Wednesday, September 10, 2014

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT SOAP OPERA COMAS

On The Young & the Restless, Phyllis is starting to come out of her coma – just in time for her fiancé, Jack, to fall for Kelly (ain’t that always the way?), while on Days of Our Lives, John continues to linger in his coma, despite wife Marlena’s medically innovative technique of spraying his hospital room with perfume to wake him up - trust her, she’s a doctor.  (BTW: This isn’t even John’s first coma. The last time was in 2007, after he was shot by EJ.)

Comas are so widespread on soap-operas that an international, peer reviewed medical journal, The BMJ, actually published a scholarly article, Epidemiology and prognosis of coma in daytime television dramas about the phenomenon.

Web MD then summarized their findings as: Casarett's team studied the depiction of comas on U.S. television soap operas from 1995-2005. During that time, 64 soap opera characters had what appeared to be comas.

Here's how those characters fared:

* Nearly nine out of 10 fully recovered
* 8% (five "patients") died
* 3% (two "patients") remained in a vegetative state

Those results are "unrealistically optimistic," write the researchers.

Perhaps the researchers would feel better if they knew that while, in the "real" world, comas are caused by trauma, on soaps, trauma is only a small, contributing factor to a character's comatose state.

My latest post for Entertainment Weekly reveals the real reason so many soap characters go into so many comas. Check it out at: http://community.ew.com/2014/09/09/truth-about-soap-opera-comas/

(I'm told I completely messed up the details of Marlena's coma, though the commentators can't seem to agree on what the correct story is, either. Maybe you can help?)


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