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1 hour ago, vetsoapfan said:

I was responding to the original contention that writers never expected their shows to last this long. There's no reason to believe that the scribes would NOT expect to see their soaps, if successful, surviving for decades...because soaps do so now, and did so back when the writers created the four soaps still on the air. I agree that virtually all of the ones that have lived beyond a certain number of decades have stumbled, but that is the fault of recycled hacks being rotated from show to show, and the inability/disinterest of TPTB in producing good product. TGL's breathtaking resurgence in quality and in audience approval in the early 1990s, proves that even when an old warhorse looks likes it should be put out to pasture, even past 50 years old, it can be revived and gallop to the head of the pack.

 

Incompetence, cheapness on the part of P&G, and general disinterest on the part of the suits killed TGL, not its age.

 

Let me rephrase. I can't know whether or not the creators intended for their series to last decades, but I think the reality of the situation is that aging into those decades have done more harm than good for the shows that have made it that far. There used to be hope that they could get better, but that was before the television industry as a whole went through dramatic shifts that took us further and further away from what soaps traditionally were in their glory days.

 

1 hour ago, vetsoapfan said:

Who says advising/caring for their families and living lives of their own are mutually exclusive for the old folks, though? Matriarchs and patriarchs can do both. The audience pees themselves in glee when the oldtimers find romance, LOL. Douglas Marland spoke of the immense, positive feedback ATWT received when widowed Nancy Hughes found love again and married Dan McCloskey. But waaaaay before that the audience had adored the story of elderly Grandpa Hughes falling in love with his Irma Kopecke shortly before he died. And Harding Lemay wrote in his book how over the moon AW viewers were when matriarch Ada Downs married Gil McGowen and had (an improbable) late-in-life pregnancy. Days' Alice Horton never once stopped giving advice and handing out doughnuts, but even as a great-grandmother she got into the swing of things with Bo and Hope, and shared their adventures. Y&R's Katherine Chancellor continued to be involved in major stories until her 80s.

 

If Nancy Hughes' romance with Dan was not centered around her and Dan, whose "whole story" was it? Katherine Chancellor was past 70 when Y&R revisited the Katherine/Marge drama and launched her romance with Murphy. Wasn't that a whole story devoted to senior citizens?

 

Even the young'uns in the audience are protective of the old folks of Oakdale, Salem, GH, etc., and want to see them on-screen. The reaction the young audience members have when seniors are featured is indicative of this.

 

That's what I meant when I said those characters all deserved better. I'll give you love interests, but I kid you not, I recall ten years ago people wanting Lisa in a love triangle on the frontburner. Clearly all of those characters should have been regularly visible (and there were brief moments in which they were, something I remain thankful for), but too many people wanted them to carry the show. Keep in mind that these were actors and actresses in their 70s who had already carried the show through 30 years of day-in, day-out, TOUGH work, many years of it done live. I know they all wanted to be on more, but I don't think they wanted to continue carrying the show when everyone else their age was enjoying retirement.

 

1 hour ago, vetsoapfan said:

When Claire Labine took over TGL in 2000, the show was over 60 years old, yet she referenced characters and situations from the show's earliest radio days. When she assumed the reigns of GH it was 30 years old, yet again, Labine knew the history.  Harding Lemay proved knowledgeable of SFT's canon when he took over that 30 year-old program. Writers of today who take over the reigns of enduring franchises are expected to adhere to the roots, and understand the characters and important past events. Just ask Star Wars, Star Trek, and Dr. Who viewers how they would react if newbie writers screwed up the canon. The excuse of, "Well, I wasn't born when Star Trek premiered in the 1960s! How am I supposed to know what a tribble is?" would go over like a lead balloon. Dr. Who saying that he had never had children or grandchildren would bring an avalanche of protests from viewers who had studied the show more carefully than the new scribes who had written such a line. If writers cannot, or will not, learn the facts, they should look for other work, because writing for soaps and other enduring franchises is not an easy  task. Not everyone can do.

 

I am by no means defending writers for not caring about previous characters and storylines, but a handful of examples doesn't really change the fact that expecting writers to pull in 30-year-old plot lines in a genre that is constantly running 250 episodes a year with no gaps between series or incarnations is a tall order. The greats could do it because that's what makes them the greats. If we're sitting around expecting that caliber of writing again, then we're spinning wheels.

 

Re: Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who. Apples and oranges, IMO. Mainly, these are still hugely successful franchises that TPTB respect and care for. None of the production companies involved in today's soaps give a damn about their quality, only their profit, and so they don't care if a writer comes in who is completely unfamiliar with a show. Also consider that those other franchises have been in reruns and other media for years. Each soap has been in daytime TV and nowhere else.

 

1 hour ago, vetsoapfan said:

No, in 1976, we had many soaps that had been on television for more than 20-25 years, like: TGL (39 years old), SFT and LoL (25 years old), ATWT and TEON (20 years old), TSS (22 years old).

 

The sentimental demands  were not as vocal and persistent at that time because...THEY WERE BEING MET AND SATISFIED by the creative teams of the day. Criticism of modern soaps is so strong because viewers' expectations for quality storytelling and true characterizations are NOT being met.

 

1976 soaps and how many years they were on the air by that time:
(Guiding Light - 39 years/24 years)
Search for Tomorrow - 25 years
Love of Life - 25 years
As the World Turns - 20 years
The Edge of Night - 20 years
General Hospital - 13 years
The Doctors - 13 years
Another World - 12 years
Days of Our Lives - 11 years
One Life to Live - 8 years
All My Children - 6 years
Somerset - 6 years
The Young and the Restless - 3 years
Ryan's Hope - 1 year

I didn't count GL's radio run in my original calculation, but even including those years, the average age of a soap in 1976 was 14 years. Today, in 2018, the average age of a soap is 46 years. To me, that's a huge, huge, huge indicator that the genre is broken beyond repair, and it will never, ever be what it once was. Daytime was at its best and most successful when it was filled with a nice mix of old stalwarts and newer shows. That arrangement started to dry up in the early 90s when 6 years passed between the premieres of Generations and The City, and now we're at year #19 since the last network daytime soap premiered.

Look, I love the fact that these shows just kept going and going and going like life itself, but when it all boils down, what good has it done for them? ATWT and GL, THE quintessential long-runners, now sit in a warehouse. No reruns, no streaming, no more DVD sets, nothing at all from TPTB. I can't even go into a novelty store and buy some ridiculous Erica Kane tchotchke. The only thing keeping them alive is the work done by fans for other fans. I don't think any other form of entertainment has suffered that fate.

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On 6/2/2018 at 1:11 PM, j swift said:

The creators of most soaps currently on air did not intend for them to last this long and I think the audiance's perceived rigid adherence to history is a contributor to killing the genre.

 

The idea of soap anniversaries and multi-generational storylines was really a creation of 1980's soap producers.  While it is an incredible feat to keep a show on air for more than 30 years, we have all seen repeated plots, characters who lack development, and tired old sets.  We are nostalgic for the golden age of soaps and maybe we keep watching with the hope that those times will return.

 

In the 1970's producers were more creative with developing new soap operas.  There were interesting experiments, spin-offs, and many flops, but it maintained a freshness that seems to be lacking in today's shows.  Every network tried a new soap so there were a variety of entry points for new fans. 

 

I often think that if Chuck Pratt got to create a new soap about mobsters we would have appreciated it more than trying to make GH into The Sopranos.  Similarly, if Linda Gottlieb had an opportunity to create a contemporary soap from scratch with Michael Malone's writing it may have been amazing.  I also think it would be less jarring for the audience if soaps ended and new ones began every few years.

 

Instead we get ingenues in their 40's, on their 18th marriage, with an audience who demands that writers, who weren't born when the characters were introduced, maintain their personalities and recall every detail of their history.

 

Where I disagree is I think what killed the genre was in large part the censorship and cowardice of the higher-ups. Gottlieb didn't leave because she was tired of OLTL's length or history - she left because of ABC's control issues. 

 

I also think that many things about daytime in the last 30-40 years, like the grueling format and the ignorance and callousness and interfering of executives, kept away many people who were acclaimed in other genres and could have turned the ship around - people like Harding Lemay and Henry Slesar. 

 

Instead we got hacks who were hyped to the skies for being "different" or bringing a "manly" flair to soaps or making them more "modern", yet have gone on to little of note outside of that period of overhype. Chuck Pratt has had flop after flop after flop in primetime. JER (RIP) never really went anywhere. Hogan Sheffer managed nothing. Ron Carlivati went nowhere fast. Bob Guza managed nothing. I don't even know if they managed to do what maligned soap writers like Leah Laiman (who wrote a number of books) did. Guza's best known work outside of soaps was C or D-level horror movies. Yet the man was worshiped as a god by the soap "press" for years because he wore a leather jacket and loved to have tiny men waving big guns.

 

I'd love to believe that if the older soaps had come to an earlier, natural end, the genre could have continued on, but I just don't think the networks would have managed it. 

 

I also think that the general move toward, as you say, ingenues in their 40s, is less about soaps being on too long and more about a shift in entertainment at large toward refusing to write people in that age group as behaving in a mature way. 

Edited by DRW50

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Sheffer came from outside - he worked in development at DreamWorks before ATWT. But I'm not sure he was ever as big a wheel as he became in daytime, whereas Gottlieb certainly was (Dirty Dancing, etc). I think he may have been a bit of a functionary.

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1 minute ago, Vee said:

Sheffer came from outside - he worked in development at DreamWorks before ATWT. But I'm not sure he was ever as big a wheel as he became in daytime, whereas Gottlieb certainly was (Dirty Dancing, etc). I think he may have been a bit of a functionary.

 

I mostly meant he didn't really go on to anything after soaps (in spite of years of breathless hype and media profiles), but I see what you mean.

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2 hours ago, DRW50 said:

 

I mostly meant he didn't really go on to anything after soaps (in spite of years of breathless hype and media profiles), but I see what you mean.

Have you heard anything about Hogan’s health status? I remember Michael Park and others asking for prayers because he wasn’t doing very well. (Not to derail this thread...)

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Just now, Faulkner said:

Have you heard anything about Hogan’s health status? I remember Michael Park and others asking for prayers because he wasn’t doing very well. (Not to derail this thread...)

 

No, I hadn't. If he is having health issues then I apologize.

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23 hours ago, DeeeDee said:

 

JM has been asked to carry Y&R though.

 

That was a HUGE part of the reason behind Heather Tom's departure.

 

Nick has essentially been the male lead of Y&R since she left.

 

When HT left, you've said it was because the show wanted a "Shick" show. Not a Nick show.  And no, those two are not the same. When Shick were featured, Sharon did the heavy lifting. Nick was never driving any story alone. I stick with my original statement. JM has never been asked to carry this show alone. 

Edited by ajsp35801

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As much flak as JER got, he seemed able to tap into the youth demographic pretty easily compared to the other soaps

 

P&G was justified in not selling AW to ABC. Frons would've cancelled AW when he arrived

 

OJ trial gets all the flak for eroding the soap fanbases, but coming out the trial, the emerging juggernaut know as "The Jerry Springer Show" especially had a hand in weaning people off the soaps with its violence and trashiness

 

No matter how horrible it was, OLTL "Satin Sheets" intro is iconic. People who dont watch soaps but came of age in that era can instantly name it when a "name something that takes you back to your childhood/adolescence" discussion on social media/forums happens. Not to mention the infamy it has among soap fans

Edited by Clark Still

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2 hours ago, Clark Still said:

No matter how horrible it was, OLTL "Satin Sheets" intro is iconic. People who dont watch soaps but came of age in that era can instantly name it when a "name something that takes you back to your childhood/adolescence" discussion on social media/forums happens. Not to mention the infamy it has among soap fans

 

I love that opening, but I have a very hard time believing this. I’ll need receipts.

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10 hours ago, All My Shadows said:

 

"Let me rephrase. I can't know whether or not the creators intended for their series to last decades, but I think the reality of the situation is that aging into those decades have done more harm than good for the shows that have made it that far. There used to be hope that they could get better, but that was before the television industry as a whole went through dramatic shifts that took us further and further away from what soaps traditionally were in their glory days."

 

But is it the AGE of the shows that is the problem, or is it the endless, incomprehensible mismanagement, cheapness, indifference and idiocy on the part of TPTB? Television overall has evolved, but in many ways for the better. We get wonderful serialized dramas throughout the primetime schedule. But the navel-gazing, lazy, rigid soap ghetto went to pot decades ago and has never done anything to get up to date or back into shape. I firmly believe that it's not only the age of an institution that affects how well and vibrantly it survives. The care it receives plays a significant (if not the primary) role. In the last few decades (or more), capable, savvy, talented and inspirational caregivers have been non-existent in the soap world. I no longer have hope that any of the current four soaps will be saved. In truth, I wish they had been cancelled a long time ago, and put out of their misery while they still had some dignity. The soap opera medium can still a viable one, however, but only if people who know what they are doing produce and write them. That ain't going to happen anytime soon in daytime TV, alas.

 

"That's what I meant when I said those characters all deserved better. I'll give you love interests, but I kid you not, I recall ten years ago people wanting Lisa in a love triangle on the frontburner. Clearly all of those characters should have been regularly visible (and there were brief moments in which they were, something I remain thankful for), but too many people wanted them to carry the show. Keep in mind that these were actors and actresses in their 70s who had already carried the show through 30 years of day-in, day-out, TOUGH work, many years of it done live. I know they all wanted to be on more, but I don't think they wanted to continue carrying the show when everyone else their age was enjoying retirement."

 

I do not want or need every older character to be on the frontburner all the time. I really do like seeing storylines centered around characters of all ages, and even around newbies...if the stories are well-written and the roles well-cast. It's important to kept the cornerstone characters woven into the fabric of the show, of course. Viewers love them and want to keep seeing them on a regular basis, along with all the newer/younger characters on the canvas. (BTW, ATWT treated Lisa abysmally in its last years. If not a frontburner romantic triangle, she should AT LEAST have had a romantic interest and some actual attention paid to her from time to time. She was shoved so far onto the back burner, I'm surprised she never fell right off the stove. Shameful.)

 

"I am by no means defending writers for not caring about previous characters and storylines, but a handful of examples doesn't really change the fact that expecting writers to pull in 30-year-old plot lines in a genre that is constantly running 250 episodes a year with no gaps between series or incarnations is a tall order. The greats could do it because that's what makes them the greats. If we're sitting around expecting that caliber of writing again, then we're spinning wheels."

 

Well, I do not demand that new writers pull in plots from many decades ago, but I do want the scribes to know the history well enough not to make major and annoying errors. Someone once asked Jamie Frame on AW how he was related to Sally Frame. He replied, "She's a cousin or something." Um...no. On TGL, Kelly Nelson once asked his godfather Ed Bauer, "Do you remember Steve Jackson, the surgeon?" Ed replied, "Sure, he was on staff here at Cedars." Again...fail. Steve Jackson was Ed's former father-in-law. Steve Jackson was Frederick's grandfather. Why would Kelly ask such a dumb question to begin with? And even if he did, Ed should have replied with, "Wake up, idiot! Of course I know my own son's grandfather!" LOL.

 

I am just waiting for a scene on Days in which Julie Williams says that being pregnant with Hope was a difficult time in her life, but that giving birth to such a beautiful daughter was a joy. 

 

"Re: Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who. Apples and oranges, IMO. Mainly, these are still hugely successful franchises that TPTB respect and care for. None of the production companies involved in today's soaps give a damn about their quality, only their profit, and so they don't care if a writer comes in who is completely unfamiliar with a show. Also consider that those other franchises have been in reruns and other media for years. Each soap has been in daytime TV and nowhere else."

 

Well, soap operas were HUGELY successful franchises that supported the entire networks' schedule for decades. TPTB USED TO respect and nurture them. That is the problem. Star Trek, Star Wars, Dr. Who, etc., are being well-maintained and remain profitable because TPTB put effort and money into them. Soaps are NOT being well-maintained, TPTB just don't care, and therefore the soaps' viability has plummeted as TPTB's indifference and incompetence have grown.

 

"Today, in 2018, the average age of a soap is 46 years. To me, that's a huge, huge, huge indicator that the genre is broken beyond repair, and it will never, ever be what it once was. Daytime was at its best and most successful when it was filled with a nice mix of old stalwarts and newer shows. That arrangement started to dry up in the early 90s when 6 years passed between the premieres of Generations and The City, and now we're at year #19 since the last network daytime soap premiered."

 

I agree. The genre is broken and the shows we still have on the air are beyond repair. Well, as long as there are no miracle workers left to overhaul them, and there are not.

"Look, I love the fact that these shows just kept going and going and going like life itself, but when it all boils down, what good has it done for them? ATWT and GL, THE quintessential long-runners, now sit in a warehouse. No reruns, no streaming, no more DVD sets, nothing at all from TPTB. I can't even go into a novelty store and buy some ridiculous Erica Kane tchotchke. The only thing keeping them alive is the work done by fans for other fans. I don't think any other form of entertainment has suffered that fate."

 

Again, ITA, but the problem is not that no one out here in audience-ville wants to see quality serialized dramas anymore. The problem is that NO ONE IN THE DAYTIME SOAP WORLD is giving it to us. The idiots at P&G let their archives sit and rot even though Dark Shadows was a huge success when released on DVD . The Doctors reruns must be doing fine. If they weren't they would have been yanked a long time ago. Sony should try a streaming service at a reasonable cost, and air Y&R from the beginning. If no one buys DVD releases or subscribes to streaming services, fine. I'll admit there is no market. But I'll bet there is. I'll bet fans would pay the money if only the material were available to us somewhere, somehow.

 

On eBay, the bidding for a single hour of AW from 1973/4, on VHS, soared to over $300.00. Soap fans aren't cheap, LOL. Let us spend money!

15 minutes ago, All My Shadows said:

 

I love that opening, but I have a very hard time believing this. I’ll need receipts.

 

The atrocious "bedsheets in the wind" opening, with anonymous models "crying" fake tears, and men showing their horse teeth?

 

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! I loathed that opening!

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3 hours ago, ajsp35801 said:

Nick was never driving any story alone.


No character besides Victor drives story alone. And even in most of his stories Nikki plays a primary role. So if Nick's stories are equally about who he's paired with then the same applies to everyone else.

 

But there are primary characters who receive the lion's share of airtime and emotional character arcs. If, as you say, Sharon Case did the "heavy lifting" in the Shick stories it's because she's the better actor.

 

Also it doesn't matter if it Nick was paired with Sharon or Phyllis during the period, the point was THOSE STORIES WERE ABOUT NICK.

 

And that does NOT lessen Nick's status as the primary non-senior male character on the show after Heather's exit. He received the majority of the airtime, general story and prime romantic pairings over every male character on the show (besides Victor) from that point up until very recently.

 

In fact Y&R was sent into a virtual panic when at the very idea that JM was potentially going to exit the show. Y&R did NOT put similar effort forth when Heather left the show for the final time because Y&R was no longer invested in Victoria as a primary character.

Edited by DeeeDee

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I haven't been following this thread at all, so apologies if I'm repeating something that's already been stated previously.

Okay, here are my Unpopular Opinions.

 

The very ideas that were the strength of soaps in the 1980s became liabilities in the decades that followed:

 

Reliance on the idea of a supercouple-- diminished the writing of individual characters, especially when it came time to introduce a new character. Led to ridiculous 'stan' wars simply based on who was/is with whom.  Both side effects persist to today and have served to weaken storytelling.

 

Writing stories that emphasized fantasy and escapism too often-- it's not coincidence that the emergence of reality television (which is actually lightly scripted) preceeded a serious ratings decline for daytime soaps. 

People got tired of countless back from the dead stories, saving the earth from freezing or families with immense wealth creating contrived conflict because they all can't stop sleep with each other's partners or their children's partners.  

Daytime dramas started out as a window into the lives and travails of characters who seemed ordinary on the surface but underneath had lives of conflict.

 

Being tied to the Dallas and the Dynasty effect.  J.R. had an immense effect on popular culture and it seemed many (not all soaps) wanted their own J.R. in the way of having a scion of a wealthy family or in the case of Dynasty, their own titan of industry like Blake Carrington.  The Abbotts of Y&R soon emerged with Jack (charismatic scion) and John (beloved titan of industry).  Does anyone think that is a coincidence?

Even Dallas (in its original incarnation) and Dynasty got canceled as audiences no longer had a taste for Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous soap-style.

Yet soaps still continue center characters like Jack and Victor while they marginalize and limit their female characters.

 

Also, it seemed exciting in the short term to dispense with your middle and working class characters (the Dallas and Dynasty effect again) but long-term is limited storyline possibilities and likely alienated soap fans, some of whom might have remembered when there was an emphasis on characters who were seen as more empathetic.

Edited by DramatistDreamer
Grammar fix- YIKES

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10 minutes ago, DeeeDee said:


No character besides Victor drives story alone. And even in most of his stories Nikki plays a primary role. So if Nick's stories are equally about who he's paired with then the same applies to everyone else.

 

But there are primary characters who receive the lion's share of airtime and emotional character arcs. If, as you say, Sharon Case did the "heavy lifting" in the Shick stories it's because she's the better actor.

 

Also it doesn't matter if it Nick was paired with Sharon or Phyllis during the period, the point was THOSE STORIES WERE ABOUT NICK.

 

And that does NOT lessen Nick's status as the primary non-senior male character on the show after Heather's exit. He received the majority of the airtime, general story and prime romantic pairings over every male character on the show (besides Victor) from that point up until very recently.

 

In fact Y&R was sent into a virtual panic when at the very idea that JM was potentially going to exit the show. Y&R did NOT put similar effort forth when Heather left the show for the final time because Y&R was no longer invested in Victoria as a primary character.

If the shows are going to panic that much over their “Star” departing, then maybe cancellation isn’t a bad idea after all :/

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11 minutes ago, vetsoapfan said:

 

Yes, you nailed it. 

 

I added a little more to the end of that post.

17 minutes ago, DramatistDreamer said:

Also, it seemed exciting in the short term to dispense with your middle and working class characters (the Dallas and Dynasty effect again) but long-term is limited storyline possibilities and likely alienated soap fans, some of whom might have remembered when there was an emphasis on characters who were seen as more empathetic.

 

 

Everyone talks about how expensive it is to produce soaps but when the majority of your characters are well-heeled and wealthy of course, you're going to spend more $$$ on sets.

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