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Realism - Soap Essay

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Introduction

Realism - Soap Essay Realism means accuracy of speech and setting, thorough background detail and a concern for vermisimitude or realism could mean the willingness to face the facts. Realism is hard to define. There are different types of realism documentary, social, emotional and dramatic. Technical codes play an important role in making realism in soaps, this refers to documentary realism where soaps are supposed to look like they haven't been constructed and camera work shouldn't be too complicated, it should be like looking in on someone's life through their window. The editing should be invisible making the soap look like a continuous shot so it doesn't look like we are watching a piece of fiction. Geraghty claims that plausibility and credibility is valued more by British soaps saying 'British soaps, because of their greater dependence on realism, are less daring [than US soaps] in displaying their fictionality.' The soap 'Night and day' subverted against these technical rules of realism by making their camera work and editing too complicated by using dream sequences and flashbacks thus causing the soap to be unsuccessful, as viewers could not relate to the soap. ...read more.

Middle

An example of this is in Coronation Street, when Karen was experiencing a miscarriage and having to cope with the grief afterwards. Another example is in Eastenders, when Little Mo was experiencing constant domestic violence from her husband Trevor. Ien Ang (1985) claims ' Watching soaps involves a kind of psychological realism for the viewer: an emotional realism that exists at the connotative rather than denotative (content) level.' 'Real time' is shown in soaps to make them look more realistic, soaps do this by paralleling their time with the audience's 'real time' (e.g Sunita in Coronation Street telling Dev what she is going to do in the shop on Wednesday and this is shown in Tuesday's episode.) Also Geraghty shows that 'significant days in the outside world such as Bank holiday or special anniversaries are referred to and celebrated on the right day.' They also show 'real time' by showing everyday experiences that the audience themselves go through on that day (eg. Going to work or having a family feud.) Geraghty argues that this is the appeal of watching soap operas ' We get through our own personal events during the day and then we tune in to discover what has happened in Ambridge that day.' ...read more.

Conclusion

I think that realism plays an important role in making the soaps successful because it is one of the main reasons why people do like to watch soap operas because of the accuracy of settings and characters. They also use the different types of realism such as social realism where many people can relate to the storylines also the use of emotional realism creating storylines that cause emotional reactions from the audience engrossing them towards the soap, helping the increase of their ratings. Soaps that have subverted against the rules of realism (eg. Simple camera work, invisible editing and reasonable settings) such as the soap 'Day and Night' who complicated their technical codes using flashbacks and dream sequences and the soap 'El Derado' who had the setting of a Spanish village. Both failed to attract the viewers simply because they could not relate the situations involved within the soaps and the settings were not 'real' enough which proves that following the rules of realism is very important when wanting to make a soap successful. ...read more.

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