What I Miss Most About All My Children

I have been a fan of All My Children from day one. That’s a long time. Oh, sure there were the annual breaks for school, but my grandma would always fill me in after I got home. I remember asking, “And then what happened?” “What did Paul say to Ann?” “What did Phoebe do?” “Why isn’t Erica nicer to her mom?” and “Can’t Hillary see Tad has changed?” When the VCR came out and was affordable…well let’s just say I was in soap heaven.  

Looking back, I can see the main things that drew me in: RELEVANT stories, continuity, and using all the characters on the canvas with many stories going at once. 

Back then the writers did a fabulous job telling stories that were RELEVANT to the time: Phil and Tara being separated by the Vietnam War and the uncertainty of Phil’s return, Tara facing an unplanned pregnancy when no one knew she was married to Phil and unwed motherhood was frowned upon, Erica wanting to leave her mark on the world and believing a child would hold her back, so she got an abortion behind her husband’s back in a time when abortion just wasn’t talked about and certainly not done for “selfish” reasons, Chuck falling in love with Donna, a former teenage prostitute and his Grandmother, Phoebe, full of disdain because they had to think of their social status first. All of these stories and many more were situations that the viewers could identify with; they were realistic and were making a comment on our human condition at the time.   

The stories that today’s writers tell are not nearly so relevant and cutting edge as they once were. I hoped we were going to be treated to that type of story with Greenlee and Kendall. So many women are unable to conceive and surrogacy is definitely an option for them, but the writers went in a totally different direction.  I seriously doubt many of us will ever run into someone quite like Dr. Madden in our life time. I am aware that baby abductions exist (we did that two years ago with Miranda), but I don’t think it has the sweeping effect of Jamie considering enlisting in the army and Tad's concerned for his son’s welfare and opposed to the war (like the majority of Americans today) trying to talk him out of it would. Both would have valid points and whatever Jamie does, the viewers are left to draw their own conclusions.  Or what about Tad being diagnosed with prostate cancer? What an impact that would have!  We could watch Tad struggle to survive (full of drama) and deal with the aftermath (again full of drama) and also tell men to get checked out and women to make sure their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons get checked on an annual basis. Those are the kind of stories I miss…cutting edge, relevant stories that make a difference.  

I also miss continuity. I know this can be a broad category and I mean it in the broadest sense possible. I am talking about the continuity of Kendall having the same hairstyle in tomorrow’s scene that she had in today’s scene when she clearly has not left the room. I am also talking about Tad being almost kind and certainly understanding of Zach in today’s scene and being rude and hateful to him in next week’s scene when, at least on screen, they have not had a confrontation that would provoke such ill will.  And then there was Adam on the verge of trying to woo Brooke back. I had my hopes up because they have such great chemistry together and Adam is his devilish best when trying to be saintly for Brooke. But that storyline was dropped in such a fashion that it made no sense whatsoever and now I am supposed to believe the man who once proclaimed Brooke English, a lady of great class, to be the love of his life has changed his mind and truly found his soul mate in Krystal (with a K) Cary? David Canary and Bobbie Eakes are doing a great job with the material, but it doesn’t work for me because the writers just shifted gears out of the blue. To me, lack of continuity is just sloppy and inexcusable. 

Finally, what I miss greatly is seeing characters in whom I have become invested in over the years. I admit, I have not been crazy about Dr. Joe’s behavior in some scenes lately, but I have been doing the happy dance anyway because he is on the screen again…and with a story to boot! Where is Ruth? Shouldn’t she be by his side supporting Dr. Joe? I have my hopes up lately because we are seeing more of Myrtle, Palmer, David, and Brooke. What about Marion, Stuart, Tom, Livia, Reggie, Dani, Simone, etc.  Why can’t we have a Chandler and Kane Thanksgiving, and a Martin and Cortlandt Christmas? That way, all the characters could be on and give us something to really be thankful for during the holidays. 

So, while I rant about how it could be better, I will be tuned in daily because I have hopes that one day, All My Children will one day go back to its glorious roots. 


By: Julie Wilson Hopkins

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