Soap Operas and Telenovelas

The television soap opera had its origins in American radio serials in the first half of the twentieth century and has since then been adapted and experimented with around the globe as a highly popular television format. Its generic features (subplots, unresolved narratives, episodic structure), thematic attributes (interpersonal and professional rivalries, family values, relationships), and not least its reception by audiences, have all been the topic of much academic research. Often considered a “women's genre,” the soap opera, or “soap,” has been derided by many for its stereotypical portrayals of women and often also for its melodramatic style. However, soap audiences, like the readers of romance novels (see Radway 1984), have been seen to be active and involved viewers who derive pleasure from the genre, ...

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