Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Soap operas

A nickel for anyone who can tell me where the hell the ubiquitous 'they' came up with the term 'soap opera'. Yes, I could Google it. Yes, I AM that lazy. Or maybe I just don't really care. You decide.

Do any of you out there watch these daytime dramas? C'mon. Admit it. I'll fess up. I watch "All My Children" when I'm home on lunch break. Maybe 'watch' isn't the right word, since I generally eat something, play with the poog, take the poog outside, etc. Why, some days I even GO TO THE BATHROOM. Or do a load of laundry. But make no mistake: I know what's goin' on in the lives of Erica and Kendall and Babe and Jamie and Ryan, et al. Any time you ever think you're having a bad day? Well, just think: you could be Babe whose husband (whom she loves unconditionally because she's that good and pure of heart) tried to kill her. And not just once.

Or you could be Erica who had to face the possible death of her beloved daughter (at the hands of Babe's husband, J.R.), because her daughter was in the wrong place at the wrong time... oh, and PREGNANT. They stretched that coma out forEVAH. Kendall and the baby Spike almost didn't make it. Seriously, just think! That would've thrown Erica over the brink, I tell ya! New Beginnings, indeed!

Heck, you could even be the maniacal Dr. Madden who populated the world with his babies (he ran a sperm bank, but was also a very gifted doctor, albeit insanely egotistical). His rotten luck was to be buried alive by a person trying to get information out of him (regarding Dixie's stolen baby -- don't even get me started on that mess) and lo and behold, Llanview (which I was under the impression is in Pennsylvania) suffered an EARTHQUAKE and the poor Dr. Madden was accidentally... well, on purpose... buried alive. So, y'know, he died. Because of the earthquake. And also because he was, after all, in a coffin underground.

Yep, I love my little soap opera. 'Cuz even on those days when I think things can't possibly get any worse in my life, there're people who play these characters that have some of the most wretched luck I could possibly imagine! And doesn't art (term used very loosely) imitate life?


I heard once years ago that they're called soap operas because the producers advertised soap during the commercials. You could go to Ask Jeeves.

And I watched Erica Kane (sp) do her evil deeds when I was little, and at the same time I had a playmate (friend isn't the right word, she was often the only one around to play with) who was also a very naughty girl. Thus, I grew up associating the name Erica with evil. When I hear of a mother naming her child Erika, I think, "Oh, no, that's a cursed name!!"

Funny. My husband watched Days of our Lives all through college. He called them "his stories."
Here is the official answer:

"The term "soap opera" was coined by the American press in the 1930s to denote the extraordinarily popular genre of serialized domestic radio dramas, which, by 1940, represented some 90% of all commercially-sponsored daytime broadcast hours. The "soap" in soap opera alluded to their sponsorship by manufacturers of household cleaning products; while "opera" suggested an ironic incongruity between the domestic narrative concerns of the daytime serial.."
I found that answer here:


ps I used to watch ABC soaps: AMC, OLTL and a long ago soap opera called Ryan's Hope(RIP!!)

Now I am into the CBS soaps! Altho, mostly, I just read the updates in the weekend paper.
m beat me to the punch on the explanation of the term. when i was on bedrest during my first pregnanacy i got hooked on them but they just got way too far out for me and i got busier with other stuff so the addiction didn't last long.
V of Funk beat me to the theory on how soaps got their names. I think the soap, detergent, what have you ads were targeted at the daytime dramas bc the housewives who were watching them were simultaneously doing the wash.
Yes, I watch AMC every day since I was brainwashed by my wife. Isn't naming your kid Spike the stupidest gimmick. I know it was a big deal when "Dixie" returned from the grave, but the whole show went downhill after she came back.
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