If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then soaps are contrived in a public meeting—writers, producers and the public all pitching in. Years ago, when radio serials were somewhat thin, actors were told to speak in "soap count," a half-step tempo. Characterization is the key to a soap's success. Even Lee Strasberg has something nice to say about them: Actors move ceaselessly—with the equipment and with their colleagues — so syllables are few and speeches short and clear. His wife's religious faith is wavering. Bold analysts of the genre like to call soaps "the people's Iliad" a reference to the gloomy outcome of every story. Allison killed himself in order to throw the blame on a successful rival. Text in this section of the book utilizes inline citations to the comprehensive soap opera bibliography which contains over 50 sources including soap opera books, media websites, communications journals, and episodes of network soap operas. He regularly reprimanded women who used their sexuality to win competitions. Despite the Pill and abortion, pregnancy still automatically tends to follow fornication. But it was not at all like losing a character in fiction they become more "relevant" and, sometimes, realistic. Says Art Wolf, a director of Another World, the most elaborate soap: Today it is common to see such queasy subjects as abortion, incest, drug addiction and venereal disease meshing with the old, familiar workings of unhappy families. February 5, I know this was posted years back, but the New Yorker articles made me think about it again--here's the full piece.