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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 donít want to sound like those people who complain about violence on television being bad for us, or for children, or society, blah blahÖ.I hate those people and think theyíre wrong. I donít believe violence in TV or movies causes people to become more violent. And I donít think children should be watching violent shows, but thereís 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. Iím hear to tell them that they are wrong.

I donít know why, but the writers on soaps lately seem to think that soaps are about violence and action. They donít seem to ďgetĒ 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 thatís 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.

Iím 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 80ís 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 Iím watching now on Soapnet. It has kidnappings, serial killers, psychics, etc. But they werenít the primary focus of the show and they didnít 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). Thatís not only horrible but uncreative. Canít 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 itís overwhelming the characters now. No wonder the ratings are always going down on soaps. This kind of ďexcitementĒ is not going to keep viewers around, or draw in new ones.

Maybe theyíre thinking that if the shows are exciting like primetime, they will draw in more viewers who donít 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 writersí 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 itís 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 theyíre not going to die, why are they trying this again? I watch One Life to Live but lately itís 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 heís being killed off, so what does that leave me with? Recently weíve lost Sam, Todd, Troy, Ben, and will soon be losing Al and MaxÖ.but weíre 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)Öand 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 everythingÖthere needs to be more balance and not so much violence.

Part 2 Coming Soon!

Page updated 12/27/11

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