A Love Letter to the Soap Opera Fan

Pictured: General Hospital's Vanessa Marcil and Maurice Benard ©2002 ABC, Inc. Photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Soap fans are a special breed. They don’t make them like us anymore. We are the devout, the hardcore, the daytime warriors that keep this genre afloat. We are the most loyal of fans.

If people are not soap fans, if they aren’t one of us, they don’t get it. They won’t understand what it’s like to immerse yourself so completely into other people’s lives five days a week. They won’t understand what it’s like to rush home for a wedding or a funeral or a first love scene.

They won’t understand not responding to text messages or yelling at someone for daring to call during the most sacred time of all. They won’t understand why you curse blue blazes when your DVR malfunctions and your show doesn’t record.

They won’t understand soap events. They won’t understand the money you spend on airfare and hotel rooms. They won’t understand the drive that took hours and waking up at the butt crack of dawn. They won’t understand all the memorabilia you bought or all the shirts, pictures, mugs that you had signed. They won’t understand wrap-around lines that stretch forever in malls or hotel ballrooms or standing in long lines in the hot sun. They won’t understand that it was worth it for that picture, for that autograph, for that smile, for that hug, for being greeted like a long-lost friend.

They don’t understand the investment of being a soap fan. They don’t understand the payout. They won’t understand how you waited months, sometimes YEARS, for a couple to get together. They won’t understand how you hung in there with characters through baby switches, mind-altering chips, betrayals, character assassinations, writing regime changes and demonic possession. They won’t understand how you set yourself up for heartbreak. They won’t understand every missed signal, every misinterpreted action, every botched apology. They won’t understand how you cheered when a hated character finally got busted or why you cried as hard as you did when your favorite got their heart broken or died.

They won’t understand who the “Slut of Springfield” is. They won’t understand the struggle that led to a Victorious New Man. They won’t know how symbolic that eye patch is, or how hearing the expression “He always leaves me standing in the rain” will reduce you to tears. They won’t understand that fashion showdowns meant the Forresters vs.The Spectras. They won’t understand that Pine Valley and Llanview mean Pennsylvania.

As hard as they might try, they won’t understand that Timmy wasn’t just a doll, that Top of the Tower wasn’t just a restaurant, that the Haunted Star isn’t just a ship. They won’t understand how powerful the love between Victor and Nikki is, how to appreciate the fidelity of Tom and Margo, how we mourned when Mona died, or why your aunt arranged her college schedule around the wedding of Luke and Laura. They won’t understand Ryan’s or Brady’s. They won’t understand how groundbreaking Katherine Chancellor’s facelift was on live TV or how edgy and controversial Erica’s abortion was.

BJ’s heart and the Ice Princess mean nothing to them. They don’t know who the Salem Strangler was or why Bo and Hope went on the run. They won’t understand why no one slaps people like Stephanie Forrester or why BeLieF is spelled the way it is. They don’t understand the sibling rivalry that led Janet to push Natalie down that well. They won’t understand how Adam and Stuart Chandler can be identical yet polar opposites. They won’t be able to tell you the difference between Viki Buchannan and Nikki Smith. They don’t know who Marley and Vicky are. They have no clue who Stefano or Roger Thorpe or Alan Spaulding or Mitch Lawrence are. They don’t understand the Search for Tomorrow. They don’t understand how we can get swept away into Another World or live on the Edge of the Night. They won’t get how Santa Barbara wasn’t just a city in California.

They don’t understand the power of Dru and Neil, Lily and Holden, Reva and Josh, Angie and Jesse, Mac and Rachel, Frisco and Felicia, Sonny and Brenda. They don’t know who lives in Harmony or Sunset Beach or Salem. They couldn’t possibly understand why a town in upstate New York has such a high crime rate. They have no clue what kind of arguments Shick vs.

Phick, Liason vs. JaSam, or Steam vs. Lope will bring. They don’t understand how you were Tridge or Bridge and there was no in between. They won’t understand Stayla or Hevon or Zendall.

You can’t hold it against them for not understanding. It’s like a foreign language to them. They watch their primetime shows, but they won’t understand their origin. They won’t understand their roots. But you do.

I salute you, the viewers of Daytime Television. You, who have sat through amnesia storylines, stable sex, back from the dead storylines, bar hookups, countless breakups, fresh-out-of-a-coma-and-on-my- way-to-go-stop-a-wedding storylines. You, that have gone to hundreds of weddings, christenings, and funerals. I salute you for rolling with the punches and staying loyal through ratings declines, lazy storytelling, and departures of favorite characters. I salute you for your steadfast devotion. I salute you for your tenacity and for keeping the genre that I love above all others afloat.

Use #SoapFanLoveLetter when discussing on social media.

Tagged:
About the Author

Red carpet maven, social media influencer, the girl with the look that's got you hooked. In 2020, Dee "TMZ DeeDee" Flintakis joined the TV Source team as a staff writer, focused primarily on soap operas, primetime dramas, and is currently willing a spinoff of 'Josie and the Pussycats' into existence. When Dee isn’t teaching the kiddies, she is addicted to traveling, reading, attending soap events, nuanced storytelling, and making dramatic proclamations on that bird app.