A Farewell To Old Friends and Their Twisted Lives

When I first heard the news I thought it was one of those bad Twitter rumors. You know, like the kind that killed off Sinbad, Jackie Chan and Morgan Freeman.

But alas it was true. Two suburbs of Philadelphia were going to close their fictional gates: Llanview and Pine Valley. ABC announced that it was ending two of its soap operas, All My Children will be done in January and One Life To Live is over come September.

I grew up on these soaps and have been watching them for years. I loved how I could go days, weeks, months, even years at a time without seeing an episode. Then when I tuned in, it felt like an old friend because we could generally pick up where we left off.

I remember being in kindergarten and my mom would braid my hair while we watched All My Children. <insert wistful sigh> There was Erica Kane and her never-ending string of suitors. I was barely a tween, but took note that men told her she was so beautiful when she was angry. I thought: that’s when I’ll know a man really loves me. He’ll think I’m beautiful when I’m mad. (Though when Hubby says I’m beautiful when I’m mad, it’s no where near romantic, it’s annoying.)

The residents of Llanview and I got acquainted in high school while I was visiting a friend in Colorado. It was compelling TV because it was the start of the gang rape trial. Gang rape? It gave insights to something that no one ever talked with me about: the aftermath of rape. A shattered Marty Saybrooke against the well-coifed fraternity boys. It was complexly heartwrenching.

As I got older, it felt like soaps were things that “smart women” didn’t watch, so I became a partly closeted soap fan. Plus, I apparently liked “old lady” soaps, as my friends watched Days of Our Lives or General Hospital. It seemed no one my age liked All My Children or One Life To Live.

I’d record them when I couldn’t watch live and had a little VHS system of soaps. My system was quite flawed and Hubby’s seen how ugly things got when I’d accidentally record over one that I hadn’t yet seen.

As work got more demanding, I kept falling more and more behind in my soaps, so I dropped them entirely. Besides, what self-respecting journalist watches soap operas?

Then into my newsroom walked a proud soap fan. We’d start gabbing about the soaps and I’d interview her on what was happening and quickly got up to speed so I started watching again. And I was glad I did. After a long day of corruption, murder and heartache, it was a twisted escape to watch fictional corruption, murder and heartache.

Now I watch about an episode a week and though it was only a matter of time with reality TV and social media filling up people’s days, I’m sad it’s ending. I’m going to miss my favorites, the wonderfully bitchy girls: Erica, Skye, Kendall, Greenlee, Blair, Tess and Tea. And to all of the residents of Pine Valley and Llanview thanks for all of the laughs, tears and love.

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7 responses to “A Farewell To Old Friends and Their Twisted Lives

  1. I never watched them but I remember that my Grammy called them her stories. I am sad to see them go. Who watches TV during the day any more though?

    • Um…. yah. Totally. Who even has time to watch TV during the day anymore? I mean if anyone did, they’d totally be a lazy slug… Ahem. Well I admittedly do watch TV during the day, it’s good background noise. Or while Logan is at daycare I snuggle with Ethan while watching bad, bad, bad TV. :-S

  2. I have to admit that I’m not really surprised. I think everyone is shocked, but I haven’t really heard anyone say they still watch them (besides you of course). I know a couple of people that are faithful, but that’s about it. Considering these “stories” go back to the old radio days I think it is time.

    • You’re right! No one admits to watching them anymore… I guess I finally felt it was OK to come out of the soapy closet since you know, mine were ending… It is time, but it’s a wistful farewell.

  3. They aren’t the first soaps to be killed… and I’m sure they won’t be the last (I write as I’m watching Friday’s episode of Days). It’s sorta sad to see this way of life go, especially given the even worse drivel that is replacing them. Fortunately when I miss too much, there’s always Prevuze – have you ever visited that site?

  4. Wow! I didn’t know about Prevuze. I should look to see if there’s one of those for One Life To Live or All My Children. I’m sure there is…. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I just joined Theta Mom and your blog intrigued me because you mentioned you’re a journalist/writer.

    I also like your post about the death of the soaps. I also grew up watching all of them. Even in college!

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