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Friday, September 12, 2014

How people identify with soap characters

In Belgium, the most popular soap is undeniably Thuis (Home). It has been airing since December 1995 and is growing more popular as time goes by. Everybody - the elderly, families with children, teenagers, singles, ... - watches the show. It is broadcasted from Mondays to Fridays and always ends with a cliffhanger at the end of each season.

When people have been watching a soap for over 20 years, they tend to think the characters are real. When Leah Thys (in the series she's Marianne, the doctor's wife and somewhat of a snob) goes to the butcher's and asks for just sausages, she is likely to be asked 'I thought you only ate beef?"

And when somewhere in the the series Jenny (played by Jeanine Bishops) was unfaithful to her husband Andre, she got hate mail and unwanted phone calls.

Lots of people don't know these characters are not real, but just imagination. This shows how good the writers of this show are. They create character who are so life-like that people send letters to 'Frank' or 'Jenny' or whoever.

The creators also use the popularity of their characters to make some items more talkable. Everything has happened in Thuis: murder, rape, serial killers, ...

Nowadays the current themes are the lesbian relationship between Ann (Marianne's daughter) and Mayra, the blindness of Peggy (daughter of Frank and Jenny, who got divorced) and her obcession with not being able to have children. But the biggest question everyone asks now is: Who kidnapped Emma?

Emma is the-year-old teenage daughther of Judith, who is now living together with Tom (the son of Mariann, and a lawyer) and Kurt (who was found dead the previous season). She is not happy with the new situation and is constantly on Facebook. There she is groomed by a pedophile (whose identity is not yet unraveled) which leads to her running away from home and now being kept somewhere by the pedo.

The hashtag #wieheeftemmaontvoerd is the most popular on Twitter right now.

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