September 26, 2011

Monday Mourning Over All My Children: The Soap Opera



The Soap Opera


     Forty one years.

     For forty one years it has been a constant in my life.

     That’s how long I’ve watched the soap opera All My Children. That’s how long All My Children has been aired on ABC.

     Now that it’s canceled, what will I do at 1:00 p. m. today?


      In a sense, the characters have been like an extended family. I know them equally as well as I know some of my siblings. In some cases, I know them better. In other cases, less.  We’ve relocated numerous times. When leaving a community, relationships are broken. When arriving in a new community, new relationships must be made. Both dynamics take time. Meanwhile, the characters on All My Children have followed me, have remained constant, have helped ease each move. And my husband, Monte, who doesn’t watch the program, has had an ongoing love, Erica.

     The drama is concentrated, but seems to reflect rather than to initiate similar problems in our society. Take, for example, the definition of family. Try defining my family—if, in many ways, it can be considered a family. There are divorces, remarriages. There are full siblings, half siblings, step siblings…if I count them all, I have fifteen siblings in the mix. I spent my childhood with only one. Five others began arriving when I was eleven years old. Five others came in another town—I’ve met four. One is completely unknown to me. Four are step siblings. One was released for adoption, only reappearing on the scene recently. Are there more, I have to ask. Births outside marriage, inside marriage.

     My father maintained a relationship with my mother through their divorce and his—then her—remarriage.

     And the violence—maybe not as dramatic as on All My Children, but nonetheless, it’s been there. I’ve both experienced it and been told of it. After all, many of us siblings grew up together. Many don’t know each other, will probably never meet. But when we do, the stories begin to flow.

     The twists and turns in my family story are as much a soap opera as is—was—All My Children.


     I don’t consider myself in the role of the housewife who sits on the couch all day, in her robe and slippers, hair in curlers, eating chocolate bon bons (or chocolate covered cherries), drinking wine and waving the remote to click on the channel airing the next soap opera. I only watched the one program.

     Through the years I’ve used All My Children as a tool of discipline. I’m the type person who will get absorbed in something and delay my midday meal and break time. Having a specific time to watch a program I enjoy forces me to take a break and regroup for the remainder of the day. On the other hand, I rarely just sat and watched the television. I folded clothes, straightened the room, cut coupons—whatever mindless task I could complete while being entertained by the soap.

     However, I haven’t wanted to miss episodes. On one extended trip to New England I provided a neighbor with blank tapes and as she herself watched All My Children she taped it for me. When I returned home I had three and a half weeks of episodes to catch up on. While traveling, we do miss programs, and I am very pleased when our hotel room subscribes to SoapNet, which reaired All My Children at 8:00 p. m. and 7:00 a. m. Those reairings also took the stress off having to be at home at 1:00 p. m. to watch the program.

     The final episode was aired last Friday, September 23, 2011. Unfortunately, I had to attend a Beanery Writers Group meeting. After all, I am the facilitator. However, I wore a Halloween shirt that stated Witchy Woman, and warned the other writers to treat me gently or that’s what I would become. I didn’t let them know that I could view one of the reairings, nor did I let them know that I could watch the program on the Internet. I wanted them to know about the sacrifice I was making to attend the meeting. After all, most sports viewers want to watch a game as it is happening, not the later reruns. I felt that way about the final episode of All My Children.

     There is a television at the meeting place. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have sound. It is only for watching.

     At 8:00 p, m. my son Nolan was visiting. He was enroute home to Cleveland Heights from a meeting in Washington, D. C. He should realize how important he is to me, since I didn’t leave the room and go to the television in the family room.  


     I finally saw the final episode early Saturday morning, after Nolan left and before I had to leave. There were two cliff-hangers, in preparation for what might be an Internet continuation of the show, which I read would start in January.

  • ·         The identity of one more person saved by Dr. David was not revealed
  • ·         Who, if anyone, was hit by the gun shot made by Jr. into a room full of people.

     Well, we won’t learn about that next week.

     A big question remains: what will I do with the 1:00 p. m. time slot now left vacant by the loss of All My Children. I have no interest in watching the replacement show, The Chew. I am one of the viewers that ABC has lost.  I will likely cut out viewing any television at all in that time slot.    



A House Frau Loses the Soap All My Children

“All My Children:” Susan Lucci & Erica Kane

All My Children & Dancing With The Stars

We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 1

Chad Eric Smith in Movie Black Kerchief

Adoptees are Everywhere

A Beanery Writers Group Story in Photographs


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