Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Winchester91

Did the focus on appealing to housewives kill US Soaps?

Recommended Posts

I think of all the English soaps (Hollyoaks, Corrie, Eastenders) that had their soaps in the teatime hours and have been able to court non-housewives in their fanbase, while US soaps seem stuck in the 50s with young adults breeding and getting married and gay people non-existent. While Hollyoaks and the rest take risks with topical storylines, Y&R still idolises a grumpy grandpa as its main tentpole character.  Did trying to pander to conservative housewives end up being a losing enterprise? 

Edited by Winchester91

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No - they pandered to Stupid people that wanted dumb storylines.  Then the same shows tried to say they were intelligent.  They committed suicide.  Kind of like the recent Presidential election.  And if you think a little - very similar.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It’s hard being the last hangers-on at a party that ended 20 years ago. 

 

The people with the real power never really respected them and didn’t want them to survive, so it’s almost miraculous that they are still on, even in depleted form, in 2018. But everything still seems frozen in the ‘80s. Daytime is like a hollowed-out suburban shopping mall with a bunch of closed-down Spencer’s stores to remind us of the glory days. 

 

LOL it’s late.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Faulkner said:

It’s hard being the last hangers-on at a party that ended 20 years ago. 

 

The people with the real power never really respected them and didn’t want them to survive, so it’s almost miraculous that they are still on, even in depleted form, in 2018. But everything still seems frozen in the ‘80s. Daytime is like a hollowed-out suburban shopping mall with a bunch of closed-down Spencer’s stores to remind us of the glory days. 

 

LOL it’s late.

There's some sad truth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think network interference by non creative people have done more to destroy this genre than anything else.  TPTB hired people like JFP, McTavish, Guza, Tomlin, Goutman, Passanante, Griffith, Higley, Pratt, et all over and over and over again.

 

They fired or drove out people like Alden, Curlee, Labine, Riche and countless others, that didn’t want to deal with network execs dictating story and having to fight every day for any semblance of their vision to air.

 

The networks want to play it safe in storytelling but with younger characters nobody cares about.  So if anything, their misguided conservatism is their own fault.

 

And it’s the end.  Three years ago the shows were all on a ratings upswing.  And it’s like each and every one of them went this is working, but let’s go back to the kind of stuff that was getting shows cancelled left and right instead!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be a soap fan in the past 20 years is to spend a reverse engineer a landscape in which there are still 15 shows on the air, written impeccably with diverse characters and progressive subject matter, watched by millions. If only the writing had been better, etc. But folks like Curlee and Labine  eventually realized the environment wasn’t suitable for good writing and bailed. Soaps were already dying before the writing got really bad, but the decline in quality only accelerated the inevitable.

 

I’ve been having the same conversations with guitar rock fans angry that bands don’t chart anymore unless they are Imagine Dragons. (Look at the Apple Music streaming charts by genre, and the most-streamed rock songs are all by legacy acts like Queen, Zeppelin, Journey, and AC/DC, not new bands.) Maroon 5 re-defined themselves as a pop act, and that’s why they persist. Yet you still hear guitar sounds all over music, just like you see soapy tropes all over primetime and streaming TV.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I refuse to blame the audience. 

 

They were just too incestuous and unimaginative. 

 

Yes, network shows declined across the board, and there was a bit of inevitability to it all, but it didn’t have to be this bad. It’s just a very conservative genre and that’s what killed it. Too formulaic.

1 hour ago, Faulkner said:

To be a soap fan in the past 20 years is to spend a reverse engineer a landscape in which there are still 15 shows on the air, written impeccably with diverse characters and progressive subject matter, watched by millions. If only the writing had been better, etc. But folks like Curlee and Labine  eventually realized the environment wasn’t suitable for good writing and bailed. Soaps were already dying before the writing got really bad, but the decline in quality only accelerated the inevitable.

 

I’ve been having the same conversations with guitar rock fans angry that bands don’t chart anymore unless they are Imagine Dragons. (Look at the Apple Music streaming charts by genre, and the most-streamed rock songs are all by legacy acts like Queen, Zeppelin, Journey, and AC/DC, not new bands.) Maroon 5 re-defined themselves as a pop act, and that’s why they persist. Yet you still hear guitar sounds all over music, just like you see soapy tropes all over primetime and streaming TV.

 

The Real Housewives and Kardashians are absolutely the new soaps. But soaps could have been on top of that in some way had they kept innovating. All innovation on soaps stopped in the mid to late 90s.

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again... JER’s Days was the last soap that ever innovated and also the last soap that ever saw huge ratings increases. But the other shows (and Days itself) didn’t learn the lesson.

 

JER almost recaptured that magic on Passions, but never quite did. Believe it or not, Passions could have been the soap to save soaps, lol. It was buzzworthy for a hot minute in the early 2000s. Never quite as buzzworthy as 90s Days, but it did get buzz and it did get young viewers. But a poor overall cast (with a few wonderful standouts) and just neverending turnover in its cast I think doomed it. 

Edited by juppiter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was the focus on stockholders and returns on investments when, for instance ABC soap ownership fell into hands of Disney and the other networks were taken over by big corps.  Notice that the two shows highest the ratings had Bell control for a long time.  The other soaps have had to morph to the Nathan Varnis and Brian Frons occupying whatever board room.  When producers could hire performers who could act (not just lift weights, get botox/boob jobs and smile with bleached teeth) and writers who could create and flesh out their vision (mostly), the soaps were watchable to a certain audience.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No one being at home during the daytime anymore was a large factor. VCRs helped for a time, but they couldn't stop viewers from losing interest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, juppiter said:

I refuse to blame the audience. 

 

They were just too incestuous and unimaginative. 

 

Yes, network shows declined across the board, and there was a bit of inevitability to it all, but it didn’t have to be this bad. It’s just a very conservative genre and that’s what killed it. Too formulaic.

 

The Real Housewives and Kardashians are absolutely the new soaps. But soaps could have been on top of that in some way had they kept innovating. All innovation on soaps stopped in the mid to late 90s.

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again... JER’s Days was the last soap that ever innovated and also the last soap that ever saw huge ratings increases. But the other shows (and Days itself) didn’t learn the lesson.

 

JER almost recaptured that magic on Passions, but never quite did. Believe it or not, Passions could have been the soap to save soaps, lol. It was buzzworthy for a hot minute in the early 2000s. Never quite as buzzworthy as 90s Days, but it did get buzz and it did get young viewers. But a poor overall cast (with a few wonderful standouts) and just neverending turnover in its cast I think doomed it. 

Passions to me brought the end of soaps a lot sooner than it would have been. It really was that bad. It was everything wrong with soaps and everything non soap game assume, it was a parody with no respect for itself or the genre.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the success of the soaps was built on stay at home housewives.

 

Well into the 70's,even the lower rated shows made hundreds of thousand of dollars a week for the networks.

 

There was an awareness of the changing demographics as woman began working more, but soaps were still the main venue for mass advertising. Also, the fact that the audience was aging and new viewers were needed was recognized.

 

When GH rebounded under Gloria Monty and ABC began throwing dollars at their shows ,the landscape changed and the networks saw that formula as the key to continued success. 

Even Bill Bell adjusted with the introduction of the Williams and Abbotts that had teen and twentysomething family members. Also he went into crime/business stories.

 

But then then the momentum stopped as soaps were no longer the cash cows due to huge budget increases.

 

I think the innovation should have been to go back to the formula that worked originally. Simple family based  stories that reflected the times.

 

Trying to present 80's style stories on barebones budgets isn't working.

Edited by Paul Raven

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Family stories that reflect the time are a great idea in theory but soaps story telling is so archaic. Case in point,  Chelsea gave up her child to Villy because she "couldn't give him the home he deserved" instead of getting massive child support. Do women pregnant by offspring of wealthy families do that these days? I can't imagine it.  The introduction of technology has slowly happened but not utilized in any sensible way on a regular basis. Not to mention families don't even look the way they used to but daytime still hasn't really caught up. 

 

But even if it does, I think the genre is dying because folks just don't watch TV in the same manner they used to. So many channels, methods to watch, and content out there...and it's all so accessible. Even I broke down and got a Netflix account a few months ago to watch Luke Cage. $120 a year.  My cable cost that a month! So I say advances in technology is a huge driver. 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Faulkner said:

Daytime is like a hollowed-out suburban shopping mall with a bunch of closed-down Spencer’s stores to remind us of the glory days. 

 

Ha! That's a perfect analogy. 

 

Passions certainly didn't help matters. It had a young audience that quickly lost interest because of the slow, repetitive storytelling. What JER had going for him in his 90's hey-DAYS was the fact that there was already 30 years of built-in history and loyal, faithful viewers. 

 

In this day and age, if a storyline cannot be resolved within the timeframe of a Snapchat video, the strong majority of youngsters won't be interested. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ugh can we get Toups in here?

 

I’m really not the person to defend Passions, because I never watched it consistently, all I’m saying is that it very temporarily revived interest in the genre amongst a coveted demographic. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It did.

On 7/18/2018 at 9:36 PM, titan1978 said:

I think network interference by non creative people have done more to destroy this genre than anything else.  TPTB hired people like JFP, McTavish, Guza, Tomlin, Goutman, Passanante, Griffith, Higley, Pratt, et all over and over and over again.

 

They fired or drove out people like Alden, Curlee, Labine, Riche and countless others, that didn’t want to deal with network execs dictating story and having to fight every day for any semblance of their vision to air.

 

The networks want to play it safe in storytelling but with younger characters nobody cares about.  So if anything, their misguided conservatism is their own fault.

 

And it’s the end.  Three years ago the shows were all on a ratings upswing.  And it’s like each and every one of them went this is working, but let’s go back to the kind of stuff that was getting shows cancelled left and right instead!

 

So. Much. This.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×