December 16, 2009By Mala Bhattacharjee Posted: Dec 16, 2009
I know I get snarky sometimes, but we all know I love soaps, right? I adore this genre with every fiber of my being and will defend it to the death against its detractors — of which, sadly, there are many.
Whenever the daytime industry encounters misfortune, people are always ready to swoop in like vultures and pass judgment, making generalizations about poor writing, actors who can't hack it elsewhere, and how it's all sexy romps and people coming back from the dead.
I've got to tell you, it makes my blood boil. Daytime drama, as an industry and as a genre, is wonderful, unique and full of so much talent. From the powers-that-be to the casts and crews to the PR machines and the soap press, soaps are far from some empty-headed flash-in-the-pan that deserves to be dismissed.
When our longest-running show clocked in at 72 years, in an age where 15-year-old ER was considered geriatric, I think we've got some major cred. Soaps are not a way-station for writers, producers, and actors who couldn't make it in "real Hollywood." Soap journalism is not the slush pile for those writers that the New York Times turned down. I'm here because I chose to be, and because I'm passionate about it. It doesn't mean I'm the village idiot who can't construct a sentence and got sent to the back of the class. (I was a journalism major, I know four languages, and being able to name all of Sonny's women on GH has no bearing on my intelligence.)
We're a living, breathing collective that generally loves what we do. It's kind of like being part of a huge, crazy family. We have that wacky uncle whose worldview is a little outdated but we tolerate him anyway. We have to keep Grandma away from the cooking sherry. And, boy, are the kids a rambunctious lot! But there is a place for everyone at the table. And we will claim you as family no matter how far away you move. (Hi, James Earl Jones and Julianne Moore! And, yes, you, too, Brad Pitt! And hiya, Michael Ausiello!)
Do people really think any of this is easier than prime time or film? That working for Weekly or Digest must be a cakewalk because we just sit around watching TV all day? Please. It doesn't matter if you're working on a soap or covering one, it's always a challenge. Spend a day on a soap set or walking around in my shoes and you'll see that.
Daytime deserves respect; it has earned it.
So instead of trying to kick it while it's down, how about reaching out a hand to help it back to its feet?