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Dead soap operas get a new life to live online

Two dead soap operas came back to life this week. Not on network TV, mind you, but online.

“One Life To Live,” apparently, has two lives to live. So does “All My Children.” Not quite two years after being canceled on ABC, these two daytime dramas resurfaced Monday on the web.

Already they’re twice as good as they used to be. Why? Because at under 30 minutes, they’re half as along as their TV versions. (Okay, I know that’s a cheap shot but I never really got into soaps. Surprised? And it’s not an entirely accurate shot either – you do have to sit through commercials even online which extend the episodes another 6 to 8 minutes.)

Has the move online affected the soaps’ content in any way? If the initial episodes are any indication, I think they’re trying a little too hard to act relevant.

What did they say in the opening minutes of “All My children?”

“I’m telling you Spence, it’s all changing. Everyone is watching TV online now.”

Just a few minutes later, a couple of high school kids are complaining about their online troubles, including what someone has written on their Facebook wall, and how they’ll retaliate.

And now to the adults, who a little too self-consciously rattle off the whizbang features of our new tech world.

“They moved to Portland, not Mars. We’re living in the cyber age – you’ve got your Facebook, your tweets. You’ve got your, whatever, Skype?”

These examples are all from “All My Children” but just as many forced references to blogs, reality shows, and “going viral” also crop up in “One Life To Live.”

But just as one is ready to write off this entire experiment in “updating” dated material, the following happens:

She: “But I love you.”
He: “And I love you. It’s time I made good on that love.”
She: “What are you saying?”
He: “I’m saying … no, I’m not saying, I’m asking. Will you marry me?”

It’s nice to know that a few of the cliches of traditional soaps survive their online transformation.

Fade to commercial.

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