Though wildly popular, daytime soaps are arguably the most denigrated and parodied of any contemporary entertainment form. For this reason, even the most devoted soap opera fans are often reticent or even secretive about the shows they love. Watching Daytime Soap Operas is a meditation on the pleasures-and displeasures-of watching and talking about daytime soap operas. In this multidisciplinary study, Louise Spence talks to 25 women about their mostly solitary viewing practices and observes many Internet chat rooms. Over 20 years in the making, the book explores the varied critical and creative ways in which the women use soap operas in their lives. Spence draws on work in reception studies, and pays particular attention to the question of what it means to be a fan. She ultimately challenges the accepted belief that soap opera viewers are passive consumers of escapist fantasy. Her study expands the current literature of this largely misunderstood television genre while making an important contribution to the field of film-TV studies.
Louise Spence is Professor of Media Studies at Sacred Heart University. She is a co-author of the award-winning Writing Himself into History: Oscar Micheaux, His Silent Films, and His Audiences (2000) and an avid soap opera fan.