cheating. A very recent example is when little Jake and Danny met, Sam referred to Jake as Cam’s older brother. Another is the show suddenly acting like Cameron’s last name was never definite, when it’s always been Webber and nothing else. Also, newbies play into this problem. When they attempt to call a character out, they’re wrong about many things that happened, simply b/c they weren’t there.

    Lastly, certain people constantly being called out for every mistake when people who’ve done way worse are never treated in kind makes me ragey. I see this happen over and over again on pretty much all soaps.

    I will pray for you to succeed in catching up. I caught up on all three episodes from this week just last night and this morning. The struggle was REAL! Godspeed.

      • It’s always worth remembering that the Coast of Bolivia didn’t just get a mention – it was the location of a whole storyline, culminating in a miscarriage-inducing leap into (non-existent) frigid oceanic waters.

  3. Adjunct to the not so interior monologue and the not so careless whisper is the secret that everyone knows. They may have been told and sworn to secrecy, they may have confirmed a World’s Greatest Detctive inkling, they may have overheard a Not So Careless Whisper, but regardless, the big terrible secret that no one can know is known by all but one affected person. And all of their twitter followers.

  4. One of my pet peeves lately is characters with no higher learning past high school. We have/had Michael and Lulu running businesses with no college education, and correct me if I’m wrong, Maxie went to work full time at Crimson without finishing. Also Morgan and Kiki came to Port Charles fresh out of boarding school and have done nothing since. Now higher education isn’t for everyone, and is no guarantee of a better life, but that’s a bit much. Now I better stop there, or I’ll get on rant about they could have sent Georgie to Princeton instead of killing her off in the worst story line ever to air in soaps history.

  5. I love the fact that Lulu and Dante have a two year old, yet they still live in that crappy loft. Why not move onto the Haunted Star? God knows that boat has plenty of room. And where the hell does Rosalie live? And how is it possible that she and Brad never ran into each other at the hospital when Nina was having her imaginary physical therapy? I find it hilarious that Cam was born before Molly but apparently not only is he younger than her but also younger than Jake? That’s impossible or Sam is really bad at math and dates. Also, Sonny is apparently the Don of the Northern seaboard, which is funny since Port Charles is supposed to be in upstate New York and no where near the ocean. Hudson River yes, or one of the Great Lakes but ocean not so much.

  6. The resilience of the average soap opera citizen to go through endless kidnappings, hostage situations, shootings and rapes without developing massive PTSD, yet all of them are completely susceptible to being driven “insane” by simple parlor tricks. (Or that any character designated as “crazy” can be easily manipulated by just reminding them they are crazy.)

  7. The soap opera trope where the women always end up in institutionalized but not the men!

    I get why Cam was not SORAS’d since the show does not want to age Liz, Lucky or Nik.

  8. I love how characters’ houses get instant expansions. Lante’s loft just got a little bigger and Silas’s apartment had a kitchen counter with cutlery collection right in the middle of the living room.

    Off the coast of Bolivia. LOL.

  9. Considering the fact that once Liz managed to stab Lucky in the chest when five seconds previous he was in a completely different floor of his house I am pretty sure that Lucky Spencer at least can teleport.

  10. No one locks their doors. The Quartermaines and Cassadines are prime examples. Everyone strolls right into the Q mansion and Wyndamere unnanounced. You don’t hear knocking or a doorbell, no one calls out “Anybody home?”, they just stroll into the living room. That must be why they keep that decanter of water handy.

  11. Everytime a character gets brain surgery, they get out of the hospital a week later with perfect hair. Their head wasn’t shaved, no scar, nothing.

    Remember the panic room storyline? How come no one noticed the extra room? Didn’t anyone go outside and notice an extra room right next to the living room?

  12. In addition to the Bad Phone Etiquette, everybody also has everybody’s phone number. They could be your best friend or your worst enemy who you should have no reason to ever call, but they are in your contacts list, and with a perfectly posed picture as well!

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