Scholar Louise Spence on Comparing the Soap Opera to Other Forms
This chapter presents Spence’s views about comparisons of soap operas with other texts and forms. Spence believes that the notion of “soap opera” still has cultural meaning. Whether we are referring to the essential features of the genre or not, we are still able to communicate when using the term. In most cases, what we are communicating is that a film, TV show, story, or telling of an event that is referred to as “a soap opera” is in unsuccessful competition with some other narrative form that is privileged and valued by the comparison. This tendency to contrast other narrative forms with soap operas draws on deeply entrenched dissonances in our discourses on popular culture and asks us to consider the worth we place on originality and realism in telling stories.
Keywords: soap operas, television serials, cultural meaning, realism, popular culture