Julie Kemp Pick
Last week ABC announced that they were canceling two of their longest running soap operas All My Children and One Life To Live. Together, they ran for more than 80 years, and were created by Agnes Nixon. Both shows have won Daytime Emmys and Soap Opera Digest Awards, and are still being driven off the air due to high costs and low ratings. There has been an overwhelming outcry to save these characters who many fans, myself included, consider their extended families.
I grew up watching Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) from AMC marry all 10 of her husbands. She went from a young beautiful brat, to a smart sophisticated model, to a 30-something jailbird with a heart of gold. Later she overcame alcoholism in time to risk her life for her children and grandchildren. She managed to do all of these things, while looking fabulous in high heels and a strapless gown. There are many memorable characters who have visited Pine Valley throughout the years, but Erica is the heart and soul of All My Children. Don't we deserve to find out if she ever gets a visible wrinkle?
One Life To Live is another soap that I started watching with my mother at an early age. The longest remaining character is Victoria Lord (Erika Slezak) a wealthy matriarch who has endured the loss of her grown daughter, several husbands, and suffers from a weak heart. The storylines continue to grow stronger and most recently involve the effects of bullying. The 14 year-old character Shane was almost driven to suicide. The performances were so well acted that my mother and I were actually brought to tears.
What makes OLTL stand out, is that the characters look realistic. The older actors look like real people instead of professional models. They are not stick thin, and overly botoxed. In fact, the Echo De Savoy character is a middle-aged homewrecker, who doesn't try to hide her curves, and is truly comfortable in her own skin. We don't have to like her, but we can't help but relate to her.
I'm still hoping that we can save these soaps. Maybe they can increase ad revenues Austin Powers style by having some of the characters walk around naked, with cereal boxes, magazines and household cleaning products covering their private parts. I'm sure they could come up with many product placement ideas, that would make up for viewers fast forwarding through their commercials.
One Life To Live has already thought of a solution to cut down on production costs. Both Viki and her daughter Jessica suffer from multiple personality disorder and play dual roles. I'm sure Erica on All My Children would love to play an alter ego. Viki has Niki and Jess has Tess, but nothing rhymes with Erica. Perhaps, the writers should start working on it while there's still time.
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