Before Michael can start convincing Susan that they should return to married life together,
he has to convince his son Matthew that everything will be OK. He manages this over a lunch he
offers to the teenager. The boy's change of heart is signified by his change of mind to accepting his
father's view that his childhood was often a good one.
In case the significance of this change of heart isn't registered by the viewers it is picked up
on in a following scene, where Michael discusses his plans and hopes with his mate Sanjay. The
viewer is presented with strong evidence that what happened in scene 17 wasn't just a minor change
of view from the son but that it was a fundamental change of attitude; that he would now trust his
father and support his attempts to reunite with Matthew's mother.
Yeah he's even offered to go out tonight to give me and Susan some time to ourselves
So he's really alright about it now is he
yeah I managed to convince him that I have got his mum's best interests at
1. Mike Hoey's problem - solution method of text analysis is applied here to narrative
dialogue for the very first time at least that I know of. It provides a useful and straightforward
linguistic model for understanding the nature of progression in soap opera episodes.
2. The model itself highlights the importance of problem to soap opera. The category of
evaluation is far more widespread than the Hoey model gives credit for. Nevertheless the model raises
the issue of evaluation as one that is of key importance.
3. Recognition of different kinds of evaluation allows one to classify soap scenes into a very
limited range of types.
4. Contested evaluation and altered evaluation are key features of the major action scenes in
a soap episode and the means by which solutions are brought about, of a temporary or lasting
5. Detailed analysis of the function of each individual utterance is critical for making
analytical judgements on the text. It leads to great familiarity with the dialogue and helps the analyst
recognise patterns in what takes place. There is far more to be said about the choices regularly made
by participants at different stages of the action. This will be revealed in a later paper.
6. What has been done here provides the basis for a great deal more further analysis, both
of the particular text that has warranted attention here and of all other soap opera dialogue.