April 15, 2011
The end of soaps
ABC's recent decision to cancel two of its long-running daytime soaps, "All My Children" and "One Life to Live", is another nail in the soap opera coffin. Besides putting hundreds of people out of work in both LA and New York, it means fewer opportunities for young actors and writers to get their first decent-paying jobs. Say what you want about the quality and relevance of soap operas, but here are a few actors who got their start on the soaps:
(Those last four are Oscar winners.)
On the Soap Central website, there will only be four daytime soap operas left after the two ABC cancellations: "Days of Our Lives", "General Hospital", "The Young and the Restless", and "The Bold and the Beautiful", and since that last one didn't start until 1987 and only runs for 30 minutes, it barely counts.
But here's the real question: what does this mean for Tootsie? Tootsie is one of my very favorite movies, and while it will probably stand up just fine in a post-soap world, I wonder if younger generations will get all the jokes if they've never spent long afternoons watching "Guiding Light" while their grandmother smokes cigarettes and has her pre-dinner Schmidt's. In Tootsie, Dustin Hoffman lands a role in a fictitious soap, "Southwest General", after transforming himself into Dorothy Michaels.
Jessica Lange introducing herself as the "hospital slut". Patients going in and out of comas with every commercial break. Nurses having simultaneous affairs with doctors and patients. Leading men, pushing 70, who have weekly affairs with 22 year-olds. The live episode. The big "I'm Edward Kimberly!" reveal, which is a reference to a similar storyline from "General Hospital" in 1980, when Sally Armitage, played by a male cross-dressing actor, was revealed to be Max Hedges. Here's the entire fantastic Edward Kimberly speech.
That is one nutty hospital.
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