I am really excited to discuss this issue’s program, “Soap.” The reason I say this is because it is literally the funniest show that I have ever seen in my life.
“Soap” is a sitcom that is based on the world of soap-operas. It’s about two families and had steady plots that continued from week to week instead of each week having a new storyline like most sitcoms. While it’s not my favorite show of all time, no show has ever made me laugh as hard as “Soap.” The main reason for this is probably because almost every episode of the series was written by the show’s creator, Susan Harris.
You may not realize it, but a lot of you are probably already fans of Susan Harris’s work, especially if you like a little show called “The Golden Girls.” “Soap” premiered in 1977 and was Susan Harris’s first television series almost ten years before “The Golden Girls.” While a lot of “The Golden Girls” episodes were written by a staff of writers with Harris only writing the occasional episode here and there, she wrote almost every episode of “Soap” herself with the occasional help of a co-writer. It really shows in each episode what a talented screenwriter she is and how there’s no topic that she’s afraid to tackle.
“Soap” was extremely controversial when it aired; possibly the most controversial show to come along since “All in the Family.” Before the show even aired its first episode, some network affiliates had refused to air it and protests were mobilizing all over the country. Most of this was simply based off of preliminary reviews of the show. Even my own grandmother was horrified when I told her I was a fan of the program. I asked her if she had ever seen an episode, and she hadn’t; she only knew what she had heard about when the program first aired. This is actually what drew me to “Soap.” It was my opinion that if any show caused this much trouble, than it must be good!
I was not disappointed. It truly is a spectacular show and it’s easy to see why the show caused so much trouble. There’s nothing that “Soap” won’t tackle, and I literally mean nothing. One episode could have Corinne teaching her mother Jessica the definition of the word “horny,” while the next will have Burt being abducted by aliens. It sounds outrageous, and it is, but that’s what makes it so hilarious. Everything in the show happens so matter-of-factly. At one point Jessica Tate ends up lecturing the devil (yes, the devil), who has just possessed her grandson, as if she was dealing with a misbehaving child. That’s the genius of “Soap.” No matter how ridiculous the storylines, the characters tackle them as if they’re just another walk in the park.
The show’s other highlight is the dialogue. It succeeds in having the best dialogue that I have ever seen in a comedy series. The insults are biting and all of the social criticisms are very poignant. While the storylines are outrageous, the conversations between characters almost always poke fun at major social issues. Everything from racism to homosexuality is touched upon. “Soap” even managed to have one of the first major gay television characters, Jodie Dallas, who was played by Billy Crystal.
I really can’t think of a show that I can recommend higher than “Soap.” All of the topics are just as relevant today as they were in the late 1970s and the humor is just outstanding. All four seasons are available on DVD and most of the episodes are available on YouTube to be watched for free. I usually recommend episodes for you all to watch, but with this show I actually can’t pick my favorites. In this case, I recommend that you start at the beginning and just watch your way through. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!
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