Somewhere I lost it. I was one of those non-soapers who rolled my eyes when anyone spoke of the trials and tribulations of their beloved characters. I’d make fun of my friends who were devoted, diehard fans. I thought you’ve got to be kidding me when they would have passionate arguments about plots, storylines, who kidnapped whose baby, who returned to the land of the living, who was stripping, hooked on drugs, raped, having bucking-bull sex, miscarrying, victimized, or walking down the aisle to a wedding that surely wasn’t going to take place. Who could care this much about a pompous, overly- dramatic, nonsensical show that parades unrealistic scenarios as if they were real, as if their audience were contrived of fools?
The day came when I was presented with a challenge from a soap fan, who’d been a trooper and patiently listened to my anti-soap diatribe. After accepting my overzealous opinions, she presented a dare. I had to watch a week of one soap, and then I could spout as many daytime slurs as I wished.
I took her up on it. And as you’ve figured out, I was sucked into the deep abyss that is General Hospital.
My very first GH episode was the death of Brenda (the soap gods were obviously trying to curse me). I couldn’t figure out why I was so damn sad when Jax, who’d intrigued me with his helicopter piloting (who the f*ck commandeered a helicopter EVER), grieved to an overwhelming extent. There were tears in my eyes. I wasn’t accustomed to such raw emotion in a show, especially my first soap experience. Yet, I shrugged it off. Days and days later, flashbacks of Jax and Brenda haunted my TV. I felt for him. I wanted to comfort him, touch him (who the hell wouldn’t?), and mourn her loss with him. I hadn’t even seen Sonny at this point, didn’t know they rivalry, the triangle history. All I knew is that this was not what I’d expected.
Suddenly Robin is ratting out Jason, AJ finds out he’s a dad, Sarah Brown’s Carly is flaunting her manipulation all over the screen, Helena’s paralyzed at Stefan’s doing, Nik and Katharine Bell are screwing wherever there’s satin sheets, and I couldn’t get enough of any of it. I’d succumbed the darkness. I was officially a newborn soap freak.
I knew I’d really lost it when I started signing onto soap websites, looking forward to the spoilers, chortling wickedly to myself as I suckered other non-soapers into the tricky dare that I’d fallen for myself. More fans emerged. I had a following. I started reading Callen’s (now gone), the Wub Queen (still reigning), and of course, eyesonsoaps.com (pre-Sage era). I was hooked on Katrina’s spoilers. Sage came along and made me laugh my ass off. Despite whether or not I agreed with him or her, they sure were colorful as hell. Regardless, I read each week, constantly pulled into their vibrant columns and drunken midnight ramblings.
I started realizing that some of the things said in their columns I couldn’t quite follow. Not because I didn’t believe in them, but because I hadn’t been a soap fan then. I was NOT there with Robin and Stone, when BJ’s heart saved Maxie, when Frisco and Felicia were an item, when Luke and Laura got married, when Sonny and Brenda had their famous island scenes, or when AJ whacked Jason into a tree trunk. I couldn’t really follow some of the fiery opinions, and I couldn’t really agree with them either, because I wasn’t around for those times.
I realized that there are some actors or couples or scenes that I really liked, and I couldn’t quite figure out why a majority of the eyesonsoaps staff was cringing, binging, purging, and fast forwarding. I like the Sonny/Carly/Jason/Courtney scenes. I like the dark gangster/crimelord takes-all scenarios. I liked when Ric took Sonny by the balls by kidnapping Carly. I liked him unredeemable, I liked him teetering on psychotic, I liked brooding, desperate Sonny lurking hysterically around Alcazar as if Carly would…POOF…appear. I liked the drama that the actors (this soap has some of the best) spun into the story. I can understand that vet soap-freaks know all the history, bank on the old stories hopefully gracing the screen again, and with excellent actors being handed a fab, meaty storyline. However, I seemingly fell victim to the fact that I wasn’t a long-term soaper. I had no knowledge of previous history. So I enjoyed being vacuumed in with the Fab Four (the mob crew), and I liked fresh storylines that weren’t ridiculously retarded (Luke/Lucky/Summer or Roy’s “deception” or Chloe’s stupid ESP).
I also agreed with a few opinions. The undoing of Alexis? Idiotic. I remembered her as courageous and wolf-like. The Coleman Phenomenon…give me a pool table and him ANYDAY. The AJ infamy? I remembered him NOT pushing Carly down the stairs, and of course, being strung up by a meat hook. I also remember him as Eddie Cramer on Baywatch….YUM.
Reading eyeonsoaps each week, I thought that sometimes, reviews were negative (not to say that opinions are not to his own), and I wondered about those of us that had not been soap-freaks for extenuated years. I thought of those of us that liked what was going on, and I thought of those of us that were sucked into a historical storyline that, if you weren’t watching before, had no idea what the previous conviction had been. Irregardless, I might have still enjoyed or hated it. So, I am here to defend those of us that aren’t armed with enough viewing knowledge to know, understand and process decades of history.
Times change. So do soaps. Of course, we all say we want a beautiful love scene, we all say we want a murder, but we all break it down when we get what we want.
My first agenda? To properly defend the Sonny Hour. I like seeing him, Jase, Carly and (sometimes) Courtney on my screen. So stay tuned….I will be writing.
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