'All My Children' finale: The cliffhanger ending doesn't quite satisfy
Okay, I knew I would get verklempt over the end of All My Children, but I didn’t expect my heart to break even before the final show aired. But it did as I watched Agnes Nixon cry this morning on The View‘s grand goodbye to the long-running ABC soap. It was a fitting tribute with Nixon and many of the actors who embodied her characters.
I’m taking a deep breathe and getting ready to watch the finale. How about you? And I’m with you every step of the way — I’ll be back to EW.com to discuss the finale later today.
(By the way, fans can actually buy a limited edition print of the cast photo you see here, which was taken on the last day of production.)
UPDATE: Now that we’ve all watched the final episode, here’s what I think:I want to feel satisfied. I feel like I’m supposed to feel satisfied. I mean, it’s been like Old Home Week for months as former castmembers from Josh Duhamel to Sarah Michelle Gellar have dropped by for the farewell tour, and today’s episode was a mini-reunion in itself. Look! It’s both Stuart and Adam Chandler! Brooke! The Martins! All in one room! Things were tied up in neat little life-affirming packages. Erica’s longtime love, Jackson, even grew a pair: After waiting 20 years for Erica to put him first, he finally accepted that she never would. (I actually laughed out loud when Jackson did his best Rhett Butler, turning and dramatically saying, “Frankly, Erica, I don’t give a damn what you want.”)
But I don’t feel satisfied. Even with all the buildup to the finale, the big party to celebrate Stuart’s return from the dead felt rushed. The attempt to tie everything up in a big bow of mostly happy endings was simply not fulfilling, and I accept it could be because I just wanted the story to continue. But I hate David Hayward getting a free pass, and we still don’t know who the other person he brought back to life is. I hate even more that it was Angie who championed him. I hate that J.R. has become such an incredible all-around ass (he actually uttered the line “My son’s not getting raised by lesbians”), yet Tad and Dixie just waltzed off to a party.
And a cliffhanger? Really? J.R., the former Chandler heir-apparent, felt as though everyone had turned against him, and became so unhinged that he hid in the walls of his former home with a gun seemingly intent on shooting those who had in his eyes wronged him the most: His son’s mother, her girlfriend, and his own cousin. Erica began to walk off chasing after Jackson when the shot rang out and the screen went black. So instead of Dallas‘ “Who shot J.R.?” we now have to ask “Who did J.R. shoot?” And it’s possibly Erica? (Was I the only one who considered that Susan Lucci reportedly has yet to join the online version of All My Children in the works?)
I get it. You need a launching point for the new online show and you need to lure folk in. I’ll check it out no matter what, but I have to say, as a fan, I can’t feel great about this ending. That said, the actors are all to be commended for the roles they brought to life and for the fact that despite the dwindling viewership numbers, they forged a great connection with those who did watch.
And yes, I could see why those ads for The Chew rankled so many of you.