A Toast to Soaps

On the 14th of April, 2011, the American Broadcasting Company (aka ABC) has announced that it is going to be canceling two of the longest running soap operas in the history of television: All My Children and One Life To Live. This news came, not so much as a shock (as there have been rumors regarding the impending doom of one show or the other for a little while now), but more of a disastrous blow to the “gushing housewife” stereotype and those who typify it.

These shows have been running more or less concurrently for a combined length of more than 80 years (AMC started in 1970 and OLTL started in 1968), and were staples of several generations of childhoods spent home sick from school. As such it is only right that, as a 21st Century platform for serialization, Eat Your Serial appropriately salutes the passing of these 20th century staples of serialization.

Soap operas are, indeed, only a nickname for a genre that is properly referred to as “serials” and/or “serial television”. The ubiquitous moniker for the genre comes from the nuclear family and the golden age of television’s abundance of soap and cleaning product commercials that were brilliantly placed in time slots surrounding these series.

A good friend of mine famously tells a story about how when he was a child, his baby sister had escaped the house. He went to tell his mother about the breakout while she was watching her “stories” and was righteously afraid to tell her; not because of the what he had to tell her but because of the when. “Do not interrupt me during my stories” was a rule paramount to “Do not play with fire”. Sure enough, he told her, “Sister is running down the street,” to which his mother replied, “You better not be lying to me during my stories.” Soap Operas are that serious.

Over the past 40 plus years, both All My Children and One Life To Live have dominated the daytime television lineup on ABC. It goes without saying that, along with General Hospital, the ABC soaps were the major leagues. NBC and CBS soaps, such as As the World Turns and The Young and The Restless, were like Chinatown knock-off brands. Only the corny would indulge them seriously.

Verily, we are witnessing the passing of two of the giants of serialization—though they have certainly made their impact. The drama, the over acting, the outrageous storylines, and inconsistent or retroactively changed continuity that permeates the American consciousness vis-à-vis the genre of soap opera will not soon fade (though honestly, the Simpsons’ Bumble-Bee Man-esque exaggeration of these may very well live on ad infinitum via telenovelas on Telemundo and Galavision).

Case in point, even as this salute is being written #EricaKane is a top trending item on Twitter. For those of you who were raised as The Children Under the Stairs you’ll learn that Erica Kane is/was an ingénue-turned-leading-lady character portrayed famously, and infamously, by The Susan Lucci for the entirety of All My Children’s run, from 1970 to its impending end later in 2011.

As of April 8th, 2011, All My Children boasts some 10,596 episodes. One Life To Live had 10,910 as of March 31st, 2011. To put that into perspective, here at Eat Your Serial we would like a minimum of about 7 chapters running once a week for our stories. Soap operas run Monday through Friday and don’t break for any season. Ever. Christmas. New Years. Passover. Ramadan. Festival of Bacchus. JFK is assassinated. Soap operas run. The amount of content is amazing. Just imagine what the inevitable box sets are gonna look like. Oy.

So Eat Your Serial bids adieu to these Titans of Titillating Tales, these Seraphs of Serialization, these Exemplars of Emotive Escapism. You’ve served millions of stories; we’re doing our best to catch up.

R.I.P. My Stories.

(The baby was fine by the way. You forgot about her didn’t you?)

– Brandon Melendez, Creative Director

Welcome to Eat Your Serial!

Welcome to Eat Your Serial, a brand new website connecting readers with up and coming creative talent. We hope you enjoy the stories that will be unfolding on this site. Each serial is updated weekly, with five different stories running concurrently.

Be sure to let the authors know what you think in the comments section. We want to create a creative community that connects readers and writers, and we want YOU to be a part of that.

As this site is brand new, there’s always a risk of bugs and other such errors. If you see anything, please let us know at info@eatyourserial.com. You won’t hurt our feelings, you’ll only be helping to make this the best possible experience for everyone.

We’re going to keep this short, because we’re excited for you to poke around on the site about, and get to reading. So thank you for coming, and we hope you enjoy Eat Your Serial.

Shawn Abraham

“Ten Years Gone: Pomp and Circumstance” by Brandon Melendez

Every day this week, we have been previewing our five launch titles.

Starting Friday, April 8th, 2011, Eat Your Serial will be proudly presenting: “Ten Years Gone: Pomp and Circumstance” by Brandon Melendez, with illustrations by Ben Silberstein.

About the Serial

Brandon is a miserable teenager. He doesn’t like his peers and he doesn’t like himself. When we first meet him in 10th grade he is incredibly uncomfortable in his own skin; and while he isn’t exactly a loner he always feels alone. Brandon is starting to suspect that everybody sucks. His head is filled with referential information from years of television, video games, and comic books and, though he realizes this doesn’t make him a great person, he feels it makes him better than the Abercombie and Birkenstock garbed douche bags that define his generation. If only he had the magic red boomerang he could bash their heads in—but alas this is not a fantasy tale. In lieu of assault with fictional weaponry, Brandon slowly finds some kindred spirits in like-minded nerds, a girl that’s willing to tolerate him, and gets to play the geetar in a rocka and rolla band (that doesn’t have a singer). Everything seems to be going his way—but how come he never seems to get a break from the bullshit?

“Ten Years Gone: Pomp and Circumstance” is the first installment in a trilogy of novellas following the protagonist, Brandon, from age fifteen to age twenty five. Pomp and Circumstance covers age fifteen through high school graduation at not-yet-eighteen. It is chocked full of turn of the millennium pop-culture and nerdom references and fast paced comedic dialogue. “Ten Years Gone: Pomp and Circumstance” deals with the trials and milestones that all teenagers encounter with introspective prose, retrospective wit, and an anecdotal narrative tone befitting of an it-sort-of-happened-like-that memoir that never fails to entertain.

About the Author

Brandon is the Creative Director (Art Boss and Marketing Racketeer) at Eat Your Serial. He writes the blogs “Letters to Jeremy” and “Brandon Melendez’s Nerd’s Eye View” and occasionally features on the “Eat Your Serial Blog”. He is the creator of the increasingly self indulgent comic strip “Eat Your Serial Presents” and the insufferably self-indulgent novella “Ten Years Gone: Pomp and Circumstance”. More of his projects are available on his website www.BrandonMelendez.com. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Metropolitan College in American Urban Studies and will receive a dual Master of Arts in Childhood Education and Special Education from New York University in May 2011.

You can connect with him on twitter: @bmmelendez

About the Artist

Benjamin Silberstein is a pen and ink artist from Long Island, New York. Like many of the able young men of his generation Benjamin tried his hand in the world of computers; specifically computer graphics, studying at New York Institute of Technology. Ben found that finding jobs in computers was not as easy as that one time he found Atlantis while blindfolded. He decided to instead try being happy and entered the world of freelance art. This pursuit of happiness and art is ongoing.

Ben is inspired by comic book art and has a particular affinity for Captain America. He excels in producing both black and white and color work, however he prefers black and white as a stylistic choice. He is currently illustrating the story “Ten Years Gone: Pomp and Circumstance” and is in the Eat Your Serial pool of regular freelance artists.

Ben also enjoys long walks on the beach and rollerblading. His turn offs include armpit hair, mustaches, and eye patches; pirates need not apply.

But we know what you want… here’s your first look at the cover for “Ten Years Gone”, by Mr. Silberstein himself.

Be sure to visit www.eatyourserial.com on Monday to read all of the great serials previewed this week!