The Original “All My Children Ending” Exists
“All My Children” star Chrishell Stause (Amanda) dropped a bombshell in an interview with TVLine. According to her, the original ending of the show, which reportedly closed with a series of vignettes showing the characters living happily in the future, in the vein of the series finale of “Friday Night Lights,” was filmed. She told the website, “We did shoot a different version, and I love the version we shot originally. But then the Prospect Park thing came about. We only had Kate Collins [who plays Amanda's mother Janet] for a few days, so we had to shoot our ending with her really, really early. And then the Prospect Park thing happened and they changed the ending to what you saw. What’s sad is that I know what the ending was supposed to be, so I feel like the fans were robbed. We all had these vignettes that were beautiful and really great, so that’s the biggest regret… the film for the ending that was never used is out there, somewhere!”
Given everything that soap fans have endured, the very least that ABC can do is make the original ending available on-line and on SoapNET. Call it the Agnes Nixon cut. It would probably take an editor about a day to put it together, and cost very little. Prospect Park ought to foot the bill, since the ending was changed at its request. It might even turn a bit of a profit for the soon to be defunct cable channel, since every AMC fan would tune in to watch what could be billed as a special. This seems like something that might be accomplished by a fan campaign. Come on ABC, make it happen.
“One Life To Live’s” Love Letter To Soap Fans
I love you too, “One Life To Live.” Tuesday’s episode was the embodiment of soap fans Twitter rallying cry #soapsstillmatter. It began with an unfamiliar young woman telling an unfamiliar young man that their relationship is doomed. Then the camera panned back to reveal that it was a scene from OLTL’s soap-within-a-soap from the 1990s, Fraternity Row. It turns out that everyone in Llanview is a regular viewer. Roxy (Ilene Kristen), Sean (Sean Ringgold) and Rama (Shenaz Treasury) watched at the salon. Starr (Kristin Alderson) took a study break and was caught by Jack (Andrew Trischetta), who admitted to watching online so he’d have something to talk about with girls. Noelle (January LaVoy) watched at the Buenos Dias while baking a pie. Rex (John Paul Lavoisier) and Aubrey (Terri Conn) caught up in the visitors’ waiting room at a prison. Best of all, Clint (Jerry VerDorn) and Viki (Erika Slezak) both turned out to be hardcore fans, who started watching when Viki’s long lost daughter starred on the show.The sequence ended with everyone flipping out because the characters turned out to be siblings, with Sean grumbling about how the writers were ruining his favorite character. Roxy accurately summed up fan psychology by pointing out that storylines deemed the worst ever are often remembered fondly years after the fact citing the Eternal Underground City, a clear jab at OLTL’s Eterna storyline during the 1980s.
That was not the only meta moment about both the show and its viewers. Viki lamented that Fraternity Row was unfairly denied its share of Daisy awards –Llanview’s Daytime Emmys –last year. Clint, sounding like every OLTL fan, agreed that the show is “really good now.” Sean complained that nobody gets a single day of happiness, while Roxie argued that the show would be boring if people were happy. Cutter (Josh Kelly) apparently watches the show at night on SOAPnet while Starr DVRs. Clint, of all people, turned out to be the person who found that the soap resonated in his real life. After he finally kissed Viki, he epically screwed up by revealing that “there were no more obstacles” because Kim dumped him. Viki, understandably, felt that Clint was just settling for her because he couldn’t have the younger woman he really wanted. Clint watched grimly as the sorority sister told the frat boy that it was their years of history that doomed their relationship. VerDorn did a great piece of silent acting as he realized the same was true for he and Viki. It was like the show’s writers were saying,”We read the message boards and Twitter. Thanks for appreciating all of our hard work!”
It was also subtly subversive. Fraternity Row, as it turns out, is watched by men and women, white people and minorities, old people and young people, the wealthy and the working class. Soaps, according to Nielsen and network executives are only watched by older, unemployed people. As in real life, Fraternity Row is watched by groups of people at work, viewings that are not counted by Nielsen. The episode ended with Roxie screaming in horror as she saw a cover of Soap Opera Weekly proclaiming that Fraternity Row was canceled. If there was anything too unrealistic about this episode, it was the print version of a publication breaking a major story.
The fan feedback on this episode has been mixed. Some loved it as much as I did while others thought it was mocking soaps and soap fans. I don’t think there is any way that headwriter Ron Carlivati and executive producer Frank Valentini, who have poured their blood, sweat and tears into this show for years, who have been through the emotional roller coaster of the show being canceled then saved then canceled again, who have experienced the frustration of seeing the show’s ratings rise after it was too late, have anything but love for the genre and the people who have been fighting for the past six months to save it. If Roxie, who is the poster child for bad taste, were the only character who watched, I could understand that interpretation. But Viki is the show’s moral authority. If she says something is good and important, then it is.
If this episode mocked anyone, it was TPTB at ABC. OLTL wrote an episode illustrating that the shows they have deemed are no longer relevant are a vital part of the lives of millions of people, essentially telling the network that it was making a mistake. If this saga ends with Clint buying Fraternity Row and seamlessly moving it to the internet, it is going to be beyond bittersweet.