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An Open Letter to the Writers of All My Children

This post should be subtitled, “It’s the romance, stupid!”. But that probably wouldn’t be polite. Apt, but impolite. Now I’ve watched All My Children (AMC for us junkies) for 30 years now. Basically since the last time I had pneumonia. I started watching when Erica had her disco. A disco, for goodness sakes. But this is why, for 30 years I’ve kept watching: the romance.

Yes, writers of soap operas, it’s the romance. Tad & Dixie, Erica & Jack, Haley & Mateo, Kendall & Zach, Ryan & the Princess. Why do we watch the shows that keep us hanging? Because of unresolved romantic issues. And because we love the familiar couples, the couples dying to be together, the couples who deserve each other, belong together.

So I ask you, writers of All My Children, where is the romance? Cause I can’t see it. And I think I know a little bit about the subject. I see a lot of bickering (Ryan and everyone, Erica and everyone, David and everyone) half couples (Jake and Amanda, JR and Melissa (I almost had to type “What’s-her-name” because her character is so forgettable) but nothing that sparks.

You completely missed the boat with Tad and Taylor. They would have been perfect together. But you rushed it, and now the Powers have dropped her contract, so poof, a chance for a fabulous, witty, exciting romance has vanished. For a few weeks there I thought the spark was back, I could see them together–eventually–having a long, “Thin Man” sort of relationship, solving crimes and falling in love. Yes, falling in love. Not jumping into bed. Not getting married after hardly dating, or to tick of Dr. David, or just because you’ve run out of ideas, but a long, up-hill climb of a courtside that results in a wedding that brings tears to your eyes. But, you yanked the rug out of that one, and in some ways my heart.

I think the last time I cried watching AMC was when you killed Dixie off with poisoned pancakes. Oh, not so much that Dixie was finally good and dead (which was sad in itself because that meant any good hope for a fab couple was slim to none) but because you had to resort to poisoned pancakes to do it. Poisoned pancakes? Really?

If I were writing your show, (which I would be more than happy to help, just email me) I would do these three things:

1) Do something with Tad. Give him a good storyline and a good romance. And let him resolve who killed Dixie. You played around with this story line for too long, and then dropped it.

2) Quit experimenting with story lines and then dropping them inexplicably. (Jake and Taylor, Tad and Taylor, Dixie’s murder). Tell a story. From beginning to end. I know the middle is hard to write (says the woman currently in the middle of a romance novel) but the middle is where character shines through. Where a writer discovers the character and readers learn why those characters deserve this romance.

3) Do something with Ryan, other than having him sniping about Annie all the time. Face it, right now he is just down right creepy. And speaking of creepy, loose the cougar story line. Please. ‘Nuff said. I’d like to eat breakfast this morning. Why not bring back the Princess? (I know she took a bullet to the chest, but so did Jessie and he’s walking around and doing just fine.) Ryan had a loyal heart back then, and it showed. Maybe she has a cousin? With Zach going, you need a real man on the show. So either have Ryan man-up, or find a new character who do the job. That’s true with Jake as well–man-up, dude. Without Zach on the show, well, that leaves David Canary as the last bit machismo you’ve got left. And he’s a bit long in the tooth to make this heart go pitter patter.

So even if you don’t care about my opinions, my thoughts, I will leave you with one truism: romance, true romance, sells. This I do know. And on television, I believe that counts.

Yours truly,

Elizabeth, your nearly loyal viewer.

Who are your favorite TV couples and why do you love them?

14 comments to “An Open Letter to the Writers of All My Children”

  1. Diane
    October 19th, 2009 at 2:27 pm · Link

    I’ve been feeling that way about my soap for ages. General Hospital is now “All Mobsters, All The Time.” There is no fun anymore, not even when Luke is one, unless he’s sparring with Tracy. I was such a loyal soap fan that even though I haven’t lived in the USA for 15 years I still subscribed to Soap Digest magazine, just to keep up. I’d dedicate a day or two of my leave in the States to watch. This year I’ve let my subscription lapse and don’t watch, even when I don’t have anything better to do. I’ve been watching soaps since the days of Dark Shadows and The Edge of Night. Now they’ve lost me.

    • Elizabeth
      October 20th, 2009 at 10:15 am · Link

      Diane, I couldn’t agree with you more. It is all about the big explosion or the murder or the mayhem and not about a great love story. They wonder why they are bleeding viewers–well, duh!

  2. terri
    October 20th, 2009 at 7:28 pm · Link

    I was shushed out of the living room when Grandma was watching her “stories” as a kid but never got into soaps myself. Romance novels – absolutely – mainly because I didn’t have to wait for the HEA. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I really loved your comment about “middles”, its actually a huge help because I’m working on a synopsis right now and wasn’t sure how to frame all the stuff between the beginning and end. ๐Ÿ™‚

    “…the middle is where character shines through. Where a writer discovers the character and readers learn why those characters deserve this romance.”

    Awesome quote and just what I needed! THANKS!

  3. Sarah
    October 23rd, 2009 at 12:00 am · Link

    maybe this explains why Daytime Soaps are dieing. I am tempted to find out more about Hayley’s return, but it’s been a long time since I have watched AMC. It might have started with the mess called Annie. But most David centered storylines just kill my interest too.

  4. Pamela
    October 28th, 2009 at 10:20 pm · Link

    You have driven into the ground the
    the “WHO SHOT STUART STORY” until I cannot be the only viewer about ready to give up watching!!!!!!!!
    Are You out of ideas so you bury this one into the ground that we are sick of it?????????????
    We need a NEW Writer !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Dee
    October 29th, 2009 at 8:21 pm · Link

    I have not watched or kept up with All My Children in a few years. The writing was getting to me as well. Josh Madden and Annie were the beginning of the end of reality for me. Also, how many times can Erica really reinvent herself/get married etc?

    I grew up mostly watched AMC and One Life to Live. I’ve also watched a few other shows for a short term period over the years. I think most of the soaps have lost viewers due to the writer’s strike, the lackluster plotting, and a total loss or reinvention of history. I’ve recently tuned into The Young and the Restless [love SOAPNET] and I see a major difference. Rivalries stay the same [Jack Vs. Victor, etc], couples have chemistry [mostly], and the history of the show and the individual characters is very apparent.

    Sometimes, when I visit my family, I’ll watch soaps with my mom and ask “WTH happened?” I can easily pick my old shows up but seriously do I even want to anymore?

  6. barbara
    December 7th, 2009 at 11:06 am · Link

    Oh my…you are soooo right on!’maybe when they make thier big move they will finally get some good writers…This Amanda/Jake/David thing is revolting..come on..what woman would ever allow anything like that to happen? I get that it’s ‘soap land’ but please..
    no way…and I must be the only one who thinks that the VERY over dramatic acting of Ryan needs to stop. Oh I can go on and on but it won’t do any good because the people that count really don’t care..

  7. Patricia Geier
    December 9th, 2009 at 11:23 am · Link

    I totally agree. It saddens me that this show has deteriorated in the last ten years, with a new writer every few years (or months). Do these new writers EVER read the history of the show? I doubt it, and they will probaly will never read this blog. Too bad, I have watched this show since the 70’s and feel as though I know these characters intimently. At this point, I cannot stand Ryan, a judgemental creep. In the begining, he was a lovable character! What they did with Aidan, is unforgivable! It appears that they make up the story as they go along.
    HEED, As the World Turns was just cancelled, and though it breaks my heart, All My Children is not far behind!

    So happy, Haley and Matteo will appear in January, but what took so long, seems to me it was a No Brainer to bring them back occasionally
    several times! From A Long Time Watcher, Pgeier1128@yahoo.com

  8. Breeze
    March 13th, 2010 at 11:30 am · Link

    I am so disappointed in AMC. They said after they let the last head writer go they were going to make it better.

    They never should have broke up Greenlee and Aidan for Ryan. No one wanted to see her with Ryan. Now she is back and all we can see is Ryan in her face. I am sick of Ryan they have ruined the character of Ryan to where I fast forward through any scene he is in. Bring Aidan back fast. Someone tell me why anyone would want Ryan. He goes around acting like he is a nice guy. Going after David all the time. Get a clue they could not use the trumped up evidence they got against David anywhere. Give us a little tiny bid of reality.

    Now they are trying to ruin Jesse too. He should not be a cop he is just as bad as the people he is going after. I was so happy to see Jesse back and now they are ruining it.

    Erica is another one I can hardly watch anymore. Hook her up with Jackson and get it over with.

  9. Zoe
    September 24th, 2010 at 2:34 am · Link

    I am truly disgusted with the Zendall storyline. I want romance for my favorite couple. I am hearing that when Zack comes back in October, Kendall will have a new love interest. If this is true, AMC will loose alot of loyal Zendall fans forever. Stop messing around with our favorite couple and give us a really great love story that will last for a while. Not a week or a few months. You guys must be moon-lighting for the Jerry Springer Show with all the intertwined love affairs you have going on. We are sick of it. If you need help in giving us a romantic story-line, ask us and we will help you. Scott should be replaced with another actor but Marissa’s actress was growing on us. Keep her.

  10. barbara Irvine
    April 14th, 2011 at 10:24 am · Link

    I believe the writters made a terribe mistake to have Jessie allow
    angie believe the baby was alive and so insensitive to just bury the baby
    like an animal. you killed Jessie’s character.

  11. Zulma Gibson
    July 20th, 2011 at 1:12 pm · Link

    Writers of All My Children: Please get rid of Ryan and Greenlee. Ryan is an imbecile and so is Greenlee. I feel turned off everytime I see their idiotic faces as part of the story line, and while you are at it, get rid of Amanda. She is such a lousy actress!

  12. sandy churchill
    August 5th, 2011 at 10:24 am · Link

    it is so stupid any more way out there does not make sense

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