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.
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?
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.
“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…
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.
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.
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.
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.