Have you ever wanted to pack your bags and move to the house of your dreams? Go to that magical place where money is no object? Live in an area where there’s always something going on? Well, Soapland might just be the place for you.
British soaps exist in a world where anything and everything is possible. Post is delivered on time, birthday parties always have massive turn-outs, and neighbours actually speak to one another. But there’s a downside too – a casual stroll down the street can quickly turn into a violent death. Grimsby might be a safer bet than Albert Square after all.
Darkness, hopelessness and having the worst possible luck are a must for anyone in EastEnders. The warmth of a fry-up at Beale’s café would be overshadowed by the realisation that the owners’ son, Bobby, is a psychopathic serial killer in the making. Then there’s Sharon with her blackmailing, gangster daddy Gavin, and Denise reconnecting with her estranged son and killer priest ex-husband. It won’t be long before Panorama investigates Walford’s impossibly high crime rate.
The settings for all the popular soaps seem to be crime capitals. In Coronation Street, everyone seems to be on evil bitch Tracy Barlow’s hit list. If not, they’re dealing with crazy stalkers or trying to stop the Platts from getting involved with yet another homicidal maniac who wants to drive them into a river. Emmerdale has a troublesome handyman/hitman, and Hollyoaks has the mysterious black-gloved killer. But, no matter what happens, the residents still don’t want to move to a safer locale, like Middle Earth or Westeros.
Despite the amount of crime, soaps try to represent real people and real lives. The majority of characters go to work, the pub, restaurants, and socialise with friends and neighbours. Even if that all happens on the same street, it’s pretty normal. Soap characters just don’t believe in commuting. Or going to university. Most young characters end up working in a fish and chip shop, or appearing on The Jeremy Kyle Show demanding a DNA test for a never-seen-before ex.
Soaps are always trying to outdo each other with controversial storylines. If Roxy Mitchell’s raped in EastEnders, Gail Platt will be held captive by a gun-wielding sociopath in Corrie, a killing spree will shock Emmerdale, and Hollyoaks’ cast of Playboy bunnies and Men’s Health models will be investigating a child sex ring. The consequences of storylines push characters to the limits, and dramatically change them. Unless you’re gay. In Soapland, if you’re gay, every storyline revolves around you being gay. That’s it. Nothing else. Ever.
That’s Soapland for you, a place where there’s never a believable, dull, realistic moment. Turkish Airlines should add it to their list of travel destinations, alongside Gotham and Metropolis.