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DateLine Sunday, 18 May 2008

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Snap out of it Soap Operas

A regular TV commercial gets me thinking. The woman and man in the commercial cannot seem to resolve their differences of taste. The guy wants to watch the match and the gal wants to watch the soap. Their only option is to buy a TV with multi view facility. Is this the fate of all couples?

Are soap operas addictive and do only women fall prey to it? Well there are sentimental men out there who are addicted but are reluctant to admit it, and unfortunately the only one I knew didn’t want to comment on my venture.

Shiromi Kularatne an ardent fan of Soap Operas seems to think that soap operas ‘provide examples for a successful family life.’ “I don’t have a problem with watching soap operas.”

But when asked whether her husband minds her watching soaps she said “My husband does mind it because there are kids in the house. And my elder daughter had gotten used to watching soap operas. But lately I have noticed that she had started to lose interest in them.”

Shiromi further says that her husband doesn’t like her watching soaps if she had neglected household chores and says that she takes care to do everything on time. “ I cook early before the soaps start.” But she admits that she doesn’t like to answer the phone while watching the soaps. “We women also must have some time to ourselves to do what we like,” said Shiromi defending her interests.

Dr. Priyanga de Zoysa, agrees that women do indeed need time for relaxation. Soaps are women’s equivalent to a cricket match. As he explains soap operas provide, as any other programme, feelings of goodness, most pleasurable sensations. But this can depend on social status. These types of programmes may not be the taste of people in the higher end of society. “These soaps depict normal, pleasant mundane affairs.”

This is an inherent phenomenon of soaps. Now to my initially mentioned problem - the difference of taste. How are a man and woman to reconcile their difference without diving straight for that remote. What makes a woman happy is different from what makes a man happy.

“This is just the nature of a woman. Women and men have different tastes. That’s their nature,” says Dr. De Zoysa. Producers take advantage of this, manipulating emotions like happiness, sorrow and other sensations to sell their product. “This is nothing new. This has gone on for centuries.”

Is there anything such as ‘addiction to soap operas’? The doctor seems to think that it all depends on how a person prioritises. “If a person feels that watching a soap opera is more important than cooking that person is most likely to watch the soap instead of cooking. Addiction is just a term. There is nothing good or bad in it.”

But compere Kumar de Silva holds a different opinion. He thinks that Soap operas are a form of escapism. “I’d rather watch a serious film than a soap. It’s a form of escapism indulged in by people who has nothing better to do, who choose to make themselves jobless,” says Kumar, a severe critic of Soaps.

So what’s the solution? Deal with it give them their space seems to be the doctor’s advice. May be as the commercial goes the best solution may be a TV with multi view facility after all!

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