By Ruth 66
Do you know these people: Mona Kane, Myrtle Fargate, Billy Clyde Tuggle, Ray Gardner, Phoebe and Charles Tyler, Linc and Kitty, Grandma Kate, Tara and Phillip, Chuck and Donna, Joe and Ruth Martin, Devon, Liza, Colby, Marian, Stuart and Cindy, Zarf/Zoe, Bianca, Greg and Jenny, Tad and Liza/Dixie, Adam and Brooke, Cliff and Nina, Palmer and Opal Cortland, Janet from Another Planet, Hayley and Mateo, Cecily and Nico, Trevor and Natalie, Babe and JR, Maria and Edmund, Angie and Jesse, Lily, Scott, Kendall and Zack, Leo and Greenlee and Ryan, Erica and Jeff, Phillip, Tom, Mike, Adam, Jeremy, Travis, Dmitri and Jackson? If you've been watching AMC as long as long as I have, of course you know they're former residents of Pine Valley, PA, created by Agnes Nixon.
All My Children started in 1970. I started watching it in 1972. The only thing I've done longer than that with any consistency is drive a car. At the time I started watching, Erica Kane was a single teenager and not yet a prima donna. When it was all said and done she married nine different men, some of them more than once, some of the marriages invalid.
Ahhh Susan Lucci, the Queen of Daytime. I will miss you and your children and your friends.
While Erica Kane, played by Susan Lucci, was the star of AMC and inarguably the most famous soap actress on TV; the Martin's and the Hubbard's were the heart of Pine Valley. When Angie got her sight back on Tuesday, I cried like a baby. I couldn't have been happier for her family had they been real. When the lovable Stuart Chandler was resurrected on Thursday, I wept with joy.
I'm glad AMC is going out with a bang. There have been lots of appearances this week from long gone cast members and some lovely, sentimental montages. It was wonderful to see: Brooke English, Jamie Martin, Maria Grey played by Eva LaRue, the original Kendall played by Sarah Michelle Geller, Babe Chandler and Lee Merriwether. Wednesday's show was dedicated to Mary Fickett, who died earlier this month. She was one of the original three characters on the show and played Ruth Martin for 25 years. Notably missing were Kelly Ripa and her hubby Mark Consuelos, who met during their years together on AMC.
I use to feel stupid crying about things that happened on soaps to pretend people in pretend places. But I got past it by accepting that the show reached my humanity and touched me emotionally. It made me feel things, like all good movies and books are supposed to. Just because it was a soap didn't make it unworthy for my tears. A number of times, I remember discussing the goings-on in Pine Valley with another fan and someone would walk up to join our conversation. After listening for awhile they would ask who we were talking about. When we admitted we were talking about a soap, they said it sounded as if we were talking about "real" people. Spending five days a week with the residents of Pine Valley, decade after decade, they became real …. kinda sorta. Every now and then I'd get mad at some story line or another and stop watching for awhile. But I would always check back in feeling like I've missed something. Starting Monday, September 26, 2011, I won't have that luxury anymore.
Today, Friday, September 23, is the last day "All My Children" will be broadcast on television. ABC cancelled the 41-year-old soap due to falling ratings. It'll be replaced by yet another combination chat and cooking show called "The Chew." Many soap fans on Twitter have expressed outrage that frequent commercials for "The Chew" airing during AMC felt like it was rubbing salt in their wound. If ABC promoted our soap half as much as the new show, it might be getting better ratings. But that's show biz. Times have changed. It's been suggested the popularity of reality TV in the last decade has led to the dwindling of ratings for soaps. Not many have survived. CBS has "The Young and the Restless" and "Bold and the Beautiful." ABC has "One Life to Live," but only until January 2012, plus "General Hospital." NBC only has "Days of Our Lives." AMC has been picked up by a company called Prospect Park, who plan to air the show online sometime next year. Not many details have been released yet. But you know it won't be the same.
The truth is I loved "All My Children." Why else would I watch it for 39 years? Call me crazy, but I got $5 that "The Chew" won't be on TV for anywhere close to 40 years. Thanks for the years of entertainment AMC!