To so many people -- people who don't get it -- soaps are meaningless, mindless fluff. In last week's column, I asked you, the readers, to send me All My Children storylines that you felt were good examples of realism. Who knew that all of your amazing feedback would get me thinking... really thinking about what we're seeing play out on television five times each week.
It is so rare that we see friendships on the soaps. You know, just plain ole, platonic friendships. I've touched on this before in Two Scoops, but it's still very much a relevant issue. Oddly enough, it seems to be one that AMC's new writers are addressing.
It's been ages since there has been an opposite-gender, non-familial friendship of significance. The most recent one that comes to mind was Zach and Myrtle's special bond. I have yet to hear from someone who wasn't touched by their friendship -- and I know that I sobbed when Zach was hurting after Myrtle's death. And don't forget when Myrtle's picture fell off the wall and broke.
While it's not quite the same dynamic, I have to say that I really enjoy Jake and Angie's relationship. In this world when you never know what's going to happen, it's nice to know that someone's got your back. Yes, Angie has Jesse -- but in life you've gotta have friends.
I would also say that I like the friendship between Caleb and Krystal, but I am not sure that... well, I am not sure that they are going to be "just friends" in the end. Maybe I am seeing things that aren't really there. However, I can easily see Krystal ending up with Caleb (or Jack, if Erica ends up dumping him).
There is also a real lack of diversity on-screen. For me, I find it hard to truly identify with anyone on-screen. Sure, I can find male characters my age there. I can also relate to the idea of wanting to protect a family business (or a self-created business, in my case). But that's about it. I don't see anyone worrying if they will be able to pay their bills every month. I don't see anyone struggling with being single and really looking for love. I don't see anyone over 60, who could be a grandparent. There's no one who is unemployed (other than those who are so by their own choosing). I don't think there are any happy, healthy marriages.
I understand that soaps are about fantasy and they aren't meant to be taken as an example of reality. But maybe that's part of the problem. We're surrounded by reality programming... and even the scripted drama series are trying to be as realistic as possible. Then we have soaps, where people steal other people's pills, an entire family plays musical partners, and nearly everyone is under 35.
What about you? Is there anyone that you identify with on-screen? If not now, was there ever anyone with whom you could identify?
There is also a lack of storylines in which I have a vested interest. So much of what is going on seems far-fetched to me. I am interested in seeing (pardon the unintentional pun) what happens with Angie. I am also very interested in the reel-life exploration of JR Martinez's real-life surgery that will play out on-screen starting this week. But on the other side of the fence, I no longer care who is sleeping with whom in the Scott, JR, Annie, Marissa debacle. It's gotten to the point where I wonder if JR and Scott will end up as the happy couple. It's the only angle the writers haven't explored.
I suppose I like Greenlee's quiet plotting against David. There is something about a spouse/partner done wrong and getting revenge that speaks to me.
So what are some of the storylines that have resonated with readers as being "real?" Here are some of your comments in this week's You Scoops:
• Hands down, Brot's surgery count. Recently he told Natalia he'd be going for surgery number 33. He continues to be a reminder of what really matters in this world. Brot's a real hero -- on and off screen! -- Metcalf
• The most recent realistic story line on AMC was Jr's bout with cancer. Having JR shave his head, go to group sessions and experiencing the nausea that ensues after chemo therapy was the closet I've seen to anything that happens in real life! Most everything else in Pine Valley is pretty much phony fake and downright laughable. -- Jackie
• For me, it was when Maria had to give back her adopted baby (Sam) cause Kelsey changed her mind. -- Donna
• In answer to most recent and realistic event on AMC, I would say the Angie pregnancy/endophthalmitis story. Not sure about the pregnancy, but know doctors, nurses, and other personnel are placed at risk in hospitals every day. -- Tammye
For several weeks now, you've heard me discuss some of the things that have irked me about the storyline involving Angie and her vision loss. While I have bemoaned the soap aspect of it -- in that we know that Angie will not be rendered permanently blind -- there is something that I haven't discussed. In fact, I am not entirely sure that this is something that I'd even thought about, and for that I feel a little bad.
Two Scoops reader Deborah wrote in last week to tell me how important Angie's storyline is to her. Deborah is blind. "I was basically told all of my life that I was nothing," Deborah wrote. "There are great people who are blind. Wouldn't it be groundbreaking to have Angela live as a confident blind person?"
What I've learned from your feedback, is that we all have to remember that while one on-screen issue might not be something that pertains to us directly, that doesn't mean that there isn't someone else out there who can relate to what's playing out on-screen. Sure, soaps may have a reputation for silly plots at times, but we all have to keep in mind that sometimes it's the things that we don't see that need to be talked about.