Definition of MELODRAMA
a : a work (as a movie or play) characterized by extravagant theatricality and by the predominance of plot and physical action over characterization
Back when I was an arts and entertainment reporter, one of my jobs was to preview theatre productions and review restaurants. (It was the BEST JOB.) And one of those gigs involved a hilarious production of the Pirates of Poulsbo, a melodrama based on the Pirates of Penzance. There was the stump-legged captain with parrot, the black-patched first mate, the yellow-haired serving wench with huge boobs, and the young, handsome, really really really stupid newbie deck hand. Given those character descriptions, you can probably figure out the plot. And who needs a plot w/ those guys anyway? The actors asked questions of the audience, who was forced to sing sea chanties and occasionally be pulled up on stage to dance a pirate jig. We all had a blast.
But it's only been recently that the term 'melodrama' meant a spoof. Think of soap operas. Or silent movies. In that context, melodrama means abundant wailing and gnashing of teeth. Evil, mustache-twirling bad guys and swooning damsels in distress. It's so formalic, every episode of Law and Order could be called a melodrama.
I can think of a few YA reads that, take away the magic, the sci-fi weapons, the repressive dystopian government, have melodrama written all over them. Which tells me that some storylines never change.
So what does melodrama mean to you? Have you read anything new that is melodramatic?