No, not Ivory, Dove or Irish Spring.  I’m talking about those old-timey soap operas on television. The afternoons used to be chock-a-block full of them them.  And many of us watched one (or more) on a daily basis.  Even though we rarely admitted it.

The Guiding Light was MY guiding light.  It gave me hope that there was life after colic, dirty diapers and pureed peas.  I placed my life in Riva and Josh’s hands every afternoon.  I swooned as they wed, divorced, re-married, cheated, died, were re-incarnated and so forth.  They were always there for me.  At 3:30.  Rain or shine.

My tastes have changed since those days.  Now I tend to watch the European channels which let us “binge.”  No hanging on to the cliff for the next installment.  Sit there long enough and it’s done.  They’re also commercial free.

The European producers like to refer to their soaps as family dramas and historical sagas.  But, let’s be clear, they’re soaps.  Through and through.

The trouble comes when the Mister walks by the television, gets caught up in the moment but has no idea who’s who, who’s done what, who’s good, who’s not, who’s pregnant, by whom, who’s cheating.  Which leaves the one-who-knows with the task of explaining.  By the end of which explanation, many things have happened that the one-who-knows wishes she’d had the chance to see.  One has a responsibility to stay up to the moment with this stuff.

In the end, of course, it doesn’t matter.  In soap land, good trumps evil, families unite, the sick get well and life goes merrily on.  And that’s why soaps…European or otherwise….still have their audiences.  After all, who doesn’t love a good cry and a happy ending?

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