Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Withdrawal


It's as bad as if an old friend had died. One who stayed with you, no matter what. Always there when you needed them, one to carry you away from the tedious routine of life, one to make you forget your trials and tribulations, if only for an hour a day! Reliable! Yes, and flexible, too! Always available for you through the wonder of Digital Video Recording, or TIVO if you couldn't meet their 1:00pm schedule! When the day was more than just tumultuous, or a disaster, filled with planning that didn't work, and workers who didn't plan. Cars that failed, friends who weren't, or doctor's appointments that were for all intent and purposes an exercise in futility, you could always count on Erica and Tad and all their friends and family to whisk you away to Pine Valley, if only for a brief trip into a land where your thoughts and worries were simply suspended in time. The fantastic actors on one of America's longest running soap operas supplied the drama in every conceivable form of social commentary possible. From gay and lesbian situations, to social acceptance for injured war veterans, to racial injustice and women's rights, All My Children never shied from its social conscience.

On Friday, the September 23, 2011, a part of my wife's daily routine ignominiously faded away. She began watching AMC when she was pregnant with our daughter back in 1971. She remembers when Susan Lucci first appeared on the show, way back when.  Through old VHS tapes and later rewritable DVD's, while working as a stack supervisor for the library at Florida International University and for a short, miserable time for Eastern Airlines, she usually found a way to fit the daily suspension of routine by watching All My Children.  Skipping commercials, of course.  Even after spending 13 years with IBM as an executive secretary, Erica Cane's escapades and marriages were always there to offer the escape to a land where romance and treachery were non-stop.  Retirement from one career was no reason to change, and after ten years as a yoga instructor, All My Children was again blended into quiet evenings whenever there was a free hour or so. 


We still love to identify the myriad corps of actresses and actors who used the daily drama as a springboard to fame over the many years. 
 
We didn't get to see the final show. We were traveling, out of town when the show was broadcast. We had set up our usually reliable Digital Recorder to capture the show, but for some reason, a technical problem arose during the show and we only got to see disjointed, incomprehensible segments of the finale. Sadly, my wife turned off the TV and picked up a magazine. I said, “We can find it on the Internet, come on, let's go sign on!” But, no, it was like an appropriate end, one that really wasn't consummated. As if, maybe, they weren't finished after all. If she didn't see the ending, perhaps it hadn't occurred.


She knew something was wrong when earlier this year the show was uprooted from New York and relocated unceremoniously in L.A. “That's the handwriting on the wall!” She said. She was right. Executives at ABC decided what the viewers wanted was another cooking show. No, what they really wanted was a better return on the production costs, and a cooking show is far cheaper to produce, and therefore needs a smaller audience to be profitable. The audience will be smaller by one, certainly. No matter how depressed and sad she may be, my wife will not watch daytime ABC. Aah, withdrawal. Or, as someone said, the wrath of a woman scorned. I'm surprised she still watches Dancing with The Stars.

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