Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Understanding the U.S. Soap Opera Pt. 1

Posted by emilyjones232 on March 6, 2017

This week’s reading entitled “Growing Old Together: Following As the World Turns’ Tom Hughes Through the Years” was much different than the past readings we’ve had. I knew soap operas were a big pop cultural phenomenon, but did not realize what a mark it has made until reading this week.

What we have read this week was an in-depth view into Tom Hughes, the character played mostly by Scott Holmes, and the impact he had on the soap opera world. Characters like Hughes who are featured solely on one show for such a long period of time (the character was on As The World Turns for 49 years of the show’s 56 year run) let the viewers grow as the character grows. Hughes is different though because he is “the only character in television history to be born on a show and then to be consistently featured for five decades.”

However, the actor that played Hughes changed many times over the course of the show’s run. This is not unpopular for soap opera characters, as many characters have been played by more than one actor. Since soap operas usually have an episode every weekday and run for the majority of the year, it is hard for viewers to keep up with every character and plotline. This fact makes it easier for actors to leave and come in, even if it does stir controversy within the soap opera community.



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