Monday, September 24, 2012


Originally published 9/24/11


Thank you, NY Post for quoting me in their coverage of All My Children's last episode:

Below is the complete text of what I wrote following the show's airing on Friday:

When it came to the final week of “All My Children,” I managed to keep from crying up until the final five minutes of Wednesday’s show. (With “Guiding Light,” I started during Phillip’s 4th of July toast and kept going into September.)

When David Canary launched into his monologue about Stuart, the identical twins playing hide and seek as children and Adam always being able to feel when Stuart was there, I lost it. (Can we give David Canary an Emmy for a week’s worth of work? Tom Pelphrey won his second award for what was two weeks, give or take, so we’ve got precedent. If not, how about reinstating the Outstanding Guest Star category?) My tears continued up through Adam and Stuart’s bedside reunion and into Stuart reuniting with Scott (Canary and Daniel Cosgrove managing to achieve instant chemistry despite not have played father and son since Cosgrove's first stint in 1996. A master class in acting all around.)

I smiled when Erica once again mentioned Pine Valley not being the corner of Hollywood and Vine, a callback to the classic black and white clip of AMC’s early days featuring Susan Lucci sporting some seriously big hair, as well as her diva, fall-back explanation for all things, “I am Erica Kane.” I hummed “Send In the Clowns” during Jack and Erica’s showdown (“I thought that you’d want what I want/Sorry, my dear…”), I saw “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” coming as soon as Erica asked Jack what she was supposed to do now, but nearly clapped with delight when the expected, “Tomorrow is another day,” turned into “Watch me!” A challenge if I ever heard one, and a perfect tag for a show intending to continue its life on-line.

I started getting Moldavian Massacre flashbacks (and began looking for Ali McGraw) the minute a gun-totting JR decided to crash a party featuring the entire town, and will freely admit I want to know who the mystery woman David hinted about hiding is.

Tad’s speech was sweet, but it suffered from the same problem the rest of the week had. When Tad talked about meeting Jesse and Angie in high-school, I wanted to see it. The same way I wanted to see, not just hear about, Tad and Dixie in Myrtle’s dress shop, Erica learning that Kendall was her daughter, and Bianca stripping down to come out. All of those things were talked about – needing, pleading, begging for flashbacks. That never came.

There are many, many wonderful things about soap operas. But, one of their greatest strengths – something that puts feature films and live theater to shame – is that when they talk about an event from the past they don’t need to merely talk about it (or cheesily recreate it). They can show the past exactly as it happened. Those of us who remember these phenomenal moments (especially from the days before VCRs and DVRs and YouTube – yes, boys and girls, some of us actually used to put tape recorders up to the TV) are dying to see and relive them again. And those who didn’t catch them the first time have an opportunity to experience the magic that made Tad and Dixie, Angie and Jesse, Kendall and Zach, beloved supercouples.
Where were the flashbacks? Yes, we got musical montage snippets at the end on Monday through Thursday, and the opening on Friday. But, there could have been so much more. Soap fans are not stupid. They can handle seeing more than one Jake, more than one Kendall and Bianca, more than one Tad, even. (Yup, there was a Tad before Michael E. Knight and, quite frankly, I was dying to see the abused little boy Ray Gardner threw out of his car and Ruth and Joe adopted.) They can also handle seeing families no longer on the canvas, the Cortlands, the Cudahys, the Brents, the Tylers. They are all our children, as we were so often reminded today. Or at least our good friends. You don’t throw photos out of a family album just because the members no longer live within shouting distance.

Finally, as someone who was given the honor of helping PGP revive their own cancelled show, “Another World,” on-line in 2009 with “Another World Today,” there is one thing I want to say to Prospect Park and their plan to do the same with AMC and OLTL. Listen to the fans. Include them. Yes, this is Agnes Nixon’s show, her vision, her baby, but it is also the result of forty-one years of people putting their time and their devotion and their hearts into what she started. Real life children are the products not just of their parents, but of their environment and their experiences and their interaction with people who care about them. “All My Children” deserves to be the same.