Letting Go of AMC

Well, the other day I deleted the command to record all episodes of All My Children off the DVR. It was the last day-time soap opera that I watched. The truth of the matter is that I had only watched one recorded episode in the past month, and I just wasn’t enjoying it. All soap operas go through down periods, so at first I figured I would just wait out the slump. But the less I watched it, the less I felt the desire to wait. For me, the show started declining when Kendall and Aidan slept together to comfort each other because they both believed that their significant others were lost and dead.

I know that in the scheme of soap operas that was pretty tame occurrence. I mean, have you ever listened to yourself trying to explain a soap opera story-line to someone who doesn’t normally watch it? Inevitably you flush with embarrassment that you are invested in something so asinine. But for some reason, Kendall and Aidan sleeping together was just the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I spent four weeks watching Zack and Greenlea trying to survive being trapped in an underground bomb shelter to have their true loves sleep with each other the day before they were found. I felt kind of like the old Deana Carter song, “Did I Shave My Legs for This?

It’s not the first time I’ve let a soap opera go. I was raised on NBC soaps: Days of Our Lives, Another World, and Santa Barbara. Days (as it is known on the soap opera circuit) lost me when Marlena became possessed. Thankfully I got out of there before that show became obsessed with doing tons of “thinking” shots where the actor is shown staring into space, usually while pouring a drink, and his/her thoughts are revealed in dubbed over dialogue. That was completely hilarious in one my favorite Buffy the Vampire episodes, “Earshot”, but every time I have tried to watch Days in the past ten to fifteen years every episode has at least two “thinking” shots. It’s really annoying.

I got hooked on ABC soaps All My Children (AMC), One Life to Live (OLTL), and General Hospital (GH) in college. If you didn’t have cable, ABC was the only station you could get in Bowling Green, and I spent a lot of time at my friend’s off-campus apartment. She was also an ABC soaps fan, so she filled me in. For a long time GH was my favorite of the bunch back in the day when they had the Nurses Ball every year, but I got tired of all the gangster stuff. (Sonny contemplates leaving “the business” to protect the people that he loves. He hands the reigns over to his second-in-command Jason. Jason finds away to take out their enemies without looking like a bad guy himself. Then Jason hands it all back over to Sonny. Shake. Stir. Repeat.)

Then I really got hooked on AMC during the big baby switching story with characters from OLTL. I think it was partly because it was done really well, and you had to watch both soaps to understand everything that was happening. I think it was partly because I had just given birth to my first baby, so it hit me more emotionally. And I was adjusting to being a stay-at-home mom and spent a lot of time glued to the television to help me cope.

As my daughter got older, though, I realized that I couldn’t spend three hours glued to the television everyday watching soap operas. That’s when I pared down to watching AMC while I ate my lunch. Then when we got our DVR, I actually preferred watching the recording later so that I could skip through the commercials and the story-lines that didn’t interest me (like Erica’s prison mishaps). And now I have just let it go completely.

Now I’m not saying that I’ll never pick it back up again. I’d rather look at the headlines for Soap Opera Digest in the check-out than the tabloids. If, say, Josh Duhamel came back to AMC as Leo, I might be tempted to watch again. (His show Las Vegas has been canceled.) But for now, no more soap operas and bon-bons for this stay-at-home mom. Ok, let’s be honest; there’s no way I’m giving up my chocolate.

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