Archive for February, 2009

Guiding Light: Have I Been Too Harsh?

Posted in Soaps in General with tags on February 19, 2009 by Jeff

Driscolljustin-deas1You read my take on Guiding Light when I watched it for a week last month.  You know that I loved Guiding Light back in the 80’s and 90’s.  You know I don’t love it now. I complained, I ranted, I just wasn’t happy about watching five episodes of a mediocre show that was once great.  I continued my rant when I was asked to comment on the state of soaps in an article on the entertainment blog The Chronicles of Von Klapp.  

And then Coop died.  

Who would have thought that bringing Phillip (Grant Aleksander) back, tying it to the death of Coop (John Driscoll), and letting Justin Deas (Buzz) act his butt off all at the same time would create soap opera magic? That is exactly what happened when all of this came together on GL. I watched GL just for the hell of it on the day Grant Aleksander came back to the show.  I was expecting more Peapack propaganda – all hype and no delivery. I was wrong. I was really wrong. The writers crafted several storylines including everyone from Bill and Lizzie (Daniel Cosgrove, Marcy Rylan) to Natalie and Olivia (Jessica Leccia, Crystal Chappel), and of course Beth and Alan (Beth Chamberlin, Ron Raines) all tying around Phillip’s return.  What made Phillip’s return so powerful was that is was playing out against the death of Coop.  

The episode where Coop died was classic soap opera.  The writing, directing and acting was spot on.  The producers even cut the opening sequence to show the only the title card with the sound of Coop’s blaring heart monitor in the background.   The flashbacks of Buzz and Coop’s history, featuring Fiona Hutchison as Jenna, Coop’s mother and the love of Buzz’s life, only made Coop’s death more achingly powerful.  Justin Deas should pick out a space on his mantle for the Emmy he will win for this episode.  

So, here we are: more than a week after the day I was going to watch GL for “one day” to see Phillip return, and I haven’t missed an episode yet.  Was I too harsh in my judgement of GL? Was one week enough time to judge a soap? If I was wrong about GL what other shows should I take a second look at? Let me know what you think.

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