The end of As The World Turns also represents (as many of us have mentioned) the end of the P&G soaps.
I’m also looking at it as the end of traditional soap opera. Despite the dramatic changes to ATWT and Guiding Light in their last years, they were still by and large traditional soap operas in the same vein that P&G had been producing for decades.
Many people have compared the end of ATWT and the end of GL. They both took two different pathways at the end of their lives.
Both were affected by budget cuts. GL decided to implement the much-discussed new production model, while ATWT shifted to a variation of the telenovela or “chapter” storytelling, minimizing the number of actors and sets used in a given period and thereby making cheaper episodes.
For many who wrote about the end of both shows, ATWT has been reviewed far more favorably than GL.
I ultimately found a level of satisfaction as both ended, but I am not sure I’d place ATWT leap years and miles in front of GL’s ending.
It’s true that GL’s last day seemed very disjointed, as if treading water for its final Josh/Reva scene. And there was the fuckery (I’m sorry, but there’s no other word) of the Jeffrey/Edmund story.
But I thought that the final months of GL – and especially those final weeks – beautifully captured characters as I knew and remembered them. THAT was the show I’d started watching almost thirty years before. (This was, I suspect, largely due to the positive influence of Jill Lorie Hurst, who understood who these people were and knew how to write for them.)
I thought ATWT’s final episode was beautiful – I heard it described perfectly online as something simple and heartfelt. But I don’t think the last six months of ATWT moved and involved me as much as the end of GL did.
There were some wonderful moments – the Barbara/Henry story and the resolution of the whole Stenbeck legacy, Kim fighting to keep Chris safe, the Kim and Bob anniversary, Nancy’s funeral, any part of the Reid story.
And I understand the show wanted to remain contemporary to the end. I respect that choice, but I felt that some of the warmth that would engage us all as long-time viewers – the incredible warmth of seeing so many veteran GL characters at the end of that show – simply wasn’t there, or was fleeting. (Don Hastings and Kathryn Hays couldn’t do it all by themselves!)
I wish we’d have seen more of the on-canvas vets, as well as even the briefest of visits from a few important people.
And though the sets looked nicer, the lights brighter and the look of the show was much as it was twenty years ago, the feel of the show was very different.
If you were, as I was, a fan of both shows, I’d love to hear what you think when you compare the ending of both shows.