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.

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The very first podcast of Absolute Eden, the official fan club of Eden Riegel, Emmy-award winning actress as Bianca Montgomery on All My Children and currently Heather Stevens on The Young and the Restless, is up and ready for your listening pleasure!

Check it out here: http://abpod.libsyn.com/episode-1-part-1

And check back in a couple of days when part 2, yes, you read that right, PART 2! will be posted.

There’s an old saying in the Entertainment Industry that goes something like this: When your groundbreaking lesbian, same-sex marriage storyline becomes one huge EPIC FAIL, whatever you do, don’t blame a much-loved Emmy-award winning actress for your glaring inadequacies as both a writer and a human being.

Okay, so there really isn’t such a saying, but there should be. It might have saved Chuckie Pratt, Head Writer and Producer for All My Children, from the humiliation now being heaped upon his head by viewers, Soap bloggers world wide and some enterprising souls who have made His Cluelessness the star of the brand new, seemingly-out-of-nowhere web-series Pratt Falls, which also stars the equally witless Julie Hanan Carruthers. If you haven’t seen this little piece of hilarity, you can find it on YouTube and I’ve posted Episode one at the bottom of this entry. New episodes upload faster than a speeding bullet… But then again, given so much fine material with which to work means you’ll never lack for the comedy.

In case you missed it, or have been off the planet recently, Charles Pratt, Head Writer and Producer for All My Children, during an interview with Michael Logan for TVGuide.com, actually blamed Eden Riegel, Emmy-award winner and soon to be late of All My Children, for the massive failure of the Bianca/Reese love story, which, really, wasn’t much of a love story since Bianca arrived back in October telling any who would listen what a spectacularly cool and amazing person Reese was and how they were living together already – after having met barely 2 months prior – and were now having a baby together. So almost instantaneously, Charles Pratt, Head Writer and Producer for All My Children, turned off a plethora of viewers by INFORMING THEM they were going to love Reese instead of allowing them to be introduced to her without preconceptions. I know a lot of viewers from across the spectrum of Internet soap forums who immediately hated the character before she even made an appearance because of Pratt’s heavy-handedness. (Plus, you gotta love Pratt, he just defined the stereo-typical Lesbian U-Haul relationship with one broad stroke of his poison pen)

However, I digress.

What it amounts to, Pratt relates, is that basically it was Eden’s fault the storyline was so jumbled, sometimes incomprehensible, lazily written and eventually bordering on vehemently hated, because he didn’t know she was only going to be on the show for 4-5 months; therefore, he couldn’t write the story he really wanted. (to which I say, Thank Lavery! This storyline was a train wreck that just keeps getting worse. But unlike most train wrecks, people were able to stop looking, I shudder to think what he could have done over 2 years…)

He then followed this statement up with the jaw-dropping comment that “I was led to believe we had her for longer than we really did — suddenly I got word that Eden is leaving now,” (his words and emphasis, not mine). He got word?!?! He’s the writer and showrunner! He’s the Showrunner, which means HE RUNS THE SHOW!!!

I wouldn’t plan on seeing Eden Riegel or Tamara Braun returning to AMC anytime in the near future…

The full text of the interview:

All My Children’s Lesbian Reunion
by Michael Logan April 13, 2009 01:29 PM EST

Eden Riegel returns to All My Children April 24 – though just for a week – so that her character, Bianca, can have a happy ending with her estranged partner, Reese (Tamara Braun). The two were wed on Valentine’s Day but the marriage ended a day later when Bianca found out Reese had kissed Zach (Thorsten Kaye) at the rehearsal dinner. Bianca sought an annulment and fled home to Paris, leaving many fans – especially those who appreciated the gay history being made – pretty damn furious.

AMC head writer Chuck Pratt blames the mess on Riegel’s exit for pilot season. “I was led to believe we had her for longer than we really did – suddenly I got word that Eden is leaving now,” he says. Meanwhile, Braun had agreed to a six-month stay, so that left her neurotic, sexually confused character dangling in the wind.

“We got to play everything we wanted to with Bianca and Reese but not in the time we’d hoped for – in my mind, it was a two-year story,” Pratt continues. “I guess I could have rushed to the wedding earlier so that they’d have had more time together as a married couple and then had them break up, but I think the fans would have been even more unsatisfied with that.”

What if Braun had been willing to stick with AMC? “We discussed that possibility,” Pratt notes. “But if Tamara decided to stay, keeping her on the show as an angry lesbian – with no other lesbian characters on the canvas – would be kind of insane. So we thought about making Reese bisexual – kind of an Anne Heche who bounces back and forth – and maybe make her an opportunistic black widow, a real bad girl. And Tamara would have been really great at that. But, ultimately, we decided to stick with the message.”

And that would be? “That love wins out. Reese and Bianca will go back to France together,” says Pratt. “They will survive as a couple.”

And I’m not even going to TOUCH the outrageous Anne Heche comment Pratt spewed. I think the woman has pretty good case of slander here, she should be finding herself a good lawyer…

How the HEAD WRITER AND PRODUCER of the show doesn’t know how long an actor has signed on for is absolutely preposterous. How Pratt is continually allowed to speak to the press is beyond me.

How Pratt is continually allowed to keep his JOB is beyond me…

If you are interested in seeing a love story, a true, developing, told over time and not shoved-down-your-throat-because-we’ve-been-told-they’re-cool-and-amazing story featuring two women, I highly suggest the Otalia story at Guiding Light. Amazingly well-written and brilliantly acted by Crystal Chappell and Jessica Leccia, it’s how romances used to be told on daytime serials.

It’s not a gay story or a lesbian story… It’s simply a love story.

Pratt Falls, Episode 1

Oops, apparently I just did another WTF? moment for All My Children! Unintentional to be sure, but a WTF! moment just the same…

ib_mag_outline2

Could it happen? Yes, it could! Andrew Miller revealed to Nelson Branco on the first annual Rock the Soaps Cruise that IB is getting the big screen treatment!

Miller told TVGuide.ca exclusively that his sensational web show, which recently won two Soap Opera Spirit Awards, will soon be hitting the big screen! “TeleFilm Canada is sponsoring and investing in the film version. We hope to shoot in Toronto,” he muses. While Imaginary shoots in Los Angeles, the proud Canadian says he’s always imagined the show’s location was Toronto.

I know I speak for many IB fans when I say Season 2 can’t come soon enough and we would love to see this in a theater near us… Just think of the IB peeps on the Red Carpet for the World Premiere, Fans of Bitches! Just. Think. About. It!

Until Season 2’s debut, remember you can catch Eden back on All My Children as Bianca Montgomery for at least a couple episodes coming up in late April. For more info, check 2 blogs down.

Thanks to Nelson Branco for breaking the news in his article on TVGuide.ca.

Several sites and publications are now reporting that Eden Riegel will be making the scheduled short-term return as Bianca Montgomery to All My Children beginning on April 24th. It’s been said that the appearance will last only 2 episodes (whew!) and that Bianca will be leaving the show with Tamara Braun’s Reese Williams. Eden stated in an earlier interview with Soap Opera Digest that “It’s going to end well for Reese and Bianca. Their love is real. I have hope.”

Um… okay… (I think Eden is one of a very few who feel that way…)

More recently, Tamara Braun stated in an Advocate.com interview that she “…was told* it would be a happy ending.”

I’ll be interested to see exactly what Charles Pratt and Brian Frons mean by “happy ending”. It’s already been apparent that re-writes have taken place with viewer uproar over the destruction of more than one character in this storyline, from Bianca and Reese to Kendall and Zach, including removing a second kiss between Reese and Zach, but pressing forward with the idiocy of having Kendall sleep with Ryan. And I’m not really clear on how a 2-episode appearance by Bianca can result in blissful happy ever after with a woman she hasn’t seen in a couple of months, who’s been supposedly “fighting for her” by living in ANOTHER COUNTRY. But we’ve all been witness to Charles Pratt’s sloppy, slapdash writing style with story conclusions occuring mere minutes after first appearing, so who’s to say what will happen? (I mean, I have my dreams for the ending of this storyline, but that’s another blog all together…)

I’ll be even more interested to be able to watch All My Children again, once this once-promising storyline is over and the principals have headed back to France.  Pratt had the chance to tell an incredible story here about same sex marriage and family. Instead, he chose to bugger it up by inserting a man into Bianca and Reese’s orbit, not only as the absurdly written “father” of their child, but as a ROMANTIC DISTRACTION for Reese, the newly minted lesbian. It became less about same-sex relationships and more about Pratt and Frons getting their jollies by watching two women making out before teasing at the possibility of some hetero action next.

I look forward to seeing Eden Riegel on my television again. There is that, at least.

-I make no apologies for my statements, but just to make clear, I am an Eden Riegel fan. I feel Eden was taken advantage of by TIIC at AMC because of her loyalty to the character of Bianca Montgomery and to her fans. This should have been Bianca’s story with Eden as it’s centerpiece, not the morass of ridiculous that it became… but that’s simply my opinion-

*emphasis added by me.

So, Bianca and Reese marry. They barely know each other, have a child together, Reese is in lust with Bianca’s brother-in-law, they’ve betrayed Bianca’s much-loved sister, and still, they marry…

They have the maturity level of two horny teenagers riding a hormonal wave of lust rather than two adult women making a loving and happy home for their children. You know, their newborn child and older daughter Miranda. Especially Miranda. Remember her? Bianca doesn’t. She’s become remarkably, incredibly selfish. They’re both self-centered, whiny brats, concerned about no one but themselves and their groundbreaking wedding. Not to mention that Bianca’s first born tends to be forgotten. A lot. Like, never mentioned when talking about their other child. As if she never existed…

Miranda’s been hanging out in the Martin attic, apparently…

And still they marry…

Is it just me or does anyone else find it incredibly ironic that the wedding takes place on Friday the 13th?

Anyway, following the wedding, things quickly fall apart for the happy couple. Or should I say things quickly fall apart for the moderately-okay-with-themselves-where-they-currently-are-in-their-lives couple. Ryan lets out a secret that sends Bianca into hiding at her mother’s with the kids in tow, then she just plain splits town on February 24th after apparently serving Reese with annulment papers, or after Reese gets annulment papers, or possibly before. Just know that Bianca heads back to Paris and Reese gets annulment papers but possibly not exactly in that order. Okay?

So, the first same-sex marriage in the history of daytime television quickly becomes the shortest same-sex marriage in the history of daytime television…

Well done, All My Children and Mr. Charles Pratt. Well done, indeed.

With Bianca’s departure comes the exit of Eden Riegel, the Daytime Emmy-award winning actor. Rumor has it she returns a couple months down the road to bring the storyline to a conclusion, with all parties saying that things work out well for Bianca and Reese.

Oh, rly?

If Bianca returns to Pine Valley and takes Reese back after Reese threatens to ruin the lives of both Kendall and Ryan, continues to sniff after Zach, conspires with Adam Chandler and basically makes herself a menace, then Bianca is the stupidest waste of oxygen on this big blue marble that’s hurtling through space.

But then again, this is the woman who forgave Babe for stealing her child for the better part of a year…

Wedding of the century, indeed…

Good thing it’s very early in the century, huh?

P.S. Thanks to my pals Phyl and Donna for their help and contributions to this therapeutic little piece…

Eden’s last air date is February 24th (ironically 4 years to the day of her initial departure), when her character, Bianca, loads up her two daughters and returns to Paris without the “love of her life” new bride Reese, who, for some unknown reason, decides to stay behind in Pine Valley rather than follow closely on Bianca’s heels and attempt to save their brand new marriage…

She’ll apparently return later this winter to conclude the Rinks storyline.

Despite our love and support for Eden, there are those of us who aren’t exactly holding our breath.