Soaps - For Girls Only?

Are all these daily dramas of any appeal to men? ...

 

In the beginning, man created soap operas … a cheap and cheerful way to hook housewives into a continuing serial, a format that would give washing powder manufacturers the chance to constantly harangue such poor defenceless creatures of the 1950s into submission. Almost brainwashed, these women would go out shopping and subconsciously pick up the brand whose money had been put into their favourite fix of escapism.

To this day, it's interesting to note that it's only women who get transfixed into the plotlines of soaps and actually believe they are watching real slices of life (I should note that not all women are like this - just the chattering majority, it would seem). Us gents, however, see jobbing actors in a piece of fluff designed to fill space between the news and the next big sit-com. Men were never really a target market of these shows - we don't buy the right stuff for the advertisers concerned, so we were never pandered to by the formats.

Only, this seemed to change at some point in the 1990s. Exactly when is a little more difficult. It was definitely post-Kylie. In fact, it may well have been the success of Australian Soaps that made British Production Companies rethink their strategy. Suddenly, us blokes were being courted to stick with Sud Arias due to the high Babe quotient suddenly injected into these tired programmes. And there we are, us guys, who have better things to do with our telly viewing hours, suddenly paying a passing interest to the soaps just because of the female eye candy being paraded in front of us.

Aren't we just shameful? You can tell we're not interested in the shows or their paper-thin repetitive plots. Why? Well, we're more likely to know the actresses by their real names than their character names. If a market researcher asks us who we'd like to go on a date with, it's the real artist, not the fictitious woman, that we plump for. The soap opera is unable to suspend our disbelief - we'd rather talk actresses than made up hairdressers, café assistants or barmaids.

Meanwhile, pity those poor unfortunate women hooked into their thrice weekly doses of made-up life, so valuable these days as neighbours no longer gossip over the back fence - there must be some reality construct to take this activity's place. They shake fists at the actors who play the villains when they're down their local Tesco's, they give stern advice to the less-than-chaste women who they cannot realise are thespians, not harlots or lesbians.

Us guys don't buy into these soaps. Give us action, adventure, and some well-crafted and unusual storytelling that's as far removed from reality as possible. We all live real life to the max, and would prefer others not to do so for us! Problem is, it seems there aren't enough like-minded women to go around!