Deep Soap: Positive Social Interaction

The Time of My Life

As I watched Friday’s episode of General Hospital, I felt my facial muscles contract in an unfamiliar way.  Could it be? Yes.  Doom and gloom GH actually put a smile on my face.  They were such simple scenes.  Robin persuades Patrick to try karaoke and the two of them end up powering through Dirty Dancing’s I Had The Time of My Life.  They had improvised choreography.  They sang like doctors who could hold a tune, not actors who are performing on Broadway on their days off.   It was a happily married couple enjoying their date night.  It was light.  It was fun. Kimberly McCullough and Jason Thompson were clearly having as much fun as I was.

Soaps used to show happy couples having fun on a regular basis.  Part of the reason I bought into 80s supercouples like Cruz and Eden and Patch and Kayla is that between all the sturm und drang, in their quieter moments, they had such a great time together.  Watching Scrubs sing was a reward for the months that Robin spent suffering from the strange Port Charles version of post partum depression that involved kissing strange men and hiding her baby in a tree.  Robin and Patrick are such a refreshing contrast to all of the GH relationships that are based on mutual contempt and lies.  It isn’t fun contemplating Sonny and Claudia’s future child after watching them manipulate and snipe at each other for months.   With all the doom and gloom in the world, I find myself clinging to any lighthearted romantic soap moments, whether it’s All My Children’s Amanda and Jake watching telenovelas or even the twenty somethings playing strip poker on Days of Our Lives. Come on daytime.  As Patrick Swayze would undoubtedly say, nobody puts fun in the corner.

Family Tradition

The Young & The Restless scenes where the Newman family gathered in the hospital to keep a vigil over the comatose Summer provided some unintentional comedy.   Everyone reminisced about past Newman comas.  There was Noah who fell through the ice.  His older sister Cassie had a similar fall a few years earlier.  Victoria was hit on the head in the Clear Springs debacle.    Nick lost consciousness for days after a plane crash.  It seems to be a Newman rite of passage.  Perhaps the root of all of Adam’s family issues is that he feels left out because he hasn’t had a coma of his own.   Given the costs of medical care, the billionaires have opted for a ritual that’s more expensive than any of the parties on My Super Sweet Sixteen. It’s a strange way to stand out from the crowd.  I am glad that the show chose to acknowledge that the family has been in this position before, but it highlighted how often Y&R uses this plot device.   I hope the show declares a one year moratorium on comas.

Status Update: Genoa City Is Popping

More proof that The Young & The Restless is an on-line phenomenon.  It’s one of two shows used to launch a Facebook version of CBS.com’s viewing party feature.  (The other is Big Brother.) Essentially, it allows you to schedule a time to watch with your friends and comment on the show.  People could already do this with instant messaging, but taking it to Facebook is a fun idea.  It’s a 21st century twist on watching soaps with your Mom. (Odds are she’s on Facebook by now too.)  I don’t know how many people will make the effort to plan viewing parties.  It detracts from the whole “on demand” aspect of watching on-line.  But if people are willing to spend time filling out nonsensical quizzes (I’m guilty) and creating virtual farms then why not. It’s in theory a great way to leverage the power of social networking to promote the show.  People may cajole their friends into checking out Y&R.  I’m sure part of the reason Y&R was chosen to debut this feature is that it’s one of the few shows on CBS right now that is not in reruns.  Launching the application now means that people will already be using it when new shows launch in the fall.  The next time I get the urge to snark on Y&R at midnight (topic: Nina’s unflattering wardrobe), I’ll invite all my friends to join me.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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