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Realism Soap Operas

Realism Definition
Soap that is realistic and seems as though everything that happens could happen in real life. They tend to view or represent things as they actually are. They correspond as closely as possible to our world. Social realism prides its self on being a more practical understanding and acceptance of the society we live in, rather then an idealised view of life. This genre tends to reflect what is happening in the real world in way such as social problems.

Realism History
The soap sub-genre Realism seems to have been around since the 1940's. Eastenders is an example of British Realism, it was first broadcast in the UK on BBC One on 19th February 1985. Coronation Street is also an example of British Realism. It first broadcasted on 9th December 1960. It has been on the air for over 51 years. Realism soaps tend to have very strong regional identity and this was seen within the introduction of Emmerdale (Yorkshire) in 1972 and Brookside (Liverpool) in 1982.


Clip 1 Coronation Street jEY

Mise En Scene
Mise En Scene
Coronation street is set in a suburban setting in England which is relatable to their audience, the setting also helps create the realistic feel. The characters are also reflections of realistic people today. They wear very normal, neutral coloured clothing that youd expect to see everyday. The title clip helps create the programmes identity featuring the well known pub, again a realistic setting for everyday life. I noticed that the lighting was always from a seen source and was not unnatural lighting, this again creates a realistic feel and creates the idea of gritty, British realism.

The scenes featured a lot of two shots that help make the relationships and situations show through on the screen between the characters. This shot type was very current and well used. There is also a lot of mid shots and close ups that help close in and help to show the emotion of the characters, showing very real and recognisable emotions that the audience will be able to relate to. I noticed there was also some long shots that help to set the scene and help the audience to recognise what is going on quickly.

As Coronation Street comes under the sub-genre of Realism, it only uses diegetic sound in the episodes. For example: music playing in the background of a scene. This conforms to the conventions of the Realism subgenre, as both the audience and the characters can hear the sound. This also creates the idea that the storylines are actually happening in real life and also gives the audience reasons to relate to the soap, because most people in real life play music in the background of what they're doing.

This clip uses straight cuts, in a fast paced motion which makes the audience empathise with the characters, and also feel as if they are there. There is an element of continuity in the editing, this clip uses natural transitions between cuts and does not use any transition which may emphasise and even exaggerate real life. This again conforms to the conventions of the Realism sub-genre because the soap has, by using this editing technique, re-created societal issues, and reinforced the idea that things like this do actually go on in real life.

Typical Storylines and Themes In Coronation Street

Crime such as murder, attempted murder, kidnap, rape, vandalism, bullying etc. Relationships Pregnancy, love, affairs, fall outs, feuds etc. Accidents Car accidents, fires etc. General domestic issues etc.


The Homosexual The Villain

The Gossip

The Drunk The Unfit Parent The Couple

Coronation Street Institutional Details

Channel ITV1 Broadcast Time Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 7.30 and half 8. Target Audience 15 70. Theres characters that people of all ages can relate to.

This mid-shot shows Phil Mitchells dark grey and black suit which connotes classic London mob-like power. The mise-en-scene in this shot includes dark washed, shady walls with shelves of alcohol and money, representing the dark aspects of his life and what is going on in his mind as the alcohol and money is in line with his head. As Phil throws his money down with his eyes closed, the use of a voice over of one of Phil's workers talking about money again portrays what's going on in his head which is clearly making him stressed.

This mid-shot shows this specific character looking upwards which automatically means someone is looking down on him and due to his jumper and jacket being both plain black suggesting he is a dark and evil character the shot insinuates he is being looked down on by God and as his clothes are black he is portraying a devilish character. The mise-en-scene in this shot is extremely basic with half a pale blue and half bricked wall and a menu laid on the table suggesting this is not the characters home but it is a neutral place for him to be present due to the plainness.

This mid high angle shot shows a character who by his clothes (mechanic overalls) connotes a regular stereotypical working class male but due to the amount of cash he is being handed from an unknown body in the shot this could mean he is being caught up in some form of illegal work which is benefiting him and he is being lured in from under the car (his work) in the mise-en-scene to this illegal work which would explain the black sleeved higher powered character to be a dark leader due to the colour he is wearing and the higher power the shot suggests he is by using the high angle.

In this mid over shoulder shot the female who looks concerned about the male in the picture is wearing black which again is a connotation of darkness and evil, whereas the male assuming he is the character in some kind of trouble is wearing white which is a reverse of where each character stands possibly suggesting that the female character isnt all as caring as she looks and that the man is actually the connoted angel of the scene. The mise-en-scene consisting of just a plain cream wall with slightly darker shadows on her side backs up this point of there being an unseen stand off in the shot between good and evil/light and dark which supports Levi Strauss theory in a clever and subtle way.