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?

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The future of daytime…

According to ATWT Executive Producer, Chris Goutman, daytime fans have lost their appetite for daily serials and may prefer, instead, serials airing 3 days a week.  I don’t know about you, soap fans, but every time I hear a writer, executive producer, or some drone from the top floor of the executive offices speak, their solutions sound more like ‘bottomline’ solutions (what can THEY do to save money).  Rarely do I hear them talk about what fans want.  Even rarer is it that anyone talks about what difference is between daytime even a decade ago and daytime now.  Sure, the storylines are the same, but it’s in the execution of those storylines that daytime writers and producers let us down.

Daytime is no longer written as a long running drama with a rich history writers could continue to mine in order to create coherent cohesive future storylines.  Daytime serials are treated as variety shows.  Each storyline seems to be self contained and unrelated to the past, present, or future.  YnR’s Victor’s vasectomy and GL’s Reva going into early menopause years ago are prime examples!  The writers/EPs have hit ‘reset’ and offered storylines with both characters becoming parents again – leaving the writers to scramble find ways of explaining the huge gaffes in history once fans complained.

Clearly, strong storytelling, impeachable dialogue, well crafted sets, impeccable costuming, and skilled actors are all off the table.  What are we offered instead?  Three days a week of weak storytelling, incoherent dialogue, poorly designed sets, sorrowful costuming, and unskilled actors in the role of long loved favorites.  Sure, I’ll take three days a week of that, instead of five… but then, I’d take ZERO days, instead of five, as well.

Shortcuts are shorter, not better.  Exhibit A… (Thanks, Noel, from the GuidingLightTV board for the link)…

THIS (a clash of titans, powerful women who aren’t afraid of going toe-to-toe – fierce enough competitiors to make you fear them with a single look): 

Has become THIS (capable actresses reduced to scream queens fighting over petty jealousies – using sex rather than their minds and other considerable resources to compete for a man who was using them both): 

THIS (a vengeful, petulant child – who seduces her mother’s fiance in order to ‘make her pay’ and winds up sorry for her betraying her mother even if it’s with a man she loves)

becomes THIS: A mother who falls in-lust-calling-it-love with her daughter’s husbands.  Mom slept with both husbands and had a child with each… you read that right, it didn’t happen ONCE… it happened TWICE:

THIS (a dialogue between a man and the woman he raped, his wife when he raped her – ex wife after the rape) shows that he lives daily with regret for the pain he caused her. It’s a complex story with Roger and Holly remembering the great love they once had a great love that at times draws them together, physically, leaving Holly revulsed after the act.  At other times, the rape and post-rape keeps them apart all together:

Ultimately, Roger and Holly realized that they could never get past the rape.  In the end they separated, permanently.  All of which has been replaced by THIS:

Todd Manning, a man who is taking advantage of his rape victim’s memory loss to get her on his side regarding his daughter’s teen pregnancy (refusing to tell her that her son is the child’s father).  His assault of her was brutal and part of a gang rape HE initiated. Theirs was a VERY brief sexual relationship before she dumped him.  They barely knew one another.  Now he wants his chance to force her to forgive him and see what kind of man he is now… sweet irony:

Sure, chief… taking soaps down to three days a week will make all of the pain go away… that’s right… and I’ve got a bridge to nowhere to sell you, only, it ain’t gonna be cheap!