My Stories Are Ending
by Joseph Ramelo
It’s been said that if Shakespeare were alive today, his bread and butter would be writing for soap operas. Sure, he’d probably still conjure up a Hamlet or Macbeth. But his day job? Probably similar to that of Agnes Nixon, the creator of All My Children and One Life To Live, two longtime daytime television series that last week received the axe from ABC Daytime, their longtime home . The genre has existed since the days of radio broadcasting. The term “soap opera” derives from when the radio series were sponsored by detergent makers. Soap operas seamlessly crossed mediums when television replaced the radio in dominance.
When appreciating the arts and literature, one can like what one likes, but must also leave at least a special appreciation for certain forms that might be outside of the normative realm. Forum and Boeotia aspire to recognize and comment on the arts and literature in their myriad forms, and it is the opinion of this Assistant Blog Editor that daytime television series are worthy of as much literary analysis (and respect) as the classics produced by Austin and Bronte.
ABC Daytime will now only have one soap opera on the air. General Hospital is the highest-rated soap opera out of the three that lived this long into the 21st century and, quite frankly, I don’t have the slightest idea why. Out of the three series, GH was my favorite, but the writing quality declined significantly beginning sometime around the turn of the century. Felicia Scorpio is not a deadbeat mother. Laura Spencer is not a helpless invalid. Her son Lucky is not a philanderer. The mob has no business being in control of the entire city — the show is called General Hospital!
But that’s just me being a fan. I will miss my stories, particularly One Life To Live, which in recent years had made a quiet resurgence — “quiet” because it was overshadowed by the attention the network heaped on GH. Not only does OLTL have the most solid writing out of the three ABC Daytime soaps, the production values are much more impressive than what one might expect from a meager soap opera. Cinematography, scoring, direction: you name it, that series churned it out every week day.
As a literature fan, I am mourning in the same manner as I am for the constantly looming death of print media. But newspapers, magazines, and even book stores are on track to cheat death. All My Children will end this September, One Life to Live by January. An art form has truly come to an end.