Monday, October 27, 2008


According to In most general terms, the causes of divorce (and arguably the cause of any relationship dissolution) involve a breakdown or lack of communication, compromise, and/or commitment. Family legal experts cite the following factors as major causes of divorce: poor communication, financial problems, lack of commitment, dramatic changes in priorities, and infidelity. Causes of divorce may also include physical, mental or emotional abuse, substance abuse, lack of conflict resolution skills, unmet needs, failed expectations, and significant discrepancies in parenting.

According to daytime television: The causes of divorce include a heretofore unmentioned spouse coming to town and bringing along a heretofore unmentioned child; a presumed dead spouse returning to town and bringing along a presumed dead and/or unknown child; one partner discovering the other naked under a blanket in a cabin during a snowstorm and snorting with derision at the excuse of "It was just to preserve body heat, I swear!"; most acts of nature - hurricanes, avalanches, floods; a drunken tryst no one seems to remember exactly but is staunchly eager to believe took place; a misunderstanding that could otherwise be resolved in six minutes if only the aggrieved party actually consulted with their spouse, rather than with everyone else in town.

Such disparate lists beg the question: Would you like to see soaps take a more realistic look at marriage?

For instance, would you enjoy seeing ATWT's Brad and Katie split up not over his ex and child, not over a scheming intern, not over her allegedly unresolved feelings for Mike (and Jack. And Simon) but over something more common, like Katie charging up a storm on her credit cards, or Brad buying them a house they can't afford to make payments on and then losing it?

Would you like to see GL's Rick and Mel arguing over something normal, like how hard to push their gifted daughter, Leah? Mel, who was always pushed to be a super-achiever by her parents could be urging her daughter to slow down and enjoy life while Rick, who has made a ton of mistakes, including becoming addicted to drugs, could be obsessed with setting Leah on the right path to success sooner rather than later.

Would Carly and Jack's umpteenth break-up be more believable if it was over her wanting to go back to work while Jack insisted the kids need her at home (and, this time, there was no homicidal puppet involved)? Should Margo and Tom face a fracture in their marriage not from Emily or Doc or a random psychopath but from Tom, following his heart attack, suddenly discovering religion -- and begging a reluctant, unbelieving Margo to join him?

What if Beth became a physically abusive wife to Alan (with her background, its certainly conceivable)? What if Jeffrey and Reva ended up with a seriously disabled child -- and couldn't agree on a course of treatment?

In other words, would you like your soap marriages and inevitable break-ups more statistically realistic, or is the back from the dead spouse why you watch soaps in the first place?

Let us know in the Comments section below!


supersage21 said...

A "good soap writer" can inject a soap couple with problems and not have "breakups" every year.

A "good soap writer" can write "normal" problems into a couple's relationship and make it seem exciting and entertaining.

A "good soap writer" writes a couple based on the characters' personalities and histories and doesn't rely on plot devices.

A "good soap writer" doesn't work at GL.

Miss Mary said...

Your "realistic" scenarios are funny! I especially thought Tom going all churchie on Margo was hilarious :D

I personally don't like ANY stories that break up my favorite couples... :( But I do realize that "happy all the time" doesn't equal good soap drama. So I'm sometimes willing to accept the crazy ex coming to town or a momentary laps in brain function in one of the characters in order to keep them in good story.

BUT... I really REALLY dislike total annihilation of who my favorite characters are in order to put them into a story line!!!

nancyd said...

I'm on the same wavelength as the others that have commented.

I would like to see soap couples being written more realistically. And that means that happily married couples CAN BE interesting! Seriously do none of TPTB know anyone that is happily married and yet leads an interesting life?

You mention Carly and Jack. What's boring and unrealistic is their umpteenth breakup period! And certainly the overuse of triangles just makes it all the worse especially when it seems like the same scripts are used with just the name changed for the "other woman du jour." What actually makes them interesting is when they come together as a couple and work as a team. It's boring when they are fighting all the time. A good writer can make happy couples interesting.

I would like to see different angst for couples other than triangles. But I'd also like to see the couples actually work through things together and not break up. Now that would be refreshing and interesting!