Teen TV Critic
Soaps offer few surprises. So why are they so addictive?
They say life is unpredictable. Maybe that's why Hollywood producers feel it's necessary to script their soap operas so that the characters' lives are predictable. I can't think of any other explanation.
Take The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS 1:30 P.M., ET), the soap that I sometimes watch when lacking anything better to do. I can predict what will happen on this show more accurately than the Weather Channel predicts the weather!
For instance, when teenage Amber and her boyfriend Rick had a fight, she immediately went out with Raymond, a singer she met at a club. (My apologies for not explaining these characters in greater detail--it would take enough text to crash my computer!) When Raymond finds out he's going on tour, he's in a celebrating mood, and Amber is eager to come with him. So they wind up alone in his hotel room. "What are we doing in your hotel room?" she asks innocently. "I thought we were going to hook up with the band?"
"Well I see them all the time, so tonight I thought I'd just be alone with you," Raymond says charmingly, and hands her a glass of champagne. And the episode ends.
I just have a hard time believing that even a girl as young as Amber could be that naive. How many viewers didn't see it coming when she later confessed to Rick's friend C.J. that "Raymond and I got drunk and made out and I must have passed out and I can't remember what else happened"?
Naturally she never sees Raymond again.
In an instant, I understood exactly what would transpire over the next few months of episodes. Amber will either: a) get pregnant, b) get AIDS, or c) both a and b. Whichever happens, Rick will get mad and dump Amber, but they'll probably get back together again, and break up again, and get together again, and so on. That is how these soaps generally proceed.
Do you feel a subtle message being crammed down your throat by this turn of events?
And I haven't even gotten to the myriad other plot lines of The Bold and the Beautiful. Of utmost concern is Ridge's marriage to Taylor, for whom he left his ex-wife Brooke. She turns up at the wedding and . . .does nothing. All week, the network built up the wedding with promos that went something like, "What will Brooke do to keep this marriage from happening?" The preacher gets to the "speak now or forever hold your peace" part and Brooke just sits there. For a moment you think she's going to do something dramatic, but she doesn't. What a letdown!
The odd thing about my soap opera experience is this: after watching an entire straight week of episodes, I suddenly realized that I was getting addicted! I actually considered--briefly--tuning in on Monday just to make sure I was right about what would happen next! (Okay, I also wanted to see what would happen with the few little parts I hadn't figured out.) It's not like I care about these characters or anything.
I don't know what makes soaps so addictive when the characters' actions are easy to second-guess and so stupid. Do they have something like Nicorette gum for getting off soaps?
Totally Teen TV! is delighted to welcome Vivian Rose as a regular contributor. Best known for her daily film reviews on the popular Teen Movie Critic website, the Winslow, Arkansas native began her career at the age of 9 on a local radio show. Now 15, Vivian has been writing celebrity interviews for the Tampa Tribune for the past three years. She also reviews movies with adult anchor Steve Voorhies on the local CBS affiliate KFSM-TV in Fayetteville-Ft. Smith, Arkansas.