This week, Kimberly offers her thoughts on what was great about Guiding Light '08. Next week, she'll be back with another look at the year gone by -- the things that weren't quite shining as brightly.
The holidays are a great time to look back at your life -- at least the past year. It's time to take stock of your actions and deeds and try to make changes to improve upon your life for next year. In the next two columns, I am going to look at the year that was 2008 in Springfield. The good, the bad, and the ugly -- then look ahead during the first column in 2009. I hope that wherever your travels take you this holiday season, you are able to check in on the citizens of Springfield.
2008 was an interesting year in Springfield. Through the magic of the Internet, it's easy to look back and reminisce about Springfield happenings. And have faith that 2009 will be a better year there...
The year began with a bang -- literally -- at the Lewis construction site, thanks to Coop. Little Will Winslow's innocent face was all an act, and Lizzie and Bill were together -- part-time.
It's Christmas week, so I am going to try to focus on the good things that happened in Springfield this year. Yes, I know that there are plenty of things wrong (that is next week's column) but for now I'm going to try my best to stay in the holiday spirit -- and stay positive.
One of the cores in any soap is the strength of the family. Springfield has some pretty unusual families, but they usually are the ones that bring about the most realism and most fun for the show. While we are woefully lacking a Bauer family presence, the Coopers try their best to make up for the lack of Bauer Power in Springfield.
The Cooper clan may be wacky -- their poker parties and family football games are legendary- but it's the longevity of the actors who make the roles their own that I really enjoy. Multiple Emmy winner Justin Deas (Buzz) is adorable as the wacky patriarch, and he makes me laugh and makes me cry -- this year is no exception.
With Buzz, we see a man who admits his flaws -- and makes sure that his family learns from his mistakes. After years on the road, he returned to Springfield to the welcoming arms of his family. And his family certainly needs some focus and guidance for their crazy lives. But through all of the fights, I have to admit that it's the Cooper family that really make me warm and fuzzy -- they are a real family that fight and make up -- and their obvious chemistry shows. Their faith in each other -- and the love they share -- is always great to see!
I've said about a million times that I am not a fan of the Peapack, NJ, experiment, but I did like it in small doses. Rather than having all of their scenes on predictable sets, I do like to see actors outside (weather permitting) for some scenes. NYC is a great location to film, and the show does use the city on occasion -- which is a good thing. But the show should limit the scenes when the weather gets cold -- huddling near an outside fireplace is a little obvious.
Casting is a major player in the success of the show. While there were several bad casting decisions (which I'll address next week) I did like a few. Finally getting rid of Cassie was long overdue. Pairing Cassie with Josh was a disaster from Day One, so this loss was a no-brainer. With the departure of Laura Wright years ago, the show never really found it's footing with Nicole Forrester, so they were best to let Cassie move to Hawaii.
Two great additions have come recently. I was never really a Shayne fan before, but at least Jeff Branson seems to relish the difficult role of Reva and Josh's troubled son. Now that this character has had time to season off-screen, there are so many ways this character can go in 2009. In some ways, he reminds me of an angry Jonathan when he returned to Springfield. But his angst is at his father, not his mother. Reva's cancer will certainly add a layer to the possibilities this character has in the new year -- and I can't wait to see where he goes!
The Boudreau family is another group that is rarely on-screen. Even when Mel was married to the only Bauer left in Springfield, we didn't see them much. But with the addition of television talk man Montel Williams as Clayton, and Karla Mosly as the new Mrs. Remington Boudreux, I hope to see more of this family in the new year. Remy has always been stereotyped as the good-looking, but lazy, son to offset the overachieving daughter, Mel. Now Remy has the chance to show that he can be hot and smart -- as long as he doesn't let love slip through his fingers. Now if Mel could get a love life in 2009....
I have to admit that the story that has the most fans talking in 2008 was Reva and Jeffrey. The "What the Hell" couple becomes Mr. & Mrs. -- with a baby on board. I admit that I love the pairing -- now -- but always wait for the other shoe to drop with any couple that isn't "Reva and Josh Forever." The cancer storyline is a great focus for Kim Zimmer, but it (as most of Reva's stories do) leaves Bradley Cole as the straight man to Reva's antics. GL is always bad at making the male characters strong and viable characters in their own right. I just hope that this story showcases both characters in the coming year.
As a fan of Springfield from way back, I did like the Spaulding-Lewis takeover story. Alan cornered is always a dangerous foe, so it will be interesting to see how he handles the changes that are coming down the road for him in 2009. Better watch your back!
Ever the romantic, I have to admit that I loved the look of Ava and Bill's outdoor wedding -- good use of a remote location. Too bad it was just another sham of a marriage that didn't last long. I hope that 2009 brings real romance -- not arranged marriages -- for all of us who love a good love story.
Check in next week when I talk about the things I wish we could forget about Springfield in 2008.... (Like V-8 and Mr. Clean...)
Keep the Light Shining and Merry Christmas! And Happy Belated 80th Birthday to my GL friend Kate!!