No, not anything that is of world importance, life-changing. Not anything that changes the world as we know it. Not anything that matters in the ‘grand scheme of things’. But, to some of us, a part of our lives will be forever gone.
The 41 year run of ALL MY CHILDREN is ending today. It has delighted, and intrigued, and taught us. It has tackled tough story lines. As much as a show needs to be relevant to continue to attract viewers…AMC chose to be current by bringing the hard-to-deal-with social issues of the day into the story lines of the most beloved characters. The writers dealt with gay and trans gender issues, infertility, racial bias, natural disasters, rape, abortions, adoptions, mother/daughter, and father/son issues…all were so well written and never trivialized. It was possible to see how others lived and/or dealt with the everyday ‘living’ of these situations. It helped many watchers learn to deal with or tolerate those who lived with these issues. Many were rarely talked about or socially taboo subjects. You may never have the chance to hear a subject being talked about in polite company except on a soap. They dealt with the Viet Nam war, the AIDS epidemic, wife-abuse, cocaine addiction.
I hear it often said that the morals of the people who live on the soaps are very loose…”always jumping from one bed to another” would be the exact words. But, in this soap, I did not find that to be true. There were many older characters who continually tried to instil moral behavior in the younger set. There were families who dealt with family issues. I found it very true to life. And, lives are not always lived by the moral code we wish they were. I personally believe that ‘logical consequences” teaches far more than constant lessons and beratings. And, there were plenty of consequences to the actions of the folks in fictional Pine Valley!
But, no show could keep viewers if the characters did not feel like ‘real’ people. And, the characters, young and old, were like our families. However, there was never any character like Erica Kane in my life…thank goodness! Women loved her because she would say and do the things they wished they could. She spoke for them…an ‘unofficial’ spokeswoman. Men loved her because she was beautiful and fiesty. Her character started out on the show as a conniving teenager who constantly battled with her mother. She became the character the show revolved around. And, with viewers, it was a constant love/hate relationship.
Now, I’m not the type to live my life through the lives of those on a soap. It’s ‘make-believe’ for heaven’s sake ! It’s not real! It is a TV show, with amazing characters, and excellent writers, relevant story lines and it managed to resonate with people for over 41 years! That’s quite a feat in anyone’s book !
I’ve watched it for as long as I can remember. It started in 1970…I was 17 years old…and a Junior and Senior in high school. I remember watching it first as a college student. We arranged our classes around it. Groups would meet in the grill area where there were televisions. We watched Erica and her boys as we ate nutricious cheeseburgers or pizza or fries and milkshakes.It became an escape from reality in the midst of those hard college classes like various types of higher math that was developed strictly to cause the brain of the average college student to explode several times during the 90 minutes of each class. It wasn’t pretty. And, the soap was the only thing that made sense among the x and y which would equal something different every time. Tell me how are you supposed to make sense of something like that? And, I’ll tell you something else…a, b, and c did not mean the same thing at SU that it did in the Dothan High School! ***I’m sorry, I have no idea how those last few sentences jumped into this post on AMC. Bringing up ‘math’ will do that to a person. Deep seated and unhappy memories, I suppose.***
I’ve watched the show with relatives, including my grandmother on visits to NC, and with my cousin Harry when he came in for lunch. I’ve watched with nurses while in the hospital with Alex in Chicago, I’ve watched in the doctor’s lounge with Ian’s doctors in Chapel Hill. I’ve watched on vacation in Maui. I’ve watched during a monster snow storm with Joy and Alex in Boston, going back and forth between the window and the TV. I’ve watched in Colorado, NYC, FL, GA. I remember when Adam was in the hospital in Birmingham when he was so young. We would watch cartoons all day. A l l d a y ! Except for the hour or so he would nap and I would escape to Pine Valley and visit with the Martins, the Chandlers, and the Montgomery’s..along with various other characters.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the cameos appearances. Many of the celebrities that actually watched the show would call to see if they could play a small part in it. There was Rosie O’Donnell, The New Orleans Saints, The Olsen Twins, Richard Simmons, Rihanna, Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, Montel Williams, Meredith Vieira, Dom Deluise, Elizabeth Taylor (twice), and Carol Burnett (three times). Also, quite a few of the characters have gone on to more recognition in their careers. Josh Duhamel-won the Emmy, Melissa Leo-won the Oscar, Levin Rambin, Eva LaRue, Lauren Holly, Amanda Seyfried, Kelly Ripa-Emmy nominated, Lacey Chabert, Jesse McCartney-Emmy nominated., Sarah Michelle Gellar-won the Emmy, Colin Egglesfield, Kim Delaney, and Lindsey Price. There have been multiple other Emmy winners through-out the years!
And, so it ends. More than just a TV show, I think it all comes down to the characters and the writing. I think those of us that attempt good writing, certainly recognize and appreciate it when we see it…I mean, read it ! This show has that and has has inspired many. Which I believe is the key to its longevity.
I must say, though, that I hate to see ABC cut this show when it has continual good rating and so many loyal viewers. They are replacing it with some dumb show called The Chew. Just what we need, another show to tell us how to cook. I’m afraid ABC has lost this viewer for that hour. Even though I do not enjoy cooking and food related shows anyway…I would not watch it just on principle. They killed AMC, so The Chew can go on without me.
I’ll miss it. I’ve watched for a big portion of this life…and it has been around as I have grown and matured. Thanks for the memories, and the lessons, and the fun!
Here is an excerpt of an article written by Susan Lucci recently.
Lucci has memorably portrayed Kane on the drama, which airs its last episode on ABC on Sept. 23, and it’s unclear whether she will be a part of an attempt to migrate the series online.
In a newly published epilogue to her memoir, Lucci sharply criticized her ABC bosses for axing “All My Children,” which has been on the air since 1970. She said the decision to cancel the show was ‘motivated by greed’ and said the head of ABC’s daytime unit, Brian Frons, has “that fatal combination of ignorance and arrogance.”
Lucci told her own story in the paperback edition of “All My Life,” a memoir published in hardcover earlier this year. The actress said Frons said, in telling her about the cancellation, that it would be ’40 percent cheaper to make the cooking and weight-loss series that are replacing the two soap operas’.
“If Brian Frons could show his bosses that he could save the network 40 percent in production costs, he could keep his job even if the rest of us lost ours,” she wrote.
She noted that several employees on “All My Children” had either lost their jobs or lost money when the show moved its production base from New York to California in recent years to save money. “I wonder, did Brian Frons take a pay cut, too?” Lucci wrote.
She criticized Frons for installing a new head writer on the show in 2008, and essentially pushing aside Agnes Nixon, the soap opera legend who created “All My Children.”
Lucci said that several times “I’d click the television to ABC and not realize I was watching `All My Children.’ If the show was unrecognizable to me, I can only imagine how our viewers felt.”
Frons was not available for comment, a spokeswoman said, and ABC declined to address Lucci’s specific comments.
“We have all the respect in the world for Susan and are sorry she felt the need to write this epilogue to an otherwise incredible career,” spokeswoman Jori Petersen said.
The future for Lucci and “All My Children” is uncertain. The media company Prospect Park in July signed a licensing deal to continue the two soap opera stories beyond their television lives either online or on other platforms. The company has announced deals with some of the “One Life to Live” actors, and is said to be negotiating with Lucci and other “All My Children” actors.
Prospect Park has no announcement on any “All My Children” participants, spokeswoman Melissa Zuckerman said Monday.
(Recent information indicates that several of the long-time characters on the show will attempt to continue the storylines on a daily internet show.