The Guiding Light died a ‘good death’.

I can’t believe that I’m going to say this, but The Guiding Light ended in the best way possible.  Everything made sense!  Alan Spaulding’s death was the  umbrella storyline that put everyone else’s “future”  in context.   I’m not sure that Alan’s death would have been acceptable or tolerable had the show continued on, but as the event that brought Springfield to its eternal end, it was brilliant.  Characters like Roger Thorpe and Alan Spaulding are provocative   characters whose actions have typically  impacted many, if not most, GL characters-  both directly and indirectly.  You never really think about how strong an impact their actions have on their onscreen counterparts until you’re forced to live without them.

When Michael Zaslow was unceremoniously removed from the role of Roger Thorpe, I spent a significant amount of time wondering how much differently various storylines would have played out had Roger been allowed to stay – or more to the point, Zas in the role.  I didn’t have to wonder the same about Alan.  The writers were able to show us what life in Springfield without him was like.   How wonderful that Alan’s final, and redeeming, act was to save the life of his beloved golden boy, Phillip.  How terribly fitting that Alan’s death meant that everyone else could be free, as well.

Lizzie could love Bill without worrying about her grandfather manipulating their relationship and living his life for the privilege of tearing them apart.

Phillip and Beth could be happy without having to make a choice between their love and protecting their children from him.  They could be happy and young again, with Rick and Mindy.

James could embrace his father and not feel that loving Phillip meant that he’d betrayed his grandfather.

Buzz was able to live in peace, caring for his family, and loving Lillian without being distracted by fruitless plots and schemes to bring Alan down.

Buzz’s attention on his family, instead of hating Alan, made it possible for him to focus on Daisy and make sure she would be able to go to college – taking Ashlee with her, and giving her a reason to want to come home– to a happy well-adjusted and loving James, of course.

The lack of threat from Alan made it possible for Jon to stay and allow Sarah to know her mother, stepfather, and new sibling, as well as ‘Uncle Shayne, Cousin Henry, Aunt Marina’.

Because Alan died, the Lewis boys weren’t spending their days looking over their shoulders, waiting for Alan to either wrestle away control of their company, or for him to pin a murder/embezzlement charge/public scandal on them.

His death meant that Emma wouldn’t grow up with her various sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews cousins waiting in fear for him to take them from their parents and turn them into his evil clones.

Alex was able to finally walk away for good, and not think about her ‘duty’ to be at her brother’s side in order to love him and defend him when the world turned on him yet again for his dastardly acts.  She had time to love someone else, and to be loved unconditionally in return.

I don’t know whose idea it was to give Springfield ‘peace’ by removing Alan from the equation, but his death made everything that followed feel real (or at least ‘real’ for the ‘reel’).

On Sept. 21st, when I watched my programs and didn’t find GL at the end, I wasn’t wondering what fresh hell would have taken place in our fictional Springfield on that day (though I’d have welcomed the opportunity to find out).  I wondered what it would have been like to open GL and think about where the first leg of JEVA’s romantic journey took them and THEIR son, Colin.  I wondered what it would have been like to watch Shayne and Remy as best friends and fathers.  Would Otalia/Blake and Frank  had dinners together or celebrate the holidays together with their daughters Francesca and Emma and son Rafe?  Would Billy have been the big romantic teddy bear he was meant to be and made sure that Vanessa knew, every day, how much he loved her?

If there is such a thing as  a ‘good death’, The Guiding Light had one.   Alan’s death allowed the writers to create a Springfield I’ve ALWAYS (get it)  wanted to see and one that lives on happily in my memory.

What about you?  Was it everything you wanted?

Grading The Guiding Light

Today’s GL is giving fans EXACTLY what they’ve deserved all along, intergenerational story telling that makes you want to tune in for more:

  • The matriarchs of the Lewis/Spaulding-Raines clans getting together to pull off the ‘wedding of the century’.  Bill Lewis and Elizabeth “Raines” Spaulding are getting married in 21 days… We know, because almost everyone on screen repeats that there were only 21 days left.  The gathering of the matriarchs would have been PERFECT, if the following hadn’t happened:  Vanessa, Alexandra, Beth, and Lillian plan the wedding of the century in Peapack/Springfield’s equivalent of a 7/11.  I was distracted by the display of batteries  and other point of sale merchandise on the checkout counter behind the cafeteria seats they were sitting in.    What lousy product placement!  It only made me think of making sure I had enough fresh batteries to FF through most of what’s airing on daytime right now.  I also kept thinking about the beloved but bratty Vanessa Chamberlain and  the stuffy and sophisticated  Alex Spaulding who wouldn’t have been caught dead in a convenience store cafeteria.  Even still, I was so grateful to see the four women on screen again that I decided I didn’t care too much about the product placement.  A-
  • Loved the glee-some foursome barging  into Bill and Lizzie’s budget priced hotel room/suite  and interrupting the happy couple who had to push back the covers to see who’d invaded their love nest.  For the love of cheese, wouldn’t you just die if your grandmother and mother walked in while you were naked with your significant other?  It would be even worse if they treated you as if you were simply having a play date with your little  friend and told you to get dressed so they could get started on getting your wedding planned.  A-
  • Phillip/Alan/No-longer-adorable-James.  Oh Alan!  How could he have missed out on even the most BASIC tenet found in parenting books?   Love your children and praise them when they do well.  Ignore the misbehavior as much as you can.   Alan simply LOVES Phillip now that Phillip has engaged in the felonious act of bribing a judge.  He loves James even more, since James was indicted for running a Ponzi scheme.  Nothing like encouraging your children and grandchildren to be the best they can be!  B+
  • Billy threatening to make James ‘sleep with the fishes’if he does anything else to hurt Bill or Lizzie, and then having James run to Alan to tell him about the threat because he thinks it’s ‘funny’.   Those two scenes made me hope that there was enough time left for the writers to do one of two things:  Split Spaulding-Lewis, making them TWO companies as they should have been all along, and let the corporate wars begin.  I’ve missed the  corporate infighting and would love to see things end, if they must, with the Spauldings and Lewises continuing their friendly war.  If not?  My second option is to have Lizzie join the Spaulding Clan, along with Phillip, and have them make Alan and James powerless and miserable… for now at least.  B+
  • Billy… Billy… Billy… how lovely that he alone saw the overwhelmed look on Lizzie’s face and tried to have the glee-some foursome let Lizzie decide on how to plan her own wedding.  Billy has always been a bear (sometimes cuddly, sometimes grizzly).  It was so sweet.  The problem is that he should have known!  They shot him down so fast poor Billy’s head started spinning.  A (hell, it’s Billy!)
  • Did anyone know that Alex has always had the fantasy of running off to Vegas and getting married by an Elvis impersonator?  WOW!   Cyrus was a close to a Vegas wedding as Alex was going to get.  More importantly?  Forget point one… I can easily see Vegas Alex hanging out in a convenience store planning a wedding. B-
  • Billy and Vanessa?   ’nuff said!  If the writers give us the ‘beach wedding’  for the couple that Vanessa mentioned, along with Reva and Josh, Olivia and Natalia, Beth and Phillip, Buzz and Lillian, Blake and Frankie,  Mel and Rick… well, I promise to not refer to them as the writing team that sent GL to its early death… OR I’ll at least I’ll promise to TRY to not refer to them that way.  A
  • Alan shooting basketball with James?  Uh, SURE!  It’s as conceivable as my vegetarian sister downing a double cheeseburger.  So contrived… but i enjoyed it anyway.  B.
  • Phillip turning to Ed for medical help?  I’m actually shocked that the writers chose such an organic storyline to bring Ed back to town.  I don’t know how the rest of the storyline will play out.  B+
  • Reva and Marina growing closer.  I’m enjoying the developing friendship between Marina and Reva.  They’re mothers of young infants and have long respected one another – Marina as Shayne’s ex-girlfriend and now Marina is the mother of Shayne’s child.  I’ve been trying to figure out if the writers are setting Marina up to be the target of Reva’s ire when she finds out that her son and Marina have hidden the fact that Marina unknowningly adopted Shayne’s believed dead child.  I’ve gotta admit, I want to know more!  B+

By and large, there are still so many things wrong with GL that there’s not enough room to list them all.  The individual pieces work, but as a continuous thread there’s something faulty about the show. I’m torn between thinking that I won’t even miss this show when it’s gone, to still being angry that it’s over.   What about you?

GL: Have you seen this soap character?

Name:  Rafael Rivera (a.k.a. Rafe)

Parents: Natalia Rivera, Gus Aitorro-Spaulding (a.k.a. Nicky, a.k.a.  Nicholas Augustino)

Age:  Approximately 18

Romantic liaisons:  Daisy Cooper (a.k.a. Susan LeMay)

Occupation:  None, currently considering a career in law enforcement.

Other romantic or familial connections:  Rafe is currently uninvolved with anyone, romantically.  Unfortunately, his extended family is currently uninvolved with him.

This kid is a SPAULDING.  You’d never know it because none of the Spauldings bother to speak his name – he doesn’t get to help plan Lizzie’s wedding to Bill.  None of his extended family visited him while he was incarcerated.  There’s no evidence that anyone knows that he’s been released – Well, based on the eps I’ve been watching.  GL IS putting me to sleep these days.  There’s no evidence that anyone cares what’s happened to him, other than his mother, Olivia Spencer, and Frank Cooper.

In the time Rafe was incarcerated, Alan Spaulding has voiced his ‘concern’ for his granddaughter, Emma; has tried to control and manipulate his granddaughter, Lizzie, to stop her from becoming romantically involved with Bill Lewis;  he’s appealed to his grandson, James, to be a ‘family first’ sort of man in order to win favor with him (Alan’s true objective is to butter James up in the hopes of getting closer to Beth – James’ mother).

Not one word – that I’ve heard, has been uttered about Rafe’s care.  He still has diabetes and has not received the best possible care given his financial situation.  What sort of care is he getting now? Does anyone know because it was a plot point with Alan before.  It seems to not matter at all now.  Can’t we have a scene with Rafe running into ‘grandpa Alan’ at Cedar’s?

Given the fact that Alan has lost Beth for good, and was previously obsessed with Natalia,you would THINK that  Alan might try to move in and muscle Olivia out of Natalia’s life – what a battle that could have been!  Instead?  Rafe may as well be dead to Alan.  This glaring oversight is made WORSE by the fact that rather than incorporate the only diversity there has been in the Spaulding family lately, the writers have decided to rely on aimless plot devices that have Rafe deciding that he wants to be a police officer.

When you shoot the town’s District Attorney and then flee the country, joining  the Springfield PD’s finest is hardly a realistic occupational aspiration.  Why isn’t Alan trying to woo Rafe over to the Spaulding side of the family?  He likes to pit his children and grandchildren against one another.  Rafe was falling under the evil spell Alan was casting before he was incarcerated.  He was seduced by the fancy sports car, the big house, the pockets full of money… you name it!   Wouldn’t he have an even greater appetite for success, now?

Wouldn’t Rafe be the perfect foil for James?   I could even <gulp> try to tolerate Daisy if the dueling cousins ended up at odds in part because of her, and not just Alan’s manipulations.  That Daisy has moved on to yet another person who was ‘out to get him’ might cause Rafe a bit of conflict in deciding what kind of response he’d want to make.  He respects Frank and thinks of him as a father, of sorts, but may feel a loyalty to his own grandfather and want to make the lives of the Cooper family miserable.

Once Rafe tires of Alan’s manipulations, James could play ‘favored grandson’ and Rafe would end up on the receiving end of all of Alan’s material substitutions for love.  It would have been the recasting of Phillip  and Alan-Michael in a new generation.  Rafe could pull off the Phillip role,  James as Alan-Michael.  I could see  Rafe growing a conscience and eventually turning on Alan to protect Frank and  the Coopers.  That would be enough for Alan to switch his loyalties and support to James.  Rafe would have to turn to someone else in the family for help.  Phillip?  Beth?  Lizzie?  Bill Lewis?

I’m very disappointed that the writers continue to treat Rafe as the ‘disadvantaged youth’ from the wrong side of the tracks, unworthy of recognition by the Spauldings.   What a missed opportunity, but  then GL has been far too full of those, these past few years.

Leave the Light On!

Love. Drama. Trauma. Marriage. Domestic Violence. Divorce. Death. Birth. Coming of age. Coming Out. Adultery. Commitment. Deception. Lies. Truth. Alcoholism. Drug Use. Mental Illness. Recovery. Religion. Acceptance. Forgiveness. Compassion. Passion.

From the safety and comfort of our homes, Daytime Television has been as instrumental in allowing viewers to explore the above topics, and many more, as any other genre. Sometimes with keen accuracy, other times with an eye on entertainment more than education. We’ve learned from, laughed at, and sometimes recoiled in horror because of, the actions of our favorite daytime characters. We’ve done so for 72 years with The Guiding Light, first on radio, and then for more than fifty years on television. Despite whatever it is CBS’ top brass thinks GL’s current ratings tell them about the show, I think they’re wrong. This is a show that’s finally hit its stride. It’s learned to connect with the audience in a way it hasn’t years. Now is not the time to walk away from this great and historic show.

This obviously isn’t another blog about HOW GL should end. This is a blog about WHY GL should be allowed to continue on and why CBS Daytime Execs should be fighting for this show. The writers have finally reached a winning formula:

1 – Reconnecting with romance. Sadly, daytime television worked a bit too hard at turning itself into a caricature; giving its critics too much of what they thought the genre was about in the first place- indiscriminate sex and hyped melodrama, and too little of what daytime really is (Click here to read more from Patrick Erwin’s blog for surprising reactions to GL’s cancellation). Just as long term fans are reconnecting with GL, the writers have had long term characters reconnect with one another. Longtime sweethearts, lovers, and friends, Phillip and Beth Spaulding are rebuilding their lives and their love one moment at a time. I loved Phillip asking Beth if she was always as funny as she is now. I loved Beth telling Phillip that Lillian (her mother) wasn’t the only one who still loved him, she did too. I love that they are as shy and cautious now as they were when they were teens falling in love for the first time.

The writers also gave us Reva in quite an unexpected predicament, protecting her newborn child from Edmund Winslow. She did exactly what long term fans would expect her to do, she turned to Josh for help. He has always been someone she could rely on — if you allow yourself to forget and forgive the dreaded Cassie years. Why is it all scenes between Reva and Josh creates warm fuzzies for me? Between Reva and Josh’s and Beth and Phillip’s reconnection, adding Remy and Christina, Olivia and Natalia, and Bill and Lizzie, what’s not to love about GL? Now all the writers need to do is need to do is rebuild the Bauer and Lewis clans as they’re begun doing with the Spaulding clan.

2 – The ultimate good guy returns. Otalia turned out to be an unexpectedly great storyline for Frank Dicopoulos! From the moment “Frank Cooper” gave his big speech to Buzz about how everyone gets to find happiness but him, to the moment he consoled Nat for leaving him at the altar, this guy has been on a ROLL and THE ROLE (the role of a lifetime). I think, and I’m not sure I’m ready to admit to this, that I teared up a bit as Frank gave his big speech:

Frank: What’s, what’s going on with you? You seem a little tense. Oh, my God! You lost the rings, didn’t you?

Buzz: No, Frank. It’s Natalia.

Frank: What about her?

Buzz: A tux? She’s a simple person. Simple tastes. A tux. She’d want a tux. You should know better.

Frank: Excuse me. If you have something to say, say it.

Buzz: Frank, how much do you love this woman?

Frank: What kind of question is that? I love her with all of my heart.

Buzz: Do you love her enough to let her go?

Frank: Are you serious? Why would I ever give up on Natalia?

Buzz: Frank, I think Natalia is fantastic. I think you’re a fantastic, believe me, a fantastic couple, but she is a woman that likes to please other people, do things for them. And I think maybe she wants to be the perfect woman for you, to be… have the perfect family that Rafe needs, you as a father…

Frank: Okay, okay, hold on one second. I want those things, too.

Buzz: I just… I think you’re rushing into this.

Frank: Why are you doing this? Don’t you think that this family is entitled to have something good happen to it for a change?

Buzz: Are you sure you’re marrying her… she’s marrying you for the right reasons, you know?

Frank: She loves me.

Buzz: Well, maybe she thinks it’s because she owes you, Frank.

Frank: What are you saying? That no woman could love me for me just being me? Is that what you’re saying?

Buzz: Oh, Frank, I never said that.

Frank: No, no. You don’t have to. You believed Coop could find love, didn’t you?

Buzz: That’s different.

Frank: And what about Harley? Harley, meeting a guy every few years, whatever, you danced at all of her weddings.

Buzz: Oh, come on, please.

Frank: And Marina, Marina, my God, my own daughter, she dated her way right through the most-wanted list until she met Mallet. And you. You found Lillian, and then you screwed that up. But I guess– no, no, no I guess you guys can have all of that, right?

Buzz: Frank, you’re twisting my words now.

Frank: No, I’m not twisting your words. Frank Cooper, I guess Frank Cooper is just going to be a cop who is never going to have a partner for the rest of his life, is he? He’s the guy who is a third wheel at a couples’ table. Right? A guy who’s never busy on Valentine’s Day.

Buzz: Frank.

Frank: He’s that guy, isn’t he, Pop?

Buzz: Frank, Frank, I want you to have the love you deserve.

Frank: Well, I found it, Pop! And I love her. And guess what I’m going to do? I’m going to go to the church, and I’m going to put on this tuxedo right here, and I’m going to get my shot, my shot at true love.

Buzz: Frank, wait.

Frank: That’s what I’m going to do.

Buzz: Frank, wait. Wait. Frank, wait. Look! All right? What kind of woman doesn’t want to see her wedding rings? She didn’t want to see the wedding rings.

Frank: You just couldn’t be happy for me?

I wish the writers hadn’t let it go as far as they did, but reflecting on Frank’s scenes from this past week it may be the case that the storyline had to play out the way it has. Frank stood clueless before Natalia and Olivia and my heart broke for him! He wanted nothing more than to reassure Natalia that he was there for her, to help her get through whatever help she needed. Clearly he had no idea that he didn’t really stand a chance in working things out with her.

The best triangles are those where there are NO bad guys – and this one is it! Buzz warned Frankie that Natalia was a woman with a huge heart who spent her time trying to please other people. That’s what we’ve seen from her since she arrived in Springfield – that though it hurt her to be with Gus, especially since he was married and continued walking away from her after their trysts, she gave herself to him any way. She did it because it made HIM happy, but it left her feeling ashamed and alone after. Rather than defining herself based on the men in her life, Natalia is learning who SHE is, what SHE wants. Though I believe she loves Frank, in a strictly platonic way, and that she wants to see him happy – Natalia can’t marry Frank. She loves someone else. She can’t help that.

Triangles in the past have been obvious and predictable. Not so with the Frank/Otalia storyline. Job well done, writers!

3. A greater appreciation for the importance of good casting! This is no small task folks. The casting director who landed Zack Conroy for the role of James Spaulding deserves an extra paycheck! He’s so perfect for this role that I’d forgotten that he was cast as the drug-dropping Leo on As The World Turns. For such a young actor, Conroy does a great job of doing what it takes to fill the screen and make his character an already larger-than-life soul. Conroy gives James a gritty realness. I easily buy him as the pampered scion of a billionaire family.

His morals are as free and easy as that of ‘granddad’ Alan, but he has Phillip’s wit and Beth’s compassion. Brilliant, just brilliant. The writers have struck the perfect tone with the character, and Conroy has done a surprisingly masterful job with the rest of it.

A return to romance, a new focus on long loved core families, great casting, and wonderfully consistent storylines. It just doesn’t feel possible, to me, that this show is over. I was reading comments posted at the NYTimes Arts blog regarding GL’s ‘demise’ when this letter caught and held my attention:

I have the wooden-case radio that sat atop the refrigerator in my grandmother’s kitchen, where I listened with her to “The Guiding Light,” “Stella Dallas,” and many more. When I was older I’d watch with my mom in the summer, when school was out. Another generational link is going.

It may sound silly that anyone cares about a daytime show going off the air, but it’s more than the show. It’s the show, our memories, another lost (generational link) and cultural tie, It’s yet another piece of original American history that’s been commodified, sold off, and left to become part of our ‘past’. Well, not if this soap fan can help it! I’d like to see the Guiding Light continue on. If reports of GL potentially finding a home with the Lifetime Network are true, YES! I’m thrilled beyond measure. If not, please help use the links below and join GL fans in working to get CBS Network Execs to ‘Leave the Light On’: Save the Guiding Light

Keep our Light On

Aging Daytime Style

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.

The Strength of GL

What’s amazes me most about the shift in writing for GL is how good the writers are at making want things I didn’t even know I wanted.  I’ve CELEBRATED the end of the Coop-Beth affair.  I would have celebrated it no matter how it ended (Coop’s moving away, Coop’s dying, Beth moving away, Beth’s dying).  I wasn’t picky about what it would take to end it.

So the big day arrives, Henry Cooper Bradshaw says his good-byes, he lets Beth off the hook for using him to feel ‘young’ or ‘free’, or some such bullshite!, and as I’m watching it dawns on me that I don’t WANT Coop to die!  A good part of it was the writing, the rest of it was John Driscoll.  Had the writers told a compelling storyline for this character, other than being the latest stooge in Beth’s plan to ‘feel something’, it would have been much clearer to the audience why this character matters.   Driscoll gave one of the best performances I’ve seen in a long time – any character, any show.  He was utterly amazing.

What else rocked?

1.  Lizzie telling her mother how weak and starry-eyed she’s become, and that her choices have been miserable for everyone around her.  RIGHT ON, Lizzie..  Beth has been a self-centered walking disaster.  (More on the Lizzie-Beth angle at a later date).

2.  Olivia turning to Bill, knowing it wasn’t Bill she was running to, but her feelings from Natalia that she was running from.  Thank goodness the kiss never got beyond that.  It was good to finally have Liv say what she needed and wanted to say, her feelings aren’t just about friendship, there’s more.

3.  Natalia offering to visit Phillip with Olivia, and make sure she kept her strength up for whatever happened next.  Thank goodness Phillip has come back the man he was.  Unlike Alan, I think the writers will have Phillip embrace Otalia’s relationship and be happy that Emma is loved.  Liv has done a better job putting Emma first than Beth has with ANY of her children.

4.  Buzz Cooper.  Justin Deas?  He’s just a phenom.  His portrayal of Buzz’s refusal to accept the fact that Coop was dying  just broke my heart!  Justin Deas has proven that nothing replaces sheer talent in daytime.  You can’t buy the younger and cheaper pretty-but-pointless actors and expect to get the same powerful punch from a master performance like the one he delivered as Coop was passing on.  It just doesn’t happen.

I wasn’t looking forward to the Coopers going after Alan. Afterall, Coop crashed of his own accord, racing on icy roads to stop Beth from marrying Alan.  Now?  GAME ON!  I’ll be front and center!

GL’s Fearsome Foursome back together?

SOD is reporting the return of Mindy Lewis, as played by fan favorite Krista Tesreau.  YES!  GL fans good fortune just keeps growing!  It’s great to have Melinda Sue Lewis back, but to have her played by the actress originating the role is such a perfect sign of appreciation of GL fans and the fans love for GL history. In an era when veteran actors and characters are let go to make room for the cheaper pretty-but-pointless, this is a HUGE move on the part of GL’s powers that be!

Speaking of history, it will be interesting to see how the writers have Mindy react to the very changed Beth. Friendship between the two women was slow in coming.  Melinda Sue was always convinced that Beth was far from the deer-in-headlights she pretended to be.   She was always faulted for the conflict between the  two (rightfully so), and has generally been viewed as the ‘bad girl’.  Though she was wrong at the time, maybe she’ll be credited for her ability to predict the future Beth Spaulding. 

In the not-so-brief time that she’s been away, Beth Spaulding has become a new person – both figuratively and literally!  Will Mindy gloat about the ‘new Beth’s’ penchant for disaster and self-destruction or  will their friendship pick up where it left off?  Will Mindy be quick to rub Phillip’s nose in the fact that Beth was sleeping with his father and his best friend when he could have used her support most?  What will her relationship with Rick be?  Does her arrival mean more  screen time for Billy and Vanessa?  Will she play good sister against Dinah’s ‘bad sister’ routine and expose Dinah’s role in the kidnapping of Lizzie Spaulding?  Will the Lewises be reunited (Reva and Josh included)?   And more importantly, will the Lewis family finally get a homestead now that their family has increased in number?

GL just keeps hitting all the right notes. That  I’m even able to ask those questions makes me happy for the possiblities that KT’s return brings.

4 words: Monkeys. Typewriters. Locked Rooms

You know the old writers’ insult, “Monkeys banging on typewriters could do a better job!” Imagine if you not only handed a room full of monkeys a set of typewriters (uh, keyboards), but you then locked them in. Well… that’s ONE way to force them to concentrate on completing your scripts, but watch out! Locking them in a room might add insult to injury and monkeys are pretty vengeful. They also have a pretty wicked sense of humor. Make sure you READ the scripts before you film and then air them for long suffering fans.

One Life to Live

Bitchy Marty, Bitchy Tea, Bitchy TeBessica… ‘effin.love.them.all.

Jessica apologizing and groveling at Natalie’s feet? No thanks. I felt sympathy for Nat “the outsider” for about 10 minutes. I’m over it. She’s still sleeping with the man who cost her sister’s husband his life. An accident? Sure… after months of deceiving him and destroying everything he’d built for his family. I’m hoping Tess and Bess have teamed up to finish taking Nat and Jared down – without plotting anyone’s death, by the way. Abject misery is enough for me, thanks. Tea taking guff from Blair? I don’t think so. Tea and Blair live different realities. Tea is a badass by nature. She’s shown tremendous growth and change and I love how spunky she is. Blair? Badass, on occasion, doormat more often than not. The woman slept with Spencer Truman just after Todd, the ‘great love’ of her life, was sentenced to execution. Despite every reasonable warning to the contrary, she made Truman a part of her children’s lives. My money is on Tea. Marty Saybrooke being left alone with Janet Ketring/Lee Halpern? Seriously, were the monkeys also STONED when they banged out that moment? Writers, keep an eye on the script monkeys, they’re making you look bad!

It’s annoying enough that Bo and Nora’s situational ethics drag every other living Llanview resident through the muck, but Bo and Tahlia leaving JK/LH alone with an angry and self-destructive Marty? The woman tried to force Todd to commit suicide for what he did to her (with JK/LH’s help). So they let her confront JK/LH, alone, wearing a coat which could very well have contained a weapon, and carrying an uzi sized purse? They actually LEFT the motel? I have to say, violence isn’t my thing, but I got a chuckle out of JK/LH cracking a vase over Talia’s head and taking off. Too bad Bo didn’t get one of those, as well! You’d think JK/LH was a witness for the defense  for as careless as they’ve been about her safety.  It must be nice to be pals with people like Bo and Nora. They use their offices to go after people you don’t like if you’re a friend, no matter how flimsy the evidence, nor the cost to the good folks of Llanview.

Oh, and locked-away-typewriter-banging monkeys? Less smug from Antonio and Nora, please. They’re on the side of RIGHT, and they leave me wanting to see Tea wipe the smug off of their faces – unless that’s what you wanted and then I feel played (well done). If I’m wrongfully faulting you and it’s the choices made by the actors, please speak to the director and ask him to handle it.

The Bold and The Beautiful

Bridget is a designer now? You magnificent vengeful monkeys, you! You really did get the last laugh, didn’t you? I wish I could laugh with you, but I can’t. It hurts. Did you have to pay the writers back at the viewers’ expense? An accelerated undergrad preMed program, supposed ‘years’ of study in medical school. Internships, Residency, saving lives, bringing babies into the world, bringing her aunt Katie back from the dead, saving her brother from jail following Phoebe’s death… and Bridget wants to give it all up to start designing for the company that just ripped off her father’s and brother’s newest collection. Bridget… giving up medicine for THAT!

She’s doodled haute couture  gowns for years and was just too afraid to tell anyone?  Her work is even better than life-long designer Clarke Garrison… stuff she sketched when not practicing medicine 23/6 and no one knew?  Uh, because despite the fact that EVERY one of her adult sibs, her nieces and nephew, and BOTH of her parents work in the fashion industry, she was too afraid to tell them she has a passion for fashion? Ok, works in your universe, but typewriter-banging-monkeys, if the writers don’t feed you, refuse to type out scripts on an empty stomach. It makes you a little loopy.

This wouldn’t hurt so bad if it weren’t a follow up to the “fabulous Paminis”… Pam Douglas, insta-designer with a CROCHET technique so secret that only Pam can churn out the one of a kind hot yarn bikinis… So what is Bridget’s Auntie Pam kicking out? 20 a day in the Forrester sweatshop? Monkeys, explain yourselves! Is there something in the air at FC that makes anyone who passes through the hallowed halls a genius in the design world (all except Clarke it seems)?

Guiding Light

Alan wanting revenge against a cheating Beth? I get that. For once in his life, Alan is as devoted as he’s ever has been to a woman, maybe the most faithful he’s ever been. (Beth hasn’t been faithful to anyone since she was a teen) She  gives birth to his child, while still raising his grandchildren and making him part of their lives.  Then she cheats on him. He now knows that he’s met his match in Beth.  No one loves Alan as much as he loves himself.  Ditto on Beth. He’s sleeping with his mirror image and it’s driving him mad, life is a cruel mistress, Alan.

I WANT Alan to make Beth miserable, and not for his sake, but because Beth is supremely selfish and sucks as a person. BUT…Alan grabbing the letter opener, TWICE (something TPTB aired when the scenes picked up with a third and fourth time during the next day’s episode, too)? Good mercy. Giving the audience the impression that he would just as soon plunge the opener into her heart because his heart was broken? YIKES!

I don’t remember Alan being violent with women, especially not to the point of contemplating a brutal death for one. He likes owning and controlling women, but he likes owning and controlling everyone. He usually shows more finesse. The old Alan would have had Coop arrested on some trumped up charge, claimed ‘Company’ for himself – leaving Buzz penniless, and set Beth up to think she was going crazy again just to get custody of Peyton. He would have done it all before lunch!  He actually would have kept Buzz on at the restaurant he stole from him and had Buzz SERVE him lunch. Alan is psychotic, but he’s no thug.

Monkeys, you owe the GL writers an apology for what you’ve done to their beloved Alan Spaulding. Shame on you.

All My Children

Zach. Killing Josh. Fathering Gabrielle. Eye-boinking with Reese. Expecting Kendall to understand. Vicious little typewriter-banging-monkeys… You’ve outdone yourselves. I actually like the potential fallout from this one. No criticism, here. This is all soapy goodness. AMC was lucky to have you on staff when you wrote that part of the plot. Kendall, forgive Binks, Reese, and Zach. PRICELESS!

While you’re at it, write that script where David Hayward is loving and unselfish, Adam Chandler has sworn off manipulating the people he loves, Erica Kane gives up designer clothes and all other perks of fine living, and JR Chandler stays sober! See how silly it all seems that anyone would expect forgiveness from Kendall? Whatever she does to them, they’ve got it coming. Maybe Zach should keep a picture of his happy parts in a safe location. The doctors will need it when they’re working on the reattachment and reconstruction!

I can’t give you a pass on Amanda’s pregnancy, however. Does anyone remember the last daytime pregnancy where the mother knew who her child’s father was (Binks excluded, of course) and there was no scandal around the pregnancy? (Whoops, Binks back in!) Why another contested paternity? It’s not like there’s been a shortage of them.

Then again, you’ve been writing for Annie and she’s freakin’ wonderful, so it all evens out in the wash!

If loving effed up characters is wrong

…I don’t wanna be right.  There are some characters so crazy and/or so outrageous that I can’t help loving them. Of course, I wonder about that dark dark place my imagination retires to if I find such a sense of affinity with these characters, but EH!

I’d worry about it more – if I had the time. Right now, I’m too busy watching:

1. Days Of Our Lives. Thank YOU ‘John Black’… I mean it. NuBlack has kept me strangely fascinated. I literally stare at the guy when he’s on screen. I’m waiting for the punchline, for his portrayer to step out of character and scream ‘GOTCHA’!!! I couldn’t figure out why that raspy whispery whacked out voice he uses these days is so familiar. I’ve finally figured it out. Fans of the Jim Carrey film, ‘Me, Myself, and Irene’ REJOICE! “Hank” has made his way to daytime TV:

As much as I love the ‘pre-memory- loss’ John Black, post-memory- loss John Black is funny and I don’t care whether he means to be or not. I can’t say that I’ll miss him when he goes, but I will continue to get a good chuckle out of him while he’s around.

2. Is it wrong to root for the bitch goddesses of daytime? I so, why does it feel so good? I love the YnR’s Chloe! Not since the golden era of Sheila Carter has a sociopath made daytime worth watching again. I’m actually tuning in to the YnR, lately, because of her! By ‘tuning in to the YnR’, I mean watching on the days I know Chloe will be on. The look on Lily’s face, when she found out that Cane wasn’t excluded as the father of Chloe’s child made the lie almost worth the excruciating pain I feel whenever Lily is on. It’s not just that Chloe lies with such ease, it’s that she enjoys it so much and that she’s not repetant. Gotta’ love a manipulating schemer who torments the town’s priss and doesn’t lose a night’s sleep over it. I consider Chloe the writers’ gift, to me… ok, maybe not just to ME, but sometimes it feels like such a gift.

3. One Life to Live – Tess Brennan. Still lovin’ OLTL but the writers really have to get on the stick with the Tess story. Tess is the ‘Amped’ version of the YnR’s Chloe. Faking a baby’s daddy (as Chloe has done), taking a life, making French Toast…MEH… it’s all the same for Miss Tess. The problem is that with the heavy focus on Mendorra, the creepy faux friendship with Marty and Todd, Bo/Rex’s time travel, and the painstakingly boring teen pregnancy storyline with Starr and Cole, and there won’t be much of charismatic Tess’ storyline to care about. The writers have made the mistake, in my opinion, of waiting too long to tie this storyline together.

They’ve become bored with Tess it seems, as evidenced by the carelessness of the plot. It’s almost incomprehensible that the good townfolk of Llanview haven’t figured things out, yet. I liked Tess the first time around, the one who was too clever to leave so many easily deciphered clues. Tess’ revenge now feels like ‘filler’, to cover the down time in the above-mentioned storylines. Then again, maybe it’s the feeling the writers want us to have – to move beyond the revenge storyline and to have us root for Jess’ return so that she can ‘forgive’ Nat and Jared and all will become one big happy family. Great, but where’s the fun in that? For those of us who’ve missed Tess, I’ve got three words for the writers: Ain’t.Gonna.Happen. We want DRAMA… and for whatever reason, the writers have been coming up short on getting it to us.

4. Guiding Light – Alan “I see dead people’ Spaulding. While I first thought Alan’s visions were fake, and that he was using Gus’ memory to manipulate those around him, I suddenly like the idea that Alan believes in his visions. Even more? how incredibly self-serving is it that Alan believes that Gus is guiding him to pimp the wealthy women of Springfield into helping him reclaim his company? Did anyone else cringe when Alan threatened Bill Lewis with his league of wealthy women believers? EGADS!

Sure, Gus – who wanted as little to do with Alan as possible, now wants Alan to take his ‘visions’ and use them to return to power at Spaulding Enterprises (Maximus my arse). Nah, Gus wouldn’t mind that Alan used his memory to keep himself out of prison. No siree. It wouldn’t have bothered Gus at all that Alan manipulated a teen-aged girl who is as dumb as a box of hair into lying on the witness stand. Nope! Alan is such a miserable bastard. Thank the soapgods that he’s BACK.

Warm, fuzzy, platitude spewing Alan was giving me hives.
5. All My Children – Adam Chandler. In almost ANY battle between Tad Martin and any other soul, it’s Tad all the way for me. That is, except when it comes to Adam. I despise the Carey women, sometimes I love to hate them, but mostly, I cannot tolerate them. And yet Adam Chandler, the resident heartless, soulless psychotic goon that he is, makes me like Krystal. There’s something about them, when they’re together, that makes me want to cheer them on.

I’d believed, when they first got together, that Krystal would take Adam for all he was worth and end up with half of his fortune. Instead the writers ruined what could have been an incredibly hot villainous couple and turned Crystal into Tad’s fawning stepford wife. With Adam, Krystal is always on that border between fun and exciting, and terribly naughty. I’ve always said that I’d never forgive Adam every time he crossed the line: having Dixie institutionalized, his treatment of Stuart, the way he’s driven his children away, his manipulation of JR, secretly impregnating Liza, and making me enjoy Krystal scenes. I forgive him every time. Now he has me rooting AGAINST Tad and hoping Krystal leaves him to be with Adam again. OY!