October 2, 2006

Lately when a column Iíve written is posted, I get several emails.  This usually means Iím on target with my feelings in relation to whatís happening on the shows.  I like that.  Itís good for my karma.  It also amazes me to think there are a lot more pessimists than optimists in this world!  Itís not that I intentionally try to be negative.  I just want things my way and when I donít get them, I tend to complain. And Iím not talking about just the soaps here.  Call me a spoiled brat if you like because at times, itís true.   

The truth is Iíve been watching General Hospital since TV was invented and it would take a lot for me to stop watching.  Sometimes I thrive on the frustration.  Iíll actually watch just to growl at the TV and verbalize my angst to an inanimate object.  Hey, if it doesnít turn around and walk away, itís got to be listening, right?

Seriously, I made it through when Jonathan Jackson blew up (I had yet to discover the world of internet spoilers).  I made it through Sarah  Brown leaving and an unbelievably thin nuCarly appearing the very next day.   

I hit a wall when Tristan Rogers left.  Itís tough when the man you decide youíre going to marry just up and leaves like that.  (Iím  still dealing with the pain but I imagine heíll make it up to me eventually.) I admit to a pause in VCR taping at this point, but it wasnít for long.  I wasnít thrilled when Jack Wagner left.  No, wait.  I was.  But I was not even remotely close to happy when Kristina Wagner left.  Funny voice or not, I enjoyed her.   

Each time someone I liked  leftÖeach time a couple I liked splitÖeach time some stupid alien befriended  Robin, I complained.  Itís just what I do.  Itís  not going to make me stop watching.  I survived Tristan leaving and look, my years and years of patience paid offÖheís back (sort of).  The point is, this isnít my show and I donít get to dictate or influence anything that happens on it.  

ABC claims  to be writing for the viewers and in theory, they should.  Unfortunately thatís an impossible task.  As the saying goes, ďYou canít please everybody all of the timeĒ.  Pleasing me might mean upsetting someone else.  Everyone knows Iím not a Sonny and Carly fan but if theyíre  apart we all know someone isnít happy.   There are those who think Jason and Liz should be together. Theyíve gone to great lengths to influence the writers but itís not worked.  Sure weíve got the connection and their stories are intermixed but the reality is no matter how many petitionsÖhow many phone messagesÖhow many shirts or fan paraphernalia show up at the door of the show,  Jason and Liz are not in love Ė and there are people who are incredibly happy about that.  

Kelly Monaco came onto the show with a big push for the new super couple, Jax and Sam.  They totally bombed and many people blamed Kelly Monaco, disliking her from the onset.  I admit the character annoyed me to no end (and often still does).  People complained.   People wrote letters.  People wrote columns.  And you know what happened? They stuck Sam briefly with Sonny as a pathway to Jason and BAM! People love her.    I guess bad press ultimately becomes good press.   

What does that mean?  It means ABC knows what theyíre doing, whether we like it or not.   They know weíre watching.  They know the ratings are low and theyíve got to reach farther into their bag of tricks to hold our attention, but even though we complain, we watch.  And they know that.   Think of how many stupid comments Brian Frons has made and yet, he magically still has a job. Thatís got to mean something.  

Ratings tanked recently.  School started recently . Any connection there? You bet.  Robert and Anna  came back.  Ratings increased.  I sincerely doubt people who watched in the past and stopped watching found out about their return and tuned in once again.  Personally, I believe once you start watching a soap, you canít ever really stop.   You can pick up after six months and catch up in a matter of minutes.  With that being said,  the majority of people donít actually stop watching permanently.   

My theory on Ďratingsí is theyíre a bunch of BS.  I live in a largely populated area.   I have all my life.  Only once have I met someone who was actually asked to be a part of the Neilson ratings.  And I think that was Kathy Hardeman, but Iím not sure.  So really, who are these people used to determine the ratings and where do they live?  I think ratings polls are much like the exit polls during Presidential electionsÖrarely accurate, always influenced by something other than the truth.   

Soaps are losing money now but I donít think itís for lack of fans.  Iíve been to fan events and Iíve seen the dedication of these people.  Itís not likely theyíre going to up and walk on a regular basis.  Whatís causing this financial problem? Sorry, but I think itís the actors.  They start out a bit naÔve and once their popularity starts to increase, so does their confidence.  The time to renew contracts comes and they want more cash.   I get it.  They draw the fans, they deserve the cashÖbut only to a certain extent.  Yes, they have families and they live in extremely expensive areas because thatís where the shows are but if the actors chilled a bit on their financial needs, we might continue to see more characters and more sets.  They might have a better chance at sticking around.  Rick  Hearst is a good example.  Heís expensive, Iím sure.  Perhaps thatís something he should have thought about in the past.  My guess is heís going to get killed off in the near future (can anyone say November sweeps?)  Bringing back the vets is expensive, but I imagine some do it more for the fun and their friends.  But theyíre doing it with the salaries of dead characters or characters who have been stuck in a coma or catatonic state for years and years and years.  

I guess the point Iím trying to make is multi-fold. 

  1. Weíre going to watch, be it every few days, every few weeks or a couple of times a year
  2. Weíre not really going to effect a whole lot of change with anything we do
  3. The actors we love to watch have helped to create the positives and the negatives associated with our shows
  4. Characters and couples crash and we just have to learn to live with that

Changes will be made.  Casts will be cut.  Scenery will be trashed.  It happens.  But even though it does, I still seem to switch my on TV during each show every chance I get.  


More From Carolyn