All My Children and One Life to Live, canceled Thursday by ABC, will depart this world after bringing us a combined 20,000-plus episodes of cliffhangers, sudden deaths and unplanned pregnancies.
Here are the two daytime soaps' all-time jaw-dropping moments:
1. They Both Got Axed?! On the Same Day?! Sadly, this off-screen development trumps everything that has ever happened on screen. Sure, the daytime-drama industry has been ailing for years, and, sure, both shows were rumored to be on the firing line, but the Sopranos-style double-whacking was an unexpected twist. Adding insult to injury? AMC, which will be the first to go, in September, is being replaced by a show called The Chew. Say it again: The Chew.
2. Erica Kane Gets an Abortion!? In 1973, Susan Lucci's AMC alter-ego chose to terminate her pregnancy—a first for the soaps, and television, in the then-newly minted Roe v. Wade era. (Decades later, as you can see above, Kane urged her youngest daughter to do the same…while the elder daughter she gave up for adoption listens in. Um, awkward.)
3. One Life to Live Goes Sci-Fi?! To be fair, in 1989, this trippy storyline made perfect sense. Soaps were so huge that kitchen sets could no longer contain them. And so Llanview stalwart Viki (Erika Slezak), fresh from trips to heaven and the 1880s, was dispatched to the Sleestak's cave from Land of the Lost.
4. The Mom from Who's the Boss? Is a "Common Hooker?!" OK, for starters, this 1979 courtroom confession was made by actress Judith Light's OLTL character, Karen Wolek, and not her sitcom self, Angela Bower. And, secondly, this bombshell performance cannot be explained; it must be experienced. Suffice to say, if soap justice was always this dramatic, the O.J. Simpson trial wouldn't have stood a chance of upstaging the genre.
5. Death by Poisoned Pancakes?! The Real Housewives franchise could run 40 years (like AMC) or 43 years (like OLTL), and it'll never, ever kill off one of its housewives like how Pine Valley's Dixie (Cady McClain) got offed in 2007. (At least we hope it won't.)