The Weird ‘All My Children’ Finale

It’s probably not the best thing to tune into a show for the first time at the end of a 41 year run.

But the series finale Friday of “All My Children” is something that is a TV history marker – another death of a show that spanned generations, in a genre that is ever-more shrinking.

I appreciate that it isn’t easy to keep a story like this going for years, let alone decades. It takes a knack to keep problems spinning out, endlessly toward no single resolution. Unless, for example, the show is coming to an end.

Then there’s all sorts of resolutions, returns of long missing people (or those thought dead!), coupling that has long been denied. They’re burning through storylines that would have taken days to unfold on a regular schedule, or weeks.

Now, they plan a big party for the reopening of the family mansion – a good place for toasts and bringing together the largest possible number of cast members past and present – and even have it in the very next scene.

But creator Agnes Nixon who hopes to take “All My Children” to a web presence, had one more trick under her sleeve.

Here come the spoilers, soap fans.

So the crowd is gathered, Tad raises a glass and says a toast and Adam delivers a long overdue proposal. A second later Susan Lucci’s Erica Kane’s own proposal, that Jackson follow her to California, causing him to issue a totally unnecessary swipe of “Gone with the Wind.” – “Frankly Erica, I don’t give a damn.”

And then the one dude who hasn’t reconciled with anyone, JR, who is lurking around with a gun, takes aim. The scene goes black and we hear a gunshot: End of series.

It’s actually a way to end a season, not a series with a big cliffhanger wondering if Erica is alive or dead. It’s an insult to longtime fans who wanted things tied neatly at the end for all of these characters they’ve been following for generations.

And whether Erica Kane lives or dies depends, I suppose, if Lucci decides to keep the job for the internet, a relam where she’ll never be eligible for Daytime Emmys (or to lose one), but maybe one day a Webby.

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