Friday, April 8, 2011

Soap Opera

Have you ever watched one of these? It is amazing!
I first saw a soap opera when my mother watched one on the small black and white viewing box. The sound was terrible and the shadows of the cameras showed how cramped the settings were. It could not hold my attention.
Then I was reintroduced to them when my second wife followed them, but only on Channel 8. She was a fan long before I met her, which I didn’t know.
I would come home from work and she would tell me about all these people and the interactions between them and I would wonder who were these people. I didn’t know any of the neighbors with these names and besides how could she know all these facts about the neighbors without peering into the windows.
Then I became aware that they were the small two-dimensional people appearing every weekday on the television with a continuing story of worry and wonder. I was introduced to the richest family between two and three and the multiple marriages, deaths and tales of Tadd and Todd and Lora and Luke and a bunch of other faces I could not remember. Each hour from the noon news to the six o’clock news was a parade of similar dull conversations between two characters interrupted by commercials for soap detergents (appropriate), medical attention, and diapers.
On vacations, I would sit for hours in the kitchen and watch this continuous story from one hour to another not knowing the difference between chapters or characters.
Since I didn’t know the personalities of the characters, but recognized the faces, the network would throw a curve to me by presenting a new person in a role I had already accepted. When questioned by the change, my wife would say, “yeah she started last week” fully accepting the new face in the story line, for the story was what was important.
I would go for months without seeing any of these plots develop, and then stop and watch for an hour and be amazed how nothing had really changed.
The same people were in each other’s faces for a brief moment trying to get in each other’s business. There was always a crisis or some type of drama that could not be immediately resolved until the ratings peaked.
It all seemed rather boring to me, but in retrospect, these simple stories of families and drama do reflect real life.
Families create their own drama and have to deal with everyday worries and dreams, loves and forgotten lives, though maybe not as extreme as television writing, then again maybe more so.
And as slow of a pace as it appears on the screen, so is life. One minute, one hour, one day at a time to absorb the workings of life and react to it.

1 comment:

TripleG said...

I remember hearing the soap "Helen Trent" on the pink radio in the kitchen when I was little. Thought it was more interesting than Dick, Jane and Spot, but had no idea what the characters were talking about; I wondered if it was an accurate window on the adult world. Suburban isolation and television were successfully separating us from reality at the time...