Very often, both the casual viewer and he/she who becomes a dedicated fan begin watching soap operas with an older family member, a sibling, a group of friends. Soap researchers have shown that this is another way and another reason that fans bond so strongly to soap characters and the decades-long establishing of show history that soaps exhibit. Humans are deeply social animals. So when we watch soaps with others at regularly offered times and inevitably enjoy ourselves, a bond forms with our co-viewers, certainly. But bonds also form with those who (whether they are protagonists or antagonists, especially because the delineation between these two types of character is so subtle and nuanced on soaps) populate a soap’s or soaps’ canvas. We grow to not only to love, but to depend upon, characters like Gwen Alden, Stuart Chandler, Dorian Lord, Robert Scorpio, Felicia Gallant, Stefano Dimera, Tina Alvarez, Cruz Castillo, Ashley Abbott, Ridge Forrester, and Roger Thorpe, to name just a very few.
So, readers, did you start watching a soap or soaps with a friend or loved one, or because they influenced you, either actively or subtly to do so?
I’ll begin with a brief recounting of my initiation into soap-watching: I actually started watching All My Children alone when I was eight. My cousin/best friend and sister began watching with me. My cousin quickly became a rabid One Life to Live fan, not so much of All My Children. My sister watched All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital with me. I also watched Loving by myself. But certainly my cousin and I, and also my sister and I, and the three of us too, strengthened our relationships with each other by watching soaps together. We also formed friend “crews” with soap characters we had a mutual affection for.
So, now, readers–who, if anyone, did you start watching soaps with or due to the influence of? Post your replies in the comment section below! Can’t wait to read them!