Day 14: Soapdish (1991)

I love television, and watch a lot of it. Sitcoms, medical dramas, crime shows, reality TV—I watch it all. Well, everything except soap operas. I don’t know why, but I have never really gotten in to them (surprising, since reality TV is essentially a real life soap opera…). I don’t know if I have tried to watch them and just lost interest, or if they didn’t appeal to me in the first place.


This made me think: what would soap operas have to do to entice me into watching them. The first idea that popped in my head was pirates. Or robots. Or robots versus pirates set in a sleepy town in wealthy Connecticut where apparently people are having love affairs with each other. That could work. I would also like to see a soap opera set in some other time. None of this contemporary b.s. I want to escape, and fully escape. So set it in ancient Egypt (who wouldn’t watch Nefertiti and Akhenaten struggle to keep the flames of their love lit amidst the political and personal turmoil that was sure to surround them). Or, what about a prehistoric soap opera—bend the rules a bit and throw in some dinosaurs, people, and saber toothed everything (heck, even add a few lizardmen for good measure… or has that been done?;) ). I guess you wouldn’t even have to set it in the past; look to the future. There has to be a market for some melodramatic, laser fighting, space exploring soap.


The point is, I just don’t watch soap operas. I don’t quite get them, I don’t plan on watching them, and I don’t know much about them. I also don’t know how Soapdish ended up in my queue. Did I put it there?? Amidst the confusion about this surprise visitor in my queue, I happened to push play. I honestly didn’t intend to watch the whole thing. But I did.


Soapdish stars Sally Field as Celeste, America’s favorite soap opera star (aaw!). Celeste is worried that her co-star and rival (played by Cathy Moriarty) is trying to persuade the producer (Robert Downey, Jr.) to have Celeste written off the show (no!). The plot thickens as Celeste’s former flame (Kevin Kline), comes back to reprise his role in the soap opera; and the woman who thought she was Celeste’s niece, learns she is really her daughter (gasp!). The three try to deal with their personal issues as well as the politics of being on a soap opera while people backstab left and right to work their way to the top (say it ain’t so!).


This film is full of melodrama, over-the-top storylines, and big hair (hey, in the early 90s, some people were reluctant to leave the 80s behind). It is a funny, fast-paced film that is not afraid to poke fun at itself. The cast is amusing and Kevin Kline seems to steal the spotlight every time he is on screen.


Soapdish also seems to be an appropriate length for the story it was trying to tell. At 90 minutes, it didn’t feel too long and storylines had closure. Perhaps this is one reason why soap operas don’t appeal to me. I want to know the end. Hell, I admit, I have been known to jump ahead and read the last chapter of a book just to find out what happens. I don’t think I could wait 20 years to find out if a fictitious couple will end up together—even if they were pirates.


Score: B+

Netflix Watch Instantly Queue: 198 (I swear I didn’t add more to the watch instantly queue– I am really honest about this! I think perhaps a few more films are now available on watch instantly which bumped my queue up higher. Although now that I have watched a few shows, I really want to add more to it 😉 ).

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