(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Thursday, April 14, 2011 is a day that will live in infamy for ABC soap fans as, in the blink of any eye, the network canceled long running serials “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” By the time they air their final episodes in September and January, respectively, a combined 84 years of drama will become nothing more than a piece of television history. The news certainly gave viewers of both soaps a lot of “Chew” on, prompting many of them to start a “Revolution” and shun the very network that helped give them more than four decades of memories from Pine Valley and Llanview. In this special edition of My View of Llanview, I will take a sentimental look at “One Life to Live” as it nears its abrupt, but nonetheless bittersweet, ending.
As I set here writing this column, the weather outside my window perfectly captures my mood as I try to come to terms that my reel ‘Life’ is nearing an end. On this cloudy, raw spring day, I think back to some of the key moments while growing up when I realized just how very much “One Life to Live” meant to me. And I recall how it all began rather innocently as a young child, watching the show during school breaks and snow days as my mom tended to her housework. That was nearly twenty-five years ago, at a time before the advent of the Internet when, aside from spoilers in certain magazines like Soap Opera Digest, you really didn’t know what was going to happen next on the show. Perhaps those where simpler times, before the arrival of the Digital Age. Soap operas, along with other television shows, just seemed to be so much better back then. But I digress.
In the early 1980s, cable was still a few years away from reaching my hometown. Satellite dishes were rather large and not a good fit for a small backyard. So my family, as well as many of my neighbors, relied on outdoor antennas which, on a good day, meant you might be able to receive a half dozen or so channels. Aside from picking up the local KET (Kentucky Educational Television) transmitter station, there really wasn’t much else to watch. The nearest commercial station and, more times than not, the only one with a clear enough signal to actually watch, was an ABC affiliate. And thus, my soap opera addiction began. While I can vaguely remember watching the entire ABC soap line-up of the time (“Ryan’s Hope,” “All My Children,” “One Life to Live,” and “General Hospital”), it was “OLTL” that stood out the most in my mind…perhaps because it aired at 1:00 pm (in the Central Time Zone), when we usually ate lunch. In some ways, it is ironic that “OLTL” was the ABC soap that won me over instead of “GH,” which (much to my near constant dismay), was responsible for my parents deciding what to name me…both my first and middle names, as well as my nickname. Why I couldn’t have been named after someone from “One Life to Live” is beyond me. Sigh…lol
Anyway, during the nearly quarter of a century that I have been peeking into see what’s happening Llanview, there have been many storylines that have stood out in my mind. Among them have been the brutal gang rape of Marty Saybrooke, Viki’s epic battle with D.I.D., the rocky road that finally led Bo and Nora to the altar, Alex and Asa’s Egyptian-themed wedding, Billy Douglas coming out of the closet and the ensuing wave of homophobia that engulfed the entire town, and the hilarious “Trading Places” episode, just to name a few.
But now, as the time is to says farewell to Llanview is fast approaching, I can’t help but wonder if these final months will produce any more memorable moments, such as those I just mentioned. And what about some of the “One Life to Live’s” most memorable characters and actors from the past? Just who among them will be making a return as the show winds down? For me, I would love to see Tina (Andrea Evans) and Dr. Larry Wolek (Michael Storm), along with several others, one last time. If ever there was a time for them to return, it is now.
Fortunately the show will have one last birthday to celebrate — #43 on July 15th. What a depressing day that will be, however, knowing the show won’t live to see 44. It will be much the same on the holidays as well, since it will be the last time we will to welcome them into our homes (aside from reruns of course) and consider them part of the family during times like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Ah the memories though….
Lastly, the cancellation notice also brought about a time of reflection for me regarding my years of service as the “One Life to Live” news and previews reporter and columnist for Soap Opera Network. It was nearly six years ago when I first began my duties as an SON staffer. It has been a fun ride, writing articles about so many things “OLTL” related over the years such as both the show’s and Erika Slezak’s 40th anniversaries, the move to “All My Children’s” old studios next door to “The View,” the show’s 10,000th episode, and the infamous high school musical events. I have also had the opportunity to write a number of articles on subjects that I really didn’t know much about, like prom dresses, MMA fights, and HD camera equipment. Overall, it has certainly been a learning experience, that is for sure. It will be difficult not having a show to report on come January. But at least one good thing will come out of it, the loss of my “job” covering “OLTL,” will free up more time to focus on my “real” life and job. Even so, I will miss my “One Life” family and the many fans I have met and interacted with along the way. Despite all the ups and downs, it has certainly been one hell of a ride!
January 2012 will mark not only the end of “One Life to Live,” but the end of my soap watching days as well. I will not be watching or reporting on any of the remaining four soaps. No longer will I watch ABC Daytime, regardless of whatever piece of crap shows they may air over the coming years in the show’s old timeslot. ABC has officially lost me as a viewer the moment immediately after the final scene of the last episode of “OLTL” airs. And I’m certainly not alone….thousands of other fans will be doing the exact same thing. So congratulations ABC, you have officially murdered the soap opera genre.
Well that’s concludes this special edition of “My View of Llanview.” However, if I hadn’t been so determined to stay ahead with regards to my reporting duties at SON last week and wrote the last column the same evening it was to be posted, instead of the night before, this particular column wouldn’t have even been necessary. Guess that’s what I get for trying to stay caught up in my work. At least this gave me a chance to vent, however.
Thank you for taking the time to read both this column, and all the ones I have written over the years. All of your thoughts and comments have really been appreciated. I have never really considered myself being a great writer. I simply think of myself as a typical “One Life” fan who just felt like periodically ranting and raving about the status of the show. And if my semi-incoherent ramblings made sense, then great, however, if not, then at least it made me feel better by unleashing all the feelings and frustrations I bottled up while watching the show.
Well that wraps up another column. Sorry there was no juicy gossip or reports of behind-the-scenes cancellation drama included in the preceding paragraphs. I just wanted to take the opportunity to express my reaction to the news and how it has affected me personally. However, that doesn’t me I don’t want to hear from you as well. So please take a few moments to share your thoughts on “OLTL’s” cancellation as well. It is time to sound off!
And until next time remember, we only have “One Life to Live”…