Soaps are entertainment. Pure and simple.
Take General Hospital, for example. This is a soap that had
super villains try to freeze the world, introduced an alien, had pickled relish
save a family fortune and has resurrected more people than a zombie farm.
In other words, it’s escapism – not reality.
I can see wanting genuine emotions to be rooted in some sort
of real place – but I cannot see freaking out because someone said something
about your favorite soap character on a message board.
To say that the Internet has changed the entertainment
business – in this case, soaps specifically – would be an understatement.
When I fell in love with soap operas I remember watching
them with my cousins, gossiping about how much we loved Megan and Tina on One
Life to Live and how much we wanted Dorian to get hers, and then we happily
went about our day.
Now everything about soaps is taken far too seriously –
including interactions on a message board.
I can’t don’t know when the phenomenon first started – but I
do know when I first noticed it. It happened to coincide on two different
The first time I saw it was when John and Evangeline fans
and John and Natalie fans started going at
each other with the intent to maim
on One Life to Live boards. I remembered being floored by the animosity. Since
I didn’t care about either couple, though, I usually just made fun of Michael
Easton’s mullet and went on my way.
Pretty quickly after that, though, I was introduced to the
Jasam and Liason wars on the General Hospital board. The vitriol the two
fanbases tossed around at each other was amazing – and freaky. Again, I didn’t
like either couple, so I was reduced to making Borg Jason jokes and wondering
why he was actually considered a prize.
It’s harder for me to ignore the most recent war brewing on
the General Hospital boards – mostly
because I have a horse in the race.
This new fight, though, seems to be more of a triangle fight
than anything else.
In one corner, you have Sabrina fans moaning and complaining
that the angel of Port Charles is somehow getting a raw deal. That the writers
planned to decimate her from the beginning and they’re being personally
targeted by the writers.
In another corner you have Britt fans. Most of these fans
are avowed Sabrina haters. They were actually turned off by the Sabrina
propping and they didn’t like how Britt was painted with a black hat to
Sabrina’s white angel wings.
In the third corner, the one I currently reside in, you have
Robin fans. We want the character we’ve been watching for 20 years to get her
happily ever after – and we’re not ashamed to admit it.
Now, you can have variations on the fanbases. For example, I
love Robin, I hate Sabrina and I’m mostly indifferent to Britt (although I
think she has potential). However, the fanbases are starting to dig their heels
in (and in weird ways).
One example? Britt fans turning on Anna for an offhand
comment she made to Duke about karma. My take on that situation? Anna wasn’t
saying it was karma that a baby got kidnapped. She was saying it was karma
because the baby got kidnapped by Britt’s mother – a fugitive Britt has been
protecting even though she’s evil.
Funnily enough, Britt got a lot of her fans from Sabrina
haters. They hated that Sabrina got the victim whitewash. Now Britt is getting
it, though, and her fans aren’t crying foul.
Sabrina fans are freaking out because they know that Patrick
and Robin will reunite soon. I know
how hard it is to lose a favorite pairing
on a soap – but some of the stuff I’ve been reading is really out there. Like
it or not, Patrick and Robin are a legacy pairing on the soap. They had years
together. I can’t imagine a scenario where Patrick picks Sabrina over Robin
that doesn’t involve a lobotomy on his part. Some Sabrina fans (not all – heck,
maybe just a vocal minority) have taken to attacking Kimberly McCullough (some
in really vulgar ways). I don’t think that’s necessary. Robin and Sabrina are
characters. McCulloug is a real person.
So, what am I saying?
I’m saying I love talking about soaps on message boards –
but I don’t like being told I should have something horrible happen to me
because I don’t like Sabrina (that’s happened twice).
We love soaps. We feel passionate about soaps. Let’s not
turn into little monsters, though, because we happen to have our favorite
characters and everything is not going their way. Soaps are about angst,
anguish and true love – so let’s just sit back and enjoy the ride.
That’s all I’m looking for.