Wednesday’s episode of All My Children sent shock waves across the internet as young temptress Colby Chandler (Brooke Newton) seduced a drunken Pete Cortland (Robert Scott Wilson) with sensual kissing, breathy dirty nothings that led to sex. Afterwards, Colby proceeded to have Pete teach her about computers while she performed oral sex! Almost immediately after, fans took to social media with what seemed like a combination of excitement, dismay and disgust that such an act would play out on “their soap”. But was it really that controversial?
I think the scene in question definitely pushed the boundaries of what fans of daytime television are used to, but Prospect Park isn’t writing or producing shows for a daytime television audience. Rather, the studio is going after a broader viewership, and that means “pushing the envelope” every now and again. Taking that into account, the scene in question shouldn’t be compared to that of Days of Our Lives, or even previous sex scenes portrayed on ABC’s All My Children; but to that of Scandal, Gossip Girl and 90210, where pushing the boundaries of the “norm” has become acceptable.
In comparison to other programming available online and on television, the ‘shocking’ scene in question as actually pretty tame. Not much was left up to the imagination as anyone over the age of knowing what sex is would know what Colby was doing. Is this the type of scene that should be included on a show built for a family audience? No. But this incarnation of All My Children, even the ABC version in later years, is built for family consumption. Why not do something daring, grab a few headlines if possible and move forward?
The CW has consistently challenged expectations of “suitable” viewing, even going as far as to market many of their shows as scandalous – embracing the controversy surrounding their shows and using it for promotion. At one point, the network featured campaign ads touting the show as “Every parent’s worst nightmare,” a quote attributed to the Boston Herald. The OnLine Network should capitalize on the buzz and debate, using it to their advantage and market the show towards the young adult audience it’s hoping to reach.
Over time, today’s controversial scene will become just another scene on a soap opera; becoming a vague, distant memory like past controversial scenes on soaps have been – Chelsea and Max’s implied fellatio on Days of our Lives, Kendall and Ethan’s racy bathtub romp on All My Children and that one time Katie and Mike had steamy shower sex that featured a shot of a bare ass pressing against the glass on As the World Turns.
What did you think of the scene in question? Was it too much for All My Children? Will you be tuning out because of it? Or was it just like every other sex scene you’ve seen on network television?