Soaps, as a whole (daytime and primetime) have played a huge part of my television life. My very first soap memory, at the age of four, was Julie Olson’s face on our big old box tv. I’ve been a soap fan for over thirty years. THIRTY. My relationships with my shows outlasts any other relationship I’ve ever been a part of.
And now, they are slowly going away.
I can pinpoint the day that I started watching soaps. I was four. My dad had to come and pick me up from a disastrous first day at daycare. I railed all the way home about the book they gave me to play with, the nap they tried to make me take, the fish and milk they fed me. When I got home, I’d planned to repeat the story for my mother, but she was already busy watching her stories. So I sat down in front of the tv and watched Julie Olson pour out her heart. I was hooked.
Most of my life from then on was scheduled around soaps. If there were important events happening, I would be there to watch. Even if it was because I had to stay home from school because I was “sick.” Some of my college classes were scheduled around my shows. I made collages. I made my younger nieces get dressed up to watch Jack and Jennifer’s wedding on Days. I DID.
At first, I was loyal to NBC soaps. Another World, Santa Barbara, Days of Our Lives. Then I threw in a little Young and the Restless and All My Children and Bold and the Beautiful. Then came One Life to Live, General Hospital, As The World Turns, and Guiding Light when the others weren’t on, or occasionally not holding my interest. I kept up with each and every one. I bought all the soap rags. I wrote letters. I’m pretty sure I had one published in Soap Opera Weekly. I think it was my teenage manifesto on why I loved Jack Deveraux.
But then, something happened. Santa Barbara was gone. And less than a decade later, so was Another World. And their replacements were nowhere near as good. Sunset Beach was a mess. And I’m not ashamed to admit that in college I got into Passions, so much so that the second my last class let out for the day, I headed over to the college theatre, to the tech director’s office, to watch with the head lighting designer, the student secretaries, and various carpenters. But then Passions got too weird, and the whole Salem Island thing happened on Days and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I jumped off the NBC Soap Ship and was snapped up by ABC Daytime.
All My Children, General Hospital, and One Life to Live became my life. My daytime tv life, that is. My day couldn’t really get started unless I got to see my shows.
When I joined OLTL full time, John McBain had barely gotten settled and hooked up with Evangeline. Crazy Margaret had just entered the scene, and had kidnapped Todd and forced him to try to get her pregnant, and locked Blair in the trunk of a car(And later on, she gave birth to my hero, Spidey Sam Manning).
This is what I was looking for. Action! Suspense! Drama! Love! Insanity! There was so much going on, and it didn’t stop there. I got to meet Niki Smith and Jean Randolph, not to mention Tess and Bess! And don’t forget the Blair-Tea catfights. Rex and Jenn. Rex and Adriana. Rex and Gigi. And David Vickers!
Ok. I’m getting extremely sad writing this. For every name I mention, a hundred scenes flood my mind, so many moments…for instance, when I think of Rex, I think of all his women…and one of these women, for the shortest time in the world, was one of my college theatre buddies. She played some slutty chick who worked at UV. I was seriously never so proud of her as when I saw her trying to seduce Rex.
In retrospect, that may have been the day my reality and fantasy lines started to blur. So, yeah. OLTL has been a very important part of my life, and in the livelihood of my friends in the business. Just before the cancellations, mere weeks before the cancellations, I mentioned to a Twitter buddy that I was seriously considering trying, somehow, to be a soap writer. Oddly enough, this is the loftiest goal I had set for myself in many years. I don’t *do* goals. And then the news hit. Two less “prospects,” so to speak.
I just can’t get out the proper words to state what One Life to Live has meant to me. There is too much anger still about how everything went down. There is too much sadness. I’m losing another big chunk of inspiration, of my life. I mean, I found my Muse for my current work in progress in Llanview.
I’ve been working on this one since August. And I didn’t feel a connection with my main male character. At all. Then, a couple of months ago, I turn on OLTL, and there is Josh Kelly (aka Cutter Wentworth), doing something in a way that I feel my character would, and BAM! Helllloooo, Muse! There was something about the vibe he was giving off in whatever scene was happening that day that made everything click for me. It totally unlocked my character. I liked him, I understood him, and I saw what my main female character fall in love with him. Just because of one scene.
So, now not only is daytime losing talent, I’m losing a little inspiration. A lot of inspiration.
It wasn’t fully real to me that the end was drawing near until last Thursday and Friday’s episodes. The hostage situations, the shootings, and then Starr singing that damn song at the end. A beautiful moment in the middle of chaos. That’s when it became real. That’s when I broke down in tears. Then I got mad. This show had just given us so many beautiful moments, and I don’t believe that there will be any sort of moment that comes close in either of the two replacement shows. Ever.
On Monday, January 16, my television will be black in honor of All My Children and One Life to Live. And possibly infinitely.
I’m not the type of person who has a lot of hope, in general, but I’m still holding out a little hope for our shows.
You can connected with Samantha on her blog Samantha Jane Uses Her Words and you can follow her on Twitter @Samantha12Jane