Archive for the ‘Soap Opera Conference’ Category

Plot Driven

March 12, 2016

Every Friday night I post a term of soap opera jargon and its definition.

Plot Driven – Also written Plot-Driven. Plot Driven is used as a criticism of soap operas. While most narrative genres are focused on plot like: farm boy finds out family heritage and magic abilities and uses them to blew up evil space station OR retired detective is pulled back into detecting when everyone is set up to think a murdered man is a fat man instead of a thin man. Soap Operas are an exception to this. While plots are important in soap operas more important is the character development and interaction. So when characters are forced to do things out of character or if the focus is on quickly accomplishing plot rather than focused on the characters, that soap is said to be currently plot driven.

Robansuefarm is the handle of one of Manny and Guiding Light‘s biggest fans following in her family’s footsteps of Guiding Light fandom since 1939. This blog is an effort to make it easy to find Guiding Light and especially Manny online. Check back here for her blog, find fanfic previews and fake WSPR newscasts on her YouTube, find podcasts that look back to old shows and audios of her fanfics on Blog Talk Radio, and finally follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Soap Opera Coma

March 30, 2015

Every Friday night, I try to post another term of Soap Opera Jargon. Find previous entries on the Soap Opera Jargon page on this site. I haven’t had a chance to get this published on Friday night for the last couple of weeks so I’m going ahead and posting it tonight.

Soap Opera Coma – Like soap opera dead, soap opera comas happen far more common than in real life and have much happier outcomes. I found a post where they actually made a scientific study of soap opera comas, see link below for the popular press summary.

And below this for a link to the actual journal article. It’s open source so anyone can read it for free. 🙂

Out of 64 identified soap opera comma cases (it’s unclear if these are only main characters or if they include “patients” of main characters at the various hospitals in soap towns, if they include patients & recurrences in a single character that total seems low):

  • Nearly nine out of 10 fully recovered
  • 8 percent (five “patients”) died
  • 3 percent (two “patients”) remained in a vegetative state

They also identified several “causes” or types of soap opera characters falling prey to comas; Recast Coma, Moonlighting Actor Coma, Fantasy/Self-Growth a la It’s a Wonderful Life Coma. Like soap opera death, these have been used past the point of meaning, but unlike soap death they weren’t usually meant to be taken all that seriously to begin with. Actors who’ve filmed a coma story tell interesting stories about falling asleep during these scenes and about how hard it is to lie style and not react while other their scene partners are emoting like crazy for their Emmy bait scenes. Both Danny and Michelle were among the soap opera coma victims on Guiding Light, although they were both plot driven and meant to make the other one see how they really felt about their significant other and their life. Sadly Michelle’s ended in the deep, dark, best forgotten amnesia year. See Soap Opera Dead

Robansuefarm is the handle of one of Manny and Guiding Light‘s biggest fans following in her family’s footsteps of Guiding Light fandom since 1939. This blog is an effort to make it easy to find Guiding Light and especially Manny online. Check back here for her blog, find fanfic previews and fake WSPR newscasts on her YouTube, find podcasts that look back to old shows and audios of her fanfics on Blog Talk Radio, and finally follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Soap Opera Magazines Update Feb 2015

February 7, 2015

What does a reference librarian do when their interest in something deepens? They build a reference library collection of course! So I’ve been collecting books about soap operas and soap opera magazines. I want to create a list as complete as possible. I had been playing around with this idea for awhile and finally decided it was better to share what I had and see if anybody had anymore information.

This is the first update (the second post) and I did get some feedback and corrections last time. My idea is to share information about what resources are available for you own soap opera research. Some of these titles were given to me second hand and it’s possible that titles are remembered slightly wrong and some of these might be duplicates. I’ve added date ranges, publication frequency, soaps covered, and ISSN (older publications came out before this standard came into place and may not have one). If I didn’t have the end of the range, I have included a notice on the most recent copy I personally own. If you have an issue later than mine, please let me know to help me identify a clearer idea of the date range. If I couldn’t find the information for this pass, I didn’t include it, but I’ll keep looking. I also didn’t get the full information copied in for the In Depth publications, so look for that next year. I hope future postings will give better information with your help.

  • ABC Soaps in Depth – 1997 – Present, Every other week publication, ABC Soaps only,
  • Afternoon TV – 1969 – ?, Latest issue I own August 1983 14.12, Monthly Publication, All Soaps, ISSN 0164-6508
  • Afternoon TV Stars – November 1973 – ?, Latest issue I own September 1974 1.6, Monthly Publication, All Soaps
  • The Best of Daytime TV – ? – ? Latest issue I own 1979 No. 4 (Celebration of the 1970s), All Soaps
  • CBS Soaps in Depth – 1996 – Present, Every other week publication, CBS Soaps only, ISSN 1533-967X
  • Daily TV Serials
  • Daylight TV – Continued under the title Soap Opera Stars
  • Daytime Digest
  • Daytime Serial Newsletter,1207640
  • Daytime TV – 1970 – ?, Latest issue I own March 1997 27.7, Monthly Publication, All Soaps (at least some special one soap issues – Days of Our Lives is the example I own from December 1991), ISSN 0011-7129
  • Daytime TV Super Special – 1974-?, First is from 1974 No. 1, Latest Issue I own 1974 No. 2 (25th anniversary of daytime TV), All Soaps
  • Daytime TV Soap Opera Special – possibly alternate title for Daytime TV Super Special
  • Daytime TV Stars – ? – ?, Latest issue I own January 1974 No. 6, Monthly Publication, All Soaps
  • Daytime TV Yearbook
  • Episodes
  • NBC Soaps in Depth – 1997 – 1999?, Every other week publication, NBC soaps only,
  • Rona Barrett’s Daytimers
  • Soap Opera Digest –  November 1975 – Present, Weekly Publication, All Soaps, ISSN 0164-3584
    Contact and Back Issues
    Wikipedia Report
  • Soap Opera Illustrated
  • Soap Opera Magazine
  • Soap Opera News
  • Soap Opera Stars – 1975 – ?, Monthly Publication, All Soaps ISSN 0199-3003, Is noted that it was previously published under the title of Daylight TV. It doesn’t say whether the volume, issue started over at that time.
  • Soap Opera Update – 1988 – ?, Latest issue I own October 4, 1994 VII.40, Weekly Publication?, All Soaps ISSN 0898-1485
  • Soap Opera Weekly – 1989 – April 10, 2012 , Weekly Publication, All Soaps ISSN 1047-7128
  • Soap Stars
  • TV By Day
  • TV Dawn to Dusk
  • TV Day Stars – 1972 – ?, Latest issue I own March 1977, Monthly Publication, All Soaps,
  • TV Radio Mirror –? -?, Latest issue I own March 1955 43.4, ?, TV and radio shows in general, but does articles about soap operas
  • Weekday TV
  • Who’s Who in Daytime TV
  • Young and the Restless Magazine

Soaps in Depth Report:

As I move forward, I want to confirm these names, confirm any name changes (magazines are always changing names, ask any serials librarian) during the run, the run dates (publication start-publication stops), how often it was produced and if that ever changed, the ISSN, and if any library holdings. Sadly I don’t expect too many library holdings, popular magazines are often not collected by academic libraries who archive old copies and public libraries who do buy popular magazines don’t keep deep archives, but we can hope. And maybe if any institution starts collecting in this area we might be able to donate someday for instance the University of Iowa actively collects old zines now based off a collection donated to them. I still have resources to check for some of the information, but if you can tell me a title I missed or provide the ISSN, the run dates, or any other information about soap opera magazines, please comment below or contact me at Watch for future posts.

And for more soap opera research news like Soap Opera Conference on Facebook and on Twitter.

Thanks to @itsonlythesoaps for an addition to the list.

Robansuefarm is the handle of one of Manny and Guiding Light‘s biggest fans following in her family’s footsteps of Guiding Light fandom since 1939. This blog is an effort to make it easy to find Guiding Light and especially Manny online. Check back here for her blog, find fanfic previews and fake WSPR newscasts on her YouTube, find podcasts that look back to old shows and audios of her fanfics on Blog Talk Radio, and finally follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


November 17, 2012

Although I haven’t gotten it done lately, every Friday I try to post a term of Soap Opera Jargon. Find more on the Soap Opera Jargon page.

Repair – For a concept that is used a lot both in soap operas and in movies there doesn’t seem to be a lot of agreement on what to call it, but repair was the most frequent term used. It was also referenced as an actors reunion, as in the stars are reunited or reteamed but these are less specific phrases. When a couple, especially a supercouple, is popular on one soap opera and for whatever reason moves on from one soap, there is often an attempt to repair them or put them back together again as new characters on a different soap. This is an obvious move in soaps because chemistry between actors is always a risk and cashing in on both an established chemistry and possibly gaining fans by pulling fans over from the previous soap are major pluses for TPTB. In addition, it also can make the actors happier. They often miss former long term screen partners. It’s rarely as successful a second time because the mix of characters is usually not the same as it was the first go round even if the actors continue to have chemistry. Then again it may just be because soap fans have a long memory and a tendency to a slightly stubborn nature and would rather see the couples in their original roles and so don’t warm to the lite version replacements. Then again sometimes fans lead the charge when Maura West and Marcy Rylan joined The Young and the Restless after their respective soaps were cancelled, fans campaigned (unsuccessfully) to get their former love interests Michael Park and Dan Cosgrove, etc. Mary Beth Evans frankly says she wants to get Steve Nichols, her other half in a Days of Our Lives supercouple, hired every place she gets a job. Laura Wright campaigned unsuccessfully on Guiding Light to be repaired with Paul Anthony Stewart her Loving costar when he was hired by the soap. It’s much more successfully used in the movies where strings of movies were made where the only connection to the previous movie was the stars. The most famous such series and about the only named one is The Road Movies which starred Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, and Bing Crosby. Another short series of movies starred Rock Hudson, Doris Day, and Tony Randall, but usually such runs are just a single couple such as Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland or Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. They tend to be much more readily accepted in a movie than in soaps.

UPDATE: See some examples here:

Call for Papers

September 29, 2012

I can’t yet give a call for papers for the exact conference we’ve been trying to stir up with the Soap Conference feed on Twitter and Facebook, but this conference is something similar. There is a soap opera component to the Popular Culture Association.  Find out more about the conference and the association here: I’m repeating the call for papers and update below.

Dear Soap Opera Area Participants and Friends:

Please note the change in the name of our area, now:  Soap Opera & Serialized Storytelling.  This change came about as a result of our roundtable discussion last spring in Boston.  Thanks to those who participated in  this important discussion.  We believe this new name stays true to the area’s roots and at the same time is more reflective of the work being done by scholars in our area.

The Soap Opera & Serialized Storytelling area of the Popular Culture Association is now seeking paper submissions and abstracts for the joint meeting of the Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association in Washington, DC, March 27-30, 2013.
Proposals and papers addressing all aspects of this important form of storytelling, from a variety of perspectives — historical, critical, economic, cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, among others — are welcome.
Soap Operas, a mainstay of popular culture in the US and internationally, are grounded in the serialized nature of their storytelling. In today’s media landscape, the serialized narrative is alive and well as many popular series, distributed via a variety of platforms, utilize this form of storytelling to build and sustain audiences.
We welcome submissions that address “traditional” soap operas as well as other serialized narratives that share this unique and important structure.
Please submit your proposal directly on the database at by November 30, 2012.
Please also send a copy of your paper and/or abstract of 250 words to:
Dr. Barbara J. Irwin
Department of Communication Studies
Canisius College
Buffalo, NY14208

Please include in your email your presentation title and complete contact information (name, institutional affiliation [if applicable], mail and e-mail address, and telephone number).

You will receive a response to your submission within approximately two weeks.
You can find more information about the conference at look forward to receiving your proposals and seeing you in Washington in the spring.

Barbara J. Irwin, Ph.D.
Professor & Chair, Communication Studies
Co-Director, Canisius College Video Institute
Buffalo, NY  14208

IMDB and Soap Stars

May 10, 2012

Michael Swan (Duncan McKendrick of my beloved Duncan and Shannon fame on As the World Turns) recently expressed his frustration with how soap actors are described on Internet Movie Database (IMDB).

So many of you who have discovered IMDB recently have asked me why they show only 159 episodes for me on ATWT. I can only tell you that their Soap reporting prior to the turn of the century is woeful to say the least. I’ve had to post, in the resume portion of my page, that I was there under contract for ten years and some 1000 episodes. Unfortunately, many people don’t have the time to go to that page and so get an incorrect impression. I was even accused if lying on my hard copy resume by a Casting Director. I’m sure many of my colleagues have encountered these inaccuracies and have been stymied by the intractability of this monolith in spite of the fact that they took on the responsibility of accurate reporting in the first place.
If you want, you can email them and express your disappointment in their lack of professional pride. As they become more and more the “go to” site for quick reference on performers, the more they are harming our careers.

BBC Soap Podcast

May 5, 2012

BBC has produced a podcast documentary about soap operas. In goes from the early days of soap opera including Guiding Light to modern teaching soap operas. They even used Sesame Street as an example of how memorable characters are more important than plot.

Read the article:

Listen to the stream:

Rules for a Successful Soap

March 31, 2012

Sometimes I find a good piece on soaps in general. I wanted to share this one. Although I haven’t always agreed with what I’m sure Corday would say were his attempts to follow these rules, I think they are worth sharing.

Sloane, Stephanie. “Sing the Changes: The Real Story Behind Days of Our Lives’s overhaul – from the man who made it happen.” Soap Opera Digest.  13 September 2011: 32-35.

Ken Corday [executive producer of Days of Our Lives] knows the important components to make a show successful. “They were taught to me by my mother, who was taught by my father, who was taught by Irna Phillips,” he explains.

1. Story, Story, Story

2. It’s about romance.

3. Listen to what the fans say. If you ignore the fans, you’re going down in flames.

4. You’re only as good as your last show.

5. Never let temporary people make permanent decisions because they don’t know what they don’t know.

See also: Douglas Marland’s How Not to Wreck a Show

Soap Life on Kickstarter

January 6, 2012

One of our favorite former soap opera writers just tweeted this link today. It looks like just the kind of soap research and promotion that we hope to encourage through our eventual soap opera conference. I hope the project gets funded. Please help spread the word.

Michael Fairman also has been promoting the project.

Futures of Enterntainment

October 9, 2011

Sam Ford is an expert on Soap Operas. He was quoted in the excellent Mental Floss issue I recently posted about, he teaches a class on soap operas, and was a co-author of Survival of the Soap Opera. He wants to spread the word about an upcoming  conference I wish I could go to. Find the information below.

“Over the two days, we’re going to be featuring some of the leading media companies, academics, marketers, critics, journalists, and independent producers who are thinking and driving innovation on the futures of entertainment.

We have the full line-up for Futures of Entertainment 5 (Nov. 11-12, 2011) up here:
And registration is available here:

Again, if you know of people who might be interested, or think it’s worth sharing on Twitter or elsewhere, appreciate your help in getting the word out. Really looking forward to having an amazing conference come November.”

%d bloggers like this: