Thursday, September 17, 2009

a sign of the times

Tomorrow marks the end of an era. Tomorrow will be the final episode of the soap opera, Guiding Light.

I have watched my fair share of soap operas since I was a teenager and still do, occasionally, tune in to watch an episode or two. But Guiding Light was my first. I can't tell you what year it was or how old I was, but I remember watching it because my mom watched it. She taught me how to iron and I would iron pillowcases in front of the TV while watching the tangled web weaved by the Bauers and the Spauldings.

I'm guessing that this was somewhere in the late '60s. Soap Operas were a lot different back then. Sex was only inferred and the raciest storyline might have been about alcoholism. I often wonder if it was watching first, Guiding Light, and then, As The World Turns (which I still catch now and then), that started my love for stories. Or maybe it was my love for stories that attracted me to soap operas. Either way, they have been a part of my life for most of my life.

Soap operas are a dying breed. Women used to stay at home all day and a half hour soap (originally on the radio) was a nice distraction to most of their time spent doing the cooking and housework. Over time, women started working outside the home more, and viewership suffered.

Then TV programming started to change. The options of what to watch became greater. And because of those choices, soaps had to drastically change their story lines to compete with the more exciting game, talk, and reality shows. The story lines became more scandalous and ridiculous, and the typical viewer of soaps changed. It became a younger crowd.

All this is what has caused the slow and final death of Guiding Light, as well as previously canceled soaps. I stopped watching Guiding Light back when I was a teenager, but I still find it sad to see it go permanently. Good bye old friend. Thanks for the memories.


MightyMom said...

oh wow....Guiding Light....sigh.

I was in daycare. At nap time you'd find hundreds (or so it seemed) of little mats on the floor of this enormous room and the lights turned out. At the front of the room was a cabinet TV turned to the soaps.

we laied down at As the World Turns and got up at the ending credits to Guiding Light. To this day the ending music of Guiding Light will make me wake matter what time it's played.

and yes, there were plenty of times I stayed awake to watch too!

now, off topic:

please come play thesaurus thursday today.

Just Mom said...

I used to be a "General Hospital" and "Another World" junkie while in college. Actually, a lot of the gals in my dorm were hooked on soaps.

Anyway ... you're right, I stopped watching them after I graduated and entered the workforce. The storylines started getting really ridiculous, so I wasn't heartbroken that I had to stop watching the shows. I still don't watch them now, but I am surprised when I see a familiar soap actor/actress still on a show when I happen to be flipping channels. Brings back memories of college -- and good storylines. :-D

Just Mom said...

Sorry about "Guiding Light" going off the air. Enjoy the final episode. :-D

Short Stop said...

This is really interesting. I haven't thought about soaps in forever, but did watch my fair share in high school and college.

I think all the moms at home now are on fb and blogging in their "spare" time. LOL!!!

Heidi Jo said...

fascinating stuff. i was just wondering as i was folding clothing with most of the five kids gone to school what i might watch on a tele that has no cable...soap operas! i couldn't do it, i just couldn't. i wondered out loud, "does anyone still watch these things?"

guiding light started, like most soap operas with a christian theme. hence the name. boy, aren't they a picture of how far we've come as a culture?

Jamey said...

The story lines have gotten pretty ridiculous at times. I don't watch Guiding Light but I would be very sad if Y&R got cancelled. I guess I have never thought about the change in women working having an effect on soaps. But it makes sense! I don't work during the day...although sometimes I am sleeping after working all night...but I am usually busy enough that I have to catch my soap at a later time. Thank goodness for the DVR!

Karen said...

I starting watching Y&R when it first started in the 70s. I haven't watched it in years, but watched it through college and on my lunch hour when I started working. It's always sad when a favorite t.v. show ends. I'm still mourning 30 Something! But, I hear it's coming out on dvd.

Karen said...

I used to watch Guiding Light too. I think the only soap still on that I watched was All My Children. All the rest have been canceled. Very sad...

maddie/cadesmimi said...

I used to watch The Guiding Light and As the World Turns in the late 60's/early 70's. I was a newlywed in 72 and remember when The Y&R first began, also. I, too, eventually went to work and lost track. When I retired 4 years ago, I was shocked to see some of the same people still on the soaps! I occasionally watch from time to time, but find the storylines a bit much to stomach these days...I did watch the last 30 minutes of the final show of The Guiding Light--for old times sake. Kathy in GA