AskDefine | Define soapy

Dictionary Definition

soapy adj : having the qualities of soap (and liable to slip away) [syn: saponaceous] [also: soapiest, soapier]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. resembling soap
    A soapy taste.
  2. resembling a soap opera
  3. full of soap
    soapy water
  4. covered in soap
    ''His skin was still soapy after the shower.

Extensive Definition

A soap opera is an ongoing, episodic work of fiction, usually broadcast on television or radio. Programs described as soap operas have existed as an entertainment long enough for audiences to recognize them simply by the term soap. The name soap opera stems from the original dramatic serials broadcast on radio that had soap manufacturers such as Procter and Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, and Lever Brothers as the show's sponsors.
The term soap opera has at times been generally applied to any romantic serial, What differentiates a soap from other television drama programs is the open-ended nature of the narrative, with stories spanning several episodes. The defining feature that makes a program a soap opera is that it, according to Albert Moran, is "that form of television that works with a continuous open narrative. Each episode ends with a promise that the storyline is to be continued in another episode". Soap opera stories run concurrently, intersect, and lead into further developments. An individual episode of a soap opera will generally switch between several different concurrent story threads that may at times interconnect and affect one another, or may run entirely independent of each other. Each episode may feature some of the show's current storylines but not always all of them. There is some rotation of both storylines and actors so any given storyline or actor will appear in some but usually not all of a week's worth of episodes. Soap operas rarely "wrap things up" storywise, and generally avoid bringing all the current storylines to a conclusion at the same time. When one storyline ends there are always several other story threads at differing stages of development. Soap opera episodes typically end on some sort of cliffhanger.
Evening soap operas sometimes differ from this general format and are more likely to feature the entire cast in each episode, and to represent all current storylines in each episode. Additionally, evening soap operas and other serials that run for only part of the year tend to bring things to a dramatic end of season cliffhanger.

Plots and storylines

The main characteristics that define soap operas are "an emphasis on family life, personal relationships, sexual dramas, emotional and moral conflicts; some coverage of topical issues; set in familiar domestic interiors with only occasional excursions into new locations".
In many soap operas in particular daytime serials in the United States, the characters are generally more attractive, seductive, glamorous, and wealthy than the typical person watching the show. This is true to a lesser extent in soap operas from Australia and the United Kingdom, which largely focus on more everyday characters and situations and are frequently set in working class environments. Many Australian and UK soap operas explore social realist storylines such as family discord, marriage breakdown, or financial problems. Both UK and Australian soap operas feature comedy elements, often by way of affectionate comic stereotypes such as the gossip or the grumpy old man, presented as a sort of comic foil to the emotional turmoil that surrounds them. This diverges from US soap operas where such comedy is rare. UK soap operas also frequently foreground their geographic location as a key defining feature of the show while depicting and capitalising on the exotic appeal of the stereotypes connected to the location. So EastEnders focuses on the tough and grim life in London's east end; Coronation Street invokes Manchester and its characters exhibit the stereotypical characteristic of "Northern straight talking".
Romance, secret relationships, extramarital affairs, and genuine love have been the basis for many soap opera storylines. In US daytime serials the most popular soap opera characters, and the most popular storylines, often involved a romance of the sort presented in paperback romance novels. Soap opera storylines sometimes weave intricate, convoluted, and sometimes confusing tales of characters who have affairs, meet mysterious strangers and fall in love, and who commit adultery, all of which keeps audiences hooked on the unfolding story twists. Crimes such as kidnapping, rape, and even murder may go unpunished if the perpetrator is to be retained in the ongoing story.
Australian and UK soap operas also feature a significant proportion of romance storylines. In Russia, most popular soap operas (though most of them are serialized) explore the "romantic quality" of criminal and/or oligarch life.
In soap opera storylines, previously-unknown children, siblings, and twins (including the evil variety) of established characters often emerge to upset and reinvigorate the set of relationships examined by the series. Unexpected calamities disrupt weddings, childbirths, and other major life events with unusual frequency. Much like comic books—another popular form of linear storytelling pioneered in the US during the 20th Century—a character's death is not guaranteed to be permanent without an on-camera corpse, and sometimes not even then. For example, the death of Dr. Taylor Forrester on The Bold and the Beautiful seemed permanent as she had flatlined on-camera and even had a funeral. But when actress Hunter Tylo returned in 2005, the show retconned the "flatlining" with the revelation that Taylor had actually gone into a coma.
Stunts and complex physical action are largely absent, especially from daytime serials. Such story events often take place offscreen and are referred to in dialogue instead of being shown. This is because stunts or action scenes (such as a car accident) are difficult to adequately depict visually without multiple takes and post production editing. In the times when episodes were broadcast live, post production work was impossible. As shows have long switched to being taped, extensive post production work, while possible, is not feasible for the genre due to the high output each week and low budgets. A convincing fight scene usually requires multiple takes, and multiple camera angles, and again the time and effort to adequately capture such a scene is not feasible for daytime soap operas.

United States

The American soap opera Guiding Light started as a radio drama in January 1937 and subsequently transferred to television. With the exception of several years in the late 1940s when Irna Phillips was in dispute with Procter & Gamble, The Guiding Light has been heard or seen nearly every weekday since it started, making it the longest story ever told. Other American soap operas that have been telecast for more than thirty years (and are still in rotation) include As the World Turns, General Hospital, Days of our Lives, One Life to Live, All My Children, and The Young and the Restless.
Due to the shows' longevities, it is not uncommon for multiple actors to play a single character over the span of many years. It is also not uncommon for a single actor to play several characters on other shows over the years. Actors such as Robin Mattson, Roscoe Born and Michael Sabatino have played no fewer than six soap roles. On the other hand, a number of actors have remained in their roles for decades. Helen Wagner, who has played Hughes family matriarch Nancy Hughes on As the World Turns since its debut on April 2 1956, is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the actor with the longest uninterrupted performance in a single role. (Two of Wagner's ATWT cast-mates, Eileen Fulton and Don Hastings who play Lisa Miller Grimaldi and Dr. Bob Hughes, respectively, have each been in their roles nearly as long, both having joined the show in 1960.) In General Hospital, Rachel Ames has been playing Audrey Hardy since 1964 to 2007, and in All My Children, Susan Lucci has played the same role, Erica Kane, since the show's debut in January 1970. Ray McDonald who plays Dr. Joe Martin has been in the role since the show's debut as well. Though as actors transition between soap roles, it is not uncommon nowadays to be dropped from contract status to recurring status, a part of contract negotiations which is almost completely unique to U.S. soap operas.
In the U.S., the shows purely known in the vernacular as soap operas are broadcast during daytime. In the beginning, the serials were broadcast as fifteen-minute installments each weekday. In 1956, the first half-hour soap operas debuted, and all of the soap operas broadcast half-hour episodes by the end of the 1960s. When the soap opera hit a fever pitch in the 1970s, popular demand had most of the shows, one by one, expanded to an hour in length (one show, Another World, even expanded to ninety minutes for a short time). More than half of the serials (and all of the pre-'80s hour-long serials on the air today) expanded to the new time format by 1980. Today, seven out of the eight American serials air sixty-minute episodes each weekday. Only The Bold and the Beautiful airs for 30 minutes.
Also in the early days, soap operas were broadcast live from the studio, creating what many at the time regarded as a feeling similar to that of a stage play. Live from the studio meaning that shows were pre-taped then played live from the studio. (As nearly all soap operas were filmed at that time in New York, a number of soap actors were also accomplished stage actors, who performed live theatre during breaks from their soap roles.) In the 1960s and 1970s, shows such as General Hospital, Days of our Lives, and The Young and the Restless began taping in Los Angeles, and made the West Coast a viable alternative to New York-produced soap operas, which were becoming more costly to perform. By the early 1970s, nearly all soap operas had transitioned to being taped, with As the World Turns and The Edge of Night being the last to make the switch in 1975.
Port Charles used the practice of running 13-week "story arcs", in which the main events of the arc are played out and wrapped up over the 13 weeks, although some storylines did continue over more than one arc. According to the 2006 Preview issue of Soap Opera Digest, it was briefly discussed that all ABC shows might do telenovela arcs, but this was rejected.

The 'Golden Age'

Many soap operas, in the beginning of television, found their niches in telling stories in certain environments. The Doctors and General Hospital, in the beginning, told stories almost exclusively from inside the confines of a hospital. As the World Turns dealt heavily with Chris Hughes's law practice and the travails of his wife Nancy who, tired of being "the loyal housewife" in the 1970s, became one of the first older women on the serials to become a working woman. Guiding Light dealt with Bert Bauer (Charita Bauer) and her endless marital troubles. When her status moved to that of the caring mother and town matriarch, her children's marital troubles were then put on display. Search for Tomorrow told the story, for the most part, through the eyes of one woman only: the heroine, Joanne (Mary Stuart). Even when stories revolved around other characters, she was almost always a main fixture in their storylines. Days of our Lives first told the stories of Dr. Tom Horton and his steadfast wife Alice. In later years, the show branched out and told the stories of their five children.
In contrast to these shows was Dark Shadows (1966-1971) which featured supernatural characters and dealt with fantasy and horror storylines. Its characters included the vampire Barnabas Collins, the witch Angelique, and various ghosts and goblins, both friendly and malevolent.

The primetime serial

Primetime serials were just as popular as those in daytime. The first real prime time soap opera was ABC's Peyton Place (1964-1969), based in part on the original 1957 movie (which was itself taken from the 1956 novel). The popularity of Peyton Place prompted rival network CBS to spin off popular As the World Turns character Lisa Miller Grimaldi into her own evening soap opera entitled Our Private World (originally titled "The Woman Lisa" in its planning stages) in 1965. Our Private World ended in the fall and the character of Lisa returned to As The World Turns.
The structure of the Peyton Place with its episodic plots and long-running story arcs would set the mold for the prime time serials of the 1980s when the format reached its pinnacle.
The successful prime time serials of the 1980s included Dallas, Dynasty, Knots Landing and Falcon Crest. These shows frequently dealt with wealthy families and their personal and big-business travails. Common characteristics were sumptuous sets and costumes, the presence of at least one glamorous bitch-figure in the cast of characters, and spectacular disaster cliffhanger situations. Unlike daytime serials which are shot on video in a studio using the multicamera setup, these evening series were shot on film using a single camera setup and featured much location-shot footage, often in picturesque locales. Dallas, its spin-off Knots Landing, and Falcon Crest all initially featured episodes with self-contained stories and specific guest stars who appeared in just that episode. Each story would be completely resolved by the end of the episode and there were no end-of-episode cliffhangers. After the first couple of seasons all three shows changed their story format to that of a pure soap opera with interwoven ongoing narratives that ran over several episodes. Dynasty featured this format throughout its run.
The soap opera's distinctive open plot structure and complex continuity also began to be increasingly incorporated into major American prime time television programs. The first significant drama series to do this was Hill Street Blues. This series, produced by Steven Bochco, featured many elements borrowed from soap operas such as an ensemble cast, multi-episode storylines and extensive character development over the course of the series. It and the later Cagney & Lacey overlaid the police series formula with ongoing narratives exploring the personal lives and interpersonal relationships of the regular characters. The success of these series prompted other drama series and situation comedy shows such as St. Elsewhere to incorporate soap opera style stories and story structure to varying degrees. The legacy continues in more recent series such as The West Wing and Friends.
The prime time soap operas and drama series of the 1990s, such as Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, and Dawson's Creek, focused more on younger characters. In the 2000s, ABC began to revitalize the primetime soap opera format by premiering shows such as Alias, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, and Ugly Betty. These shows managed to appeal to wide audiences not only because of their high melodrama but also because of the humor injected into the scripts and plot lines. In the fall of 2007, many new primetime soaps premiered on U.S. television such as Dirty Sexy Money.

Evolution: daytime serial

For several decades US daytime soap operas concentrated on family and marital upsets, legal dramas and romances. The action rarely left the interior settings within the fictional, medium-sized Midwestern towns in which the shows were set. Exterior shots, once a rarity, were slowly incorporated into the series Ryan's Hope. Unlike many earlier serials which were set in fictional towns, Ryan's Hope was set in real location, New York City, and outside shoots were used to give the series greater authenticity. The first exotic location shoot was made by All My Children, to St. Croix in 1978. Many other soap operas planned lavish storylines after seeing the success of the All My Children shoot. Another World went to St. Croix in March 1980 to culminate a long-running storyline between popular characters Mac, Rachel and Janice. Search for Tomorrow taped for two weeks in Hong Kong in 1981, and later that year some of the cast and crew ventured to Jamaica to tape a love consummation storyline between the characters of Garth and Kathy.
During the 1980s, perhaps as a reaction to the evening drama series that were gaining high ratings, daytime serials began to incorporate action and adventure storylines, more big-business intrigue, and featured an increased emphasis on youthful romance and began developing supercouples. One of the first and most popular supercouples was Luke Spencer and Laura Webber in General Hospital. Luke and Laura helped to attract both male and female fans. Even Elizabeth Taylor was a fan and at her own request was given a guest role in Luke and Laura's wedding episode. Luke and Laura's popularity led to other soap producers striving to reproduce this success by attempting to create supercouples of their own. With increasingly bizarre action storylines coming into vogue Luke and Laura saved the world from being frozen, brought a mobster down by finding his black book in a Left-Handed Boy Statue, and helped a Princess find her Aztec Treasure in Mexico. Other soap operas attempted similar adventure storylines, often featuring footage shot on location - frequently in exotic locales.
During the 1990s, the mob, action and adventure stories fell out of favour with producers due to overall lower ratings for daytime soap operas and the resultant budget cuts. In the 1990s soap operas were no longer able to go on expensive location shoots overseas as they had in the 1980s. In the 1990s soap operas increasingly focused on younger characters and social issues, such as Erica Kane's drug addiction on All My Children, the re-emergence of Viki Lord's Multiple Personality Disorder on One Life to Live, and Katherine Chancellor's alcoholism on The Young and the Restless. Other social issues included many forms of cancer, AIDS, homophobia, and racism.
Perhaps to fill the niche, some newer shows have incorporated supernatural and science fiction elements into their storylines. One of the main characters in US soap opera Passions is Tabitha Lenox, a 300-year-old witch. Port Charles has featured a vampire character. Frequently these characters are isolated in one of the ongoing story threads to allow a fan to ignore them if they do not like that element.

Current characteristics

Modern U.S. daytime soap operas largely stay true to the original soap opera format. The duration and format of storylines and the visual grammar employed by US daytime serials set them apart from soap operas in other countries and from evening soap operas. Stylistically, UK and Australian soap operas, which are usually produced for evening timeslots, fall somewhere in-between US daytime and evening soap operas. Similar to US daytime soap operas, UK and Australian serials are shot on videotape, and the cast and storylines are rotated across the week's episodes so that each cast member will appear in some but not all episodes. However, UK and Australian soap operas move through storylines at a faster rate than daytime serials, making them closer to US evening soap operas in this regard.
American soap operas since the 1980s have shared many common visual elements that set them apart dramatically from other shows:
  • Overhead spotlighting, or back lighting, is often placed directly over the heads of all the actors in the foreground, causing an unnatural shadowing of their features along with a highlighting of their hair. Back lighting was always a standard component of film and television lighting, though the back light itself was largely deemphasised in the mid-to-late eighties due to its somewhat unnatural look. The technique has nevertheless persisted in soap operas.
  • The rooms in a house often use deep stained wood wall panels and furniture, along with many elements of brown leather furniture. This creates an overall "brown" look which is intended to give a sumptuous and luxurious look to suggest the wealth of the characters portrayed. Daytime serials often foreground other sumptuous elements of set decoration; presenting a "mid-shot of characters viewed through a frame of lavish floral displays, glittering crystal decanters or gleaming antique furniture"
The three soaps are known as the "flagship" soaps, as they are the main programmes for the BBC and ITV, so much so that poor ratings for the soaps usually brings along with it questions about the channel associated with it. The soaps are so popular that they are never scheduled against each other except in the case of extended episodes and omnibuses or another extreme circumstance, and this always attracts media attention as to which soap will win if the flagships go head-to-head.
Soap operas began on radio and consequently were associated with the BBC. The BBC continues to broadcast the world's longest-running radio soap, The Archers, on BBC Radio 4, which has been running nationally since 1951. It continues to attract over five million listeners, or roughly 25% of the radio listening population of the UK at that time of the evening.
In the 1960s Coronation Street revolutionised UK television and quickly became a British institution. Other soap operas of the 1960s included Emergency Ward 10 (ITV), and on the BBC Compact (about the staff of a women's magazine) and The Newcomers (about the upheaval caused by a large firm setting up a plant in a small town). However none of these came close to making the same impact as Coronation Street.
During the 1960s Corries main rival was Crossroads, a daily serial that began in 1964 and was broadcast by ITV in the early evening. Crossroads was set in a Birmingham motel and while the series was popular, its purported low technical standard and bad acting was much mocked. By the 1980s its ratings had begun to decline and several attempts to revamp the series through cast changes and later, expanding the focus from the motel to the surrounding community, were unsuccessful, and Crossroads was cancelled in 1988.
A later rival to Corrie was ITV's Emmerdale Farm (later renamed Emmerdale) which began in 1972 in a daytime slot and had a rural Yorkshire setting. Increased viewing figures saw Emmerdale being moved to a prime-time slot in the 1980s. When Channel 4 began in 1982 it launched its own soap, the Liverpool based Brookside, which over the next decade re-defined the UK television soap. In 1985, the BBC's London based soap opera EastEnders debuted and was a near instant success with viewers and critics alike. Critics talked about the downfall of Coronation Street, but this was put to rest in 1994 when the two serials were scheduled opposite each other, with Corrie winning handily. For the better part of ten years, the show has shared the number one position with Coronation Street, with varying degrees of difference between the two. Daytime soap operas were unknown until the 1970s because there was virtually no daytime television in the UK. ITV introduced General Hospital, which later transferred to a prime time slot, and Scottish Television had Take the High Road, which lasted for over twenty years. Later, daytime slots were filled with an influx of older Australian soap operas such as The Young Doctors, The Sullivans, Sons and Daughters, A Country Practice, Richmond Hill and eventually, Neighbours and Home and Away. These achieved significant levels of popularity. Neighbours and Home and Away were moved to early-evening slots and the UK soap opera boom began in the late 1980s. Later, 1992 saw the BBC launch Eldorado to alternate with EastEnders but it only lasted a year; however, this failure did not stop the ever-increasing prominence that soap operas would have in UK schedules.
During the 1980s ITV acquired the long-running Australian soap Prisoner which was screened around the country, under the name Prisoner: Cell Block H, in differing slots usually around 11pm. The series was immensely successful and led to it being repeated after the series had reached its conclusion in the Midlands. Rival network Five also acquired repeat rights for a full rerun of the series, starting in 1997.
In 1995 Channel 4 introduced Hollyoaks, a soap with a youth focus. Brookside ended in November 2003, leaving Hollyoaks as the channel's flagship serial. When Five began in March 1997 it came with its own soap opera, Family Affairs, which debuted as a five-days-a-week soap. In 2001 a new version of Crossroads was produced by Carlton Television for ITV, featuring a mostly new cast, but it did not achieve satisfactory ratings and was cancelled in 2003. In 2001 ITV also launched a new early-evening serial entitled Night and Day, however this series too attracted low viewing figures and after being shifted to a late night time slot was cancelled in 2003. Family Affairs, which was broadcast opposite the racier Hollyoaks, never achieved significantly high viewing figures leading to several dramatic revamps of the cast and marked changes in style and even location over its run. This eventually saw the show gain a larger fan base and by 2004 the series won its first awards, however Family Affairs was nevertheless cancelled in late 2005.
UK soap operas for many years usually only aired two nights a week. The exception was the original Crossroads, which began as a five days a week soap opera in the 1960s, but was later reduced. In 1989, things started to change when Coronation Street began airing three times a week (later expanding further to four in 1996), a trend which was soon followed by rival EastEnders in 1994 and Emmerdale in 1997. Family Affairs debuted as a five-days-a-week soap in 1997 and regularly ran five episodes a week its entire run. The imported Neighbours screens as new five episodes a week, being shown once at 1:45pm and repeated at 5:30pm on Five each week day.
Currently Coronation Street (which began screening two episodes on Monday nights in 2002) and Hollyoaks both produce five episodes a week, while EastEnders screens four. In 2004 Emmerdale began screening six episodes a week.
In January 2008 a radical overhaul of the ITV network meant that Sunday episodes of Coronation Street and Emmerdale were moved out of their familiar slots. Coronation Street now instead screens a second episode on Friday evenings at 8:30pm, while Emmerdale's Tuesday edition has been extended to an hour, putting it in direct competition with rival EastEnders for the foreseeable future.
Today's UK soap operas are mainly shot on videotape in the studio using a multicamera setup. However UK soap operas feature a proportion of outdoors shot footage in each episode - usually shot on a purpose-built outdoor set that represents the community the soap focuses on.

Longest running UK soap opera actors (23+ Years)


Australia has had quite a number of well known soap operas, some of which have gained cult followings in the UK and other countries. The majority of Australian television soap operas are produced for early evening or evening timeslots. They usually produce two or two-and-a-half hours of new material each week, either arranged as four or eight half-hour episodes a week, or two one-hour episodes. Stylistically they most closely resemble UK soap operas in that they are nearly always shot on videotape, mainly in the studio using a multicamera setup. The original Australian serials were shot entirely in the studio. During the 1970s, occasional filmed inserts were used to incorporate outdoor-shot sequences in soap operas. Outdoor shooting later became commonplace and starting in the late 1970s it became standard practice that there will be some location-shot footage in each episode of any Australian soap opera, often to capitalise on the attractiveness and exotic nature of these locations for international audiences. Most Australian soap operas focus on a mixed age range of middle-class characters and will regularly feature a range of locations where the various, disparate, characters can meet and interact, such as the café, the surf club, the wine bar, or the school. - low for Australian prime time television. By March 2007 Australian viewing figures for Neighbours had fallen to fewer than 700,000 a night, prompting a revamp of cast and graphics used on the show, and a deemphasis on the action oriented direction the series had moved in with a move to refocus the show on the family storylines it is traditionally known for. However, Neighbours and Home and Away both continue to achieve significant ratings in the UK. This and other lucrative overseas markets, along with Australian broadcasting laws that enforce a minimum amount of local drama production for commercial television networks, help ensure that both programs remain in production. Both shows get higher total ratings in the UK than in Australia (the UK has three times Australia's population) and the UK networks make a major contribution to the production costs.
It has been suggested that with their emphasis on the younger, attractive and charismatic characters, Neighbours and Home and Away have found success in the middle ground between glamorous, fantastic US soaps with their wealthy but tragic heroes and the more grim, naturalistic UK soap operas populated by older, unglamorous characters. The casts of Neighbours and Home and Away are predominantly younger and more attractive than the casts of UK soaps, and without excessive wealth and glamour of the US daytime serial, a middleground in which they have found their lucrative niche.
Neighbours, which is celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2005, was aired on the U.S. channel Oxygen in March 2004, however it attracted few viewers, perhaps in part because it was scheduled opposite well-established and highly-popular US soap operas such as All My Children and The Young and The Restless, and due to low ratings it was cancelled shortly afterwards.
New Australian serial headLand premiered on Channel Seven in November 2005. This new series rose from the ashes of a proposed Home and Away spinoff that was to have been produced in conjunction with the UK's Channel Five, which screens Home and Away. The spin-off idea was cancelled after Channel Five pulled out of the deal, which meant that the show could potentially screen on a rival UK channel, so Five requested that the new show developed as a stand-alone series and not feed off a series they own a stake in. The series premiered in Australia on 15 November 2005 but was not a ratings success and was cancelled 23 January 2006. The series broadcast on E4 and Channel 4 in the UK.
After losing the rights to screen Neighbours in the United Kingdom to channel five, the BBC commissioned new Australian-produced serial Out of the Blue as its replacement starting 2008.

Longest serving Australian soap opera actors (10+ Years)


Due to the economics of television production in Canada, relatively few daily soap operas have been produced on English Canadian television. Notable daily soaps that did exist included Family Passions, Scarlett Hill, Strange Paradise, Metropia, Train 48 and the international coproduction Foreign Affairs. Family Passions was an hour long, as is typical of American daytime soaps; all of the others were half hour programs. Short-run soaps, including 49th & Main and North/South, have also aired.
Notable prime time soap operas in Canada have included Riverdale, House of Pride, Paradise Falls, He Shoots, He Scores, Loving Friends and Perfect Couples, North of 60, and The City. The Degrassi series of youth dramas also incorporated some elements of soap opera.
On French language television in Quebec, however, the téléroman has been a popular mainstay of network programming since the 1950s. Notable téléromans have included Rue des Pignons, Les Belles histoires des pays d'en haut, Diva, La famille Plouffe, and the soap opera parody Le Cœur a ses raisons.


The modern soap opera in Indonesia takes the form of series of complex intense highly emotional drama with a simple solution, known as sinetron. The sinetron productions are among others made by Rajawali Citra Televisi (RCTI) and Televisi Pendidikan Indonesia (TPI).

Soap opera parodies

  • A few soap opera spoofs have been made. Two of the most famous U.S. spoofs were Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and Soap. Fresno was a 1986 spoof of the primetime serials of the period. Australia also produced a spoof of glamorous beach-side soap operas in the form of Shark Bay, which featured many former Australian soap stars from Sons and Daughters, Prisoner, Home and Away and Neighbours. From 1990 to 1994, Australian medical dramas, such as A Country Practice and The Young Doctors as well as other soaps, were spoofed in Let the Blood Run Free set in St. Christopher's Hospital.
  • Within the story of Australian soap opera Prisoner two characters in the 1985 season became addicted to daytime serial Days of the Week and would eagerly discuss plot twists within the fictional show.
  • On British television, comedian Victoria Wood had a long-running spoof soap entitled Acorn Antiques on her sketch show (loosely based on ITV's Crossroads).
  • In the United States, Carol Burnett frequently ran a soap opera spoof on her show, called As the Stomach Turns, modeled in name after As the World Turns. Dramatic coincidences and missed cues (parodying a time in which soap operas were broadcast live) were seen frequently, as well as the melodramatic welling of organ music, which was a staple on American serials until the 1970s.
  • David Lynch's TV series Twin Peaks featured a soap opera called Invitation to Love, of which clips were shown occasionally.
  • A frequent staple of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson was a soap opera spoof involving unsuspecting members of the studio audience called The Edge of Wetness, the title of which is a takeoff on The Edge of Night.
  • Futurama frequently features scenes from an almost all-robot soap, called All My Circuits. The robot Calculon is the show's star.
  • The U.S. comedy team of Bob and Ray produced regular spoofs of many different radio programs, and later of several television programs, all presented on their long-running (1946-1987) radio programs. The best-known, which included a new episode with a cliffhanger ending daily, was Mary Backstayge, Noble Wife, a play on the radio soap Mary Noble, Backstage Wife.
  • In the episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends entitled "Berry Scary", the plot twists in the episode resemble those in a spoof of The Young and the Restless entitled The Loved and the Loveless.
  • Australian sketch comedy series Fast Forward featured the recurring Dumb Street skit, which parodied soap operas in general, but in particular the then current shows Neighbours, Home and Away, E Street and A Country Practice. Fast Forward also featured Rampant Stupidity a recurring skit which spoofed melodramatic series in the Dallas and Dynasty mold.
  • "Moody's Point", a soap spoof appearing on several episodes of The Amanda Show.
  • U-Pick Lives "As The World Picks" segments.
  • Queer as Folk's show-within-a-show Gay as Blazes which humorously parodies Queer as Folk itself.
  • The Muppet Show parodied medical serials such as General Hospital and The Doctors in the skit Veterinarians' Hospital.
  • Tootsie centered around a fictional soap opera Southwest General, a spoof of General Hospital.
  • SCTV featured the soap opera parody Days of the Week (an obvious reference to Days of our Lives). The intricate storyline, which ran as a recurring segment on the sketch show, featured such soap opera clichés as amnesia, terminal illness, the return of long-lost relatives, disastrous weddings, and court-room trials.
  • Sitcom Moesha featured an episode that parodied The Young and the Restless. Entitled The Mo' and the Restless, this episode spoofed Y&R even to its opening.
  • On the sitcom The Parkers one episode consisted of a Dallas/Dynasty parody.
  • "Palm Beach", a skit on Saturday Night Live which lampooned the 2000 US Presidential election, featured an opening titles sequence that parodied that of The Young and the Restless.
  • Sunset Beach featured a parody within itself. During one of the Thanksgiving episodes, the soap did a nod to VH1's Pop-Up Video by conveniently pointing out to viewers that a turkey baster used to baste a turkey wasn't the same one used in a storyline where one of the characters was impregnated by a turkey baster.
  • The musical comedian and parodist Spike Jones recorded the spoof track "None But The Lonely Heart (A Soaperetta)" in the 1940s.
  • In the That '70s Show episode entitled "Vanstock", an out-of-work Red becomes addicted to soap operas and has a dream in which he and his wife play roles on a soap called Point Place. The soap parody pokes fun at stereotypically "cheap" production (boom microphones peeking into the camera shot), "cheesy" soap dialogue and crying, and organ music.
Red: Oh, Kitty. What have I become?
Kitty: I don't know! You're not the man I married! And I'm not Kitty!
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Kryten", Kryten watches a soap named Androids, a parody of Neighbours.
  • The Sally Field/Kevin Kline comedy Soapdish was a soap opera parody with a soap-within-a-soap, The Sun Also Sets.
  • The 1990s sitcom Martin featured references to Pam and Gina's favorite soap opera, "All My Young'ns", whose title is spoofed from All My Children.
  • In the music video for the Queen song I Want to Break Free the band are dressed in a manner inspired by the dress and aesthetic of Coronation Street.
  • In the television show The Simpsons there is a recurring soap opera called Search For the Sun, including such satirical situations as a man entering a room dressed as a reverend, followed by a naked blonde woman, who was in the middle of love making, saying "Father McGraff, I thought you were dead!" while trying to cover her naked body, to which he replies "I was."
  • The radio show The Cumberland Sausage Show, on the British commercial station CFM Radio, parodies British soap operas with 'Thongsbury', their very own soap named after a fictional Cumbrian town.
  • On Blue Collar TV, an episode featured a segment of "White Trash Days of our Lives".
  • In 1958, the American composer Douglas Moore wrote the soap opera parody "Gallantry" which centered around love between an anesthetist and a patient. In keeping with the style of the early soaps, the opera is introduced as being sponsored by "Lochinvar soap" and "Billy Boy wax".
  • madTV parodied Korean soap operas with their sketch "Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive", starring Bobby Lee.
  • In an episode of South Park in which Eric Cartman tries to find out who his father is, the episode ends with melodramatic narration ("Who is Eric Cartman's father?"), close-ups of each character and organ music, before the narrator says "the answer on a new episode of South Park in four weeks", to which Eric replies "son of a bitch".
  • In the series Friends, in a recurring storyline, Joey gets a role in Days of our Lives as Dr. Drake Ramoray. Spoof scenes from the soap featuring Joey in this role are shown in a number of Friends episodes.
  • "Trapped in the Closet" from R.Kelly is a song series that has soap opera traits.
  • In Ballykissangel, Fitzgerald's pub gets satellite television installed and some of the regulars become addicted to a South American soap - despite not understanding a single word of dialogue.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer bad boy vampire Spike is a frequent watcher of Passions and becomes very upset when he misses it.
  • In Sunset Beach the character of Annie Douglas Richards summises that her life is becoming 'like a soap opera', this led to numerous 1960's soap opera inspired sequences entitled Search For Dignity, the title being a nod to Search for Tomorrow.
  • On the final episode of The Elephant Show, Sharon, Lois & Bram did a parody of All My Children entitled All My Doctors.
  • In 1994, Anthony Geary & Genie Francis were invited to make a cameo as their General Hospital roles as Luke & Laura Spencer on Roseanne. In return, Roseanne Barr was cast to briefly play Jennifer Smith on GH. That same year, One Life to Lives Robert S. Woods, John Loprieno, & Clint Ritchie made a cameo as Bo, Cord, and Clint. Roseanne was watching an episode of OLTL while she visualized being involved in a storyline with those particular OLTL characters.
  • The writers of The OC created a fictional show called "The Valley", which was basically the in-show equivalent of The O.C.. Characters frequently made ironic (and perhaps self-mocking) comments about "The Valley" and its fictional reality TV counterpart, "Sherman Oaks: The Real Valley" obviously referring back to the show Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County and its bold claim to be real.
  • An episode of talk show Jerry Springer was dubbed "Gays of Our Lives" and dealt with several young people from the same small town, some of which were gay.
  • One episode of The Golden Girls centered around the women of the house suffering from the flu, and during an argument over who would get to watch which TV show, Blanche (Rue McClanahan) wanted to watch Another World. This was somewhat ironic as McClanahan had actually appeared as Caroline Johnson (1970-1971), a nanny with eyes for the father of the kids she was supposed to watch over, on Another World.
  • A 2008 episode of The Big Gay Sketch Show featured a sketch parodying the 1980s prime time soap opera, Dynasty, in which the sketch referenced several plotlines of the serial as well as parodying other characteristics of the show including the use of blurry cameras to hide the actress' aging, stunt doubles during the on-screen catfights and shoulder pads as fashion accessories.


  • Bowles, Kate. Soap opera: 'No end of story, ever' in The Australian TV Book, (Eds. Graeme Turner and Stuart Cunningham), Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, NSW, 2000. ISBN 1-86508-014-4
  • Geraghty, Christine. The Aesthetic Experience in Women and Soap Opera: A Study of Prime Time Soaps, Polity Press, Cambridge, 1991. ISBN 0-74560-489-7
  • Mercado, Andrew. Super Aussie Soaps, Pluto Press Australia, 2004. ISBN 1-86403-191-3
  • Timeline of daytime soaps

External links

soapy in Czech: Mýdlová opera
soapy in Danish: Sæbeopera
soapy in German: Seifenoper
soapy in Estonian: Seebiooper
soapy in Modern Greek (1453-): Σαπουνόπερα
soapy in Spanish: Serial
soapy in French: Soap opera
soapy in Indonesian: Sinema elektronik
soapy in Italian: Soap opera
soapy in Hebrew: אופרת סבון
soapy in Dutch: Soapserie
soapy in Japanese: 昼ドラマ
soapy in Norwegian: Såpeopera
soapy in Norwegian Nynorsk: Såpeopera
soapy in Polish: Opera mydlana
soapy in Portuguese: Novela
soapy in Russian: Мыльная опера
soapy in Simple English: Soap opera
soapy in Serbian: Сапуница
soapy in Finnish: Saippuasarja
soapy in Swedish: Såpopera
soapy in Turkish: Pembe dizi
soapy in Chinese: 肥皂剧

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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