At some point in your working week you're going to hear the name of a soap opera mentioned by a colleague and the plot therein will become the focus of conversation. Therefore the social impact of soaps cannot be understated, but is life imitating art or art imitating life?
OK 'art' may be a bit of an extreme term for the predictable drudge that we call 'The Soap Opera' but the sentiment of the question remains.
Why is it that every Christmas day, one disaster or another is played out in a British soap opera on their Christmas special? Either someone leaves their partner/wife or someone gets attacked leaving the remainder of your turkey consumption soured by the traumatic events witnessed by the whole family gathered around the television to ruin the festive spirit.
I sat down one Christmas to watch Eastenders with my wife 1 month after we were married. We cuddled each other drank wine and ate mince pies in front of the television with a warm glow surrounding us as husband and wife.
Then Max's secret affair was found out by his family and broadcast across the world.
My wife turned to me and warned me that if I cheated on her she would do various acts of revenge that I cannot repeat and the warm glow of Christmas turned into a cold atmosphere of paranoia. I use Eastenders as an example but the same viewer grabbing trauma is shown on most soaps.
I have wondered if this horrible act of sabotage of Christmas was unintentional and simply the soap portraying the real world or the real world being influenced by the events of the soaps and I am afraid to say I find the latter more plausible given that the impact of such story lines must be understood by the producers of such horrors.
If you want to enrich someones Christmas do you show a program that portrays traumatic events in the name of entertainment and viewing figures?
The BBC license fee should be waived to anyone who finds their Christmas is ruined by negative events shown on Christmas soap specials and the writers promptly sacked for destroying a day that the average family spends a fortune on and usually beyond their means.
Christmas is a precious and sacred day for Britain and the rest of the world and television companies should give it the proper respect it deserves. Why should we pay to have the pinnacle of our festive season subjected to the warped depressing writings of those who would wish to impose their version of what our society regards as normal?
If we continue to allow this version of normality to be broadcast without question, eventually it will be accepted as normal.