Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S is for Soap Operas

This month I'm participating in the A to Z Challenge. My theme is the 80s. Today's letter is:



It may be impossible to believe, especially if you've been stranded at home with nothing but daytime TV in the past few years, but at one time, soap operas were event TV. This was an era before we voted people off islands or followed middle-aged housewives around with cameras. It was the era of Bo and Hope...



And Victor and Nikki...

And, of course, the most popular soap opera couple of all time--the couple that put the words "soap opera super couple" on the map: Luke and Laura.



The best thing about soaps? They brought people together. Viewers couldn't tweet while they watched. They just watched it and talked about it the next day.



Soap operas actually date back to the days of radio, making their way to TV in the 1940s. Initially, the shows were designed to take place exclusively within the confines of a studio, making it easier to air five episodes a week, 52 weeks a year.



In the late 70s/early 80s, soaps began to up the ante, leaving the studio to travel to exotic locations. Interestingly, as its audience began to shrink because women were filling the workforce, soap operas reached a height of popularity they had never seen before (or since). Who was watching these soaps?



Yep, teens. Tweens. I can't speak for all of us, but I personally became interested when my babysitter (along with the rest of the world) made this wedding must-watch TV:



Luke and Laura got off to a rocky start. He raped her in a disco--which would have been a huge scandal but some of us had no idea about all of that. We just knew this couple was getting married and the world cared. So we cared, too. Plus, Genie Francis was beautiful.



After they got married, Luke and Laura had a whole epic adventure that involved her wearing a dark wig and pretending her name was Lucy. I'll be darned if I can remember what all that was about, but people seemed to love it.



For the rest of the 80s, soaps enjoyed a loyal fan base made up of teens, as well as adults with VCRs. There were supercouples...



And future stars...



And by the 90s, the whole thing had pretty much started a slow downward slide. It's a slide that is likely permanent. But we'll always have all the soap opera actresses now starring on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.



Did you ever watch daytime soap operas?

85 comments:

  1. My mother was hooked on them. The only thing I know about 70's-80's soap operas is Rick Springfield was once on one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, he played a doctor on General Hospital in the early 80s. That was actually while he was struggling as a musician and it somehow managed to get him on the charts. I read his autobiography, which I don't recommend if you respect him...

      Delete
  2. Days of Our Lives! Bo and Hope!! My older sister made me watch Days one summer. I was hooked.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I started off with General Hospital and moved to Days of Our Lives in the mid-80s, when all the other teens I knew were watching it. I think I caught the beginning of the Bo/Hope thing. I stopped watching in college, when they all ended up shipwrecked on an island and it was just way too over the top.

      Delete
  3. I watched Days of Our Lives for 25 years... Steve (Patch) and Kayla drew me in and kept me there for a long time. (The story of EJ and Sammy finally killed it for me in 2011)... I despised EJ and could not see these two together. NBC freed up lots of time for me with that horrid storyline... I'm pretty grateful now :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You stuck with it long after I gave up! I liked Pete and Melissa, but I think I'm the only one who even remembers them.

      Delete
  4. Growing up, my mom watched AMC and later, Y&R, so I watched those in the 70's. In college, I had a boyfriend who watched GH, so I started watching it and followed it till about 2000 or so? Then the Internet came along and I lost interest.

    I remember when Demi was on GH and we all thought her voice was AWFUL and that she was the worst actress! LOL.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you watch some of those old soaps we liked on YouTube, the acting was horrible on almost all of them. I'm sure it still is--we just didn't realize how bad it was back then!

      Delete
  5. I watched The Guiding Light in the 60's. It came on at lunchtime and since my grandmother was addicted to it, we watched as we ate. I went on to university and then got married and had children. I was nursing the baby one day and it was on--ten years later and I hadn't missed a thing. Same characters, same problems. lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember staying with my dad in July every year and my stepmom was a Guiding Light fan. I was a GH fan at the time--they were on opposite each other. That was always a problem when you stayed with relatives.They often didn't watch the same soaps you did and you couldn't always watch your soaps in different rooms.

      Delete
  6. Daytime soaps usually don't air worldwide, but we all watched DYNASTY and DALLAS in the 80s

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I didn't venture to nighttime soaps with this one. In fact, I only mentioned Dallas once through this whole A to Z thing and just briefly. Dallas was a HUGE part of the 80s! Sad I couldn't squeeze it in.

      Delete
  7. I was hooked on Daytime Soap Operas when I was a stay at home mom.
    I had to go back to check the long list but the one I watched more were The Edge of Night and As the World turns in the 60s and 70s. Then my life got busier and lost interest. I remember Saturday morning Cartoons on TV when the kids were little.

    Have a Splendid day.
    Hugs,
    JB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I miss Saturday morning cartoons!

      Delete
  8. I don't know any of those folk. Neighbours and Eastenders were the biggest in the UK in the 80s. Scott and Charlene is the 80s wedding that I remember!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I remember hearing Days of Our Lives while my mom would watch it. Years of that made me know who most of the characters were without actually watching an episode. I did watch it a bit when they had a serial killer storyline going on. After that I just stopped watching.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still remember when John Aniston was known as Victor Kiriakis, not as "Jennifer Aniston's father!"

      Delete
  10. One of my friends and her mother loved General Hospital, and once in awhile, I'd watch, too. We'd pick up candy at the corner store then plop down in front of the TV. I usually had no idea what was going on but it was fun anyway. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seems you didn't even have to watch every day to keep up. You could tune in every few months and figure it out. Someone always had amnesia, someone else was in love with a secret agent, someone else was in love with someone from the wrong side of the tracks...

      Delete
  11. My mom watched them so I have memories as a little kid (must have been before I started going to school) of watching them and not having a clue what was going on.

    Today such a style of film-making absolutely fascinates me. The content these shows put out is staggering - a new hour long episode every single day for months at a time? Sure it wasn't exactly high art, but that's still a ton of work and coordination to put something like that together. Plus it must have been great, steady work for everyone involved (both on- and off- camera).

    (I used to work in the entertainment industry so I can appreciate that must have been a sweet, sweet gig).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My mom watched Days in the 70s, I think? So when I was watching it in the 80s, the people who were the main actors in the 70s were the parents in the 80s. That seems to be how those shows work. The people falling in love and having babies will take a back burner in 10 years or so and those kids (who grow up VERY rapidly!) will be the main stars.

      Delete
  12. I confess in my teens I watched "General Hospital" and "One Life to Live." After I started working, my mom would watch the shows and fill me in on what was going on :)

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember working with women who recorded their soaps during the week and caught up on all of it every weekend. They had to watch at least five hours of TV every weekend (assuming they watched only one show) to keep up!

      Delete
  13. Love this post! My mom used to watch General Hospital...I remember when Luke and Laura got married...everyone cared! Hahaha...I started watching Days of Our Lives when I went into middle school...watched for a number of years. Many years after that I started watching Supernatural...which stars Jensen Ackles...who used to be on DOOL. Best thing ever is when Supernatural did an epi where Jensen's character, Dean, ends up in some weirdo world where he finds out about DOOL. Hysterical!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From what I remember hearing, women took off work to watch the wedding. There were no VCRs so for it to bring in record ratings, that had to have been the case!

      Delete
  14. Is it weird to say I still watch Young and the Restless? And that Victor and Nikki are still together? :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nikki still looks fairly good. I always find it depressing to watch soaps and see the same people who were on there in the 80s, only with so much plastic surgery they look ridiculous.

      Delete
  15. susan lucci for a tiny bit, but that's it. :) wow - raped her in a disco? wow...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah--it's out there on YouTube. Reading the comments on part 2 of "Luke rapes Laura at the Disco" on YouTube, though, someone pointed out that at the time, it did not come across as rape. There were weeks of build up and she was attracted to him and viewers understood Laura's reaction later (upset) as her being upset that she betrayed her marriage. While in retrospect, it was seen as rape, at the time women viewers didn't perceive it that way.

      Delete
  16. My mother was addicted to soaps. If I visited during one of her soaps I'd have to be quiet. I kind of watch a soap now...Revenge.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tried to watch it...it didn't grab me in the first episode. Too soapy! Same with Nashville. I watched Nashville longer than I should have because I loved all the Nashville scenes, but after about a season of it, I couldn't take it anymore!

      Delete
  17. As one who lived through most of the 80s without a TV, I was never tempted to get caught up in soaps. I do remember from college, the parody, "Soap" which was quite funny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And Soapdish--a hilarious movie that probably doesn't make sense now. For those of us who lived through the soap era, though, it was perfect!

      Delete
  18. I used to watch soaps but gave them up when I had to study. Just didn't have the time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was quite a commitment. I blame Days's bad storylines, but it's possible it was just too much to keep up with once I got to college.

      Delete
  19. I was a soap opera junkie! I sat in front of the television in the summer starting from 12:30 when I watched Ryan's Hope; 1:00 was All My Children; 2:00 As the World Turns, and 3:00 General Hospital. For a little while Dark Shadows reruns played from 4:00. I watched them for years and years...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard about the Dark Shadows reruns but I don't remember that. I remember when they did the prime-time version of it in the late 80s... 2:00 our time (central) was GH, so sounds like you're Eastern! Then at 3pm, Days came on--although it differed from market to market. I think it aired around noon in some places but they delayed it a day here so they could show news at 12? Days was always followed by Oprah from the mid-80s on.

      Delete
  20. Ah, Luke and Laura's wedding. Time stopped that day. It was crazy how many of my friends and I would wait for General Hospital to come on every day at 4.

    Back in the day, when my hair was a bit lighter, people used to tell me all the time I looked like Genie Francis, well, really what they'd say is, "Oh my gawd you look just like Laura!!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome. Definitely a compliment!

      Delete
  21. I remember getting hooked on General Hospital and watching it with my mother as a girl. Yes, I did watch Luke and Laura and hubs was in the Navy and would come home in time to watch it, lol! It was the talk of his squadron. Can you imagine?

    I don't watch them any more but I enjoyed reading the article about them. :-)

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't watched one in years. The Mexican restaurant we sometimes used to lunch at had it on TV (it was tuned to the news, but soaps would come on immediately after). Occasionally my attention would be drawn to the screen and I'd be horrified at seeing someone I grew up watching having aged 30 years...but with TONS of plastic surgery making it worse!

      Delete
  22. I'm totally out in left field on this one. I know nothing about Soap Operas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's something to be proud of, I think! If they weren't so popular when I was a teenager, I wouldn't. But as a teen, you just do what everyone else is doing.

      Delete
  23. Did I watch soap operas? Hah, did a bear take toilet paper into the woods? (That's a yes...just to be clear.)

    I was a Days of Our Lives; Another World gal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's funny how we all had the shows we preferred!

      Delete
  24. Never watched the soaps, but I'll always remember how my old Italian grandmother used to watch "As the World Turns."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My husband was named after some guy on a soap. His mom was in labor and saw a handsome doctor on TV named "Neil." She said, "That's a good name!" and that's how he was named. We looked him up and found a video of him on YouTube from an appearance he did on I Dream of Jeannie. He was in a crazy costume...that's all I remember of the video. I can't even remember which soap he was on originally.

      Delete
  25. Looking at the picture of Luke & Laura's wedding sure takes me back. I remember when that happened and what a big deal it was and rushing home to make sure I saw it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think I saw it. I don't remember it, but I do remember seeing Laura and Scotty on a vacation and her looking at him and saying, "I've never been this happy" or something like that. That's one clear memory I have from those GH days.

      Delete
  26. General Hospital all the way! My mom watched it when it first started!! I grew up with it and knew the Brewers-I think Kin Shriner who plays Scott must be the oldest one on there. I love the Quartermaines. I remember the wedding really well and that was the time of fantastical plots-like freezing the earth and Luke and Laura with Robert Scorpio saving the day. I still watch it every day-lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, I mentioned Scott in the comment above. So he's still on the show? Poor guy. He just got shoved aside for the Luke and Laura drama. Freezing the Earth! I think I remember that. Was that before or after Emma Samms joined the cast? For some reason I associate her with that even though she probably had nothing to do with it.

      Delete
    2. Nope she was after. This is when they introduced Robert Scorpio and Tiffany (do you remember her). After Laura disappeared and Luke got it on with the future Brat pack gal Demi Moore, he became paralyzed and was getting help to walk again and that is when he met Holly(OMG-I am so sad...I remember this all). Now Laura is not on the show, Luke went nuts and had a split personality who was pure evil but is getting treated and he bit of Scott's ear when he was evil. I heard the actor wants to leave and go back to Amsterdam. Bobbi is on the show and has had horrible plastic surgery-ick. OMG I am sad-lol

      Delete
  27. Never did watch daytime soap operas, but I did watch 'Soap', in the late 70's, early 80's. That kind of relates, doesn't it?
    1980's, what a great topic. Glad to have discovered this blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you found it! I never saw Soap but I've heard about it over the years. I'm old enough that I could have watched it--I just didn't. I was too busy watching high-quality shows like Love Boat and Three's Company (ha!).

      Delete
    2. Yes, I watched those too. Back in my day, we didn't have the internet. We had to sit and watch TV with commercials. And we LIKED it that way. I'm getting old. LOL

      Delete
  28. I used to watch Y&R with my mother. I really loved Katherine. She was such an amazing actress.

    Do you remember Soap? I used to think it was so hilarious. I wonder if I'd still find it funny today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most of those 80s shows just don't hold up. I never watched Soap but I'm familiar with it--I know it had Billy Crystal and that woman who played the mom on Who's the Boss!

      Delete
  29. My grandmother and college roommate watched the things. they always had some of the most ridiculous story lines ever

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yeah, it's definitely ridiculous. Which is why tweens and teens watch them. Which shows why I shouldn't judge kids for the crap they watch on the Disney channel!

      Delete
  30. No, I never watched soaps, but I always read snippets about them on the covers of magazines. It's funny seeing that big 80s hair again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I spent a lot of time watching those people! Especially Bo & Hope.

      Delete
  31. My mom watched them when I was a kid so I know who Luke and Laura are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've known kids named Laura who had brothers named Luke. There are also lots of Kaylas around who were named after Kayla on Days of Our Lives.

      Delete
  32. I watched my first soap waiting for my daughter to be born. It got me through the last three months, but I was too busy after that. They were extremely popular though, and you only needed to watch once in awhile to catch up. Silly really....and the plots were ridiculous, but loved them and laughed over them at the time.
    Inventions by Women A-Z
    Shells–Tales–Sails

    ReplyDelete
  33. I've never watched daytime soaps, but I remember watching the very first episode of Eastenders - there was a murder. I also used to watch Dynasty and Dallas, but I gave up Dynasty when they killed off Michael Praed's character at his own wedding, and Dallas when Booby walked out of the shower alive again after an entire season of being dead!!! :P
    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
    FB3X
    Wittegen Press

    ReplyDelete
  34. I was a big Luke & Laura Fan and All My Children Fan, but haven't watched them in over ten years...

    ReplyDelete
  35. I was a soap opera addict. And one of my teachers at the university would be late to class a lot because she had to see how her soap opera ended. We didn't mind. We waited for her to tell us.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I remember the premiere of The Young and The Restless (totally different from the show in the future), Julianne Moore and Meg Ryan on As The World Turns, and Kevin Bacon on Guiding Light. Guiding Light was my favorite. I watched religiously until The Hurricane was born in 1986. I didn't watch the day she was born. I never watched again. Yet I was astonished when it was canceled. I haven't watched a soap for years. I visited a friend a few years ago who watched young and restless. Victor and Nikki were still there. Older. My mother watched the soaps on CBS. After my father died, she became very upset if she missed the young and the restless. She didn't know how to set up the VCR to tape it. I tried to teach her. It was beyond her, and it was long before the days of DVR.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
  37. I loved seeing the photo of Jenny & Greg. I was a huge Luke & Laura fan. I didn't really watch any of the NBC soaps, so I never really knew Hope & Bo, one of the three main super couples. I loved Luke & Laura, despite the way they got together. I became a fan of Y&R later in life.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I've always hated the way soap operas rehash the same old story over and over. But, alas, I must admit to having watched way to much Santa Barbara when I was a teenager.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Oh My God!! :)

    Bo and Hope were my two favorite people and their storyline on Day of Our Lives was the best. I will always envision them when I listen to the song "Tonight I Celebrate My Love For You."

    ReplyDelete
  40. Yes, I got hooked on the soaps my mom watched. Then one day when I was in college I just stopped watching. Literally one day. The next day I didn't go back. Nor the next...

    ReplyDelete
  41. I remember Luke and Laura's wedding! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    (Thanks for your sleep link on my blog, too. Fascinating, but the 6-8 window seems to restrictive!)

    Yvonne

    ReplyDelete
  42. Yes I did! Days of our Lives was my show as a little girl. My mother and I had to tune in. In my early adult years Passion (is that the right name?) got me back on the soap opera train and it even drew in my brother (who will never admit that now). They were addictive and fun. Nighttime television are my soaps now. Gotham, The Black List, Grimm, Arrow, The Flash etc. are my must sees today.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I used to watch daytime soaps with my grandmother when we visited her, and for a brief period later with my mother when we moved back to Canada--long enough to know who Luke and Laura were! I had no idea that Julianne Moore got her start on soaps.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Although I've never watched daytime soaps, Luke and Laura were all over, so everybody knows about them. I was hooked on nighttime soaps like Dallas, Knots Landing and Falcon Crest. (Not Dynasty though.)

    ReplyDelete
  45. I remember when Neighbours started in the UK (imported all the way from Aus), we used to crowd into the common room to watch it at lunch time. I don't think UK TV has ever had the same number of daytime soaps as the US - we seem to import them and make daytime programs about doctors and police constables set in the 40s 50s and 60s :)
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

    ReplyDelete
  46. I never watched soap operas until a woman named Julie Bell, who'd taken it upon herself to ensure that me and my horse made it to a horse show every weekend, was driving us home one late Sunday night. To stay awake she started talking and in about 6 hours she'd given me a complete verbal history of the soap "The Guiding Light." Not only did we make it home alive, I was hooked. Great post. I'd completely forgotten about Luke and Laura. Classic!

    ReplyDelete
  47. I admit it! I was hooked on GH.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I will always be grateful to GH -- not only for the hour of entertainment each day (truly, the acting is wonderful these days!), but also for the opportunities it's given me to meet some amazing people. The cast is so genuinely sweet, and I've connected with some lifelong friends because of them. I'm proud to be a GH fan! :)

    ReplyDelete
  49. I LOVED soaps! I remember sitting around on the playground in 7th grade talking about General Hospital and Luke & Laura, etc. Then when I got to college everyone in my dorm watched Days and it was fun watching as a group. Soaps were a lot of fun. I worked for hospice in the mid-90s and I remember visiting patients who never missed their soaps. If they were watching a soap I knew we'd watch together and it could be a great way to break the ice.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Wow. Holy hair on those 80s ladies. :)

    I was never into soaps. I don't like having to follow a story from week to week (or day to day) and if you miss one or two, you're totally lost.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Young and Restless fan since the mid-70's! Can't beat a good story with Victor Newman. Great post - good luck with the rest of your A to Z Challenge.

    ReplyDelete
  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete