Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Keeping up with the Characters

Posted by emilyfalicaa on March 6, 2017

I think the most interesting part of our discussion on soap operas is the disbelief that people enjoy watching the same pattern over and over potentially for decades on end. Even as a fan of soap operas, I agree. They are insanely repetitive and go on forever. General Hospital and Guiding Light are the longest running soap operas with over 13,722 episodes and 15,700 episodes aired. Obviously, there is going to large amount of overlap. How man But the reason we keep watching is the same reason that others say we should stop. It all keeps going. After so many episodes and seasons these characters grow on you and become real in a sense because you become so involved in their lives and stories. You become desperate to know the next development or the end to a particular storyline within the major one. As weird as it sounds to imagine a bunch of old ladies following a Days of Our Lives cult, soap operas do not have a fan base so much as a true cult following. When it comes down to the point where you’ve seen around 13,000 episodes of something there is no stopping or going back. At this point you have to know how all of this ends. Even if it means watching Luke kill someone, get arrested, escape, endanger his family, burn down some buildings, and get off the hook 50 more times, it’s all worth it because now you’re in to far to quit at this point.


4 Responses to “Keeping up with the Characters”

  1. kaufmansw said

    I couldn’t agree with this post more. They need to do something off pattern to spice it up a little bit. There’s a good base to work with though and I believe soap operas have the potential to rise again.

  2. Sean Hull said

    It’s interesting to consider this point of view, it makes me reconsider a comment of mine that I just posted. If it’s the case that some people continue to watch Soaps not because they necessarily like the changes, but because they are invested in character stories — ridiculous developments be damned — then it really doesn’t say much about how well general TV audiences would accept radical genre or character developments in less continuity-reliant shows.

  3. Drake Kizer said

    I think you made some great points in this post, specifically your idea that many people only continue to watch soaps because they have put so much time into them. Like you said, people “have to know how all of [it] ends” after they have watched years of content. Even if the quality of the show decreases or becomes stagnant, it is still hard to imagine a day where someone who has been watching daily for their entire lives will just say, “Welp, that’s it, I am never watching again!” It simply does not happen, and only a show’s cancellation will cease their viewing.

  4. emilymorgan98 said

    I agree with you a lot on the points that you made. A lot with shows now, it gets to a certain point and even though you want to stop watching you can not because you want to see what happens and any other drama that might go down. You get attached to characters and want to see where the writes go with it.

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