Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Blog post #18

Posted by elisechaplin on October 22, 2017

My favorite thing about television are the characters. My favorite TV shows are mainly because I found a favorite character on them. I’ve been unable to become hooked to a show solely because there weren’t any characters that I particularly liked, even if the plot was awesome. So I can understand the appeal of soap operas because of the sometimes decade long character development. Personally, just reading the article about the Tom Hughes character was hard. I can’t imagine being a longtime fan and dealing with the different actors and the always changing storylines. But if Tom Hughes was my favorite character, I think it would be amazing to have years and years of content. If a fan happened to not like the current storyline, chances are they will enjoy the next one. I can’t imagine the frustration of being a fan of a show for decades and then being unhappy with the finale. I get frustrated over the finale of shows that I might not have even watched from the beginning. The infamous How I Met Your Mother finale is a perfect example.

I did find it particularly interesting to read about how the character of Tom Hughes was uses to touch on the social issues of whatever decade. That’s an important thing that shows today struggle with I think, knowing which issues to draw on and which ones to ignore. Soap operas have the opportunity to have pretty much unlimited time to explore various subjects and topics which I think is really cool.


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Blog Post #17

Posted by zschwarzkopf on October 20, 2017

Soap Operas are something that everyone seems to be at least familiar with. I for one used to habitually watch them with my stepmother and we wouldn’t miss an episode. Soap Operas have become a defining moment in how the world has evolved with storytelling and executing their storytelling. The characters that you watch become a part of your identity and you need to know the little details of what is going on in their lives, sometimes spanning over 100 or so episodes of twisted and convoluted plots.

What better way to keep track of characters than to use forums as an outlet. Forums let you chat about pretty much anything and are frequently used to ponder the fate of characters within the soap opera genre.

The internet really allows for the stories to be expanded on, opening new was to broadcast soap operas outside of the original tv viewing time. I know a lot of soaps now use mini series or web series to flesh out characters and storylines. This is something that wasn’t accessible until as of recent thanks to the content the internet creates.

Like fanfiction, forums allow for fans to come together and really deeply analyze the show that they are watching. Dialogue bits, quotes, character deaths, character marriages, are just some of the topics that are addressed within forums. I also think that they will not go out if style anytime soon and will always mold and change as the internet does. People love drama and the soap opera narrative still has many years before it dies off, if it ever does.

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Blog Post 17: Soap Opera Fans

Posted by ellietolbert on October 20, 2017

I have never seen a soap opera before and, besides the one we will be watching in class, will probably never choose to watch soap operas in my free time. That being said, I know very little about the genre. The article “Soap Operas and the History of Fan Discussion” discusses how soap operas have evolved overtime and the relationship between the show and its fans. It seems soap operas have a specific type of fan. Their fans are people who are extremely invested in the show. Considering the massive history of the show and all the drama and twists, a fan would have to be devoted to their soaps just to keep up. It is probably hard for someone to just start watching a show and become a fan. There is a community that surrounds soaps that is unlike the fandoms of other shows. This is because of how developed and established the soap opera communities are. They involve fans of all ages and have been around for years. Because of this strength, the fans are able to have significant control over the show. Like it says in the article, many soap opera producers believe the show belongs to the fans. This makes a lot of sense because when a show has been going on as long as some soap operas, it is probably hard for the creative team to feel ownership over the show, especially when it has had so many creative teams before it. Soap operas have such a long and complex history, and that’s what makes them so beloved by fans.

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Posted by Cody Mason on October 20, 2017

The Soap Opera is something that everyone has seen in their life, whether you stayed home from school as a kid and it was the only damn thing on TV, or went to stay with your grandmother during the weekend and she just had to watch her show. Its not something that can just be overlooked in the american past time. So many people have grown up with and even grown old with soap operas as a form of entertainment, sort of following the lives of these characters as they grow up also.

Internet forums changed everything when they came about, It was a place for people from all over the world to talk about anything. The crazy thing is that there are forums about anything out there, not just TV shows, car makes and models have forums, clothing brands have forums, toys have forums, and so many more. Now with Facebook groups and twitter communication its like forums are out dated and useless. You can use Facebook to access groups for any tv show you want, and talk about anything you desire. This evolution of how fans can communicate opens up so many people to access shows and things that they didn’t even know existed, or have any interest in them before.

This example is unrelated to soap operas, but the key idea remains the same. For me, I have 22,000 instagram followers, and Im a huge part of a car culture called “stance”. People talk about me and what I’m going to do next with my car, what color I will change my wheels to be, or what car show my crew is going to. So I sort of have my own fandom that engages with me because of the internet also. If the internet wasn’t there for these people to interact with me, I wouldn’t be nearly as big as I am. (sorry if that sounded egotistic, I didn’t know how else to word it)

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Blog Post #17

Posted by daneilclark on October 20, 2017

Soap Operas, to my surprise, are still going. Days Of Our Lives is the longest running Soap Opera. Has been going since 1965. Even though Days Of Our Lives have been on for years on the NBC network, it’s audience of 52+ years has been declining. The reading discussed that even though it’s television ratings have decreased but with its forums online, it’s increased its online demographic.

Forums, to be are like another version of fanfiction. Since Days of Our Lives is the longest running soap opera on television, forums is another way that fans can keep up with the show and it’s storylines for each season.

With newer shows coming out, the internet is a great way for viewers to keep in touch of their favorite soap operas. Soap Operas are becoming more and more common but not in the usual way of Days of Our Lives. Ugly Betty is classified as a soap opera but it’s different from Days of Our Lives but still, has that dramatic storyline.

With forums, this gives fans another way to communicate their feelings, share their emotions of the current episode, try to guess the storyline of what’s going to happen, etc. with one another. Like I said, forums are comparable to fanfiction, or truly any social media site where you can find people with the same common interest, same liking of shows, of characters, etc. and express them with one another.

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Blog post 17

Posted by Georgia Nuckols on October 20, 2017

Much like pro-wrestling, I have never really watched an episode of a soap opera. Sure, I may have got a few minutes of an episode here or there in the summer when I’m bored and flipping channels. Sometimes my dad talks about him and his friends in college would sometimes watch soap operas if they weren’t in class (he also used to watch Bob Ross so make of that what you will). But before this week, I had never really thought about the impact that soap operas have had in the fan community.
The fact that so many soap operas are still running today even after twenty or more years, is due to the fan culture it has created. This is partially because of the immersive storylines and the fact that soaps are on every day, giving the viewer a connection it might not have to a show otherwise. This has led to multiple fan discussions from fan letters to the publication of Soap Opera Digest to online discussion forums. What started as word of mouth discussion with family members and friends has turned into a whole community. And while soaps are the most studied in the fan department, almost every person has something that is their “soap”, a show they talk or blog about with their own ideas about it. Just earlier today I discovered a couple of my friends share a similar interest in the show Doctor Who and spent almost a good two hours discussing what we thought of the way different actors had portrayed the main character and the storylines of the last few seasons. The soap opera fan network model can be applied to most shows of your choosing.
Also soap opera podcasts are a thing. I look it up. I didn’t think they were real but they are. But don’t expect to find me listening to them on my way to class. At least not yet anyway.

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Blog 17

Posted by kisersoze on October 20, 2017

As someone who watched old soap operas when as a kid, I am surprised that they still remain alive and well today. It seems that soap opera producers have social media and internet archives to thank for the sudden rise of popularity among viewers. According to the reading, while the number of actual television viewers has declined, the fan bases surrounding the shows (on shows’ forums) have increased online. The essay attributes this to companies releasing the older archives for public use to understand the story. This was a sensible strategy as it allowed those unfamiliar with the story to enjoy stories from the past, some of which might be older than the fans themselves. This has also led to the rise of websites that provide live coverage of soaps. Whether catching up on old episodes, discussing plotlines in forums, or collaborating ideas to predict the next twist, modern media has revolutionized the audience interaction with soap operas. Due to the possibility of fans interpreting the show in their own individual ways, the forums serve as perhaps the strongest source of fan collaboration the soap opera genre has ever seen. This online meeting place far surpasses the previous method of writing in about the show or discussing it with other niche viewers over “water cooler talk”. This business ploy makes me wonder if such an idea could work for other old shows that have suffered from a lack of fan engagement in the modern age.

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Blog Post #17

Posted by kaitpr on October 19, 2017

I never thought about Soap Opera as anything other than badly acted out shows that run every week day in the early afternoon, but after reading this article and seeing the definition of a soap opera I think I have watched my fair share. The definition from one of the article reads “These shows attract an audience through the creation of an immersive story world defined by characteristics such as: a serial storytelling structure; a sense of long-term continuity built through years, even decades, of key characters who are featured daily or weekly; a deep character backlog that has developed over time; an ensemble cast of 30 or 40 characters who are featured on the show at any one time; and self-referential ties to events from a rich textual history. ” I think that the hardest of these criteria to meet is the 30-40 characters. Other than that I feel like a lot of the teen drama I love to watch meets the “soap opera” definition.  I think the thing I have learned most in this class is how much the fans really do control the show. Soap opera operate around what the fans are talking about and what they care about. I also like the ideas that one show can have so many interpretations and sides like this article talked about how these shows don’t focus on one character, there are many, many “main” characters. I am excited to see the drama unfold next class.

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Blog 16: Survival of Soaps

Posted by shelbythite on October 19, 2017

When someone says, “soap opera” we immediately being to think the worst. To be completely honest, the first thing I usually think about is “Days of Our Lives” from “Friends”.  Joey’s part on the show was, although a career high for him, incredibly theatrical and unbelievably melodramatic. The word is typically used to describe a highly dramatic and over the top situation. We’ve all probably used it in the sense to make fun of someone’s behavior because they were being ridiculous. However, something I’d never thought about was that REAL fans of the shows would be embarrassed to admit that they ACTUALLY enjoyed the program. Watching soap operas has been an American pastime for decades, so the genre must have some true and dedicated fans. Therefore, why does it seem like we can only imagine people viewing soaps in a way that must be a joke?

The text also describes that viewing soap operas has always been a multi-generational activity. I can personally attest to this. My cousin Cameron always watches soaps with my grandma when he come to our house. As a matter of fact, he’s the one that requests to watch them. Every time they’re watching it no one else is allowed in the den because that’s their special “thing” that they do together and no one else in my family understands or cares to watch it. They keep each other updated and constantly review past episodes, so the thought of them losing one of their common interests and favorite things to do together is slightly upsetting.

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Blog #17: Soaps

Posted by pmrobertson on October 19, 2017

Soap operas do seem to be disappearing, because I hardly ever hear of any soaps that are still around. The only soap opera I have ever seen was Dawson’s Creek, but I watched it on Netflix, so really I could watch it on my own time. It’s interesting, because my mom is actually the one who told me to watch the show. Clearly soaps have a transgenerational hold, but as they are on the decline, less and less people are watching them. It seems like weekly shows have been taking over the television industry and especially with new subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, On-Demand, etc., watching shows at their actual running times is not as popular. I think changing lifestyles have really hit soaps the hardest, because most people in this day and age don’t have time to sit around and watch a show at a specific time every week, yet alone every night. The reading also mentioned how soaps have been declining due to “failed creative and promotive strategies.” I honestly don’t know the last time I’ve seen the previews for a soap, and maybe this is why. I would love to see soaps brought back to life somehow, although this may be hard. However, the industry could try to find a way to connect to people not only on the TV, but on other media platforms, especially with social media and the internet being used in abundance. I think the idea of a soap is interesting, especially with all the twists and turns in a long drama that seems to never end, because it can hook people very easily. The soap industry just needs to find a way to bring soaps back again or they may be lost for good.

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