Queue it or Screw it: Take a Nice, Hot Bath in Primetime, There’s No Shortage of Soap

Revenge is a dish best served by a cater waiter at a party of superwealthy crazy people.

Murder! Intrigue! Affairs! Trips to Tijuana complete with alcohol poisoning! It’s all in a day’s work for the stars of nighttime soap operas.

Soap operas have long been derided for their insane plotlines and lack of respect for any semblance of reality (they’re divorced, now he’s dead, no, that was all a dream and actually she’s having that other guy’s baby, which is in fact the spawn of an immaculate witch-spell conception!). While that love of all things convoluted has been relegated to the daytime docket, its soapy core of intertwining relationships and megadrama is frothing up television screens to major primetime audiences.

The most obvious example of this is the sleeper hit Revenge. Popular with both Jane Boxed-Wine (the dubious female equivalent to Joe Six-Pack, please don’t revoke my poetic license) and discerning critics, this tale of vengeance and dirty deeds among the pristine summer “cottages” of the Hamptons has people hooked.

To wit: I live 1400 miles away from my parents. When I call, there’s usually some excitement surrounding said communication. On a Sunday night at 8:15pm, I got the mute—for a TV show. When your own mother would rather watch Emily VanCamp verbally bitch-slap someone in front of an ice sculpture than talk to you, you know that show is good stuff.

Aiming towards a just slightly younger demographic, Josh Schwartz’ Gossip Girl is also heavy on the drama. It’s no surprise coming from the creator of The OC that Gossip Girl is rife with teenagers boozing, hooking up with their entire social circle (sexuality is most certainly a spectrum here) and wearing really expensive clothing. The opulent life of New York City prepsters and their fabulously wealthy parents-with-issues contains enough tabloid fodder and partner-swapping for well over its five seasons.

Jealous that How I Met Your Mother was the new Friends and that The OC was the new Beverly Hills, 90210, the CW decided that nothing should be the new 90210 but a remake of 90210. Premiering only eight years after the original ended, this high-school drama pulls the rich, preppy kids off the East Coast, puts them down on the West Coast, and makes them wear flip flops and jean skirts.


Shoplifting is a gateway activity to sex and debauchery!


VO: “The TV show of a generation…is now the remade TV show of the younger siblings of that same generation.”

On the docket for summer is yet another remake; this time the ’80s superhit Dallas. The show is set 20 years after the previous series ended, with several of the main characters signed on to reprise their roles. It appears to pick up right where the other left off—arguments over money and oil, regrets about all the arguing over money and oil—now with more tits! Because TV is raunchier than it was in the 80s, surprisingly enough.

Ye Olde Versionne:

Sweet New Jamz:

Looks to me like soaps are sticking around. You should probably just lather up and enjoy.

Lindsay King After graduating from BU in 2010 with a degree in advertising, I dove deep into the mire of food servitude, chatting up tourists and defining mignonette and chiffonade, all the while plotting my escape into copywriting. While doing so, I spent--and still spend--my time traveling, writing, baking, and kickboxing. I have been to over 20 countries, know more about TV and media than my mother thinks is healthy, and have a profound fondness for parallel syntax and parenthetical asides. I also write the weekly Down the Tubes TV column for TNGG. Twitter: @lapetiteking

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