There’s a show set around a hospital, where murders, affairs, natural disasters and characters rising from the dead, are all fair game.
It might sounds like the working of a Shonda Rhimes original, but it isn’t. Unlike Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, there are no month-long waits for a new season. This show produces new episodes Monday through Friday. Seriously.
The show I’m talking about is ABC’s General Hospital, the network’s remaining soap opera.
With 54 years under its belt, General Hospital is the third longest running drama in television history, behind Guiding Light and As The World Turns, soaps that premiered in the ’50s and ended in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
In addition to GH, there are three other American soaps that are still in production. CBS airs The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless, while NBC has Days of Our Lives.
These shows are different than your average primetime drama because they come on every day, which allows them to have longer and complex storylines. No, you don’t need to see every season to understand what’s going on, because soap dialogue is often written in explanatory fashion.
Here are some other reasons why you should be watching soaps!
1. People can always come back.
Soaps actors come and go, and sometimes come back again. That means your favorite character might be written off the show when the actor’s contract is up or if he or she is fired. But soaps are not afraid to recast, and it can go down different paths.
Some recasts are simple and usually air a few weeks after the original actor’s last day. Flagship characters are normally written off or killed off when their actors leave. Mystery in a character’s exit, like having them die without a body, allows for flexibility. The character can be revived when the actor wants to come back, or they can recast and then create a reason for having two men claiming to be the same person (almost always twins).
These two actors played the same character and were revealed to be twins on One Life to Live.
2. Character Development is REAL.
Even though the actors might switch around, the characters can stay forever, making character growth really good.
Nobody has done it better than Kimberly McCullough, the actress who started on General Hospital at age five. Her character Robin Scorpio started out as the daughter of super spies Anna Devane and Robert Scorpio. Her teenage years brought one of the show’s biggest storylines, her battle with HIV. This was a big deal in the ’90s, when HIV/AIDS was still stigmatized.
But Robin, persevered. She went to Yale, became a doctor, married the love of her life and has two kids. There’s been some classic soap drama in between but she’s the shining example that good things can happen to soap characters!
3. Love In The Afternoon.
If you like some romance, soaps are for you. If you thought the Peyton-Brooke-Lucas love triangle on One Tree Hill was messy, try again. There’s nothing like a soap love triangle.
Because soaps are so rich in history, these plots live on for DECADES. Just twitter search Jasam and Liason (couple smoosh names are big on soaps), and see what you get.
But the serial format makes soap romances so much more rewarding, as you grow with characters. One of my fave pairings is the coupling of Dante and Lulu, on General Hospital. I watched their characters meet (eight years ago!!), and I watched them get married (six years ago), try to have children (five years ago), and overcome infidelity (two years ago).
If you like action, then soaps are for you. Evil villains are staples in soaps. Soap villains make Georgina Sparks look angelic. Daytime villains will kidnap and brainwash you, they’re not afraid to kill and they seldom die.
They’ve stolen babies, brainwashed their enemies, and have even tried to take over the world.
5. Storylines are always fresh.
Soaps cycle through actors and writers, which helps keep the show exciting. One writer might favor mysteries, while another may prefer romance storylines. Soap writing is a special gift—after all, they have to write enough scripts to cover daily episodes.
The writers aren’t afraid tackle serious topics. Characters have handled domestic violence, substance abuse, sexual assault and mental health crisis.
With that being said, how can you resist tuning in to some good old fashioned soap goodness?