When I Watched… “All My Children”

all_my_childrenIn the eight days leading up to my “return to soaps” experiment I’m going to examine each of the eight soaps currently on the air, describe what I liked and didn’t like about when I watched, and what caused me to stop watching.

First up is All My Children.  I started watching All My Children when I was a kid. I must have been about seven years old when my  teenage sister would grab her lawn chair and suntan lotion and tell me “Watch this show and tell me everything that happens until I get back.” Then, she’d lay out in the sun while I would stare at the people of Pine Valley, trying like hell to figure out what exactly was going on.  After my descriptions started off with “The blond lady was mad at the guy with dark hair,” my sister gave me a crash course of who was who in Pine Valley.

As I grew older, I continued to watch All My Children every summer when school was out – there were no VCRs back in the 70’s, at least not in my household.  I’d be thrilled when I had a day off from school in the fall or winter and I could catch up on the goings on in Pine Valley.  I loved Erica and her schemes.  I enjoyed Chuck Tyler’s romance with Donna Beck, complicated by the evil Billy Clyde Tuggle and his cohort Tyrone (who much to my horror was played by actor Rocoe Orman, who also played lovable Gordon on Sesame Street). As the 70’s passed the 80’s began, I grew older and began to understand the stories a bit more.  I was glued to the TV as Cliff romanced Nina, much to the chagrin of Nina’s bizarrely overprotective father, Palmer.  Greg and Jenny’s romance soon followed, along with Angie and Jesse, and Opal’s wacky goodness.  Erica was still in the picture, now a supermodel in New York, but always with a scheme up her sleeve.

By the mid-eighties, Cliff and Nina had broken up, Jenny had died, Opal left town, and Erica went from being a schemer to a self-centered heroine.  New characters came on board, but there were no new Martins or Tylers, and I got bored.  I stopped watching every day for a few years.  I came back to the show full time in the early nineties and enjoyed the Natalie/Janet storyline, along with Hayley and Matteo, and Erica’s discovery of her long-lost daughter Kendall.  I never went back to watching every day, but I kept up with the show until 1996. By that time, most of my favorites had been written off and replaced with new characters that had little or no ties with long-standing characters.  That was the last time I watched regularly.

On December 1, I’m going to give All My Children a full week of my time.  I’ve heard about Bianca and Reese, the tornado, and the hirings of Beth Ehlers and Ricky Paull Goldin, but it will be interesting to see how different Pine Valley is now from when I was a fan.

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2 Responses to “When I Watched… “All My Children””

  1. I remember Greg and Jenny and then Jenny had a lookalike who was going to marry Greg then they got new Gregs and the first Greg was on AW now ATWT. Good Memories!

  2. The tornado was good effects but the stories are not what they used to be.

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