The final section of The Survival of Soap Opera focuses on the evolution of fan community practices online, on various soap opera fan experiences/demographics, and on relations between the soap opera industry and its fans.
Below, a variety of the contributors to this section answer questions about the relationships fans have with the soap operas they watch and with one another.
Tom Casiello is a current member of the writing team for The Young and the Restless, a former associate head writer for One Life to Live and Days of Our Lives, and a two-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning writer with As the World Turns who has written about the genre at his blog, Damn the Man! Abigail De Kosnik is an assistant professor at the University of California-Berkeley in the Berkeley Center for New Media and the Department of Theater, Dance & Performance Studies who writes on media, fandom, and copyright.
As one of the book’s co-editors, she co-wrote the book’s introduction, “The Crisis of Daytime Drama and What It Means for the Future of Television.” She also co-authored a piece for the book with Denise Brothers, entitled “Constructing the Older Audience: Age and Aging in Soaps.” Roger Newcomb is the Editor-in-Chief of soap opera news site We Love Soaps, the producer of two Internet radio soap operas, and executive producer and co-writer of the film Manhattanites. Tom Casiello: I honestly think the relationship between the soaps and the fans hasn’t changed nearly as much as others believe.
His essay in the book is entitled “As the World Turns‘ Luke and Noah and Fan Activism.” Radha O’Meara is a doctoral candidate and lecturer in screen studies at the University of Melbourne, Australia, who has published her work in Screwball Television: Gilmore Girls and in the Austrian journal Metro. Her essay in the collection is entitled “Hanging on by a Common Thread.” Queen Eve is the pseudonym of a career professional and soap opera fan who has moderated and/or founded several popular soap communities online. (I also think we have to be very careful not to group them all together as “the soap operas.” There are currently six U. daytime soaps on the air, all of which should have their own individual identity, wherin their fans expect different things from each show.) At its core, the audience still wants stories and characters they can connect with on a human level, mixed with the element of fantasy and escapism they’ve come to expect.
Her essay in the book is entitled “The ‘Missing Years’: How Local Programming Ruptured Days of Our Lives in Australia.” Julie Porter is a longtime newspaper editor and reporter who is webmaster of soap opera site talk! The collection features a piece based on Abigail De Kosnik’s interview with Queen Eve focusing on fan activity around and against soaps. They want to know the characters they’ve loved their whole lives, whom they’ve watched grow and evolve, are in capable, trustworthy hands…and they will continue to live on in their homes daily.
While audience demograhics may shift, and trends will come and go, strong, long-term serialized storytelling with heart is all the fans have ever wanted.
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