I didn't have a lot of friends growing up. There was one neighbor girl who came over to play, but as time passed, she just wanted to have tea parties. Tea parties consisted of soda and cookies. When the soda and cookies were gone, she'd find an excuse to go home.
During school vacations there wasn't a lot to do. Daytime Dramas (or soap operas as they are more commonly referred to) became my afternoon past time. I looked forward to getting lost in the problems of my favorite characters because their problems sure were a lot worse than mine. I can hear you groaning or laughing, or getting ready to move on to another blog. You're asking yourself, "Is she really going to devote an entire blog post to discussing the positive aspects of soap operas?" Yes, I am, because I think soaps inform as well as entertain. A person with a disability can experience things via soap operas that they may not have the opportunity to experience in their everyday lives.
Many actors such as Alec Baldwin, Meg Ryan, Kevin Kline and Kathleen Turner got their start on soaps. Soaps have raised people's awareness of many issues such as breast cancer, infertility and AIDS. I'll never forget when, the now canceled soap, Port Charles cast actor Mitch Longley, who is himself a paraplegic the result of a car accident, to play a surgeon on the show. He had a wheelchair that raised him to a standing position for the scenes in which he was supposed to be performing surgery. I remember thinking how cool it was that the show cast a person with a disability and I wondered how I could get a chair like the one Mich used on the show.
Soaps afforded me the opportunity to make friends. My mom and I attended soap fan weekends in California for many years. You would see the same people at events every year. I was always accepted because all of us had a common interest, love of a show or a particular actor. No one cared what my disability was. Some of the people I met in California I'm still friends with today. I have to admit those weekends were probably the only time in my life that I didn't mind being in a chair because I got a lot of attention from the actors.
Talk shows may be less expensive to produce and provide information to viewers, but I think soaps derserve a place on network daytime television too. Two canceled shows will now be on the Internet. I guess that's good, but it won't be the same.
I debated whether to write this post or not. Soaps have been a part of my life for almost as long as I can remember. I have had many great experiences because of soaps and met amazing people. Soaps won't change the world, but they do alleviate stress because, for sixty minutes, at least, your worries are gone. Whatever your feelings about soap operas are, that's definitely a good thing.