Goodbye to Susan Lucci and Erica Kane

For the first time in more than 40 years, All My Children isn't on the air. What are fans supposed to do now?

On Friday, the cast of ABC’s long-running soap opera All My Children took their final bows after 41 years of marriages, murders and cocktail parties. Despite being a recovering General Hospital fan, I found myself feeling sympathetic for the fans who would miss Erica Kane, Tad Martin and the rest of the characters from Pine Valley, a fictional Philly suburb.

I’ve always made strong connections with the characters of my favorite television shows. Whether it was Lorelei Gilmore (Gilmore Girls) who got me through my first bad break up; the entire cast of Dawson’s Creek who got me through the second; Nate, David and Claire Fisher (Six Feet Under) who guided me through the first few weeks after learning my nephew had leukemia; the Bluth Family (Arrested Development) who taught me how to laugh again after my grandmother died; or Eric and Tami Taylor (Friday Night Lights) who cheered and strengthened me while I lived in a falling-down house with an unbreakable lease, television characters have always helped me in times of turmoil. I quickly develop relationships with characters I love (or love to hate) and they become very real parts of my life, if only for a few weeks while I power through seasons on DVD.

When my favorite shows end, as all shows—even ones that have been on the air for more than 40 years—inevitably do, a part of me always feels legitimately sad for a little while, because I miss the people who briefly became so important to my life.

How then, must fans of Susan Lucci’s Erica Kane feel today, knowing that for the first time in more than four decades they can’t check in on their Pine Valley pals?

While my favorite shows never lasted more than a hundred or so episodes, All My Children has been on every day for 41 years, totaling a startling 10,712 episodes. AMC viewers watched Lucci’s character grow from a headstrong teenager into a woman who was married nearly a dozen times. They supported Lucci herself as she endured 18 Daytime Emmy nominations before finally taking home a statue in 1999.

If AMC fans are anything like me, some of them must be downright depressed. (Rumors of a web series might give them a glimmer of hope, though.) If anyone needs a show that will help ease the pain. I’ve got some recommendations.

Read about what the demise of Main Line-inspired soap operas means to Philadelphia here.