After more than 40 years, "All My Children" is coming to an end.
The story of Erica Kane and all the many, many children of Pine Valley has brought us classic soap moments -- murders, twins masquerading as other twins, steamy love affairs and more. "All My Children" has also stood as one of the most progressive programs on daytime, which is traditionally a more conservative timeslot than primetime. Over its history, the show has featured the first same-sex kiss on daytime, the first transgender coming-out story, and at one point, cast an actual Iraq War veteran.
Some of the stars who made their start on the show -- Sarah Michelle Gellar and Josh Duhamel, among others-- have returned in recent days to say goodbye to the sudsy mainstay. Though production company Prospect Park has purchased the rights to continue both "All My Children" and "One Life To Live" (which will stay on air until January 2012) online, not everyone has signed on to the new format.
"All My Children" will be replaced by "The Chew" and "The Revolution," daytime talk shows about food and health, respectively.
Read on as we chronicle the final moments of "All My Children":
The show just ended. We don't know who was shot. Or if Erica will have her happy ending. Etc. They've ended the show on a few major cliffhangers (something they manage to do every single episode despite airing five times a week), so I guess in a weird way, it makes sense. And technically, the show is meant to continue online ... but, in any case, goodbye "All My Children," no closure necessary ?
Adam is totally proposing to Brooke!
She says, "Whoa!"
And then agrees, "Uhhhh ... yes."
Meanwhile, Erica also says yes. "I don't want to get married!"
Best of luck, says Jackson, but you'll do it without me.
J.R. is doing something shady.
Erica busts into the room screaming.
"Please don't go! I need you!"
"FRANKLY ERICA I DON'T GIVE A DAMN WHAT YOU NEED" says Jackson.
J.R. lifts a gun and is pointing it at like everyone in the room.
"This is not the ending I want," says Erica.
"You'll never get him back," says Opal.
"Just watch me," says Erica.
They flash to everyone in the room and the gun goes off.
WHO DID J.R. shoot!?
Commercial for Bush's baked beans. Commercial for Prego. Commercial for Dirty Soap. Commercial for Honey Bunches of Oats. Commercial for Pillsbury Grand's biscuits. Commercial for milk. Commercial for ABC Sunday's. Commercial for Pan Am. Commercial for Ashley furniture.
"I want roots, I want family, I don't want to sit around watching you chase your dreams," says Jack.
But that's why you love me , Erica says, watching me have dreams and get them.
Eh, no, says Jackson, I have dreams too.
"There's commitment .. and then there's commitment," says JAckson. "You don't want to get married."
Jackson and Erica are chit-chatting.
Erica wants Jack to come to L.A.
"We can have every single night together," Erica says.
Somehow, J.R. is eavesdropping on every single conversation that is happening.
Tad gives a toast. The heartwarming music is back.
Neighbours, family and friends, are what matters, says Tad.
"It's been my home ... Best years of my life ... Not to mention the beautiful woman standing beside me ... There are all these amazing people who should be here and aren't .. Who deserve to be here .. Who have meant so much ... Some of them will eventually buy a ticket home ... Some of them sadly can't ... " he goes on.
Jackson is like, "I've been waiting for you for 24 years!"
Back to Tad. "... Everybody in this room ... that's how Pine Valley works, always has, always will. Tragedy, triumph, we come together. I wish ... the rest of my kids were here to see this. Cos this ... this ... is something to remember, folks. We'll be talking about this for a long time. I always like to think that no matter what my family and ALL MY CHILDREN are always with me. So here's how!"
Jackson is looking grim as femme fatale Erica leads him off.
David is talking to Adam, who thanks him.
STUART IS SO CUTE. Marianne tells him about the party.
"You mean a real party with family and friends," he stutters. "That's just what I needed!"
J.R. is still lurking in a blueish colored dark closet place. He has a nefarious plan. Not sure what.
Dixie confronts David. Who else has David saved!?
"I think I deserve to know!" she asks. "Who is the other person! Is it someone that I care about!"
"Trust me, that is something you do not need to know," says David.
Everyone is toasting to Pine Valley.
...Including J.R. who has somehow procured a glass of champagne while lurking in the world's biggest closet.
Commercial for The Lion King. Commercial for Cheerios. Commercial for Centrum vitamins. Commercial for McCormick fajita mix spices. Commercial for Enbrel, a drug for psoriatic arthritis. Commercial Eggo Nutrigrain waffles. Commercial for Pan Am. Commercial for "The Chew."
J.R. is eavesdropping on his parents.
"He was so upset I thought he would explode," says mom.
"Let's hope we avoided ... detonation," says Adam.
Erica and Opal are here. They're in head to toe sequins. Erica also has some fur on. They're so glittery.
"Don't blow a gasket," says Opal.
"Please ... I'm Erica Kane," says Erica Kane.
Commercial for Olive Garden. Commercial for Latisse, a drug you take for "inadequate or not enough lashes." Commercial for Pillsbury toaster strudels. Commercial for Rembrandt whitening toothpaste. Commercial for low calorie Jello Temptations desserts. Commercial for Symbicort, a lung drug. Commercial for Desperate Housewives. Commercial for Pan Am.
Back to the party. There are not enough people lunging for hor d'oeuvres for this to be realistic.
"At first I thought it was just my eyes adjusting, but ... you're glowing," says formerly blind partygoer. "Are you pregnant?"
She is ... maybe.
Someone is engaged.
"Are you kidding?" someone asks him, but not like he's surprised.
David's showed up. But he's a troublemaker!!
Everyone's going to the party!
"It's like Pine Valley is being reborn," says one attendee. Actually, no, though.
Seriously, guys, everyone who lives in Pine Valley is at the party
"You all look beautiful," says someone who used to be blind. Everyone's like, wow, you can see, that is great, and they hug.
J.R. is in big trouble we hear. He's now having a flashback in voiceover -- he's been disinherited, we see.
"Here's 20,000 explanations," he says to a flight attendant man, which I take to mean, this is a bribe. "I've got a party to crash," he says.
Erica and Opal have found out about the party.
"David pulled another miracle rabbit out of his doctor bag!" says Opal.
Erica goes off to change.
"You really think you're irresistible to him" says Opal.
"Yes, I am!" says Erica.
Velveeta cheesy skillets commercial. Commercial for Sculptra, some kind of injectable anti-age stuff that has some nasty sounding side effects. Commercial for Pop-Tarts. Commercial for Humana. Commercial for Eyewitness news. Commercial for "The Rosie Show" with Oprah. Commercial for Raymour and Flanigan. Commercial for Chris Christie. Commercial for e-p-t, a pregnancy test. Commercial for the lottery drawing.
"I LOST EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING," says J.R.. "Stay away from me. In fact, stay the HELL OUT OF MY LIFE."
He walks off.
"He's too angry," says Tad. "Something's wrong ... maybe it's time to let him go away for a while."
"In the meantime we still have each other. Together, forever. That's my girl," he says.
THE WHOLE TOWN IS INVITED TO A PARTY AT CHANDLER MANSION. Todd just got the text.
J.R. lurks out of a corner.
Brooke and Adam and the kids want to throw a party!
"Pine Valley, it needs to be whooped up a little bit," says the female kid.
"Whoop Whoop," goes the male kid.
He does it again.
"The Chandlers are having a party!" says Adam.
Opal and Erica are fighting a little bit.
"Why is it she spends more time with me than brunching with the fashionista A-List?" Opal asks Erica.
"What I wouldn't give for just one more chance with him," Opal says about Palmer. "Don't let that happen with you and Jackson."
The white haired man has been standing in the corner watching this. He's got to get back to LA.
Something heartwarming is happening. David is out on bail.
Everyone is smiling and there is heartwarming music.
"Trust me, I'm going to remember this moment," says David.
Commercial for Progressive. Commercial for Pillsbury microwaveable bacon and cheese biscuit sandwiches. Commercial for Advil. Commercial for Burger King soft serve. Commercial for Disney princess gummy vitamins. Commercial for Colgate whitening toothpaste. Commercial for Jennie O turkey burgers. Commercial for Suburgatory.
J.R. is really sullen. But then he gets some news. Stuart is alive!
"Why's everyone got to lie to me!" says J.R., who, wisely, thinks that this is somehow some kind of convoluted plot.
"Maybe Uncle Stuart and Babe can have a tea party in heaven!" J.R. says, telling his mother to stay away from him. "It wasn't my father who screwed me up it was you!"
Stuart really is alive though. And he's in the hospital bed, looking confused. It's a dream! A dream! But not a dream, because it "just feels like a dream -- the best dream ever!" says Stuart's son.
Now we're with Stuart's twin brother, Adam.
"I didn't kill Stuart! He's alive!" he says.
"And now so are you," says his red-headed paramour.
"This place is more depressing than the hospital! Let's get out of here!" Adam says.
But there's a surprise. They're not selling the house!
"Welcome home," says red.
After 24 years, 10 broken engagements, 2 honeymoons, a marriage and a divorce, Jackson says he and Erica are really over. He does a shot.
Back at the apartment, Erica's all like, No, no, no, he wouldn't. Opal is skeptical.
Pine Valley's no Hollywood & Vine, says Erica, who is apparently trying to star in a movie.
A white haired man appears. The jet is fueled up, he says.
Commercial for 'd'vine' prunes. Commercial for "I Don't Know How She Does It." Commercial for Olive Garden. Commercial for Payless Shoes with Christian Siriano. Commercial for Seroquel XR, an antidepressant. Commercial for Desperate Housewives. Commercial for "The Chew" (which will replace "All My Children."
"To make a creamy soup without the cream, use tofu!" -- "The Chew"
"You heard about Hayward's new bring you back to life potion!" says J.R. , accusing Jamie of having some ulterior motives.
The two squabble.
"My sons not getting raised by lesbians!" says J.R..
Okay, more children.
They are reciting some kind of little ditty, that ends, "We are all your children." The beginning part of it sounds like wedding vows.
Kids are having some moments.
Erica Kane is wearing a plum tube top, looking ageless.
She gets a bombshell. Jackson is packing a bag.
"I think he's leaving you honey!!!"
"We can't take miracles for granted, big or small!"
David, who has been a really bad guy a lot of the time, is hopefully going to get a second chance. Harp arpeggios.
Everyone in Pine Valley loves each other after all. Children are running around and jumping.
This is now some kind of people who you thought were dead are not dead montage. This does happen a lot on soaps: Nice to remind us.
"One day our friends will die and they won't be back ... what if that day were today," one character muses. "All My Children" gets meta.
Montage of Erica Kane talking about how life is miraculous and stroking the hair of lots of little girls.
Okay, okay, they're showing basically all the important births on the show for the past forty years. So many babies. And families. And happy family time, set to meaningful piano music.
Note: Even though people destroy each other's lives all the time, everyone looks nicer when they are holding a baby.
We start in fifteen. Our hearts are all a-flutter.