Am I the only person among my peers who watches a soap opera on a regular and semi-obsessive basis? If not, thank goodness I’m not the only loser out there. If so, as I suspect, then allow me to share the basic soap opera formula:

  • Some body’s life is always in danger. Every now and then someone actually dies, just to make sure everyone stays on their toes.
  • Everyone on the show has a plausible motive for attempting to kill said potential victim. Sometimes this victim is entirely deserving of the death threats directed at them; sometimes  they are unjustly victimized. It doesn’t really matter which it is – the real culprit is usually the last person you’d suspect because you stupidly assume that the culprit wouldn’t be the obvious guess because the writers are better than that. No, sadly they usually pin it on the most obvious character, thereby creating a self-fulfilling prophesy that their watchers are mostly stupid females that can’t handle a more complicated plot twist.
  • Anytime a female of questionable repute is attempting to surprise her beau with some seductive stunt or other, the absolute wrong person never fails to enter the room instead. And the seductress never attempts to confirm that they are speaking to the correct person and are therefore shocked senseless to find their lover’s mother looking at them judgingly when they open their eyes or turn their heads to see. Or even more common is that said mother-in-law does something ridiculous like pours ice water over their heads in order to reveal herself.
  • Every romance illicits the same response from each character: “I’ve never experienced a love like this!” Sure, darling strumpet, you’ve never felt this way before. That would be so much more believable if this weren’t the fifth time you’ve married the same man.
  • No important or compromising conversation can occur behind a closed or locked door. How would anyone be able to overhear you?
  • A child born five years ago in real-time is 21 in show-time. A woman who turns 25 in show-time remains under thirty until she’s 65 in real-time.
  • No one is ever reallydead. Writers can invent an explanation for characters returning to the show after even the most convincing deaths. Being buried and having an open casket at your funeral does not necessarily mean you can’t be written back in some day.
  • Career changes are cake-walks. A doctor can become a seasoned fashion designer overnight with absolutely no prelude nor explanation necessary.
  • Even the most depraved “bad guy” can and must be forgiven in order to continue watching a soap opera for over three years without losing your mind.
  • No plot is too cliche to repeat one more time as long as it’s been at least six months real-time since the last time the same thing happened.
  • It is remarkably easy to conceive a baby in soap-world.
  • No marriage is strong enough to stand the test of time. There are no exceptions to this rule, at least on the show I watch, not even the matriarch and patriarch can manage to stay married to one another for more than two months at a time.
  • It is a given that the men who sleep around are viewed as less culpable than the women who sleep around. I realize this is true in real-life as well, however for those of us who are enlightened enough to see things more equitably, it is astonishing to watch how easily everyone forgives a cheating man but a cheating woman is spied upon, tested, and tricked and still begs to be forgiven.
  • Identical twins can morph into fraternal twins after the age of 12 (show-time) without explanation or comment. 
  • Everyone loves everyone else on the episode airing December 24th. They’ll be attempting murder on the 23rd and 26th, but on  the 24th, all is well.

And that, my friends, is my lengthy attempt to explain why soap operas suck. If I had any brains at all, I’d listen to myself and quit watching. But every day I tune in, hoping to be surprised. How many years will it take for me to give it up as a lost cause? I watched Days of Our Lives for five years before I gave it up as the dumbest show on television. I’ve been watching The Bold and the Beautiful for almost ten years now and I seem to know exactly what to expect, but can’t resist the urge to watch one more episode, just to see how Bridget is going to handle her latest trials, even if her response will likely be to marry Nick for the third time in as many years.

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