The camera zoomed in on TDH and RS ...
... The credits rolled ...
... The Show was gone.
In retrospect, that final scene was appropriate. Beyond appropriate, in fact. Talk about foreshadowing: RS and TDH's characters got the shock of their lives -- and so did the the fans. Given how I felt, I can only imagine how those even more invested in The Show reacted when they learned the love story they had been following (both on- and off-camera, depending on who you were) was gone without any hint of an explanation.
But there was one, and this being Hollywood, it was the see-you-in-40-weeks kind of explanation that really needs no explanation and generally results in the general public (or at least those obsessed/bored enough to care) beginning to wonder if they're actually watching the Lifetime Movie Network.
Fortunately for RS and TDH, back then, the Internet was barely out of the womb itself, and celebrity gossip sites didn't exist -- at least not in the way they do now. No one was truly considered D-Listed. "I'm Not Obsessed" was a defense, not a guilty pleasure. And somewhere, in the shade of a palm tree, Perez Hilton was likely getting his ass handed to him by the football team for smarting off. There were no unofficial announcements, and no questions raised -- at least not publicly.
But some things are just hard to ignore -- and you start to draw your own conclusions.
So while it would have been far easier to pin The Show's demise on the slimmed-down ratings rather than RS' thickening waistline, the mere idea that she and TDH would continue to live their charmed lives (separately, of course) while the fans cried into their pillows over being abandoned without a second thought (and without a clue about what the final scene actually meant), made them -- and The Show -- wholly unappealing.
After all, everyone knew The Show had already been renewed for a fifth season. What the hell had happened? What had THEY done?
And just like that, The Show, once considered the love of my life, was relegated to one-night-stand status. No emotional attachments, no reason to linger in the morning. It was nothing more than fleeting pleasure -- and I was adamant about practicing what I was preaching. (After all, the formative years -- aka high school -- are nothing if not dramatic.)
The tapes went into a box. The photos came down. The magazines were tossed.
I had invested far too much time into something that clearly didn't love me back. After all, RS -- my hero -- couldn't even take the time to answer a fan letter (or four) from a young girl who saved her Christmas money to buy clothes similiar to those her character wore, and whose life goal was to be just like her. She was too busy having it all.
I was done.
By the time school was back in session, I had a new love. Ironically, it was on The (conniving liar of a) Network, but since it had been around for more than 30 years -- and continued to do well in the ratings -- there was no chance of it vanishing faster than a speeding mandate on extramarital rehearsals.
The Show was history.
The Soap now ruled.
And I was about to get my first taste of fandoms ...