…so are the days of our lives. Does this line ring a bell for anyone else? It’s been twenty years since I watched the soap opera Days of Our Lives. Recently my memory was refreshed about the many, “fascinating” plots that I used to follow religiously as a high school student.
Not long ago I was on the elliptical machine at the gym during my lunch hour and noticed a familiar face on the TV – Victor Kiriakas. Victor is one of the “evil” characters I remember well from Days of Our Lives. And, he’s still at it. Imagine working for at least twenty years on the same TV show. Who knows how many times he’s sneered at someone, looked away knowingly during an investigation of a murder or threatened to end someone’s career/life/relationship if they didn’t follow his wishes. Victor wasn’t the only familiar face or character I recognized. As I read the transcript on screen, my legs and arms moving with the machine, I also realized that all the action in this show takes place either in a mansion, at the hospital, in the park, or at the wharf. It’s a fairly simple equation: dramatic plots + limited settings + obvious characters = soap opera.
By my rough calculations, I spent over 1,200 hours watching this show most days after I got home from school. At that time, I was caught up in the romance on the show that was lacking in my own teen life. Now the thought of the hours I wasted watching Bo, Hope, Roman, Marlana, even Victor, live their lives, makes me shudder. Hopefully I at least learned something about how crisis can be a compelling, yet over-used, compoenent of plot. Or about how stiff dialogue can kill a scene. Or that character development is key to the success of any story. Surely those 1,200 hours weren’t a complete waste of time?