The Truth On Why Soap Operas Have Been Dying

     Since the beginning of the new millennium American soap operas have been low in quality. Yet, for many years no one has bothered to try to solve this equation by asking themselves " Why are soap opera ratings declining? " The answer: soap operas aren't what they used to be. There's no more creativity in the storytelling, no more love in the afternoon, and the fact that in the world of today companies care about the money rather than the fans. This is a good example of the company ABC ever since who once were on top of the world ranking very high with their soap operas until Disney bought ABC. I'll go back to this subject later but first I want you to understand the reasons why soap operas have last this long and why they are on life support. 

      Since I'm unfamiliar with most soaps except General Hospital I shall use that as the main soap for this article as it's the perfect example of a soap that was once a  bird soaring high up in the sky until Robert Guza Jr. clipped this bird's wings. If you don't know General Hospital is America's longest running soap opera that began it's course in 1963 it was a very boring show until 1978 when a bold woman who could practically see into future success Gloria Monty came in as head writer trying to save the soap as it was on the verge of cancellation. Being under a lot of pressure knowing the show was on cancellation and had only six months to turn the tables around Gloria started controversy by making young seventeen/eighteen year old Laura Webber fall in love with her rapist Luke Spencer who at the time was twenty four. To date this is the most popular soap opera storyline and in my opinion the one that caused a cultural phenomenon due to everyone wanting to know the love story of a victim falling in love with her rapist. Last time American soap operas caused a cultural phenomenon was in the mid 90's with the Sonny Corinthos/Brenda Barrett/Jasper Jacks love triangle as both of Sonny & Brenda, Brenda & Jax pairings were both well received by reviewers and fans alike. There is no more controversy storylines if any the recent one was Jason Morgan's only son Jake Webber being run over by a car and Josslyn getting Jake's heart so she can survive kidney cancer BUT even this storyline copied BJ's heart transplant in the 90's and ironically BJ was also ran over.
 
     Now earlier I mentioned the Sonny/Brenda/Jax love triangle let's talk about that for a bit as this will be used as an example of not using history, acting out of character, and  a chance of bringing over my viewers yet blew it. If you’ve watched lower cable channels last summer you might of seen promo’s of  Brenda Barrett’s long awaited return after seven years of being off the show. These commercials probably cost ABC a fortune to spend on as Brenda Barrett’s actress Vanessa Marcil is now a primetime actress. Many Brenda Barrett fans started to tune in last August  to see their Queen B back in action. Now this is where ABC screwed up instead of having Brenda immediately head back to Port Charles in an action packed exciting return they decided to keep her in Rome for THREE MONTHS when she has connections to no one in Rome and all she does there is whine. This is terrible marketing   to bring back a character just to practically isolate for three months away from the excitement as this will have fans tune out. After the three months Jason Morgan who was Brenda’s husband for eight years (though they weren’t in love Brenda blackmailed him to marry her) takes her back to Port Charles under Sonny Corinthos’ orders for protection, as Brenda was being stalked by other mobsters. To add more balance to the show   the writer’s   should of made Brenda move in the Quartermaine mansion as the Quartermaines are hardly on as is and Brenda lived with them as a teenager but, NOPE! Instead the writers made her live in Jason Morgan’s penthouse with his girlfriend Sam McCall. Brenda Barrett in the 90’s was a feisty fierce woman who never pondered over a man until her return that just ended this week. During her return Robert Guza wrote her as a whiny bratty immature girl who was hung up over Sonny. Brenda was NEVER needy and she may have been crazy but she was more mature in the past than she is now. Thus many fans due to this return now say under Guza’s pen Brenda became   “character  assassinated”.   I’ve noticed for most American soaps when a character returns sometime in the 00’s decade they end up becoming  out of character and unrecognizable to the fans as if the writers are practically doing this on purpose.

     Couples on soap operas aren’t what they used to be like in the 80’s and 90’s as now it’s all about the sex and no storytelling. Brenda hardly shared any scenes with Sonny during her 12 month return yet the two ended up getting married in Decemeber when in the 90’s Sonny left Brenda at the altar due to his life being dangerous. Why now all of the sudden would Sonny not think his life is dangerous? He almost killed his daughter in a car bomb he planted, hung Brenda’s ex Jax (who might I add is a very likable character yet gets treated badly) on a meathook which isn’t even creative as in the early 00’s Sonny hung Jason’s brother AJ on a meathook. There was absolutely no build up this time around with Sonny and Brenda unlike the 90’s when the couple were at it’s finest. The most famous super couple Luke & Laura in the late 90’s got ruined by  “He Who Shall Not Be Named”  a.k.a   Robert Guza Jr. After the rape in ’79 Luke & Laura set an example and trend for soaps to have adventurous romantic couples. The two were very much in love until all of the sudden when Luke decides Laura and his family hold him back from living a dangerous life and the two get a divorce. How can you throw away decades worth of history? It’s practically like what DC Comics are doing now to Lois Lane and Clark Kent!
 
     I do believe now ruining the genre was intentionally done by the companies and they very well knew it. Susan Lucci who plays the famous Erica Kane on All My Children saw rumors online about the soap getting cancelled her being so worried went up to the president of daytime television Brian Frons confronting him about this. Frons dismisses the rumors off stating All My   Children is safe…Not long after this it’s been confirmed that AMC’s cancellation has been in the works for a year leaving the actors/actresses in the dark. Besides if companies really care about soap operas instead of listening to the money talk they would be taking   longtime fan’s advice as they know well. Here’s a hint also the more pleased fans there are the more higher the ratings will be therefore you’ll be earning more money...As a General Hospital fan I know it’s a matter of time before it’s own cancellation gets announced as ABC brought in a new headwriter Garin Wolf , who also happened to be a writer for Batman Animated Series , to wrap up the show (I’m guessing?) because in September 2012 Katie Couric will be having General Hospital’s timeslot.

      Awhile ago it was confirmed by ABC that Prospect Park will be hosting All My Children and One Life To Live online after it goes off the television air…For the sake of the genre I hope this will work out as Nielson ratings could be wrong but if this doesn’t work I wouldn’t be surprised as the writers and staff were too lazy to give a care about soaps until it was too late to fix the terrible mistakes.

24 Comments
24 Comments
Edited by castleking

i cant believe you know so much about that particular soap opera. O_o
the whole rape love thing seems like it was done more for shock value which of course intrigued people to continue watching.
i have flipped through channels at times and i honestly see the shows to be very boring the background music sucks, the acting seems fake and i can only stand about 30 seconds before i flip channels.
 
the storylines are also horrible as they make no sense every other week there is a shock revelation of a character and origin.. so many shock moments become mundane and expected.

Edited by Samimista
@castleking said:

i cant believe you know so much about that particular soap opera. O_o the whole rape love thing seems like it was done more for shock value which of course intrigued people to continue watching. i have flipped through channels at times and i honestly see the shows to be very boring the background music sucks, the acting seems fake and i can only stand about 30 seconds before i flip channels.  the storylines are also horrible as they make no sense every other week there is a shock revelation of a character and origin.. so many shock moments become mundane and expected.

I was hoping you would comment :) I've watched General Hospital for the past three years now but all the women in my family have watched it for many decades. I completely agree with you but only about today's age of soap operas I've watched many storylines of General Hospital that's from the 80's and 90's on Youtube and have to say back then they were just as good as primetime shows.
Posted by Kastiel
@Samimista: In response to that all I can say is I'm glad Brenda and Jax are leaving the show. 
Posted by castleking
@Samimista
 
i like to know how many people watch soaps here on comicvine and how many are men and women.
I wish i could contribute more but i dont know enough of soaps to give any real informed opinion other then my initial post.
Posted by joshmightbe

I just assumed soaps were dying because there's just so many other options now, the ratings dipped drastically back when cable first appeared but went back up when early cable failed to deliver on programming, and dipped again when cable actually started producing decent programming. Honestly the soaps only became as big as they were is because they had virtually no competition for like 40 years giving them tons of time to build a large following.  

Posted by Samimista
@castleking said:
@Samimista:   i like to know how many people watch soaps here on comicvine and how many are men and women. I wish i could contribute more but i dont know enough of soaps to give any real informed opinion other then my initial post.
Hmm I'm not sure but would be an interesting study to take I doubt they watch it but in Final Arrow's current icon the guy in it is Jerry Jax, Jasper Jax's evil brother, and .Mistress Redhead. has a few pictures of the actor who plays Jerry Jax.
 
@Kastiel said:
@Samimista: In response to that all I can say is I'm glad Brenda and Jax are leaving the show. 

I actually am also because they ruined Sonny & Brenda this time around I haven't been watching in the past few months but I believe today is Vanessa's last day on the show.
Posted by Kastiel
@Samimista: Well Sonny said he was going to take a plane since he found out on this episode. Maybe they have one more day. 
Posted by Samimista
@joshmightbe said:
I just assumed soaps were dying because there's just so many other options now, the ratings dipped drastically back when cable first appeared but went back up when early cable failed to deliver on programming, and dipped again when cable actually started producing decent programming. Honestly the soaps only became as big as they were is because they had virtually no competition for like 40 years giving them tons of time to build a large following.  
Hm this could be a reason also since back then they were only few channels on TV...kind of forgot about that.
Edited by Samimista
@Kastiel said:

@Samimista: Well Sonny said he was going to take a plane since he found out on this episode. Maybe they have one more day. 

Yeah would make more sense since tomorrow is Friday...Do you read spoilers about the show? There's some interesting things Garin Wolf will be doing in the future.
Posted by Kastiel
@Samimista: Nope, I only did that for Passions before it got suddenly cancelled for no apparent reason. It was the most popular soap opera.
Posted by Samimista
@Kastiel said:
@Samimista: Nope, I only did that for Passions before it got suddenly cancelled for no apparent reason. It was the most popular soap opera.
I never watched that soap but I know Justin Hartley who played Green Arrow on Smallville was on it. To be honest what got me into comics a few months ago was the fact that soap operas have been dying so I wanted to something that has been around for a long time and that has drama into which lead me here...Still sad though what's happening with the soap genre and hard for the fans I heard some people are even filling out for lawsuits due to mental problems the soap cancellations caused on the viewers.
Posted by castleking

the cable observation can account for the drop in viewers. i remember when all there was, was like 6 channels on TV. you gotta watch somethin when you're bored

Posted by Samimista
@castleking said:
the cable observation can account for the drop in viewers. i remember when all there was, was like 6 channels on TV. you gotta watch somethin when you're bored
Yeah this is true and now there's dozens of channels that gives viewers more options on what to watch.
Posted by PowerHerc

They're dying because they have lost their ability to appeal to newer audiences as technology has given people more options.

Posted by Do I have to give a name?

I remember my mother used to watch a couple of American soaps when I was a kid. If those are anything to go by then the question isn't why they have been dying? But how the hell they ever made it so far. These days I've only really got English soaps to go on. They're all trash. Though I still watch Eastenders. It's just like any bulls*#t soap. But it's bulls*#t I know and love lol.

Edited by Samimista
@Do I have to give a name? said:

I remember my mother used to watch a couple of American soaps when I was a kid. If those are anything to go by then the question isn't why they have been dying? But how the hell they ever made it so far. These days I've only really got English soaps to go on. They're all trash. Though I still watch Eastenders. It's just like any bulls*#t soap. But it's bulls*#t I know and love lol.

The made it so far due to their storytelling, creativity, and romance back then the quality was so much high for soaps. I've watched an episode of Eastenders the other day and compared to American soaps I notice the difference between qualities Eastenders is more written well and has more sets than American soaps.  
 
@PowerHerc said:

They're dying because they have lost their ability to appeal to newer audiences as technology has given people more options.

It's more than that soaps aren't good anymore therefore viewers turn out due to boring storylines just go on any soap forums and you'll see most of the comments and threads are negative. Also All My Children and One Life To Live will be moving online once it goes off television air so the ratings could be higher on the internet if Prospect Park decides to air the soaps internationally.
Posted by castleking

the only soaps i can partially tolerate are the spanish ones.. my best friend watches them religiously for the girls and the bad acting which he pokes fun of.
he doesnt even know spanish.. 
 
Maria, Maria, por que?
 
por que!!!!!!

Posted by Samimista
@castleking said:
the only soaps i can partially tolerate are the spanish ones.. my best friend watches them religiously for the girls and the bad acting which he pokes fun of. he doesnt even know spanish..   Maria, Maria, por que?  por que!!!!!!
LOL! I remember one year in the school I went to that every morning in the office there would be Spanish soaps on and the male students used to watch them just to see the girls dance while the female students would roll their eyes at the guys.
Edited by castleking

my best friend is like damn them latina girls are hot, damn, i like me exotic women.  O_o
my response is like there is nothing exotic about them bro, they are more european then a real south american woman.. you can go outside right now and find yourself a similar looking girl.
only thing different is they speak spanish and salsa dance and shake their booty...
 
 
He sometimes lower the sound and makes up dialogue to entertain himself, kinda like this clip here:
 
  

Posted by castleking
@Samimista
 
watch this real quick:
 
  
Posted by Samimista

@castleking said:

my best friend is like damn them latina girls are hot, damn, i like me exotic women.  O_o
my response is like their is nothing exotic about them bro, they are more european then a real south american woman.. you can go outside right now and find yourself a similar looking girl.
only thing different is they speak spanish and salsa dance and shake their booty...
 
 
He sometimes lower the sound and makes up dialogue to entertain himself, kinda like this clip here:
 
  


I burst out laughing I think if all soaps were crazy like that then everyone would watch for the lol's.
Posted by Samimista
@castleking said:

@Samimista
 
watch this real quick:
 
  

LOL! Best soap opera ever! Stay tuned to see what Anna does next!
Posted by castleking
@Samimista
 
you should watch the second video i posted.. =)
Posted by Samimista
@castleking: Just did with the big broom LOL!