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Soap/network loyalty, emotional attachment


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All the debate about the P&G soaps not being picked up while two ABC soaps were is what made me want to ask this.

Was there ever a time when you were super-loyal to one or two shows, or one network, to the point where you just would not watch any other soap (or no soaps on other networks)? Was there ever a point when you stopped feeling this way? Were you able to feel strong emotional attachment to shows you started watching later on, after your first soaps?

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I watched most of the CBS lineup starting around 1989, 1990, but always felt the emotional attachment to ATWT and GL, to the point where I sometimes had a tough time even wanting to see them in their last 10-15 years, because it was a strange sense of betrayal, or hurt. Yet I never fully left them either.

I never really boycotted any other networks - aside from disliking other soaps when they beat out my favorites at the Emmys - but usually didn't watch others until the mid-90's, when I started with AMC and OLTL, and to a lesser degree, Loving/The City/Port Charles, and GH.

I do have a lot of strong emotions and fondness and hate and the rest for these shows, especially OLTL - I think OLTL is probably the most fascinating soap ever on daytime (the history of the show, the many different changes it's gone through, the mix of characters) - but I'm not sure I have ever had the pull with them that I have towards ATWT or GL. The only soap I've felt that strong bond with in spite of not watching until later on was AW. I guess I'm just a P&G person. It's too bad they cared much less about their soaps than some of us apparently did.

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I thought I had loyalty to AMC, but after Katrina came and wiped out our electricity/cable for a few weeks, I found myself not really rushing to get back into the Pine Valley action. I tuned back in eventually, but by that point, I was much more into ATWT. I'll watch any soap on any network, though. I haven't watch B&B as much as I'd like to simply because it does come on against AMC.

I should say that I never really had loyalty to entire network/company. Even when I was deep, deep into ATWT, I didn't really watch GL. Same with AMC and OLTL until late 2007. And I've never ever really watched GH on a regular basis.

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Carl, like you, my loyalty is to the P&G soaps rather than to any one network. (Had I started watching soaps prior to 1998, I'm sure I would have watched the P&G soaps instead of being loyal to just one network's daytime lineup.)

I do think that the ABC soaps (excluding EON, back when it was on their network) tend to have the most synergy/things in common with each other; that is why I believe ABC soap fans are more rabid and loyal than those of CBS or NBC (excluding DOOL's fans). On CBS, the Bell soaps and the P&G soaps were quite different from each other; nevertheless, I could understand how one could be loyal to all four soaps. With NBC Daytime, however, DOOL and AW seemed like the ultimate odd couple: I never could understand how fans of one of those soaps could like the other, given that they are so different; yet, there was still a sizable number of people who liked both shows.

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This is a good question that I’ve been pondering for years, CarlD2.

I never went through a period where I only watched one network or one show out of a sense of loyalty. Sometimes I may only watch one show based on time issues. I’m more “genre” loyal, if that makes any sense at all. I first started watching NBC soaps on my own (and it was Days when I was home from school or at a neighbor who taped it, than Santa Barbara and then AW less so because it aired during school.) I picked up GH, eventually starting with AMC, than later OLTL and Loving. Around the time I started with OLTL and Loving, I started watching Y&R and B&B, eventually viewed ATWT on occasion and than lastly Guiding Light. Other soaps I watched later due to the fact the premiered later, but that doesn’t really count.

The show I had the most affinity over the longest period is Guiding Light, which is weird considering it is the last one I started watching. It influenced my likes and dislikes, a lot, but of all the shows seeing it fall apart hurt me the most. When I started with GL, my favorite soap was AW. For a time, I was really into the three PGP shows. ATWT hurt me the least as I ran away from it before it could. With AW, the last four years were rough due to the casting and story issues. I finally made peace a few weeks before the cancellation came to pass.

From surfing and reading, it tends to be people fall into patterns. While there are people who are fans of particular networks, some are more into P&G, when Port Charles was still on there were some who were GH/PC people. While some other ABC fans are more into Nixon soaps and only watch them. Some CBS fans were more P&G oriented while others were more Bell fans. With NBC, there are people who were into both Days and AW. If they started with Days early enough it makes sense. There used to be Days/GH fans too, but I think that happened based on how a lot of the cast of Days ended up on GH over the years.

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Well Y&R was the first soap I ever watched so naturally I branched out to the rest of the CBS line-up. I pretty much stayed loyal to all four soaps until about 2007 when all four of them finally drove me crazy due to their brutal atrocity at the time. I had never seen them so bad that year, and well since then my viewing for the shows has been a lot less but I've decided to hang out til the bitter end, even if does become as bad as ATWT in 2010 or GL in 2008.

I'm not even sure how I got started watching Days on NBC but I fell in love with it and like CBS I did branch out to AW, although I never formed a strong attachment to it. I liked it enough to watch a lot there and had my favorites but it was never my favorite soap. It wasn't until some time after AW was cancelled that I finally found some renewed appreciation for AW. As for Days in spite of the OTT and campy stories at the heart and soul of the show is a family drama rich with rootable characters. Days really is a P&G show in disguise, and as someone else stated once here in these forums Days is really perhaps the closest non-P&G soap to the P&G soaps. I have no doubt Days is still influenced by the work of Bell and Irna who both had a hand in Days history.

I looked at the ABC soaps briefly in the 90s just to see what they were all about but I didn't find them that appealing. With the recent AMC and OLTL cancellations I now wonder what if I had given them a second look or something as I feel not only sympathetic to the fans reeling from cancellations, but also sad there is a whole other network daytime history I'm unfamiliar with going down with the setting sun on soaps. This past year I've been reading a lot more on the histories on these shows. I'm familiar with the general aspects--Susan Lucci, Robin Strasser, Luke and Laura but never looked beyond that. Perhaps in time I will finally understand what these shows were about.

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I never had that kind of loyalty, even though my grandmother raised me pretty much exclusively on NBC soaps (DAYS, AW, SB). The first one I was really invested in outside of that trio was GL, as my mom taped the CBS lineup for quite a few years before I got back into DAYS in the late 90s. There was never any real lineup loyalty, as my gran just oscillated between AMC, DAYS, Y&R, but stuck pretty much exclusively to AW and GL the rest of the afternoon, so I never knew squat about GH until I was about 12 and our local CTV station had an insanely long afternoon soap block (I think I've mentioned it before but once again):

12:30 B&B

1:00 DAYS

2:00 AW

3:00 GH

4:00 Y&R

For a few years I remember WJBK CBS aired GL at 10am in the late 80s so gran could catch that and still watch SB at 3. I watched more of the CBS soaps than the others growing up, but my loyalty slowly became to NBC before AW was cancelled, and once that was done, I was pretty much exclusively ABC until the Frons era destroyed that for me. I gave up on soaps for years after that, and I've only started watching DAYS and OLTL again in the last couple years, but even OLTL's hit and miss with me thanks to the constant nagging aftertaste of misogyny that lingers with me after every episode I watch.

For me, the one I hold closest to my heart is still DAYS, with GL a close second, AW third, but I was never around for either's glory years. But that love for GL and AW never translated to any affection for ATWT, which I really have had no attachment to whatsoever, probably because I started watching it via my mother post-Marland, so the stories never grabbed me and it had become the Mike/Carly hour, which bored me to tears anyway.

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I loved the CBS line up and was way attached to ATWT and GL. I thought, and still feel, the ABC shows have too many buff guys and over-styled women. I never even noticed the NBC line up. I think the days of network loyalty are over. At this point, Y&R still feels familiar but I can't stand the show.

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Was there ever a time when you were super-loyal to one or two shows, or one network, to the point where you just would not watch any other soap (or no soaps on other networks)?

Nope.

Was there ever a point when you stopped feeling this way?

Nope.

Were you able to feel strong emotional attachment to shows you started watching later on, after your first soaps?

Yep. (ANOTHER WORLD, DAYS and SANTA BARBARA spring to mind.)

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I guess I was loyal to the ABC soaps because AMC was my favorite and the rest just followed. I checked out some of the other soaps on other networks when I was in college, but overall I tended to stick with the ABC lineup. When I was at the point of living on my own and able to watch TV on a regular basis, AMC was the one I watched very regularly, while the other ABC soaps I watched much less regularly.

As for losing the attachment, it wasn't until Chuck Pratt killed off Stuart and David Canary retired that I basically lost most of my emotional attachment to AMC.

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Was there ever a time when you were super-loyal to one or two shows, or one network, to the point where you just would not watch any other soap (or no soaps on other networks)? Was there ever a point when you stopped feeling this way? Were you able to feel strong emotional attachment to shows you started watching later on, after your first soaps?

Watched ABC soaps since the 70s.

Erica stealing Maria's baby drove me away from AMC and I never again felt the same loyalty to that show. But AMC was never MY soap anyways so that's why it was easier to walk away.

GH destroying Luke and Laura over and over again finally broke MY super loyalty. This had been MY soap growing up and I felt so emotionally attached it was very hard to walk away. This was the soap that helped my mami survive 3 months in the hospital in the 80s and she too found it hard to deprogram it a few years back. I still check in now and then on GH but she gave up forever and has never looked back.

OLTL became the soap I was MOST addicted to in the 90s. I pretty much quit in disgust at the wreckage of Todd Manning and the campy stupid storytelling in 2002-2003.

I was done with ALL ABC soaps for a few years there.

I followed Howarth RH to ATWT in 2003 in hopes CBS soaps were really better written. But I never felt any strong emotional attachment and quit afer a while. I have been able to pick up new night-time soaps but never have been able to invest in a new daytime soap after my original 3 ABC soaps.

I never intended to get hooked on OLTL again but one day heard Florencia Lozano was back and checked out the show. I've been hooked again ever since. GH has never managed to lure me back full-time.

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I would never watch a soap not on ABC voluntarily. I tried to 15 years after starting soaps to try and watch Y&R but it, like all the CBS soaps, was excruciatingly sedate. 2004 though, the ABC soaps were so bad, I did hop on the Marlena is a killer storyline and started watching DOOL. I never would have except aol had the video on its front page revealing who the killer was and it wasn't bad. I have been watching DOOL on and off ever since. The CBS soaps remained painful. I don't think I can get through a full scene of Y&R without turning the channel. And it was just as bad back in the 90s when I tried watching it then.

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All the debate about the P&G soaps not being picked up while two ABC soaps were is what made me want to ask this.

Was there ever a time when you were super-loyal to one or two shows, or one network, to the point where you just would not watch any other soap (or no soaps on other networks)? Was there ever a point when you stopped feeling this way? Were you able to feel strong emotional attachment to shows you started watching later on, after your first soaps?

Basically, I look for good storytelling wherever I can find it.

Yeah, that's pretty much me. I guess the way I've followed soaps has not been very typical. My all-time favorite soap is Ryan's Hope, which I actually never saw until the SoapNet reruns when my regular viewing of present-day soaps had mostly tapered off. OLTL, which is one of the last soaps I got into, is the one I have watched in real time most frequently over the years, but my first real exposure to it was also through classic clips - those A Daytime To Remember episodes in 1996 or so. Meanwhile, the remaining show that I feel has most consistently been the kind of show that I would like is AMC, which ironically I've probably never watched regularly in my life. Sadly, by the time I came to that realization, AMC had for the most part stopped being that kind of progressive, irreverent show that I think I would have liked, but I've felt a kind of vicarious nostalgia when I've tuned in for things like Jesse and Angie's reunion or Phoebe and Palmer's deaths. And I was coming out around the time of the Bianca story, which I did watch quite a bit of, so I can only begin to imagine what a powerful connection viewers might feel who were able to see some reflection of their own lives in AMC's earlier "socially relevant" stories that weren't airing concurrently with garbage like Libidizone and Laura's heart transplant.

I'm pretty sure the first soap opera I ever saw was DAYS in the early 90s as a teen/pre-teen, and I guess I did get into AW because it came on right after (or right before?) on NBC. But, it wasn't long before I figured out there were better offerings out there...and it pains me to say that, especially in AW's case. With DAYS, probably the less said the better, but suffice it to say, I never really looked back after I disengaged pretty early in the Reilly era. As for AW, as great as many of the actors were and as much as I loved a number of the characters, most of them were misused/ignored to such an extent that in hindsight it's really not much of a surprise that the rest of the industry mostly forgot or never realized in the first place how talented they were (i.e. during Emmy season). While I still have vivid memories of AW, they're primarily of characters or scenes, rather than of stories that I followed with strong interest because I wanted to know what would happen next. But, I did watch on and off over the years and I was a regular viewer again at the point when it was canceled, and that cancellation was sadder for me than any of the ones that came later.

Including GL, which I did become pretty invested in, not long after first being exposed to daytime via the NBC soaps in the early 90s. For a time, GL actually had a lot of of the elements that I liked best about AW - unique, three dimensional characters who seemed (and in some cases even looked) like real people, and a focus on friendships and other "secondary" relationships between character that soaps often shortchange - but it also had stronger writing and more of its structure in tact. Although I did appreciate those commonalities between AW and GL, I wouldn't say that I was ever loyal to P&G, per se...in fact, by the time I had any recognition of what P&G was, I had a strong sense that their influence was a negative one. And while I still remember GL fondly, when it got bad, I eventually tuned out and only watched a handful of times in later years. I did feel pangs when I heard it was going off the air, but when I tuned in for the end, aside from those 30-second scenes of returning characters like Bridget and Holly, I felt very little emotional attachment to what the show was at that point.

I also loved Claire Labine's GH, but I never got into any of the other ABC shows at the time. And other than that era and a few years afterward when I was still invested in some of the residual characters and stories, I can't say that I've had any real personal attachment to GH. I've had no reason to watch it in over a decade, except when a character I remembered liking as a teen was dying...and I've usually watched their final scenes on YouTube after the fact, as opposed to on TV.

Since becoming a "grown-up" (allegedly) I've been more interested in the history of the genre overall than in anything the soaps on the air have offered up on a regular basis. I'll tune in to see something that I read about that has the potential to be historically resonant (more and more that's had to do with a show going off the air, sad to say) but when I have watched regularly in the past decade or so, it's usually been OLTL. But, like I said, there's no nostalgia factor there - at least the kind most viewers have - because I came in knowing the history and (post-Disneyfication of ABC) it's never quite lived up to that historical potential. But there have been glimpses, sometimes at the most unlikely of times, and Viki and Dorian have kind of (in that weird, ageist/misogynistic/two-steps-forward-for-every-step-backwards ABC/Frons way) remained the center of the show in ways that such characters (and actresses) have not been on other soaps, IMO. Add in my all-time favorite soap actress Ilene Kristen - however much the show has wasted her by and large - and it's not been hard for OLTL to suck me back in over the past decade (usually just to frustrate and anger me some more, but alas).

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