Saying Goodbye to the Soaps.
{The Post My Mother Shouldn't See.}

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Last month, when it was announced that both All My Children and One Life to Live were being canceled, I felt like I had just received news that an old friend was in the hospital. Sure, I haven't watched either one of those programs in a good 15 years, but I have had a long (and very secret... until now) love affair with soap operas. And, like so many things, I blame this on my mother. (Just kidding, Mama. I only blame you for this one and the fact that I can never have short hair again thanks to that hideous 'do you had me sport for the first six years of my - seemingly gender confused - childhood.) Even my best friend, who hasn't seen a soap since our daily Days of our Lives habit back in college, said to me, "Is this for real? Are we being punk'd?!" I told her I honestly wasn't sure. Soap operas have been a television institution since long before we were born. So, let's start this story there, at the beginning. At my beginning.

Although my grandmother was a loyal fan of The Young and the Restless (a show that has very recently made a brief return to my life thanks to my newest girlfriend, Lindsey), my mom didn't allow me to watch soaps, end of story. This was non-negotiable and, let me tell you, when my mother means something, she damn well means it. In her eyes, these shows were "trashy" and she didn't want her daughters being negatively influenced by them. Let me interject here that my mother is an AMAZING mom and we are usually on the same page for most issues. However, my mom didn't understand then what seems pretty darn obvious now (sorry, Ma). If you tell your kids they can't do something, they are going to find a way to at least check out said taboo something. She told me the same thing about tabloids and I've been hooked since I was in junior high. So, I'm basically going to tell my future eighteen year old daughter to run off to Paris with a handsome man twice her age because, as far as I can tell, that's the only way to get your kids not to do something.

Back to soaps... Even as a little girl, I knew how to break the rules. Sure, I wasn't supposed to watch these shows at home, but my mother never said specifically that I couldn't watch them in other houses. Cue my far more sophisticated cousins. Thanks to them, Days of our Lives was introduced to my second grade self and my first crush, Bo Brady, was born and everything changed.

However, with the exception of trips to see my cousins, I had to remain sullenly soap free at home. That is until I got sick for one glorious week in the sixth grade and was left in the care of my hearing challenged grandfather who was busy watching Judge Wapner in the next room. That was the wonderful week I fell in love with All My Children and Tad and Dixie, unbeknownst to my mother. Later in the year, I even managed to convince my mother to record Tad and Dixie's wedding under the guise that it was for a friend. I still don't know how I pulled that one off, but if you know my mother then you know that, although she tried, she failed at working the VCR for just one of hundreds of times to come. (Again, I love you, Mom.)

Not long after, I found One Life to Live and fell madly in love with Joe Lando and his mullet. I could probably still cry thinking about him (as Jake) holding Megan as she died in the hospital.

A few years later, I sauntered over to Port Charles while discovering General Hospital and the straight up hottie that was Antonio Sabato Jr. as Jagger Cates. Swoon.

My love for him was only replaced by my love of one of his loves, Brenda Barrett. Ooh, and Brenda and Sonny. And Brenda and Jax. Oh, and then there was that one time with Brenda and Jason. And then Brenda and Sonny again. To this day, when Vanessa Marcil returns to GH as Brenda, I'll start watching ABC at 2:00 again even if only for a few months.

Before I graduated high school, I gave up sneaking ABC soaps and made a triumphant return to NBC for Days of our Lives just in time to see Marlena possessed by the devil in what has to be the best (and most ridiculous) storyline in the history of daytime television. I got all my friends hooked on this one and we all rushed back from class in college to see what kind of trouble Sami was causing in Salem. I still catch DOOL from time to time and I'm pretty sure the only thing that takes longer than sands through the hourglass is that show wrapping up a storyline. Moving on... A few years later, I (and I admit this with a certain amount of shame) even took up the very guilty pleasure, Passions. I like to blame this on my nanny years because, c'mon, a girl has to have something to do when the babies are napping, right? This soap took hilarity to a whole new level. Remember Timmy the doll who came to life and drank martinis he called marTimmys? You don't? Well, you missed out, friends. You. Missed. Out.

And there you have it, my history with soaps. I'm sad to see this television tradition slowly become extinct. For so many people - watching these shows five days a week, sometimes for 30+ years - these characters became like family. Heck, I usually share Thanksgiving dinner with the Hortons over in Salem before I have my own with my family. So, to All My Children and One Life to Live, you will be missed. Oh, and Erica Kane, you'll never be forgotten.

{PS - Contrary to my mother's concerns, watching daytime television never made me want to fake my own pregnancy, steal my sister's husband or come back from the grave with a mysterious case of amnesia.}


  1. Hahaha! That was awesome, Kathleen. The summer before sophomore year, my friend and I got hooked on one of the soaps. I honestly don't remember which. I turned it on a year or two later, and I swear there were elements of the same storyline in there.

  2. my friend and i used to watch passions in HS and seriously it was the best. i loved that you could even miss a year or so and come back to it and you'd still get what was happening, haha. and the whole witch/timmy and supernatural stuff just made it even better, haha.

  3. wow that bo brady photo really took me back!

  4. I so heart Passions.
    I was even a little sad when 'Timmy' died in real life (i think it was true anyway).

  5. OMG I used to be OBSESSED with soaps. Now I only watch Young and the Restless with my mom and grandma when I'm home. But for real I used to be seriously obsessed. I can't remember being young enough to NOT watch them. I bought the Soap Opera Digest with my allowance every week and I named all of my dolls after soap characters. AMC was my favorite for a LONG time but I stopped watching it when they started doing that weird new style of filming. I was reading through my diaries that I kept throughout my life and was reading some entries outloud to my bf and so many of them had to do with soap operas. I was OBSESSED with Hayley and Mateo on AMC and Erica Kane is my favorite character ever. Also? I had a crush on Victor Newman when I was like 7. Which reminds me of the time that Victoria drowned in the pool and I tried to recreate it. Anyways... awesome post!!

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