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Soap operas 
2009-06-20 (Sat) 18:57

Apparently I had nothing better to do while shopping and so was semi-consciously analysing the key change in the theme tune to "The Gilmore Girls". I remarked to ghoti that it was unusual for a soap theme tune to include a key change, and so we were trying to remember various soap theme tunes. Later:

cjwatson: And then there's "Neighbours", which was apparently written by a six-year-old.
ghoti: How did the theme tune to "Home and Away" go?
cjwatson: All I can remember is the bit right at the end: ♫ Home and away ♫
ghoti: ♫ Together each day, home and away ♫
cjwatson (after some thought): Wasn't it ♫ Closer each day, home and away ♫?
ghoti: Oh yes, of course.
cjwatson: Why are my neurons bothering to remember this?
ghoti: Isla Fisher.
cjwatson: Point.

2009-06-20 (Sat) 18:22 (UTC)
(ahem) Hold me in your arms, don't let me go, I want to stay together -
Closer each day, home and away
2009-06-21 (Sun) 22:49 (UTC)
Oh yes, it was that duet. Now I'm at home the Internet has, er, more recordings available than I might possibly want ;-)
2009-06-22 (Mon) 09:34 (UTC)
It begins: You know we belong together, you and I forever and ever... My grandma used to watch both the summer holiday I spent at her house... Still does, as far as I can make out.
2009-06-20 (Sat) 18:25 (UTC)
Fortunately... none of these things lives in my brain.

Perhaps this makes me a horrid snob.
2009-06-20 (Sat) 21:12 (UTC)
Maybe. I never actually watched either of Neighbours or Home and Away, we didn't even have a TV for a lot of that time (although bus stop ads suggest that Neighbours at least is still on), but my grandmother was a fan of both.
2009-06-21 (Sun) 22:44 (UTC)
Both of them are still going, according to Wikipedia.
2009-06-20 (Sat) 18:35 (UTC)
If I'm not very much mistaken, the Neighbours' theme was written by the great Tony Hatch, who certainly would not have been six at the time!
2009-06-21 (Sun) 22:29 (UTC)
It's still one of the musically weakest theme tunes of any soap I can think of. The lyrics are repetitive and inane, and the melody is far too basic; to me the tune sounds as though it was written by somebody who'd been told that it needed to go up in the middle for melodic structure but hadn't quite figured out how so took a flying leap at it.

Bill Bailey excoriated the Eastenders theme tune as "everyone is going to die". Neighbours is sort of the opposite - it positively vibrates "shiny happy people". The theme tune never really fit the show for me, since the first I saw of it was around the time of the "Robinson Street" Ramsay/Robinson feud ...

That's not to say it didn't do what Hatch and Trent set out to do with it, of course. It was a highly memorable and easily identifiable theme. I just don't really think very much of it musically when compared with the themes for many other soaps.
2009-06-20 (Sat) 21:13 (UTC)
For people who aren't Colin and may be reading this - I still am not sure that The Gilmore Girls (or any series based drama) is actually a soap, but we applied dictionaries to the discussion and agreed to differ.
2009-06-20 (Sat) 22:12 (UTC)
Mmmm Isla Fisher. Curiously, we've just finished watching an episode of Gilmore Girls. I'm with ; Gilmore Girls is no more a soap than The West Wing is.
2009-06-21 (Sun) 22:41 (UTC)
I agree it's not quite your standard soap, but I can't agree that it's the same kind of distance away from that as "The West Wing". For me, the defining features of soaps are that they're episodic dramas and that they focus mainly on domestic relationships between the characters, and I think that latter part is a reasonably standard part of the definition of a soap opera. There's an element of that in "The West Wing", and it's interesting, but it's very much secondary to the politics. In "The Gilmore Girls" it's much more central.

The main thing that makes "The Gilmore Girls" less of a soap opera for me is that it's very much focused on two characters - you couldn't imagine any significant action going on away from either Lorelai or Rory - and it doesn't seem to have the sheer number of parallel storylines that you'd usually expect. (Although I only see it when Kirsten is watching it and I happen to wander past and sit in for an episode, so I don't know it all that well.)
2009-06-21 (Sun) 23:44 (UTC)
I would say that to be a true soap requires year-round rolling production and it would help if it had at least two new episodes broadcast each week; but that's because I think there's an important and useful distinction to be made between 'soap opera' and 'returning series drama', both in in production terms and in audience response terms.

(The whole point of a soap opera is that you live with the characters and come to be involved with them as you see their lives unfolding in real time with yours; this doesn't happen when you don't have a year-round schedule, and happens less if you have to wait a week between episodes).

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