Here’s a cut from Cady McClain. It’s a terrific piece and any soap fan should take a few moments and read it and think about what she’s saying.
I want to talk about the new young people on All My Children, and why I think (and hope) the audience should give them a chance. I am not known for blowing smoke up anybodies hoo-ha, right? Let’s just start with that as a baseline for this conversation!
Alert readers will not be surprised at all to learn that I am an enormous fan of continuing drama and what a powerful medium I believe it to be. I also believe that we are just at the beginning of a new era wherein we can harness the Internet as a new platform to tell stories. We don’t know quite how to do it yet, and that makes it exciting. It’s just as exciting as when the pioneers of television — like Irna Phillips — were figuring out how to take Papa Bauer’s family from mythical radio Springfield to mythical television Springfield and make The Guiding Light into a television program that viewers watched.
Phillips had two protégés in those early television days — William J. Bell and Agnes Nixon. And as influential as Phillips was in early television, one could argue that Agnes Nixon has an even more powerful legacy of harnessing the power of continuing drama to tell stories that have tremendous social impact. In 1962, Nixon penned the story of Bert Bauer’s cancer scare on The Guiding Light, before you could say “cancer,” “uterus,” or “Pap smear” on television. On Another World, she created young troublemaker Rachel Davis, who was seen by many as the prototype for her most famous creation, Erica Kane on her landmark serial All My Children.
Erica Kane (Martin Brent Cudahy Chandler [almost Roy] Montgomery Montgomery Chandler Marrick Marrick Montgomery) is the most popular character in the history of daytime drama in the U.S. Erica lied, cheated, cajoled, married, married, loved, lost, shocked the world, forced a bear to stand down, had daytime’s first legal abortion and, after 41 years on the air, she was still the most fascinating character ever created for television.
Skip to the point, please.
Fine. Here it is: people get wrapped up in soap operas. People begin to think of actors as the characters they play because they see them in their homes every single day. People get crazy obsessed. People don’t like some things ever to change.
Cady is making a tremendous case for the young people who are new to playing characters established in the previous broadcast incarnation of All My Children. She’s saying, “Approach this with an open mind. It’s different. But it’s good.” What I’m saying is a little less nice. I’m saying, “Change happens. Get the hell over it.” And if you can’t, don’t watch.
Eighty-five year old Agnes Nixon is working her ass off to deliver a product, a powerful story, in an untested medium. Prospect Park is investing millions of dollars in this experiment. Cady McClain and many of the “old guard” actors are putting their careers on the line for this new venture. The least you can do, if you are, in fact, a fan of All My Children, is to watch with an open mind. You might learn something. You might enjoy it.
And if you don’t? If this venture fails? Well, at least they tried. That’s what artists and innovators do. They try. Again and again and again. And no one thanks them enough for being fearless enough to try.
Me on online soap resurrections (with links to other serial related posts).
Me on annoying recent gay developments in daytime.
3/18/13 — Hulu just released their “Save The Date” trailer. Thought I’d stick it in if you haven’t seen it yet.