Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Understanding the U.S Soap Opera part 2

Posted by jasendavis on March 8, 2017

To be honest, I don’t think that soap operas are the best way to study immersive culture of web 2.0. This is mostly due to the same reason that Sam outlined as why the finale was so difficult to write. There are so many stories that haven’t been concluded from over 50 years on the air that it is difficult to really create s strong fan culture. Yes, fans can come together and discuss the latest episode, but in a cast of 40 or so actors, different fans become attached to different characters. Also, I have never seen forums devoted to soap operas on the internet. They never trend on twitter, and nobody shares their stories on facebook. I’m going to defer to Sam on the matter of fandom in the soap opera genre because he has done the research, but I don’t see it.

With regard to the finale, I’d say that the soap opera was too static in their preparation for the finale. The same formula will not work when viewers are expecting resolution to the stories some of them have waited on for half a century. The “they all live happily ever after” shtick is a little old. Shows like Friday Night Lights began tying up all lose ends at the beginning of the season. Tim Riggins was going to jail to save his brother Billy’s family. Jason Street became a successful sports agent in New York. Matt and Aimee moved to Chicago, and Tami and Eric began a new life in Philadelphia. It all fell apart, but we had no lose ends. “Clear eyes, full hearts . . . ah, we’ll deal with that later.” That brings tears to eyes every time.

One Response to “Understanding the U.S Soap Opera part 2”

  1. I agree with you when you say that soap operas are not the best way to study the culture of web 2.0. You also bring up some good points from the reading such as the finale was hard to write because many of the conflicts over the 50 years had not been resolved. I also agree when you say that “in a cast of 40 or so actors, different fans become attached to different characters.” I only watched a few soap operas because my mom did and wanted to discuss them with me, but there were only about 2 characters that I actually enjoyed watching.

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