Saturday, May 20, 2006

May Sweeps

It's May. For television May and November are big "sweeps" months - the time of year when TV shows pull out the big story-line guns and hope to attract the highest number of viewers. Advertisers look at the sweeps numbers to determine which shows will get the most exposure to their clients' products. Of course the shows that get the most viewers will get the most money for each advertising minute.

When I was young I loved to watch "All My Children" with my mom. I still watch the occasional soap opera (or "story" as my son calls them), and the best story lines are tangled and untangled in the months of May and November. I still remember gathering at my friend Louie's apartment in November of 1981 to watch "General Hospital's" Luke and Laura FINALLY get married!! I remember each and every husband of Erica Cane (from "All My Children" and played by Susan Lucci).

The thing that kept me hooked on soaps was not the hot guys, the steamy love stories, the beautiful clothes, or the exotic location shots, but rather it was the knowledge that eventually good would win, and evil would be exposed. There is always a character in the soaps who is manipulating things to make themselves look angelic, and the good people look really bad. Eventually, however, the truth is always seen, the manipulator loses the girl or guy, and true love always wins out. Primetime TV has had their share of schemers as well, and my favorite new schemer is Parker Posie's character on Boston Legal....but I digress.

Several years ago a woman who is all smiles and charm to the outside world so convincingly wove a tapestry of half-truths and lies about me that I lost my job - a job she now has. A couple of years later I understudied a beautiful woman in a theatrical production. She demeaned me verbally and emotionally and night after night I left those rehearsals in tears. She lied about her behavior when confronted and her charm eventually won the heart of my dearest friend and I lost him to her. if life was truly a stage then May and November would be sweeps months! This would be the time of year when all the story pieces come together, lies would be revealed and the good girl would get those she loves back. Good people would be forgiven for bad behavior and bad people would be found out. However, this is real life and people don't forgive as easily as they do in the Soap Operas, the girl doesn't always get the guy, and there are no cute ribbons with which to wrap life's package in that proverbial neat little bow. I guess that's what makes TV "fantasy".

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