Soaps are contemporary, which means they are written in the same rime that they are being acted. Some viewers develop what’s called social critism or social commentary, when as I mentioned before, viewers get lost in the plots and get carried away with their feelings. You sometimes hear about people trying to kill characters that they don’t like. I just think how pathetic they are that they can’t differenciate between a soap opera and reality. Political bias is another issue, which tends to sway the minds of viewers.
This happens when a character is portrayed to have a specific political view on a matter. For example if a character is strongly against the Labour Party, their views may rub off on to the public, and then the public assume that that is their real belief. Really the actors/actresses are shoved a script to learn. They don’t mess about and argue with the script writers just because their views differ to their characters. Many potentially controversial issues are embarked upon in soaps. For example, when the first lesbian kiss was screened on Brookside a few years ago everyone was horrified.
On the otherhand, it encouraged real life lesbian couples to go public, not being ashamed of their sexuality. Soap operas are a form of voyeurism which means you can enjoy watching without participating, which is just up some people’s street. It’s nice to come in from school, make a cuppa and be entertained by people for half an hour, from a distance, without having to participate. Some people believe soaps are anti-depressants. This is true when you are experiencing serious problems in your life. It is comforting when you switch on the tv and find a character with a much worse problem than yours.
It puts everything into perspective, and demonstrates that it is quite possible to overcome such problems. Soap operas prove to be relief from everyday pressures, albeit temporary. This is especially true for me. My artistic merit is Neighbours. Sometimes I can’t wait till 5. 35pm, because I know that I can relax during the twenty five minutes it is on. Soaps are very informative about occupations. You get to know what a characters job involves and requires. For example, Joe Scully is a builder in Neighbours, Paddy is a vet in Emmerdale and Karl Kennedy, a doctor in Neighbours.
All these characters provide good insights into these careers, which may help you to choose which job suits you. Soaps allow you to study lifestyles. This is especially useful for sociology and psychology students who are required to research different lifestyles and the way they affect our personalities. Using these studies they can compare the lifestyles of regions or countries, and how they differ. Soaps are used as message propaganda. This is when truths or quotes are twisted and end up only half true. Journalists use this technique.
Since video recorders developed, soaps have given them a revolution. Before technology developed viewers who were unable to watch an episode simply missed it. Now, it is popular to record programmes when you are out, or viewing on another channel. This revolution has increased the viewing figures by thousands. Producers of soap operas have many promotion techniques. Some of these include advertising, omnibus episodes, special length episodes with exciting content, ie, a birth or a wedding. All of these attract the viewer and send the ratings rocketing.
There are two types of soaps: Imported and home grown. Imported is self-explanatory-the soap is imported from other countries to our screens, Home and Away and Neighbours are examples. Home grown is the screening of soaps from their own country. Wealth and power V class consciousness is an issue in soaps. An example of wealth and power is Mike Bawldin in Coronation Street. He is portrayed as a filthy rich business man. On the otherhand the employees that work for him in his factory are examples of class consciousness. They are of the working class.
In my opinion this is wrong because it demonstrates that people of different classes should be treated differently, when really people should be treated with the same amount of respect. Soaps are a form of escapism, as viewers can escape from the real world to the soap world. Soaps provide a vicarious experience, which means that the viewers experience the soap at second hand. The cast experience at first hand. Soap opera producers use romanticism to enchance love affairs, to give the viewer a rose-tinted image of the issue. Usually the characters chosen to have love affairs are beautiful, psycially desirable people.
We all know that in the real world this stereotypical image is not always true to life. Soap operas move with the times in all aspects such as decor and design in houses and settings, up to the minute technology, lifestyles and relationships, entertainment and the cultural scene (mores), eg drugs, alcohol abuse. This can have a powerful impact on the viewers who will emulate a particular home or lifestyle. Overall, I think soap operas are enjoyable and fulfilling, but if watched over prolongued periods of time can lead to unhealthy addiction.