Show Business: The Code of Sudsville

Feminism may come and go, but vast and devoted bands of TV viewers believe that woman's role has not changed in 35 years—or 3,500 years. These are the 35 to 40 million people—mostly women, and especially housewives—who watch the soap operas each week. To them, woman's lot is as deliciously full of predicament, villainy and suffering as when Our Gal Sunday and Helen Trent endured a crisis a day on the radio a generation ago.

"The main thing is trouble," says Ruth Warwick, who plays Phoebe Tyler on All My Children. "Right here in River City. They say you get happy roles...

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