As I Saw It… Guiding Light

kim_zimmerThis has been the hardest article to write since I began my experiment last month.  It’s difficult for me to keep an open mind on what used to be my favorite soap.  Part of me wants Guiding Light to survive – in any shape or form – just for nostalgia.  The other part of me remembers this was a show that I went years without missing a single episode; not because it was a habit, but because the stories were so compelling that if you missed a day you truly missed something great.  

The current state of Guiding Light couldn’t be more further from “great.” The show can create as much buzz as they want over new production models, armies of headwriters, and visiting bloggers, but they can’t seem to put together a well-written and produced soap opera.

No offence to the nice people of Peapack, but could executive producer Ellen Wheeler have found a place that looks more like a city that is home to the headquarters of global corporate giants (including manufacturing conglomerates and oil companies) and less like Mayberry? Hell, I’m poor and my house looks nicer than most of the exterior locations on GL. Why didn’t they use the locations from The Sopranos? Many of The Sopranos outdoor shoots looked more upscale than the dirt roads and overgrown fields that we see on GL.  

Everyone knows that the most important aspect of any show is the writing. This is where GL is really lacking.  This is a show with over 70 years of  back story and the best they can give us is “Did Bill kidnap Lizzie” and “Reva the Middle Age Mom-to-Be.”  The most enjoyable story last week forcused on little Emma (Jacqueline Tsirkin) working on a class project with Olivia and Natalia (Crystal Chappell, Jessica Leccia) about why their “family” is unique. It was cute, but that’s not what drives a story. This show needs one large umbrella storyline to tie together all the loose-end plots and characters and bring things into focus.   

GL still has some of the best actors in daytime.  Kim Zimmer (Reva), Ron Raines (Alan), Justin Deas (Buzz), Gina Tognoni (Dinah) and others shine regardless of what they are given to work with.  Some of the newer cast members are a bit lacking, but many have potential.  

Lately the show has been buzzing about the return of Grant Aleksander as Phillip.  I have to remember that a year ago, we saw a media blitz about the famed “new production model.”  The day it premiered, GL offered us a show in which absolutely nothing happened for sixty minutes.  I like Grant Aleksander and I like Phillip Spaulding, but I’m not getting my hopes up.  

For me, watching Guiding Light last week was like bowling. Have you ever bowled and suddenly realized that your ball was heading directly for the gutter? Did you use every fiber of your being to wish you could magically send that ball back to the center of the lane? Did you find your entire body leaning in the opposite direction of the gutter thinking that maybe, just maybe, you could somehow will that bowling ball away from the gutter and into a glorious and triumphant strike? Friends, all the leaning Guiding Light fans in the world cannot save this soap from the gutter. It’s over.

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6 Responses to “As I Saw It… Guiding Light”

  1. The bowling ball comparison!!! LOL

  2. Thanks for summing up what I have been saying for years. Its pathetic to see other blogs fall all over this show after a trip to scenic NJ.

  3. MattWeiss Says:

    Sorry, I couldn’t disagree more. GL’s stories in the last few months have really turned around.

    Yes, Bill and Lizzie’s kidnapping nonsense went on too long. But they’re a great couple.

    I hope that the show doesn’t die, but with negative people like Nelson Branco trying to kill it every week in print, I doubt it will live past April.

  4. I felt this summary was lacking and maybe not objective. There was a sentence or two about what you actually saw and most was just generic critiques of how GL is not great like it used to be. Tell us what you actually watched that week. What stories specifically did you not like versus a generic it is no good argument. Did you like Remy and Christina? Marina and Mallet? How do you like the new Shayne? Are you enjoying the Reva-Jeffrey relationship? It was all there. I am quite interested in the improved Guiding Light. Compared to some of your reviews, I felt this one was the least fair.

  5. Aaron, writing about Guiding Light in its current state was the hardest thing for me to write on this blog. The reason that I didn’t go into detail on the plots and the couples is because none of them held my interest. I wanted so badly to turn my TV on and be caught up in Springfield again like I was for so many years, but it just didn’t happen. I was distracted by scenes that looked like they were taped in the back stairwell of a CBS studio, or by jarring camera cuts. The audio and video was out of sync for an entire scene. I didn’t enjoy the show. That said, had I never watched GL during my favorite “peak years” of the show, I very well may have had a totally different opinion of GL. Thanks for your input. I’m happy to hear from anyone who is passionate about their favorite shows, and I’m glad that GL has captured your interest. Some GH viewers said that I caught that show on a “good week” and that GH isn’t as good as I thought. I hope I caught GL on a “bad week” and its actually better than I thought. I’ll check it out again soon.

  6. I agree about the writing but I’m hopeful! Grant Aleksander is actually doing a live chat with fans on Fancast on Friday (2/14) at 12pm PST/ 3pm EST. Feel free to ask him anything. Sign up here- http://www.fancast.com/blogs/live-chat/live-chat-guiding-light-star-grant-aleksander/

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