Thursday, 21 January 2016

The Unreal Days of the Bold and the Restless Years

Oh those soap operas! What longevity some of them enjoy.

I recall my first exposure to 'The Young and the Restless' on Hong Kong television in the late 1970s. The episodes were only about 20 minutes in length and they led into the evening news. It started in 1973.

The Young and the Restless 1974
Then there is 'The Days of Our Lives' which is even older having started in 1965. I think I came across this series in Hong Kong as well.

The Days of Our Lives 1973
It was my parents who, holidaying on the Gold Coast in the 1990s, alerted me to 'The Bold and the Beautiful', a comparative baby in the soap opera world dating back to only 1987. Even on their holiday my parents, no matter where they were, had to rush back to their hotel for the afternoon screening of this nonsense. My father, who had no interest in television if it wasn't news, current affairs or a (real) opera broadcast, was addicted to the 'lives' of Ridge, Storm et al.

The Bold and the Beautiful 1987
At different stages I was addicted to each of these series but thankfully I have long since lost that affliction. Every now and then I come across an episode from these shows and will watch it out of curiosity but no more than that. Each of them still has performers from those long ago years of my serial viewing days.

Many things have changed. Fashions and hair styles obviously. The romantic tangles may be modern but the underlying thread of them seems no different.

One very noticeable change is the move from indoor scenes to apparently outdoor scenes. In those 1970/80s days every scene was set indoors as far as I recall.

Nowadays, in an apparent attempt for greater reality, outdoor scenes are featured. Sometimes they are actually filmed outdoors but mostly it seems they are still indoor productions. In those moments I focus my attention on the extras in the background; not on the main protagonists.

The extras presumably are supposed to represent a realistic group of people in a public space. Except that they don't act realistically at all.

There are couples standing or sitting and mouthing silent conversations in the background. If the extras move it is mostly slowly as though in slow motion. No-one is in a hurry. There are no prams blocking aisles. There are no children screaming at hassled parents. There are no wayward shopping trolleys whose wheels defy the intentions of the pusher. There is no traffic noise.

As ever, these soap operas inhabit the most unreal of worlds.


  1. Ridge? Storm? What sort of show is it? Is it x rated?

    1. Ho ho Andrew, I'm sure you have some inkling.

  2. I watched Days of Our Lives (Like sands through the hourglass...) on and off back in the mid-70s when I was in high school (not WHILE I was in school). But that was the end of that. Now, they show DOOL here in France on weekday mornings. Dubbed in French, no less. But I don't watch it anymore, so I have no idea what's going on.

    1. wcs I have little idea of what is going on either but I can tell you that Beau and his wife/girlfriend? and the guy with the eye patch are still in the show.

    2. Bo and Hope! I remember them, but just barely. Can't believe they're still on.