Wednesday, April 20, 2011

So, How Crazy ARE Soap Opera Fans??

Most of you know in "real life" I'm a speech pathologist. I went from full to part time work about 11 years ago when my son started school. I am now in private practice and see people on a "my schedule" basis. When I run into folks I haven't seen in awhile the conversation goes something like this:

Them: So! What are you doing??
Me: Oh, Private work..and I run a website (or wubhub says I run one and I kick him under the table)
Them: You do?? Wow...what is it about? Speech? 
Me:  Uh, no...General Hospital
Them: Rochester General? How cool!
Me (or WubHub): No...the soap...you know..General Hospital
Them: (big pause) HA! (Brenda laugh) uh... the SOAP OPERA? You? You mean like Luke and Laura?
Me: Yeah...heh... (then, trying to dazzle them,  I go into a big explanation of learning HTML, meeting great fans, running an actors website, yada yada...)
Them: Oh. Wow. Huh. (crickets chirp)  

Yep... you all know it, especially those of you that are closet fanatics. You might go to events and actually tell people. ("You're going to see WHO?? Where??!!Why would you want to do that!?" ) -- or talk about it on your Facebook page ("OMG, you still watch soaps!!?? I think my grandmother still watches those things").
BUT..who do they call if they want spoilers?? ("Not that I watch, but come on, tell me are Sonny and Brenda really getting married this time??!") When the soaps were canceled, a LOT of people called and texted me to see if it was true. Ergo, I have to believe there are an awful lot of people that still tune in now and then and just don't say anything. 



This brings me to the latest press-spree about ABC canceling the Soaps and all the crap that inevitability written about us fans. Most of the time we're fat and lazy housewives-- or old people trapped in nursing homes. Perez Hilton (who I refuse to link to anymore) even went so far as to say we didn't know how to use a computer. Really?? Really? Has he not seen the millions of fans sites and soap sites out there??! Soap fans come in both genders, all ethnic groups, and you'd better believe all age groups! When I went to NLG's event in NYC I can't tell you how many Moms and Daughters were there..some 3 generations. Husbands and wives...and yes, a few smart people that even knew how to use a Blackberry!! My readers range from teens to 80 year olds...and I'm so proud of the fact I've met people based on FUN not on their age. 

Not for nothing but ALL things have fans. Sports fans?? They usually make the most fun of me. Those that sit with their faces painted mulit-colored and watch football like obsessed maniacs. But hey, that's sports...!! Like that's  somehow better than watching a story unfold over the years?? How about sci-fi fans? They dress up when they go to their events. Yet the media loves them... Comic con is like the uber-geek fest everyone wants to go to. Last I looked comic books were just as "campy" as any soap is. NASCAR fans spend millions on tickets and merchandising and go live at racetracks on the weekends. Gamers wait in line for midnight releases of their product. Not to mention the MAC people that camp out whenever a new iPad comes out.




So why are WE crazy? Why are WE looked on with such disdain?? If half the lower-rated TV shows had a loyal base like us, they'd be groveling at their feet! If you watch Mad Men and throw theme parties, buy the merchandise and start a fan page, you're somehow "cool"... us, not so much.

This whole canceling of AMC and OLTL just brought it all up again. I'm through apologizing for loving my shows. If the networks dared to count all the online watching and DVRing of soaps, I think they'd be shocked.


Just had to get that off my chest. We've poured a LOT of money into this industry over the years and have usually gotten crapped on for doing it.  Our actors take sheeze for even acting on soaps when we know how hard they work and what amazing talents they are. It's time people woke the hell up. Oh, and PS..world out there?? I don't know any "lazy" housewives. Usually, they run things.

35 comments:

RunRunAway13 said...

I am so glad you said this because I've always felt the same way and even more so lately. I'm a third year law student and the opposite of what Perez would call a "soap fan" and it drives me crazy that he (and others) lump us into one category. Thank you for saying what we've all been thinking!

Jacqueline said...

Totally agee. I'm a stay at home mom, but I've been watching soaps since I was 14. I would record them on my vcr while I was at school. I'm 28 now, and now use my dvr. I have a 3 yr old so I don't always get to watch live.

Meisha said...

I am proud to say I have followed your column for 6 years you are FABULOUS Kdmask. You always hit right on the nose! I am a 35+ year soap fan and most of the people I have encountered find it hard to believe that I am since I don't fit the "fat lazy bon bon popping housewife" persona. Where did that label even come from?

BadBarb said...

I read romances and I get the same comments whether I admit what I read or what I watch.
People look at you funny but I don't care. I read and watch what I want.

Sarah said...

I only dvr AMC, I didn't realize that they were not looking into the dvr'ed. My bff watches oltl and only watches it online, it is a shame!

Brenda said...

Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. Not only do I get ridiculed for watching the soaps and attending the events to meet the actors, but I am also harassed about writing my fanfics. It got so bad, that I had to create a second fan page- one devoted to my GH love- and this is from my FAMILY members. Jeez Louise, why should I have to be a closet fan. I'm done hiding. Love this post 1000%.

A. Louise said...

Thanks once again, Karen, for speaking the plain truth. As a 48 year old with two daughters, 24 and 22 who have watched since they were kids I have always said our numbers were well under-rated. My next door neighbor watches GH and I know another who is into other soaps. We're out there and we buy stuff, not just the same old products either. It makes me furious that we a constantly and consistently dismissed. BTW, I used to manage a market research firm and I can just imagine the way those "Daytime Surveys" ABC conducted were worded. Soaps never had a chance, I'm sure of it.

bl said...

I think part of it is soaps are seen as traditionally a female kind of programming ergo it gets mocked. It took years for the sci-fi fans to get some respect. Eventually I think what happened is they realized they could make money from them.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I don't have a twitter. But has anyone tried to contact the "star" who have guest starred over the years. Including musical guests that have showed up on OLTL or what about Rosie O Donnell. I am sure she just loves the ABC network ;-) wasn't she on AMC many years ago. What about like Snoop, the Kardashians...my mind is drawing a blank on the others... Would they come out in support of soap fans?

Anonymous said...

And what about James Franco? Rumor has it GH Doesn't have much time left....

Laura said...

And the Soapy Pulitzer goes to.....

Bravo! You get a standing ovation, and I'm even going to log in to post this response instead of the usual anon hit and run!

Shadow said...

Amen to that whole rant. Imagine being a straight adult married guy with kids who has loved All My Children his whole life? How come it's ok for Hispanic guys to watch telenovas but I gotta eat shit for watching an American soap? Maybe I'm really Latin and don't know it! Of course, I'm day glow white right now and don't speak with a cool accent, but so what? Hey, maybe I'm a Castillo. Damn! I'll never know because that fathead Frons canceled my show!

mosbp2003 said...

Karen, I have a Masters Degree, run my own business, which requires computer skills, raise two children, maintain a marriage, take care of a house and two dogs and I AM A SOAP FAN! Perez Hilton is a complete loser, and he is making fun of us? My husband doesn't get it, but I don't get half the things he watches, so we have agreed to just disagree and respect each others' choice of television programs...

kdmask said...

Shadow...good to see you here!! I know plenty of men that watch-- I've often told my husband if he goes to FCW there would be plenty of guys around. LOL.

Julia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Malice77 said...

Does Perez Hilton, and the rest of the ignoramuses at ABC realize how many professional women grew up wathing soaps and became hooked at a young age and continue to watch? Uh Perez I have two Master Degrees in Education, think about all of those working for various board of educations who have summers off who value our soaps and know how to use computers better thank you. For that matter we know thirteen year olds who know how to use computers better than you moron.

Elizabeth Rowell said...

Thank you for speaking the truth. My husband doesn't get my soap addiction, but then I told him I don't get his Playstation 3 addiction, so we're even. I just turned 35 last week and have been watching soaps my whole life. In college, I scheduled classes around my soaps. Since then, I've DVRed them while I'm at work and watch them at night or catch up on the weekends. I did see that BS that Perez wrote (because I saw on Twitter while using my phone that someone had posted it - yes, I can use a computer AND a Blackberry). Those kinds of opinions really make me angry because they are so far off base, and so many people are quick to just believe it. I don't know why soaps are considered to be such a joke when the actors and crew work so hard every day. There's still a lot of demand for soapy stories even if the "ratings" (which are a joke in and of themselves) don't reflect that since so many people watch using DVR and some online. Anyway, thank you for everything you said! I agree with every word!

Hope said...

I spent so many years taking 'abuse' for being a soap lover, from women who...changed their bowling league night so they could all stay home and watch Dynasty! (before vcr's) but that was ok because it was on at night, and 'wasnt a soap' tho I have to say whenever I give out my email address, and they giggle at soapbabie, I simply say, General Hospital and everyone knows what it is and usually have watched, good conversations in check out lines, trains, they all know the soaps even if they wont admit it...when they know the characters names it hard to believe they havent been watching!!!!

Elizabeth said...

It's like Bad Barb said. Soap fans get the same reaction that romance fans get. I've been watching soaps since the mid 90's and i've been reading romance novels since 2001 (the tail end of my freshman year of high school). When someone finds out that I read romance novels and that if I had $600 to spend I would go to RWA in June, they look at me like I have two heads. They ask me how I could read that trash. I've sent more than one person over to smartbitchestrashybooks.com (which I consider my romance novel equivalent to the wubtub) to show them just how many different types of people actually read romances.

I think the reason we get crap about soaps is because of the romance element (not that there's been much of that on GH in the last few years). They think that the only reason we watch soaps is for all the sex that is on those shows. It seems that people, men especially, equate both soaps and romance novels as porn for women, which is both sexist and a complete double standard. They have no problem watching porn or looking at dirty magazines, but women can't have what they consider "light porn".

Also, I don't think that sci-fi fans are much better received than soap fans. They just aren't afraid to tell people that they watch Star Trek or Dr. Who. My imdb handle is scifigirl86, and most people can't believe that I like Sci-fi because I don't run around playing D&D or carry fake light sabers around. Each genre has its own stereotype and misconceptions abound.

gorjan65@aol.com said...

I was looking for your comment re the scene in GH today where all of Sonny's kids and ex-wives/lovers were in the same room....remember how you have protested the 2 to a room taping? Well, in that scene you had a lot of people connected together...maybe they were throwing you and the fans a "bone"? :)

Love4dogs said...

Hope, you bring up a great point. Dynasty was considered a 'nighttime' soap, but when you think of it, many prime time shows are in the 'soap' format and have been for years. ER, Chicago Hope, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, even comedies like Seinfeld had a 'serial' format to them; a continuing story and relationship of the characters. Not many shows are 'standalone' anymore that you can just tune in and watch and get the gist of the whole thing and then never watch again.

Even Alias was a continuing drama.

kdmask said...

gorjan, I didn't get to see GH today, family stuff came up!! Sonny's birthday?

Shadow said...

Thanks for the welcome mat! It's a fun site and this article was awesome. As a long time, devoted AMC fan I appreciate the support the GH fans are giving for the other shows.

AntJoan said...

I worked for years as an editor, then went back to school for an advanced degree and became a psychotherapist.

When I was working as an editor I worked at a large company where my best friend was the in-house attorney. We met in the company cafeteria, and somehow during our first conversation revealed to each other that we were GH fan-atics.

We have remained friends, and speak more about GH than about our real lives. We often sign off an our e-mails, "See you in Port Charles."

Most women I've met who love GH have been very educated. (Heck, even my husband admitted to having watched it in college, during the Luke & Laura days, and he's a corporate attorney.)

I admit that I do find most reality shows rather "low-brow," but always have been proud of my dedication to GH.

Anonymous said...

WOW gr8 article says everything I want to say going to print this out
Nan

aruthquart said...

I was forced online BECAUSE I was a soap fan and no one I knew wanted to talk about it. The first thing that stunned me was the quality of the analysis online. The second thing that blew me away was the discovery of fan fiction. Whole lotta talent that never makes it to the official world of pop literature.

The third thing that knocked me out was the intensity of the community. I think that is going to be much harder to lose than the shows themselves.

PhD&GHFan said...

Wubs, you are amazing! The entertainment industry truly does underestimate and undervalue soap fans.
I'm a proud GH watcher since my grandfather hooked me in 3rd grade! Oh...and I have a Ph.D. and direct the MBA program at a business school. Everyone, even my dean, knows I love soaps (he follows me on twitter). I'm not ashamed of it. I have contacts at Neilsen and have talked to them about DVR counting ad nauseum. It's been a sad, sad week. Thanks for your news, your passion, and your website.

Anonymous said...

As soon as I saw Perez's post I yelled at him as I have a college degree and have been watching GH forever. My Mom, Dad and Grandpa all have watched at some point!

I do not eat bon-bons and sit on the couch all day. I am educated.

If I did not know how to use a computer how could I haunt ABC to bring Rebecca back?? lol! well, I did call on a telephone a few times ;o)

Anonymous said...

This morning on the radio they had the story about Hoover taking their ads off ABC and instead of thinking it was cool the DJ's started making fun of it saying that the guy must be getting pushed around by his wife and his mother.

I tried to call in and explain what was really going on but could never get through. I was so mad about it - I guess it is probably a good thing I didn't get through.

Mamaspat Ole said...

Hey I have a degree too but I love me some bon-bons now and then.But I love the heck out of my soaps too .Perez Hilton dresses funny but he has that right to dress funny and so do we not dress funny but love our soaps and I even love Nascar so now I'm sticking my tounge out to ya Perez

Mamaspat Ole said...

Excuse my spelling but my Ambian is kicking in.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! That is the rant I've wanted to write since this began. I've watched soaps since middle school. I am now a gainfully employed adult who watches in the evenings. I've always been embarrassed, even trying not to mention that my 'Florida vacation' was Super Soap Weekend. Thankfully I have soap watching friends who happen to include doctors and lawyers and other 'successful' fields. I'm done being ashamed. If you make fun of my enjoyment you had better be prepared to prove that everything you watch or read is educational and enriching. And if you can do that, then I pity you. A little mindless fluff is good for the soul.

LindaV said...

Totally agree with your column. I am just as comfortable watching soaps as I am watching Materpiece Theater or playing Jeopardy. I read good literature and am a controller. Soaps are an entertaining diversion. Been watching GH almost since it first started. Why can't we have a variety of programming? I love your column and am proud to be a soap fan.

Anonymous said...

Hi,I love AMC and so do my friends ,we are teachers, mothers,laywers w/ degrees!!! Please keep them on,they are fun and a great way to end the day after work!I've been watching since the beginging and tape it each day for over 30 yrs.

afrodisiacos sex shop said...

Very helpful piece of writing, much thanks for the article.