I remember when the great Michael Zaslow had to make the heartbreaking announcement that he’d been diagnosed with ALS. A daytime exec who deserves to remain nameless, in my book justified the firing of Zas from The Guiding Light by commenting how vibrant a man Roger Thorpe (the character Zas turned into daytime phenomenon) has always been. It was further stated that Roger Thorpe should not become a ‘wizened’ old man. It was probably one of the cruelest blows struck against the daytime legend and the fans who adored him.
I thought about that comment, yesterday, while watching GL’s Buzz Cooper(played by Emmy winner Justin Deas) and Alan Spaulding (played by Emmy nominated Ron Raines). The lifelong onscreen enemies were locked in yet another battle, this one an actual fistfight, until Alan began having a heart attack. Buzz just minutes later, also began having a heart attack.
I couldn’t make up my mind if the scene was meant to make Buzz and Alan realize how silly and pedantic the ‘war’ between the powerful and upper income Spauldings, namely Alan, and the middle income/working-class Coopers has been. More likely than not, the scenes were supposed to be funny. For me, they weren’t. If it was a joke, it fell flat.
This feels, to me, like the work of GL’s “Team B” (if there are two writing teams heading this show). “Team A” seemed to resolve the issue of Remy and Christina’s marriage of convenience. They weren’t ready for a full commitment, but they were growing closer. “Team B” trotted out the same old conversation about the “faux marriage” concerns from months ago. It’s the first time in a long time I actually yawned during an episode of GL.
“Team A” gave us Phillip’s glorious return, a return that started dragging the Guiding Light out of the ratings basement and signaled to fans that there is still a lot of life left in this show. “Team B” managed to take two of the show’s most vibrant and alluring men and created ‘wizened’ creatures out of them. David and Goliath storylines don’t work when even David is diminished in stature. (To be sure, I’m not stating that anyone who has had a heart attack is ‘wizened’ or weak, I’m commenting on how GL writers used the illness to illict a laugh, but only succeeded in making Buzz and Alan seem weaker, somehow).
I still love the new GL, I just love it more when “Team A” takes control. I’m hoping that “Team B” is up only to give “Team A” time to recharge its batteries and give us more of the great storylines they’d started telling just several weeks ago.
I will give “Team B” this much credit: I enjoyed the scenes between Beth and Phillip – not an easy feat since Beth is at the bottom of the list of characters that I couldn’t care less about. Phillip sees a new Beth. She’s not the same frightened “little woman” in need of constant rescue, as she’d always been in the past. It was one of the most annoying aspects of her relationship with Coop – that she needed the 20 something year old Coop to ‘rescue’ her from big bad Alan. “Team B” established Beth as the rescuer, this time. Phillip needs her. She may just end up being his caretaker.