For the residents of Oakdale, Illinois, the world will take its final spin on Friday, September 17, 2010.
After 54 years of drama, including (but not limited to) serial fornication and adultery (leading to serial divorce), murder and mayhem, mob connections, exotic illnesses, unusual family histories, questionable genealogies, hallucinations, and various addictions, amnesias and accidents — not to mention your everyday garden-variety scheming, manipulation and neuroses — the fictional inhabitants of fantasy “World” will vanish from the daily line-up of CBS forever.
When I heard that As the World Turns, currently the longest-running daytime drama (“soap opera” or “soap”) would be going off the air, I decided I would tune in for the final few weeks, for old times’ sake. You see, when I was a kid, our world would stop turning at 12:30 p.m. in order to see what Nancy and Chris Hughes and their family and friends were up to for the next half-hour. For the sake of nostalgia, I was hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the old familiar faces.
The last time I watched was around 1986, I believe, when I suppose they were celebrating 30 years. Then I went back to work and lost track of everyone. When I reconnected, I quickly discovered that the older generation had passed away and there was a new crop of folks that I did not know. However, the same string of life events was still occurring, just with a new set of faces. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Tragic accidental death has always been a convenient vehicle for moving the story line along, and I have witnessed that just this week. The plot took a turn that no one could have foreseen, just in time for a heart to be transplanted. Brilliant!
I have to confess that I was touched, however, when Dr. Bob Hughes said, “No greater love hath any man, than that he lay down his life for his friend.” His son was the recipient of the heart. His friend was the donor. Heart-wrenching stuff!
In the world of soaps, a day can stretch on for weeks, yet children grow into adults sometimes within months. (Isn’t this the way it seems in real time, though? We sometimes have days we think will never end, but when we look back, time seems to have flown by!)
It is so interesting to see how all the story lines are being wrapped up. Characters who have always been devious and self-serving seem to have mellowed a bit. They are having drinks with their enemies and doling out heartfelt counsel. They are finally realizing what their priorities are and should have been all along. Estranged lovers are realizing that they are meant for one another after all and want to “be together” (most overused phrase in Soapdom) for the rest of their lives. The truly evil characters are getting their come-uppance and ghosts from the past are finally being recognized for what they are — vapors.
Although I have not been a faithful viewer, I am saddened to know that Bob and Kim, Lisa, Barbara, Tom and Margo, Lily and Holden, and yes, even Lucinda Walsh, will not be around any more. I suppose I could turn to Erica Kane of All My Children for a daily dose of drama, but WHY?! I believe I have enough of my own. If and when they go the same route into the proverbial sunset, perhaps I will tune in to see how they wrap up their story lines.
In the meantime, I need to ponder my own script. How will I prioritize, evaluate, react, respond, relate, love and forgive? When I come to the end of my own run in my own world, will the story lines be tied up in a satisfying manner? I hope so. I’m working on it. Hopefully, I will remember that although I do not always get to formulate the plot, I can alter the outcome because I do get to write my own lines in the daily dialogue.
Goodbye Oakdale. It’s been nice knowing you.