One Life to Live


On Friday, September 23rd, the last network airing of All My Children began at 12 Noon Central Standard Time. An hour later, it was over. The scheming, the lying, the loving, the surviving, the happy, the sad, the highs, the lows, the tragedy and the triumph.

Erica Kane, the Diva of Pine Valley, finally got her comeuppance when Jackson Montgomery finally, after years of pursuit, responded to her plea that she needed and loved him with an homage worthy of Gone With the Wind.  (“Frankly, Erica, I don’t give a damn what you need.” Aaaand exit – stage left). David Hayward, the Scourge of Pine Valley, resurrected several dozen people (at least it felt that way), including Dixie Cooney-Martin and Stuart Chandler, both done in via terrible writing by past writing regimes and approval of the Executive Producer (*coughJulieHananCarrutherscough*) and Zach Slater, half of the Zendall Supercouple both beloved and reviled across soapdom. Bianca Montgomery, the Moral Center of Pine Valley, finally, seemingly, got a happy ending. Adam and Brooke returned, as did Joe and Ruth.  And Jamie, albeit briefly. Tad and Dixie got back together, Jake and Amanda stayed together, David knocked up Cara and JR got a gun…

The show ended with a cliffhanger of sorts, as JR, mad as hell and apparently not going to take it anymore (no matter how stupid, selfish and alcohol-fueled) hid in the Chandler Mansion’s infamous tunnels and fired one single shot into the crowd of PV revelers as the screen faded to black. Who was shot? We don’t know. Why? Because the show will move on-line in January and Agnes Nixon, creator and headwriter, and Prospect Park, new owners of the venerable soap, wanted it that way.

While I didn’t agree with the ending, I understand why they did it. I’m just sad that such a time-honored icon went out with more of a whimper than a bang (no pun intended).  I understand that the cliffhanger aspect will hopefully keep people guessing until the show re-appears, it also could have the opposite effect in that as time passes, it’s possible no one will care what happened to whom by the time January rolls around. I think a finale tied up in a nice, neat bow would have worked just as well. Because while the cliffhanger keeps people guessing, the time that passes between now and January, in real time, would also allow the characters’ feelings to change, lives to begin and end and the world to continue turning (with apologies to another great, yet canceled, show). The show could then pick up from there, re-booting with an explanation of who and why without having to deal with death and destruction from the outset.

But that is neither here nor there.

What IS here and there is that this venerable show was removed from our airwaves after 41 years. Saying good-bye to such a dear friend has been hard. For every Daytime Television Executive intent on killing daytime serials one long-running, scripted show at a time for cheap, boring, horrible “reality television”, there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of long-time viewers who have incredible memories to share about their “stories”.  Women who grew up watching with their mothers, grandmothers, friends, family. Men and women who remember scheduling college classes around their favorites. An entire generation of teens struggling with their sexuality…

All My Children wasn’t just entertainment. It told the story of us, our neighbors, our families, our friends. It was timely and relevant. It told the story of legalized abortion (Erica had one in 1973, the first legal one on daytime television following the passage of Roe v. Wade- ridiculously undone in 2005), opposition to the Vietnam War (for which the late Mary Fickett won Daytime’s first Emmy Award), teen homosexuality (delicately and beautifully written by show creator Agnes Nixon and portrayed by Eden Riegel) and the stigma of Aids (heartbreakingly performed by David Canary and Ellen Wheeler). The show handled both drama and comedy, many times excelling at the latter at the expense of the former. It taught tolerance, respect and love.  It bridged generations and taught us all a few lessons we sorely needed to learn.

For me, All My Children was a lifetime friend. I began watching during the scorching hot summers of my youth, hiding in the air conditioning during the heart of the day and losing myself in Pine Valley, before following that up with the rest of the ABC Daytime line-up.  My senior year of high school, my schedule allowed me to be home by 11:30 where I would watch the shows before returning to school at 3:30 for basketball practice. I watched during my lunch hour all through college and as often as I could when I joined the workforce in a time before DVR’s- or even VCR’s. I grew up with Jenny and Greg, Angie and Jesse, Liza, Amanda and the entire teen set from the early 80’s. I loved the Cliff and Nina love story, the hilarity of Erica, Janet, Skye and Marian trying to hide the supposedly dead body of Dr. Jonathan Kinder and the incredibly told story of Stuart and Cindy.

I watched Tad and Dixie’s relationship evolve into one of the most enduring on Daytime television, persevering through 2 deaths (both Dixie’s) only to be reunited in the end, as it should be. I watched almost all of Erica’s marriages begin… and end.

I made it through chemotherapy sessions in the summer of 2005 with the help of Kendall and Greenlee (Alicia Minshew and Rebecca Budig), affectionately known as Kenlee, watching them work their way through hatred and friendship, humor and tears, and equally tormenting Erica Kane in the process.

I cheered when couples I loved finally got together, I railed when poor storytelling made my favorite characters seem so foreign to me. I wrote the press, I wrote the show, I wrote the actors. I’ve watched through good times and some really bad clunker stories. I admit to walking away because of the reign of horror we were subjected to by one Charles Pratt and his offensive, insipid, insulting and ridiculous vision for the show. I came back because, like a long-lost friend, I missed it so much.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet so many stars of the show, Alicia Minshew, Thorsten Kaye, the irrepressible Michael E. Knight.  Michael even gave me 20 Disney bucks when he heard we had arrived at the park at 3am so I could grab some breakfast when I was done. I used the money to buy a Mickey Mouse t-shirt, instead…

I met some the of the best friends I’ve ever had at a Message Board dedicated to the pairing of Bianca and Maggie (the Supercouple known as BAM – portrayed by Eden and Elizabeth Hendrickson).  They were there for me as I battled cancer and hugged me tightly whenever we got together.

I’ve been honored to find myself one of the founding members of Eden Riegel’s Official Fan Club (AbsoluteEden.com) and have had the opportunity to know Eden and her husband, Andrew Miller, as well as her mother, Lenore.

I watched the final week of All My Children alternating between laughter and tears, finally coming to that realization that, come Monday at noon, there would be no need to make sure my television was on and tuned to ABC. I thought of the friends I made way back in the late 70’s during those hot summer days, who came into my house every day to entertain me, the ones who have long since passed and those we have recently mourned. I admittedly wept when thinking of those who I may never see again as they have been to me for 30+ years.

I sighed when I dried my tears and prepared myself to do this again in a few months when we say good-bye to another life-long friend.

And I smiled when I remembered what All My Children has meant to me for more than half my life.

Good bye, my dear, dear friend. I thank you for all that you have given me.

May we meet again soon.

Write Y&R! Write the Soap magazines! Let them know you want Eden to remain on The Young and the Restless!!

On Tuesday, September 13th, TPTB at Bell Productions’ The Young and the Restless displayed a shocking lack of class and basic common courtesy when Emmy-winner Eden Riegel learned she had been let go from the show via Twitter. Rumors had swirled for over 24 hours that she, Tristan Rogers, Darius McCrary and Sean Patrick Flannery had been fired (Tristan had confirmed his exit via his Twitter account) and Eden quickly responded that as far as she knew, this was news to her.

edenriegel Eden Riegel

The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated. I hope. #spumors

She went on to say that, although she wasn’t saying the mags were wrong, she had not been informed of any such decision.

edenriegel Eden Riegel

It’s not for me to say they’re wrong but I have not been told of my departure. Boy would that be embarrassing!

Imagine the shock when less than an hour later she took to Twitter again to announce that she had, in fact, been let go from the show.

edenriegel Eden Riegel

Oops. I take it back. Apparently my run on Y&R is soon coming to an end. It was a fun ride!

It’s utterly reprehensible to treat an Emmy-award winner in this manner.

Eden won’t say it, she’s dealt with this entire fiasco with grace and dignity, but I will. What Y&R and the idiots in charge did in handling this situation is an embarrassment. To themselves and to Eden Riegel. To not contact her and explain the situation shows a frightening lack of integrity and respect. I think it shows a startling lack of ethics and common decency for Y&R to not have jumped on the phone right away to Eden and given her some information, whether it was to deny the rumors or confirm them, instead of letting her twist in the wind and respond to her fans on Twitter herself. But I think we’ve seen recently with Brian Frons with All MY Children and One Life to Live at ABC and Ken Corday with Days of Our Lives that basic common courtesy means nothing to those in a position of power in Daytime television.

I, for one, really enjoyed Eden’s Heather Stevens on Y&R. After a pretty bumpy start, the character was finally starting to settle in. The relationships with Chloe (hateful), Ronan (playful) and Paul (gentle) were finally starting to gel. The relationship between Heather and Ronan (HeRo) had started to really grow and develop before Jeff Branson departed. The hate/hate between Heather and Chloe had some wonderful snarky moments, even though Heather came to Chloe’s aid when Delia’s custody became an issue (Eden’s maternity leave coincided with this arc, thereby not allowing the relationship to play out, which I think could have led to a frenemies dynamic that could have been a lot of fun for both to play). To say the writing for the actress and character was a let-down is an understatement. We know that Eden is a wonderful actress and given the time and better writing, she could have made Heather Stevens a vital and viable part of the Genoa City landscape.

I’m disappointed and angry that Eden was let go from Y&R. First disappointed that she was released at all and second, incredibly angry that she learned of her fate in such a ridiculously crappy manner.

I plan on writing The Young and the Restless and the soap mags and expressing my displeasure of both.  I urge you to do the same.

Let TPTB at Y&R and the soap magazines that you want Eden to remain on the show!

The Young and the Restless

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Just in case you’ve been off the planet recently, the big news is that Eden Riegel, Heather Stevens of The Young and the Restless, has snagged a night time gig as a guest star on fellow ABC soap alumnus Nathan Fillion’s hit crime dramedy Castle. She’ll play Rachel Goldstein, a young woman distraught over the death of her brother, killed by an antique pistol.

Rumor has it this will be the fourth episode of the season, which begins airing new episodes on September 20th. So, by my calculations, Eden’s episode should air on October 4th.

I’m very excited to see Eden on this show as Castle is one of my favorite prime time shows. It’s witty, well-acted and features the most charismatic lead on television today in Nathan Fillion. The ensemble cast plays well together and it’s really just a fun hour of television. Plus, it isn’t a reality show featuring any number of people who think they’re celebrities but surely aren’t.

It’s also great to see Eden getting guest starring roles in Prime Time, a place she surely deserves to be.

Castle, Monday nights on ABC, 10 pm, 9 Central

Update: Eden’s episode of Castle will reportedly air on October 11th

The nominees for the Daytime Emmy’s were announced on May 14th and true soap fans must be shaking their heads in wonder. Or are speechless… Or dumbfounded… Or all of the above…

Somehow, beyond all the laws of nature, All My Children leads the way with 19 nominations. Let me repeat, ALL MY CHILDREN GOT 19 NOMINATIONS!!!! One year removed from one (one, singular, individual, solitary, ONE) nomination (David Canary as Adam Chandler – currently being forced out by TIIC), they managed to rake in 19 nominations!!!

WTF?!?! NINETEEN NOMINATIONS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Are you serious?!?! You cannot be serious!! That’s… that’s mind-boggling!! The show that was made fun of, turned into a punch-line, became an utter laughingstock to a huge cross-section of viewers, got 19 nominations?!?!? I’d like to know what compromising photos Charles Pratt has of the judging committee to sway the vote like this.

Now, granted there were acting noms that were much deserved. Thorsten Kaye (again), Debbie Morgan (YAY!), Melissa Claire Egan (first time), Alicia Minshew (finally!) all transcended the material they were given to earn their nominations. Angie’s return and her discovering Jesse alive after 20 years was fantastic work. And Alicia, finally recognized after many deserving years, snagged her first ever nomination. Melissa Egan’s CrazyAnnie was worth the price of admission (except, of course, the day she leapt off Ryan’s penthouse balcony and landed without a scratch several floors below, but… that was the writing, not the acting).

However, I seriously take exception to All My Children and The Bold and the Beautiful receiving nominations as Best Daytime Drama. AMC, if nothing else, deserves an award for Best Example of How to Destroy a Once Incredibly Popular Soap with Nothing More Than Amazingly Bad Writing. (I bet that wouldn’t fit on the trophy, but, you never know, it has a pretty big base). The Bold and the Beautiful is good soap, but no where near on par with The Young and the Restless or even One Life to Live’s level this year.

All My Children, once one of the strongest shows on daytime, has been reduced to mindless hackery. Charles Pratt has taken the show to the very depths of ghoulishness with his unbelievably high body count in a relatively short time-span:  Zach shooting Josh in the head in order to harvest his heart, Annie clubbing brother Richie like a baby seal to save her marriage (oops), Babe getting impaled during a tornado, Greenlee flying off a cliff on a motorcycle, Di Henry being shot and killed by CrazyAnnie during her plot to save her marriage (again, oops). (have I missed anyone? They came fast and furious at one point)  There was the waste of veteran/returning characters (and big names with big-time talent) to pimp new characters that utterly failed (*coughRebecca-Jesse’s-long-lost-wife-when-everyone-thought-he-was-dead-and-her-daughter-and-the-one-hooker-we-couldn’t-care-less-about-Randicough*), the force-feeding of the re-pairing of Ryan and Greenlee, which effectively ended Rebecca Budig’s return, which, oh, yeah, was botched by ABC/AMC. Toss in some cool effects, some plots with holes the size of the one in the ozone layer, plot-driven, soulless storytelling, and that was All My Children in 2008.

And yet, somehow, THEY GOT A WRITING NOMINATION!!!!!!! Charles Pratt got an Emmy nomination for the ridiculously HORRIBLE writing he cranked out in 2008. REALLY? REALLY?!?!?!

The man who actually blamed an Emmy Award winning actress for HIS inadequacies was nominated for Best Writing. This is the man who so completely decimated what should have been the most intriguing storyline on television, daytime or nighttime, was nominated for a writing award… Again, was it the headshot to Josh? Annie’s leap of faith and tire-ironing? Ryan and Greenlee rutting like pigs at every turn? I am utterly mystified how this drivel is worthy even of consideration, let alone an actual nomination.

If anything, Esensten and Brown deserve the nomination without Pratt’s name being tacked on to cheapen it. They did the work that resonated last year with Angie and Jesse’s return, among other things. They had started turning the show around when Brian Frons inexplicably fired them and brought on his buddy, Charles Pratt. And the impact was felt immediately in declining quality. Attaching Pratt’s name to this makes the category irrelevant and a farce.

Like toddlers with no sense of actual value, it’s obvious the judges are swayed by a shiny trinket from a gumball machine. The fancy effects of CGI outweigh the quality of the writing, pacing and continuity.

And don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE Alicia Minshew, and she is incredibly deserving of her nomination, but there was an indescribably better heart transplant story on daytime last year, involving Crystal Chappell’s fantastic Olivia Spencer on Guiding Light. Like Minshew’s Kendall, Olivia also received the heart of a loved one. Yet Olivia’s story ripped out viewers hearts with her despondency upon learning of Gus Aitoro’s death and the fact that his heart beat now in her chest. How she woke asking for Gus, how Reva broke the news of his death and the gift of his heart from his widow Natalia Rivera. How she gave up her will to live, crying out that she didn’t want to live if Gus was dead. On a daily basis, you watched Crystal Chappell with a lump in your throat, unable to swallow it down with every scene that played out. In this instance, Guiding Light outshone AMC and Crystal Chappell again acted circles around the best daytime has to offer.

(Let me add that I seriously doubt Alicia Minshew’s Emmy submission material was the heart transplant storyline, since she was lying in a bed during that time, pretending to be in a coma. She was, however, an incredibly realistic coma patient)

There is one, possibly two, names on the list for Best Supporting Actress that should have been switched out with Crystal’s. She is undoubtedly one of the best actresses working in daytime television and her name absent from this list is really a travesty. She’ll get hers in 2009 for the work she’s done in recent months. If not, then there’s something seriously rotten in Denmark.

I’ll give AMC the technical award nominations, though. Well deserved, I’m sure.

Here’s hoping OLTL sweeps every category they’re nominated in with AMC…

Deserving Nominees include Susan Haskell, who transcended the repugnant rape-mance storyline on OLTL. She always does top-notch work. Daniel C0sgrove, as GL’s Bill Lewis, also delivers quality work on a daily basis and Jeanne Cooper, the Grande Dame of Daytime, still impresses and had a fantastically  meaty storyline last year.

I would replace Anthony Geary with Darnell Williams. Darnell’s turn as newly-back-from-the-dead Jesse Hubbard was tortured as he still fought to keep his family safe. Plus the respect to the history of the character by the writers made his portrayal even better.

Gina Tognoni, Kim Zimmer, Crystall Chappell, all names that could, and probably should, be on this list. I like Bree Williamson, I just don’t think her turn as crazy Tessica is Emmy-worthy, even with the work she did during Nash’s death.

I think Tamara Braun’s Ava from DOOL was a loony-tune… which means of the 5 nominees in the Best Supporting Actress Category, 3 characters were mentally unbalanced last year… Lack of originality much, Academy voters?

Congratulations, however, are in order for the brilliant minds behind Imaginary Bitches, which snagged a nomination in the New Approaches in Daytime Entertainment category opposite fellow You Tube series I Met The Walrus. TAC. TV, The New York Times Magazine Screen Tests and All My Children are also nominated. (Um, AMC? WTF?!?!) Of course, if they walk off with the trophy, it will be all Eden Riegel’s fault. (And watching Eden win an Emmy over AMC would be sweet vindication)

The Daytime Emmy’s will air on August 30, 2009 on the CW.

Best of luck to the many deserving nominees… Charles Pratt, on the other hand, can suck it.