I have fond memories of sitting in front of our console TV in the early 1980s, watching All My Children with my mom and sister. I was glued to the daily drama of Pine Valley until the early 1990s. Back then, it seemed that everyone watched soap operas. I mean, who wasn’t on the edge of their seats the whole time Luke and Laura couldn’t get off the deserted island and back to General Hospital?
These storylines created the conversations at the office water cooler and around the kitchen table, between sips of coffee and puffs of Virginia Slims. Ah, the golden age of the soap opera. Nowadays, we get our drama from reality shows where people are eliminated from singing competitions and vying for a date with some stud muffin who doesn’t like to wear shirts. I’ll bet Luke and Laura would love to have been voted off that island.
Soap stars aren’t the only dramatic beings we know. Cats have been “soaping it up” since ancient Egypt, and so far, no one has canceled their show. Here are seven ways my cats shine with melodrama.
Okay, well it’s not especially a surprise when I open the bathroom door and find Cosmo and Phoebe waiting in the hallway with serious looks on their faces. I do, however, hear the cheesy soap opera music when I look down and see them. I half expect them to want to search my place, looking for evidence that will finally put some two-timing scoundrel behind bars, but instead find statements from my illegal, overseas bank accounts!
There’s no shortage of bickering on soaps. The fights usually include lots of intense facial expressions, histrionics ’til next Tuesday, and sometimes even physical rumbles. Yep, cats have nailed that one.
On daily dramas, it’s common to find a character busted in clandestine acts or hanging out at off-limits locations. Then they show that face … you know that look of resignation that’s usually accompanied by sad piano music? Sometimes I find Cosmo hiding in pantries and cupboards. I honestly don’t care that he’s there, but he gives me that same look of shame the soap stars have down pat.
Oh, there’s plenty of sneaking and spying on soaps. Somebody has to collect evidence about the cheaters and underhanded schemes that fill each episode, right? Typically, the spying includes peeking through windows and wearing disguises. My cats are pretty good at the dramatic peeking part; however, they’ve yet to master disguises. I kind of wish they would, though. How funny would it be to catch a cat peeking at you while wearing a beret and fake mustache? Very funny!
Some character, at some point, has to hide away for some length of time. This could be due to a bad relationship, a crime, or even because everyone in town thinks they’re dead, but they’re really not, and there are unethical inheritance shenanigans happening.
My cats? Oh, they can hide. Sometimes they’re not so skilled in their methods of cloaking themselves, but they try anyway. I don’t think, however, soap stars would leave their hideouts if offered a chicken treat. A double martini and a prostitute, maybe.
Some of the best things about soaps are the hokey close-ups that capture a character’s shock, disdain, or deviousness. I love it when the camera zooms and then freezes on the face, which is now spread across the entire TV screen. Then the shot lingers while the audience gasps.
Cats are masters of hokey, overly dramatic looks. They wear all their emotions on their fuzzy little sleeves, and our cameras pick up every bit of it. I wish I could add sound effects to those kind of pics. You know, like the ones they use in the soaps during the close-up shots. Like this.
Not only does this photo of my cats look like an ABBA album cover, it also demonstrates the kind of angles found in some soap camera shots. My favorites include at least two actors. Maybe it’s an over-the-shoulder shot of someone in the distance staring longingly. Or the camera captures the side view of one character and the full-on face of the other. Either way, hammy emotions ooze from the screen. For example, perhaps “Miranda” is telling “Thaddeus” that he’s not really the father of her baby. Then the camera would pan out and capture both expressions. This is the artsy side of the daily drama.
It’s hilarious when I capture a similar photo from my cats. They have such a love-hate relationship that I often have these kinds of opportunities. Mostly it’s Cosmo giving the “please love me” face, while Phoebe’s all, “be gone!” Drama!
How does your cat act as dramatic as a soap star? Tell us in the comments!