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A soap opera is a drama typically performed as a serial on daytime television or radio.

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Introduction

Soap Opera Essay A soap opera is a drama typically performed as a serial on daytime television or radio. Soaps tend to be over dramatic and actors are often over emotional, to provoke a reaction from viewers. Soap operas got their names because they used to advertise soaps during the breaks. These programmes were very popular with 'housewives' though they now attract a much wider audience. Soap operas have dramatically changed through the years, becoming more and more controversial, the story lines have changed and matured in some ways to fit different lifestyles, and the media. The media has always been very influential on soap operas, because they show a clear picture of current events which affects 'real people', the kind of people they are trying to portray. The expression 'real people' refers to the working class masses, the main viewers of soap operas. Viewers often get 'hooked' on soap operas, as they have addictive, on going story lines. Usually, people latch onto a character that has experienced similar problems to them and observes how they deal with them. However, this is not always a good way to go about your problem solving, considering that soap operas are notorious for over dramatising situations, and giving most of their characters the worst fate possible. The media can also help soap operas increase their viewing audience, for example, the viewing figures for the 'Eastenders' story line, "Who Shot Phil Mitchell", was greatly influenced by newspaper speculation of the culprit. It has been known to have been taken too far, for example well known booking offices were taking bets on who had shot Phil Mitchell. People then wanted to tune in and see exactly who had committed the crime. Story lines like this really capture viewers, because they enjoy the chance to be able to play detective. The media also concentrate on the actors personal lives, and the more coverage the get, the more people tune in to see them. ...read more.

Middle

Phil Mitchell ('Eastenders') and Rodney Blackstock ('Emmerdale'). These two men also have similarities; both are womanisers, using some poor unsuspecting woman for all they can get. They are both also wealthy businessmen, Phil owns the caf´┐Ż in the square, the Arches (a car garage) and the Queen Victoria, the local pub. Rodney owns an antiques business in 'Emmerdale' village and he also owns a holiday park nearby, which his daughter and most of his ex girlfriends work. I find this type of character hard to believe. Their personalities are quite similar. They both have 'connections', so that if you cross them, you will be in no doubt whether to again. They are well respected, and maybe even feared in the communities in which they live. You would expect someone of their mental intelligence to learn from their mistakes, but instead they repeat them, several times. This is an example of a subverted stereotype. You would anticipate the male characters to be displayed as more intelligent than the females, but they are not. Arguably, some of the men in soaps are more clever and shrewd, but it is the people you least expect that are not as able as they seem. This switch in roles may have been to suit the viewing public, which are mainly women. It always has been this gender driven. In the 1960's and 70's, shows like 'Coronation Street' were showing housewives, not women that worked, and they were showing men that dominated the family and were the main breadwinners. Conventions like this change with each generation, and I'm sure it will change again. 'Eastenders' and 'Emmerdale' are both well known for their controversial and shocking story lines. Recently 'Eastenders' have included euthanasia and murder. The story most emotive story line 'Eastenders' have chosen is incest. The main character is Kat Slater, who was raped by her uncle when she was 12. ...read more.

Conclusion

They should not be taken seriously, because they are not real. Viewers can gain a broader knowledge of social situations and become more rounded individuals by watching soaps because they can teach you how to deal with a larger group of people than you have in your community. Soap operas are pure entertainment, because they allow you to escape. You can dream and make believe for 30 minutes every evening that you too are in that soap. This provides many people with an outlet to reduce stress in their daily lives. Soaps are entertaining because they show real situations and how people deal with them, sometimes in the worst way possible. People also enjoy watching others misfortune, something characters in soaps have a lot of. I think soap operas have been granted with too much value in our society today. Basically, it is a programme on the television about how people in a road, in a town somewhere muddle on with their daily lives. Yet so many people dedicate their whole evenings to watching soap operas. I'm not denying they are fun to watch, but they are not an essential part of life, and definitely don't need to be credited with as much value as they do in our society. I feel that out of the two soap operas I have analysed, 'Emmerdale' is more convincing, but 'Eastenders' is more imaginative for these reasons. 'Emmerdale' doesn't tackle as many hard-hitting story lines as 'Eastenders', which is probably why it is more convincing to the viewers. However, 'Eastenders' is much more imaginative, because it finds unique plot lines that nobody else has ever tried before. 'Emmerdale' is more confined to the type of story lines it can use because of its viewing time, this then allows them to concentrate on everyday issues, that seem ordinary to some, yet refreshing to others. 'Eastenders' is free to choose what kind of story line it wants because it is a lot closer to the watershed. They can then grab people's attention by using dramatics, rather than real life situations. ...read more.

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