April 2, 2003
Confessions of a Soap Opera Drop Out
Hi. My name is Sherry and Iím a GHaholic. I watched my last GH on March 19, 2003. Two weeks clean. And let me tell you, itís been tough. Do I miss it? Well, I miss how it used to make me feel, thatís for sure. I miss the escape it provided before it sucked, and I miss enjoying that escape with my friends. The friends that are still doing it are the lucky ones that dodged the gene. You know the gene; the one that takes something that is enjoyable on some level to most people and twists it around until it becomes a stone around your neck? My friends that are still viewing can enjoy GH as they see fit and leave the restÖthey donít have that all or nothing issue that I have.
Itís no big surprise really, I once quit patronizing a popular video rental chain (and Iím in a small town Ė the choices are very minimal) because when I went in there one day, out of the blue, my rental card was no longer good enough to secure a movie. I now needed my video card AND my ID. I didnít have my ID, it was 11:30pm and my house was a fifteen-minute drive away. No, I hadnít seen the sign on the door, could they please just let me go ahead and rent like I had for years this one last time and I would promise to bring my ID next time? Um, no. Did I maybe have a credit card then, instead of a driverís license? Um, no I did not, because as I had already said, I didnít bring a purse. Just brought my trusty video card in my pocketÖJUST LIKE ALWAYS. SoÖthings went downhill from there and I left without a movie. I didnít go back for years. In fact, technically I never went back but my husband did so I guess that by proxy I did patronize them again.
Now before you start thinking Iím a complete bitch or something, let me tell you Iím really not. I will put up with quite a bit actually, before I reach my breaking point. I was a waitress for a time, years ago, so I am really very tolerant of food problems in restaurants. Get my order wrong? If youíre nice about it and donít try to make it my fault, Iíll go ahead and eat it even if it wasnít what I wanted. Iíll tip for anything above abominable service and chalk it up to a bad day Ė we all have them. No bagger in my checkout line? Hey, no problem, Iíll do it myself (Iím better at it then most of them anyway, lol), it even makes it easier since I can put things that go on the same shelf in my pantry in the same bag thereby easing the putting away process (see how adaptable I can be?). Leave me for an hourís wait in the waiting room of my doctorís office? No big deal, Iím happy with my doctor and Iím happy that they can usually squeeze me in at a momentís noticeÖif that means a wait; Iím up for it. Iíll admit I had my bitchy period in my late teens, early twenties, when I thought I was pretty hot stuff and that maybe the world should just revolve around me, but I grew up just like everybody else (well, most of us anyway, lol) and finally bought a clue with all those tips I made off of other peopleís generosity. I know things canít always go my way. The problem is, when weíre dealing with something or someone I really like, I often take too long to face the fact that it or they are driving me crazy. But, those that know me well know that when I reach my limitÖall bets are off. I was watching GH every single day because I loved writing the column and I felt I needed to see (at least in fast forward) all of the show to write it well. I almost never missed a dayÖI didnít feel I had the luxury of just watching when I felt like it and skipping the rest. Therein, my friend, lies the addiction (or compulsion). My recovery will hopefully allow me to be a viewer that can take and leave it at will (once it improves, because all bets are still off as far as that goes, Iíve given this regime the last form of identification theyíre gonna get from meÖer, or something like that anyway, lol).
The problem is, Iím finding itís much easier to cut ties with a video store than it is to cut ties with GH. Iíve discovered that I have to take it one day at a time (thatís what they tell me at the meetings anyway). The first few days were easy, because well, GH wasnít on. I was lucky enough to quit just hours before war broke out and the networks decided that real life violence is probably a better ratings grabber than pseudo-mob violence is. So, I had an entire army helping me through my first two days off. Once the show came back on the air, I had to come up with a plan. I had to reorganize my day so that it no longer included a free hour at 3pm. For a few days, and honestly they all run together when youíre in detox, I threw myself into housework and organization. Around the middle of the week though, things began to fall apart. One day I didnít get up till noon and then I had to go back to bed at 3pm when I became so depressed from hearing the GH theme on a TV someone inadvertently left on in another room. I mean please, doesnít anyone have ANY respect for a recovering viewer around here? People do NOT understand what itís like to try to go on with the daily routine, the board discussions, etc without that fix. Itís like everywhere you go, people are talking trash about GHÖand I can no longer join in! Theyíre having chats and board parties. Theyíre celebrating the new super couple (Jason and Sonny), analyzing how hard it would be to write something that results in Courtney ending up in the oven with her next batch of cookie dough, wondering if Liz is going to grow claws and just start growling at everything that moves, and taking bets on how long it will be before poor AJ manages to set Lilaís wheelchair on fire. How is a person supposed to resist that?? Do you have any idea how much I want to take a peek right now? Just so I can feel a moment of that comfortable old suckiness?
Once I made it through the dark days, as they are now known around my house, I emerged with a new plan. I would no longer let myself be concerned with what I was missing, I would find something better out there. So began the channel flipping. I used to watch Days of Our Lives and it seemed like a good place to start so I spent some time in Salem this week. The first thing I noticed is the amount of ďmomĒ, ďdadĒ, ďgrandpaĒ and ďgrandmaĒ being thrown aroundÖwhat the heck? Donít these people have names? I asked around a bit and Iím told that this actually denotes something called ďfamilyĒ, I guess soaps used to really focus on it or something. Secondly, I noticed how many familiar faces there are. Faces I watched when I was thirteen are still front and center. Have they not discovered the beauty of bringing in twelve new characters a year and bumping those tired old vets to the back burner, or what? It seems an odd way to appreciate your vets Ė working them like crazy and giving them juicy story lines. Sooner or later that has got to backfire! I noticed that some of the momís actually spend time with their kids, which is novel. And a lot of their characters have jobs, and they actually go to the place of employment and work Ė itís almost creepy really, the way they all scurry around like they have a purpose.
Next I turned to CBS. Except for a short period of watching Guiding Light quite a few years ago, Iíve never watched much on CBS daytime. I hear they have a very good lineup, but I knew it was going to be hard to start watching something I had never seen before. At least with Days, I have a background. With CBS, Iím on my own. I turned to As the World Turns, a show that Iíve heard good things about. Iím sure all those people canít be wrong, and maybe with time I could get used to it, but I was so startled by what I saw that Iím not sure when Iíll be able to give it a try again. You see, the very first thing I saw when I turned it on in the middle of an episode a few days ago, wasÖwell, I donít even know how to put this exactly, but I couldíve sworn what I saw was an African American woman and an African American manÖdancing. Now, keep in mind, I have no idea what the story was or who these people even were, but I swear to you they looked like they were having a romantic moment. I waited a minute to see if maybe I was just catching the second when they were featuring the obligatory African American couple dancing in the background of a club scene featuring some front burner charactersÖbut no, it appeared they actually WERE the story. You wouldnít have believed your eyes. I was so freaked out I had to turn it off. I just hope they didnít bump any non-descript boring teen scenes to feature a good-looking, mature moment like that.
After that, I thought maybe I better go back to ABC and check out OLTL or AMC. AMC has never been a favorite of mine. I like it okay, but it just never hooked me like some of the others. I like to check in on it from time to time, but I donít usually want to stay very long. Itís kinda like a great-aunt or something. Go visit, get all the gossip on the extended family so youíre caught up, and then give her a hug goodbye and start saving up questions for the next visit. It works well for both of us. OLTL, on the other hand, has definitely been hooking me lately. I find Iím looking forward to it in a way that I havenít looked forward to GH in ages. My first wake-up call that there might be trouble with OLTL though, was when I watched the way the police handled Samís murder. Uh, no WAY is that the way a soap murder investigation goes and everyone knows it! I donít really know what theyíre trying to pull, but Iím not buying. I know better. Iím lucky though, I can pull from my experience watching GH and put myself ahead of the crowd on this oneÖI know that even though it looked like Lindsay shot Sam, thereís no way she did it. Itís never the person it appeared to be and the police never figure out the real killer. I can just sit back and wait (and wait and wait and wait) for the reveal that will come long after the police have given up hope of solving the crime. No worries there. There is also the little issue of having too many people on screen every week Ė I donít really understand how a person is supposed to keep that many stories straight, particularly when they all weave in and out of each other. What the hell? Can they really not segregate a few people and build everything around them? Whatís with all the extra baggage always hanging around? And for goodness sake, is it too much to ask that we keep the help and the comedic relief in the background? Characters like Nigel and Roxy are meant to have a line here and there, itís downright dangerous to give them full scenes alone together. Heads are gonna roll over that one when Frons sits down to watch this weekís OLTL, I guarantee it.
So you see, itís been rough. I just canít seem to get used to all that new-fangled storytelling out there. I took a big step this week, I tuned in to GHís anniversary special. I talked it over with my co-addicts at the GHA meeting first and we all agreed I was ready to have a taste so I could see that it didnít have to mean Iíd fall headlong back into the shit pile. I was skeptical, honestly, because I have a somewhat addictive personality (all or nothing, thatís me) and I feared the repercussions of turning it on at all. I shouldnít have worried. I missed the opening (thank goodness because I hear that there is a Jason/Courtney kiss in the opening now and that might have caused me to turn it off right there without knowing for sure if I could resist the lure of the comfortable suckiness of the actual writing) but once the show got rolling, it only took a few minutes for the familiar pattern to take shape. Mind-blowing by GH standards (nowadays anyway) is really just treading water. You float along for a bit and then wham; someone jerks you out and into a boat. You float along in that for a few minutes and then splash, someone tosses you back in the water. And so on. Itís all about going from one event to the next but never really getting anywhere. I watched most of the first hour, caught the ďstolen momentĒ on tape so I could play it again in slow speed with the hopes of actually seeing it this time, and then I settled in to enjoy Dorianís return on OLTL. When GH came on again, I thought about what Alan, Skye, AJ or Zander might do in this situation and then I shut the TV off and went to a meeting anyway.
Want More of Sherry's Work?
Sherry Takes on OLTL - 4/2/03
Charles Spoilers with Commentary
Mercurical Mercurio! - PC - Archives
Mecurial Mercurio! - GH - Archives