Before me a young woman is being strapped into a gurney against her will and electrodes are taped to her head. Electro - shock therapy will wipe her memory, thereby leaving her a blank slate who is ready, willing and able to do the bidding of a maniacal cult leader. As I witness this I dip a Wavy Lay into a vat of french onion dip and take a sip of Diet Coke. The girl begins to scream as the voltage cranks up.
This is happening on my television of course.
This is 'One Life To Live'.
I fucking love Soap Operas. I am a learned, intelligent, well read, and cultured individual... and I am enthralled, engaged and endlessly fascinated by Soap Operas. Are they predictable? Mostly. Are they poorly written? They can be. Are they filled with terrible acting? Not all of the time. When you produce 250 hour length episodes of one show a year... a LOT of them are going to be stinkers. At 13 - 16 episodes a season, there's a reason shows like 'Mad Men' and 'Lost' are so classy.
In fact I think it's the predictability I like the most. Soaps embrace our most basic and classic dramatic interests. Switched at birth, evil twins, star crossed lovers... these are not just the stories of 'Days Of Our Lives' and 'General Hospital'. These are the stories of Ovid, Aeschylus and Sophocles. At 2:00 in the afternoon the Greek Gods are transformed into wealthy American families with perfect bodies and too much time on their hands.
We know what to expect. We know where the story is going. We know that Lucky will learn Elizabeth is sleeping with his brother. We know that Blair will sabotage Todd and Tea's marriage and we know that before the final death knell is rung on daytime television Luke and Laura will find their way back to each other. We know this as surely as we know that (*spoiler alert*) Romeo will drink the poison and Juliet will stab herself with the dagger. We have no choice. The stories are ingrained in us and not just from endless, mind numbing hours of TV, but because these stories are built into the psyche. No other art form aside from stagings of the ancient classics celebrates this quite as boldly as a Soap.
So that, my friends, is why when the last back is stabbed, the last secret told, and the last shirt torn off, I will be there. I will be watching.
You can buy tickets for MY AiDS at athandtheatre.com