I’ve never been big into daytime soap operas, minus the summer of my twelfth year, which I spent enthralled by Marlena on Days of Our Lives being possessed by the devil. After that, I never tuned in again – it’s a lot of work to keep up with a show that airs five days a week, where characters come and go and two-year-olds magically transform into high school seniors over the course of a month.
Nighttime soaps are a different story, and although some are almost as unrealistic as daytime soaps (hello, One Tree Hill), I have more patience for them. My favorite night soap of all time, Beverly Hills, 90210, had its crazy moments. Poor Kelly, for example, joined a cult (she escaped), had an eating disorder (went to meetings, recovered, and never spoke of it again), was addicted to cocaine (went to rehab, which is where she met her stalker), was burnt in a fire (which was the reason why she joined a cult), etc. But for some reason, I find myself able to tolerate these shenanigans when they happen just once a week.
That’s why I love SOAPNet. I watch it for the re-runs of 90210 and The O.C., but it also airs some current soaps and original series like Being Erica. Imagine my sadness when the news broke last year that SOAPNet is going to get the axe early in 2012. It won’t be revamped and turned into a similar channel; it’s going to be completely, absolutely, 100 percent different: it’s becoming Disney Junior, and will air shows like Little Einsteins and Handy Manny. While my friend’s two-year-old son might be overjoyed by this news, I am not.
When I heard the news, I kind of refused to believe it. I was convinced that SOAPNet’s demise just couldn’t happen. There had to be viewer outrage, and we all know that enraged people like to start petitions. But so far, it’s still happening.
Disney/ABC says that the lower ratings for soaps and the fact that you can watch shows on Hulu and other places online are reasons for the shutdown. I see where they’re coming from, because so many people do watch current shows online, but it makes me sad to know that I won’t be able to watch my old night soaps on TV anymore. 90210 and The O.C. are both available on DVD, but I don’t have the money to drop on the sets. I also don’t really feel like searching for these shows online, because it’s just not the same. I want to see Dylan’s sideburns on a 36 inch television, not a 13 inch laptop screen.
If this news upsets me, I’m sure it’s devastating to daytime soap opera fans. If I really want to, I can find episodes of The O.C. online, but it’s a lot trickier to find old episodes of All My Children. Maybe Disney and ABC execs will change their minds before January 2012. Or perhaps Disney will throw me a bone and find some way to fit 90210 into the Disney Junior lineup (yeah, right).
If I win the lotto, mark my words: I will start my own version of SOAPNet – maybe call it the Suds Channel? I like the sound of that.