Bye Erica...the end of an era
After several weeks of speculation it was confirmed today that long-running ABC soaps "All My Children" and "One Life To Live" are being canceled. All My Children will end its 41 year run in September, and One Life to Live will end its 43 year run in January 2012.
Although I've watched "One Life to Live" in sprints, I've been watching "All My Children" regularlyish since day one. I actually saw the very first episode in January 1970!
It was during my Christmas vacation in second grade. I remember Susan Lucci's Erica Kane was a high school senior, along with her rival Tara Martin. Of course I had no idea what was going on, but I was entertained. After that I would watch whenever I was sick at home or on school breaks.
Once VCRs came into the picture I'd tape it and watch with my mother after school and work. We did this until I got married and left my parents' house. Mami watched it every day until the day she died. Of course she'd forget what she saw the minute it was over and she wasn't able to follow the storyline, but she did recognize the old characters. Right now I'm going through a phase of not recording and watching it, but I keep up with the general story line by participating in a Usenet forum and watching it if I'm home.
I think the writing has deteriorated significantly in the last few years, but at its best it tackled social issues long before prime time did. They dealt with the Vietnam War, abortion, drunk driving, drug use, interracial marriage, homosexuality, AIDS, hate crimes, mental health and transgender issues along with the traditional soap opera story lines.
They had the first legal abortion on television just months after Roe v. Wade was decided. They incorporated an actress' face lift into the plot and for the first time cosmetic surgery and its physical and psychological issues were discussed. They presented daytime television's first lesbian kiss and wedding and there were many other firsts. I learned a lot about the "real world" watching it and "General Hospital" - which will now remain ABC's only soap opera.
"All My Children" is part of our culture and part of my life...even if I wasn't watching I'm saddened by this news. I'll miss knowing it's there.