I heard this week on NPR that two tv soaps were cancelling after a 30 year run. “All My Children” and “One Life to Live”will cancel and that will leave only four of the remaining soap opera staples. The story talked about how watching soap operas had been a tradition passed down from Grandmother to Mother to Daughter to Granddaughter but now working women just didn’t have the time or inclination to make the commitment to long term story arcs and decades long plot lines ( NPR story here. )
Days of Our Lives had been our female family tradition. I remember my Grandmother Lower (my Mother’s mother) watching it every day and my stay at home Mom and I watching right along. I must have been pretty little or it was summer or both when we were all watching it together out on their 300 acre farm by Fair Play, but I remember it vividly. The story of Tom and Alice Horton and all the crazy things that happened to their family. Doug and Julie. Then came those Brady’s and DiMera’s (I always thought Tony was hot and dangerous). Man, those people had PROBLEMS. The story started in 1965. I was born in 1968. I don’t think I missed much.
Everyone called it their Story back then, not soap operas. Days of Our Lives was the only Story I ever watched faithfully and I kept up with it up through college. In fact, I secretly scheduled my classes around it so I could make sure and see it everyday. Several girls on my dorm floor watched it too as well as my HS friend and roommate Becky. Those were the sweet days of bad boy Patch (yes he had a patch on his eye so he was mostly, rogue pirate biker bad boy but you knew he was good deep down) and Kayla (sweet blond innocent) who he even nicknamed Sweetness.
Man, I didn’t think they would EVER sleep together.
It took a long, long, long, long agonizine time. I would have given up on that boy much earlier. Or maybe not. I was a pretty successful stalker in my own right by then working on my own soap opera story.
Let’s just say that when they finally did the deed. The roof came off the Gillette girl’s dorm at Mizzou. It was a party of epic proportions.
After college, I pretty much lost touch with the plot lines. The few times I did see my Story I realized that unlike those sands in the hourglass, the story moved slowly. Really, really slowly. And if you waited long enough it was just recycled. Sure someone new was possessed or brought back from the dead… again but basically Patch and Kayla were still having problems and the wheels of time grinded so slowly that it was almost better to skip ahead a few weeks, or months, or years.
Eventually, I didn’t even watch at all. Now in the age of the DVR I could probably catch up but I think that ship has sailed because I really DON’T want to invest my time or feelings in decade long plot lines any more. Gosh, when it’s your very OWN family sometimes you wonder if that investment is worth it, let along ficticious characters.
Now of course I see that those Story’s and my Mom’s closet of bodice busting romance novels was really just paving the way for my own escapist reading. So now I am the one possessed by paranormal romance books and a steady flow of naughty bad boys.
At least I finally caught one of my very own.