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"Brilliant" (ha) Youtube vlogger's video on why soaps exist.


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I hope this hasn't been discussed on here already during my prolonged hiatus...

I have a "friend" who has always mocked my love of soaps. He has never watched (to my knowledge) a full episode, but just knows that they're "trash". Anyway he sent me this video by some popular youtube nerd he follows who apparently explains "the unexplainable" to his hundreds of thousands of viewers--and decided to explain why daytime soaps exist to them. My friend thinks this proves something. The thing is the dude in the video obviously has never watched a full soap in his life, never spoken to a person about why they follow soaps (most soap fans follow them due to a love of the characters, not because they are constantly wondering what will happen next as he says), never bothered to wiki soaps (he seems to think writers write the plots a day in advance), etc, etc. The irony is this dude LOVES comic books (superhero ones which share qualities, good and bad--and I say this not being a fan--with soaps) and things like Star Wars spin-off novels. Yet he fails to state how the writers of soaps often DO love what they do and DO pay attention to story, how current serialized primetime is in many ways indebted to soaps, how it was a rare media form that was largely led by women (writers, exec producers) and, due to its largely female audience, largely mocked or disregarded... Or the fact that if soaps are merely an advertisement for soap that is meant to hook a viewer into watching commercials--well, that's what essentially all network tv was/is on some level.
 
Argh, I have no idea why this has made me so mad. But it has.
 
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Hey Eric. Welcome back!

 

I’ve seen that before too, and his whole thesis is pretty naive and misinformed for the reasons you’ve laid out. But he just seems like a snarky, douchey, misogynist guy pandering to other snarky, douchey, misogynist guys on YouTube, so I pay him little mind.

 

It’s hard to mount a defense of the shows as they stand currently, but the genre deserves respect.

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it's too focused on current daytime....obviously if you don't know the histories of the shows or all of daytime in general and how they had HUGE success for many many years, it's just going to be a mockery of the Genre.

I wish I could do a proper Thesis on why Soaps STILL ARE Important, and what primetime can learn from them, but sadly it's things like that video that are use to work against  those types of analysis. 

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Thanks Faulkner--it's good to be back.  And, yes, that's part of the issue in a way--you can't tell someone who isn't a fan to just tune into one of the current US soaps because, while I am sure there are worthwhile on at least some of them (I don't follow any right now), they would probably just agree with his video.  But for a guy who seems to think he's explaining the history of a genre, it's particularly inane--and as mentioned, misogynistic (there is zero comment about the role women played in creating these, or the fact that one reason they have been so ignored is because they've been seen as a "female" genre.)

I guess, even knowing my friend who sent me the video, I sorta expected something that would be more even keeled and would point out the (easy to find all over Wiki) historical firsts that soaps are responsible for.

21 minutes ago, YRfan23 said:


I wish I could do a proper Thesis on why Soaps STILL ARE Important, and what primetime can learn from them, but sadly it's things like that video that are use to work against  those types of analysis. 

I recently got approval to do my English MA thesis on just that--which has been a lot of fun and a lot of work.  I was lucky to have a couple of people in my department who, while not soap opera watchers, felt that there was some relevance to my topic and that it hadn't properly been covered.

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Any fan of 1960’s era Marvel to today comic books should know that when those books sold extremely well they were steeped in soap opera storytelling tropes- including triangles, marriages, family dynamics and generational conflicts.  Sure they were written towards a different audience and format, but still soap operatic.

 

 As a matter of fact, comic book sales and the health of their industry has declined significantly, often in part of trying to be something they are not and loosing their core audience in the process, and that audience also finding other interests they cannot compete with.  That sounds familiar doesn’t it?  They also see what they do being done better (in their own films, soaps with prime time), and having he audience not carry over.

 

I think a lot about what happened in daytime.  And at the twilight of soaps, not any of these final four has a woman EP.  When I think back to ABC in the 1990’s, when their shows had true creative resurgences, each one was filled with talented, dedicated women at every level from the head of daytime to line production.  I’m not saying only women can do this job.  Many great men have created magnificent soap opera.  But the total lack of dedicated women in these positions shows just how far soap operas have gotten from their largest viewership.  

 

 

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18 minutes ago, titan1978 said:

Any fan of 1960’s era Marvel to today comic books should know that when those books sold extremely well they were steeped in soap opera storytelling tropes- including triangles, marriages, family dynamics and generational conflicts.  Sure they were written towards a different audience and format, but still soap operatic.

This is what annoys me so much--I'm not really a fan of superhero comics (I love comics, but not superhero ones) but the analogies are so similar, it's frustrating that he couldn't see that.  They were pulp product at least as much as soaps--meant to be discarded and to only sell their advertising.  Once the Marvel system took hold, they were also "endless" storylines, that, from a non-reader--could be seen as only hooking their audience by endlessly stringing them along.  You want crazy soap opera stories?  Superhero comics had people coming back from the dead long before soaps did.  etc, etc.  To try to claim that at least some of those have genuine merit and aren't just glorified advertisements with a captive audience, and then to say that that's entirely what soaps are, is ignorant at best.



 

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1 hour ago, EricMontreal22 said:

This is what annoys me so much--I'm not really a fan of superhero comics (I love comics, but not superhero ones) but the analogies are so similar, it's frustrating that he couldn't see that.  They were pulp product at least as much as soaps--meant to be discarded and to only sell their advertising.  Once the Marvel system took hold, they were also "endless" storylines, that, from a non-reader--could be seen as only hooking their audience by endlessly stringing them along.  You want crazy soap opera stories?  Superhero comics had people coming back from the dead long before soaps did.  etc, etc.  To try to claim that at least some of those have genuine merit and aren't just glorified advertisements with a captive audience, and then to say that that's entirely what soaps are, is ignorant at best.



 

He doesn’t see the similarities because he doesn’t want to.  Comic books, especially super hero comics, can and have been easily judged by their quality against other forms of literary content.  Just like soap operas.

 

Its easy to say something isn’t for you, without saying that it shouldn’t be for anyone at all.  But a lot of current criticism is based in the thought that if I don’t enjoy something, that means I can rip it to shreds, even with poor arguments based solely on my personal beliefs about something.

 

How much of this type of criticism is based in misogyny?

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2 minutes ago, titan1978 said:

 

How much of this type of criticism is based in misogyny?

Most of it! And it’s classism as well. I know a lot of heterosexual men have enjoyed daytime soaps over the years, but they tend to be rural and lower middle-class in my experience. I used to watch Sex and the City with a room full of prep school-educated straight dudes in college, but they all questioned my intelligence when they caught me catching a daytime soap between classes. A lot of what this guy is saying echoes their criticisms.

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I've seen this video, and I hate it just as much as the rest of y'all do. I really can't put it into intelligent words the way that I feel towards this guy and the whole vibe of the video. It's literally someone who knows very little about soaps deciding to do five minutes worth of research (if that much) to make himself "informed" among his uninformed friends so that he can become the "smart one" who knows about this enough to actually have a "valid" opinion on it. In short, he is a piece of sh!t.

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I have seen this video 'recommended' for me over and over when I go on Youtube but I always ignore it, as the brief second I clicked on it was just the usual droning-to-drone atmosphere most of these videos tend to have. 

 

All of the major genres have developed soap elements in order to survive, and no amount of sneering will change this. 

 

It's this sneering and shame toward soaps, from those in charge of daytime, that killed the genre in the first place. 

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