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  1. 1. The Male Soap Opera<br />
  2. 2. Characteristics of The Traditional Soap Opera<br />Serialized/Open-Ended Text<br />Character Driven<br />Inspired by Woman’s Domestic Fiction of the <br /> 19th Century—Jane Austin/Emily Bronte<br />The Events of Every Day Life Elevated to an Operatic Form—Heightened Melodrama<br />Considered a “woman’s” genre—situated on the low rung of the culture hierarchy<br />Relationships/Romance /Family—Central Focus<br />Love Triangles, Weddings, Far-Fetched (Back from the Dead)<br />
  3. 3. Traditional Soap Opera<br />Feminist media scholars state that soap operas have a direct correlation to the flow of women’s work. <br />Like a daytime drama, a woman’s housework is devoid of completion. In her essay, The Rhythms of Reception: Daytime Television and Women’s Work, Tania Modleski states that soap operas such as All My Children One Life to Live, and Days of Our Lives contain multiple plot lines that fixate the viewer on a number of characters and their various fates simultaneously. <br />They also deal only “large” problems such as crime, death, love, and dying. <br />
  4. 4. Traditional Soap Opera<br />The housewife is constantly interrupted or distracted whether it’s tending to her children, the food she’s preparing, or any other household chore that demands her attention. Modleski states that soap operas tend to make interruption, distraction, and repetition pleasurable. <br />The reason being is that the woman’s consumption of these shows must occur while she is fulfilling her duty as a homemaker. The scriptwriters realize that the soap viewer’s reception often takes place in the midst of distraction <br />Therefore, they constantly repeat story elements several times. <br />
  5. 5. Traditional Soap Opera<br />When a plot threatens to become too absorbing, it is interrupted by another storyline resuming or a commercial break. <br />These shows also engage in repetitive and monotonous storytelling to present the viewers with the ability to maintain an adequate comprehension of storylines and character development<br />
  6. 6. The Traditional Soap Opera<br />The Guiding Light (1937) began as radio drama which eventually transferred to television.<br />Soap Operas reached their peak in the 1980’s.<br />Luke and Laura’s Wedding on General Hospital still remains highest rated episode of daytime television.<br />
  7. 7. From Romance to Action<br />In 1981, General Hospital’ s “ICE PRINCESS” storyline generated a large number of male viewers with it’s action/adventure/sci-fi plot elements.<br />Since the mid-90’s, the show has become mob-centric with Sonny Corinthos (A Tony-Soprano type character) as its central character. The show incorporates action/violence in attempts to draw a male audience. However, the traditional soap elements override and fail to shed the daytime soap stigma.<br />
  8. 8. DAYTIME GOES PRIMETIME<br />Prime-Time Soap Operas prevailed in the 80’s with Knots Landing, Dallas, Dynasty, and Falcon Crest becoming long-running rating sensations.<br />Utilized elements of the traditional soap opera.<br />In the 90’s traditional soaps displaced themselves into the teen soap-Beverly Hills 90210, Dawson’s Creek<br />
  9. 9. 1981-The Male Soap Opera Enters Network Prime-Time TV<br />HILL STREET BLUES (1981-1987)<br />Combined the elements of a serialized soap opera with the police procedural drama.<br />Each episode featured intertwined storylines—some self-contained, some open-texted.<br />Intertwined urban action/violence elements(masculine driven) with exploration of personal lives, romantic interests, other forms of melodrama (traditional soap opera)<br />
  10. 10. Characteristics of The Male Soap Opera<br />Utilizes the Elements of Masculine-Driven Films Action/Adventure/<br /> Violence/Crime<br />The Sopranos (The Godfather/Goodfellas)<br />24 (Die Hard/Clear and Present Danger/Air Force One)<br />The Shield (Dirty Harry)<br />Deadwood (Westerns)<br />Hill Street Blues/NYPD Blue (French Connection/In The Heat of the Night)<br />
  11. 11. THE MALE SOAP OPERA<br />Serialized—Follows criteria of complex narrative-arcs/open-text<br />Protagonist exudes ultra-masculinity,<br /> Morally ambiguous<br />Fleeting Moments of Sensitivity<br /> Physically aggressive<br /> many consume excessive amounts of alcohol or are in recovery (ex Andy Sipowicz-alcoholic/Jack Bauer-Heroin Addiction)<br />Occupations are male-dominated<br />Densely plotted--generally opposes the repetitive and slow paced storytelling of the traditional soap opera<br />Hyper-sexuality and male bonding overrides romance <br />Unlike the traditional daytime soap opera-these shows are generally respected by critics –many are multiple Emmy-winners (NYPD BLUE/THE SOPRANOS/24)<br />
  12. 12. Bada Bing! Cable Further Masculinizes The Soap<br />Prior to 1998, NBC’s Hill Street Blues and <br /> ABC’s NYPD Blue were the most successful male soap operas.<br /> Cable is responsible for the influx of a new wave of male soap operas.<br />In 1997, HBO launched OZ, a year later-The Sopranos—followed by The Wire, Deadwood, Entourage<br />Showtime-Californication<br />FX- The Shield, Rescue Me, Sons of Anarchy.<br />Network-24, The West Wing, Prison Break, Life on Mars<br />Subgenre—geek soap opera—Smallville, LOST, Supernatural, Heroes, Chuck<br />
  13. 13. Cell Mates/Writers/Mobsters/Cowboys/CopsDrug Lords/ C0unter-Terrorists /Bromance<br />Oz (Prison Drama)<br />Californication (Sexualized drama focused on amoral sex addict)<br />Entourage (Bromance/amoral Hollywood lifestyle) <br />The Sopranos (Mob-centric)<br />Deadwood (western)<br />The Wire (crime drama)<br />24 (counter-terrorism)<br />
  14. 14. Reboot of the Traditional Prime- Time Soap<br />With Male Soap Operas and Procedurals taking prominence, ABC decided to reboot the traditional prime time soap format in 2004 with an 18-34 year-old sensibility—launching Desperate Housewives and (later in the season) Grey’s Anatomy to commercial and critical success.<br />Did the male soap opera help give the female soap opera critical respectability?<br />
  15. 15. Behind The Shield<br />Aired on FX March 12, 2002-November 25, 2008 (7 Seasons)<br />Emmy nominated<br />Michael Chiklis (Best Actor 2002)<br />The series revolves around an experimental division of the LAPD set up in the fictional Farmington district ("the Farm") of L.A.<br />Converted church ("the Barn") serves as the police station.<br />Strike Team (Vic Mackey, Shane Vendrell, Curtis Lemansky (Lem), and Ronnie Gardocki)<br />Cross legal and moral boundaries to maintain justice on the streets of Los Angeles.<br />
  16. 16. Profile: Vic Mackey<br />Rogue Police Detective—Can Be Both Good and Bad (referred to as “Al Capone with a Badge.”)<br />Rude, Sexists, Obnoxious, Adulterer, Murderer, Liar,<br /> Thief, Self-Serving<br />Divorced (3 Children-autistic son) pursues illegal money to support his family.<br />In pilot episode, Vic shot fellow cop, Terry Crowley, point blank in the face, because Crowley was assigned to bust Vic for being a dirty cop. This event became the impetus for the show’s enormously complex series arc.<br />
  17. 17. Good Cop/Bad Cop<br />When Vic discovered that Julien, one of the cops in the squad, was gay, he threatened to reveal the man‘s secret unless the cop decided to give false witness in a case to protect Vic and another dirty cop who stole some cocaine confiscated during a drug bust. <br />Vic can be a good cop like -he gives a prostitute money to get off the street for the night and go home to see her kid. He also protects his Strike Team (as long as his interests are fulfilled)<br />Vic has a troubled marriage with his wife, Corrine. They have a son who is autistic. For romance outside the home, Vic carries on an affair with fellow police officer Danielle "Danny" Sofer. <br />
  18. 18. Screening “Of Mice And Lem”The Shield: Season 5 episode 10<br />Penultimate Episode of Season<br />Internal Affairs Lt .Kavanaugh (Forrest Whitaker) is determined to bring down Vic for his crimes.<br />Vic and Kavanaugh have been playing game of cat and mouse throughout the season.<br />As a result of Kavanaugh turning one of Vic's informants, IAD became aware of Lem stealing heroin which he never turned in. <br />Having found the heroin, IAD is capable of arresting Lem, but Kavanaugh wants him to incriminate the whole team .<br />Lem remains loyal to Mackey-he looks to him as a surrogate father.<br />Vic is worried that if Lem goes to prison, that he will be killed by one of Vic’s nemesis—Antwon Mitchell.<br />Prior to this episode, Kavanuagh tried but eventually withheld from raping Vic’s ex-wife.<br />Vic realizes Kavanaugh’s ex-wife is his achilles heel.<br />
  19. 19. Of Mice and Lem <br />Subplot—recurring investigation into a series of hate crimes against the homosexual community.<br />Romance is displaced by the father/brother relationship Vic possesses with his strike team.<br />Dialogue is extremely coarse, sexually graphic<br />Sexual objectification of Kavanaugh’s ex-wife<br />Danielle “Danny” is carrying Vic’s baby<br />Julien’s denial of his homosexuality-extends through the entire run of the series.<br />