Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: After the Deluge

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  • 3410,

    Human beings need social interaction. It's well known that hermits, prisoners in long-term solitary confinement, etc, go nuts.

    Soaps act as a virtual social interaction for people who lack real social interaction. Thus, having these soaps canned is a big deal to these people.

    It has the same effect on certain of the elderly, infirm, mums at home, shiftworkers, etc, as being made redundant would have on you office workers (that is, a sudden and severe contraction of social interaction.)

    I tend to agree that the DooL & YatR fans have a right to some consultation from TVNZ, considering the above and the fact that these shows have been on for an hour a day for 35 years. It may not be important to us, but it's important to some people who don't have much else.

    My only suggestion is that the campaigners have a psychologist furnish TVNZ with a report outlining the related mental health issues.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Yes, and I think there is a gender dimension here too. We have to have our rugby and Two and a Half Men but it is only silly women who hanker after soap operas?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2557 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Soaps act as a virtual social interaction for people who lack real social interaction.

    Isn't that the opposite of what Geoff's correspondent is arguing? And a tad condescending?

    We have to have our rugby and Two and a Half Men but it is only silly women who hanker after soap operas?

    We don't in fact get our rugby, and I'd like to see somebody come here and complain about the cancellation of a show like Two and a Half Men.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    In fact, I'm not averse to a tax on daytime-soap watching.

    Would it be a bit bitchy to start talking about Bourdieu here? Because I doubt if this was `TVNZ cans arts programming' people would be chortling about the sad tossers who stay up till 11:30 just to get a hit of some artist waffling on about his work; instead it would all be `public service broadcasting' `charter ethos' etc etc.

    In other words, i think it may be class linked, not gendered.

    (Personally, I would like soaps to be wiped from the face of the planet because they give me hives, but that is not in fact a good basis for public policy.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    So people who watch Days of Our Lives should be watching something more 'edifying' instead of something that they enjoy. Well, I don't accept that argument for my own tasteless (if slightly different genre-wise) TV-watching, and I don't accept it on their behalf either.

    I don't watch those shows myself, but if they can put on endless infomercials about Zumba ('spice up your body!'), they can sure as shit show some soaps, even if they change the time.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    I'd like to see somebody come here and complain about the cancellation of a show like Two and a Half Men.

    Well, me for a start!!

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2557 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Isn't that the opposite of what Geoff's correspondent is arguing? And a tad condescending?

    a) I don't think so (and would it matter if it was?)

    b) I really don't think so (but I could be wrong.)

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I don't watch those shows myself, but if they can put on endless infomercials about Zumba ('spice up your body!'), they can sure as shit show some soaps, even if they change the time.

    Do they always have to be the same soaps until we are all dead? But that's a pertinent question: do we know what these two mainstays are going to be replaced with? Because if it's not soap operas we would be dangerously under-served with just the bold and the beautiful, neighbours, shortland street and coro street on a given day (plus obviously all the drams that aren't quite soaps) and it might be necessary to call in the UN.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Well, Gio, most television drama is episodic and follows an ongoing narrative and has consistent characters, you know? The line between soap and drama is a bit of a fluid one.

    Coro Street is only on twice a week, btw. (Which is an ongoing source of annoyance to me because we're falling behind the UK by *half an hour every single week*! Do you realise what kind of pressure I'm under to read ahead and report UK developments to my local non-internet-savvy friends and family? It's an extra stress in life I don't need!)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Because if it's not soap operas we would be dangerously under-served with just the bold and the beautiful, neighbours, shortland street and coro street on a given day.

    You're forgetting the jewel in the crown, Home and Away.

    But seriously, to people who follow those shows, that's like saying "So what if there's no more cricket. You've got rugby, netball, motor racing..."

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Well, Gio, most television drama is episodic and follows an ongoing narrative and has consistent characters, you know? The line between soap and drama is a bit of a fluid one.

    That's precisely my point: I am a great consumer of fictions, I don't take it as a sign that my life lacks real social interactions, but looking at the TV listings I'm finding it a little hard to accept that this particular human need is going unfulfilled - even if we accepted a narrow definition of soap opera that I don't necessarily subscribe to. So bottom line a group of people is trying to orchestrate a backlash because a particular soap which has been on television for 45 years might be discontinued and sorry but I'm a little unmoved. It'll be replaced with something else and they can watch that. Life goes on. Half a century is a fucking good run if you ask me.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    If you were talking about Coro Street in the above paragraph I would need smelling salts after reading it. In other words: what 3410 said.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    soaps are inherently long running, so it isn't fair to talk about 35 years in isolation, in comparison to The Archers or whatever, it isn't that long.

    note also that people bitch about the cancellation of firefly or whatever all the time, and you don't tend to get the angry what are you complaining about reaction. Instead it's seen as rather touching etc.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    The Simpsons are going to end one day and somebody is going to say to me 'watch another cartoon' and I'm going to have to punch them in the nuts but then I'll probably realise that hey, life goes on. Not for them, obviously, they're still going to need some serious medical attention.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    i'm not in fact in favour of soaps ad infinitum, but i do think that the `heheh days of our lives' stuff is basically rather icky snobbery, and that there probably is a good case that the provision of these particular soaps is a worthwhile thing we should promote.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    So people who watch Days of Our Lives should be watching something more 'edifying' instead of something that they enjoy. Well, I don't accept that argument for my own tasteless (if slightly different genre-wise) TV-watching, and I don't accept it on their behalf either.

    Thank you Danielle, and all you other champions of us soap addicts. I don't watch Days of Our Lives, but I do watch (tape) The Young and the Listless... Restless... and have done for about 25 years. It's like watching a glacier. I love how slowly it moves, and how it repeats itself. I love how everything always goes wrong. And I love how insane it is.

    Best moments of all time:

    Once a mafia Don's daughter was being investigated by the police, and the detective (who was black) married her which was probably the best way to obtain first hand information. Problem was, he was undercover as a white guy, complete with white-face and ginger wig. I will always treasure the memory of his bride's horror on their wedding night when he took off his shirt and his red hair and white face was in stark contrast to his black torso. Oh, how she flattened herself against a wall, widened her eyes and screamed.

    Another time Jill Abbot's male secretary went mad and became a deranged killer. After a particularly gruesome spree, he kidnapped a plastic surgeon and tried to force him to give him a new face. Unfortunately for the male secretary the plastic surgeon seized the opportunity to carve the word KILLER across the guy's forehead with a scalpel when he was under anesthetic. As it goes in soap world, the plastic surgeon was unable to have the guy arrested while he was unconscious, so the killer woke up and continued his killing spree with the unfortunate new carving on his head. After being shot and winding up in a coma - or rather pretending to be - his boss Jill (the archetypal ball-buster) suspected it was all a ruse and reached under the hospital blanket to seize something and squeeze very hard to test if it was a real coma. The secretary just lay there, sweating profusely through his KILLER carving, not making a sound, while screaming ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH inside his head.

    Once the beautiful Sharon Newman killed her rapist, more or less by accident. In a gorgeous blue cocktail dress and towering 5" heels, she dragged the body out of a hotel room, down the fire escape and buried him in the snow behind a dumpster. Month later, as the Genoa city spring loomed and she feared his corpse would be discovered, she went and dug out his frozen corpse and put it in the back of her car. She parked at a nearby bar - I forget way, and a family friend passing by - who had been her young husband's cell-mate in prison (and had disturbingly nick-named him "Sweet-Cheeks") instantly deduced her predicament. So unbeknownst to her, he gallantly dragged the body out of Sharon's car and disposed of it in the sewer. Of course Sharon had no idea what happened to the body, and was understandably puzzled. The ghostly apparition of the murdered rapist haunted her after that, even after the family friend explained what he'd done with the body, so she, her mother in law and the ex-con all went down the sewer together to see the rotting corpse together, to make sure the guy was dead. Sure, there was a rotting corpse, but it was a a DIFFERENT DEAD GUY. Imagine Sharon's terror.

    The mother in law, Nikki Newman was very put out about the whole thing, and had to throw away her entire outfit because of the sewer/corpse smell.

    So you see these soaps are not as pointless and easily replaceable as you all assume.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    i do think that the `heheh days of our lives' stuff is basically rather icky snobbery

    You know, nobody is being snobby really but sometimes I almost miss it. Somebody found my blog the other day with the search phrase "people who don't watch tv are smug and disconnected from the world", which - it seems to me - is the new orthodoxy. Hence the idea that failing to be outraged at the cancellation of a particular soap opera (out of at least half a dozen more) means being against old people and the unemployed, or snobbish, or classist.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    no, it isn't so much the failure to be outraged as the idea that one is acting appropriately when one proposes a tax on daytime soaps etc. If that was sf you'd get ripped to shreds, but, of course, Bourdieu etc.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    If that was sf you'd get ripped to shreds, but, of course, Bourdieu etc.

    If you say so.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Thanks muchly for all your comments. As I noted before, I just wanted to provide some space for these soap fans. I think they have a case, in that I am all for passionate fandoms of all kinds (well, James Blunt might be an exception).
    Re the Firefly reference--we just got to see the full 9 episodes (only 6 years after the fact!) and I did enjoy it. Nice complexity in the characters but also satisfaction in the villains coming to a sticky end.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2557 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    For what its worth, my grandmother and I, where big fans of Close to home. And I get where you are coming from, Geoff.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4411 posts Report Reply

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