The “UGH” Factor
Posted by fourfourteenam on March 2, 2008
At the risk of never ever having someone to watch a movie with again, I have a confession to make. I talk. I talk during commercials. I shriek when the murderer jumps out. And I definitely, most definitely say, “awww” when the couple that should get together does get together. So it was a really weird experience when every time I watched a soap and the sound, “UGH,” emerged from my mouth several times in a row. When Carly makes a ridiculously bad decision, when Casey decides to house a bunkmate from prison, or when Sophie makes a bad decision kidnapping the baby, the response is the same. It’s UGH! Forgive me for saying, but this rarely ever happens when I’m watching other television shows like “House” or “The X-files” and it doesn’t even happen when I watch unrealistic shows like “Walker Texas Ranger.” Okay, THAT might be because I’m from Texas…. But, why is it that the “UGH” factor is so high in soaps? So after some thought, I came up a couple of possibilities.
One of them is that in the soap opera universe, there are characters that are intelligent… but that is unfortunately something most of the characters in the soap they aren’t blessed with… and there are certain characters that always seem to be in sticky situations and always manage to make the situation worse. So this could be the reason I have to bury my head and restrain myself from watching once or twice every episode.
Another possibility is that the foreshadowing in soap operas is done in a way that the audience knows what should be done and shouldn’t be done, which can also add considerable frustration. Since the audience is able to access all the character’s and their thoughts, we’re always ahead of the game. The constant use of dramatic irony can really promote the “UGH” factor more.
The other possibility I could think of was the fact the fact that soap operas to attempt to act things out in real-time. So when characters do proceed to make a dumb mistakes, they tend to drag this mistake out. In other television shows, a lapse in judgement happens fairly quickly, whereas in soaps, you are able to see the character pondering, planning, talking to others about their problems and then carrying out their plans. This can last up to several episodes long making you impatient and increasing the “UGH” factor.
The only possible reason I can think of writers doing this is that they are pulling a romantic comedy card, where you know what and who will get together, but continue to watch just to see the steps in between. I realize that the soap opera audience is also the same audience that would enjoy soap operas, but is this the only possibility? What do you think? Is this a logical explanation for the “UGH” factor?