Friday, 17 August 2012

Men's Soap Operas

Men are always ragging on women about the soap operas they watch.  I don't really watch a soap opera, per se, but I do love me some Grey's Anatomy.  And Brandon would classify that as a soap opera.  So, going by his standards, his beloved "Always Sunny in Philadelphia" show is also a soap opera.  Just so we're on the same page, I have pasted the definition of "soap opera" from Wikipedia (the always credible essay source).
"A soap opera, sometimes called 'soap' for short, is an ongoing, episodic work of dramatic fiction presented in serial format on radio or as television programming"

So, yes by these terms, I suppose Grey's Anatomy could be considered a soap opera.  However, so too then, can Always Sunny.  Let me explain why.  I made the mistake of asking Brandon how the characters were related.  He proceeded to tell me the following:

Dennis and Dee are siblings, twins I think, who at first thought their father was Frank.  You see, Frank raised Dennis and Dee.  However, a later episode reveals that Frank could actually be Charlie's biological dad.  But now none of them refer to him as their father, instead he's just "Frank". They own a bar together, well Dennis and at one time Charlie, but he later sold his shares of the pub.  So now it's just Mac and Dennis who own the pub together.  Dee bartends at the bar, and owns no part of it.  Charlie and Frank live together in a shabby apartment.  Frank has a somewhat jaded and illegal past and has since given up the business world and lives as a poor man and hanging out with the younger gang.  That's about the gist of it.  While in no way is Always Sunny a typical soap opera, but it definitely has a manly spin on one.

Another, very popular male-centric soap opera-esque "story" is the Batman series.  Anytime Brandon tries to explain to me all the various story lines of the plethora of Batman movies, comics and just known facts I get more confused.  Is Batman alive?  Does Robin exist?  How many different Robins have there been?  Who is Night Wing?  Are there different men who "play" Batman?  Why does Bruce Wayne have a different voice when he's in his Batman suit?  Does Bruce Wayne lead a normal life?  Is he married?  Just how many enemies does Batman have anyway?

And the answers to all these questions can be pieced together either by purchasing every single piece of Batman paraphernalia and taking many, many years to figure it out.  OR... just go ahead and visit my old friend, Wikipedia. Batman's page, of course, links to many of the other characters involved in the story lines, which then link to more and more... this is what makes it a soap opera.  There are way too many characters involved and so many different story lines that inter-connect, sometimes not making sense within others and often ignoring deaths and having characters, even Batman himself, returning from the dead.

Does this not reek of soap opera?!  Many soap operas bring characters back from the dead, explaining their mistaken death as just another twisty-turny storyline in the already complicated web they weave.  Additionally, you have the actor changes.  There have been seven different actors to play Batman since 1943.  OK, quick- speed round!  List them!  I'll wait.

Did you get them all without Googling them?  No, me neither.
  • Lewis Wilson
  • Robert Lowery
  • Adam West
  • Michael Keaton  (let it be noted: much better suited to his role in Multiplicity
  • Val Kilmer
  • George Clooney
  • Christian Bale
Even in the comic books, Batman is portrayed by Bruce Wayne and later, for a short time, Dick Grayson.  Are you seeing the similarities?  Batman is a soap opera hiding behind the facade of a comic book.  So, next time your man gets on your case about watching your favourite "girly" show, figure out which show he's watching that is hiding behind a manly mask.

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