Are Soap Operas Still Relevant?

by Myeisha Essex

Soap Opera DigestFrom secret pregnancies to faked deaths, steamy romances to messy divorces and twisted schemes to family curses, soap operas once provided millions of Americans with a daily douse of drama and suspense.

Today, soap lovers have very few programming options. General Hospital and The Young and the Restless still air, but many all-time favorites like Passions, As the World Turns and Guiding Light have been canceled.

Once upon a time, the daytime shows were exclusively loved by housewives but the programs quickly picked up a loyal fan base of children, men and women of all ages. Soaps have even laid the format and story lines for many of today’s popular shows.

Despite budget cuts and declined viewership, producers are finding a way to make soaps relevant again.

Last month, Prospect Park and The Online Network announced that All My Children, which aired from 1970 to 2011, and One Life to Live, which aired from 1968 to 2012, will be returning online. This spring the long-running soaps will premiere with weekly half-hour episodes on Hulu, Hulu Plus and iTunes.

Are you a soap fan? Do you think All My Children and One Life to Live will be able to reach its peak again? What soap operas did you or do you watch?

  • ariahead

    No, but they are still fun! I watch Days of our lives every other day (that’s all you need to do to stay caught up) and even though it’s ridiculous and hoaky, it’s just addictive. The story lines are so outragious and they people are so maddening but I love it.

  • Ask_ME

    I don’t think they are irrelevant. I just think they lack diversity, good writing and good actors (all three have aided in the demise of the genre). I was practically raised on Y&R and the show is a SHADOW of its former self. I can barely watch the show. The writing sucks.

  • The Comment

    mmmm…Neil from Y&R just had a luscious sex scene last Friday….. that was worth it!

  • EST. 1986

    I don’t understand the usage of the word ‘relevant’ without a subject. What are you asking is it relevant to?


    I am not a soap fan. In fact, about a week or so ago I caught a few minutes of one and just laughed because of how ridiculous it was.

  • kenzy

    I watched days of our lives throughout high school and now i watch the bold and beautiful everyday..dont know if they are relevant but easy to get sucked into lol ..i happened to end up on cbs in august 2011 when bold and beautiful was on …it was a crazy episode and now ive been watching every day ever since lol

  • victoria

    I never watched soaps while living in the US. Currently, I live in a German speaking nation. B/c I dont speak German, I ordered British television. The British soap, EASTENDERS is very addicting. I love it.

  • AM

    I used to be.

    Neighbors and Home & Away were my loves! Oh how I misseth thee.

  • binks

    *Swoons looking at Steve Burton* I use to love soaps especially General Hospital but sadly soaps have fallen off way to repetitive with the same old story line that drags on and on, lacking in ways to appeal to new viewers, replacing actors and actresses who makes the show, etc. I think it is a matter of time before all of them get the axe. Sucks because a lot of these soap actors/actresses are good.

  • That Nightlife

    Reality TV is the new soap opera.

  • Catpopstar

    I don’t watch them and I don’t know anyone who does.

  • Deb

    the only time I’ve ever been hooked into Soap Operas was when Sean, Belle, Chloe and the rest of their crew were in High School…OMG it was SOOO good back then! I loved Chloe’s “coming of age” story line.

  • kenzy

    yessss!!!!! i remember that very well, when i went back to watch and saw they switched who played belle etc i just couldnt get into it again

  • Kimberley

    I can’t front back in the day (8th grade through college and up to 2010) Y&R, All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital were my obsessions. I’m talking about recording them, scheduling my classes around my soaps. I was heart broken when AMC & OLTL were cancelled. I try to catch Y&R when I can but I’m nowhere near as obsessed with soaps the way I was. The online versions may be enough to woo me back. I was really annoyed when AMC & OLTL were dumped to make room for “The Chew” and some other show that ended up being cancelled.

  • http://Clutch SL

    I really don’t watch them much anymore but everyday my auntie and my mom give me Y&R / B&B run down. I use to love them but wasn’t addicted. Now they just bore me to death and it saddens me cause some of my best family moments was when we all happened to be home (dad & bros included) – watching Y&R – my dad and bros were more addicted than me. Lol. – I think if they can find some decent story lines maybe I would watch if I had a day off.

  • mEE

    I still watch Y&R every single day. I catch it at 7 on SoapNet and if I miss it I read the recap. I grew up on that show and I’m so invested in the characters. I’ll be devastated if/when it goes off the air. I still call my mom once a week and gossip about the drama going on in Genoa City lol. it’s a nice, consistent thing in my life.
    I catch Days every once in a while because it was another one I grew up on but I became disinterested once they killed everyone off and then it turned out they were all living on some secret island. that was a bunch of nonsense.

  • Ange B

    I loved watching soaps. But once I discovered I know old school but good Coronation Street is my fav now. I will say that because it comes on tv in the evenings after work for 30mins is a big factor. I don’t have pvr or other recording abilities on my tv. So for me that works out to be the best. I did love Y& R as teen but since working now I don’t come home in time and basically fell out of love with the show when some key actors/characters left.

  • dirtychai

    They are to my Granny. To her the SOAP network is straight-up manna from heaven.

  • mo

    That is what I say all of the time. The faux drama, the crazy situations, the over the top personalities and the BAD acting of current reality shows really does mirror the soap opera genre.

  • jrmint

    I watch Y&R and GH everyday as soon as i get home from work, it relaxes me after a long day!! I used to schedule my college classes around GH, but now thanks to tivo i’ll catch them sooner or later. I won’t watch the online shows although i used to love AMC until it went off the air, but two soaps is enough for me.

  • Jim

    Days has gotten a lot more character-driven and realistic since that time. Give it a shot! The Will story right now is amazing.

  • Jim

    Soaps have compelling characters, tapping into themes of family, community, warmth, humor, romance, and drama, touching on contemporary issues in an addicitve cliffhanger format. They will always be relevant, and I will definitely be watching the online version of All My Children.

    Right now the best soap is Days of Our Lives, which has become a character-driven, relatively realistic soap. The custody situation over best friends Will and Gabi’s baby is being handled exquisitely, tying together a number of families and characters, including how Will’s boyfriend Sonny and his family are responding to the situation. (Will is gay, but Gabi is an ex-girlfriend and they had sex when he was still confused about his sexuality.)

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