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« Our Latest Soap Opera Digest Column | Main | Mommie Dearest (or A Damn Solid Episode) »

September 23, 2011

A Fond Farewell To All My Children

Well...it's here. The day we've been dreading (if pre-depression is possible, that's what I've been afflicted with lately) has finally come and after 41 years of storytelling and an especially outstanding week of episodes, All My Children is coming to an end. And I have feelings.

The biggest feeling? Aside from profound sadness, obviously. That feeling is gratefulness. I am so grateful to the show's writers, cast members and the incomparable Agnes Nixon for giving me such a huge gift. I've spent my afternoons in Pine Valley through middle school, high school, college and graduate school and the show's crazy/amazing/cramazing cast and characters are responsible for some of my very favorite television memories, couples, and actors.  I mean, I hated it at times (see, uh, any page in the Serial Drama archives), sure, but I never really stopped loving it. How could I? It gave me Greenlee and Leo, David Canary, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Zach and Kendall, Kelly Ripa and Erica, Erica Kane, and many more wonderful things!

And I am also grateful to the smart, savvy, hilarious, and wonderful AMC fans who have spent time here at Serial Drama. I have loved your comments and emails and thank you so much for reading!

It is going to take me a few days to gather my thoughts in order to write about the end of the show; if I try to write anything today, it will probably just be random letters, numbers, and symbols, typed by my head as it rests on my keyboard while I cry. But please feel free to use the comment section to bid the show adieu, vent about the finale, imagine what happened after the screen goes dark and share your favorite AMC memories.

The Great and the Least, The Rich and the Poor,
The Weak and the Strong,
In Joy and In Sorrow, In Tragedy and Triumph,



I have no words. *cries*

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:resting my head on my keyboard, while I cry:

Kinda love that it's the last ABC episode of "All My Children" and Erica's wearing leather pants. Siiigh.

The finale hasn't aired yet here in the west, so the power of speech hasn't left me yet...

Thank you, AMC for the past 18 years. Thank you for my very favorite couple, Noah and Julia. I was lucky enough to watch their story from the beginning, and to this day it remains one of the best romances I've seen on film.

Thank you for sharing the brilliance of David Canary, who made two very different characters seem so very real.

Thank you for Hayley, the teen punk who pushed the line before it became a stereotype.

Thank you for Brooke and Erica's sparring matches, which were always entertaining.

Thank you for Tad's quips and David's snark - in fact, thank you for Vincent Irizarry, period.

Thank you for Bianca, Kendall, Leo, Gillian, Opal, Angie and Jessie, Debbi and Darnell, Dimitri and Erica, and all of the others who have brought joy and laughter into my life.

Thank you for being my family and friends when I had neither. I don't know if this is goodbye, but thank you for the memories, AMC.

I always said I'd never quit watching this show because, after 39 years of keeping up by any means necessary, not watching would be like admitting I was wrong.

But I did quit watching, after Stuart's murder. And then Jesse stole a baby, and that out-of-character action reinforced my decision to wipe the show off my DVR. I came back to the show after the cancellation announcement, mostly to see if it still was really that bad. It was.

The AMC I will miss is the one that brought me interesting and compelling characters involved in romantic, family and community drama, where bad was balanced with good, sorrow with happiness, misdeed with consequences, darkness with light.

We have not seen that on AMC in many, many years. Things used to happen on AMC for a reason, not just because they could.

So I wasn't wrong; I was merely misled by the suits at ABC/Disney who continuously reassured the viewers that the next casting change, the next head writing team, the next studio change would improve the show. The past couple weeks have shown how good writing can improve a soap opera. It's a shame -- for all of us -- that the suits didn't realize that until it was too late.

So, goodbye, AMC, my old friend. You made me laugh and cry and every emotion in between. During the best of times you helped me make friends, start conversations, find common ground with other people. That is an awe-inspiring achievement likely never to be equaled.

Many years ago, I remember someone made some sort of joke about mortality. And I said, "So what, All My Children will outlive me!". And there wasn't any reason back then to think that there wssn't a lot of truth to that joke. There were plenty of soaps around. Myself, I only watched AMC. And then, when Ryan's Hope started, I watched that. But to AMC I was utterly faithful. In the days before VCR's, I bought a radio that picked up tv stations and took it to work with me, and listened to AMC on my lunch break. With the advent of VCR's, I bought my first one in 1985 and never missed a day recording, at least not willingly.

The show had its moments during those earlier years. I remember I swore to stop watching when Anne Tyler was killed. But, I had to keep watching to see the funeral, then other stories drew me in. And the only time I did stop watching was during the "Man of Fusion" campaign, but I wasa back in a few weeks. And since then, I've bitched up a storm sometimes, absolutely HATED Ryass Lavery in particular, dissed the diseased storytelling of the last 6 or seven years, but I couldn't stop. And I didn't want to. AMC had hit a rough patch, and I was no more going to abandon it than I would a dear friend. And now, with any luck, it's moving into a newer frame of entertainment. And I'll do my best to be there with it.

So thanks for Grandma Kate, for Joe and Ruth, for Phil and Tara, Chuck and Donna,Jeff and Mary, Linc and Kitty (and Kelly), especially Anne and Nick (and Paul), Erica and all her loves, Mona, Mark and Ellen, Phoebe and Langley, Mona and Charles, BROOKE and ADAM, Jamie, JR, Liza, Marion and Stuart, Adam Jr., Kendall and Zach, Bianca, Alfred Vanderpool, Hillary Wilson, Robin McCall, Gloria, Di, Del, Maria Santos, Haley, Jenny and Greg, and Enid Nelson, Mrs. Valentine, the never-seen Mrs. Chance at the Boutique and who babysat for Bobby Warner, for Cliff and Nina, for PALMER and Daisy, for Myra and Sloan, for Cynthia Preston and Andrew, for Natalie and Janet and Tim and Amanda....for all those marvelous characters and stories that have momentarily escaped my memory.
(No thanks of any kind to any Lavery or Carey whatsoever of any description, living, dead or roadkill.)

I'll never forget this show - and I hope there are more memories in the making on the net.

As with Luise, the last straw for me after nearly three decades was Stuart's senseless murder. I mean, the show had been bad before. Libidozone? Wretched. Proteus? Yup. The infamous Josh Madden debacle? Ye Gods. And the last seven years or so have been a virtual trainwreck, with plot-point writing, ratings stunts and OOC behavior all over the place. But, even at what seemed to be the very bottom of the barrel, I thought AMC still had a chance to turn the ship around. But killing Stuart changed all that, and I knew at that very instant that the show and I were done for good.

Maybe that's why I'm not as sad as I thought I'd be, because the emotional attachment had already been severed. Aside from tuning in for the 40th anniversary show, I don't think I've given the show more than a cursory glance until this past week for nearly two years. Even when I heard the cancellation announcement, deep down I knew I wasn't going to tune in for the last few months, because it wasn't "my story" anymore. Just a bunch of people running around in a town with a familiar name, a couple of them seemingly reminiscent of folks I used to know but not anyone I'd want to spend much time with.

But I am glad I tuned in for the last week, because there were vague hints and whispers of the show I literally grew up with. Mona, Phoebe, Palmer, Myrtle and Grandma Kate were fondly recalled (and their absences clearly felt), old-school "frenemies" Erica and Brooke showed their younger counterparts how it's SUPPOSED to be done (looking at YOU, Kendall and Greenlee), Angie & Jesse and Tad & Dixie reminded us what the term "supercouple" is really all about, and David Canary blew them all away with a few words of dialogue and his mere (and sorely missed) presence. Of course, the same overall issues were still there, but it felt as though at least a little bit of the heart and soul of the show had returned, if only for a brief time (and I think we know who to thank for that).

So I guess I really said my goodbyes two years ago, and this week was like leafing through an old photo album and reliving some fond memories. Of course, the last thirty seconds or so reminded me of why I walked away in the first place, but I won't let that silliness ruin what the show once meant to me.

Thank you, Agnes Nixon. And thank you, AMC. Good night, and good luck.

It's all so wrong on so many levels for us to be saying goodbye to Erica, Erica Kane & orange clogs thinks he can take her place. Something is wrong in our world. This should not be happening. I'm not ready!

My first AMC memory was an argument at the police station between Trevor and Natalie right before she eloped with Adam. I don't remember how those two ended up on "the island", but they did and I was hooked. I don't think I realized how ludicrous it was that I considered Natalie in a well (and Janet taking her place with a wig) one of the more "realistic" stories I was watching at the time (what can I say, I was also a GH fan and they may have just wrapped up a story about an alien at the time... so maybe it was).

I watched Hayley's arrival and couldn't believe they would put Brian and Dixie together (still can't). To this day I still believe Brian was her OTP.

I remember going to school, giving people soap updates when we were supposed to be doing homework. When Erica was married to Travis, there was one time that Bianca said, "Mommy was kissing Uncle Jack for a really long time". I think everyone knew that Dimitri was going to end up with Erica (even when he was taking care of Nat), but I knew in my heart that Jack was her true love.

I saw Tad come back as Ted Orsini and then Billy Clyde fall off a bridge when something exploded. Daisy matchmaking Palmer and Opal. I rooted for Adam and Brooke, even though there was nothing in the writing that made me think they were going to be back together.

To me, AMC always had a depth that my other favorite soap at the time (GH) didn't have. It told stories about things. I loved learning about Agnes Nixon and how she used her writing to tell stories that would educate people about social issues. I literally wanted to be her when I grew up.

I haven't been able to watch much since that time. I guess I'm glad I've missed the last several years because I don't think I would want to see what they did to my favorites. However, if Agnes Nixon will be part of the PP AMC team, I may tune in just for that. And for the hope that maybe David Canary will show up too.

I enjoyed the last week of AMC and the final episode, but really I'm enjoying that the former AMC time slot will be the programming equivalent of "salted earth" where nothing will grow and that his decision to cancel two landmark shows will ultimately cost Brian Frons his job.

Haven't watched in years.. but came back for the final show.

Tad bringing almost the entire cast to tears with his speech was EPIC.

The ending.. I can't stop laughing. I guess that was ABC's final big "F*ck you!" to the viewers. Yep ABC. We'll see who gets f*cked.

I can forgive anything in exchange for MARIAN & STUART having a happy ending.

Just finished watching yesterday's finale of AMC.

1. I think they set a record for the most commercials in a 60 minute program & it seemed to get worse as it went on!

2. What was the point of bringing back Joe & nuRuth & not have them say a single word?

3. Clearly Tad's toast was directed to the fans & was very touching-would have been nicer had it not been interrupted every other word.

4. What the heck was Erica wearing? For crying out loud, she's in her 60's-why is she running around in skin-tight leather pans & a strapless blouse?

Just finished watching. Tears, tears and more tears.

I started watching in high school and happily recorded it on my VCR for years until the DVR came along and changed my life.

My husband has come to know the characters just through my talking about them like they are a part of my real life.

Tad's toast... I loved seeing every cast member in that room FEEL it. I was a mess on the couch.

I can't put together coherent thoughts besides that. Except that I'm going to make up my own ending where J.R. finally lets everyone have their own lives and he actually killed himself. The end.

People are talking about their memories of All My Children. How many of you remember Nico and Cecilie? I think a lot of people forget Nico was Maurice Benard and he was smoking hot back then. :)

Like a lot of you, I said goodbye to Pine Valley a long time ago. The show just wasn't what it used to be. Now, I see in hindsight, that was probably Brian Fron's plan all along. I loved The View's salute to AMC. I loved seeing Greg & Jenny next to Jesse & Angie. Susan Lucci got choked up and Agnes Nixon cried in the end. So sad. End of an era.

When I think of that dreadful finale, I think back to the final words that Susan Lucci said at The View tribute, "This isn't the way I wanted to end".

Amen, sister.

I started watching in grade school. My mother introduced me to the world of ABC soaps. Greg & Jenny, Tad & Dixie and their many reunions, Adam & Brooke, Erica and all her men and Jessie and Angie were stories that kept me entertained. I absolutely love David Canary, although I first fell in love with him as Candy on Bonanza. He is one hell of an actor and still looks amazing to this day. I left All My Children some time ago when the stories were no longer entertaining, the writing had turned to crap, and the characters no longer believable. I just wish that TIIC would have been honest and upfront with the cast as well as the viewers. I'm sure this has been in the works for some time. Had they just come out years ago and said that they were moving away soap operas and given a futuristic date for final airings, the viewers may have possibly come to terms with it and everyone could have been in a much happier place. The soaps could have all gone out on top, possibly with no hard feelings and we wouldn't feel like we've been cheated. We could have enjoyed it up right up until the end. Instead the soaps were systematically destroyed and the great writing not visible until the end. Shame on you ABC.

It really would not have mattered when ABC under Disney chose to pull the plug on our beloved soaps. An agenda was in place beginning in 2002 with the hiring of Brian Frons while Anne Sweeney and Iger turned their heads.

I have yet to watch the AMC episode from 9/23/11 and will wait a while as I think about all of the characters that came into my home when I was a small child.

Boo on ABC/Disney for destroying our beloved soaps with cheap cooking shows that normally run on the Cooking Channel and the Food Network.

Dawn - YES!! Everytime I think of "Nico" as a mob boss, I giggle.


I too loved Nico and Cecily--I miss Maurice as Nico.

I watched AMC from the beginning-- stopped at the whole Josh saga-- it upset that a landmark storyline was being whitewashed.

Loved the last week. A shame the last few years couldn't have been like that

Hope the Chew chokes

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