Just Because… Guiding Light

Watching the clips below, it’s hard to imagine that former GL writers didn’t know what they had, and didn’t build on the history of one of the show’s longest running supercouples.  I don’t mind when new writers want to come in and put their own stamp on a show.   It often creates a ‘freshness’ that long running shows need.  I just hate when they do it at the expense of the audience and when “their own stamp” means ripping soul mate couples apart, reconstituting them as part of new ‘pseudo soul mate’ pairs and trashing the history of the show in the process.   Even still, while  I never thought I’d say this after Wheeler took over GL, but I miss the show.  Daytime still isn’t the same without The Guiding Light.

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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?

Five reasons to watch GL again

You’ll feel as if you’ve died and gone to ‘old-GL’ heaven if you watched!  Ignore the sets (for now), they’re still a downer, but everything else is kicking into high gear.  What a difference a few weeks makes.  Several weeks ago, I’d written about what’s wrong with GL.  Little could viewers have known that GL would launch the most aggressive plan to revive a soap than we’ve seen from any daytime drama!  While TPTB behind the scenes at Days Of Our Lives are dismantling one of daytime’s longest running serials, the geniuses at Guiding Light are rebuilding (and oh yes, Icalled them genuises – without snarking). 

Five reasons to watch, and in no particular order:

1.  Phillip Spaulding and Melinda Sue Lewis  return.  I listed them together because I can’t help but believe that the two of them will have signifcant screen time together. Returning at the same time couldn’t be a coincidence!

 Phillip, the Spaulding family scion, flexible good guy/bad guy character, all around hot-as-hades heartthrob, what’s not to love?  It’s hard to believe that the writers let him go in the first place, and that he’s been away five years now.  The only two people who’ve ever been able to stop Alan are Phillip and Alex and the writers sadly did away with both.  Bringing Phillip back opens a world of possiblity for GL, but also puts an end to Alan’s reign of terror.

Just in time!  The writers were beginning to create a savage Alan Spaulding, one hardly worth watching as he became a caricature of his former self.  While I’ve had zero sympathy for Beth and Coop’s indulgence in adolescent fantasies about love and life, there’s nothing fun about watching Alan force Beth to give up her burgeoning law career to stay home and mother him AND their daughter.  Soapgod knows it’s time for Beth to do something with her life other than flit from affair to affair.  It was even less enjoyable to watch him comment on the ‘marriage’ they would have, leaving fans to wonder if he was implying that they would have an intimate relationship whether she wanted one or not.  He was a little too excited to describe their ‘honeymoon’, while she stood there in her bridal gown, crying and begging to be set free.

Could Alan even dream of competing with Phillip for Beth’s heart?  Would he want to given how happy he’ll be, at first, to have Phillip return?   Will he even have to compete for Beth with Mindy’s return?  It’s just possible that Phillip will be as disappointed in Beth as he is in Alan?  Mindy’s return may be the beginning of the rekindling of the Beth/Phillip/Mindy triangle, with Beth on the outside, looking in. After all this time, Mindy finally gets the upper hand and no dirty tricks involved?  I’d love it!  Now that Beth is the bitch goddess Mindy had always suspected she was, let the fireworks begin!

(Oh, and by the way, watching Beth reject the use of the name Spaulding was a shocker in light of Phillip’s return – not that she knows that onscreen, but the writers know it so I have to wonder why they’ve decided to have her do it.  She screamed that her name was ‘Raines’, not ‘Spaulding’.  Veteran viewers may remember that Bradley Raines was Beth’s stepfather.  The man raped Beth, and beat her and her mother.  That she would reject the Spaulding name for that of Bradley’s left me stunned.  Hopefully that’s the beginning of a new storyline – one in which a troubled Beth tries to figure out why she’s such a trainwreck. 

2.  Edmund’s Return.  As stated earlier, Edmund has been humanized, and every day he’s on air, the character’s presence tells a new story.  Edmund’s behaviors and connections to others  are even more nuanced this time around. Is he just conning everyone?  Are his emotions genuine?  It’s hard to say.  I’m not especially fond of Dinah and Shayne as a couple even if they’re growing on me, so having Edmund’s daughter, Lara, return wouldn’t be a tragedy.  Lara’s return would do more than break up Shayne and Dinah.  It would give us a chance to see more of Edmund’s growth.  She  seems to be the first person in his life that he would/could love unconditionally and I’m curious about what effect her presence would have on Edmund.  Would he become a good guy?  NOT HARDLY!  My guess is that most of  his new dastardly deeds would be related to protecting his daughter – and possibly spark a Winslow-Lewis war.

3.  The Lewis Clan is BACK!  They’re back in a big way.  I think most fans want the obvious, Josh and Reva – GL’s epic soul mates back together again.  What fans are also getting is the slow rebuilding of the Lewis family all the way around.  Billy and Vanessa are lurking in the shadows, occasionally stepping to the forefront.   Between Reva, Josh, Billy, Vaness, Bill, Shayne, and Dinah (as Bill’s sister), we could end up with a healthy revival of the Lewis-Spaulding wars – adding Edmund to the Spaulding clan for good measure.  It gives us a tortured Bill and Lizzie surviving a pretty tough year only to have to figure out how to continue loving one another while not getting too caught up in their respective family’s war.

4. The writing is just BETTER!  Two words that will make you cringe:  Kidnapping plot.  How ridiculously senseless was it that Bill lost his memory, but it was Lizzie who seemed to forget every detail of the kidnapping and didn’t know if Bill was guilty or not? She spoke with her kidnapper, touched him, saw his dark hair, felt his tears (which should have left DNA of some sort in her clothing),  noticed the difference in the builds between the kidnapper and Bill…but she just wasn’t sure if he was guilty… <sigh>

The writers could have redeemed her by having HER notice Cyrus’ dog tags clanking and realize that the kidnapper made a similar clanking sound.  But hey, that Bill remembered?  I’m good!  I can roll with that.  It’s time SOMEONE remembered something that would end this torture of Bill being falsely accused.  That Bill plans to take Cryus down not realizing that Grady (who is taller than both men) was responsible? I’m good with that too!  That Billy is involved and the father and son are working together? I’ve freakin’ died and gone to old-GL heaven!  I can’t wait! 

5. Romance is BACK on GL!  Reva and Josh’s unintentional romantic glances, Olivia and Natalia’s road to romance, Remy and Christina’s too-cute-for-words marriage of convenience, Rick/Beth/Philip/Mindy potentially heating up, Dinah and Shayne’s oddball relationship, and even Buzz’s dreams of dead wife Jenna was more romantic than much of what’s happened on GL in a long time!

Any of the above points would have made me happy to be a GL viewer, to have them all at once?  What an embarrassment of riches!