Soap operas have come a long way since then. Although they still remain very popular with women, today they are watched by men and children as well. Most men are closet watchers and hate to admit to watching them.
Popular soap operas are strategically placed at prime time, meaning dinner almost always coincides with the same serial every day. This leads to families watching soaps together. Soap opera addicts watch simply for the entertainment. They probably don’t take it too seriously.
It’s just a break from their own lives and problems. For an hour a day, one gets immersed in the fairy tale, larger than life characters of these soaps. Soaps provide a parallel life, a life which progresses as the viewers lives do, only with fictional characters and scenarios. Sometimes the plots are so ambiguous they make you laugh; sometimes they are so intense you end up thinking you have a better life. Some viewers are looking for relaxation while others are looking for escapism. With the increasing number of channels there is something to suit everybody’s tastes. Many viewers identify with the characters in the shows.
They identify with the character’s style, the characters opinions and even the character’s experiences. Viewers derive pleasure from sharing experiences with the characters on screen. Soap operas spell relief for those who lead lonely lives.
The old and retired find it a good way to deal with the extra time they have on their hands. For many its not just one soap opera. Its several soap operas lined one after another until its time to tuck into bed.
Melodrama is one of the key ingredients of a popular soap opera. Cliffhangers are a prerequisite for soaps to keep the audiences coming back for more. Their placement at the end of each episode makes the viewer hungry for more. It also ensures that that viewer will continue to watch, to see the suspense unravel. Most soap operas are unrealistic. While their first generation characters refuse to age the subsequent generations age overnight.
All the characters are perfectly dressed: their hair all in place, the perfect make up and the clothes all perfect. Often they will show the protagonist as poor while living in a mansion fit for a king, such is their attention to detail. Nevertheless they continue to be swallowed by the millions who couldn’t care less. They are looking for mindless activity and a cheap entertainment that does not add to their already burdened lives. Soap operas have progressed over the years from half hour TV shows to one-hour daytime and nighttime storylines that last for months or even years at a time. They are no longer just about dragging a family saga. They deal with social issues, health issues, political issues, cultural issues and matters of religion as well.
In a market with increasing number of channels soap operas are now struggling for viewer ship. Nevertheless they are here to stay because they have an increasing number of loyal fans under their sway.