Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Archive for April, 2011


Posted by meganserio on April 26, 2011

This tiny part in Lynn Liccardo’s piece about other shows imitating General Hospital’s Ice Princess storyline reminded me of something I’ve noticed before. And actually recently. Right now, All My Children has a storyline in which two people married to keep one in the country. Tad and Hot Doctor’s sister (right, Val?). General Hospital had a storyline like that with Lucky, Luke’s son, and Siobhan, who is from Ireland. Okay. Here’s another one. On GH, Lucky and Elizabeth’s son, Jake, was hit by a car and killed. It was very sad, and I was not expecting it. One Life To Live – and I haven’t actually watched it, only the teasers – had a story in which Rex and Gigi’s son, Shane, was threatening to jump off a building. Apparently, it was a storyline about bullying. I should probably catch up with that one.

Do you see what I’m seeing? When one soap runs an interesting storyline, a few of the others do a storyline like it. I’ve noticed it in the past few years. It seems like some storyline type would go through all of the four that I watched (General Hospital, The Young and the Restless, All My Children, and One Life To Live). Of course, it would never be at the same time. Soaps don’t usually have big stories going on at the same time. But it might have been the next week or week after that. I may or may not be right about that, but that’s what I’ve noticed.

I hate to think of this, but when I read the comment that soaps “started trying to outdo each other with attractive couples in impossible situations  that eventually led to the corruption of the genre” I wondered what would happen if the amount of soaps now was chiseled down any more. We only have, what, four soaps now? It’s going to get ridiculous if they all try to compete with each other. If it ever gets down to two… it’ll be a soap opera throwdown. I just hate to see a genre ruined because they’re trying to outdo each other.

Yesterday, I saw a promo for General Hospital’s new experiment: Luke Spencer’s Intervention (oooh~). I’m not going to lie, I am very intrigued by this. An audible “Oh my gosh” even escaped from my lips. But now I’m waiting for something similar to happen on a fellow soap.


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Louise Spence Perspective: Internet Viewing

Posted by corydcooper on April 19, 2011

“Does following Soaps on the internet count?”

That is a question that is becoming more and more relevant today for all television shows. Louise Spence poses this question in her piece in The Survival of Soap Opera. Personally, I watch almost all of my television either from the internet or Netflix. Being a student with loans does that to you. However, she notes the problem with viewing in this style with her answer to the question. “Maybe not to the TV industry. Women who follow their stories on the Internet or via print sources are ‘viewers’ whose attention time cannot be sold to Proctor & Gamble.”

I am part of the problem with today’s viewers. I have class, homework, and a 40 hour job. I cut corners on my cable bill by paying for internet only, and using Netflix. So with no recording device I pretty much depend on the internet if there is a show I want to watch or I wait for it to become instant stream, but by that time the show is either really old or canceled (Firefly, anyone?).

Sure, you can’t count me as a “viewer” during the time that matters for your numbers, but TPTB should take note of the growing demographic of people like me. We’re out there, we’re fans just like anyone else, and we do watch news shows at our leisure on the internet. Now, i’m not saying too release an ungodly torrent of commercials on us while viewing on the ‘net, but just keep us in mind when you tally up your numbers.

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Sadness…and a little bit of my interview thrown in

Posted by valflop29 on April 15, 2011

I am very sad that All My Children will be going off the air.  This is the one show that is still on that has always been apart of my relationship with my mother.  On top of that I know other people who do make a connection with this show.  For instance, my fiance’s grandmother is deceased, but he remembers watching this everyday with her over the summer.  So when I watch it he recognizes some of the characters and makes a connection with his past.  I too will begin to miss the time spent watching the community of Pine Valley with my mother. 

This brings up one of the women that I interviewed, though we haven’t talked about her piece yet in class, I thought I could mention just a little.  Julie Porter shared in her piece about the relationship she had with her mother.  Where did their common ground come from?  Sharing the experience of soap operas. 

Julie talked both in her interview and in her piece, Hanging on by a common thread, about the importance of relationships are.  Not just the relationships we may have with the person who watches with us (if you watch with someone), but also the importance of websites (blogs, fanforums) had with soap fans.  These people that we talk to become friends, confidants, and family.  A virtual family yes, but a family all the same. 

This reminds me of our class.  Though we all have different backgrounds, and that we actually know each other, we do have the common ground of soap viewing.  I still get the family feel when coming to class or signing on to our blog.

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All My Children and One Life to End – Well to end !!!

Posted by elizabethbartsch on April 15, 2011


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All My Children, One Life to Live Canceled

Posted by chriskennysmith on April 14, 2011

ABC has announced that the network is “evolving” its daytime offerings by canceling “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” and making room for two new shows.

The two longtime staples of afternoon TV-viewing will conclude in September 2011, and January 2012, respectively. (What do you think about this? Let us know with an iReport.)

So what will you be watching instead? An hour-long show all about food called “The Chew.” It’ll be hosted by “Top Chef” fan favorite Carla Hall, “Iron Chef” Michael Symon, nutrition expert Daphne Oz, “What Not to Wear’s” Clinton Kelly and Mario Batali.

According to the release from ABC, the show will cover all angles of food, examining it “as a source of joy, health, family ritual, friendship, breaking news, dating, fitness, weight loss, travel adventures and life’s moments.”

That one will launch in September.

The other show coming to ABC is currently being called “The Revolution,” and is focused on “health and lifestyle transformations,” the statement says. The idea is to help viewers live better lives by showing them how to “transform all areas of their lives, from relationships to family, food, style, home design, finance and more.” It will also feature one woman’s five-month weight loss journey each week, and will reveal each step of the story over five days, with a final unveiling of her total transformation on Fridays.

The daily program, arriving in January 2012, will be hosted by “Project Runway’s” Tim Gunn, former “Idol” contestant Kimberley Locke, and celeb trainer Harley Pasternak.

The president of daytime TV at the Disney ABC television group, Brian Frons, acknowledged in the statement the impact this shift will have on viewers.

“While we are excited about our new shows and the shift in our business, I can’t help but recognize how bittersweet the change is,” Frons said. “We are taking this bold step to expand our business because viewers are looking for different types of programming these days. They are telling us there is room for informative, authentic and fun shows that are relatable, offer a wide variety of opinions and focus on ‘real life’ takeaways. A perfect example of this is ‘The View,’ and that factored into our decision.”

ABC promises to close out both “One Life to Live,” which began on the network in 1968, and “All My Children,” which got its start on ABC in 1970, in a way that honors the viewers and the legacies of the programs.

– CNN (http://marquee.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/14/all-my-children-one-life-to-live-canceled/?hpt=T2)

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Posted by valflop29 on April 12, 2011

I enjoyed Deborah Jaramillo’s peice about a particular episode of As the World Turns and the connections two storylines made without ever really connecting to each other.  I was a As the World Turns watcher but I don’t recall this particular episode.  Thought if I had seen it I am sure that I would not have made the connections that Jaramillo brings about. 

She discussed two storylines and now they were symbolically similar.  One of which was a sexual assault, the other some “harmless’ flirting.  One idea is the danger that the so-called harmless flirting could lead to.  She said that “this particular episode’s departure from the norm encapsulates the flexibility and reflexivity of the soap form; on the other, it indicates a praagmatic attempt to court a younger demographic disenchanted with (or simply unfamilar with) the traditional leisurely pace of the genre.”

I’m sure that this episode’s style was meant to draw more and different viewers.  As I said before I wouldn’t have really noticed a difference.  So I wonder how many of the viewers did notice and if they did enjoy it.  The fact that the two stories had similar underlying connections was quite clever I think.  I think that this is a interesting way to create an episode and I would not mind seeing a show try to do this.

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Changes in Soaps

Posted by jyoung1363 on April 12, 2011

All 4 of the readings kind of blended into one for me (which is no insult, they just had a lot in common by way of focus).  I’ll go in order with my thoughts here…

[Ernest Alba’s piece] I’m not very technologically-minded or savvy, so a lot of the camera talk went over my head, but I was still fascinated by the way camera shots (close-ups and otherwise), color, eye level, etc, have all been experimented with.  And having seen that specific episode of the Twilight Zone, I’m tempted to look up the similarly shot episode of General Hospital.

[Deborah L. Jaramillo’s piece] With Days of our Lives and the Bold and the Beautiful, specifically, I’m used to watching an episode that has a focus on at least 3-4 storylines, so the concept of just featuring 2 storylines in an almost parallel fashion seems to me a bit curious.  When this occurs, is it done on purpose, or experimentally, or I wonder if it’s just coincidence when 2 such similar plots are juxtaposed?

[Patrick Erwin’s piece] A lot of talk seems to be concerning indoor vs. outdoor scenes, but I have to say that, as a viewer, I don’t personally care whether a story takes place in a living room or on the beach.  Granted, I’m not really a long-time viewer by any means yet, so maybe I just haven’t seen enough “domestically located” episodes to make me yearn for a backyard or farm scene, for example.  But in terms of how the actors must feel, I’m sure it definitely feels like a treat to mix up location after spending so much time on the same set.

[Erick Yates Green’s piece] I was lost here again because, as I’ve said, I really don’t understand the fuss between SD and HD and why using one or the other is such a big deal.  I mean, obviously the different formats would affect the camerawork, possibly sound, and image/color experts, etc, but it seems to me like this is such a background issue and (personal opinion here) more efforts should be made to modify budgets, demographics, unpopular plots, and so on.

Looking back, I don’t guess that I had anything productive to add after reading these pieces, but here are my thoughts as a reader and a viewer. Enjoy!

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Perspective with Robert C. Allen

Posted by corydcooper on April 12, 2011

In this piece from the book  Survival of the Soap Opera, Robert C. Allen, author of Speaking of Soap Operas, discusses his studies and research regarding the genre of the soap opera. He commented on the ever changing audience throughout the years. Yes, women had been targeted primarily and historically by advertisers during the daytime viewing blocks, but it never occurred to me how the market would change over time and how the shows would have to deal with these social changes.

“As I was writing Speaking of Soap Operas, soap opera writers, broadcasters, and advertisers were trying to adjust to social changes as well–changes that would undermine assumptions about the ‘audience’ for soaps that had been in place since the advent of commercial television. Baby Boom women were by the mid-1980s aging out of the prime demographic market for soap operas’ traditional advertisers. More women were working outside the home than ever before. Cheaper programming forms–game shows and talk shows–ate into soap operas’ share of the dwindling daytime network audience, as did new cable channels.”

With this, Allen outlined the hurdles and challenges that soaps would face in the coming years. The market was becoming saturated with a diverse amount of programming.  Also, the viewers themselves were changing and choosing to go out into the workplace more, which was a bigger deal in the 1980’s. Finally, the idea of a loyal viewer aging away from the prime range never occurred to me, but it does make sense if the person can’t relate to the plots thanks to generational gaps.

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Deborah Jaramillo – It’s Not All Talk

Posted by elizabethbartsch on April 11, 2011

Her piece about an episode of ATWT was very interesting.  She spoke about tow parallel story lines.  While she called them parallel,  from what I understood about the scenes,  they seemed almost more like opposites.  Here we had an almost sexual assault and the other scene a man professing his wish to pursue a relationship with a woman.

Reading this made me think of some of our class discussions where some viewers don’t follow certain story lines (or only follow a few story lines) due to either like or dislike for the characters or that particular story.  If that is the case,  then a lot would seem to be lost by the viewer from the intent of the writers and editors.

Usually the juxtaposition of two parallel,  or opposite story lines,  is made stronger because the viewer is all knowing.  I have seen that MANY times in B&B where one character will say or ask something and then the scene is switched over and we have our answer.  We as viewers know this because we are following all characters and plots.

I want to make a comment on another piece,  the one by Erick Yates,  “The Evolution…Soap Operas” where he talks about the most prevalent problem with daytime soaps which is budget.  It got me to thinking and I wanted to ask if soaps had larger budgets,  or while we are dreaming big,  lets say unlimited budgets,  would that solve the viewership problem and declining ratings?  Or could it be that soaps are competing with viewers who have just too many things to do and obligations  and can not find time to make what used to be a luxury  (watching a soap) into a priority?

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Gender and Unnessary Romance

Posted by meganserio on April 10, 2011

So I’ve read Christine Scodari’s piece, and I just have a few thoughts about some things she talked about.

Christine talks about The X-Files, specifically about Mulder and Scully’s relationship. Obviously, they carried on a strictly platonic relationship throughout the seasons. Many fans believed that if there were any hints of some sort of romance between the two, that the entire series would be ruined. Even a slight touch of the hand would change everything. The fans who shared this belief were predominantly male. I don’t know if that actually says anything, because – despite my sappy tendencies – I know that things of that nature could turn an entire show upside down. They apparently did pursue something more in the movie a few years back? I don’t really know how successful that was, but I suppose as long as it was the movie and not the series, then that’s fine.

I just wonder if it’s always that way, guys not wanting romance where romance isn’t deemed necessary. How many guys secretly (or openly) wish that the typical male and female main characters would get over themselves and just get together already? Usually, everyone thinks girls want things like that to happen. Not that all of us don’t, but I’m sure that there’s a good amount of girls who don’t fit in with the stereotype.

But about the main characters again. For some reason, and I know this is way off the sci-fi base, I thought of the shows CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Bones. CSI is a good example of a show that doesn’t need romance to carry on successfully. I have to admit that I haven’t watched every episode, so I’m not entirely sure if any “beyond work” relationships were pursued, but I can’t recall any right now. They’re friends, but romantic feelings aren’t involved, or at least not put in the spotlight (I remember thinking that something could have happened between Sara and Grissom). But it’s super awesome without any of that and very successful. I suppose an important factor is the lack of two main characters who are male and female. Hmmm…

Anyway, Bones is a similar show but it focuses on the relationship between Bones and Booth. They have the same thing going on in terms of what the show is about: figuring out who the bad guys are! But then they have this whole “Will they or won’t they?” thing going on as well. But what if they didn’t have that going on? Is it possible to watch a show with two main characters who are male and female and not wonder whether or not something will ever happen between them? I suppose it’s just natural for people to wonder. And I know that I’m comparing two shows that serve different purposes. It was just something I noticed.

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