- Steve Frame
- Jul 31 2008, 05:42 PM
This listening to the fans thing is what is the biggest thing wrong with soaps now.
Yes they do need to listen to fans to see what is working and what is not.
But in the end they need to have the brains enough to know they need to decided what is best for the show in the long run. They are now making way too many decisions by letting the fans hold the show hostage and changing things for them when they are not good for the show.
Irna Phillips listened to her fans and so did Irving Vendig and others, but they did not let them control the show.
When Irna killed off Kathy on GL in 1958, that was the first big fan outcry - millions of letters and phone calls stormed the studio in protest to bring her back or undo it somehow. Today a producer would change that but Irna and Lucy Ferri didn't. They addressed the situation that death happens in life and that it happens there too.
The same things happened when Sara Karr was killed on EON in the early 60's, and then the biggest outcry ever was when Jeff Baker was killed in a car crash on ATWT in 1962. That was termed by the newspapers - one of the first times that soap news was picked up by the mainstream press - they called it the car crash heard around the world or something to that affect.
Today the outcry would have caused those deaths to be undone - story rewritten and the like. But it didn't back then. They stood firm with the decision.
As Matt said many times fans think they know what they want and what is best for the show, but many fans have their own agenda at heart and not what is best for the show overall.
You hit the nail right on the head, Steve, with this post and your last post on the subject.
Fans are important. However, it should never EVER come to a point where fans CONTROL a show. The fans aren't paid to make decisions. The writers and producers are. The idea is to take feedback (and by this I mean rational feedback and not stuff from nut jobs like Terry and so on) and talk it over and determine what can be done in the best interest of the show based on the feedback as a whole. The results won't always be happy for some fans but that's life. It's happened alot. It's been happening on soaps and on any show for that matter for years.
For example (and I will use a Days one just for the hell of it), look at the Brady/Chloe/Philip triangle. Both pairings had major fanbases. Nearly ever poll had it at 50/50. No matter what Days did then they were pissing someone off. yes, JKJ leaving made it easier to choose a direction but you could tell they committed to Broe even before that. The writing was on the wall. They made a decision and stuck to their guns, despite some being pissed. It wasn't the end of the road. Look at what Days in the 90's. It made a decision to change it's storytelling style with JER and go for the supernatural, campy, Gothic stuff. It made many fans angry but they committed to it, despite it being detrimental in the long run. Again, in 2003, Days decided to take a risk on the SSK story. Sure, it flopped but for awhile they made a commitment to something and pissed off fans but...what happened? The ratings went up for months and it was when they started changing direction and chickening out that the show went downhill and turned to crap. I'm pleased we got those dead characters back but it's that shit that has messed with Days more then any other show.
What Days does is they look at feedback in letters, on boards, and what not and act on it. What happens then? Well, that action most of the time pisses off another group of fans and Days acts to rectify that and that reaction pisses off another group of fans and the cycle continues on and on. What Days needs to accept is you can't please every fan and what fans need to accept is sometimes what you want is not in the best interest of the show. The show needs to be more important then any one couple or character. Basically, the whole is greater then the sum of it's parts. That was the mentality for all soaps all the way up to around 2000 and the explosion of the message board age and rabid fanbases and so on.
Days needs to commit to things. No more backpedaling at a hint of fan dissension. They need to take risks like they have in the past. All soaps need to do this. Days and it's kneejerk reactions are the reason why the show has become a watered down mess and never has any consistency. Stick with a story and, even if it sucks, wait for it to end and don't forget it happened. Try to use some of it to further a better story or something. Too often Days will just drop a story as a reaction to fan upset and you don't hear of it again. That doesn't help at all.
1.) Analyze the show and feedback as a whole.
2.) Use feedback and discuss what is best for the show, making decisions on feedback in context of what is best for the show.
3.) Come up with story.
4.) Follow through on story COMPLETELY unless it is found offensive in some way or some unusual circumstance prevents you from doing so.
5.) if a story is a failure, see it through to the end and try to see if adjustments can be made to use aspects of the story to further something else. Don't just wipe it away like it never happened. That just makes it worse.
That is the way to go. The other issue is it's hard for Days to even gauge what the fans want when, like I said, any move they make ends up pissing other fans off and many fans change what direction they want the show to go in all the time. That is why it needs to understand that it can't please everyone and the issue is I think Corday wants too and that is a problem. Other soaps have it easy. Their fans just want quality stories featuring beloved characters. Many Days fans just want THEIR couple together and want the perfect story for THEIR couple or just want to see a certain character or actor every day or want one type of storytelling one day and then the next want something else and so on. It's not even about the show for some. Well, it's time that happens. It's time ALL fans start considering what is best for the show. Does that mean you have to forget about wanting what you want? Not at all. I just think everything needs to be looked at with the show's best interest at heart. I think fans need to voice their opinion in sensible ways (like the way opinions on this board are voiced) and in ways that come off like they want to help the show. Fans need to make it known it's not just about their own individual interests. It's not about their couple coming out on top of another fanbase's couple. It's about the show. If you feel your couple being together is in the best interest of the show, fine. Tell the show that. Make some points to them and explain why you feel that way and why you think the future is bright for the show with that couple being together. That is what I mean. It can't be "Put Ejami together. They're hot and Days needs romance." It needs to be more then that. It needs to be like "I feel Ejami is important to the show and it's future because they add a special quality to the show. I feel the whole Brady/Dimera dynamic will be interesting if these two end up together. It would change everything..." and then you can go on to talk about potential angles that can be played. Hell, help the show a bit because it;s not easy shifting through all the feedback and trying to get an accurate read of things. Specifics will help.
Fans do need to understand that they may not always get the same result, especially if they have faves in a triangle. Someone has to lose. If fans are only watching for their couple, so be it. It's their choice if they want to keep watching. Many fans are fans of the show and will stick around but some will bolt if they don't get an outcome they like and that is fine. It happens and maybe some day something will draw them back. Not everyone can end up happy. Days straddled the fence on Ejami and Lumi for so long because they were afraid to piss one side off. That can't happen. Someone has to lose and the show needs to commit to one side or have both lose and fans need to understand that both sides can't win.
I know this was long but I just hate the whole mentality of only thinking about what each individual wants and not what other fans want and what is best for the show. What we want might not be what is best and that is hard to deal with but it's the way things are. It's the nature of the beast. If a fan can't deal with that, then they can choose not to watch and that's understandable. I just think the bigger picture needs to be looked at by some fans because some haven't clearly done that in a long time, if at all.