Fantasy Sport for Women?
The game works along the same lines as fantasy football, in which real-life players are chosen for virtual teams and results are based on statistics from actual games.
Fantasy Soap players will pick three male and three female actors and five “soapy moments” from nine U.S. network soaps, and score points depending on what the actors’ characters do.
Taking off clothing, waking up from a coma, getting an organ transplant, day dreaming or “monologuing” — when an actor stands alone in a room talking to himself — are each worth a hefty 50 points in Fantasy Soap League.
Kissing or slapping someone, pleading, lurking or eavesdropping can also boost scores.
Players also win points if any of the five “soapy moments” they choose occur on any soap opera over a 10-week period.
Like ESPN, SoapNet enjoys a high degree of viewer loyalty, according to Nielsen ratings, and the soap network wanted to emulate ESPN’s robust online presence as well.
“We saw how much fun ESPN viewers have with Fantasy Football,” Blackwell said. “The game rewards people for something they already are doing and it encourages sampling of other soaps.”
I’ll be curious to see how this goes. On the one hand, hey why not? A lot of the fun of soaps is making predictions about what happens next. On the other hand, the kinds of things that earn you points seem to me kind of banal next to the kinds of predictions I see in the zillions of existing online soap talk communities. Really engaging soaps is so much more complex than guessing who eavesdrops, which is kind of like guessing that in a football game someone’s going to run with the ball at some point. Duh.
Still, soap viewing has never recovered from OJ’s trial, soap fans are among the most enthusiastic participants in internet fandom and have been for as long as there’s been an online fandom available for them to create (for the record, rec.arts.tv.soaps was one of the earliest Usenet newsgroups), and the more ways they can figure out to engage people in watching soaps the better. They may be on to something, but I can’t imagine wanting to play that way myself instead of getting into the nitty gritty discussion of storyline details. Unless there’s a big cash payout for the next time this dialogue occurs:
Him: Look me in the eye and tell me you don’t love me.
Her (looking him in the eye): I don’t love you.
He walks out of the room.
She goes to the closed door, places both hands upon it and begins sobbing.
(there are no cash payouts, just the status of being Queen of Fantasy Soaps — sounds like something you do with drag queens in a bathtub!)
Meanwhile, despite stereotypes, women everywhere continue to enjoy Fantasy Football.