So, Who Likes the Soaps?

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I have always like the soaps.  I admit it.  I grew up watching them with my mother.  My mom always had a reason for everything. I remember asking my mother, when I was little,  why people watch soap operas. My mom replied that “soap operas showed us different situations in life that we face and how people handle them, and sometimes they show the right way and sometime they don’t.”  Yup, that was my mom, always analyzing things in a perfect way.

My favorite soap opera was All My Children.  The mean, spoiled Erica Kane was the star of the show, always ruining it for starstruck lovers Tara and Phil. Those were the days, my friends. We had soap operas on every station.  Another World, Guiding Light, As the World Turns, and Days of Our Lives were some of the daytime drama series.  My favorite over the last twenty years has been Days of Our Lives, which has been on for 50 years.

While I watched the soaps for years, I had never been to a “soapfest.” I didn’t know what it was or what to expect. Well, I found out.  It’s actually a gathering of soap opera stars to raise money for charity by appearing at a restaurant or location to sign autographs and take pictures with fans.  I was invited to this soapfest while vacationing in Florida and was amazed at the turnout.

People travel all around the country following these soap stars.  I met a woman named Susan who traveled from Idaho to Florida to go to this event. She told me in the last year she had traveled to New York, New Jersey, Maine, Oklahoma, and Tennessee to attend these gatherings.  Groupies at best, these fans are serious. Her friend Ann was from Hawaii, and they met at one of these soapfests  15 years ago. They both have been traveling ever since all over the country following these stars.

I was also amazed at the money women were bidding just to be able to dance or talk to these stars.  All monies go to charity, and I can tell you for certain the night I was there, a lot of money was raised.  Some women were bidding to play miniature golf with the soap stars because they had a miniature golf course next door.

I have to admit that I didn’t know who was who because the soap stars that night were from the Young and the Restless, which I never watch.  But I was sure surprised when I saw Patrika Darbo, who plays Nancy (Chloe’s mom) On Days of Our Lives walk in.  She was so friendly and so down to earth.  We chatted for a while and then someone bid a large amount  of money to play golf with her.

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The night was a blast, and I talked with a lot of good people, shook hands and learned something new.  There’s a whole world out there of people who are making other people happy and helping charities while doing it.  Both the fans and the soap stars are superstars in my book.  Oh yeah! I’d go again.

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  • Rhett Hardwick

    I remember that in the 80’s it was very fashionable to have a “favorite soap”, haven’t heard much of them since. At the time I wondered how women who worked could have a “favorite soap”. I think the whole thing was “fake news”.

    • Makaha Ken

      Rhett my wife worked and she programmed the VCR to record her “favorite soaps” every day which she would watch when she arrived home. Actually we had TVs in each room of house with a VCR and a Radio Shack system that transmitted on a UHF channel so by tunning to that channel you could view on any TV or VCR connected to system in house what was playing. Not “fake news”.

      • Rhett Hardwick

        Amazing.

  • Joe Smith

    Rhett – I remember being in high school in early 80s with the whole craze of Luke and Laura. I had a classmate who stumbled into acting (was cast as an extra for a military scene in a movie shot in Europe and caught the eye of a casting director and wound up in a soap). He said the schedule of a soap was brutal with the need to keep coming up with new twists and turn for so long every season (apparently there is some union agreement with the writers to have so many ‘new’ episodes and it’s quite a bit) – he kind of likened it to being in the minor leagues in baseball, especially as the soaps couldn’t compete with cable and reality shows that could push the envelope more.

    I think too the OJ trial preempted a lot of soaps for a period and that lost viewers (or maybe I just finally got around to watching American Crime Story on the OJ trial finally). I would have to think with DVR that Soaps would stabilize a bit on viewership, but the genre will “age out” over the next 10-20 years.

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