Highlights Episode Recaps Definitions Characters Info

Towards a Definition of the Soap Opera
(an ongoing exercise)

Stories created and recorded for the main purpose of selling soap

One of many possible results of a network-corporation partnership employing precarious contract workers

A forefather to wrestling, tv news, the The Wire, and political debate

The NeverEnding Story (1984)

A daytime serial built on the five characteristics of: seriality, real-time orientation, pseudo intimacy, techniques of story exposition, and cleansing rituals

The virtual brought to life on a regular basis

Soap Opera: An extended dramatic composition used with water for washing, cleaning, odorizing, and coloring, often with instrumental accompaniment

A narrative weaving in figure-eight patterns

A broadcasted mediated drama series dealing with daily events in the lives of a core group of unreal but life-like characters played by actors

Introductory segments followed by teasers and advertising and promotion with scenes of scripted life peppered throughout

A compilation of all the technical and historical details of a fictional universe

The corporate takeover of a medium once owned by and in service of the public

A multiplicity of revenue streams constantly promoted through programming that serves the interest of garnering a loyal audience and solid profit margins

Intentional dysfunction and provoked ire intended to rally a community of searchers (aka fans)

An unnecessary commodity never required to make sense of the original text

Immersive narratives so large that no one person can internalize their full history

Its interpretation is left entirely to the fans and its history resides in their collective memory

A quest for the authentic that lies behind the manufactured mask

What is for one fan a hero is for the next a villain

The longest of arcs. An arc of arcs

A sustained alternative operation running parallel to the world occupied by its audience (Another World)

A genre which is known by all: those who love it, despise it, and are indifferent to it

A low rung on the cultural ladder and looked down on as such, but necessary for the integrity of the ladder

An adaptive and enduring form capable even of life after death

An active, intellectual, and mature form of participation

Interventionist structuring techniques

Intimacy derived from regular attendance over a long period of time

Loosed from its marriage to commercial advertising by the DVR, and set free from the heavy hand of its chemical company father, today’s soap opera is a free agent with vast and heretofore inaccessible potential

An interplay of allegiances, both onscreen and off, that provide enjoyment and employment for its subjects

Live television programming on a two-week to six-month delay

An active afterlife of: shared conversations among fans, in-program flashbacks, sanctioned text recaps, fan compilation YouTube videos, transcripts, and myth

A daily promise of more

Even death has no dominion

Debut: October 20, 1930 on Chicago radio station WGN

The grieving process on display

A vehicle for passing time with those you care about

A strong or exaggerated emotional display of content

A flagrant shattering of work-based identity

Fragmented narratives consumed, by design, in equally fragmented fashion

A place where everyone is related, for a time, at one point or another

Time stops for haircuts

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