One of the posts from last year that I found on Google Cache.
Originally written in 2011.
The soap opera All My Children began in January of 1970. I was a year and a half old and so as my mother watched every day, so did I. It may sound strange, but I grew up with the Martin Family and all the characters who have lasted throughout the years. Come September, having them as an option to be part of my daily life will no longer be there. As someone who has watched the show (or kept aware of the plot while in school or at work) for basically her entire life, I cannot pinpoint one reason why this is happening to the TV world of Pine Valley.
The economy has certainly had a big impact both financially and amount of viewers. If I’m working two jobs to feed my kids, then I probably don’t have time to watch a soap. Did the writing degrade over the years? Yes. I feel it did. Especially when Disney took over the network and we had to get used to the micro-commercials of Toy Story toys and other blatant product props. I also think the *powers-that-be* could have worked harder instead of succumbing to the cheaper and in my opinion, lesser replacement.
I’ve always been able to separate the actor from the work and appreciate the art, talent and work that goes into acting, especially on a soap. When the actress Frances Heflin, who played Erica Kane’s mother Mona, passed away in real life, I mourned her. I also grieved when Kate Harrington (Kate Martin), Eileen Herlie (Myrtle Fargate), Ruth Warrick (Phoebe Wallingford) and especially James Mitchell who played Palmer Cortland also died. I never saw them as their characters, though some came very close to playing roles akin to their personalities while others, such as James Mitchell, was so opposite of the character he portrayed. In these cases, it was almost a double loss — losing a person who was so gifted and losing a beloved character.
A couple of the characters that are closest to my heart are Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) who is the longest running character on the show having begun in 1970 and then Tad Martin played by Michael Knight who has been on the show since 1982. I have watched them hone their craft and play their characters with a perfection that could never be replaced as so many others have been over the years. I’ve also watched them (in a comforting way)… age! As the lines show on their faces and the grey took over Michael Knight’s hair, so have the lines formed around my eyes and I color my own hair more often to cover the gray.
People have a tendency to make fun of soap opera fans. They will rib you for over-connecting to a storyline or even worse, accuse you of blurring the lines of reality when you gain knowledge from what you have seen. To those people, you have to just shrug and say it is their loss. It isn’t uncommon to know a fan who watched a storyline that seemed to parallel their own life and to realize that if they are talking about it on a soap opera, then enough people have also gone through that experience to know it will be relate-able to the audience. What a gift that must be to so many viewers!
I have anger on behalf of the actors. So many picked up their lives to move to the West Coast in the name of lowering costs only to have the show be cancelled anyway. These people rearranged their lives and it wasn’t enough to save the show. I feel badly for the new actors who have joined the show and truly gave it a new and appreciated spark only to have it be over before they had a chance to truly shine. And yes, I heard that ABC has sold the rights to Prospect Park and they are considering doing something with the show for the internet. I plan on keeping tabs on what will come next not only for the show, but for the actors involved all these years. I can only wish them all my best in whatever new chapter will open up to them.
Most of all, even though I can’t imagine that any of them will ever read this, I want to say thank you and somehow express my gratitude. What Agnes Nixon created for us over 40 years ago will forever live in the hearts of her fans. The cast and all of the people who worked behind the scenes all these years… each of you hold a special place in my heart for creating an extended family that enabled me to share many tears and even more laughter. All My Children was a show that was always good for a smile and was an hour of comfort if needed on a tough day. Thank you. I will be watching each and every episode until the last and I must stand up and applaud the creative ways so many alumni are able to be part of these last few weeks.
xoxo ~ Melissa