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Working Class Characters & Economic Struggles Being Discussed on Soaps


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It is strange that so few daytime characters ever seem to have economic problems these past several years. Is there any reason why these types of stores aren't written? (Some say that viewers want soaps to be an escape, but I think that there are other viewers who would like to see more realistic storylines, such as people losing their jobs and having relationship problems as a result.)

For that matter, most characters are either rich or upper-middle-class these days. (Even supposed middle-class families like the Logans don't seem to be struggling.) I guess John McBain and his brother Michael (who hasn't been around in quite some time) are the closest modern characters that I would call working class. When did economic diversity stop becoming a hallmark on soaps?

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I believe this happened with the popularity of Dallas. Once Dallas broke big poor people in soaps ceased to exist. There were some, I remember Jenny and Jessie living in a slum while on the run and working in Center City and all that, but before too long she was a successful model and he wound up a cop with a doctor wife. Now unless you are a millionaire you are not even welcome in soap towns. It is silly.

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Now unless you are a millionaire you are not even welcome in soap towns. It is silly.

It sure is.

Aside from the McBains, I should have added AMC's Babe and Krystal (whenever they weren't shacking up with the Chandler men) as working class soap characters that have appeared in recent times. Krystal especially had a nice, Southern, and economically modest demeanor about her.

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It sure is.

Aside from the McBains, I should have added AMC's Babe and Krystal (whenever they weren't shacking up with the Chandler men) as working class soap characters that have appeared in recent times. Krystal especially had a nice, Southern, and economically modest demeanor about her.

And then she married a billionaire and her kid married the son of a billionaire. So once again there was no economic struggle of any kind. And then Babe hooked up with Jaime and he while not the son of a billionaire was the son of Tad, who I vaguely recall inheriting Mrs Orsini's millions. And he stood to inherit Wallingford/Brooke wealth.

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I had just thought about the last year of GL, and the cheap looking budget did make the soap feel more "real" in the sense that a lack of lavish sets could lead one to believe that the characters weren't particularly wealthy. Of course, I'm sure that was not their intention (nor did they much discuss economic struggles).

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And then she married a billionaire and her kid married the son of a billionaire. So once again there was no economic struggle of any kind. And then Babe hooked up with Jaime and he while not the son of a billionaire was the son of Tad, who I vaguely recall inheriting Mrs Orsini's millions. And he stood to inherit Wallingford/Brooke wealth.

It's wrong to say that Babe and Krystal never suffered financially though. There was a time period from the majority of 2005 that Babe was a struggling character financially. The Chandlers and the Kanes both ostracized her out of Pine Valley to the point where she wasn't able to get a job in town, which is why the only place she could find work was at dive bar on the outskirts of Pine Valley. Jaime also experienced this and worked as an out housed mechanic that did spare jobs here and there to keep a roof over their heads. Babe and Jaime didn't even have enough money to pay for groceries at one point and had to live off of the bar food that Babe would bring back from the kitchen. So there definitely was some economic/financial struggles there. She was also living at the Pine Cone for several months after she broke up with Jaime. It didn't last long as they made her a Fusion girl soon after, but for a good amount of time Babe was dirt poor, which is more then we saw with most characters on soaps.

You could also say Lucky and Liz went threw this around 2003/2004, with his hospital bills and Liz's surrogacy. But that was more or less seen as a way to make Lucky look like less of a man, and for the show to tease Liz and Jax as a couple at the time.

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I believe this happened with the popularity of Dallas.

Either Spelling or one of the Shapiros said in an interview how they tried to dramatize the class differences in the first season of Dynasty, but viewers expressed that they weren't interested in the po' folk, they only cared about what was going on in the mansion.

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It is strange that so few daytime characters ever seem to have economic problems these past several years. Is there any reason why these types of stores aren't written? (Some say that viewers want soaps to be an escape, but I think that there are other viewers who would like to see more realistic storylines, such as people losing their jobs and having relationship problems as a result.)

For that matter, most characters are either rich or upper-middle-class these days. (Even supposed middle-class families like the Logans don't seem to be struggling.) I guess John McBain and his brother Michael (who hasn't been around in quite some time) are the closest modern characters that I would call working class. When did economic diversity stop becoming a hallmark on soaps?

I think the Bradys on DOOL are still more or less a working class family. And the Spencers on GH have never been rich.

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I think it is hard for soaps to create a working class family and keep them that way..(i.e. the Snyders, the Reardons, the Coopers) as the nature of soaps is that each show takes place in a community, and with constant treadmill of romances, sex, marriages, etc, the working class families are subsumed into the upper classes, be they professionals (Bauers, Hughes) or the ridiculously super rich families (Spauldings,etc) that popped up on all the shows late 70 through the 90s.

When Wheeler and Kreizman took over GL they said the show was going to be about the "have and have nots" which would have been interesting but it just turned into a Spaulding/Cooper war and was ridiculously cartoonish, with the Spauldings being the total villians and the Coopers being the "gosh darn spunky poor family who are always right. " Would have been interesting because at that time the whole coroporate/banking scandalsand the economic crisis were hitting the news, and if they would have taken a look at Spaulding stocks being devalued (especially in the light of scandal after scandal in that company) and stock holders revolting against them to take over, etc. But it played out like Alan had no cares in the world except to "Destroy those COOPERS," Having him have to face loosing his company for real, and not at the hands of Roger, etc, would have given the story more meat. With the Bauers, The Marlers and the Lewis stuck in the middle and with a town, whose major employer would have to be Spaudling (especially with them owning the hospital) it would have ment that Springfield would be on the verge of being destroyed also.

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When Wheeler and Kreizman took over GL they said the show was going to be about the "have and have nots" which would have been interesting but it just turned into a Spaulding/Cooper war and was ridiculously cartoonish, with the Spauldings being the total villians and the Coopers being the "gosh darn spunky poor family who are always right. " Would have been interesting because at that time the whole coroporate/banking scandalsand the economic crisis were hitting the news, and if they would have taken a look at Spaulding stocks being devalued (especially in the light of scandal after scandal in that company) and stock holders revolting against them to take over, etc. But it played out like Alan had no cares in the world except to "Destroy those COOPERS," Having him have to face loosing his company for real, and not at the hands of Roger, etc, would have given the story more meat. With the Bauers, The Marlers and the Lewis stuck in the middle and with a town, whose major employer would have to be Spaudling (especially with them owning the hospital) it would have ment that Springfield would be on the verge of being destroyed also.

These would have been great storyline ideas. The show was still salvageable when Wheeler/Kreizman came on board, but they wasted so much potential.

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Either Spelling or one of the Shapiros said in an interview how they tried to dramatize the class differences in the first season of Dynasty, but viewers expressed that they weren't interested in the po' folk, they only cared about what was going on in the mansion.

IMO, they weren't interested, because the Blaisdel family suffered from poor casting. Pamela Bellwood was good, but Bo Hopkins and Katy Kurtzman? Lawd!

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What I am going to say doesn't have to do with Economic struggle but It does have to do with realism. Even though I have an off and on relationship with my father I really enjoyed seeing that episode of AMC on Agnes Nixon's website when Phil was talking to Amy about Ted. Everything in that conversation summed up me and dad. Of course I am not really my aunts kid and my Dad was not a professional football player but still, Phil took my words out right out of my mouth...21 years in advance. I enjoy that scene because I can relate to it and it makes me realize that I am not alone in the world. Anyway, back to the discussion. If they introduced characters/families with the same economic background and economic issues of the audience the ratings will go up. It is a strange phenomenon that writers have forgotten. Their is something so seductive when you see your own reflection. Pun not intended.

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