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    STUDIA PHILOLOGIA - Issue no. 2 / 2007  

  Abstract:  A soap opera involves multiple perspectives and no consensus: ambivalence and contradiction is characteristic of the genre. There is no single ‘hero’ and the wide range of characters in soaps offers viewers a great deal of choice regarding those with which they might identify. Most soaps follow the lives of a group of characters who work in a particular place, or focus on a large, extended family. The storylines follow the day-to-day lives of these characters. In many soap operas, in particular daytime serials in the United States, the characters are generally more attractive, seductive, glamourous, 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, and sometimes include significant amounts of comedy.. 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. Romance, secret relationships, extra-marital affairs, and genuine love have been the basis for many soap opera storylines. 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 often go unpunished, unless the character is being written off. In what follows we will try to identify the features that individualize US and UK soaps.  
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