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All My Children challenged daytime TV standards on abortion, homosexuality

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alp227 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 07:04 PM
Original message
All My Children challenged daytime TV standards on abortion, homosexuality
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 07:12 PM by alp227
Today, the ABC television network announced that it would cancel its long-running daytime soap opera All My Children, and the show will end in September 2011 after 41 years on the network.

In case you didn't know, some storylines of the show dealt with tough social issues that would otherwise not be subjects of entertainment but rather maybe a daytime talk show, the news, or PBS.

For example, in 1973 (yes, the year of Roe v. Wade), the show depicted the first storyline about a legal abortion on American television ever. From the Wikipedia article about character Erica Kane (who's been on the show since the first year, 1970):

In 1973, the same year as the Roe v. Wade ruling, Erica aborts the baby she conceives with her first husband, Jeff Martin (Charles Frank).<33> This is the first legal abortion aired on American television.<25><28> Erica was chosen for this storyline as a way to prevent controversy. Since she was a bad girl and not one of the heroines, her choice would not be viewed as something the show supported. The show also protected themselves from controversy by writing Erica as mentally blocking out the abortion and, for a time, believing she miscarried. Viewers loved the story and Erica became a symbol of free choice.<34> Erica develops a potentially fatal infection after having the abortion.<25> "Erica's abortion was simply because she didn't want to have a child, and I think if you do that now, you would perhaps hurt your character," said former All My Children head writer Megan McTavish.<35> McTavish later rewrote the story so that the doctor who performs the procedure, Greg Madden (Ian Buchanan), transplants the aborted fetus into his infertile wife. They raise the child, Josh Madden (Colin Egglesfield), as their son without Erica's knowledge. Inkling Magazine pointed out how unrealistic this storyline was because "the techniques by which abortion is performed don't exactly lend themselves to excising an embryo viable enough to survive in another woman's womb."<36> The magazine said more likelihood existed in the possibility that Madden harvested Erica's eggs during the procedure, though an invasive surgery like that going unnoticed appeared unlikely as well.<36>


Near 25 years later, Kane's daughter Bianca Montgomery became the first daytime TV character to be a lesbian and was at the center of an intense storyline in late 2004, as the New York Times put it in a profile of character actress Eden Riegel: "...as Americans were choosing sides over gay marriage and arguing about campaign references to Vice President Dick Cheney's openly gay daughter, there was one concern quietly uniting people across the ideological spectrum: Bianca Montgomery deserved to get her baby back." That article also described Kane as being a "horrified, hyper-heterosexual mother" after Bianca came out to her during a 2000 episode.

I do believe that Bianca's wedding was the first depiction of same-sex marriage on daytime TV ever, am I wrong?

Back in 1983, according to a Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media article, All My Children became the first American daytime soap opera to have an ongoing story about homosexuality.

And I'm sure that the Wikipedia article about the show has more instances of the show confronting social issues in its history section. Do any fans of the show remember any other such plots? The only AMC I've ever seen were 10 minutes of the Christmas Eve 2010 episode.
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Lars39 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 07:08 PM
Response to Original message
1. The show Maude was the first with abortion in the story line. Nov 1972.
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alp227 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. good point but that was before roe v wade n/t
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JI7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 07:15 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. also the OP refers to Daytime TV which i don't think Maude was
also wasn't there an Aids story from the 80s i think. it involved a woman Cindy was was Stuart Chandler's wife.

at a time when aids was seen as something only the "evil" gays got and nobody should care.

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Lars39 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 07:15 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. It aired while the court was hearing the argument...Decision reached Jan. 12
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Ilsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 08:47 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. And it would have been a legal abortion for Maude in NY. nt
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Pab Sungenis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 08:12 PM
Original message
Dupe.
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 08:13 PM by Pab Sungenis
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Pab Sungenis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 08:12 PM
Response to Original message
5. One Life to Live, also cancelled today, had a gay teen story line
over a decade before Bianca on "All My Children." Ryan Philippe played daytime TV's first openly gay teen in the early 1990's.
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Raine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 08:17 PM
Response to Original message
6. Sad news, the end of an era
my grandmother watched them, my mother watched them, I've watched them. :-(
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 08:40 PM
Response to Original message
7. Rape Issue...It was a big draw in the early 80's.
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 07:28 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Luke and Laura...it was a HUGE THING for the 80's.
It got into much of what was going on at that time...with "Date Rape" and "Friend Rape," and the consequences of it all.

It captured a HUGE AUDIENCE. If anyone here remembers. :shrug:
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 07:32 PM
Response to Original message
10. K&R
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