After writing "Two Scoops" for over eight years, I have written about many bits of GL history. Some good, some not so good, but all parts of the history of the show that we all are devoted to.
As I sit here on this sunny Sunday afternoon, I think back to how GL (and I) have changed since I began watching in 1976. And how the changes have been mirrored on GL.
When I began watching in the seventies, I was a 9-year old girl who didn't really understand much in the way of romance, infidelity, betrayal and such. I just knew that if I sat quietly and ate my after-school snack, I had an extra hour that I didn't have to tackle my homework! Over time, I really began to appreciate the characters in Springfield and felt like they were extended family members.
For example, I always felt like Bert Bauer was like another grandmother to me. Like my own Grandmom (who died last year at 88) she baked cookies and dispensed advice on anything that I felt was important enough to discuss with her. Growing up these topics got a little more challenging for her, I am sure. Life in the 1980's and 90's wasn't at all like the growing-up years she experienced. So when Charita (and Bert) died in the mid-1980's, I felt like I was losing a close relative. One whom I had "known" for over a decade.
And one of the characters that I felt was most like me, from the time that he appeared in Springfield, was Philip Granville Spaulding. Right from the very beginning, this character and I shared some similarities - something I didn't really find much on television at that time. We were much the same age (Phillip began on GL 2 years younger than I - which would make him 35 today, but the Four Musketeers graduated from Springfield High in 1983 - two years BEFORE I did - which made him 39) and both had non-traditional families. Phillip's parents were divorced early in his life - much like mine were. When my parents divorced in the mid 1970's, it was rare to have your parents be divorced, so I often felt odd with my two-parent household friends. GL gave me a character whose life was similar in that way to mine, so I really developed a bond with the character.
When the show developed the Four Musketeers storyline in 1982, I really felt like they did so with me in mind. Remember, this was before "90210" and all of those teen shows. This was a way for me to peer into the lives of other teenagers with similar lives (well, except the bank accounts - my Dad wasn't as wealthy as the Spaudling's or Lewis' - that's for sure!). This storyline - that built on the long-term friendship of Phillip and Rick, is one that I look back on as a favorite - to this day.
Part of this was due to the continuity of the actors. Grant left the show several times (once when his parents died about 6 months apart years ago) and John Bolger was recast in the role. I remember that about 3 years ago I met John in an elevator before a soap event, and the first thing I thought was "there is faux-Phillip." Not fair, I know, but I really associated Grant with the role. Grant's real life best friend Michael O'Leary has played Frederick (Rick) Bauer since adulthood, with time spent outside of Springfield. Beth Chamberlain assumed the role of Beth from its originator Judi Evans (now Luciano) and there have been a bevy of Melinda Sue Lewis', but only Krista Teserau really makes me think of Mindy no matter in what context I see her. Now there are Three Musketeers left, and they will all gather to remember the time on GL that I really treasure - and figure out who killed Phillip.
While I applaud the wonderful performances that these actors always give us, part of me wanted to stop the Tivo - and stop time for this character who I will miss very much. While I try not to play favorites here, the character history - and the actor who played him, have made Grant (and Phillip) a favorite of mine. Whether it was the connection to my childhood, or our shared Baltimore roots, I have always liked both the character and the actor who played him. Grant's performances have nominated for many industry awards, but I think this year he might get the allusive prize - much like Ellen Parker did as Maureen Bauer when they killed her off all those years ago.
This fall, I wasn't able to get to NYC for the GL Fan Club Gathering, but I hope that Grant knows how much this Maryland GL fan has appreciated all that he has given fans over the past two plus decades. We will certainly miss you.
And since I know GL fans aren't shy about stating their opinions, I want to encourage you all to take part in a short survey to see how you feel about this story. I will gather all of the results and give you an update in a week or two. AND reveal how I would have voted, if I took part in the survey myself. Here's the link:
As I close for this week, I think I'll turn on my CD player and listen to a little Lionel Ritchie from the Springfield High Prom of 1983 when Phillip and Beth were King and Queen.
Girl, tell me only this
That I'll have your heart for always
And you want me by your side
Whispering the words I'll always love you
And forever I will be your lover
And I know if you really care
I will always be there
Now I need to tell you this
There's no other love like your love
And I,as long as I live,
I'll give you all the joy
My heart and soul can give
Let me hold you
I need to have you near me
And I feel with you in my arms
This love will last forever
Because I'm truly
Truly in love with you girl
I'm truly head over heels with your love
I need you, and with your love I'm free
And truly,you know you're alright with me
Keep the Light Shining and Have a Great Week!