Buffy: How bored were you last year?
The Daytime Drama Queen is a predominantly American trope. If you want to show a character as sad, pathetic and in dire need of a life, show him watching and caring about the events of a Soap Opera
. The most popular soap to care about seems to be Days of Our Lives
, though a fictional, parodic soap
works just as well.
This trope is mainly applied to unemployed men. Since they can't work, they have nothing better to do than stay at home and watch daytime soaps, and since watching soaps is generally seen as a female pastime
, a man who does so is seen as having lost everything. May be slightly more positively portrayed as a hard man's only soft spot
. Expect any character who mocks him for it to watch the show for five minutes and straight away get just as hooked on it.
In Britain, watching soaps is more acceptable, and since the better-quality soaps tend to be broadcast during primetime
, daytime drama queens just don't show up so often on the European side of The Pond
. On the other hand, they've now got an entire television channel (called "Dave") that fills nearly the same role, a fact regularly mocked on Top Gear
and the various BBC Panel Shows
it repeats ad nauseam
. A closer British equivalent is to mock a character for watching daytime talk shows, such as Tricia or Jeremy Kyle, or daytime quiz shows like Countdown.
In Australia, this type of character does appear occasionally, but tends to be shown as addicted to American rather than Australian soaps due to their more over-the-top nature. In Latin America this type of character is virtually absent since soaps are, in most countries, pretty much the only kind of dramatic production locally produced; and given that in Hispanic culture soap operas are so far on the serious side of the scale
that they are Serious Business
, such a character would be seen as too aware for his own good, or a shot in the network's foot.
It's possible that this trope will die
out in America and become a Forgotten Trope
in the next decade. Five of the nine American daytime serials airing have been canceled since 2007 (Passions
, Guiding Light
, As the World Turns
, All My Children
, and One Life to Live
). Only Days of Our Lives, The Young and the Restless, The Bold And The Beautiful,
and General Hospital
remain, and many say they're on their last legs anyway.
See also Explaining the Soap
. Addictive Foreign Soap Opera
is a Sister Trope
. Compare and contrast the Hikikomori
, who has similar social connotations of being a loser, but is usually more addicted
and other Geek
stuff than to soap operas. Compare and contrast Girl-Show Ghetto
Anime and Manga
- When not being a psychotic gunslinger, Revy of Black Lagoon likes watching soap operas.
- In Crocodile Dundee II, it becomes obvious that Mick needs to get out and have some new adventures when he reveals that he actually cares what happens in Days of Our Lives.
- Chiun, Remo's Sinanju sensei in Remo Williams, is addicted to his soap opera, considering it to be high culture, saying, "It concerns family, love, honor and courage, all that is noblest in the human spirit."
- Mr. Mom: Michael Keaton goes from high-powered automotive executive to homemaker after being left go. Part of his transition is shown by having him originally scoff at daytime dramas only to become more and more involved in their storylines as he spent more time as a househusband.
- In Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Roy Neary has Days of our Lives on when he's building the model of Devil's Tower in his living room, though he doesn't seem to really be watching it.
- In Lamb, Biff is able to sneak away from the angel Raziel (yes, that angel Raziel) while Raziel is watching soaps in their hotel room.
- David Sedaris is, or at least used to be, a daytime drama queen, which is frequently played for comedy in his essays.
- Matilda: Matilda's parents are addicted to television, which is shown as one of their many character flaws. When Miss Honey goes to visit them at home, there's an American soap opera on, and Mrs. Wormwood in particular objects to being interrupted when "Willard is just about to propose to Roxanne."
- Ax is quite a fan of these. Of course, he doesn't have much to do all day normally. (And he's also a fan of commercials.)
- Averted with Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer who was shown enjoying Passions on several episodes and it was shown as something he genuinely enjoyed and appreciated, indicating he had liked it before becoming a pathetic, crypt-dweller. Since he's a vampire, daytime soaps may have been like late-night TV for him. Possibly.
- Giles, in his year off between being a librarian and running the Sunnydale magic store, watched with him.
- In an episode of That '70s Show, an out-of-work and depressed Red Foreman becomes obsessed with a soap opera as a symbol of how hard he's having it.
- In an episode of Becker, the title character was called for jury duty, and over the course of a week or so became addicted to the soap opera that was playing in the waiting room.
- House claims to be an ardent fan of the series' Show Within a Show, Prescription: Passion. Since the show is a Medical Drama, he probably watches it for the unintentional comedy. note
- House's alternate universe twin, Dr Cox, has a similar habit of watching Days of our Lives, along with Laverne - who, being a middle-aged black female, is rather more in the traditional demographic.
- Ignacio on Ugly Betty seems to have nothing else to do but hang around watching telenovelas.
- Julius on Everybody Hates Chris gets hooked on The Young and the Restless when he is at home from work with the gout. Once he returns to work, he tapes the episodes.
- In The West Wing the President was sick and ended up watching a soap, making remarks like "Don't any of these people have jobs?" and "That woman has changed her clothes a lot for one afternoon". When it switched to a Springer/Lake type show, he hopes none of the guests vote.
- In one episode of Psych "Lights, camera, homicidio" we found out that pretty much everyone is a fan of a daytime drama, a telly novella called 'Explosion Gigantesca de Romance'. Shawn's the only one not addicted, and he ends up starring in it as 'Chad'.
- On 3rd Rock from the Sun, the Big Giant Head finds out about sex from watching a soap opera. ("I want to do that. I want to do what Drake is doing to Amanda's sister.")
- In a rare female example of this trope, Amy Matthews on Boy Meets World is shown to be one to highlight her boredom with being a housewife. This prompts Eric to convince her to get out and do something. Later in the episode, Cory becomes this after getting fired from the work-study program.
- On Modern Family, Jay Prichett decides to watch a Colombian telenovela with his wife, Gloria, who was born and lived most of her life in that country, grudgingly as an attempt to acclimate to her cultural climate. Jay ends up getting interested in the program while Gloria deals with other matters.
- On Friends, Joey plays Dr. Drake Ramoray on a fictionalized version of Days of Our Lives. He gets a deranged fan (played by Brooke Shields) who takes this trope to the next level, being so obsessed with the show that she believes that the events of the soap are real and Joey really is Dr. Drake Ramoray. He has to convince her that he is instead Dr. Ramoray's evil twin in order to get her to stop harassing him.
- Sports Illustrated once did an article on athletes coping with boredom while recovering from season-ending injuries, and at least one mentioned watching soap operas. One particular example is Baseball Hall of Famer Jim Rice, who actually mentioned his fandom of The Young and the Restless in his Hall of Fame speech!