Thursday, April 21, 2011

The End Of An Era and Afternoons As I Know Them

Guest Post By: Melissa B. (@Melis_B on Twitter)

       If you’d have told me thirty years ago that my soap operas, “All My Children” and “One Life To Live” would be cancelled during my lifetime, I would have slapped you in a manner fashioned by the iconic Erica Kane. You can imagine my dismay and devastation when ABC Daytime announced, on April 14, that both AMC and OLTL would be cancelled in September and January, respectively. The shows were created over forty years ago by Agnes Nixon. Come 2012, not only is Oprah off the air but two of my  ABC serial dramas are gone as well! What is one to do?

       I have grown up with these dramas, learned to speak English while watching them and bonded with my Grandmother over these shows. I cannot imagine my days without the incomparable Erica Kane or Victoria Lord Buchanan. These daytime divas have influenced my life and ruled my schedule in a way that a non-soap enthusiast would never understand. I have planned college classes around my soaps, eaten lunch at a particular time and even caught earlier trains not to miss weddings or, dare I say, love scenes of my favorite couples and characters.

       My love of and addiction to ABC’s Daytime line-up came at an early age. I have the most vivid memories of translating for my Grandmother what Erica said to Dimitri and what Dimitri answered in reply. I remember explaining to her the Marty/Todd rape trial while struggling to find the French equivalent for the word “rape.” It was a vocabulary lesson for us both. In those small moments as we watched the soaps, my Grandmother and I would bond as she compared herself to Phoebe Wallingford or Dorian Lord. I was in awe as she shared with me stories of her childhood and aristocratic upbringing in Haiti. She dubbed us Ladies of High Society and pointed out how regal each of these leading ladies was - like them, Grams was no joke! She would further use each storyline as a teaching tool and would find a moral to each story. To us they were fables in their own right.

       In some inexplicable way, the characters are like family. On “All My Children,” I watched Angie and Jesse’s courtship, attended Cliff and Nina’s wedding, watched Tad flirt with mother and daughter, witnessed Bianca’s birth, mourned Palmer Cortland’s death, and most recently cried with Kendall at Zach’s memorial service. How can I ever forget Jessica’s birth on “One Life to Live,” Viki’s trip to Eterna, Dorian’s May/December romance with boy toy Joey Buchanan, Asa’s temper, Marty’s rape, Megan’s haunting death, Bo and Nora’s wedding or Mitch Lawrence’s never ending wrath of terror. Yes, they're family - growing up together, sharing experiences, and teaching me lessons. I know the characters and love them all.

       For that young girl, and now grown woman, these “stories” taught unmistakable lessons about trust - who to trust and who not to trust. The blank stare or far away glance always signaled suspicion and unease, teaching lessons on instinct and perception. They opened my eyes to social issues of the times including addiction, breast cancer, AIDS, alcoholism and homosexuality. More importantly, they taught lessons of courage, perseverance, triumph and LOVE (contributing to the hopeless romantic that I am).

       Hearing that my shows will be replaced by shows titled, “The Chew” and “The Revolution” is disappointing. These new shows do not hold the promise and cache of the once cherished theme - Love in the Afternoon. Maybe it’s a sign of the times, who knows...


       One thing is for sure, I won’t be rushing home to watch this new line-up. Scheduling lunch or meetings around these dreaded shows is out of the question! They do not make for legacy programming - no sustainability and no longevity. Forty years from now I highly doubt I will be recounting stories about these shows to friends and family. It is doubtful I will even  watch.

       That being said, “All My Children” and “One Life To Live” have left a mark on my life. Each storyline brings me back to a particular time, an experience, a memory. The characters hold a  piece of my heart and their stories stay with me. I can’t imagine the day when I can’t say hello to my friends in Pine Valley or shout at my people in Llanview. These fictional towns are my escapes and I‘m truly saddened to see them go. I’m bidding a fond farewell to the legacy and to afternoons as I have come to know them.

To my beloved AMC and OLTL,

You have been a staple in my life since the ‘80s. Thank you for the memories. I will miss you dearly.   

Click Here For More Randomness

No comments:

Post a Comment