Tuesday, April 19, 2011
When finally bubbles cease
High school, for me, was a lifetime ago, and even though any attempt to call it back is silly, this morning I fell way back there when I read that ABC is canceling two of its ancient soaps, All My Children and One Life to Live, wiping them out after years and years of seemingly eternal yarn-spinning. What could be more canonical in the annals of American TV than the soaps?
ABC is plug-pulling reminded me of As the World Turns, which, I just read, got itself terminated more than a year ago already. I must have missed the obit. Forty-plus years ago, AWT would be on the screen at our house on those days I'd be holed up with the flu or a bad cold. I can still see that spinning globe and hear the opening lines of the musical theme, and I swear that, as a high school kid, I was far too busy to be sick very often. On those few days I was, I remember thinking how peculiar it was to be able to pick up the narrative line as if I hadn't missed a beat.
The characters' names are long gone now, but the roles, back then, were so perfectly delineated that I knew long before the first commercial break who stood on the side of truth and justice and even purity--and who wasn't there at all. Even if I hadn't paid attention for an entire semester, I knew the score.
I really never thought of it until just this moment, but the fact that AWT was always on had to mean my very religious mother tuned in religiously. I was young then, maybe more forgiving because it would have been impossible for me to think of her passions back then. Today, simply the idea of her soap addiction makes me giggle.
But soaps are finally on their way out. AWT's been gone since September of 2010, I just read, and now ABC is sounding the death knell for two more veterans.
Real virile hate requires an intimacy I don't have, so I'm not dancing on the graves of these long-running worthies. Besides, when I was 16, I remember being amused that I could miss an entire semester's worth of shows and, inside of three minutes, still get tangled up in the plot.
It's hard to believe the sages of every wisdom book to humankind, especially when it comes to soaps, but finally and assuredly, I guess, all things must pass. What more weighty proof can there be?
Really, I don't know whether to sniffle or smile.
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 6:51 AM