Retro Recommendation: Soap (1977-81)

Written Lampooning ABC's Fleeting 70's Success by Bridger Cunningham.

ABC's soap franchise swept the nation by storm in the late 70's, the same era cocaine became America's trendiest fix.  The daytime showpieces featured love, deception, clash of the classes, drug use, abortion, murder and humor, all capsulated under the branding "Love in the Afternoon."  Inspired by their afternoon success, ABC decided to integrate their fortunes into their ever-growing sitcom franchise.  And the humor came into a latent success.

Jessica Tate (Katherine Helmond) and Mary Campbell (Cathryn Damon) were sisters of differing classes.  The Tates lived in a lavish, upscale environment, yet battles the family's scandaous woes tarnishing their image.  The Campbells reside in a modest, middle class neighborhood and also hold just as much turmoil making their lives a melodramatic mess.  The outlandish plots are only anchored by the performers' realistic performances as they refuse to feed stereotypes and carry their characters into outlandish territory.

The pilot episode of Soap held enough hooks to addict viewers.  It also snagged its tail on controversy over being "too suggestive," with several ABC outlets refusing to air the series.  The media's scathing articles pushed the series into the top-20 for its first season.  Take a peek and get hooked.  If you like what you see, search out your providers for Antenna TV, as this series is displayed daily.

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