Source: The Daily Review
There have been a lot of great soap operas both in the movies and on TV. The big ones of course today are The Young And The Restless, General Hospital, Days of Our Lives, but back in the day you had great prime time soap operas like Melrose Place, Dynasty, One Life To Live, Guiding Light, and movies that were soaps like Where Love Has Gone with Susan Hayward and Mike Connors, Love Has Many Faces with Lana Turner and Cliff Robertson, Strangers When We Meet with Kirk Douglas and Kim Novak. But if I had to choose one over every other I have to choose Dallas because it represents soap opera at it’s best, which is what I’m going to explain.
When I think of great soaps I think of dramatic comedy at it’s best where you have really serious scenes and situations, but people and characters who are exactly that who do crazy things and seem somewhat out of control and yet always seem to know what they’re doing. Like the JR Ewing character ( played by Larry Hagman ) on Dallas. Where you have serious situations with serious people, but doing crazy funny things. Like two adult women getting into cat fights and throwing pillows at each other. Happened multiple times between Linda Evans and Joan Collins on Dynasty.
Or two grown men getting into a fist fight at a restaurant because they’re interested in the same woman, with one of them saying, “look, we’re both adults here no need to fight for her.” Even though that’s exactly what happens two guys getting into a fist fight over a girl the kind of thing that happens in high school, but on Dallas or on another great soap opera it happens between two middle age men in public at a popular restaurant. Dallas, wasn’t a drama or a comedy, it was both because it was a soap opera. You had a lot of serious situations and serious people, but with crazy immature people doing a lot and saying a lot of funny crazy things. Like with Larry Hagman on the show, who was like an evil bastard, except he was so good at it and funny at it you almost had to like him or at least respect him because he was so good at being a bastard.
The 1980s was a decade of excess where Americans had a lot of money and seemed to be in a hurry to spend as much of it as they possibly could as if they’re was a national money going out of business sale and you have to spend all of your money before it becomes worthless. And Dallas perfectly represented the 1980s with the actors and characters that they had, as well as the writers. Similar to how Easy Rider perfectly represented the 1960s. It also represented a time when network TV was not only great, but relevant as well and where people wanted to watch CBS, ABC, and NBC every night and not just for sports and movies, but for programs as well. And almost 30 years later after Dallas finally went off the air after 13 seasons Dallas is still the best soap opera ever.