Wednesday, August 31, 2005

True Confessions

I'm going to make a confession to y'all, as I know that I'm just among friends here.

Here it is: I love soap operas.

Yes, I know. They're silly and over-the-top and trite and totally lacking in substance. But I love them any way.

I can genuinely blame this on my mom. She started watching "As the World Turns" the year that I was born, which was -- ahem -- over 40 years ago. For my whole, conscious life (and a hunk of my unconscious life) I've had "As the World Turns" as the soundtrack to my lunch-hour. Those long running characters are like family to me, in a weird way. When I lived in New Hampshire, thousands of miles from my mom and sister, it gave me great pleasure and an odd (I admit) sense of security to watch the Hughes clan on that show, and know that my mom and sister were watching, too.

And once you get hooked on watching a soap opera, it seems to me, one just leads to another. (I digress to tell a funny story about my grandma, a serious little lady from Italy whose grasp of English wasn't the strongest. Every afternoon at 3:00 she sat down to watch "All My Children" ...she planned her whole day around that entertainment hour. So, one afternoon, I was at her house and 3:00 rolled around and my grandmother got gingerale for both of us and we settled down to watch "All My Children." Only...wait! The credits were rolling, the show logo spilled across the screen...it WASN'T "All My Children!" It was "One Life to Live!" Some months earlier, it turned out, the station had changed its lineup of shows and slotted "One Life to Live" in the 3:00 time slot. And my grandmother didn't notice. Different characters? Well, those soap actors do have a sort of standard look to them. And different plot? Put them all in a hospital and it IS hard to tell which show you're watching. My grandmother didn't notice, and didn't care. She had her 3:00 show, and she just kept on watching.)

Anyway. Watching "As the World Turns" for all those years led me to watch "The Bold and Beautiful," which has always preceded it. (I'd turn on the tv to watch ATWT and catch the closing moments of each B&B episode...and we all know that the good stuff only happens at the end of the show. So, I got curious and started tuning in to see more. That show is about the silliest and subtly tongue-in-cheek show around (at least, that's how I choose to see that show's ridiculous drama).

Just so we're clear (I'm only gonna admit so much, after all) I don't actually sit down and watch, enrapt, for 90 minutes every day. What I actually do is have my VCR set to tape that time slot 5 days a week...and usually I end up piling up tapes so that I'm several weeks behind.

Then, when I'm sewing or cleaning my office or ironing I pop them in and let the shows roll over me. If I miss some stuff, it doesn't matter (heck, if I lose the tape and miss 8 shows it doesn't matter). And I get enormous pleasure of having it on while I sew. It's not worth my full attention, but I'll happily give it 20 percent.

This morning, I had workers pounding away in the master bathroom, and clomping up and down the stairs hauling wood and debris and who knows what else. So, I put my soap tape in the vcr and spent a lovely few hours working on my sprinkler quilt with my friends from Oakdale in the background.

It's pure escapism, but I love it.

4 comments:

Lynne said...

I always think soap operas are much more entertaining when you are cynical about the plots and characters. I watch (sporadically now, because Frasier is on at the same time) B&B, it is soooo cheesy that it's good. But the ultimate "good" soapie has got to be Passions. They have a monkey nurse as a character - how cool is that??

Caitlin O'Connor said...

I confess to being a closet B&B fan - it comes on before the earliest evening news bulletin, so I catch the last 15 minutes or so most days. Soooo cheesy and sooo good! All the soapies in Australia used to run about 4 years behind the US shows - then this year the networks here decided to have a big catch up marathon. I didn't bother, the main characters were still mostly there - just slightly wrinkly-er and with longer hair!

Deborah said...

Are you wishing you had Tivo? Or some DVR system? I am. All those tapes piling up is insane. This is definetely on my list for our new home.

Gerrie said...

Deborah is right. Tivo is the way to go!