After a staggering 72 year run , the classic soap opera The Guiding Light is being cancelled.
Soap fans everywhere are devastated.
Some of you, especially those reading this outside the United States, may not be familiar with the concept of the soap opera. Wikipedia defines a soap opera as "...an ongoing, episodic work of dramatic fiction presented in serial format on television or radio." They're called soap operas because they usually ran in the afternoons when, because many stay-at-home housewives were assumed to be watching (or listening, in the case of radio), many of the sponsors were companies manufacturing laundry soap or other household supplies.
Not all of the fans were traditional housewives, though.
Many years ago, when I was stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base in the teeming megalopolis of Bossier City, Louisiana, I joined virtually the entire base in being hooked on the soap opera All My Children. I timed my lunch hour so I could go home and watch the show every day. Across the base, work stopped for an hour. In the alert facility, where the crews of B-52 bombers and KC-135 tankers waited for the raucous klaxon call to fly away to war, all training and other activity shut down while everyone crowded into the recreation room to watch the adventures of the twisted inhabitants of Pine Valley. We wondered who would be the next to fall victim to a rare and deadly disease, what man the scheming Erica Kane would target next, what over-the-top evil plot Phoebe Wallingford would hatch, and what utterly unbelieveable but breathlessly-awaited plot twist would come next. Handsome young doctor falls in love with amnesiac prostitute and fights off the pimp who comes looking for her? Done that. Pregnancy threatened by a deadly disease with a polysyllabic Latin name brought on by eating steak tartare? Done that, too. Married 150 times (more or less), but still pursued by men thinking with organs other than their brains? Yep, paging Erica Kane.
Yes, the national defense of the United States of America stopped for an hour every day while we all watched All My Children.
I never watched The Guiding Light or any other daytime soap. I watched Dallas for a while, and Knots Landing once or twice, but no other soap opera, daytime or evening, could match "AMC." I stopped watching it when I left Louisiana and went overseas, and somehow never got back into it when I returned five years later. I did watch a Venezuelan telenovella called El Desprecio for a while, even though I never understood a word anyone said...it was just always fascinating to try to figure out what was going on, and why that old guy was chained up in the basement.
But I have many more ways of wasting time now, such as blogging and Facebook, where I can follow the ongoing soap operas of characters like Fiona and Mike. But perhaps those wouldn't be soap operas...Fiona is probably sponsored by United Whiskey and Haggis, Inc., and Mike would be sponsored by some cell phone service that drives its customers nuts with proprietary cables.
I'm just guessing here. See what you think.
That's all for now. Time to get ready to head off to my own soap opera: All My Commuting Problems. It'll go on for years.
Have a good day. Cartoon Saturday is coming.