Tradition spoiled

by Kimberly For the Week of July 7, 2008
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Tradition spoiled
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Has Guiding Light lost its focus? There are few families who are still speaking to one another on a regular basis, and there is not one single happy marriage in town.

Have you ever had something you have waited for - a day or event to come and had it totally spoiled for you? I felt like that after watching the 4th of July episode of GL.

I am not shy about admitting that, as a long time GL fan, I look forward to the 4th of July and the Bauer Bar-be-que every year. I make a point of adding the recipe for the "Bauer Burgers" to the website so you can make them if you'd like. It's just one of those quaint reminders of the show that I've been watching since I was 9. July 4th, to me, is like watching the GL actors on a company picnic - albeit in character. We see them interacting together, storylines meeting with interesting twists and turns, and plenty of fun (and some tension, too).

The highlight of this year's festivities were seeing Cassie rent a moon bounce in an hour? Watching Beth break Rick's heart ON THEIR ANNIVERSARY? Having the most boring couple in Springfield (Cassie/Josh) host a BAUER event and act like she didn't just cheat on him and break his heart - like half a minute ago.

Small kudos for GL for remembering Ed, Michelle and Danny, and the history of the event. But having the BAUER Bar-be-que at the LEWIS house with only a handful of people was - well, sad. Cassie would never welcome Alan - he hired "G" to kill Tammy. The Coopers (minus Coop) were fine, but they seem to be the only intact family left in Springfield. What gives?

I could have seen Dinah and Olivia trying to pull off an alternative event - not Lizzie and the Spauldings. Of course, they were all MIA for the event. As were Reva and Jeffrey - Billy, Vanessa, Blake and the kids, etc. Not even Rick's daughter Leah (or her mother Mel) were present. Seeing this disjointed little function - a sad imitation of former events - is one of GL's failings. Even my husband - a casual viewer at best - knew the importance of the day in GL history and that the show failed miserably to live up to even a portion of its former glory.

The focus of GL has always been families. Even the network's own website describes the show as: "The longest running drama ever, Guiding Light has entertained radio and television fans for 70 years. Set in the fictional city of Springfield, this drama focuses on the complex lives of the close-knit Bauer, Spaulding, Lewis, Marler and Cooper families."

Really? How close-knit can the Bauer's be when there is only ONE of them in town? You remember that fact to write it in the script for one day, but not enough to write a character with the last name of Bauer for more than a day or two a month (at most).

It seems that the "focus" of the show has lost its focus. There are few families who are all speaking to one another on a regular basis. And there is not one single happy marriage in town (not even the utterly boring Cassie and Josh). You just had this extravagant wedding (it was very pretty visually - but the marriage is a total sham). Call me old fashioned, but I'd like to see some happiness mixed in with the back-stabbing, bed-hopping and disjointed storylines we've had lately. And let's not even mention those wacky camera angles and sound quality that should be checked BEFORE you wrap a day's shoot - I would have received a failing grade for submitting a project with the sound quality they let go to air in my TV Production class in college. Why can't we hold the shows on air to a higher standard than a college student?

So where does that leave us? Yes, I know the show is recorded weeks in advance and written months out ahead of time. But I do expect to see some actual happiness in time for the holidays. We had a horrible holiday season last year with families all fractured apart (Harley/Cyrus/Marina being a main component of that). This year I'd like to have some real memories of the characters we all know and love in stories that are worthy of their talents. Fans deserve better - and are getting fed up with the crap they have been getting of late.

Start by showing all of the actors at least once every two weeks. Yes, I know people have vacations and such but we can't get to really get into a character who comes and goes for ages. Keep a couple together for more than a short time (like Reva/Jeffrey) and when a couple "works" (like Dinah/Mallet, Lizzie/Bill) don't break them up for a more boring pairing. Let the fans get used to characters and couples without imploding them at will. And lose some of those hideous sets - the hotel room is beyond seedy. The outside shots would work if the sound quality and camera angles worked. But, like many shows, the sets are characters themselves. The Bauer kitchen, Company, the Lighthouse - all familiar places to long time fans and yet thrown aside for this total 180 from TPTB - it's just too much, too soon.

And before I forget, the wardrobe has changed as well and not always for the better. I was chuckling to myself as I saw Reva at Bill and Ava's wedding. I tried that very dress on at Dress Barn yesterday before I watched the episode - and decided it showed WAY too much of me front and back. Glad to see I was right!

And as Ava prepares to give birth, we all are speculating "who's the Daddy" and I see that many of you agree with my hunch that it will turn out to be Remy after all... Poor guy - he has to see what a manipulative user he's fallen in love with. If only "G" could have run HER over instead...

I hope that despite the lack of fireworks on GL this 4th of July you were able to enjoy some time with family and friends. I can only hope that next year's show is more inspired - and focuses more on the characters we know and love... Until next week...

Keep the Light Shining Have a Great Week!

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