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Soap Opera = Porn – Good Stuff

December 5, 2005

When I work out in the afternoon there are usually soap operas on the silent TVs in front of me (along with Oprah and Dr. Phil and ESPN and CNN). The TVs are silent because you need to tune your radio into a certain frequency to hear the sound. I don’t have either a radio or headset with me when I work out — I like the ambient noise of the gym, the music in the background, and the sound of my own labored breathing as I attempt to keep encroaching feebleness at bay.

So, I watch the soaps. I suspect that a generation will come that is so far removed from the origin of the soap opera that the term will have lost all meaning. Do people still realize that the shows were started by soap companies as a way to sell their product on radio (and then TV) by having a drama on which they could advertise exclusively? I fear not. Time leaves us with many language legacies.

As I was watching the other day — one of those endless scenes where some guy character is having some intense discussion with some gal character — I dawned I me I was watching a scene that could have been lifted right out of a high-quality porn flick (Yes, there are variations in quality amongst porn flicks. In fact, there are very specific levels of investment and the concomitant output in the porn business). The straight to video, cheesy acting, blow-dried hair, dimly lit, cheap stage scene was one I had seen a thousand times before (ok, perhaps not a thousand times). If I could have heard the sound I suspect it would have been the same simple score played behind every good porn flick.

Then it dawned on me that soaps are just porn without all the fun stuff. Or, porn are just soaps with some fun stuff thrown in. Either way, the distance between the two art forms (and I use art very liberally here, particularly as it applies to soaps) was much shorter than I ever imagined.

I am not sure either the porn actors or the soap actors would really appreciate this comparison.

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