Controversial Soap Storylines

Image: NBC, Getty Images, Aaron Montgomery, John Pascal/JPI

Sometimes soaps cross lines that fans don’t like.

Soap operas aren’t called daytime dramas for no reason. Viewers love to tune in and watch the drama unfold on their favorite shows. We become invested in characters, couples and families. When one of our favorites dies, we mourn them. When a character we hate gets what is coming to them, we may cheer their deserved punishment on. And when the powers that be choose to split up our favorite couples, we at times curse the soap operas we love so much. We also often roll our eyes when the soaps trot out a storyline that’s been done a million times over, such as baby swaps and faked DNA tests. Still, we continue to tune in.

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Soap operas have long been known to push the limits of storytelling, often introducing topics that are taboo for the time. We gasp in shock and can’t believe the show went there or pushed those limits. Daytime television often looks to what is going on in the real world for inspiration on what to write. For many viewers, soaps are their escape from reality, and they want anything but more of it on their favorite show. Controversy can be a double-edged sword. It can potentially suck viewers in and increase ratings, or turn them off so much that they refuse to watch. There is an old saying that you never discuss two things with friends and family, politics and religion. Indeed when soap operas have tiptoed into storylines that have the potential to offend people, it can either go very well for them or totally wrong.

Browse our gallery of the many storylines that riled up some viewers over the years.

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