American soap operas are attractive to many overseas networks because the format appeals to both programmers and audiences. First of all, the cost to air these shows is relatively minimal (especially for satellite distributors, who send their signal to millions of people at one time). Second, the number of series episodes is large (and unending, unlike the “closed serial” novela form) and can be used either once a week for a long time or several times during that same week. Correspondingly, viewers, seem to love to nourish their apparently insatiable appetite for American popular culture through its serial dramas’ rich fictional tapestry—filled with daily (or weekly) doses of lust, opulence and adventure, Hollywood-style. Unfortunately, however, the American images transmitted via US soaps often reinforce foreign stereotypes of a materialistic, aggressive, amoral American culture, despite attempts to make these shows more socially relevant.
This essay explores the predominantly unintended cultural portrait of the United States through soap opera exportation, using the frameworks of cultivation theory and selectivity. It argues that, despite American producers’ concerted efforts to broaden their programs’ cultural and political spectra through careful character development and plotlines, previously established images of America prevail and are, in fact, reinforced by both media and real world experience. The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful serve as particularly helpful examples, due to their vast popularity worldwide.
|Keywords:||American Soap Operas, International Syndication, Cultivation Theory, Selectivity|
Professor, Communication Department, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA
There are currently no reviews of this product.Write a Review