John Wheatley: "A Discursive Analysis of EastEnders"

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Here is a further example from the same episode and regarding the same action. This time the action involves B again and her former lover Lenny.

B
suggest
Then let's forget it. eh? The whole thing never happened.
Lenny
accept + opine
Yeah, that's fine by me. I'm just glad to be back to where we were, you know everyone friends again
B
suggest
Well don't hold your breath Lenny, I'd stay away from Rikki for the moment if I were you
Lenny
half accept
Yeah but he is my mate
B
deny
Not anymore. He may have forgiven me but he still aint happy about it.
Lenny
opine
But it's all in the past
B
request for action
Just stay away from him Lenny please, you've caused enough trouble already


Here, rather than Tiff offering negative evaluation of Bianca's behaviour, we the audience have a chance to see how good or bad a solution has been reached by Bianca as the post solution action unfolds between the involved participants.

The scene allows the audience to add its negative evaluation to Tiff's given earlier. The consequences of Bianca's lack of real action are that Rikki and Lenny can no longer be friends. Such a solution at best can only partly be received positively. Each member of the audience is entitled to find its own view of the outcome ( Fiske 1987:3). This kind of dramatic scene allows precisely for this kind of judgement to be made.

To show that not all evaluation in soap opera is loaded towards the negative, and at the same time to show that the key evaluation outside of the evening's major action will be negative, here are a couple of examples of positive evaluation, taken from the same episode.

Scene 16b, the second consecutive scene in the cafe.

INF
Roy
So this Bill Pearson, it seems he is setting up a hire business. And he is looking for a regular supplier
Pat
reply +positive evaluation
Well that is great Roy
Roy
inf cont
Late low mileage used cars, the full range, it's a big contract to fill
Pat
elicit
Yeah but have you already got it
Roy
reply
Well as good as, I've just got to square how I am going to finance it.
Pat
clarification req
How do you mean?
Roy
clarify
Well for this volume of work I need a line of credit
or a sign of intent for the handling
Pat
elicit
It's not going to be a problem that is it?
Roy
reply
No no there's a few people I can call on. I'll sort something out
Pat
follow up / evaluate
I'm really pleased for you love
Roy
elicit +inform
It's about time isn't it? We can stop penny pinching at long last and start thinking about that summer holiday

This is the first mention of this story line; Roy's attempt to get back into the used car business. Pat, his wife, is pleased for him and positively evaluates his dynamism. Even she sees the problem that lies ahead. The problems Roy, a man in his sixties who has just had a heart attack, will have getting suitable finance for a venture such as this. Positive evaluation tends to accompany situation level text and if, as is usually the case that situation is to turn into a story line, then it is the negative that will dominate. A problem will develop that needs to be dealt with, the bread and butter of soap opera activity.








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AS/SA Nº 6/7, Article 4 : Page 10 / 13

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1999.05.31