I would be remiss if I did not take time to note here that yesterday marked the end of the ABC Soap Operas One Life to Live and All My Children. If you’ve never been into soap operas, it’s sort of difficult to explain the levels of bummerism that this is creating in a lot of people. The best way I can explain it is that it’s like following a sports team, the same sports team, for years and years years. You watch all of the drama, you watch players come and go, you watch players come back as coaches or owners. Except, of course, in soap operas you also have everyone marrying each other, having kids, getting shot, and all that kind of stuff. Not so much of that in say, baseball.
When you talk about social networking, people who have been into soap operas know what that means on a deep level. Fans of a show were part of families like the Chandlers from All My Children. We all knew that Erica would very likely find some other guy to catch her eye, often on her wedding day. We would heave big sighs at 1:15 on a Thursday knowing that so and so was going to get through surgery and be fine. Even before Al Gore invented the internet, everyone who watched the soaps, along with the people on the soaps, were all tied together.
Soap Operas are unlike any other medium out there. My mom has been watching stories involving the same characters for 40 years, since All My Children began. I remember watching AMC when I was home sick from school. During summer vacation, my mom and I would eat lunch and yell at AMC. My freshman year in college, I made sure not to schedule any 1 PM classes so I could watch and not feel so homesick. It was like that for a lot of people. It was a way of checking in, not just with the characters but all of the people who watched the show with you. Even if you didn’t talk about it every day, the storylines on these shows were part of the fabric that made up your life.
It’s true that the soaps are going to try to become online serials. I’m not sure if that will work or not. I feel like it’ll be a rough struggle. And anyway, it won’t be the same.
I’ll miss you, ABC Soaps. I will feel really sad when shows like South Park and the Simpsons at long last come to an end, but those characters never aged, and for the most part never matured or changed. Certainly none of the characters experienced multiple personality disorders or baby swaps. There’s just nothing quite like you, and I don’t think there will ever be again.
Thanks for the memories.
Image Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Ambrozjo