I first got into soaps as an adolescent girl in the 1980s, then I stopped watching regularly when I landed my first job at 16. Over twenty years later thanks to this wonderful invention called Tivo I’m back again. I have several pet programs— Guiding Light, As the World Turns, One Life to Live—and these are just my day time dramas!
I used to call my soap opera watching a “guilty pleasure,” but not anymore. I think that for me watching these never ending stories actually enriches my life. On a soap opera almost anything is possible. That is the mantra of self-help. Within our lives there are countless possibilities.
And so I think, if a show's beloved villain can come back from the dead three times, terrorize the town and then be redeemed, what are my mistakes and shortcomings in comparison?
There is always an opportunity for redemption. Always.
This week the Bellaonline CBS Soaps editor, Kriss Johnson, was kind enough to share with us her thoughts about this often underrated genre.
BELLA:Why do you think soap operas are a necessary part of this culture?
KRISS: Soap operas are an escape from everyday life. I started watching soaps at an early age. The stories are so fascinating and often touch lives with story lines focusing on important issues like breast cancer, homosexuality, or addictions. I think it’s wonderful when writers use characters to bring awareness to real life issues.
BELLA:What is your response to people who say smart women don’t watch soaps?
KRISS: Women learn how to adapt and balance life, and involve themselves in activities they are passionate about. I love fitness and spending time with family and friends. But I also love entertainment such as video games, movies, and, of course, television. There is nothing wrong with having a variety of interests. In fact, I believe it enhances your life. Because of my love for soaps, I have chatted with many members and developed new friendships.
BELLA:What specifically is there to be gained by watching soaps?
KRISS: Soaps have touched people’s lives in many different ways: Nikki Newman’s alcoholism (Young & the Restless) Iva’s teen pregnancy (As The World Turns) and Cassie Newman’s death (Young & the Restless )are all stories that have received great fan response. Some fans may even have family members or friends dealing with similar issues. Stories that touch your heart and speak to a fan’s own personal struggle mark the point when soaps become more than just entertainment.
BELLA: Are soaps dying? There seemed to be more programs on the air 15-20 years ago.
KRISS: There are very few soaps on the air with consistent characters and storylines. Young & the Restless is the best example of a soap that consistently delivers great twists and relevant stories. For example, Y&R had Enrique Iglesias perform. He is an established star with a huge fan base. I know people who normally don’t watch soaps tuned in just to watch Enrique. Also, Y&R is the best representation of characters from all walks of life - young, old, varying races and cultures.
BELLA: What’s your favorite storyline of all time?
One of my favorite characters is Nikki Newman. She is a strong and classy lady that has went through so much yet is still standing. I would like to see her and David Chow develop their relationship further. They have chemistry that I have not seen Nikki have with any other man, including Victor.
Thank you Kriss for your comments!
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