Saturday, March 16, 2013

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Can't soaps get a little bit of respect?

I think soaps are the Rodney Dangerfield of the entertainment world: They just can’t get any respect.

This became glaringly obvious to me this week, when ‘General Hospital’ was preempted four (no exaggeration, it really was four) times for various news stories.

On Monday, GH was bumped for the outcome of the Kwame Kilpatrick verdict. This is a big story in our area. I was slightly annoyed – but this is a big political scandal in Michigan, so I understood it. Of course, I didn’t think they needed to take the whole hour to do it, though. Fifteen minutes would have been plenty.

On Tuesday, GH was preempted for the conclave at the Vatican. Here’s where things got a little tricky for me. I understand picking the new Pope is a big deal in the Catholic world (which I’m not a part of). However, this was the beginning of the conclave, everyone knew they weren’t going to have an announcement anytime soon, so it essentially amounted to sitting there and watching smoke billow from a smokestack.

On Wednesday, GH was preempted because they’d decided on a Pope. Like I mentioned before, I’m not Catholic, so I couldn’t really get worked up for it. I was especially annoyed, though, when they took another full hour to just discuss the rumors coming out of the Vatican – rather than any substantial news -- and the new Pope wasn't revealed until very late in the broadcast.

On Thursday, I was relieved to actually find GH starting at its regular time. Sure, it looked to be the same episode that was preempted earlier in the week, but beggars can’t be choosers. I didn’t get to see much of the episode before local news broke in again, this time with the announcement of Gov. Rick Snyder’s pick for the new emergency manager for the City of Detroit.

Okay, here’s the thing: I don’t live in Detroit. I understand Detroit is important to the whole region, and the emergency manager has a lot of impact on the area, but I don’t think it’s worthy of interrupting yet another day of GH for.

I am not a person that usually complains about the news breaking into my soaps. I’m in the news business. I understand the importance of a lot of these stories. I understand that not everyone has cable news – so they can’t watch CNN or HLN (which did not bump the Jodi Arias coverage to cover the Pope, just FYI). However, I don’t understand why it’s constantly okay to break in and interrupt GH.

If local newscasters feel the need to break into my soaps, it better be an important story. An Amber Alert, for example, is an important story. Kilpatrick’s conviction was an important story. A gas leak in a neighborhood is an important story. Watching smoke billow from the Vatican conclave – where there was no way a Pope was going to be picked in the next few hours – is not an important story. The new emergency manager, which has been news for weeks now, is not an important story.

When I see people complaining on soap message boards because their soaps were interrupted, usually I just brush it off. I honestly don’t have a problem with the soaps being interrupted every once in awhile for important news.

What happened this week, though, was simply not acceptable. I also have to wonder, if it had been ‘The View’ or ‘Katie,’ would either of those shows been interrupted all four times? I know that both were interrupted a few times during the week for the same stories – but nowhere near as much as GH was.

So, my question is, can’t soaps get a modicum of respect? Just a little?


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