Were you enjoying the lack of soap opera related posts? Too bad. Today we’re going to talk just a little about how my life has changed since One Life to Live’s cancelation. For one thing, I no longer eat lunch at exactly 2:00pm. For another thing I’m watching less ABC. And judging by their ratings, I’m not the only one. But I digress.
I originally figured when OLTL went off I’d be done with soaps. I was trying to look on the bright side and think that gave me five hours of extra useable time every week. But the more previews I saw for OLTL’s replacement (I like to call it The Coup) the more pissed off I became. And it occurred to me, that if I turn off the television it hurts ABC marginally. I’m not a Nielsen family, but I was recording things on my DVR, and the do get statistics on that. But since advertisers focus on market share, if all I do is make the size of the market smaller, I hurt ABC a little bit. But if I just change the channel, I hurt them a little bit more. And I liked that idea.
So I decided to check out a new soap. Now as regional markets would have it, there are no scripted dramas in the 2:00pm slot where I live. So I had to content myself with hurting All My Children’s replacement, which is okay, though slightly less satisfying. Fourth Street Media has stated on Twitter recently that channel loyalty tends to override show loyalty or genre loyalty, speculating that it was unlikely ABC soap refugees would jump to other soaps. While last week’s ratings largely prove them wrong, I’ll admit they aren’t totally wrong either. Most soap watchers I know have identified strongly with being ABC, CBS, or NBC soap fans. I haven’t watched All My Children in years, but I always had some idea what was going on over in Pine Valley based on previews or even just turning on the television early. Non ABC soaps were like a foreign planet I knew nothing about. But hey, I’m an adventurous girl. Beam me up, Bradley Bell.
So which show to watch? Ultimately, I wound up giving two shows a trial period, but we’re only going to talk about one in this post. I decided to start watching The Bold and the Beautiful for several reasons. 1) It’s only half an hour long and therefore less of a commitment. 2) Richard from the Soaps in Depth twitter feed had mentioned it was an easy one to get into because it has a smaller cast and usually fewer storylines at once. 3) Scott Clifton. Though in many ways he’ll always be Dillon from General Hospital to me, I find him very likeable on screen and off no matter who he’s playing. 4) Hillary B Smith who played Nora Hannen Gannon Buchanan on OLTL for many, many years was just offered a role on the show playing a sex therapist.
Wanting to really test out how hard it is to pick up a new soap (and because I don’t have that much time) I decided not to avail myself of any of the resources online to tell me the back story or who these people are. I’m just going with what I see on television.
How hard is this: As expected, it’s not that hard to figure out what’s going on. I’m sure I’m missing subtle nuances, and I’m missing that attachment to characters you get after watching a show for years, but I haven’t been lost.
First impressions: I think OLTL may have been the only soap on the air that didn’t have multiple characters involved in the fashion/cosmetics industry. Condescending much, television? You know we are interested in other things, right? Moving past that. There’s something unsatisfying about this show. It’s not just that it’s only half an hour, it seems to have an even higher percentage of time devoted to commercials than the ABC shows, but maybe that’s just perception.
If I have the storyline right: Dillon from GH is calling himself Liam and he’s married to sexy brunette Steffy but in love with abstinent blond Hope. He can’t leave his wife though, because she has a blood clot in her brain that could cause her a stroke if she gets stressed. Only she doesn’t. Liam’s dad falsified test results because he either really likes Steffy (possibly in an inappropriate way) or really dislikes Hope or both. He’s married to Katie who looks eerily like Kelly #3 from OLTL, only much prettier as a brunette than she was as a blond. Steffy has evidently done a lot of lying and manipulating, but is totes reformed and dedicated to her marriage. Hope is so devastated to have not gotten her man she’s considering throwing out her principles and everything she stands for (apparently she’s some sort of celebrity). Hope has a meddling mom. Who I think is married to Steffy’s dad. Steffy’s mom has a problem with too much collagen in her lips.
All hell breaks loose when the truth comes out about Steffy’s nonexistent blood clot. There’s lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth, but ultimately Liam realizes that since he was planning to leave Steffy before the blood clot, he should probably go ahead and do that. Elsewhere on the show there’s a crazy old lady with a Wayne Brady obsession and JR Chandler from AMC fresh from firing into a crowded room is doing something underhanded.
My thoughts: So many things I want to like about this show, and so few I do. I want to like Liam, but he spends entirely too much time looking tormented and playing with the feelings of both ladies. I want to like Hope for being a female on television who doesn’t sleep with every guy who looks at her twice. But she’s just kinda cloying and annoying. I kinda like Steffy except she was so freaking deluded about things working out with her and Liam. The older generation seems more childish than their children. And aspects of this show (read: the whole Wayne Brady thing) just seem a little silly. And not in a fun way.
Verdict: I’ll give them a little longer, but I’m far from hooked.