Sad Soaps

How did the cult of misery
gain sway over the airways?
Every soap I’ve ever seen
started life quite well,
with humour or a good story.
Nowadays the ratings soar
only when a character dies,
betrays, divorces or goes to hell.

Pay for jobbing actors
keeps the wolf from their door,
but I might watch them more
if they had an injection
of wit and happiness.
Away with this dejection.

Dialogue is shouted,
good manners are flouted,
lighting is dim and decor is dreary;
of all this misery, I am weary.
Ah what a relief,
there’s an `off` switch.

The ugly neologism miserableness was used in a Radio Times trail to describe a crime drama steeped in misery, which sparked these lines


All poetry, prose and pictures posted here, except where otherwise stated, is my own, and may only be used elsewhere with my expressed permission. Please don't be inhibited from correcting my bloopers and making suggestions: Most of what I post here is instant, ill-considered and off-the-cuff, in serious need of editing.
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29 Responses to Sad Soaps

  1. Hear, hear! I stopped watching Coronation Street (my only soap) on the first anniversary of 9/11. There was too much real misery in the world for me to watch it as ‘entertainment’ as well. Time was, Corrie was ordinary and funny and reflected real life. Not any more.


  2. atrm61 says:

    Oh,and here I was thinking this is an affliction of only Indian soaps!We had a few which ran for years-one broke the record by running for over 8 years and the characters went from 25 to 45 and then to 60 without any changes except for a few grey hairs and such-the oldest member who at the start must have already been 60 ,still lived-wow! have stopped watching them cos the melodrama and the constant plotting gets to me-also they keep equating good with stupid and wicked with brains-gah!Same with news-always focusing on the negative!

    A great insight into the soaps Viv,enjoyed tour poem:-)


  3. Yet in life’s real drama there is no off switch… I think this allows us to be more compassionate… but who needs to be fed misery on a screen… the beauty that accompanies tragedy in our lives is lost in soap stories.


  4. Viv, we have soaps here, of course, but are you cursed with the WORST type of “miserableness,” “reality shows?” Participants (from people you’ve never heard of to those abominable Kardashian girls) pretend to be ad-libbing whatever the premise is – a race across the country for cash; a bachelor trying to ferret out the rose among thorny dames, or semi-famous (demi-famous?!) people negotiating lives that are far out of our price range. IT’s all scripted and planned by producers, including dance and singing contests… and the truly miserable are those who watch the programs. A waste of time. Give me a book any day! Ha ha, Amy


  5. seingraham says:

    So true…sometimes the off switch seems out of reach somehow…well done Viv


  6. Susan says:

    Great! I, too, forget that there is an off switch.


  7. Mary says:

    So true about soap operas. My mother used to watch a few when I was a kid. They were pretty tame compared to today’s fare. I am sure people today would find them very dull. Smiles.


  8. MarinaSofia says:

    Ah, but Strictly is not miserable and gloomy, is it? We need more cheery programmes like that, I agree. You can instantly tell it’s a soap even if you switch to a channel by accident, because they are all shouting and rolling their eyes in an exaggerated fashion.


  9. Grace says:

    I am not into soaps and drama, too much weariness and sadness ~ I would rather watch a happy and feel good movie or tv series ~


  10. thehutts says:

    I gave up my additcion to soaps a long time ago. Now I am addicted to following osprey stories – they can have just as much drama. Eyes to the skies please as the adults should be on the move now, heading for their breeding grounds. For those connected with schools 24th -28th March is the inaugural World Osprey Week and the Rutland Osprey Project has produced some wonderful resources for school across the World:

    Enjoyed the ‘Great British Sewing Bee’ last night but fell asleep just before the end 😦
    Link for UK residents:


  11. Bodhirose says:

    I did get into soaps when I was younger but then it just became the same story over and over again and the hysterical drama was never ending…boring! You describe them perfectly.


  12. Something I’ve never gotten into except one week when I was sick as a teenager. I couldn’t believe that the same series just went off the air–40 years or more later. How many divorces, affairs etc. happened in the meantime, I wonder.


  13. scrbwly says:

    the indignation of the entire poem is kinda hilarious. I mean that in a good way. About soaps, I thought they should be about romance and mild frustrations. too bad they’re peddling misery now


  14. Ah–you now–you have a good point–i don’t watch them, but I know many an actor that was grateful for the job!


  15. grapeling says:

    Oh, I’m pretty sure lots of actors have had injections… ~


  16. Brian Miller says:

    if only the off switch could come to reality..ha…its a characterization of our society, sadly….i used to watch the stories with my sitter after school years ago…they all come back to life after they die any way…smiles.


  17. I’m so glad I never found the on-switch.. soaps have a tendency to take over your life… so I stay off.. but being hooked in drearyness is another thing.


  18. claudia says:

    smiles… we have one called lindenstrasse and it runs forever and ever – i have only seen it twice or so – i think it must be a tough marathon to keep such soaps alive for years and years


  19. restlessjo says:

    I haven’t bothered to find the ‘on’ switch, Viv. Documentaries and sport in this household 😦


  20. colonialist says:

    The ‘If your heart ain’t broken and your eyes are always der-ry -ee
    Don’t you know that it’s the thing to sob and sigh-ee … c’mon and ker-ry-ee!’ syndrome.


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