The Bean Blog (currently on hiatus)

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Say It Isn't So

My grandma got me hooked on Days of Our Lives when I was just a tyke and I would spend my summers with my grandparents. I actually wanted to watch The Young and the Restless. At the age of about 10, I'd got it into my head that watching soap operas was "adult," so I endeavored to do so. I picked The Young and the Restless because I liked the name. Only, it's hard to start watching a soap cold. My grandma indulged me in just about everything, but she put her foot down on this matter. The Young and the Restless was on from 12:30pm to 1:30pm (at the time), and Days of Our Lives ran from 1pm to 2pm (at the time). Once the clock struck 1pm, the big TV in the living room switched to Days and I was forced into the kitchen if I wanted to watch the rest of The Young and the Restless on the little TV there.

For a while, I did just that. I watched YR until 1:30pm, not really understanding what was happening, and then re-joined my grandmother in the living room and watched the end of Days of Our Lives. With Days, I could ask questions and get answers: Why was Kim sleeping with Shane? What was up with Bo and Hope? She explained everything to me, and soon I forgot all about The Young and the Restless and just watched Days.

I watched Days of Our Lives for another 15 years. I expanded my soap opera watching schedule to include all of the NBC soaps, which at the time were Days of Our Lives, Another World, and Santa Barbara. As I got older, I swung in and out of watching soaps, but with such a solid foundation in these characters' lives (and nothing much really happens anyway), I was able to step away from the NBC soaps for as much as a year or two at a time and come back without missing a beat.

Once, while I was away from soaps, Santa Barbara disappeared from the scene to be replaced by Passions. I never bothered picking that soap up. Days got pretty ridiculous, but I found myself really enjoying Another World, which previously had been the soap I was least interested in. When NBC cancelled Another World in favor of Sunset Beach, I made a vow never to watch an NBC soap again. Sunset Beach was horrible and Another World was wonderful. And it had been on for over 20 years! How could they do that? They did, and it was a mistake. Sunset Beach was so bad that it didn't last long.

Some of the characters from Another World actually went across network lines and appeared on another soap (I can't remember which one now). I tried to watch it, but again found myself in the same predicament I had been in 15 years before--watching a soap cold. The Another World characters didn't feature prominently in the new soap, and I quickly lost interest. I found myself without a soap to watch.

I didn't miss it much, really. I had no intention of going back, and I wouldn't have except....for Daytime's first girl-on-girl kiss. It happened on All My Children in April 2003. The media was all over it, and the Bread Winner instructed me to tape the episode for her (as it turns out, All My Children had been the soap opera of her youth).

The kiss happened between Erica Kane's daughter Bianca, who had "come out" years before but had never had much of an on-screen dating life, and the character of Lena, a hot sexy Polish woman who was supposed to seduce Bianca to get information, but then of course she falls in love with her.

I was hooked. I started watching All My Children. I didn't know what the hell was going on except that two women had kissed and maybe, maybe they would kiss again. At first, I just fast-forwarded to the scenes that involved either Bianca (the least lesbian name of all time) and/or Lena. But gradually, I started watching more of it. Again, it was hard watching it cold, but luckily for me, the neighborhood housewives watched All My Children, and I found myself knocking on my neighbors' doors with questions like, What is Kendall so mad about? and What's the deal with Aidan?

Eventually, I filled in all the holes, and now I claim All My Children as my own. I was devastated when Lena left the show on April 28th, 2004. The actress who played her, Olga Sosnovska, got another job on a BBC drama and left for greener pastures. Honestly, Lena/Ogla was the hot one of the two women. And the better actress. Although I believe that A&E shows her new series, called MI-5, I haven't bothered to watch it. I still have her last scenes with Bianca (which featured another kiss) in my mind.

Imagine my surprise to see Ms. Sosnovska appear last night on a commercial. One of those "A Diamond is Forever" deals. In it, some guy is chasing her around a fountain, and he catches her and says, "You know, I think I'd marry you again." And then he whips out a diamond ring, and the people sitting around turn out to be the woman's parents, etc. A diamond is forever. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

The happiness of seeing "Lena" again quickly faded as I thought, How could she do this to Bianca! That thought was directly followed by, How could she do this to me! I mean, I know the actress is straight and everything, but couldn't she at least play gay for the rest of her life just to make me happy? Is that too much to ask? Must she parade her heterosexuality in front of me? Oh, Lena, say it isn't so.....


  • Actors routinely risk being stereotyped if they play a seminal or groundbreaking character. I hope Ms. Sosnovska manages to get roles that are juicier than mere commercial backdrops.

    It kind of highlights the futility of it all. FOlks watch soaps because they always think (and hope) that something is going to happen just around the corner. They don't dare miss a moment of an episode lest they miss The Big Moment.

    Of course, the writers are miles ahead of the poor, hooked viewers. They're already plotting yet another series of twists and turns that, if viewed against the whole arc of the series, represent more of the same that has been sustaining the genre for generations.

    Although I'm not much of a soap fan - they don't even provide effective fodder for sarcastic comedy like they did in the Luke and Laura days - I appreciate the sohisticated writing and production techniques used to grab viewers in and keep them hooked for years. Imagine a prime time show accomplishing anything near that degree of long-lived viewer loyalty.

    By Blogger Carmi, at 2:02 PM, November 25, 2004  

  • Maybe she is not heterosexual and she is only playing one in the diamonds commercial.

    Soaps are an interesting thing - I grew up watching CBS with my mom and grandmom. Every couple of years I watch an episode here and there and I'm shocked at the consistency of characters, actors, and storylines. It's like an interstate, so easy to use the exit and entrance ramps and pick it back up any time.

    By Blogger Diva, at 9:32 PM, November 25, 2004  

  • For ages I didn't realise DoOL was a real show, as I only know about it through watching Friends. Which reminds me: what did you think of the Jennifer Aniston / Winona Ryder kiss?

    (Is that a correct was to use a comma? I never did get the hang of those things...)

    By Blogger Fyse, at 5:44 PM, November 26, 2004  

  • I remember all too well being embroiled in the world of soap operas. But that's another post for another time...

    By Blogger Janet, at 7:16 PM, November 26, 2004  

  • My grandmother was hooked on a couple of soap operas which she had started out with back when they were on the radio... My grandmother worked hard around the house but that time when the soaps were on was sacred. No one dared talk or bother her then. When my grandad retired he got hooked on them too and then it was "their time" together. When they came up to visit my folks, grandmother and grandad insisted on watching "their" soaps and again, everything in the house came to a halt. My mother disparaged their soap opera watching and the fact that they wouldn't hear of doing anything else, lest they miss their soaps. But just the same, she sat and watched with them and after they went home again I noticed that it took some weeks before she stopped watching them too... ~;^)

    By Blogger foxymama, at 9:37 PM, November 26, 2004  

  • Carmi, Olga Sosnovska has managed to get another role. That's why she left All My Children, for a role on a BBC drama. So I think she's doing okay. As to the commercial, I don't know what that's about. Maybe she had done it before she got the other roles? About the addictive nature of soaps--you're right. The writers are ahead of the viewers. It wouldn't be much fun if they weren't, would it?

    Diva, Thanks for the thought, but she is heterosexual. She's married to a man in real life. Of course, she could be married to a man and still be gay, but I don't get into all that. She says she's straight, and I believe her. I just don't want to see it! LOL As for your comment about going back to an old soap years later and still know what's going on, I agree with you. I'm fairly confident that I could turn on Days of Our Lives and be totally caught up in about a week, and I haven't watched that show in over 5 years.

    Fyse, That's funny that you thought it was a fake show. As a follower of Days, I can tell you that about half of the actors that are in scenes with "Dr. Drake Ramorey" are actually actors on the soap. Hmm, I thought the Jennifer Aniston/Wynonna Ryder kiss was pretty pathetic. I just didn't believe it. They didn't have any chemistry, anyway. I mean, it was nice to see and all that, but not the same as Bianca and Lena, who actually had feelings for each other (the characters, of course). As to your punctuation question, I assume you are talking about the colon and not the comma. The usage of the colon was fine. Colons are a little tricky. If you're interested in learning about punctuation, a great book to read is Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss. She tells interesting anecdotes and she's even English!

    Janet, I look forward to reading that post. :)

    Foxy, My grandfather watched Days with my grandmother, too. He wasn't as into as it seems your grandfather was, but he knew what was going on. Thanks for commenting. It's good to see you. :)

    By Blogger Oz, at 11:14 PM, November 26, 2004  

  • Hmmm... That didn't make me look stupid at all, did it?! I do know what it's called really, even if I'm not 100% sure how to use it...

    That book's actually already in my 'to read' pile, as my Dad got a copy of it last Christmas and insisted I should read it too. Was it a huge success in the US too then?

    By Blogger Fyse, at 1:57 AM, November 27, 2004  

  • hehe.. did you catch when bianca and babe were in bed together while they were pretending that babe was cheating on JR? it seemed pretty steamy for awhile :P until they threw back the covers and revealed they had clothes on and it was all just a plot.. but still.. i thought it was interesting.

    By Blogger Jean, at 8:51 PM, November 27, 2004  

  • Fyse, Eats, Shoots & Leaves was a best seller, so it did well here indeed. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course, I'm very into punctuation myself. But I think that her story-telling ability makes it enjoyable even for someone who wasn't into punctuation. So give it a read already!

    Jean, Oh yeah, I saw that episode. It was good. :) Of course, I saw it coming the whole time. When she and Bianca started talking about their "plan" to get JR, I was like, I know where this is going. But it was still completely satisfying even though I knew from the start that it was fake.

    By Blogger Oz, at 8:44 AM, November 29, 2004  

  • I would love to see lena (olga) and bianca (eden) back together.

    they have wanted one another since the day they met. DESPITE the fact that lena worked with michael, she TRULY wanted and still wants to be with bianca.

    nothing or no one will ever come between them.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:55 PM, October 20, 2005  

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