Thursday, September 22, 2011


Watching the show this week has been heartrending as the days count down and I realize that it won't be there after Friday. Non-soap-fans don't and can't understand how important AMC (and long-time soaps in general) has been to the lives of so many people.

For long-term AMC fans, it goes much deeper than a show being canceled. AMC has been there for most (in some cases ALL) of our lives.  When things went wrong in our own lives, AMC was there; we could escape to Pine Valley. It was a never-ending story! But now it IS ending. Watching this last week of shows has driven home to me just how big a part of my life it has been.

AMC has been in my life since I was 15. I couldn't see it every day, of course, but I ALWAYS watched it if I had the opportunity and caught up fairly quickly each time. AMC was there when my son was born. It was there when he grew up and went off to war (TWICE). AMC was there for my first and last jobs. It was there through my falling in love, falling out of love and devastating heartbreaks.  It was there when I was doing well, and it was there when I was in a very bad way.

In 1982 I bought a VCR so that I could record AMC every day, and I've missed very few shows since that day. My son grew up with AMC being on. He didn't watch the show on a regular basis, but he still knew many of the characters, simply through osmosis. He liked Palmer's deviousness, had a crush on Maria and thought baby Laura Cudahey was really cute (she reminded both of us of my adorable niece as a toddler).

Watching montages of past shows didn't just bring back memories of characters when they were younger or characters and actors who are no longer with us; they bring back memories of our OWN lives and what was happening in real life. Fashions and hairstyles came and went on AMC and in real life, albeit on a much smaller scale for most of us. They had babies and we had babies. They lost beloved family members, and so did we. We've met good friends, on-line and face-to-face, all brought together by our devotion to AMC in all its nuances.

We can chronicle our lives by something that was a constant presence. It was a touchstone, always there for us, tugging at our emotions, making us laugh, cry, get angry, or just plain serving a need to ridicule something. I know it often made ME feel superior to some of the characters at times, and that was okay. Who better to feel superior to than a fictional TV character? It was reassuring to know that at least *I* hadn't been married 10 times, never had grief sex with someone other than my SO, never married someone to spite someone else, never had to wonder about the paternity of my child and usually didn't jump to ridiculous conclusions based on seeing a hug or hearing only PART of a sentence (notice I said "usually").  AMC was there for me to vent, one way or another, M-F, year in and year out.

And now it's ending. Time marches on. Our lives will continue, but we'll be missing something that was very significant in our lives. Non-soap watchers cannot understand the immensity of this loss. No, it's not the death of a loved one, but it IS the death of something we'd always thought would be there for us, no matter what. Like family, AMC could sometimes try our patience and make us want to wring its TV-neck; but like family, those of us still here at the end stuck it out through good and bad, because it HAS been part of our lives and it IS like family. It's been fun, thought-provoking, tedious, sexy, stupid, smart, disappointing, uplifting, painful and rewarding, all rolled into one show over the course of nearly a lifetime.

NO other TV show has been quite as important to me as AMC. Not a single one has been there for me on an almost daily basis the way AMC has. It has been there for all of my adult life and half of my teens. I will never again feel the kind of devotion and loyalty to a TV show that I have felt with AMC. How could I? Other shows come and go and there are hundreds of TV channels to choose from, not to mention the internet and whatever other forms of media are yet to be invented. They are temporary; they start and end like standalone books. They have seasons and reruns, but don't usually last for more than a handful of years at the most, and first-run shows are only on once a week in any case. AMC was there for the long haul.

Losing AMC may not be as devastating as losing a loved one in real life, but it IS a significant loss.

Robin Coutellier

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