Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Genoa City Conventions

The Geneva Conventions consist of four treaties and three additional protocols that set the standards in international law for humanitarian treatment of the victims of war. The treaties of 1949 have been ratified, in whole or with reservations, by 194 countries.

We have rules for war, and I say it's high time we had similar rules for daytime soap writers. If the executives of all three major networks would just agree to a set of rules designed to minimize the amount of pain inflicted on the viewing audience, wouldn't we all be a lot happier?

The Genoa City Conventions

1. Seeing as daytime soaps are somewhat formulaic, it's to be expected that plot lines and twists will be dusted off and re-used from time to time. The Genoa City Conventions state that no hackneyed plot may be used on one soap during the same period of time it is being used by another soap, even a soap on another network. There shall be a minimum waiting period of three months before resurrecting such a plot twist. Case in point: Y&R is now running a baby swtich story line (first made generally popular by OLTL during the early 1980s.) According to the Conventions, no other daytime drama may run a baby switch story line until three months after Y&R's baby switch initially took place.

2. The Genoa City Conventions put an end, once and for all, to storylines that involve blood relatives engaging in sexual activity. A character's ignorance about his or her identity cannot be used as an excuse: if two characters are related by blood, there will be NO intimacy of the romantic variety. You hear that, Devon and Tyra?

3. Soap writers are bound, by the Genoa City Conventions, to provide all gay characters with adult relationships, complete with physical intimacy and sex. These do not have to be healthy relationships, and the characters do not have to be likable. But they have to be involved in semi- realistic relationships that provide on-screen equity with heterosexual characters.

4. The Genoa City Conventions ban the use of the supernatural as a plot device. No more demonic posessions, no more Ouija boards, no more "Opal has a bad feeling about all of this." These shows started out about people in realistic, even mundane, situations - the Conventions demand a return to this. Good, well-written stories about relationships, children, friendship, and business will always trump spooky music, crappy special effects, and Diedre Hall wearing red contact lenses. This rule also bans the use of time travel as a plot device.

5. The Conventions clearly state that, in order for soap writers to embark upon a murder mystery plot, they must verify that viewers will actually care "who done it."

6. The Conventions forbid soap writers from writing off major/legacy characters without explanation or reasonable on-screen fanfare and farewells. This rule shall henceforth be known as The Brooke English Provision.

7. The Conventions require soap writers acknowledge race and ethnicity, especially when casting babies and children. This rule (The Baby Castillo Ruling) addresses a disturbing pandemic: white character marries hispanic character and they give birth to a blonde, blue-eyed baby. "Never again," say the Genoa City Conventions.

8. The Genoa City Conventions place a strict limit on the number of secret children any soap character may have. No character shall have any more than three people come foreward and be proven to be his or her secret love children.

9. No character shall return from the dead more than twice. In the event a character has died and his or her dead body has actually been seen, there shall be no ressurection, at all.

10. The Genoa City Conventions strictly forbid the use of giant, talking rodents, in any capacity.

© 2009 Lana M. Nieves

Limited Licensing: I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the Creative Commons Attribution license, granting distribution of my copyrighted work without making changes, with mandatory attribution to Lana M. Nieves and for non-commercial purposes only. - Lana M. Nieves


Julesypops said...

I hereby place my vote to ratify the Genoa City Convention.

Spot on with your points. It's high time these writers see that these weak and contrived plot devices just aren't working.

However, Marlena's eyes were yellow and I think no more than one secret child should be allowed...maybe two with strong reasoning. haha

Soaprah said...

Hey friend--this was brilliantly done. Lana, you are so dead on with your thoughts here. I love the Brooke English Provision. The entire concept of a "The Genoa City Convention" provides so much food for thought!

I am impressed and I hope soap writers out there take heed. I don't envy their jobs but they do need to create realistic plots that are not borrowed from another show that are way overdone,

Thanks for a great read. One can only hope the 'Genoa City Convention Treaty' has all the signatures necessary to bring your creative thoughts into fruition!

ocean1blue said...

I would like to request an exception to the prohibition on time travel. GL's Frank Cooper should have been sent back to 1952 where he belonged.

dkellergrl said...

Lana, I laughed out loud at the Baby Castillo Ruling, because I remember being amazed that Eden and Cruz's baby had blonde hair and blue eyes.

Thank you.

I wish that the third ruling could actually exist right now. Sigh.

Robert said...

Those were all really good! Having shows not run the same storyline at the same time is a good one. The problem is too often the same writers and producers go from show to show and bring the same old stories along, they just throw the old plot onto new characters, and in general, it doesn't work well.

I can deal with the supernatural if it's used in an organic way (for example, Nola's gothic romance with Quentin on GL decades ago), but characters having "feelings" or visions (Paul Ryan, ugh) or playing with Ouija boards (Jana) need to stop.

Number 5 is something AMC and GL should have cared more about, for most recent examples.

And while I agree that incestuous relationships, no matter how tenuous they may be, are gross and don't belong on anyone's TV, Y&R actually revealed at some point that Tyra wasn't Devon's blood-related aunt, it was more of a "family friend/auntie" thing. However, it didn't make their quickie any less gross and unnecessary, the writers nullified Roxanne's great telling-off of both of them by having her weakly reunite with sad sack Devon.