Soap operas are known for being convoluted and exaggerated, but former As the World Turns casting director Kate Adams visited Ted Talks to show that the melodramas we all know and love actually carry big life lessons.
"If you've ever seen a soap opera, you know the stories and the characters can be exaggerated, larger than life, and if you're a fan, you find that exaggeration fun, and if you're not, maybe you find them melodramatic or unsophisticated," Adams says. "Maybe you think watching soap operas is a waste of time, that their bigness means their lessons are small or nonexistent. But I believe the opposite to be true. Soap operas reflect life, just bigger. So there are real life lessons we can learn from soap operas, and those lessons are as big and adventurous as any soap opera storyline."
In the twelve-minute speech, Adams compares overblown soap opera situations with the stories of well-known businesses and personalities like Starbucks and Julia Childs -- all of which illustrate how viewers can take what they see on-screen and apply it to their own lives in order to make improvements.
For example, she uses the story in which Susan Lucci's Erica Kane unrealistically fended off a bear on All My Children to show that soaps show us we can choose to surrender or stand up and fight. She then uses the real-life example of Pandora's Tim Westergren, who famously asked his own employees for money in order to save his company. It was a bold, Erica Kane-style move that took Pandora from the point of near disaster to a music service worth billions.
Another example she uses is the evolution of General Hospital's Carly Benson, who has been played by four different actresses and who has taken on a slightly different personality with each new portrayer. Adams points out that we, too, can evolve, just like Carly, who went from nursing student to hotel owner, or Julia Child, who went from World War II spy to cooking sensation after deciding to try her hand in culinary school.
But those aren't the only lessons soap operas have to offer. Check out Adams' Ted Talks video here to learn all four larger than life lessons daytime series can teach viewers. And then let us know in the comment section below if a soap opera storyline has taught you a thing or two about life.
Do you think there are life lessons to be found on soap operas? Have you ever been able to apply a soap opera storyline lesson to your own life? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.