Anyone who peruses the comments section of CNN.com or just about any news site quickly learns what a rough-n-tumble world of words that can be. Under the cloak of anonymity, the harshest of assessments employing the sharpest of words are unleashed on online opponents real and imagined.
So when the CNN.com weekend crew checked back over some of the comments of the past few days, the comments on one story really stood out.
As reported on Friday on the Marquee Blog, the residents of the fictional town of Pine Valley will officially say goodbye when "All My Children" airs its last episode on Friday, September 23.
News of when the final episode would be aired sparked an outpouring that stayed surprisingly on subject and brought some uncommonly kind interchanges. This one between Patsy Davis and bubba really stood out:
Patsy Davis: "My name is Patsy Davis and I live in Charlotte, N.C. I HATE the fact that "All My Children" will no longer be broadcast after Sept. 23rd. That is HORRENDOUS! I LOVE that soap. Why are you taking it off the air? I will miss the cast, but I want to wish everyone of them good luck in whatever endeavor they pursue. Maybe I will see one of them in a movie or another TV program. God bless to all of them!"
bubba: "Hi Pasty Davis, my name is Bubba and I a sorry for the upcoming loss you will have in Sept. There is always The Young and the Restless, and the Bold and the Beautiful. I wouldn't advise the last one ..it's just Brook and Ridge, Taylor and Ridge and how they keep marrying each other for decades. Not healthy!"
This brief exchange included a rare case of name and geographical specificity on the part of the commenter, empathy between commenters, a matter-of-fact approach to sharing an emotional response, advise on how to move foward and even a brief critique of the dwindling soap-viewing options.
Patsy and bubba weren't the only ones who took a gentler road:
Leslie lamented: "I have been with both soaps from the start – I will miss them all and I am stunned and devistated but with as bad as we all feel – I am saddest for all the actors and crews that actually loose jobs, it does not get worse than that. God Bless you all and THANK YOU so very very much for all the years. Good Luck."
Shelley said: "I have been watching AMC since the very beginning, not sure if I will miss the show or the actors the most. It's like seeing the same people everyday and even though it's just a show its like you get involved with their life. Thank you cast for years of great acting and to think you just picked up and moved across the country."
Then there were the commenters who weren't exactly thrilled with the replacement shows coming their way. These were a little more heated, shall we say.
Lisa said: "ABC are you reading any of these comments? Clearly we are fed up with reality shows and who watches Cooking shows? Have you conducted any surveys or network research on cooking shows? I know for a fact that these new shows replacing our popular soaps do not have anywhere close to the rating of a soap. I've never heard of anyone TiVo a cooking show before have you?"
But just to bring things back to business as usual, we did have some comments along these lines:
Kara: Are you people seriously still going on and on about this? They were cancelled in April. Get over it already – it's done. Soaps have turned you into whiny, histrionic divas. BIG shock you related to soap actors!
Now that, folks, is a show of reality.