Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

As The World Turns

Posted by kaufmansw on March 8, 2017

I really found the quotes in the beginning of As The World Turns to be quite interesting, specifically “Soaps are commonly referred to as “worlds without end.” “They are predicated upon their impossibility of closure.”  Even more emphatically, Tania Modleski writes that, “It is not only that successful soap operas do not end, it is also that they cannot end.”  It’s hard to fathom something that can’t end.  It seems like there is an end to everything, even life.  When and if one comes to an end though, it’s awkward on both parties.  It’s awkward for the producers because they’ve spent their entire careers running from their show ending.  They don’t like awkward spots with the ending in sight.  The audience, just like the producers, are put into an awkward spot because it’s the never ending story-telling style that keeps them going.  They like to stay on their toes,but they won’t know what to do with their time anymore once their show is cancelled.

Another thing that’s unique about these soap operas is their style. They place an emphasis on character over plot.  With this style, the beginning especially is quite slow developing.  This is also something that you can’t just hop into midway through and pick up like a series on Netflix you might watch.  The slow, tedious background knowledge we are provided is essential for understanding the jokes/side comments later on.  This tends to turn people off today because today’s society has moved more towards the side of instant satisfaction/gratification.  This is sad because soap operas can teach many lessons and develop young minds to think in ways they never would have before.



3 Responses to “As The World Turns”

  1. tristendenney14 said

    I didn’t realize the significance of the quote describing the “impossibility of closure” until I read this post. We all want closure to some extent, but closure for these soap operas is awkward like you said. Also, I believe the style of soap operas you discussed is part of the reason why they are so famous. Therefore, though soap operas may come to an end at some point, the history and legacy they leave behind will never be forgotten.

  2. adusheck said

    I really like what you said about character over plot and totally agree. Sometimes the story lines are faulty but the connection with the characters is not lost.

  3. vene131 said

    I can see how soap operas are without an end though because the writers do not plan endings at all. Like they just keep the same storyline going for literal decades and have no clue how to end it, so this could be definitely problematic when someone comes along and cancels a soap opera.

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