These past few months, my grieving process for the venerable 41-year-old soap All My Children, which ends its televised run today, has been slow. My fury, my sadness, my sense of loss, has been simmering. Not to sound dismissive, or minimize the impact of this travesty, but after the cancellation of Guiding Light and As the World Turns, I just didn’t have it in me to rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Unless you count the zillion times a day, every day, five days a week, I had to watch commercials for The Chew. Because if you count that, then a zillion times a day, every day, five days a week, I’ve felt like throwing something at my TV screen… and I’m far from the only person who’s had that knee-jerk reaction.
Look, I don’t begrudge a network its replacement programming. You gotta what you gotta do. You can’t have static for an hour — though, as far as I’m concerned, that’s exactly what ABC is putting on in place of AMC. What I take issue with is that soap fans have had to sit through a three-hour bloc peppered with ads for The Chew every day for months. It’s been relentless! It’s like bringing the hot new girlfriend to your wife’s funeral… heck, it’s like bringing the new girlfriend into the ICU when your wife is still trying to rally! Even today viewers aren’t being spared. Why?
Does someone somewhere really think soap viewers are going to respond positively to tips about small shrimp and dish towels when all they want is a little more time with their soap? Advertise it in primetime and on cable and on the Internet all you want, but don’t kick soap fans where they live when they’re already down! And where are the “Tune in for the last week of AMC” commercials? If we had an equal amount of those maybe the constant barrage of The Chew commercials wouldn’t be so bad. But it’s like The Chew exists in a vacuum: “Lalalala, check out our new show that’s not replacing a beloved veteran TV show, wheeee!” To me, that just doesn’t make sense, and it comes off as needlessly clueless and insensitive.
AMC is a show that dealt with abortion, the Vietnam War, interracial marriage, LGBT rights and countless other ground-breaking, heartfelt issues. Whether or not it finds new life on the Internet, its life on our televisions is experiencing closure today. Couldn’t the show’s fans have a little closure, too… without being Chew-ed up and swallowed?