Monday, November 2, 2009

"Days" on "Friends"

While Levine compares the differences and similarities between Laguna Beach and Soap Operas, she briefly talks about the "egg" shot. This is "the shot at the end of many daytime soap scenes in which an actor holds an expression for several beats until the scene fades out." The function is to create a dramatic and contemplative moment for the character which transcends to the audience. The egg shots in soap operas have much deeper effects than in those captured in Laguna Beach because soap Operas focus on character development and elaborate on complex story lines. According to Levine, a soap's audience has "spent so much time with the characters that you learn to read their faces." For example, a character from a may look off into the distance with a facial expression full of concern and the audience will know that he is thinking of the suicide of his illegitimate son he just met a week prior. All of this can be read in one "egg" shot. In comparison, the egg shots featured in Laguna beach send its audience a much more shallow and simple message. In contrast to soaps, the audience does not spend enough time with the characters to learn their motives. The characters depicted are not as deep and complex because the show is simple. Their drama is not much different than our drama, aside from the good looking cast members and wealth. The egg shots from Laguna beach of Lauren sadly looking off into the distance with Death Cab for Cutie playing in the background send a much less complex message that would usually mean "Oh, I wish I was with Steven right now." Below is a parody on soap operas, specifically about Drake Hogestyn of Days of Our Lives, from Friends. Joey has discovered the acting technique of "smell the fart acting" which is similar to the "egg" shot. However, in typical Joey fashion he uses it at the wrong time and creates a really awkward scene. It is complete with the romantic music that allows the audience to know exactly what is going on through the minds of the two characters (which is one of sexual chemistry) and further allows the audience to feel their sexual tension. Within the context of the show, which is known as a comedy, the scene plays with the seriousness of Soap Operas.
Here is a link to a youtube video of a real Days of Our Lives promo video which ends with an "egg" shot from Drake Hogestyn.


  1. LOL, I love that Friends clip.

    There's some really interesting research on soap operas which debates whether or not soap watchers take the show literally or whether they watch it critically. I watched Days all through college and found that it made a great topic of conversation with all sorts of random women I met. Usually I found that they were very critical of the show and would make fun of its more ridiculous excesses (this was during one of the most over-the-top plotlines in Days history where one actress was playing four characters, including one who thought she was impregnated by Elvis Presley). Sort of a love-to-make-fun-of-it pleasure. I feel in some ways the two soap articles didn't give enough credit to watchers who are fully aware of the silliness of what they're watching.

  2. haha! Love it!
    and here's a clip of Nathan Fillion on the Ellen show explaining the 3 facial expressions you need for soap operas, the egg shot:

    "Did I leave the stove on?" is the look.