I couldn’t believe it.
When ABC announced last week that it would be pulling the plug on “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” I was utterly shocked. Both shows have been staples of the network’s daytime programming for more than 40 years. Though I haven’t regularly watched soap operas since college, I was especially sad about AMC. I grew up reveling in the lavish and outrageously dramatic lives of Erica Kane and Adam Chandler. I have a soft spot for AMC also because, in a way, that show helped make me a feminist.
No, this isn’t an essay arguing that Susan Lucci’s Kane was a great feminist heroine. The heroes of this story are my parents. When I heard news of the show’s cancellation the first thing I thought was, “Oh no! Daddy will be crushed!” That’s right, the biggest AMC fan I know isn’t my mom, my aunt, or one of my best gal pals; it’s my dad. For decades he’s recorded this and other soap operas so that when he gets home from a long day at the warehouse, he has hours of delicious drama to enjoy with his dinner. It’s amazing how much father-daughter bonding we’ve had thanks to AMC. On top of that, my dad never realized that by simply watching his soaps religiously he taught me to toss gender stereotypes out the window.
While my dad watches soaps my mom watches Spike TV and gory horror flicks on SyFy. My mom may do the laundry and all the household cleaning, but my dad does all the grocery shopping and cooking. For me AMC is a symbol, a reminder to be thankful that I grew up in a family that never gave me the dos and don’ts of being a proper lady, or any ridiculous rules about a woman’s “role” in the family. So goodbye Erica. Goodbye Adam. I will miss you, but I know not half as much as my Daddy will.