Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Saying Good-Bye to All My Children
by Nicole Walker

Sadly, All My Children is ending this week after nearly 41 years on the air. This was a soap I inherited from my mom as a wee child in the 80s due to the magical invention- the VCR. You see, my mom was a working woman and didn’t get off of work until 4:30 to pick me up from my Afterschool program at 5:00 to finally get home at 5:30.

And that’s when she would decompress from the day by watching her two soaps- All My Children and As The World Turns. Since I had already completed my homework earlier that afternoon, I’d hang out on the couch and watch them with her, eventually becoming hooked to the point that when she finally broke things off with All My Children (apparently she was sick of Erica getting over on Brooke) I kept taping the show for myself (even going so far as earning money for my own VCR and TV so I could tape the show in my room- which was cool since I kept my grades up and was a banner child).

I hung with the show well into the mid-90s before I went off to college, dropping my daily habit as I only could afford time to watch one soap in those days and that was just gonna have to be General Hospital so I could get my Jax &Brenda fix.

So I parted my obsessive ways with AMC, but always knew what was going on as; kind of like how you always check in with old friends to see how they’re doing, if they have anything exciting to report or if they’re still acting stupid so you just wave and keep moving on. Every so often I’d visit for a good month or three when I had the time, but it rarely gripped me like it did in the late 80s and 90s.

And boy did that show hook me. For almost 10 years I taped that show religiously and happily made Pine Valley my home. Erica and her many romances. The Palmer v Adam fights. Adam and Brooke. Natalie and Trevor. Ross and Ellen and Mark. Charlie and Julie. Angie and Jesse. Cliff and Nina. Palmer and Opal. Dimitri and Edmund and Maria and Erica. Kendall and Bianca.

The list goes on and on. AMC was a huge chunk of my childhood, a soap my mother gave me and that we bonded over. To this day she’ll ask me what’s going on with Erica, astutely knowing that I’m up to speed, and we’ll good-naturedly argue and gossip like old times.

It sucks losing this soap. It sucks losing all these soaps lately, but after the other shared soap from my childhood (ATWT) ended last year, all my mother had left of the old days was AMC. And now that’s gone, too.

But I’m not writing this to make myself more depressed but to celebrate the soap opera that was a large part of my youth and thank the many people who wrote, directed, acted, produced, and created such a compelling, fun, serial drama that made after school evenings with my mother so very special.

Thanks, All My Children. You were loved and you will be missed.

(PS. I know you’re scheduled for a run with Prospect Park- and I hope that truly does happen- but I gotta give props to the 40+ year war horse that you were on broadcast television. Whatever you evolve into with Prospect Park, I had to show my love for you as I knew you)

Here is the point where I should bow out gracefully, cue the fade to black but I must do one more thing.

Everyone’s been doing a countdown of top this and that about AMC as we get to its final airing and I feel compelled to do the same. However, these aren’t top 25 random moments but my five firsts of soap opera watching that may not be the most popular or memorable for others, but they were memorable for me.

So to start, I want to shine a spotlight on the first soap couple that was MY couple even if they weren’t billed as AMC’s next great super couple (due to Tad and Dixie hogging the limelight)…

AMC’s Nico Kelly and Cecily Davidson

Nico and Cecily.

The year was 1989. Robert Duncan McNeil’s Charlie Brent, Jr. (Cecily’s object of romantic obsession) left town to fly Federation Starships through the delta quadrant/start over and Nico was reeling from the end of his marriage to Julie Rand Chandler, who had also left town to marry Jim Carrey/for a fresh start.

Anyhoo, this left Cecily and Nico, who had been thrown together and across each other’s paths due to their participation in the Cecily/Charlie/Julie/Nico quartet, alone, devastated, and out of sorts. Cecily, the beautiful, comical, snarky, sometimes daffy and infuriating, but endearing debutante and Nico, the rough around the edges, wrong side of the tracks bad boy trying to reform and make good were ripe for the classic romance trope of old- opposites attracting, hating, uniting for mutual benefit and slowly, shockingly falling in love.

As soon as Cecily begged, nagged, pleaded, wheedled the reluctant Nico to marry her so she could get her trust fund money you knew it was only a matter of time before....

The tease was excruciating for these two to get together (as you can see in the promo below)…

But when they finally admitted their feelings for each other, you were happy and grinning from ear to ear that they both finally wised up and stopped fighting it and gave in to their love culminating in the squee worthy Hawaii ‘For reals!’ wedding.

Unfortunately, Nico and Cecily’s story kind of shifted into the ‘supporting sidekick couple’ for rising super couple Tad and Dixie. Practically as soon as Nico and Cecily got firm ground under them they decided to leave Pine Valley for fame and fortune in California. I was miffed that we didn’t get a chance at a Kelly baby (even more miffed that as per usual on soaps when you bring back one half of a united departing couple. Nico and Cecily broke up with Cecily returning to Pine Valley with her tail between her legs. I choose to ignore it. Although she did get her Charlie and a baby in the end so that’s something to be happy about for Cecily.)

How could you not love this couple? The Lucy and Desi of Pine Valley? (Which is ironic as Maurice Benard (Nico’s portrayer) did play Desi Arnez in a CBS Lucy and Desi Biopic. And yes, I watched it expressly for him because I loved him that much at the time!)

Watch more cuteness below. How adorable is Maurice playing a man who enjoys getting his balls busted by his wife?

Tomorrow I post my first run –home- from- school -storyline on AMC. Can you guess what it is…?


Nicole Walker is Associate Producer of Another World Today.

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