“DROPPING THE SOAP”— Camping the Soap Opera


“Dropping The Soap”

Camping the Soap Opera

Amos Lassen

“Dropping the Soap” is a web series that takes us behind the scenes of long running and terrible soap-opera “Collided Lives” and the craziness of its cast and crew. When the network brings in a ruthless new Executive Producer (Jane Lynch) to “re-brand” the show, the cast realizes that they must fight for their survival. I understand that the idea for this series has been in the works for several years, but it’s only now that it has finally arrived on VoD platforms, including the LGBT-centric streaming service, Dekkoo.com. It’s a 10-episode series.

Julian Draker (Paul Witten), the star of Collided Lives, is an egotistical man who is obsessed with getting enough close-ups, maintaining his soap star status and making sure that nobody else upstages him. He has stiff competition from co-star Kit Knockers (Kate Mines), who would like nothing more than to knock Julian off his perch and become the main star of “Collided Lives.”

Their rivalry intensifies after the arrival of a new producer, Olivia Vanderstein (Jane Lynch) who’s been brought in to improve the show’s ratings. This means firing various people, hiring others, and generally shaking things up. Nobody is safe, including Julian and Kit. This, of course, means plenty of backstabbing, and the secretly gay Julian tries to go deeper in the closet by marrying one of his co-stars in the hopes that this will guarantee his position and destroy Kit in the process. However, Kit has a sex tape featuring Julian have fun with a guy in a Santa suit and she isn’t afraid to blackmail him with it.

Each of the show’s 10 episodes starts off with some scenes from “Collided Lives” that has become more fantastic and fanciful under Olivia’s influence. We have aliens and vampires showing up throughout and we have melodrama, comas, secret children and other soap contrivances. It is as you would imagine it to be— a lot of fun. American soap operas are an easy target for satire and the series has fun with it. As it moves along, it invests more in its characters to ensure it doesn’t feel like it’s only using soap stereotypes. Paul Witten and Kate Mines as Julian and Kit also co-created the show and bring heart to two characters that on the surface are obnoxious. They’re both funny and treat their characters as real people, rather than just grotesque imitations.

Former “Glee” star Jane Lynch (who is also an executive producer) as Olivia Vanderpump channels her Sue Sylvester as a take no prisoners producer who expects everyone to jump when she says so and doesn’t mind who she steps on to get what she wants.

It’s all a lot of fun, although it doesn’t quite fit into the short-form, 10-minute episode format of web series. The way it’s written feels like it needs more time, so there’s a sense of it trying to squeeze what would normally be a 22-minute sitcom into around half that time. Because we can binge-watch all 10 episodes one after another, we tend to like it even more. It has a few rough edges, but it also has heart and humor and some good guest stars.

Paul Witten is charming and very funny. The show is well-paced, and while all the back-stabbing and crazy plots get a little crazy at times, it is all in good fun.

The episodes are short and really packed with humor. I found myself genuinely laughing more than I have in a long time while watching a TV show. My only complaint is not really a complaint but a request for more episodes.

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