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Soaps try to be socially conscious unless it is about....


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The discussion on the boards about race and culture made me think about how soaps write about other sensitive topics.  Historically, soaps have been good about informing their audience using issues-based story lines ranging from breast cancer to addiction and eating disorders.  However, the following is a list of topics that soaps tend to get wrong and provide misinformation:

 

Adoption

     - all soap adoption social workers are evil people who want to rip away innocent children from well-meaning adults

     - all long lost soap children instantly bond with their family of origin, they take their surname, are given rights of inheritance, and take on the character traits of their biological parents

     - adults who were adopted as kids loose all contact with their adoptive parents and never invite them to weddings or major life events

     - rich soap families can easily find resources for illegal adoptions, and "black-market babies" outnumber legal adoptions in most soap towns

 

Brain Injury

     - most brain tumors do not result in people committing murder

     - the removal of a brain tumor does not cause a change in a patient's morality and usually involved more hair loss than portrayed on screen

     - adults with brain injuries usually have chronic cognitive delays unlike those in soaps

 

Mental Illness

     - due to the nature of tv storytelling, visual hallucinations are far more common on soaps than auditory hallucinations, despite their actual rarity in psychotic disorders

     - asylums are still prevalent on soaps despite a drastic reduction in long term hospitalization for mental illness due to insurance companies restricting access to residential care (the average hospital stay for acute mental illness is 72 hours)

     - soap characters instantly recover from mental illness without any economic impact, unless they are a woman and need to worry about "passing on" a mental illness to their child

     -amnesia due to trauma does not usually resolve by exposure to a loved one

 

Those are my top three, respond if you can think of other examples.

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Alcohol and Drug Addiction

- Some people relapse over trauma, but I think soaps use relapsing as a lazy device to further a plot.

- Recovery is sometimes portrayed as being quick.

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Rape.  The soap starts out with an actor who usually is charismatic and attractive, presumably to show that a rapist can be anyone, even the "nice, good-looking, presumably charming" co-worker or acquaintance but inevitably will decide that they want to keep the actor and set about totally undermining their own storyline by somehow making the rapist a "victim" somehow and then try to make said rapist a romantic leading man, of sorts.

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57 minutes ago, DramatistDreamer said:

Rape.  The soap starts out with an actor who usually is charismatic and attractive, presumably to show that a rapist can be anyone, even the "nice, good-looking, presumably charming" co-worker or acquaintance but inevitably will decide that they want to keep the actor and set about totally undermining their own storyline by somehow making the rapist a "victim" somehow and then try to make said rapist a romantic leading man, of sorts.


When was the last time a soap actually even tackled rape? After all those extremely trashy rape plots on ATWT, B&B, Days, Passions and Y&R in the 00’s it seems that daytime is past that aside from something sleazy like Phyllis unknowingly sleeping with Jack’s doppelgänger on Y&R

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15 minutes ago, soapfan770 said:


When was the last time a soap actually even tackled rape? After all those extremely trashy rape plots on ATWT, B&B, Days, Passions and Y&R in the 00’s it seems that daytime is past that aside from something sleazy like Phyllis unknowingly sleeping with Jack’s doppelgänger on Y&R

I remember Ciara was assaulted a few years ago on DAYS, back when the dreadful Vivian Jovanni was playing her. Very poorly handled.

 

 

Edited by Faulkner
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4 minutes ago, Faulkner said:

I remember Ciara was assaulted a few years ago on DAYS, back when the dreadful Vivian Jovanni was playing her. Very poorly handled.

  
Oh GOOD GOD know I now why I blocked that out for a reason!!! I had liked the Chase character too. I don’t why know Higley & Griffith even wrote that garbage. 

Edited by soapfan770
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What a terrible time that was for DAYS.  They decided to dump some money into the show, and we had one unrelentingly depressing story after another.
 

Soaps so often do a terrible job with medical privacy, and therapy.  They often have people getting their hands on medical files or blurting our patient information.

 

I can’t count how many bad therapy sessions I have seen on soaps over the years.  Which goes hand in hand with how awful they are with mental illness.  It’s often a plot point and rarely given any dimension.

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Paralysis - temporary in all cases.

It would be an interesting story if a character was permanently paralysed. The list of characters who've had to face the fact they might never walk again is endless, but not a reality for any of them.

Same for losing sight or hearing - purely a short term plot twist.

Edited by Paul Raven
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11 hours ago, soapfan770 said:

  
Oh GOOD GOD know I now why I blocked that out for a reason!!! I had liked the Chase character too. I don’t why know Higley & Griffith even wrote that garbage. 

If I remember correctly, it was this story (and maybe Hope shooting Stefano in cold blood) that led to Griffith being removed from the Head Writing team.

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That was a weird [!@#$%^&*] period. The show was so dark, the Ciara rape so unnecessary and ruinous, and then they got a major genre film actor (Tobin Bell from the Saw flicks) to come in and redo John's backstory yet again. All very Griffith IMO, and not his best. He should've been fired for the Chase/Ciara story alone.

 

I will say the scene where Hope executes Stefano was very well-produced and cut. (And I think her killing him - especially after what he said to her - was appropriate.)

Edited by Vee
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6 hours ago, Paul Raven said:

Paralysis - temporary in all cases.

It would be an interesting story if a character was permanently paralysed. The list of characters who've had to face the fact they might never walk again is endless, but not a reality for any of them.

Same for losing sight or hearing - purely a short term plot twist.

 

Paul from Loving was still paralyzed when he left the show, wasn't he? I think that lasted about 6-7 months until his exit. 

12 hours ago, soapfan770 said:

  
Oh GOOD GOD know I now why I blocked that out for a reason!!! I had liked the Chase character too. I don’t why know Higley & Griffith even wrote that garbage. 

 

Soaps just love to tell us that abuse victims or the children of abusers will also be abusers. Shameful.

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1 hour ago, LondonScribe said:

If I remember correctly, it was this story (and maybe Hope shooting Stefano in cold blood) that led to Griffith being removed from the Head Writing team.

You would be correct. 

 

The only thing that temporarily save Higs then was she went on her leave of absence so that when it hit Griffith (rightly so) would get all of the blame.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Paul Raven said:

Paralysis - temporary in all cases.

It would be an interesting story if a character was permanently paralysed. The list of characters who've had to face the fact they might never walk again is endless, but not a reality for any of them.

 

1 hour ago, DRW50 said:

Paul from Loving was still paralyzed when he left the show, wasn't he? I think that lasted about 6-7 months until his exit.

 

Chris Tate on Emmerdale was paralyzed as a result of the plane crash 1993, and remained paralyzed until his death ten years later.

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1 hour ago, I Am A Swede said:

Chris Tate on Emmerdale was paralyzed as a result of the plane crash 1993, and remained paralyzed until his death ten years later.

UK soaps operate on a different level...

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3 hours ago, Paul Raven said:

UK soaps operate on a different level...

As a Brit, I can tell you that U.K. soaps have entered the proverbial lift and have gone down a fair few levels 🤣 but your point remains, and the industry still remains financially supported and largely respected.

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