Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Death of a Soap Opera

Welcome to...The Guiding Light (Nutwood Style)

The scene: the suburban home, an elegant ranch with a manicured lawn, of Dwight and Evelyn Hooper. The doorbell rings; Evelyn answers the door. Martha Hampstead, who lives down the street with her husband Scott, waits on the step with a smile and a covered dish, tapping her foot.

Evelyn: Oh. Martha. Hello. What can I do for you?

Martha: Evelyn! You look wonderful! I just wanted to bring this by as a peace offering.

Evelyn: I have nothing to say to you.

Martha: But it's my famous Cuy, Eggplant, and Cabbage casserole! You've always loved it so. Take it. Please. I'll just put it in the kitchen.

[Martha brushes by Evelyn and heads to the kitchen, setting the dish down on the counter. Evelyn reluctantly follows.]

Martha: You know, I don't think I ever told you how much I love your new kitchen decor. The avocado green appliances are just so lovely, and the harvest gold curtains really add to the effect. You have such a flair for decorating!

Evelyn: Is there a point to your visit, Martha? Other than merely to annoy me?

Martha [laughing gaily]: Oh, Evelyn, you are such a scream! I'm just trying to be a good neighbor and make amends. We've been friends ever since you moved into the neighborhood three years ago. Please don't be angry with me.

Evelyn [with a hard stare]: You slept with Dwight, Martha.

[dramatic music]


Martha: I know, I know. And I've said I'm sorry! How many times must I apologize? It was your Fourth of July party, everyone had a few too many cocktails, and it just happened! It was only that one time, I swear!

Evelyn: You did it on our bed, Martha.

Martha: Yes, yes...but I paid for the dry cleaning of your bedspread, didn't I? By the way, I love that chenille bedspread. It was very soft.

Evelyn: You gave Dwight gonorrhea, Martha. And he gave it to me! How do you think that made me feel?

Martha: Itchy?

Evelyn: I despise you, Martha. Get out of my house.

Martha [her eyes narrow]: No. I won't. There's something I have to tell you. I'm...I'm pregnant...and Dwight is the father.

[dramatic music, cut to commercial]

Welcome the Guiding Light (Nutwood Style)

Evelyn [strides over to Martha, slaps her across the face]: That's a lie! It has to be!

Martha [shocked, she holds her cheek]: No. It's not. Scott and I don't have children for a reason. He was wounded in the war...he's still able to...perform...but he can't have children. I haven't been with anyone else other than Scott and Dwight. It's Dwight’s child.

Evelyn: If you haven't been with anyone else, how did you manage to give Dwight--and me--gonorrhea?

Martha: That wasn't my fault. It was Scott. Remember that business trip he took a few months ago? When he went to Las Vegas? Well, what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas.

Evelyn: You both disgust me.

Martha: Oh, don't get all high and mighty with me, missy. I've seen you with your golf pro at the country club. I think Jeffrey might be giving you more than golf lessons. So tell it true what they say? He has a nine iron and knows how to use it? [smirks]

Evelyn: I don't appreciate your crudity. We're just friends. That's all.

Martha [smiling sweetly]: Of course, you are, dear. Anyway, I do have some other news for you.

Evelyn: I'm quite sure I don't care.

Martha: You will. This affects you every bit as much as the baby does. And it's happening sooner. We've been canceled.

Evelyn: Whatever do you mean?

Martha: This. Our lives here in Springfield, our daily drama, our histrionics, affairs, illegitimate pregnancies, our long lost siblings, and our evil twins. Kaput.

Evelyn: This can't be true.

Martha: It is.

Director [via bullhorn]: Yeah, it's true. Today's taping is the last one. Be sure to clean out your locker before you leave.

Evelyn: Well, crap. Can anyone give me a ride to the unemployment office?

[dramatic music]

Screaming woman

While I haven't been a soap opera watcher for a couple of decades ("All My Children" was my poison back in the day), I have to say I was shocked to see that "Guiding Light" was being canceled. It's the longest running drama in the history of radio and TV, 72 years of broadcast. So although I'm not a watcher, I say R.I.P., Guiding Light.

By the way, back in junior high and high school, my friend friend Margaret and I would actually make up soap opera-style scenarios and act them out, with extra drama. So I guess I do have a flair for the dramatic once in a while!


  1. I too was an All My Children fan when it first began. Quickly found my life was more exciting. But that's a long run.

  2. I think you should dress like that when you do the laundry here at Nutwood :o)

    Feel free to make that casserole anytime I travel.

  3. LOVE your take on the soap! I also wrote a soap opera with my best friend in high school. We called it, "As the Cigarette Burns" and it contained juicy tidbits like, "Will Stacy sleep with five guys or fifteen this year? We don't know either! So, stay tuned to As the Cigarette Burns..."

  4. Funny, funny funny. I used to Love watching soap operas. Luke and Laura and Jenny and Tad were my favorites. Now just Luke and Tad are left. Why is it that the women leave? Linda

  5. LOL !!! I never watched that one but I did watch 'General Hospital' back in the very old Luke & Laura days. Then I went to work in a hospital & didn't have to watch it on TV anymore. I did watch 'Die Nasty' for awhile but even that got to be too much. Now I watch things like 'The Office' which in a way is a ongoing soap opera itself. Loved this post...Linda in cold & windy Washington

  6. how do they kill everyone on the soap in one fell swope? ? ? ?


  7. Hi Beth,
    Thanks for the great laugh ... if you were writing the actual script for the show, it wouldn't have been cancelled!

  8. I was on Guiding Light a few times. I wonder about those people. They are all stars until "clean out your locker' day comes. D

  9. That was funny! I never watched soap operas but, I was shocked to hear this was being canceled. My aunt used to watch it faithfully, I was instructed to NEVER call her on the phone at that time. In fact, she took her phone off the hook for that hour! This back in the 70's before our cells and answering machines! So are women no longer watching soaps, is that why it's canceled? I suppose I should go read the article, huh!


  10. That was very funny..:)


  11. I watched Guiding Light from 1985-1989 (roughly). It was only one of two soap operas on the AFN network during our first Germany tour. I was surprised to learn it is being shut down as well.

  12. That was hysterical.
    Maybe if you'd been the head writer on GL this cancellation stuff mightn't have happened.

  13. That was hilarious! I use to watch GL. I didn't know it was being cancelled.

  14. You DO have a flair for the dramatic ... excellent work!!

    I was a General Hospital fan from the 7th Grade up until about my Junior year of college. My life revolved around Luke & Laura for YEARS.


  15. I to was a guiding light fan but I do not mind telling you, your rendition of it is hilarious. I do not know how you do it but just keep on doing it. Keep your fingers crossed for me on the crdit card. Until it is a done deal I won't believe it. Lucy

  16. You crack me up! I enjoyed the soap via blogging style! LOL

    Thanks for the chuckle.

    Hugs, Rose

  17. I LOVE THIS! I cackled loudly as I read it. You I nearly choked over the Cuy, Eggplant, and Cabbage Casserole. This is a brilliantly executed parody! I think that you should write more episodes. I remember my mom watching The Guiding Light. Her other favorite was The Edge of Night. In my soap opera watching heyday, I watched AMC, General Hospital, Ryan's Hope (I was so upset when it was cancelled) and One Life to Live. I finally gave them up about five years ago and discovered that I had a lot more hours in my week!

  18. Ever since Dark Shadows went off the air i've been on a bummer....and now the Guiding Light!

  19. Ha ha! You're a great soap writer! I watched All My Children in college, when we'd all gather in the housemother's apartment and laugh and cry together. Haven't watched a soap since then, but if you ever write one, I'll watch!

  20. My grandmother and I used to watch All My Children and Another World when I was a kid...I remember on All My Children when Erica was on her first husband LOLOL. Hugs, Teresa

  21. I enjoyed your soap!
    Loved the commercials too, especially the Tide commercial. But wouldn't her clothes get all stiff with the salty air from the sea. And don't you just love how *of course* the husband gets the new fancy Ford and the wife has to use the old Ford wagon??

  22. I love your take on soaps. Check out our soap
    "Livin and Lovin in Sweet Swine County"
    airing in southern MN


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?