One Life to Live – Or, Maybe Two…
You may remember some time ago, I posted on my strange sadness over the ending of soap opera One Life to Live.
Hulu now has OLTL available for streaming. Really. New episodes are being created, each show lasting half an hour, four new episodes per week (Fridays feature a weekly recap).
I sort of wondered how it would be, you know, to watch it on the computer. Half-hour shows more easily fit into my schedule. But how is the writing? Would it have that magical feel to it? Obviously, during the school year, we didn’t catch OLTL. But the summer months, especially before I got a job, revolved around sitting down at 2pm to watch tv.
The most current ten episodes are free. Hulu’s sign-up is quite easy, and playing it is a snap (on the computer…Hulu requires Flash Player, so there’s no watching on the iPad). I clicked on the first episode and it started right up with a Johnson’s Baby commercial And then it started. A woman walks to the front door and opens it to get the paper that is waiting on the porch – The Banner. The headline: DORIAN LORD AT CENTER OF BREWING SENATE SCANDAL. The camera pans back…Viki is holding the paper. Next scene, David is being filmed. Our old favorite characters are right there, waiting for us where we last saw them.
Why are soaps so compelling? I think it has more to do with the fact that it is something that women watched together. My Mom watched with Grandma and Aunt Suzie. Then Kirsten and I watched with her. It’s not really about the story line, or even really about the characters. There’s not really any redeeming value to soap operas, except the memories and feelings they invoke. It’s no surprise that when mothers didn’t stay at home, the next generation missed out on learning the familiar patterns of afternoon tv watching. If you didn’t watch soaps with your mother (because she was at work), you probably weren’t likely to watch on your own. As the next generation came along, soaps fell out of favor and were cancelled.
I can’t imagine that I’m going to keep up watching OLTL online. It’s just not convenient without the iPad, for one. And my evenings are split into so many different things – gardening, sewing, projects, guitar, Mad Men, reading – I just don’t see having time for it. I do appreciate what they are trying to do, and I hope they are successful. OLTL makes me think of a simpler time, by decade and my age both. A time where mothers stayed at home, and cleaning the house (doing anything, really) stopped for one whole hour.