Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Good Man is hard not to like, but the Good Women are NOT all taken


We've heard it over and over, again: Frank Cooper is a Good Man. We hear it from Buzz. We hear it from Blake. Mostly, we hear it from Olivia and Natalia. But, why? Why is it so important that we, the viewing audience, be hit over the head with this message? Those of us who love and are rooting for Otalia get it: he's a good guy. We got it a long time ago. And, yet, it's still a strong theme that's prominent in this story line. What can the writers be thinking? It's not like them to bore us: Otalia has been anything but boring or mundane. It's also not like them to waste words. What, then, can they be up to?


If you're reading this blog, there's an excellent chance that you're an Otalia supporter or, at the very least, that you're open to the idea of a love story between two characters of the same sex. If you're just watching Guiding Light, though, as you have for many years, there's no such guarantee. If you've been watching Guiding Light for 45 years, and you've never met a lesbian or a gay man (or, at least, you think you never have), it might be that the Otalia story line makes you feel uncomfortable or angry. It might be that you find the very idea of a same-sex pairing repulsive or puzzling. It may well be that, like so many people who look for simple answers in a complex world, and believe that things are either black or white, with no grey areas, you've decided that a woman who loves another woman is nothing more than a woman who has never met a Good Man. Or, worse still, you might think that any woman who loves other women is, by definition, a woman who hates men.  If this sounds like you, I believe the writers of Guiding Light have singled you out as someone they really want to speak to, and this is what they have to say:


Frank Cooper is a Good Man. He's a decent man. A good father. An honest cop. The kind of guy you'd want on your side if you were down on your luck. He's the kind of guy who always does the right thing. And, guess what? No one is more aware of this than Olivia Spencer and Natalia Rivera. Olivia and Natalia like Frank, and they never get tired of saying what a Good Man he is. In many ways, they love him. They admire his decency, his loyalty, his dedication to family. Natalia likes Frank so much, and is so aware of his innate goodness, that she almost married him because, really, he has most of the qualities she's been raised to look for in a mate: Frank Cooper will never run off on some woman and leave her to raise her child alone. Olivia, who isn't the warmest of people, has such a weakness for him, that she calls him "Frankie." She thinks so highly of him that she was willing to selflessly stand by and let her feelings for Natalia remain a secret because, really, guys like Frank are hard to come by, and she thought Natalia deserved to be with the best guy in town. 


Olivia and Natalia like Frank Cooper. They love and admire him as a friend. They love one another, though, on a deeper level. Are you still reading? Because this is where the writers of Guiding Light want you to see that, in real life, things are rarely black or white. Olivia and Natalia are in love with one another for reasons that have nothing to do with hating men, or not knowing any Good Men. They know a Good Man. They know a really, fucking Good Man named Frank Cooper. And they care about him. But they're in love with each other. These two things are not mutually exclusive.  Olivia and Natalia's loving one another doesn't diminish their ability to care for and appreciate a Good Man like Frank Cooper. 


This is what the writers of Guiding Light are saying to you, gentle, close-minded viewer, every time Olivia or Natalia mention what a Good Man Frank Cooper is: when a woman loves another woman, it doesn't mean she hates men, or that she hasn't met a Good Man. Most times, it just means that she's met a Good Woman. 


© 2009 Lana M. Nieves

Limited Licensing: I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the Creative Commons Attribution license, granting distribution of my copyrighted work without making changes, with mandatory attribution to Lana M. Nieves and for non-commercial purposes only. - Lana M. Nieves


12 comments:

annahgrrl said...

Wow Snapper, you are genius. Once again I whole heartedly agree. I had been wondering why they felt it so necessary to cram the Frank.Is.Such.A.Good.Man message down my throat. I never hated Frank, nor did I think he was anythiny but a decent guy.

It makes sense. We can only hope that the audience for which the message is intended, maybe, just maybe, get it. Great article as always.

JFaye said...

Excellent blog Snapper.

I think part of the problem to those of us anxious for Otalia to pick up the pace, is that Frank and now Rafe, have become huge obstacles and time is running out for the show. However, they are characters in a soap, and have remained true to who they are -- Frank, the good man, and Rafe, the immature adolescent -- all the while providing the conflict needed for the supercouple in the making.

Those of us living in the happy Otalia world forget that there are many close-minded folks out there who oppose this pairing and can find nothing good to say about it. Hopefully there are still some 'undecideds' to coin a political phrase, who are open minded enough to read your blog and get the concept.

Renville68 said...

Snapper, as always I THOROUGHLY enjoy your intelligent blogs. I hope that this message does reach out and gets to those people...we can only live in hope. I look forward to your future blogs.

Anonymous said...

This is an inciteful analysis. I also hope your message reaches those folks who need to hear it. "Keep the light shining..."

Anonymous said...

loved the post as usual

perpetualblyss said...

For me the issue is not with Frank being a good man. It's the fact that we are TOLD over and over that he is. Don't TELL me, SHOW me that Frank deserves all the admiration and loyalty that he is getting.

IMO, Frank has been for the most part acting like a spoiled child, both when he was with Natalia and especially now. It's OK to be disappointed and hurt, but some of the ways he has acted do not align with the 'good man' argument. Frank should show me he's a good man, by acting like an adult around Olivia and Natalia and generally staying out of the way. He does not have to deny his hurt feelings or even sense of betrayal; he just needs to do what good men do, pull up his socks and get on with his life without Natalia.

Anonymous said...

Great essay, as always. Love ya! QWHIPMaster

Robert said...

Brilliant! I admit, as I was reading the article, I wasn't sure where you were going with it, but you brought it all home!

Mary said...

Such an insightful analysis, Snapper. GL made a wise decision, I believe, when they made Frank Olivia's rival. Had they chosen a cretin or a cad, it would have no doubt created more sympathy for Otalia, but it would have played into the very syndrome you described. Thanks for such intelligent and nuanced observations.

Kim said...

Thank you thank you for this wonderful take on the "good guy syndrome" It has annoyed me for the last time now that you have put this up for thought!

Lynda said...

This blog, it's posts and it's author are all make of win :)

Snapper said...

Thanks for the kind words, Lynda :)