By elaine | September 22, 2011
Do you know what tomorrow is? I know, it’s Friday, but more than that, it’s the ending of an era. Pine Valley, PA ceases to exist as the daytime serial (or “soap opera”) All My Children ends its 41 year run. I used to watch it, but drifted away over 12 years ago. Still, I’m a little saddened by the departure of characters I’d come to know, many of whom are still part of the show. Even if you’ve never seen a single episode of All My Children, who hasn’t heard of the venerable Erica Kane…queen of Pine Valley! Played by Susan Lucci for all of the character’s 41 years, she has been the epitome of the woman you “love to hate.” But there’s more to the story of this milestone. It’s the end of a time of daytime theatre that has given career starts to many of the celebrity names we are familiar with today. This week I’ve actually been watching the final episodes as they bring back cameo appearances of the characters and storylines I remember from years ago. It’s interesting to watch how the writers are tying up dangling scenarios that were meant to go on and on while still surprising you with the unexpected. Stuart lives! It doesn’t get better than that. Here’s what I remember, and see if any of this makes you smile and say…”I remember that too!”
- I remember spending the day at my Grandmother’s house when I was little and having to eat our lunch in the living room while she tuned in to “watch my stories.” I didn’t care what we watched, as long as I was sitting there next to her.
- I remember starting to watch All My Children when I was in college and we had one large lounge at the end of the dorm hall that had one TV. Many of us girls would plan our class schedules to meet “back at the house” to have lunch and watch who did what to whom and still wonder how people could ever get themselves into such horrible situations.
- I remember watching before the invention of the DVR or even The Soap Channel which meant that you had to be sitting in front of the TV specifically at the time of airing if you wanted to catch that day’s episode…and how devastating it would be if everyday life…heaven forbid…got in the way of that!
- I remember times when two people would be fighting about something they wouldn’t need to be fighting about if they only knew what was going on in the background storylines. I would occasionally yell “Why don’t you just talk to each other!” at the TV knowing that if they did, everything would straighten out. Of course I knew why they didn’t talk…because then there wouldn’t be a story to watch!
But it’s not just that. I remember the conversations over coffee that started with something akin to, “Do you even believe that Tad would have an affair when he has Dixie waiting home for him?” or “Doesn’t Brooke know what kind of a man Adam is?” or “Do you believe how gorgeous Maria is?” We knew it was all fiction, but we enjoyed the personal time we were sharing together, sitting around a table between classes. I remember how much I miss that. Now with social media, these conversations happen digitally. I want people to remember what it’s like to connect personally with another person, and for many of us, the daytime soap was an avenue that fostered that. I want you to remember the importance of sitting next to grandma on the coach, and feeling like a grown up because the two of you were engrossed in the same thing, even if you had no idea what was going on. Now, watching it this week, I find that I’m quickly drawn back into the intimacy of the character’s lives I knew so well…if only for a few minutes…and get a twinkle in my eye when I realize that I still think Tad is hot, especially with a few years, a few pounds and some sexy grey hair added to the mix!