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Characteristics of a Soap Opera

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Soaps are popular among all gender lines, any demographic group or region, all over the world. However, their main focus years ago was the "housewife", and stories were geared toward the market of women aged 18-49. Although this has changed a lot over the last 50 years, many stories are directed at the romantic, dangerous side, the kind of stories that bring the viewer in and make them want to watch, day after day.

Soap stories are usually in the form of an "arc", a long-term story that plays out over a few months, and then leads to another "arc" to keep the story going. Different types of soaps, whether it be daytime or nighttime use this arc to keep the viewers interested, however, a daytime soap can usually go into more detail. Evening soaps are typically only once a week, for an hour per show, which means that an arc could not delve as deeply into storyline as a daily show does.

The Popular Soaps

Among the most popular soaps in American culture are "Days of Our Lives", "The Young and the Restless", "All My Children" and "Guiding Light". Many soaps have come and gone such as "Generations", "Ryan's Hope", "Edge of Night", "Another World", and "Search for Tomorrow". The soaps remain popular because they have a strong following, a devoted fan base that keeps them on the air. Although the myth is that soap operas are made for housewives and working class women, the demographics of viewers reveal that people of all economic levels, men and women, enjoy a good narrative story that never ends!

Famous Soap Opera Personalities

Many famous people are associated with soap operas, not just actors and actresses but behind the scenes like writers and producers. Among the famous actors are big name stars in soapdom like Susan Lucci ("All My Children"), Deirdre Hall ("Days of Our Lives") and Anthony Geary ("General Hospital"). There are some famous soap writers, such as Irma Phillips, an icon in soap opera history. She wrote some major soap opera legends such as "Guiding Light", back in the 1930's, and then "As the World Turns" in 1956. Subsequently, she and co-creator Ted Corday wrote "Days of Our Lives" in 1965. The reins for Days were handed down to son Ken Corday when father Ted passed away.

Another soap opera icon was Agnes Nixon. She originally worked under Irma Phillips, but then branched out with her own ideas, creating other soap legends "One Life to Live" (1968) and "All My Children" (1970). Of course many people have become famous subsequent to portraying characters on soap operas, such as Kevin Bacon, Meg Ryan, Brad Pitt and Marisa Tomei.


Soap operas have evolved over the many years,



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