I have grown up watching Eastenders. My Mum watches it, my Grandparents watch it, even my busy lifestyle Auntie makes time to watch it. You could say we are a family of Eastenders addicts. So for this particular article I will be using Eastenders for my examples, gifs and general knowledge, although I completely recognize that other British soaps do the same things as what I'm about to divulge, due to my lack of personal knowledge with the shows, I'll be focusing on Eastenders. So let's begin to unravel my title.
1. Emotional Release
Although I have always watched Eastenders for as long as I can remember, in recent years I have often wondered why? How can it be an emotional release, to go from living your normal daily dramas to watching it happen again on television, isn't one of the main points of watching TV or Movies to escape reality for a little while by watching something completely different to your daily dramas? So after lots of thought on this particular question, I have come to the conclusion that yes, infact it is an emotional release. A lot of the situations we see in this drama often occur in daily life, but they end differently to how we handle them in reality. For example the gif above, when someone pee's you off, sometimes you just really want to hit them. Of course in real life you can't do that, not without some form of political consequence, so those feelings that we have end up getting pent up inside. By watching someone else do it for us, we get a sense of emotional release as though we ourselves had done it. When we get to hate certain characters in the soap and they finally get their comeuppance, we feel a great deal of happiness, that someone got their just desserts, even if the people that cause us issues in real life, doesn't.
An obvious one I admit, but it's totally true, Eastenders highlight's very real situations that happen every day (I know other soaps do too). Some people think that a lot of the situations are un-realistic, like when Ronnie stole Kats baby because she was grieving the loss of her own, actually it's a situation that occurs quite regularly. Soaps give an un-biased view on daily issues like mental illness, homophobia, racism, abuse and many many more. They show both sides of the story, the oppressors and the victim. By breaking these situations down and showing how they can happen, helps people to understand them. Plus their are a lot of social issues that crop up in these soaps that a lot of people have no experience of, so if they were to happen in real life, these people wouldn't have the first clue what to expect. It educates people on the harsh truths of society, and by educating people, we can start to change them.
3. British Heirloom
Eastenders has been running since 1985. Emmerdale has been running since 1972. Coronation Street has been running since 1960! These great soaps have outlived peoples lives. They have become part of our British culture and heritage, if you go to another country (believe me this happened to me), people ask you, "Oh, your British, do you watch Eastenders?" (true story). In a world were cultural diversity is becoming a forefront of everybody's minds, it's good to hold on to things that you grew up with, things that have defined and made you, you.
I don't know about my audience but I was absolutely over the moon on the day of the royal wedding in Britain, the wedding between Will&Kate was something to celebrate all over the world. Unfortunately where I was living at the time, wasn't too big on house parties or street parties. So when I watched the great celebrations on Eastenders, I felt like I had taken part and done my bit for the royals by supporting someone else's celebrations, even if they were only done for TV.
This one could be a bit controversial so I say in advance that it's a personal opinion and to please respect it. A lot of people over the years have complained about the brutality and too much visuals of certain scenes. Most recently in Eastenders with the story-line of Dean raping Linda Carter. Characters themselves have said that playing roles that are so in-depth and realistic can be hard, viewers have often complained that the soaps didn't need to show that much. But I feel that these scenes do need to be shown. Unfortunately in the real world, these scenarios happen daily, and they will happen regardless of whether people don't want to see it or not. At the end of the day, these scenes are both for entertainment and an education, the majority of people will not fully understand something unless it slaps them across the face. It's all very well cutting corners and making a scene happen through clever insinuation, but it will not have the same effect or realization on a person. Like in the past with Jean Slater, people said her mental health issues were not to be shown so vividly before the watershed. In real life, their is no watershed, people have mental illness's, they can't just stop them because other people don't want to see it, it doesn't work like that. So from my opinion, however ruthless it may be, soaps need to continue showing in-depth emotional scenes, else how is anyone ever supposed to learn?
6. Family Bonding
In my family, every evening we would sit down in the living room together and watch Eastenders. This was our family bonding time, even if we had not seen eachother throughout the day, we would always take half an hour in the evening to sit down and share in the entertainment that was Eastenders. It's a similar principle to having a family meal I suppose, taking time out to be with your family and increase family bonding. Maybe if more families in the world had the chance to just take a moment to do something together as a family, their would be less family splits, arguments and general problems.
That's it for this article, I hope you enjoyed, I'm sure their are more reasons as to why soaps are great but these are my main six. Please like, comment & share for more.