1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    The Never Ending .. Soap Opera

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by GingerCoffee, Jul 5, 2013.

    OK, don't make fun of me but I started watching The Vampire Diaries. I got the first 3 seasons from the library (I couldn't stand it with commercial interruptions) and I've watched the first 2.

    When I was younger some of my girlfriends were really into Dark Shadows. I couldn't stand it (then or now, I dug one up from the library to show my son when the Johnny Depp movie came out and it was still awful). My mom was a Days of Our Lives addict. I was embarrassed for her. And in college I remember being appalled that one TV cove at lunch was filled with women watching some soap opera while another cove was filled with men watching sports. It was bizarro world. That was during my 'proud to not own a TV' years.


    So I don't know what possessed me to watch this series, I think it's because I've become more and more interested in stories, fiction, sci fi, not every genre mind you, just ones I think might have something about story telling I can learn from. I began contemplating the never ending story aspect of a soap opera. It's so different from a novel. And here I am pondering aloud about it.

    Is it forever satisfying while one enjoys the vicarious fantasy?

    I wonder if people eventually just get tired of the fact it never ends and abandon whatever last hook they were left with?

    I imagine at some point the plot repetitions just don't feel original anymore no matter how involved various story lines become.

    Anyone have any of their own musings re these never ending plots?


    Note to mods: feel free to move this to a different subforum if I've not chosen wisely. ;)
     
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  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Interesting... I don't have an answer, just a little side note. In Spanish culture where the soapopera (telenovelas) are the predominant show type (as opposed to cop show, hospital shows, sit-coms, etc.) the never ending story aspect is not present. Spanish telenovelas have a preprogrammed arc that does wrap up. They end. Usually after two or three seasons. Instead of running on forever, they get endlessly remade. Ugly Betty is actually an aberrant escape into English media for Betty La Fea, La Fea Mas Bella, and the other names under which that same script did the rounds through every hispanic country that could afford to reboot it. There's a Brazilian version as well.
     
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  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Que interesante.

    I always thought those shows were never ending soaps. But what you are saying is they go on forever for multiple episodes then tie it up. I didn't know that. Still different from that pattern of detective and hospital shows that tie it up every show.
     
  4. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    I just want to know if they ever actually wrap up stories on shows that go on for decades...
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yup. Sometimes they're written in a way that makes them seem like a hybrid between a soap and a miniseries. There's one that's been rebooted like five times now* called Sin Tetas No Hay Paraiso (Without Boobs There's No Paradise) where the story centers on a young gal whose goal in life is to get a boob job. She has adventures, learns a few things along the way and gets her boobs. The End. :)

    I freakin' swear this is the truth. Feel free to look it up. :D

    *Since Spanish television is shared much more between hispanic countries than say, American/British television, you can watch one version and next year a different version of the same show will air on channels you get. This is a regular occurrence.
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Thanks for sharing. That's hilarious. :D
     
  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    British soaps (which I did watch for a short time, after I moved here) DO wrap up storylines, sometimes very quickly indeed. Their biggest problem is the brain transplants. Their characters tend to change personalities to fit the latest plot, and nice characters go bad, bad characters go good, and this kind of thing. And of course, plots get recycled. Certain things are certain indeed. A love affair, once resolved will immediately go sour. A baby's parentage will always be in question. Baddies will always get their comeuppance. Any 'secret' is bound to get out. Ho-hum. After a few months of watching Coronation Street, EastEnders and Emmerdale—for the local colour—I quit. Better things to do with my life, like watch paint dry.

    One good thing, though. British soap characters look like real people, and speak much more realistically than they do in American soaps (which I think are unwatchable, unless you're in the mood for a good heel-kicking laugh.)
     
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  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    When I was in the service, stationed in Berlin, there were only two channels of English language programming. One was AFRTS (US) and the other was SSVC (UK). I got quit hooked on East Enders and also Home and Away, the latter being a soap from Oz. This was during the Dannii Minogue years of HaW. I can still remember my friends and I being shocked when they replaced the actress playing Pipa.... :D
     
  9. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    [MENTION=3885]Wreybies[/MENTION] - you poor thing missing out on Dannii's sister in 'Neighbours'
    [MENTION=53143]GingerCoffee[/MENTION] - Do you mean like Heroes, where they took a decent story and clubbed it to death, inventing superpowers which weren't so super, killing off characters only to reanimate them 2 seasons down the line just to prolong the franchised ker-ching?
     
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  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Perhaps a better (or worse, as the case may be) example is Lost. If ever there were a show that was true to its name....
     
  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Omigod. That is so true. Cliffhangeritis, a dreadful disease ...cliffhangers created to keep people coming back, and then the writers haven't a clue how to get out of what they've created, so it just gets stupider and stupider! I feel same thing happened to the Battlestar Galactica remake as well, although lots of people were happy with the way it 'went.'
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    In the case of Lost, I got bored quickly when the cliff hangers were unsatisfying. I felt the same about Twin Peaks, a similar show that was very popular. The openings in both were very intriguing, the story was enticing, they had great hooks.

    And then, nothing.

    Which is interesting to think about given the Vampire Diaries I've found mildly interesting rather than disappointing. (I'm sure that's not a unanimous opinion. ;) ) I wonder if the difference is a toned down hook and cliff hangers that prevent that disappointment of an unfulfilled promise, or if I'm just more interested in the characters, or if I'm just in a different place in my head now.
     
  13. Carly Berg
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    Carly Berg Contributing Member

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    Ha, I remember Dark Shadows. The older girls in my neighborhood watched it but it scared me too much.

    As far as making fun of you, I have no room to because I'm hooked on the Real Housewife shows. Yes, I know they're stupid but I just can't stop. I screech at the TV about what spoiled idiots they all are, then I go buy the same nail polish and stuff. *hangs head in shame*
     
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  14. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Since @Carly Berg bumped the thread, I will add a follow-up. Vampire Diaries got old two-three seasons ago. After a while they were just recycling the same stuff.

    Orphan Black held my interest because the story went somewhere, a mystery unraveled more and more. Comparing that to Vampire Diaries and you can see how the latter lacks a story structure and instead becomes nothing more than a repeating pattern of threat/resolution/new threat.

    My latest guilty pleasure is Lucifer. :agreed:
     

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