Soap Opera Outline

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Jane Jimenez        Media Studies Coursework        Candidate No. : 4058

        Soap Operas

Soap Opera Coursework

        A soap opera is a sub-genre of the television genre: serial drama.  Soap operas were originally American radio dramas, sponsored by washing soap powder brands.  Producers prefer to call them serial dramas as this gives the sub-genre a more professional and serious identity.  However, they are also more commonly identified as soap operas, because this is a more original and recognised name.  This also makes it clear that it is a sub-genre of the genre: serial drama.

        Soap operas have several characteristics, which determine their difference from the other sub-genres under serial dramas.  They are set in real time so that life in the serial drama is more realistic and relates to the audience.  For instance, if it is Christmas time, so will it be Christmas too in the soap opera.

        What is more, soap operas also contain recognisable theme tunes, which play at the beginning of an episode.  This is because a recognisable song can easily be associated with a soap making viewers remember that certain soap opera.  Some examples are of the short piano composition at the beginning of Eastenders and the songs from Home and Away and Neighbours.

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        Furthermore, there are realistic storylines, which are familiar with the audience.  For instance, in Eastenders, issues such as dealing with diseases (AIDs, Down syndrome), rape and abortion are addressed.  A crucial point about storylines is that they must contain at least three, some of which may be intertwined, with balances of serious, comical and every-day storylines.  For instance, in Eastenders, they may be a serious story, such as Billy and Honey’s relationship with their Down syndrome baby; a comical story, including some competitive behaviour between Gary and Minty; then an everyday “run-of-the-mill” story at the market or launderette.


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