Considering how often it’s happened in the last few years, it should be easier to accept every time we learn of another soap opera’s demise. Yet yesterday’s news that ABC will be canceling One Life to Live next year and All My Children in September was a blow to folks who hadn’t even watched in years. It was a double whammy hit in the continued chipping away at daytime. Hard to stomach, especially when many of us grew up with OLTL and AMC. These fictional families felt as if they were our own.
Television couldn’t have asked for a better way to lure me in than through soap operas. No other type of show offered such escapism. Some of my earliest memories after coming to America from the West Indies was of the soaps that my then-babysitter watched religiously.
(“May I have more cookies, please?” “Sure, sure… now hush. Luke is on TV.”) My then-teenage brother made it a point to just happen to be home instead of out with his friends whenever Dark Shadows was on… though he’d never have called it a soap.
And I can’t forget the first soap storyline that seemed to make me a soaps fan in my own right: the crazytown roller coaster ride of supercouple Cord (John Loprieno) and the deliciously scheming Tina (Andrea Evans) on OLTL. The draw: She was not a “good girl” by any means and he was fantastic man candy. Even though I hardly understood the meaning of man candy, I found myself continually invested in their ups and downs. I don’t even remember how I managed to keep abreast of it during my school days. I wasn’t doing much taping on the VCR. But I’d somehow find out exactly how Tina, desperate for love and money, had screwed things up now.
There’d be others (AMC‘s Jesse and Angie, anyone?) but Cord and Tina were the ones that really made soaps mine. I’d grow up to love the genre as a whole, particularly those built around powerful families. (Sorry Passions, I wasn’t into the fantastical clans — though I did have that Port Charles vampire phase). And I understand the economics of it all. But somehow knowing that there will be a world without Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) or Bo Buchanan (Robert Woods) just makes me wish OLTL had life in it yet.