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Daytime Opinion Article


Too Much Violence on Soaps Part 1

Written 10/27/03 by Suzanne originally for Bella Online

First of all, I don’t want to sound like those people who complain about violence on television being bad for us, or for children, or society, blah blah….I hate those people and think they’re wrong. I don’t believe violence in TV or movies causes people to become more violent. And I don’t think children should be watching violent shows, but there’s nothing wrong if the rest of us want to (parents should be policing their own kids). Soaps are not for kids, either. What I object to is that the soap opera writers or producers seem to think that we want more violence on the soaps. Maybe they think that if we watch shows like NYPD Blue, CSI, etc. that we want our soaps to be like those shows. I’m hear to tell them that they are wrong.

I don’t know why, but the writers on soaps lately seem to think that soaps are about violence and action. They don’t seem to “get” soaps or their audiences. We want stories about, first and foremost, romance and relationships. We want to have character development. We want stories about illegitimate children, backstabbing friends (but not literally back-stabbing!), cheating spouses, and young lovers. Soaps have all that, and that’s fine. But lately it seems as if they also have way too much other junk that gets in the way of the romance and relationships.

I’m not saying I want soaps to go back to the old days of sitting around and talking while they pour coffee. I started watching soaps in the 80’s and there was plenty of action and adventure. There were lots of spies and cops. But they were at a minimum, used sparingly. Take Another World, which I’m watching now on Soapnet. It has kidnappings, serial killers, psychics, etc. But they weren’t the primary focus of the show and they didn’t have all of those things going on at once.

This summer alone, three soaps have serial killer stories (As The World Turns, Guiding Light, and Days of Our Lives). That’s not only horrible but uncreative. Can’t they think of a new idea? Kidnappings, shootings, rapes, psycho killers, psychics, vampires, witches, and murder mysteries abound on the soaps every single week. It gets depressing and redundant, and it has nothing to do with what soap fans want to see. A little bit of jeopardy here and there is good, but it’s overwhelming the characters now. No wonder the ratings are always going down on soaps. This kind of “excitement” is not going to keep viewers around, or draw in new ones.

Maybe they’re thinking that if the shows are exciting like primetime, they will draw in more viewers who don’t normally like soaps, like guys. I have news for them. Primetime will always do action and cop stuff better than daytime. They have a slower shooting schedule, bigger budgets for special effects and stunts, and can afford better writers. So all you are doing is making your regular soap fans very unhappy.

I am not going to sit here and say that I have never enjoyed any of the stories mentioned above. I do enjoy many of them, but there are just too many of them, too often. In the writers’ haste to speed up the plots, they neglect character development and relationships that are the most important things on soaps, and throw too much of this action in our faces. It makes for a temporary and unsatisfying roller coaster ride. That might be fine for a summer movie but it’s not going to work on soap operas!

I love General Hospital but how many times can I watch Sonny get shot or Carly get kidnapped? When it happens so often, it no longer evokes the desired reaction. Instead I think, ho-hum, I know they’re not going to die, why are they trying this again? I watch One Life to Live but lately it’s hard to recognize. All of the cast changes are bad enough, but then when someone on the show is going crazy or taking hostages every week, it makes you wonder why you should care. Frankly the only people I really care about on the show right now are Al and Marcie, but I hear he’s being killed off, so what does that leave me with? Recently we’ve lost Sam, Todd, Troy, Ben, and will soon be losing Al and Max….but we’re supposed to care about the new Joey, Kevin, Jessica, Walker, River, Kelly, Flash, and that Latina girl, and the new D.A. (I can never remember their names)…and yet Viki and Roxy are hardly given anything to do. I do like Bo and Gabrielle, but I doubt they will last long because everyone seems to think that Bo and Nora should get back together. Been there, done that. And may I say that I really hate the new Kevin, who is very smarmy?

Anyway, getting back to my point, which was not JUST to complain about everything…there needs to be more balance and not so much violence.

Part 2 Coming Soon!

Page updated 2/28/13

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