The problem with GL is this…

I am in awe of fans who love daytime to the point of working to save it, despite what writers and EPs have done by way of making the genre unrecognizable.  Fans are holding on to the hope that not only are daytime brass listening to their concerns, but that they’ll actually do something about them.  It’s not just The Guiding Light.  Daytime fans are in the same position no matter which show they watch.  I’ve chosen to focus on The Guiding Light because of long swirling rumors that the show is on the verge of cancellation (rumors that have persistently dogged this show and its fans for a number of years, now).

Below are five things that I believe have been consistently wrong with the show – five things that are easily corrected. 

1.  Get rid of the ‘live from Peapack’ shots.  Daytime is about fantasy, escapism, and about the impossible becoming plausible.  I have no doubt that Peapack has many homes with lush interiors filled with fine furniture, open floor plans, hardwoods, crown moulding, stainless steel appliances, and custom cabinetry.  It makes sense that the show’s budget doesn’t allow for location shoots in those environments.  Instead, the current interiors are shoddy, and frankly – they’re depressing.  I’ve jokingly referred to Springfield as the land of cheap knotty wood paneling and faux stone.  It’s no longer a joke to me.  I’m distracted by the bad decor and dark interiors when trying to focus on the characters and dialogue.  

It’s hard to see a man like Remy Boudreau  living in a cheap apartment.  His living conditions  make sense for a couple like Daisy and Grady, who have a hard time maintaining steady employment.  On any other show, willingly living in the conditions Remy lives in would be a sign of a character in emotional, psychological or financial distress.  We would ask ourselves if Remy was punishing himself as part of a deep depression, or  an unyielding sense of guilt for some perceived wrong.  The type of decor that’s prevalent on GL usually comes with a liquor bottle and bad attitude on any other soap – and on the GL of the past.

If watching someone like Remy (solidly upper middle/upper class) live in such squalid conditions, think about what it means to see the fabulously wealthy Spauldings live in roughly two cramped rooms, or Olivia live in a tiny farmhouse, or the Lewises wandering from place to place because they have no where to live at all – that we’ve seen.  The exception is Bill Lewis, who lives in a tiny hotel room.  From Remy to the Spauldings to the Lewises –  all are living in spaces that are the sizes of what should be their clothes closets.

Guiding Light is the least aesthetically pleasing show in daytime.  Beautiful people, ugly scenery.  If it’s true that the network is saving money by purchasing/renting the current locations, great!  But there’s a trade-off and given the ratings, I have a feeling that other (former) GL fans are having  a hard time looking at the show in it’s current state. 

2.  Make better use of the big moments and pay homage to your the show’s rich history.  There aren’t a lot of ‘big moments’ left on any show, but GL had the perfect opportunity to grab back some of the show’s glory and to reunite it’s signature couple with this one scene:

As Reva lay dying, Josh confessed his heart and soul to her.  They talked about how long and how deeply they’d loved each.  Josh told her that he  couldn’t conceive of a world that she wasn’t a part of (and we pretended not to remember that he’d already lived through a Reva “death” when she drove off a bridge during the course of her postpartum storyline.  We realized that he meant that he’d already had to live in a Reva-less world once before and that he couldn’t stomach the thought of doing it again).

What happened?  Reva came back to him this time too, and Josh moved on without her.  After all of his tears, his pain, and his comments about not wanting to live without her, not only did he move on but he moved on with her sister.  Both Josh and Cassie treated Reva’s survival as an ‘annoyance’; Josh most especially when Reva let him know that she wanted to save their marriage.  Every moment that took place after the ‘death’ scene made a mockery of Josh and Reva’s epic history. It just did not compute that when the writers could have cleared the coast for this legendary couple, they kept them apart.  The writers were so determined to break them up that Reva defied the laws of  nature.  She became pregnant with another man’s baby after twice undergoing menopause.  You figure that one out.  I can’t and wouldn’t want to if I could.

3.  Allow characters to behave as if they live in the same town.  Either that, or stop having them talk about how much they value family.  Why, dear writers, has Beth put more effort into planning a romantic getaway with her boyfriend than into helping her daughter heal after her kidnapping ordeal?

We’ve seen many more scenes of Coop and Beth pawing each other than we have of Beth embracing Lizzie and trying to help her, most especially since Lizzie has become suspicious that her boyfriend, Bill Lewis, potentially played a role in her abduction.  Is Beth aware of the fact that she’s still Lizzie’s mother?   This is a mother and daughter living in the same house and yet they have very little contact. 

Alan is no angel, either.  He was obsessed with Rafe’s medical care when Gus was alive.  He arranged for Rafe to meet with the top physicians in the country and was willing to pay for advanced medical treatment to control his diabetes.  Now?  Natalia is killing herself to get the medicine Rafe needs by paying for it at her own pharmacy and having it sent to the prison (uh, yeah, that would happen in the real world!).  Why haven’t the Spauldings mentioned Rafe and Natalia?   How has Alan managed to avoid running into Natalia given how many of the same places they both visit?

Why hasn’t Alan already pulled enough strings to have Rafe sleeping in a single cell -with silk sheets covering  his pillow top mattress?  That’s only, of course, until Alan could have him sprung from prison.  Alan has recently gone through a trial and faced prison time.  No sympathy for Rafe?  Is Alan only capable of being obsessed with one grandchild at a time?  Is interfering with Lizzie’s love life REALLY more important than keeping Rafe out of prison, or at least safe while he’s behind bars?  It’s hard to care about Alan’s obsession with Lizzie, given his lack of concern about Rafe.  

4.  Recognize that imitation is not always the sincerest form of flattery.  Guiding Light is working on solving one of it’s biggest problem – the shedding of old school characters and replacing them with newer characters who were meant to serve the same function, but somehow fall flat. In the mad dash to win over the 18 – 24s who were never planning a  mass defection to daytime, great characters like Edmund were cut loose to make room for pale imitations like Kane Manera’s Grady Foley.  Manera is a brilliant actor.  His choices are instinctual and highly consistent.  I like the actor, I just hate the writing for him.  Between the writing and the direction, there was never any hope for Manera’s Grady to become a likable character.  Where David Andrew McDonald’s Edmund was far more nuanced, and more choices about the character appeared to be placed in the actor’s hands, Manera’s Grady was more of a caricature of Edmund and every other GL bad boy.

Grady was never allowed a moment to be ‘human’ (as Edmund was).  Grady was never allowed to develop a backstory that would allow us to see him in a more vulnerable light, as Edmund was.  While Edmund acted out as a way of dealing with the pain of being measured against the impossibly perfect Richard; Grady was just one more sociopath in a family of sociopaths.  I’d like to say that I’ll miss Grady when he eventually goes, but I won’t.   There’s nothing likable or root-worthy left when it comes to this character, through no fault of his portrayer.  

5.  Don’t turn strong storylines and characters into ‘gimmicks’.

Watching Olivia and Natalia this past week, I wondered if the writers have thought about where they’d take the two after their current friendship/relationship ends, and eventually it will.  Will they go back to who they were before?  Are they forever changed?   

Is this only a matter of living in the same home and raising Emma together?  What makes their relationship romantic and not sisterly?  Was Olivia’s lifetime of desperation in every relationship before this related to never feeling loved by any of the men she dated/married.  Was she running from herself?  Does Natalia love Olivia because of who she is? Does she love her because she finally has a feeling of family and she’s been so alone since Rafe was imprisoned and the Spauldings pretend she doesn’t exist?

I like the slow development of their friendship/relationship, but if the writers simply throw them together after a kiss, won’t viewers perceive their relationship as a gimmick of some sort?  It’s already feeling gimmicky with Natalia holding Liv’s hands through the ‘My Two Mommies’ presentation and not ‘getting it’ that the teacher and other parents thought they were lesbians.  A ten year old would have picked that up! 

All it took was a teacher making a suggestion and Olivia has developed new feelings for Natalia?  It feels gimmicky that Olivia can’t use the word ‘lesbian’, but is able to plant a kiss on Natalia to illustrate her point – not long after Frank planted an unplanned kiss on her as well. It’s gimmicky – as Beth’s relationship with Alan was.  It’s becoming as gimmicky as Beth’s relationship with Coop is, or Bill’s amnesia that shouldn’t affect what Lizzie remembers about the kidnapping, or Marina and Mallet and their babymania-out-of-nowhere storyline, or…. you get the point.

If this isn’t a show living on borrowed time, it needs to act like it.  Slow down and take the time to work out the big and the small details.  We’re not going anywhere.

“G” stands for…

Gross

Goon

Ghastly

This message has been brought to you by… ‘Peapack Street’… like Sesame Street, only less entertaining.  W-T-F! I’ve gotta say, I’ve held out hope for GL like so many other viewers.  I’ve waited, and waited, and waited.  ‘It HAS to get better’, I thought, ‘it can’t get any worse’.  HA!  You can never say those words out loud.  You can’t even THINK them!  The gods of daytime will hear your challenge and realize that you have no idea how capable they are of making things gut-wrenchingly worse (OH!  Another ‘G’ word)!

Grady’s attempt at seducing Vanessa made my skin crawl.  The man has already escaped prosecution after killing Tammy.  Now he’s kidnapped, bound and gagged Lizzie, and is off trying to seduce Vanessa.  What is it with mature women and GL’s writers?  They made fools of that pack of jackals following Alan the Prophet around Springfield – Alan’s true believers, who were funding his lifestyle and paying his attorney’s fees.  Now Grady is making a practice of following women around town offering his services <GROAN! <- Yes, another ‘G’ word.

The one decent moment in the past two weeks, in my perspective, was the Cooper family coming together for the ‘last time’ in Harley’s house. The scene was touching, but also sad because Gus AND Harley are gone.

I wish the writers would recast the character and bring her back. I loved BE in the role, but I’d accept a GOOD recast.Nothing feels the same about this show any more. There’s one one scene I look at and think, ‘AH! Classic GL’. Not one. It’s not just because of Gus and Harley (I liked, not loved, them as a couple).

It’s everything. The look, the scenes, the characters feel different. Something is missing with this show and I don’t know if the current PTB have the ability to help us get it back.

Luckily, I still have Days of Our Lives.  I will ignore the Sami-EJ situation, pretend they’re not even on the show, as I continue watching Days make it’s way back to the show it use to be.

Abe Carver as Mayor?  LOVE  that.  I hope it really does happen.  This character has been an integral part of the show for years and the writers have had little for the man to do other than fend off Stefano Dimera in order to stop him from reclaiming a perennially psychologically frail and emotionally deceptive Lexie.  I think DAYS is certainly on the right track by having Abe and Lexie work out their relationship. (View the YouTube clip below of Abe catching Lexie in the act with yet ANOTHER man – his adult son with another woman  being the man she most recently cheated with, last.

Daytime writers are so use to splitting couples up and having them move on to new relationships that it’s hardly worth becoming emotionally invested in any couple, as a viewer.  With Abe working toward a position of power in Salem, how long will it be before the Dimeras find a way to draw Abe in?  Lexie can only fight off her father for so long, and then Stefano is back to his old tricks, making her a pawn in yet another of his doomed-to-fail plans.

Lightening rarely strikes twice

BnB- Gifts from the Logan women to Bridget

  • A half eaten sandwich
  • An empty perfume bottle
  • Used underwear (worn ONCE, on Catalina Island)
  • The last oreo in the bag
  • A child created between her husband and yet another of her female Logan relatives! 

You can just imagine how she looks forward to the holidays. Katie is a heart patient, in recovery, and now pregnant, and yet that hasn’t stopped me from wondering how Bridget refrained from dragging her sorry ass out of the house by her hair and kicked her butt to the curb, right next to that loser husband of hers.  Her aunt and husband so richly deserve one another.

I’d become more sympathetic to Katie, recently, though not necessarily supportive.  Telling Bridget that she probably wouldn’t live past the child’s birth and wanted her (Bridget) and Nick (Bridget’s husband) to raise her child made my hair stand on end.  WOW!  Now that takes nerve.  Katie, don’t do Bridget any favors!

BRAVA to Bridget for standing strong!

I’ve been incredibly worried that the writers would have Bridget cling to the prick she married, and put all the blame on her aunt/”best friend” for HIS infidelities.  NO SIR!  Bridget Forrester kicked butt and took names when she was done!  Nick got a beat down, followed by Katie.  The only reaction that disappointed was Brooke’s.  She slapped Katie, and coddled Nick, who’d betrayed her daughter yet again!  What a waste.

 Guiding Light – Uh… NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! 

If you heard screaming, crying, and the horrible gnashing of teeth, just let me say that I’m sorry.  It was hard to control myself.  Dinah kissing GRADY?  GRADY the attempted rapist?  Grady the murderer?  Grady the con man?  Grady the utter and total liar? 

SURE, the rumors are out there that Tom Pelphrey has signed with an ABC soap, so what’s the GL reaction?  Seemingly, it’s to recreate the “Jonah” magic (Jonathan/Dinah) magic by having Dinah involved with a Jonathan Randall look-a-like?  Jonathan was a bad boy writers, NOT a low life (ok, not as BIG a low life).  Sorry, but this is another non-starter.  Oh GL writers, why?  Why torture us?  You continue to whiz away fans’ hopes for the return of favorite characters and actors and when that fails – give us the ‘b’ version.  Ok, well that makes sense.  Grady and Dinah will NEVER deliver like Jon and Dinah ( his Dinah-mite)

If you have to give us anything, can you give us Dinah all on her own?  She effin’ rocks!

If you’re longing for the glory days of GL, check out the GL memories blogspot by clicking HERE!  The GL clips from the early years of show are the best!

Joined at the immoral hip

There’s self-serving, and then there’s the BnB’s Donna.  It takes gall to tell the man you’ve just cheated with that if your husband was awake from his coma, he’d be grateful that you were around to save her.  Sure, Eric would have thanked Owen for saving Donna from Pam’s attempted murder plot, but he’d have left it at that. He’d have never thanked Owen by taking him to bed.  He for SURE wouldn’t have thanked Owen for taking his wife to bed.

Everything about Eric and Donna’s relationship rang false from the beginning, but Donna’s actions with Owen, and comatose Eric’s reactions have only confirmed for me that the only connection they’ve ever had is the one they forged while naked.  Donna cried and prayed over Eric’s comatose body. His true wife (Stephanie) did as well.  His children did the same… NADA!  Donna falls into bed with another man and at that VERY moment Eric wakes up calling her name?  So very Eric.  He may not feel her pain, but he must have some sort of psychic connection with whatever gives her pleasure.  For those of you who named him ‘horny bear’ instead of ‘honey bear’.  You were dead on.

There’s self-serving, and then there’s GL’s Grady.  Set up your girlfriend’s ex, have him jailed, and then keep her close.  Why?  Because you ‘love’ her.  Well, that explains why he’s more willing to work as a prostitute than get a job.  Even worse?  He doesn’t think his new business venture involves his girlfriend.  Why should she have to know that he’s willing to sleeep with anyone who’ll pay the fee?  He did take her to dinner with the loot, after all.   Luckily, Olivia couldn’t go through with it.  Too bad, for her, that she was willing to pay him in the first place.  Anyone who’s ever read this blog or read a post I’ve written on any board knows that I’m no fan of Cassie’s.  I’m of the firm belief it would take a wooden stake and holy water to get rid of that character, and even THEN I’m not sure we’d be so lucky in getting rid of her.

So it means something when I say that Grady telling Cyrus to just sleep with Cassie and let that be it, as if she was nothing more than garbage, infuriated me.  If you kill a woman’s child, you might not want to treat her as if she’s not worth anything more than a good shag and then a good dumping.   Is it safe to say by extension, that given Grady’s actions, he doesn’t love or respect Daisy any more than he does Olivia, or Cassie?  Poor Daisy, foolish girl.  Now get off of my screen, PLEASE!

There’s self-serving and then there’s OLTL’s Blair and Todd.  What started out as an epic multilayer love story has me clutching my sides in pain and tearing out my hair.  Does anyone doubt that Blair is fooling herself into believing that she wants custody of Sam for the sake of loving him and caring about him?  Nothing gives Blair greater pleasure than sticking it to Todd. 

Nothing gives Todd greater pleasure than making everyone around him miserable.  Marty may not remember that Todd is the man who raised her.  She may not remember her own life as a therapist, but she knows enough to know that something is definitely wrong with Todd.  You can see it in her eyes.  She gets it, the guy isn’t stable.  Remember when Todd’s instability use to be fun?  Now?  It’s just creepy… emphasis on CREEPY.

Can I add to the ‘self-serving’ list the OLTL writers?  At this point, it’s CLEAR that far too many people know about Tess’ little secret for her plot to be successful.  Tess was never stupid in the past.  Is the audience to believe that Jess’ pregnancy is costing alter-Tess major IQ points?  Blair has seen her meeting with the electrician.  Nat, Tina, Jare, and now Bo all know about the guy, and that he’s been in the basement working behind a locked door.  Are we really to believe that if Jared comes up missing, no one will think to look downstairs?  At this point, not only has Tess become dumber, but I feel as though MY intelligence has been insulted as well.  I’d like to believe that the writers saved something special for this plot (hey, they pulled it out with the Mendorra storyline)… I’m just not that hopeful that lighting will strike twice – unless you’re Rex, Bo, and Gigi… and I just don’t want to talk about that time travel storyline again.

Oh well.  The writers started off strong with Tess’ return.  I only wish they’d found a way to stay that way.  Too much focus on the Starr-Cole fiasco, too much focus on time travel, and too little focus on Tess The Great.