A rose by any other name

From the moment that the idea for a podcast soap opera arose from the depths of our subconscious musings, we have found that there are several people who in general object to the term “soap opera” or have no idea what a soap opera is.

People involved with small business loans have suggested that we might use terms like “audio theater” or “audio drama” to describe this project to make it more palatable. Younger folks have given us a blank stare when we use the term “soap opera.” At first, we were puzzled by these responses.

When televised soap operas were in their prime in 1969, we all watched them. They dominated daytime television. We ran home to from school to be in time to watch Dark Shadows. All we could talk about was what was going on with Luke and Laura on General Hospital. Twin Peaks riveted our attention.

Times have changed.

The very words we used to use in 1969 have different meanings today, and some are even considered racial or discriminatory. The term “soap opera” has as well. Oh, these soap operas are still around, and we all still love them. The dawning of realization spreads over the faces of the confused when it is pointed out that Game of Thrones is a soap opera. “I like Game of Thrones,” is an almost universal response. Indeed.

What is the definition of a soap opera?

Think of a storytelling entertainment venue that is typically open-ended. It provides the fan with an intimate view of the life struggles and emotional inter-connections of many characters. A soap opera is a melodrama.

Okay, so what is a melodrama?

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary Eleventh Edition instructs us.

The first thing Merriam tell us is that it is from the Greek and means song+drama. “A work (as a movie or play) characterized by extravagant theatricality and by the predominance of plot and physical action over characterization; the genre of dramatic literature constituted by such works; something resembling a melodrama especially in having a sensational or theatrical quality.”

If the plot pokes at our emotional triggers or feeds our love of scandal, provides sensationalism using stereotyped and simply developed characters, then you have a soap opera. Usually, the setting is in the private life sphere of the characters and focuses on moral turmoil, love, lust, marriage, peril, betrayal, illicit yearnings, and the ever-present evil seductress or nefarious bad character. They have impossible plot twists, farfetched emotional responses, and rely on well-worn tropes.

Soap operas are fun escapism entertainment.

It appears that for some, a soap opera is considered poorly-acted, over-the-top pulp drama and not something an educated, enlightened person would enjoy.

Kind of like the Kavanaugh hearings.

We all watched that happening.



The rumor went around during the disco age that Distractions has been around in one form or another since shortly after the Revolutionary War. Not true.

When prohibition started, a couple of enterprising brothers started making runs into Canada to buy liquor and turned their parent’s basement into a speakeasy.

Now, it wasn’t like the speakeasies you see in movies. There were no ladies dressed to the nines, sexy torch singers, top-notch bands, scantily dressed waitresses, or suave gentlemen. These were farmers who sat on benches and drank from dirty mason jars. The floor was dirt, there wasn’t much light, and the potbellied stove kept it warm enough for the patrons. While the boy’s mother was not happy, she couldn’t argue with the money it brought in. It was hugely popular.

This continued through prohibition until things really got out of hand one evening and the house burned to the ground. Of course, there was plenty of money to rebuild, but now the G-men were on to them, and the boys didn’t reopen.

In the late 1950s one of the heirs, who grew up hearing the tales of the money his grandfather had made selling liquor during the roaring twenties, turned the house into a bar. Roupp Pharmaceuticals was beginning to make profound changes to the town of Gamote Point, and a divide between the white-collar sections and the blue-collar sections began to clearly define itself.

At first, the bar did well in the blue-collar district it was located in. Over time various owners tried to make it trendy. By the eighties, most of the blue-collar clientele had abandoned it. It fell into decline until Lorna Roupp through her shell companies purchased it. Lorna returned it to a working-class sports bar, and the blue-collar patrons returned. It gained some popularity among the young white-collar bucks who felt like they were living on the edge by going there.


Tulonen and Allen Join Restless Shores

Screenwriter Greg Tulonen and voice actor Stan Allen has joined New Meadows Media in the production of Restless Shores.

Award-winning scriptwriter, Tulonen, brings an incredible wealth of experience with audio theater. Tulonen was the lead writer on the acclaimed video web series Ragged Isle. Additional scriptwriting credits include The Kid Who Loved Indiana Jones, On a Country Road, Sui Generis, as well as the non-fiction webcomic Actual Conversations With My Sons and the upcoming webcomic Night Is Falling.

Voice actor, Stan Allen, has signed on to use his extraordinary talents as the voice of Restless Shores. Allen most recently is noted for his work with New Meadows Media in the production of audiobooks.

Developing a new project with established talents like Tulonen and Allen as the cornerstones for Restless Shores brings a new level of excitement. Tapping into the energy that these two professionals bring, we expect to start production in the first week of January.

Gamote Point

Gamote Point started as a sleepy little coastal fishing village with a lovely deep-water harbor. Not the picturesque fishing village that comes to mind, but an actual working harbor. Noisy fishing boats leaving predawn, the overpowering smell of fish and ocean, and businesses that supported that industry.

It was the shipping capabilities of the deep-water harbor and cheap real estate that attracted Zachery Roupp to the area. While the company Zachery established began to change the face of Gamote Point, it wasn’t until Milton took over the business end of the company that the fishing village disappeared.

Working for Roupp Pharmaceuticals was easier and more lucrative than trying to make a living from aquaculture. The children of generations old fishing families began to acquire skills that would allow them to work for Roupp or in one of the many support industries. In the course of time, Roupp became the major employer in the area and the second largest in the state. Gamote Point grew as Roupp Pharmaceuticals grew.

The effect on the area surrounding Gamote Point was dramatic. The sleepy village transformed into one of the largest towns in the state. It lost its character and became just another city with all the good and evil you would expect to see in a metropolitan area. And, like Roupp Pharmaceuticals, Gamote Point was almost entirely controlled by its puppet master, Milton Roupp.


Why Podcast Theater?

The year 1969 gave us Woodstock, the Concorde, the Boeing 747, The Beatles’ last public performance, the Manson murders, the iconic Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, the first man on the moon, Chappaquiddick and most importantly for this discussion the peak of daytime televised dramas and the beginning of the move of women from the home into the workplace.

In 1969, there were 19 distinct daytime dramas the top show pulling 13.6 percent of the television audience. In 2018, with only four televised dramas remaining, the highest rated drama, The Young and the Restless, is just pulling .69 percent.

Is it because the viewer isn’t interested in drama?

The problem isn’t with interest. The problem is with time.

We just don’t have the time to slice out an hour of our day to sit and watch a daytime drama.

A 15- or 20-minute audio drama will enable us to follow the characters we care about. It will fill the time during a commute, while folding clothes, while performing “mindless” activities at work, sitting on the beach, sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, or at 3 am while quieting that fussy baby. This shorter length enabled by the podcast format is quick, entertaining, and is not constrained by a time slot or an hour-long commitment.

Audio drama is a growing genre.

In Sara Rhea Werner’s article “Let 2018 Be The Year You Discover Audio Drama” she points out that

  • Audio drama is gaining a foothold evidenced by inclusion at podcasting conferences and the large and varied fans of audio drama represented at those conferences
  • Audio dramas are free as opposed to Audible, Netflix, or Hulu.
  • All genres of fiction are represented
  • They are entertaining
  • Good for passive consumption

Why podcast theater? Podcast dramas are an emerging medium that can be enjoyed even while being restless.

Can’t Get Enough

We just can’t look away from drama. We can’t.

Don’t believe me? The simplest thing would be to encourage you to use your own eyes. Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, OJ Simpson, true crime stories, the latest drama on Capitol Hill, any number of sex scandals – all are melodrama, and we can’t get enough. 

Social media is rife with drama, both manufactured and organic. So much so that the Urban Dictionary has an entry for “Facebook Drama.” Add into this argument our “need” to be hyperconnected through smartphones and tablets and we find that we have become a people who choose to spend time watching videos of cats and pontificating on social media. We no longer read; we listen to audiobooks. Television is no longer the only source of “free” entertainment; YouTube and podcasts are where we go. Charlie Swinbourne writes in the Guardian “Social media platforms let us write and star in our own personal dramas – how can television keep up?”

Television can’t keep up. We are too busy to spend the evenings watching television or listening to the radio. However, we can plug into a podcast and spend 15 minutes or so of downtime to get our drama fix for the day.

Stay restless.


Coming Soon

Scandal, intrigue, and salaciousness 15 minutes at a time.

Take a break from your day to day routine and immerse yourself in the on-going intrigues of Gamote Point.

  • Will Uriah Roupp find a way to escape the servitude imposed on him by his bullying grandfather, Milton Roupp?
  • Will Uriah and the sexy new bartender, Miguel Rios, fall victim to Rhonda Weppler’s seductive spell?
  • Will both Uriah and Miguel become Rhonda’s thralls?
  • Will Lorna Roupp’s dark secrets be revealed and destroy everything she has built and everyone she loves?

It’s all waiting for you on Restless Shores.

If you believe, as the Greeks did, that man is at the mercy of the gods, then you write tragedy. The end is inevitable from the beginning. But if you believe that man can solve his own problems and is at nobody’s mercy, then you will probably write melodrama. — Lillian Hellman