Friday, September 23, 2011

Ross's Encore BLOW OFF post: Good Bye All My Children

*In honor of the last episode of All My Children airing in just 30 minutes on the west coast...we'd like to do an encore post from our wonderful contributor Ross on what the show meant to him.

Please ignore the "By Saaara" up above, I'm just the one re-posting it.

Original Post Date: April 18, 2011:

I was in 7th grade the first time I took a trip to Pine Valley. It was my second week of middle school and, after seeing me eat lunch alone for the first several days, my advisory teacher, Opal (remember that name), plopped herself down at my side and asked if I liked soap operas.

“Never watched one,” I told her. “My mom watches one. I’m not sure what it’s called, but she tapes it every day.”

Opal stood up and asked if I’d like to join her and a few other students for lunch in the classroom. With no better offers, I accepted — and my world was forever changed.

I know it seems silly to credit a soap opera for dragging me out of my shell, but it’s the truth. On that day, Opal introduced me to Agnes Nixon’s world of make believe. A world where a wife and mother can survive for four months with little food or water at the bottom of a well while her sister undergoes reconstructive surgery to look like her and take her place. A world where you can get to Manhattan, Pennsylvania, the ocean or the mountains in a commercial break. A world where one woman can be a model, actress, cosmetics tycoon, Vegas showgirl, magazine editor, author, talk show host, run a multi-million dollar electronics conglomerate, marry nine times, have three kids(two of which she didn’t know about until she was in her 40’s), be convicted of murder and acquitted more than once, and still be considered America’s sweetheart.

I know some of what was happening on All My Children wasn’t terribly appropriate for me to be watching at 11 years old (I think someone probably should have better prepared me for the rape storyline that fall), but with no friends my own age I could really relate to, the citizens of Pine Valley became my friends.

I didn’t stay in Opal’s classroom at lunch for long. I started making friends and eating lunch with them. But by the time that happened, I was hooked. Whenever I could, I’d sneak back into the classroom for 15-20 minutes of drama. Or I’d watch with my mother at home (yep — that’s the soap she watched, it turns out). It bonded us. My mom and I had been going through a bit of a rough patch — we weren’t exactly close. And while talking about the trials and tribulations of Erica Kane’s love life seems like an odd way for a mother and son to bond (I’m gay — it makes so much more sense now), it worked. It became our thing — during dinner, on the weekends… we watched every day, without fail, together until I graduated high school.

I stopped in college for a while… working your class load around a full time job, social life and Susan Lucci can get hectic, so I decided to pick up roots and leave Pine Valley for four years. By the time I graduated, I’d almost forgotten about Brooke and Hayley, Ryan and Opal (the red headed psychic/beautician/restauranteur/birth mother to Tad the Cad, not the seventh grade teacher), but my mother managed to get me hooked again when she told me there was a gay character in Pine Valley — Bianca Montgomery, daughter of Erica Kane.

What? Seriously. Erica Kane’s daughter is a lesbian? I tuned back in just in time. Bianca Montgomery came out on All My Children months after I’d come out to my own mother. My mom handled it better than Erica — Erica eventually came around, but in true soap opera fashion, after she’d attempted to force Bianca to start dating men again and pushed her to talk to a counselor about her “problem.” But the storyline was real, the acting was stellar — it was honest, it was raw, and it was daytime television at its best.

There are weeks when I cannot miss a moment of All My Children. There are weeks when I’m a passive viewer, fast-forwarding through the storylines I don’t care about. But through it all, All My Children has been a part of my life. And while I know it’s “just a TV show” and many of these actors will pop up other places, to say I’m losing a part of me is an understatement. And I am relatively certain die hard fans of One Life to Live feel the same.

As of a few weeks ago, I am testing the waters in Port Charles. I like what I see — juicy storylines, great acting. But as a long time resident of Pine Valley, it’s going to take a while for me to call this new town home. But I’m hoping.


  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog, I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  2. Great! Thanks so much for reading!