You’ve read a million death of daytime articles already, I’m sure. They’re painful both because of the sheer number of them and the truth they’ve imparted about why daytime has continued to fall apart. Most of them weren’t written by the venerable soap press. The soap press continued to cheer on the inane and asinine storyline telling as ‘innovative’ and ‘original’. No holding a mirror to the naked emperor for the soap press, no sirree. Now that it’s been revealed that Soapnet goes off the air in 2012, fans, it seems, have given up hope that the rest of daytime can be saved, and with good reason, but more on that later.
The one network that was supposed to be fully dedicated to soaps gave up on the genre long ago as it cut back the daytime schedule and boasted about its acquisition of primetime shows. Now? Soaps will be replaced with more preschool friendly programming. Symbolic, don’t you think? The juvenile writing plaguing daytime over the last several years has worked wonders in driving away much of the adult audience but did little to attract the ever elusive 12 to 17 year olds TIIC of daytime couldn’t wait to bring on board – the same 12 to 17 year olds who didn’t give a damn about daytime. Now Disney can give the kids what they really want.
Unfortunately for daytime viewers, the network’s effort to stem to tide of revenue loss may have actually contributed to hastening the death of daytime. When the writing was bad on your favorite soap, you still had other choices. You could move on to something else – but that was before the network hacks decided that it was easier to systematically kill off daytime serials than support them and take them back to basics. When my once favorite Bold and Beautiful drove me absolutely nuts (as it does now with the whining non-“Forrester” women CONSTANTLY attacking the Logan women), I could always find another soap to watch that didn’t drive me batty. Now? The writing is so horrendous across the board and there are so few soaps, there is no where to go but cable and watching ‘primetime in the daytime’. (Which is oddly enough what Soapnet was trying to do, unsuccessfully). By killing off ‘lineups’, TPTB of daytime gave fans fewer and fewer reasons to tune in. Ah, but there were/are other problems:
1 – The soaperatti (on and off screen) is incestuous and keeps claiming that it’s such a ‘specialty’ field that no one outside of daytime can understand it — that’s because they’re so “speshul”, doncha know? And have I mentioned t they’re special? Somehow primetime and cable are surviving with infusing new blood and new ideas. Daytime only, it seems, needs specialists (because they’re special) and yet those specialists (who are special) still can’t figure out how to hang on to an audience. As a result, the same few burned out writers and executive producers are shifted from show to show. You can’t get away from them, as they keep trying to shove the same tired ideas at what they think is a ‘new’ audience every time they ‘quantum leap’ from show to show.
Daytimers typically watch multiple shows, so if you didn’t like a mother and daughter sleeping with the same man and beating each other up on one show, you sure as hell weren’t going to root for the hack writer and producers to bring that storyline to another show you’re watching. When there were more soaps (and more writers) there were also more ideas. and more places to escape to within the genre. That’s gone and the soaperatti have nothing left but false self-praise and careers on a downward slide. Does anyone know if any of the currently unemployed daytime writers have found work on any successful projects? I’d love to know, dear readers. I can’t think of any, and I can’t imagine there are producers out there lining up to grab any of the ‘elite’ in daytime. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but I just don’t know where they are. Who’d want to submit an e-portfolio of the worst of daytime as evidence of what you’re capable of offering?
2 – While probably not a popular opinion, I also think a huge problem in daytime is that TIIC are have extended the ideology of the “super special” to hiring actors. The ‘newer’ daytime actors have been treated as ‘speshul’ too. Instead of relying on tried and true and highly skilled vets, daytime PTB decided that a small group of select newbies were the future of genre. I won’t name names, but I think we can all list at least a half dozen actors who are shifted from show to show along with tired/burned out writers and executive producers.
The problem is that the pretty but pointless actors aren’t skilled enough to add new dimensions to their characters from show to show. The actors’ mannerisms and inflections are the same. On top of the same tired storylines, fans were cursed with the same actors, sporting new character names, but providing nothing that differentiated them. The ‘look’ of each show may differ, but the ‘content’ and ‘feel’ of all soaps is similar. thanks to the small cohort of shifting writers, producers, and actors. ABC and CBS could blend what’s left of their lineups and I don’t know that fans would notice the difference. ABC could offer “All My Children born at General Hospital embracing our One Life To Live” and CBS could offer the “Bold and Beautifully Young and Restless”. NBC, would of course, give us the “Days of Our Lives”. It’s all they have left to give having killed off so many daytime shows, already.
The warning signs of impending doom have been sounded for years by fans who’ve wanted nothing more than to save the genre. Unfortunately, it fell on hubristic and intentionally tone deaf ears. How tone deaf have TIIC been? Memorial Day would have been a keen opportunity for TIIC to remind soap fans that daytime is still around and that there’s potential to return to the formula that made the genre work. What did TPTB of GH offer?
Link that with THIS gem that oringally aired a week after the above clip:
On a day when we honor our war dead, and others who have valiantly served and protected this country, we were ‘treated’ to a repeat of an episode in which the soap world is proven to be turned upside down. Jason and Spinelli bleat on and on about how heartless cold and unfeeling OFFICER Dante Falconeri is to turn in his brother for killing a woman. Dante, of course, has no honor. Dante is an evil person. He’s too dense to understand why the mob covered up a woman’s death. It’s Dante’s fault for not understanding why what would have been a simple self-defense charge, which would have been cleared had Michael first told the truth, ended up with Michael looking guilty of murder, a cover up, and obstruction.
WHAT? You would be suspicious of a claim of self-defense if the people involved ‘disposed of’ the body, burned down the cabin where it happened – on a rainy night, no less – to get rid of evidence, and then lied on the stand and to the police for months at a time? I hear ya’! It’s just that TIIC don’t hear you. On a day when many of us are remembering our loved one who gave their lives – GH’s braintrust wants you to watch the mob squad talk about murdering police officers and activating the crooked cops on their payroll to protect the mob heir apparent. Spinelli has to tell Jason that Dante’s death, officer or not, would have grave impact (no pun intended) on those who love him, and those who serve with him. Color me stunned, and sickened, and tired, just tired of this dreck.
What could TIIC aired instead, to woo fans back?
Or even this:
But no… black is white, up is down…and we’re tuning out. Anyone know what’s planned for Disney Junior? My nieces and nephews visit me in the summer. I guess we’ll have something to watch together in 2012.