Editor’s Note: The following excerpt is taken from a Master’s thesis I completed at Colorado State University for which I created my own Save Our Soaps (SOS) group, which you can find at thistimeitsforever.org. In this section this excerpt is taken from, I talk about learning of the second cancellations of All My Children (AMC) and One Life to Live (OLTL). This knowledge got me actively involved in the SOS movement, and I remain so today.
Like many fans of the canceled ABC soaps, I had a powerful and visceral reaction to this. When I saw the headline on Soap Opera Digest in the grocery store announcing TOLN’s cancellation decision, I had my first “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” moment a la the feature film Network. My basket of groceries dropped, and as I picked up the issue of Soap Opera Digest stacked next to the checkout register, so did my jaw. I was literally speechless as I read the brief article inside detailing the reasons for and time frame of the cancellation of two of the three soap operas that I had watched for 23 years. I still did and do watch “General Hospital,” and I had watched “Loving,” another ABC soap, as well for the 12 years it aired on ABC.
As I sat in the cab on my way home from the grocery store, I decided this cancellation would not see me rely solely on others to save my soaps. I would not, this time, plan on going to the face-to-face protest at the Baltimore ABC affiliate closest to my suburban Maryland home but then back out at the last minute because of apathy and the naive hope that things would just go my way.
But this time would be different. Learning that the online versions of AMC and OLTL had been canceled stung badly. When Prospect Park decided to resurrect them online, it felt like–as happens so often on soaps, actually!–a deceased loved one had returned from the dead. It filled me with joy, peace, excitement, and hope.
Over the past 28 years of watching them, soaps had come to serve so many important roles in my life—entertainment, psychological support, comfort, feelings of actual friendship for and love of characters, belonging to a culture of fellow soap lovers. Perhaps this partially explained my somewhat melodramatic reaction to their cancelation.
I entered my apartment in Fort Colins, where I was living now, and began frantically messaging people, my fingers dashing across my laptop keyboard, who were administrators of SOS groups on Facebook—“Did you hear All My Children and One Life To Live are being canceled again? I am not going to let this happen without a fight. Can I have your e-mail, so I can talk to you about getting more involved?” A woman named Tessa Kendall McKenzie, responded.
Tessa had started and was director of a public access talk show airing in Brooklyn called, “Let’s Talk About Soaps” (LTAS) when ABC/Disney announced its cancelation of the broadcast versions of the All My Children and One Life To Live. She eventually started a Website augmenting that public access show. The Website had (and has) a blog. Running all of these things according to the high standards Tessa does everything with would be difficult for anyone, and it was for Tessa too. So when I contacted her, she was thrilled. Based on my being a writer and studying rhetoric and composition, she asked me if I would like to be Editor-in-Chief of LTAS’s blog and Head of Social Media Accounts for LTAS. I responded with an overjoyed and eager, “Yes!” (via e-mail). I still hold both positions today.
By Akbi Khan
Edited by Akbi Khan
© Copyright Akbi Khan 2014