I am very sad today.
A little known fact about me is I’m an All My Children fan. A big fan. Been watching on & off since 1971.
Think about that… now that’s a LONG time. There are very few things in my life that I could count on more than life in Pine Valley… that has been there consistently for me… through thick and thin… in good times and bad… almost 41 years worth for me.
Oh, sure, I would miss a decade here or there… but it was easy to catch up in the first five minutes before the opening credits.
Whenever I thought I was having trouble in my life, I could always take heart that my evil twin hadn’t shown up on my doorstep wanting to extract years of revenge for being the outcast of the family that I never knew about… or that the woman I was seeing hadn’t escaped from prison, incarcerated for some haunting and mysterious secret yet still having a heart of gold… or that our local priest wasn’t in reality a transsexual and/or the supreme leader in a hidden underworld cult.
When someone would marvel that I actually watched a “soap opera,” I would quickly point out: It’s not a soap opera… it’s how I learn about real life… and then I would ask, “well, how do you learn about real life?” Sadly, not everyone had the advantage of the All My Kids education that I have had.
I have such terrific memories around the show… hanging out with my sisters and gram as they cat-called the tv screen… eating lunch to it with good friends in college… watching tapes at night with my girlfriend-turned-fiance-turned-wife.
My daughter Elle watched her first episode when she was just about 24-hours old.
I even got to hang out on the set for my 40th birthday. Sweetly, the actors pretended that they were just as happy to see me as I was thrilled to see them. Hayley Vaughan (a.k.a. Kelly Ripa) even ran up to me and gave me a giant birthday hug, exclaiming, “who’s the birthday boy?!”… at which I just had to turn to my wife and ask, “is this my birthday present? Can I keep her?!”
Undoubtedly, one of the best birthday gifts I have ever received.
From a business perspective, I cannot believe how stupid ABC is… trashing such a strong brand… and throwing away nearly a half century of character development. It’s a pity ABC wasn’t smart enough to figure out how to transition the show more gracefully, both emotionally and economically.
From a familial perspective, it makes me sad that all of my children (well, child) won’t delight in the particular on-goings of Pine Valley… that we won’t be able to share that together. A generational opportunity lost.
I said good-bye today to a community — families — people — that have been with me almost all of my life.
In true soap opera style, they are wrapping up 41 years of programming by having the evil Dr. Hayward bring back some of the truly beloved characters. I know them all… and I care for them all… and am so happy to have them all back one last time.
I just wish the evil Dr. Hayward could have worked some of that medical magic on the zombies at the ABC network.
Update! In even truer soap opera style, they wrapped up the show with a real, live, honest-to-goodness cliff hanger… three, actually! Will Erica Kane really chase after Jackson Montgomery and forgo her huge movie stardom and finally find true love? Was that really a gun shot we heard at the end, as in, did JR really pull the trigger and, if he did, who did he shoot? And — the biggest mystery of all — who is the last mysterious patient that was brought back from the dead? They never told us… !
Way to leave everyone with wanting more… you were true to your roots to the very end… good show, AMC!