Soap Opera Confidential

Writers and Soap Insiders on Why We’ll Tune in Tomorrow as the World Turns Restlessly by the Guiding Light of Our Lives


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About the Book

Soap operas have captured loyal, often lifelong viewers since the first American daytime serial debuted in 1949. In this collection of 29 new and five classic essays and recollections, authors and soap opera insiders delve into the passion for television melodrama that compels viewers to “tune in tomorrow.” The contributors include iconic soap star Thorsten Kaye, journalist Leigh Montville, authors Elinor Lipman and Ann Hood, and editors of Soaps in Depth magazine. They explore the soap phenomenon from a range of perspectives and consider the appeal of a venerable genre in which, as novelist Jacquelyn Mitchard observes, “everyone’s life was more depressing than mine.”

About the Author(s)

Elizabeth Searle is the author of five books of fiction. Her show Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera has been produced around the country and has drawn national media attention. Elizabeth teaches fiction and script-writing at the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA.

Suzanne Strempek Shea is the author of six novels as well as six nonfiction books. A former newspaper reporter, she is writer in residence at Bay Path University and teaches nonfiction and fiction at Stonecoast MFA.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Elizabeth Searle and Suzanne Strempek Shea
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 184
Bibliographic Info: index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6528-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2759-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction (Suzanne Strempek Shea) 1
Episode 1: Days of Our Lives—Soaps as Part of Growing Up
Quentin, We’re Trapped! (Rita Ciresi) 6
Latchkey Lunch with Love of Life (Leigh Montville) 10
Sunny, Seductive Summer Bay (Nuala Ní Chonchúir) 14
Lesbians, Jews and Patriarchal Oppression: Or, How I
Learned to Love Beverly Hills, 90210 (Emily Franklin) 17
“Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller”: The Literary, ­Music-Loving,
Geek Girls of Gilmore (Lisa Borders) 22
Dynasty II: The Colbys (Aaron Hamburger) 27
Episode 2: All My Children—Soaps as Family Affair Dr. Steve at Bat (Tommy Shea) 32
The Doctors and William Beaumont General ­Hospi-tale (Brenda Sparks Prescott) 36
My Years of Tonsillitis (Ann Hood) 39
A Boxer’s Secret (Jose Antonio Rivera) 44
A Soapy Life (Caitlin McCarthy) 46
My Mother’s Stories (Lesléa Newman) 49
Their Show (Shara McCallum) 50
The Kind That Lasts Forever (Marianne Leone) 55
Episode 3: Another World—Soaps as Cultural Commentary
Thoughts on the Rooftop (Allan G. Hunter) 60
Dark Shadows: Look Homeward, Vampire (Nancy Holder) 65
Accepting an Invitation to Love (Ted Deppe) 68
Learning to Watch (Kyoko Mori) 72
Bringing Hope (Marie ­Hannan-Mandel) 83
Episode 4: Dynasty—Soaps as Insider Game Waterbed (Thorsten Kaye) 88
Three Months on the Inside: Life as a Guiding Light Intern (Erin Roberts) 89
Everything I Ever Wanted to Know About Sex (But Was
Afraid Mike Douglas Would Ask Zsa Zsa Gabor) (Charlie Mason) 92
For the Love of Adam (Tigh M. Rickman) 96
I Thickened the Plot—and Other Confessions of a ­Soap-Opera Writer
(David Hiltbrand) 100
Charm!ed (Sebastian Stuart) 105
An Unexpected Stage (Louise Shaffer) 107
How Luke and Laura Killed the Modern Soap Opera (Richard M. Simms) 109
Episode 5: As the World Turns—Soaps as ­Life-Long Passion
As My World Turned: A Timeline (Elinor Lipman) 114
Sister Soaps: Young and Restless and Bold and Beautiful (Elizabeth Searle) 117
A Guiding Light Extinguished (Suzanne Strempek Shea) 126
A Fan’s Perspective (Robert Reid ) 129
Undying Vampire Love (Susan Lilley) 132
Soaps: How Did I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways (Blake Wandesforde) 134
Thirty Years in Pine Valley (Marie Lathers) 145
Sleepless in the Land of Soaps (Jamie Cat Callan) 152
About the Contributors 159
Index 163