Soap Operas vs Real Life
Reviewed by Ismael Manzano
I was sitting back the other day watching television, as usual, when I was struck with the urge to scan through some of the daytime soap operas available for my viewing pleasure. While it’s true that soap operas are primarily for housewives who need to break the monotony of everyday life with a little spice, it is also for formerly unemployed couch potatoes—like I once was. Anyway, skimming through channels once again, it dawned on me that life in many ways could be vastly improved if it were more like its small screen mirror, the soaps.
For one thing, everyone is attractive. Even that dorky, nerdy, awkward guy in the back, is more attractive on his worst day than most of us are on our best. Want to know why? It’s because they have professional makeup artists to make them look that way. But I digress. Wouldn’t it just be great to wake up in the morning, and have your hair perfectly combed and your seven layers of makeup already applied? And when was the last time you saw a wrinkle on anyone’s clothing. Hell even the homeless people are pretty in the soaps!
For another thing, kids age quicker. That’s right, rapidly aging children. Sure, you get those first couple of years of cute and adorable cooing and gurgling, and the next thing you know, they’re off to private school. Then, they’re teenagers. You skip right over the terrible 2’s, right over the awkward age where parts of their face don’t match other parts and they look like little ghouls. None of that for the soap opera world. And those rebellious teenage years? What’s that? By the time they start rebelling, they’re old enough to be kicked out of the house, so you don’t have to worry about anything. And in case they were ugly before, the new kid shows up prettier. It’s amazing what a few months—I mean years—can do for a kid’s hair color, eye color, skin color, height and bone structure.
Another cool thing about soap life is that, unlike in real life, everything--absolutely everything--is more dramatic. Going to the store is followed by eerie music, taking a shower involves extreme close-ups and no one can get through a sentence, question, or grunt without a dramatic--and lengthy--pause for...EFFECT! Just to make thing more interesting, in soap life, when a crime is committed, everyone acts guilty. Just imagine if we did that: read about a murder in the newspaper and suddenly, you refuse to tell anyone where you were that night, jump every time someone brings up the victim's name or asks how you are doing, suddenly start sneaking off and making mysterious phone calls, and talk to yourself when other people can hear you saying, "It didn't have to end this way. You gave me no other choice." I'll tell you what would happen; you'd be in jail, that's what would happen. But not in the wonderful world of soap operas. You have a good laugh at the police's expense and go home free and clear.
One of my favorite things about the soap opera world is the unbelievable--and I mean unbelievable--medical breakthroughs! Doctors always have a new, experimental cure for everything. Just like in Guiding Light when Josh lost his wife to a plane crash (or so he thought…cue dramatic music). An up and coming doctor had the cure for that. He cloned her! And rapidly aged her so that she was the same old age she was before. Personally I would’ve stopped the aging at eighteen. And when this one guy suffered from a fatal disease that guaranteed to kill him within a month--give or take--what did he do? He took a vile of something that the daughter of a doctor--and his prisoner--concocted out of the laboratory he kept in his DUNGEON!! One drink, and poof, he's cured. Months of pain and physically crippling injuries, and one little, tiny, minute, miniscule vile of what looked to be water, and the guy is perfectly fine. Sign me up, I'm moving to wherever the hell they live.
Another thing, is that everyone is rich! I love that one. Someone gets crippled, thrown in jail and their family fortune is taken from them. They have no job, no means of support, no nothing, but hey, don’t they look spiffy in their four hundred dollar designer suit?
On that tandem, the criminals always have money to finance their crazy schemes. Hell, I have crazy schemes all the time, honestly. What keeps me from acting them out? No money! I don’t know where these criminals rent their secret lairs, but the last time I tried to put a down payment for an underground criminal headquarters, my check bounced. And why do bad guys always have access to the best stuff? They have chemical labs in their living rooms, hackers on call that can somehow erase or change things from the police computers, and enough money to bribe just about anyone.
And following that route, there is no such thing as an unforgivable crime. Come on, you’ve seen it a hundred times. Someone kills, steals or kidnaps someone else and a week later they’re out on the street like nothing happened. A week later, that person’s bitter enemy is playing chess with them over a bottle of brandy. I saw one from Guiding Light the other day where a man named Allan killed his own son, tried to frame half the town, and when he was finally caught, do you know what happened? His dead son’s ex-wife—Beth, love of the deceased’s life—marries her former father-in-law! Why? Well because her eighteen year old daughter has moved out of her house, and Beth wants to get her back, of course. You know what would have been a better way of getting your daughter back? Not marrying her father’s murderer! Now Allan is in a mental hospital, getting catered food and drinking wine, and he’ll probably be let out in another week.
But my absolute number one reason why soap operas are better than real life is that people never die. You could be shot in the head, by your worst enemy, in front of the entire town and be promptly cremated and scattered across the seas, while the entire process is video taped for verification, and three years later you’ll pop up again, saying, “Don’t believe everything you see.”
Another thing that I love about the soap opera world is the way facts conveniently disappear or slip people’s minds. I have a whole list of examples of this…
Until the next collection of loosely strung together, random thoughts, with no discernible connection or purpose.