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Marco Dane

The Story of Soaps Primetime Special

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I like breakup of segments. I took notes during the program and came up with this to have started it off:

 

Some clips, narration about soaps' importance over footage of fans picketing cancellations and/or  Days after fans believed Marlena was killed by the Strangler. Melody Thomas Scott's quote about her fanmail being 100% positive with an unwed pregnancy in 1981 was really strong.

 

2 minutes ago, Alan said:

I wasn't expecting much, but this "documentary" was so scattershot. There was no sense of chronology or coherence - it was disorienting to watch. This wasn't helped by the zoomed-in 4:3 ratio clips, many of them apparently ripped from youtube.

 

...

 

What if the producers imposed some narrative and chronology on this special:
 

 

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7 minutes ago, All My Shadows said:

Bryan Cranston was enjoyable in this, for sure. I told y’all Andy Cohen was gonna be annoying. Run me my coins.

 

So many important people and things were glossed over while still being present, and it left a weird feeling. There was a great b/w Charita Bauer clip in there but no real discussion of Guiding Light. Santa Barbara was not mentioned - not even Passions when it came time to talk about soaps getting crazier. Dark Shadows was shown a few times, but nothing was said about it and its significance.

 

Idk. It was more thematic than chronological, but the themes they focused on were so weak and then poorly developed. There was a lot of talk about things and lots of butt-ugly clips without actually name-dropping specific soaps and characters outside of special features on Luke/Laura and Who Shot JR?

Are we going to blame JFP for the bad points of this special too? I went in that thread and I was thrown by how everyone was dragging that woman for everything. I don't know writers that well and I have never really paid attention to who's writing when and I don't have that encyclopedic knowledge of soaps like some members on here, but people have very strong opinions about her and I noticed she was on the special.

Edited by GLATWT88

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15 minutes ago, GLATWT88 said:

Are we going to blame JFP for the bad points of this special too? I went in that thread and I was thrown by how everyone was dragging that woman for everything. I don't know writers that well and I have never really paid attention to who's writing when and I don't have that encyclopedic knowledge of soaps like some members on here, but people have very strong opinions about her and I noticed she was on the special.

Why did you quote my post in order to ask that? I don’t think anyone here is blaming JFP for anything related to this...

1 minute ago, YRfan23 said:

I know people have problems with her, but she has a point..
 

 

I absolutely agree with her assessment of Real Housewives as replacement soaps. They might tap into a part of the soap formula, but they don’t have all of the things that made good soaps what they were.

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11 minutes ago, YRfan23 said:

I know people have problems with her, but she has a point..
 

 

Sad that soaps forgot this too. The “heroes” on soaps are mobsters, rapists, and serial killers.

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1 hour ago, All My Shadows said:

Why did you quote my post in order to ask that? I don’t think anyone here is blaming JFP for anything related to this...

I was joking. I just thought it was funny that she was on the special and members on here were reading her in the other thread for destroying their favorite soap/character and while I have heard the name before I wasnt really aware of the strong feelings surrounding her so when I noticed her on the  special I was like uh oh and then when everyone was making comments about the special I just decided to make a joke wasnt insinuating you were blaming here for this special or anyone else if it came across that way. 

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While I do think the Real Housewives shows share an audience with those who used to watch soaps, Andy Cohen trying to compare them is a very bad idea. The soap genre lasted for 70 years, whereas thanks to his poor decisions and his need to push himself above all else, the Housewives shows have struggled to scrape through for a good while now. Cohen also represents much of the misogyny, racism, and self-loathing homophobia that stunted the progress of the soap genre. When I look at him I'm reminded of so many writers and producers and journalists who drove my soaps into the ground. 

 

I'm glad I didn't watch. The only thing I have even bothered with recently on ABC is The Conners, and I've pretty much fallen out of that as well.

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2 hours ago, YRfan23 said:

I will say I love how much Bryan Cranston is supportive of the genre. He’s someone that seems like they’d be happy to do a guest stint on one of the 4 at some point.

 

Bryan Cranston = Class Act. An actor's actor. One of the good guys. His Emmy tribute to Doug Hayes spoke volumes.

 

2 hours ago, Faulkner said:

Susan Sullivan?

 

Aside from her years on AW and Falcon Crest, her 90s and 2000s successes have all been on ABC, so I suppose she was an easy interview to get. I like her. Like Bryan Cranston she's a class act.

 

2 hours ago, All My Shadows said:

Bryan Cranston was enjoyable in this, for sure. I told y’all Andy Cohen was gonna be annoying. Run me my coins.

 

Lord he was annoying.

 

2 hours ago, All My Shadows said:

I mean, she’s been on nearly every day for weeks now lol

 

Jeanne Cooper forever.

 

1 hour ago, Titus Andronicus said:

Melody Thomas Scott's quote about her fanmail being 100% positive with an unwed pregnancy in 1981 was really strong.

 

That impressed me too. I know MTS can sometimes come across as ice cold, but I really felt for her and enjoyed her candour. 

 

Otherwise, the special sucked.

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Man I only heard about this just yesterday when I saw Susan Lucci promo'd it on her Instagram lol. Had to set it to record immediately! It was a bit of a discombobulated mess, and they clearly took NO time to go back into the tape/video archives & render clips out appropriately. That was the most glaring - everything looked awful when it didn't have to! Seriously the GH/AMC stuff from 2008-2011 had me cringing. The clip of Jane & Erica looked so bad WHY???

 

But not gonna lie I had a smile on my face pretty much the whole time. I loved it. Love the memories and everyone reflecting back especially Cranston, Stamos, Slezak, all the writers, producers and executives, etc.. I'm a sucker for that. Always enjoy all the BTS footage as well. Even though there wasn't a clear theme or through-line, the editing was very well done & a lot of love clearly went into it the whole program!

 

PS loved the soaps/sports durability comparison and how they recognized the male demographic that tune(d) in in droves as well😊

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4 hours ago, antmunoz said:


Farley Granger as Will Vernon. 

 

I did not get to see the special. What did Slezak say about Granger?

 

Does anyone know if this has been uploaded anywhere on the internet? I'm prepared to be annoyed, LOL, but I want to see it anyway.

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4 hours ago, DRW50 said:

The only thing I have even bothered with recently on ABC is The Conners, and I've pretty much fallen out of that as well.

 

We can both catch up!

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I thought it was better than I expected, though I can't argue with these complaints.

I know with Andy Cohen there we'd have a whole thing about reality shows giving viewers their soap fix, which rives me crazy.  I know people here who I have a ton of respect for watch Real Housewives--I just can not handle it.  But regardless, the idea that watching it is the same as watching a soap has never held weight for me (though I've encountered it all the time--when I was working on my MA essay about soaps a number of people automatically thought I must watch Housewives).  More pertinent was pointing out how much current "prestige" TV, which is almost all serialized, owe to soaps, but that was pretty briefly mentioned.

Like a lot of these types of broad specials, I think the problem was you wonder who the audience was.  In many ways it wanted to give a historical introduction to soaps and their importance to people who might not know much about soaps.  But on the other hand, as All My Shadows mentioned, it assumed that the audience would know a lot.  I mean they talk about Irna Phillips and Agnes Nixon but, aside from mentioning Nixon and All My Children, I don't remember them even giving a quick rundown on what shows the women created and wrote.  At least with the longer clips, why not say where the clip is from?  I'm not really sure what a better format would have been for all of this (it's not like we were gonna get a multi episode series that could really focus on different aspects) but...  I did appreciate the talking heads for people I don't often see interviewed (I'm not even sure I really knew what Lorraine Broderick looked like).  But yeah, the main fault was it was neither specific or even general enough.  Still, I guess I'm glad that they did it--more than wishing they hadn't.  I wasn't offended by anything in it really (the reality bit aside).  It was interesting to get into topics like the Luke and Laura rape, but again with that story, without the audience knowing a bit more about the deeper context, would it mean much?

9 hours ago, Faulkner said:

Oof. I guess you couldn’t expect much better, but the quality of the video clips...

Youtube has become the bane of these types of shows (as well as the local news, where maybe I am more keen to excuse it).  I swear for about 2 seconds they showed a bit from the Cortland Masquerade ball from 1980 on AMC that *I* uploaded to Youtube.

I mean on one hand it must make putting together a show like this so so much easier.  But the quality really suffers and is all over the map (and it does make me think about the irony of these networks who often don't officially approve of such uploads, then using the uploads to save money on their own programming)

9 hours ago, Faulkner said:

It’s like they pulled them off YouTube. Hell there are soap clips from the ‘70s on YouTube that are clearer, even watched on my full flatscreen. Even that Annie/Erica bitchslap clip was a mess and that was less than 15 years ago.

They are 100% pulled from Youtube.

8 hours ago, soapfan770 said:

Although I appreciate the Luke & Laura significance in history personally I think Victor & Nikki outdid then and outlasted them a popular supercouple while Tom & Margo on ATWT despite all the ups and downs never once divorced. 

Yes but those characters never really broke into the mainstream zeitgeist the way Luke and Laura did.  Tons of non soap viewers had some idea who Luke and Laura were.  This has only happened with a few other soap characters (Erica Kane being an obvious one).  I think Victor Newman is pretty recognizable now but still if you said "Victor and Nikki" few non viewers would have any idea who you meant.

8 hours ago, GLATWT88 said:

 

 

I remember back in the late 90s there was a special on soaps, I was young so I dont remember what channel it was on but it was similar in nature to this. I was hoping that this special would take a different perspective, but nonetheless it's nice to have something on soaps.

 

Was it the 1994 CBS special "50 Years of Soaps"?  Some good stuff there--more fitting for the time, it was done in a sorta award show format. 

 

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