| I am in the process of boycotting the one TV Soap Opera I watch. In all my days I have only watched two out of the numerous soapies available on the tube. One, I really liked because it was shot in New York and all the actors were theater people, who managed to handle a stage role and TV job at the same time. It was a pleasure to watch them work and the story lines weren't too bad either. To my chagrin, it was taken off the air and was replaced by a soap opera too awful to watch. My opinion was apparently shared as it had a short and painful life.
My second show is still on, and I've stuck with it for who knows why. The actors are good, but the writing has been off and on - mostly off. Despite enough writers to re-do the Encyclopedia Britannica if they had brains, there have been some plot lines so horrible I would turn it off for long periods of time. No matter how long I ignored them, when I did turn it back on the action had never advanced more than 24 hours.
I could envision the writing sessions in rooms filled with smoke and empty foam coffee cups. There would sit a stable of overpaid writers without a clue as to where the story was going or how to get it there. They once had a character buried alive by the villainess with only a breathing tube to keep her alive to suffer. She was in there so long my claustrophobia started to affect me and I shut it off for months. Every once in a while I would click it back on to see if she were still entombed, only to shut if off immediately. The thing was, when I finally found her above ground and safe, the above ground plot hadn't advanced a New York minute.
Another time when I took a hiatus there was a long, long period when the leading lady was possessed like Linda Blair in "The Exorcist." It took her quite a while to stop levitating and snarling. At least they didn't have her throwing up all over the place. I never did know how they dispossessed her. When I rejoined the audience she was OK and still practicing the worst psychiatry known to man.
For years there was a great villain who managed to get behavior controlling chips in and out of everyone's brain, as easily as if he were picking his teeth. The actor, a good one, obviously enjoyed playing the part, which he did to the hilt. Several times he was thought to be dead but always popped up again, like Dracula, only never as a vampire or a zombie. No, he'd be his suave European Count self, a millionaire who loved to listen to opera while causing torment and tragedy.
Last year, the writing staff was shaken up. A sponsor must have finally complained. The head writer was fired and, heaven help us, a former head writer, fired when one of the really bad story arcs bombed, was rehired. I groaned when I read this and braced myself for another fiasco, imagining all sorts of horrible, possible new plots.
Even I couldn't have foreseen what the numbskull would do. He turned the chief and most popular leading lady, (the miserable shrink) into a demonic serial killer, and, to date she has brutally murdered nine leading characters. There's been enough blood and gore on at 1PM to satisfy the most bloodthirsty Stephen King fan. Through the whole period of savage killings, there have been cameo appearances on the part of the murdered actors, as ghosts who have come back to console their loved ones. Of course, none would reveal the name of their killer. Some sort of gag order from someplace in the great beyond.
The audience was told, after murder number six or seven, who was dispensing with almost everyone else in the cast, which made it even more annoying every time some member of the dumbest police force in the universe would look, steely eyed at the camera and declare, "We're going to get this fiend."
When the slasher finally pitched off a balcony this Monday, and her daughter, who should have gone with her, started blaming others for the killings, I switched the channel. I know exactly where the plot is going and I don't want to go along. Besides, there are too many torrid teenage love affairs going on in an effort to snare a teen audience. Who needs it? What makes the producers think teenagers buy the laundry and dishwashing detergent they're hawking?
My daughter, who never watches, but has had to listen to me complaining about the mess, has a great idea.
"What if," she said recently, "they're doing another Dallas? Remember when, at the end of a season, they had Bobby awaken, and everything that had happened since September was just a bad dream?"
Could be. Maybe the shrink will awaken from sort of self-induced hypnosis and everyone will be back, happily collecting salary checks. If this is so, I hope they refire the head writer and bring back the Count.