Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Value Of The Familiar

Love them or hate them, they have been a part of our lives for 70 plus years.  Most women remember having seen them at least once, for many, they are seen each day.  I speak of the beloved Soap, the daytime dramas that used to permeate the airwaves of daytime TV.

I can remember growing up watching the Soaps with my mom during the summer when school was out and the drama was on.  I recall it went like this, Young and the Restless, Guiding Light, Edge of Night and then dinner. We would stay busy getting the housework done so we could relax and watch our favorite characters wrestle with those grown up problems like gossip, mayhem, infidelity, amnesia, car wrecks and comas.  There is nothing like them and their era brought an escape to the real problems of our every day life.

When I was grown myself, a family of my own, I didn't stay glued forever to the daytime dramas.  I eventually went to work and the chaos of Genoa City and Springfield spun daily unbeknownst to me.  For decades, I let them go.

I was delighted to be reunited with them several years ago and thanks to the Internet and replays in the evening, I soon found myself lost in their worlds and lives again.  I could come home, get everything done that needed to be done, and then turn on the day's episode.  I was thrilled to see so many character from long ago, still played by the original actor and actresses.  They had aged as had I.  But they still had the same problems only now they carried their cell phones and got information online.  They had evolved as had the real world.

Just when I thought all was right with the world, the axe fell upon my beloved As The World Turns.  The longest running daytime drama with millions of fans.  It seemed women had left the home during the days to labor at a place of employment and no longer watched the Soaps or their sponsor's commercials.  It was so hard to say goodbye to all those characters, to know they would never grace my view again.  A year later, Guiding Light came to an end.  It was like watching the slow death of a family member.  The end of an era that tied me to my youth and to my mom.

Searching for the link to what was, hungry for what used to be,  I found myself back with The Young and The Restless.  There they were, the same characters I had grown up with, characters I had watched with my mom.  It took very little time to catch up with the mayhem of all those years I had not watched.

And while you might say that it is a waste of time every day when it is obvious that daily viewing isn't necessary, I beg to differ.  It is not the action or the talent of the players that brings us to watch.  It is the constant.  The assurance that the familiar will be there.  That the link to the past is still in tact and that repetition of watching is comforting.  It is me and mom sitting on a summer afternoon, watching a soap and talking about the story.  It is me and I'm sixteen again and mom just brought us a snack for the next show.

I would imagine those that see the dirty bottom line of the daytime drama see little value in those little shows.I wish they could have had great summers like I had and those years spent at home cleaning and cooking, all the while keeping a watchful eye on those reckless, spirited and sometimes villainous people of Springfield.

They reminded me just how calm and tame my life really was.

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