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Why have soap operas become an integral part of British culture?

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Introduction

Soap Operas Why have soap operas become an integral part of British culture? My definition of a soap opera is a reality tv programme, screened most days of the week, in which families and individuals, in the same neighbourhood, present to the viewer a way of living. My views on soap operas are as follows: Soaps that portray good messages, for example, Neighbours and Home And Away, are the ones that I tend to watch and enjoy the most. Whereas soaps like Eastenders, Family Affairs and Emmerdale portray an almost evil outlook on life. I notice while watching these soaps that the nice harmless soaps are Australian, whereas Eastenders, Emmerdale and Family Affairs are set in England. This tells me that the lifestyle of an Australian differs from the lifestyle of an English person. England tends to have a dull outlook on life, whereas Australians have a happy, sunny outlook. The weather mainly helped to make this impression on me. I watch some soaps more than others because I can't stand how some are over-dramatised. An example is Eastenders. There's never a dull moment in the soap, although it's often for the wrong reasons. Eastenders always concludes with a cliffhanger, which is normally a violent, malicious act towards another character, or a death or casualty, that leaves you on the edge of your seat. ...read more.

Middle

Such adverts include the time, date, channel, a clip or sneak preview of what will happen, and a "Watch or else you'll miss out on one of the most talked about storylines ever", type thing. These adverts are designed to lure the viewer, leaving you counting down the days. Soap operas can have very dramatic effects on you. For example mind control, when the fantasy of the soap becomes reality in your mind, until you believe what's being watched is true, eventually taking over your mind and brainwashing you. Once a fanatic of Coronation Street wrote to Tony Blair, pleading with him to free Audrey from prison, thinking it was real life. Soaps provide social service for people. At the end of an episode which involves issues such as rape, divorce, death or crime, a help or contact line is given, in which viewers can confide in after experiencing such problems. Soaps are contemporary, which means they are written in the same rime that they are being acted. Some viewers develop what's called social critism or social commentary, when as I mentioned before, viewers get lost in the plots and get carried away with their feelings. You sometimes hear about people trying to kill characters that they don't like. I just think how pathetic they are that they can't differenciate between a soap opera and reality. ...read more.

Conclusion

Wealth and power V class consciousness is an issue in soaps. An example of wealth and power is Mike Bawldin in Coronation Street. He is portrayed as a filthy rich business man. On the otherhand the employees that work for him in his factory are examples of class consciousness. They are of the working class. In my opinion this is wrong because it demonstrates that people of different classes should be treated differently, when really people should be treated with the same amount of respect. Soaps are a form of escapism, as viewers can escape from the real world to the soap world. Soaps provide a vicarious experience, which means that the viewers experience the soap at second hand. The cast experience at first hand. Soap opera producers use romanticism to enchance love affairs, to give the viewer a rose-tinted image of the issue. Usually the characters chosen to have love affairs are beautiful, psycially desirable people. We all know that in the real world this stereotypical image is not always true to life. Soap operas move with the times in all aspects such as decor and design in houses and settings, up to the minute technology, lifestyles and relationships, entertainment and the cultural scene (mores), eg drugs, alcohol abuse. This can have a powerful impact on the viewers who will emulate a particular home or lifestyle. Overall, I think soap operas are enjoyable and fulfilling, but if watched over prolongued periods of time can lead to unhealthy addiction. ...read more.

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