I grew up watching soap operas. Every day the television went on at lunch time and the families of As The World Turns, The Guiding Light, The Edge of Night, Search For Tomorrow, The Young and The Restless, and the Bold and The Beautiful would come into my life. They were all aired on CBS in succession. I watched babies grow up, people get old and die, attended marriages, shared holidays, and worried over their tragedies.
Soap Operas were popular because women were stay at home moms back in the day and their only adult contact came from the characters in these programs. They watched religiously. My mother wouldn’t dream of missing her “stories” and God forbid they were interrupted by breaking news, she would curse like a sailor.
There were days I came home from school and instead of her asking about my day, she was ranting and raving about how Dan Rather should drop dead for interrupting her stories. I wonder what she would have to say if she knew that one by one these shows were being cancelled after 30, 40 and 50 years? Search For Tomorrow and Guiding Light actually started on the radio and came to television first. When the were first aired, they were only 15 minutes long.
My mother and I had many lively conversation about our soap opera families. When I had school, she would fill me in on what I missed. Other times we would watch them together, it was our quality time, and something we enjoyed and shared. Soap operas were always on 5 days a week, 52 weeks out of the year, no reruns. That made for a lot of time for me and my mom.
I went back to watching a couple of soap operas last year. They did away with As The World Turns and The Guiding Light a few months ago, after 50 years on the air. The Young and The Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful are all I have left now. Nowadays, the plots move a long much faster than they used to. I guess that’s to keep viewer interest. As I watch them, I imagine conversations about what my mother and I would have to say about the characters and plot twists. So many of the actors are the same now as they were then. So it’s not too hard to reminisce.
I’m sure, one of these days, these last two soap operas will be cancelled too. It will be a sad day. But I am thankful that they outlasted my mom’s life. I hesitate to even think how she would have reacted to the news. Based on what she said about Dan Rather, I can only imagine the worst.