Once in a while, something happens that is so out of nowhere and so inexplicable it leaves you gasping for words. And that something happened last month, when it was announced my very favorite soap opera Brink Of Destiny would be going off the air in September! Canceled! I never, ever thought this would happen. We're talking about a show that has been on every Monday through Friday since 1962. The meanie network couldn't even wait for the show's 50th anniversary to pull the plug. And now it's been unceremoniously canned, like beets!
I'm telling you, even the legendary Teasdale sense of humor, which has gotten me through many a tough time, is being strained to its breaking point. It's as if network executives are conspiring to destroy all the beloved daytime programming I grew up with. It started with Dinah! Then Match Game, then Hour Magazine, then The Home Show, then all those great after-school specials about alcoholic teenagers. Now deposit Brink Of Destiny in the ol' daytime-TV graveyard. You just don't treat a landmark serial like this. It's not The Tony Danza Show, for heaven's sake! (No offense to Tony Danza fans.)
And while still reeling from this blow, I'm further flattened by the absolute lack of complaint about Brink Of Destiny's destiny on Facebook and Twitter. There isn't even a single measly online petition demanding it be shown on the Internet. Whuh? So I'm the only one who swooned to Stefan deflowering Francie Foxglove in her wealthy family's thoroughbred stable? Or who sat in front of the TV wearing an actual hat with flowers for Nikki and Cash's amaza-rific romantic wedding? Or bawled like a baby when Shannen discovered that the love of her life, Ash, had not died in the fiery car crash that blinded her, but instead was the mysterious benefactor who had sent her the money to pay off the mortgage on her family estate, a stunning revelation that caused her to suddenly regain her sight?
Hell-ooooo, anyone there?
Well, if none of that rings a bell, what about when noble Sandy Foxglove broke down and admitted, when confronted by ex-cop-turned-private-detective Cutter, that Harte was her son by Emilio Montero, which made Harte the sole heir to the Corazón Cosmetics empire? Surely someone remembers that. By the way, did anyone pick up on the fact that his name was Harte, which sounds just like "heart," which in Spanish is "corazón"? I still think it was super clever of Cutter to figure that out.
(I'm imagining crickets. Tell me that's just my insecurity talking.)
Lately I've spent a lot of time going through my big old stack of home-taped BOD episodes, and I'm struck by how innovative a show it was for its day. Do any of these network dumb-dumbs know that, way back in 1982, BOD was the first soap opera to feature a character with genital herpes? And it was really well done, too. It almost made you feel like you had genital herpes. I still have to give the writers credit for their sensitivity and compassion on the topic. (Well, except for the shoot-out between Stefan and the South American drug gang at the herpes clinic, though that was part of another subplot.) In fact, BOD deserves plenty of kudos for keeping up with trends. In 1992, 30 years after the soap's debut, it introduced its first black character, the lawyer Tarleton Alouette. Of course, within months the character got cancer and disappeared, but hey, at least he wasn't just another servant for the wealthy Foxglove clan, right?
(And in case you're wondering, yes, Hubby Rick knows about the cancellation, and yes, Hubby Rick couldn't be gloating more.)
At least I have these tapes, low-res and wobbly as they are, and a dog-eared copy of the 1989 Hot BOD charity calendar, which contained that infamously hunk-umptious pic of a shirtless Harte pouring purple liquid into a beaker at the Corazón Cosmetics lab! (I kept it close by for years, even cutting the pic out of the calendar and taping it to my office door at SouthCentral Insurance, where it remained until I got fired!) So I'm not completely bereft. Still, I'm baffled by the soap's cancellation due to plummeting viewership. In this age of DVRs and rampant unemployment, when millions like me desperately need something to occupy their minds, shouldn't its ratings be skyrocketing?
Maybe Brink of Destiny's replacement gives us a clue. Come October, BOD's time slot will be filled by some preachy modern-lifestyles show! We'll soon be treated to a program in which we'll be shown exercises and how to make our own crafts and prepare dinner at home instead of ordering out and so on. Planet Sheesh! Does anyone at that network realize that it's really hard to do an exercise and watch TV at the same time? It's like your eyes have to move back and forth between the TV and your position to make sure you're doing it right, and by that time, the exercise has moved on to another position. Whereas viewers don't need to move one inch when being entertained by beautiful people with amnesia finally discovering who their real fathers are. So why punish yourselves further, TV watchers? Times are tough enough. We need escape.
Well, I know that on Friday, Sept. 30, the date of Brink of Destiny's last-ever broadcast, I'll be lying on the sofa cocooned in Polarfleece, used Kleenex, cats slightly damp with tears, and several empty two-liter bottles of Diet Mr. Pibb. I'll always fondly remember Nikki, Cash, Harte, Dr. Ted, Ash, Shannen, Sandy, Cutter, Francie, Luka, Stefan 1, Stefan 2, Gloria, and Daisy. I'll even remember Tarleton.
Then I'll call upon everyone who still loves soaps and tell them to boycott this new show and its nincompoop network! Well, maybe I'll tune in once or twice, to see what kind of crafts they show. And I do love that talk show with the spunky ladies. But besides that, total boycott.