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One Life to Live Ends, Mr. Mickey Says Buh-Bye

ih3zaP4eooHl.jpgMr. Mickey has on his sad-face right now because the final episode of One Life to Live aired today at 2 p.m. EST on ABC. This is a tough blow, considering I still haven't recovered from the cancellation of Search for Tomorrow in 1986. What can I say? I'm addicted to daytime drama. As a little nipper, I'd watch the The Doctors and Days of our Lives with my mother while she ironed. When I was a little older, I was hooked on All My Children during the summer that Jenny Gardner (played by Kim Delaney) ran away to New York City. It just seemed like such a glamorous adventure to a kid growing up in small-town Illinois. At one time or another I've watched every soap on the air. I'm proud to say I watched the first ever episodes of Loving and Santa Barbara. I cried like a little bitch during the final episodes of favorite shows like Another World, Guiding Light and As the World Turns, and those weren't necessarily my favorites. These days, I feel more and more like my Grandma, who used to shush the kids when she was 'watching her stories.'

The art of the soap opera has been slowly dying for years, and the demise of OLTL leaves only four daytime dramas remaining on the air. The problem? Soaps are much more expensive to produce than a court show like Judge Judy or a game show, but they're so much richer. Watching Days of Our Lives off and on for almost 40 years ( how scary is that thought?), I feel like the Hortons and Bradys, the two families featured on the show, are some of my oldest friends. I've watched Julie Horton Williams go from evil, conniving slut to happily married lady to family grand dame. I've seen little Will Horton be born. I've seen it turn out that his father, Austin, wasn't his father. It was Austin's brother, Lucas! And Lucas's mother, Kate, used to be a prostitute who hated Will's mother, Sami. Sami's sister, Carrie, then married Austin so she was Will's Aunt and her step-mother. Now Will is grown up and gay. And he's even one of the more 'normal' characters.

There's a special kind of bond a viewer makes with a show that's been on five days a week for 43 years, as OLTL was (Guiding Light was on for over 70 years including its time on radio). It hurts to see these shows go. One consolation is that although daytime drama may be on its last leg, soapy melodrama prevails in shows like Mad Men, Homeland and the wildly popular Downton Abbey. Hello? Lady Mary and her sister Lady Edith constantly sabotaging each other's marital aspirations is something straight out of Young and the Restless! So though I'm sad every time the final fade-out happens on one of my beloved stories, I know I can get my fix of family drama, tortured romance, intrigue and backstabbing somewhere else on the boob tube. I'll guess I'll just have to make do with that. Not to sound too dramatic, or anything. 

Below: Image of actors who've appeared on One Life to Live over the years, courtesy of TheFW.com. Left to right: Tom Berenger, Tommy Lee Jones, Laurence Fishburne, Hayden Panetierre and Marcia Cross.



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