Friday, April 15, 2011

The Heartbreaking End of an Era

Yesterday, ABC announced that they are cancelling All My Children and One Life to Live.  I know this may seem silly to many of you, but I am completely heartbroken.  These shows have been an integral part of my life pretty much for as long as I can remember.   My mom has always watched the ABC soaps: Ryan's Hope, All My Children, Loving, The City, One Life to Live, and General Hospital have always filled our television screen. 
My tween/teen years were filled with my love of the soaps.  I used to devour my mom's Soap Opera Digest every month and knew all of the families, characters, and actors on almost every soap.  At one point in junior high or high school, thanks to the VCR, I was watching five soaps: All My Children, Another World, Days of our Lives, One Life to Live, and General Hospital.  Robert and Anna, Frisco and Felicia, Jack and Jennifer... the Quartermaine's, the Buchanan's, the Martin's... they kept me occupied for hours with the sometimes ridiculous sometimes sublime events of their worlds.

Any soap fan you talk to will tell you that their shows have meant so much more to them than mindless entertainment.  For me soaps have been a huge bonding experience with my mother.  My mother tapes her soaps every day while she is at work and watches them when she has time. We have laughed and cried, hypothesized on-going plot lines, and made up what we considered better ones.  Our soaps have been an escape from our everyday lives, a place where we can go and not think about anything but Llanview and Pine Valley. 

What saddens me the most about the cancellations is that they are replacing these shows with yet more reality shows, these two will be titled "The Chew" and "The Revolution".  Really?  Really?  We need more of these shows?  I personally do not care to watch yet another scripted reality show, another cooking show, another "improve yourself" program.  Also, I can already hear Barbara Walters throwing from The View, "Take a little time to enjoy The View, and now stay tuned for THE CHEW." Barf.  Part of me thinks there must be a way to save my beloved friends: grassroots campaigns, phone calls and letters, picket lines... Unfortunately, the other part of me knows that the production costs of "The Chew" will only be a fraction of what it takes to produce a daytime drama and that ABC won't care that they may have lower ratings for these shows than the soaps.

So I must say good-bye to two shows that have been on the air longer than I have been alive.  No more Tad Martin or Jesse Hubbard.  Farewell Dorian Lord and Bo Buchanan.  I know that soaps have come and gone in the past, most recently Guiding Light and As the World Turns, but this time it's different because they are MY shows!!  I keep reading that ALL the scripted daytime dramas will be gone within five years, but I have decided that I will continue to watch General Hospital (which if we are being honest, has always been my favorite anyway) until the sad day comes that they send that one off into the sunset too.  I also think I might start watching Young and the Restless and Bold and the Beautiful in an attempt to show my support for this genre that has been entertaining me for my entire life. 

By the way, even after getting this all off my chest I am still heartbroken. 

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