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Standard of Excellence: Today's Soaps

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I just have to take a moment to comment on the overall quality of General Hospital. It has been years since I have watched a soap opera and felt like every aspect of that soap came together in exactly the right way. It is easy to spot the shows that work hard to bring their viewers the best possible entertainment and right now General Hospital is one of those shows. And if you have read any of my previous blog posts about General Hospital you know that I am not just referring to this week's carnival event. However one of the reasons this event has been so entertaining to watch is because GH took the necessary amount of time to build up the storylines that were going to be affected by it. This is what good storytelling is all about. Viewers have to care about what happens. Soaps cannot just throw in a handful of dramatic moments every once in a while, thinking that the shock value they provide will somehow make up for the lack of storyline. Providing an audience with pointless drama is like asking them to consume empty calories. Sure they may feel happy for a few minutes, but after that they are going to start looking for something more substantial, which is probably why so many soaps are facing cancellation.

I'm not saying that GH is the only good soap or the only one that knows how to tell a story. What I am saying is that every soap opera needs to step up their game. And for the past year or so General Hospital has been doing just that, setting a standard by which other soaps could be measured. I know that budgets are much tighter for this genre than they have ever been before, but that is no excuse for sloppy writing. It is not even much of an excuse for sloppy casting considering how many out of work actors there are that are willing to work for next to nothing. If low budget films can become box office hits, then it should not be difficult for soaps to provide quality entertainment on a low budget.

Comments

  1. I 100% Completely agree with you!! I am a huge ABC soap fan. But lately it seems like I have only been watching One Life To Live and GH, because I have been getting bored with All My Children. I mean it is one thing to leave your viewers in suspense but it is another to just drag a storyline on! I mean why continue to beat a dead horse? I am enjoying GH and One Life To Live because they are wrapping up the storylines and starting new ones at a good amount of time. With All My Children I think they are dragging on the whole "WHO KILLED STUART?" and Amanda/Jake/David baby drama for what it seems as MONTHS now!! GET ON WITH IT FOLKS!!!

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  2. Hi Jessica! I must admit that I am not that familiar with All My Children, but it seems like I have been seeing promos of the storylines you mentioned for months now. And I can tell you that none of these promos have made me want to tune in. The material just doesn't seem to be there to generate much interest.

    As far as One Life to Live goes, I have watched it off and on for about a year or so. What I have found from watching this soap is that not all of their major events have a profound and lasting impact on the characters' lives. OLTL is great at creating big storylines that make me want to tune in, but once they are over it seems like very little happens. Their big stories should be able to provide months of captivating drama, but in many ways they don't. And whenever a soap creates these big stories, they need to make sure that they have the potential to influence other storylines or else viewers get bored. Is that something you have noticed as well?

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  3. Yes Paula! You pretty much summed up what I was trying to bring across! Soaps bring the bang for "SWEEPS" and then when it is over it seems like there is no point to tune in! I mean I DVR all 3 soaps but I honestly lately find myself deleting All My Children and One Life To Live sometimes after about 10 minutes into an episode because I am bored! General Hospital really only seems to me like the one Soap that has grsaped my attention for so many years! I watch the other 2 when they have their big storylines but when then i get bored when they fizzle them out! They all need to step up their game when it comes to writing new material and quit recycling the drama or unfortunately they may face cancellation like so many other soaps have!

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  4. I agree. The cancellation of all soaps seems inevitable at this point,especially with Guiding Light ending this week. Soaps can no longer afford to make costly mistakes that they may not recover from. Guiding Light changed its entire format, trying to save money and time. It was a big risk because what they did was essentially mess with the atmosphere and history of the show. Complaints from the fans went unaddressed for months, until they were finally cancelled. It is sad, but when soaps stop listening to their fan base they tend to get cancelled.

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  5. Hopefully all of the other soaps can learn a lesson here and open their eyes and start listening to us! Or else fate will deal them the same consequence!

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