Ok, BnBers/OLTLers, what the hell?

One Life To Live:  Marty Saybrooke?  I don’t know if it’s possible, but I would love for the writers to use the time they have left to redeem this character.  She was the wild child gone good, who made a wonderful life for herself , survived the death of her soul mate, and raised a child.  First in attempt to prop Todd and whitewash the ‘twice raped’ dynamic between them, then to prop John McBain, and later the John -Natalie relationship, the writers deconstructed Marty into an unrecognizable and unlikable character.  It will be painful watching the show end, having eternally ruined a great character.

I’m not a movie buff who watches only feel-ggod films or only movies with fully resolved endings.  I’ll admit that I have been a soap viewer who loved soaps most when they left the audience with the feeling that all is well in the alternate universe our soap faves live in at the close of their run.  GL’s ending was perfect.  It lovely to think of Josh and Reva (and son) on a trip around the world, the four musketeers filling their days with dinners together and discussing their families, Alex and Fletcher enjoying a life they’d never imaged they could have, Remy and Tina deeply in love, Bill and Lizzie and making things work with Jon and all are peacefully coparenting… you get the picture. 

I hope for something similar for OLTL.  Fans deserve nothing less than a happy Victoria Lord, peace between Vicki and Dorian, Clint gaining back his humanity and reuniting with his family,Marty – whose life has been so violent and tragic finally at peace, and I’ll let you imagine the rest from there.

The Bold and the Beautiful:  In the age of waning budgets for new hires and an attempt to tell complete storylines with as few cast members as possible, I am – to some degree, sympathetic to the limitations of meeting a such a tough balancing act.  I am, however, still stunned by what I saw yesterday (day before?).  The writers REALLY have to think about what they’re doing that makes taylor look either completely unethical moron, and the rest of the citizens of Bell’s fictionalized L.A. look completely unhinged!

Why would Katie agree to therapy with taylor, not only the world’s worst and most idiotic psychiatrist, but a woman who has repeatedly attacked, and supported the attack of, her sister – sisters if you add Donna? I could only love that ridiculous plot if the writers were smart enough to make Katie devious in using taylor, knowing that she and Stephanie would declare war on Bill if he didn’t stay away from steffy.   Sadly, Katie begged Bill not to leave her at the end of the therapy session. I wish the writers had left that part alone, but they just can’t help themselves.  A misogynistic fool being begged by his once strong wife not to leave her.  It wouldn’t have hurt to have allowed Katie was allowed to maintain her standards, writers. 

As for Steffy, the other thorn in the side of the Logan-Spencer marriage, she is either delusional or a pathological liar, given the way the writers are penning her dialogue. She’s better than the Logan’s because she’d never go after a married man? She’d never make a move on him? Wha’????? Bill won’t have her, that’s the only thing that stops her from moving forward. Steffy has put every move she’s known on Bill and he’s rejected her.  Steffy and Stephanie are so one note in their attacks on the Logans. They can’t stand faulting the men in their lives for chasing after Logan women – so they whitewash Forrester male actions to fault Logan women.

That’s the defnition of a weak woman. Steffy was aptly named.

Since I’m catching about one show a month – where is Bridget, readers? Bill telling Katie she should have stayed with Marone if she wanted ‘normal’ was laughable. The man who dumped on her niece for her and for Brooke? I could have sworn Bill made comments that made it clear that he knew that history. That ain’t normal, not even by soap standards — and it’s not like Katie really had a choice to be with Nick. He knew he wanted Bridget – who forgave him for his repeated betrayals. Katie knew it was a matter of time. Who knew that Nick wouldn’t forgive Bridget for her ONE betrayal?

She’s free and he’s headed back to Katie-land?  Far too predictable.

As for the Brooke and Thomas teaser?  Words fail me.  Since I have nothing good to say, I’ll say nothing at all.

WHY GL soapgods, WHY? (Spoiler included)

Jeffrey/Reva/Josh

According to the Nelson Branco’s Suds Report, it’s highly likely that Jeffrey O’Neill is Edmund Winslow’s killer.   If that’s the case, WHY is Jeffrey willing to let Reva serve a single day in jail rather than turn himself in?  Are we to believe he’s so angry at Reva for protecting Josh and Shayne that he’d willingly heave her there, separated from Colin –  the son she’s barely spent time with since his traumatic birth and her cancer treatments?

If so, the writers have managed to do the impossible.  They’ve lowered my opinion of Jeffrey.  I once thought of him as a much better man than Josh… I  KNOW!  Crazy, huh?  All I can say is that I was experiencing ‘Cassie Winslow Rage’.  The thought that Josh would prefer Cassie to Reva left me a little soapfan loopy, but I’m better now.  Hey, thanks for asking!

While I no longer believe that Jeffrey and Reva belong together, or that they could come close to ever replacing ‘Bud’ and ‘Sister’, the writers have at least continued to try to sell Jeffrey as loving Reva above all others.  If Jeffrey is the killer, that’s all out the window.  He officially loves himself MORE and would only do what he had to to save Reva as long as it costs him nothing.

OH, and for those of you who aren’t GL fans ‘Bud’ is Reva’s loving nickname for Josh.  ‘Sister’ was Hawk Shayne’s nickname for his daughter, Reva.  If you thought Bud was dating his ‘sister’, you just might be a BnB fan!

James/Daisy/Phillip

“James Spaulding” is such a great character, and the actor (Zack Conroy) is PERFECT. He looks and sounds like a young Phillip Spaulding (Grant Aleksander).  If you told he me was related to Grant Aleksander, I’d believe it without batting an eyelash.  Conroy, if this show had more time, would have been able to turn the character into a real heartthrob! In fact, I have no doubt that he still can.

So… WHY have the writers decided to turn James into a ‘Grady clone’ just for Daisy’s sake!??! In the time that’s left, I’m not interested in a half-wit Bonnie and Clyde storyline for these two characters. When Daisy smarted off to Phillip today, she made me long for the highly unstable  Phillip Spaulding who existed several year ago. HE would have known how to deal with her in a way that might not have been exactly legal or moral, but who’s complaining?  Sorry folks, I know this is harsh, but if only Daisy was holding Grady’s hand when he went off that cliff… <sigh> Problem solved!

Natalia/Frank/Olivia (and Rafe)

Did the judge actually tell Natalia that because there was no male role model at home, Rafe couldn’t go home with her? I feel like I’m hallucinating.  What freakin’ calendar year is this!??!  Frank had to agree to be Rafe’s substitute papa just to help get the kid out of jail?  Of all the contrived plots GL has managed to weave into one continuous joke of a show (at times) this was the WORST.

So what’s next?  A triangle with Frank/Natalia/Olivia before Otalia even gets off the ground?  Rafe leaves home and goes to live with Frank out of disgust that his mother is in love with Olivia?  Frank has to being Rafe and Natalia back together?

If you believe in Otalia, you’re going to have to help me out, fellow soapers.  After the judge’s idiotically sexist and outdated comments, I’m losing faith in the writers.  Shame on you, GL writers.  This one stretches the bounds of credibility and is offensive.  Rafe is LEGALLY an adult.  There’s no reason for him to need a ‘male role model’ in the home to be released.

One.step.too.far.

The Boudreau Clan

Wish we could have had MORE of the Boudreau clan.  I love the closeness of this family and they remind me so much of the core families of the past <SOB!>  (They remind me of the Bauers, most especially).  While I’m enjoying papa Boudreau, I know that not all of you are!

From the official GL board:

I loved Montel as Clayton. He brought an immediate and desperately needed intensity and emotionalism to the Boudreaus and clicked with all the other actors playing the family right away. He made Clayton a compelling presence again, something that hasn’t been the case since Richard Biggs last appeared.Montel’s Clayton wouldn’t be going through all this hand-wringing over the ponzi-scheme, he’d track down the truly responsible party, PunkLoserJames, and teach him a lesson no matter how determined Phillip might be to get that snot-nosed punk out of trouble.    RoseVioletDaisy
And there’s this:
I think with Montel, we finally had a “strong,” father figure on the show, the first since Ross (spaztastic Buzz doesnt count, Josh is too hung up stalking Reva and they wont let Billy be anything then a kind of joke character.) You could believe that Montel’s Clayton would say something and people would stop and listen. He was large and in charge…which is nice to see from a middle aged guy on this show, but also a middle aged African-American guy.

It is too bad, with Ed and Ross gone, that Mel and Rick couldnt have reunited and have her family take on some of the aspects of the Bauers,with Clayton being the Mike Bauer no nonsense paterfamilias, and instead of giving Christina of all people a grandmother, make her Mel’s grandma…and we could use the Bauer kitchen again.  Mitch

I can’t say that I disagree with any of the points above. I just wish the writers were consistent in making Clayton a strong and proactive character no matter who’s playing in the role.  I also love the idea of reuniting the Boudreau and Bauer clans. They’re so both touchstone core families.  I wish.

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.

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!

What’s working in daytime

Mac Scorpio, real man!

Thank you GH writers.  I’ve been jonesing for Mac Scorpio scenes (at least, Mac scenes that didn’t treat him like a bumbling buffoon unable to control mob life in Port Chuckles).  Not only did fans get to see Mac in the best possible light, the writers threw in all sorts of goodies, for veteran viewers:

– Mac and Robin’s connection is undeniably PERFECT.  The relationship Robin has with ‘Uncle Mac’ is as special as the one she has with her parents.  Mac gets her, he understands her in a way that it’s not clear that either Anna or Robert do – which makes sense as he’s been her surrogate father for so many years.  I love that he shows up at the right time and knows what she needs without  her having to say much to him.  The looks between the two characters carried their own dialogue.

– I’ve been calling for the writers to return the Scorpios to prominence – not that they listen to me, folks, but I try!  I’ve wanted Anna and Robert to be there for Robin, as well.  Maybe they will never be there for her, given the writers’ current priorities, but I will give them credit for realizing how much Mac matters.

The look of love and gratitude in Robin’s face said it all, but I loved hearing her tell him what a wonderful man he is.  Mac hasn’t raised biological children of his own, but he’s been more of a father than almost any other man on this show.  I don’t think there’s any other character on this show who has served as a surrogate father to so many children, and accepted the job without bitterness and with taking the charge so seriously.  Mac has never walked away from his girls.  Nothing and no one could drive him away.  All three (Georgie, Maxie, and Robin) were left to him by parents who eventually deserted them for different reasons at different times.  He was there, and that’s all that matters.

– The writers tugged at the heartstrings by bringing up Georgie during those scenes, as well.  That Mac mentioned his lost daughter, a child he’d raised from her earliest days in life, was bittersweet.  That it was because he got to love her and raise her that he was able to help Robin in her time of need was a lovely thread that pulled this family together.  We rarely see Mac so we don’t have to think as much about his grief as we would if he was on screen every day.  I like being able to believe that Mac will get to heal by being able to continue to care for his girls, and now gets to add Emma to the list.

With  broken heart he keeps giving back makes him an ideal man.  Daytime writers have a tendency to make grief-striken characters withdraw from life, or make sick and ridiculous choices shortly after a death occurs (sleeping with someone they shouldn’t and becoming a parent, for instance).  Mac’s grief makes him embrace the children he’s raised even more.  He gives back, without question, and without judgment.  Why can’t we have more MEN like Mac in daytime?

The Guiding Light is shining a little brighter!

I can’t help it!  I still think GL is one of the most aesthetically displeasing shows in daytime, but it just doesn’t matter as much right now!  The writers have done the unthinkable.  They’ve surprised me by making the love of Shayne’s life Edmund’s daughter.  Where the hell did that come from?  The Royal family of San Cristobel is already connected to the Lewis family through Jon Randall, but this?  It’s even better.  There’s something about Edmund and Shayne’s connection over Lara that makes me hope it’s genuine and not just another ploy by Prince Eddie. The connection humanizes Edmund. He’s always been more than a one dimensional villain and the writing for his return has been perfect, so far.  I’ve loved Edmund’s wicked ways in the past – even if I couldn’t bring myself to root for his success.  This storyline has me simply loving Edmund!

The chemistry between Reva and Dinah? Worth it’s weight in gold! I love the potential MIL – DIL fights between them.  Dinah, as Reva’s daughter-in-law?  KARMA, baby!  More likely than not, even if it happens, it’s probably the case that Lara lives – daytime writers NEVER devote that much energy to a dead character we’ve never met, unless they plan to bring them back.

Remy and Christina? Cuter and cuter by the day. They feel like a ‘real’ couple.  I love that she tries to get him to see the best in himself, and that he does the same for her. Finally a couple building each other up instead of tearing each other down.  I hate being this happy about a couple.  It’s always a matter of time before writers ruin good characters and couples in order to ‘add passion and drama’ to their relationship.  What happens next?  A heartbroken Alan tricks Christina into sleeping with him?  She becomes pregnant?  Alan then owns her?  Remy cheats with Lizzie?  Remy and Christina find out they’re related?  I guess we can cross that bridge when we come to it.  For now?  I’m full-tilt giddy and will keep enjoying them!

Mallet and Marina and the baby-crazies? Not feeling it. My only fear is that Dinah is pregnant with Grady’s child and M&M end up raising it through private adoption because they can’t adopt otherwise.  When Grady goes, let’s make sure ALL of Grady goes.  Leave no spawn behind.   (Ok, one more   criticism about their storyline: How silly is it that Mallet would dispose of his ‘hit man gear’ in a Springfield-Peapack pond?  It’s not like the briefcase will be swept down stream and out to the ocean!  It’s a freakin’ pond in PEAPACK (Springfield)

The voice of an angel and pretty as a picture!

So imagine my surprise when Maggie Horton (played by the incomparable Suzanne Rogers) ripped dear Chloe a new one!  What irony!  Sami Brady loved Lucas for all he was worth and mama Kate made it her mission to destroy Sami.  She would have rather have dated her son HERSELF before letting Sami near him.  For Chloe, Kate opened her home, her family, and her heart and Chloe not only cheated on Lucas (who at this point may as well be renamed ‘Lucas the lovable loser’), but she betrayed Kate in the process.  Oh dear! 

While the writers have done a miserable job of honoring its veteran characters and actors, I think it was masterful for Maggie to be the person who confronts Chloe.   Maggie has always been a staunch (non pathological) defender of her family, but she’s not sainted.  Newer fans may not have understood the significance of Maggie’s shameful glance downward when Chloe asked her if she’d ever made a mistake, but veteran viewers got it. Two words:  Neil Curtis.  Maggie not only cheated on her husband, but it was her daugther who caught them in bed together (makes you think of Sami catching Marlena and John, doesn’t it?  Marlena.  John.  Sigh.).

Suzanne Rogers brought the HEAT to confrontation scenes and I enjoyed every minute.  More please!

Damn you Tea!

I DO have integrity, you know?  I just keep blowing it to hell, cheering you on.  Don’t ask me why, but as much as Todd deserves to be punished, I love watching Tea in action.  I still can’t figure out why she’s been working so hard to keep Todd out of prison even going as far as claiming to be Lee Halpern/Janet Ketring’s murderer.  It’s worth staying tuned in to find out!  The minute I saw LH/JK on the floor I thought, ‘Ugh, not again!  Will Todd now go on trial for yet another murder he didn’t commit?”  It never dawned on me that Tea would take the fall for this.  At most I thought she might claim to be with Todd as they walked through the door and found Lee’s body.

So what happens next?  Will Todd lose his hammer once Tea is found out and it turns out that Wes killed LH/JK?  Surely she’ll be disbarred, though hopefully not.  If Wes is the killer, is this the beginning of a killing spree now that he’s flipped?  Is Marty at risk?  Maybe as I continue to tune in, I’ll also get to figure out why Antonio brings out a heavy accent in Tea… and only Antonio… What’s that about?  I hope it continues for as long as he’s around because I love it (it’s a bit like Bess’ alter producing black glasses).

Add to the bag of fun OLTL has become:  Marty commenting that she always trusts the wrong person, and then not picking up on the fact that she should be more careful about trusting Wes?  Fantastic.  There are the matching mother-Son addictions.  Marty swills alcohol like a warrior (uh, more like Wes) and Cole is popping pills.  Marty is too caught up in her own pain to see that something is wrong with her son?  Fine, but when this is over, if she goes back to being a therapist, THAT would be a tragedy.  It’s hard for me to understand Marty sympathizing with Wes, but leaving Cole in the dark, on his own to deal with her back-from-the-dead act, his child’s death, her rejection, and Todd not being forced to pay for any of his crimes… but she can be there for Wes… got it.

Natalie and Jess raining hellfire on one another?  THANK YOU, writers.  Lovin’ it.  Does Nat seriously want to cause Jess to release Tess again?  Eh, it probably won’t happen, but  I almost wish it would.  I think it’s curious that Nat has become another completely self-absorbed person who can’t put herself in someone else’s shoes.  She’s also chosen not to acknowledge her own shady past , a time when she used, lied, and manipulated everyone she could – and she didn’t have an alternate personality to blame her actions on!  I love seeing flashes of a fighting Jessica everytime Nat uses Jess’ children as pawns – shame on Natalie.  It also sucked that given Jared’s involvement in Nash’s death that Natalie would shove her engagement ring in Jessica’s face.  I guess Tess’ attempt to kill them makes Natalie believe they’re ‘even’.  Go figure.

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.