Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Understanding the U.S. Soap Opera Pt. 2

Posted by emilyjones232 on March 8, 2017

The readings for March 8 were a continuation of the emphasis on fan culture in the world of U.S. soap operas. Soaps are medium that lend themselves to fan interaction. These shows are on five days a week for the majority of the year, so fans see more of their favorite characters than that of a normal primetime sitcom.

In the reading entitled “Soap Opera and the History of Fan Discussion”, Sam explains that the longevity of a soap opera (which could be upwards of 50 years) attributes to the nature of soap fans enthusiasm. Since the shows have been on for decades, many generations have been able to watch soaps. Multiple narratives occur over the course of the show, engages fans of different ways of lives to different stories. Soap operas have been prone to be even more prone to dissection of an episode just because of the intimate nature of the show.

I remember in class someone mentioned that their relative has been watching a certain soap opera for so long and could guess what would happen before watching the episode. Soaps are told in such a way because the present episode picks up exactly where the prior episode leaves off. Also, the fans of these shows watch it for so long and with such intensity that they understand the characters on what seems to be a personal level. In the soap opera fandom, guessing what a certain character will do is a big part of the fan discussion.

Soap operas “build community through interpretation, speculation, and criticism” in their fandoms and I believe that is why they have been so popular all these years.


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

  1. vene131 said

    I think the fact that soap operas are on five days a week lends to them being so popular with people. I mean, if something is on almost every day you get to be with those characters for a longer period of time than you do a show that only comes on once a week. It makes sense that people connect with them easier.

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