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What makes a nighttime drama a soap?

What makes a nighttime drama a soap? Pure snobbery makes Emmy voters go for ”The West Wing” and not ”The O.C.,” says Ken Tucker

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What makes a nighttime drama a soap?

Shows like ”Beverly Hills, 90210” and ”Melrose Place” — and probably ”The O.C.” — are snubbed by the Emmys because they are considered ”soaps.” But serialized shows like ”The West Wing” and ”Six Feet Under” are ”dramas” and frequently nominated. Why? — Shane Kwinter

Pure, ignorant snobbism. Heaven knows, Heather Locklear deserved an Emmy in the mid-’90s glory days of ”Melrose” as much as any actress on TV at the time. Voters reward solemnity over sass, dour seriousness over ebullient wit. That’s why, Shane, we’ll both be disappointed when Adam Brody doesn’t get an Emmy nod later this year.

(Got a TV-related question for Ken? Post it here.)