Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dropping the Ball

The news that CBS had cancelled Guiding Light hit us on April 1. It was not completely unexpected, even if the timing wasn't perfect. Why, then, do the last two months of GL look as if they were written, filmed and edited in a mad rush? Instead of tying up loose threads, complicated and useless story lines were developed and placed front and center, detracting from the story lines viewers care about and want to see resolved. Old characters were brought back for no good reason, and with nothing to do, except suck up valuable air time. Conflicts and plot developments were propped up, and then allowed to just fall flat. I hate to say it, but they've dropped the ball.

Stunt Casting

It was nice to see some familiar faces, but why not involve them? Michelle, Danny and Mindy sucked up time and did nothing but eat hot dogs and talk about how great it was to be back. Really? Seriously? That's what Guiding Light calls "a return?" Likewise, it was nice to see that Fiona Hutchison is still gorgeous, but, um, who cares? (see "Cyrus..." below) No one loves Holly more than I do, and it was great to see Maureen Garrett and Liz Keifer on screen together but the whole thing fell flat. They never really had that mother/daughter talk that was implied.

Cyrus, Buzz, Coop, Company

Why bring back Cyrus? Who cares? Did anyone miss him? Did anyone give a damn about that whole diamond nonsense? Was anyone just NEEDING to see Remy in a front-burner story line that was connected to nothing and no one for two weeks? It kills me when I think about the hours wasted on Cyrus - hours that could have been used to properly wrap up things with Phillip, Otalia, Dinah, etc.

The same holds true for the financial troubles at Company, Cyrus' parentage, and Coop's book. Who gives a shit?


Are we ever going to see Alan get his comeuppance? We know he's responsible for all manner of mayhem that he's walked away from. Most significantly, he spent almost a year gas-lighting Olivia by posing as an insane Phillip. Is the truth about this ever going to come to light? It would be nice for everyone to know that Phillip did not, in fact, terrorize the mother of his child for a year.


Where do I start? The murder mystery. It was set up beautifully and promised to be an umbrella story line that would involve every member of Springfield. That flavor lasted all of three or four episodes, and then it became clear that the mystery of Edmund's murder would involve mostly Reva, and go nowhere. We were set up to think Olivia would have some involvement in the whole business - she was the one witness who could place Reva with Edmund moments before his death. But, one seems to care. In fact, Olivia never even reported this to the police. Furthermore, it turns out that the man Reva was arguing with wasn't even Edmund, at all. This means that someone was so good at looking and sounding like Edmund that Olivia and Reva (who have known Edmund for decades) were both fooled into believing this person really was Edmund. It also means that Dinah, who was married to Edmund, was fooled by an impostor. Even in Springfield, this is difficult to believe. Beyond that, now that Dinah has confessed and fled the law, the good people of Springfield seem to be A-OK with the fact that some John Doe was murdered right in their local park. No one seems to give a damn who he was. Even the Springfield PD have dropped the ball.

And, now? Edmund is alive and after Jefferey/Reva/Jonathan? Does anyone give a good goddamn? It's a tiresome story. In fact, it looks less like an actual scripted story line than a Theatersports imrpov skit, with Reva and Jonathan providing comic relief.

Why have a murder occur, at all, if the story is only going to be a jumbled mess that sucks up time from more important matters at hand?

Bill and Lizzie

I'm not a Bizzie fan. That's a fact. I do think this couple got an insane amount of coverage that was pure fluff. The whole Universal Studios thing was one, long commerical for Orlando tourism. Still and all, they deserve better than two months of This Old House outtakes. They have a crappy, old house that needs work. We get it. Do we need to see scene after scene of them shopping for paint and tiles? There was ample time to show a bit of this, while also showing us some meaty, old-fashioned domestic scenes. Life as a new couple. Or, if the house rennovation was something the writers were married to, why not make it a proper barn-raising, involving all of Springfield, and not just one or two people at a time? Isn't that the way a Lewis boy would do it? It would have been a nice nod to the Guiding Light cast's work in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Two or three solid days of everyone in Springfield pulling together to get Bill and Lizzie's house in shape would have been awesome, and allowed for mini-dramas to play out.


I was one of the first to say that people who were in a rush for a sex scene between these two needed to slow the fuck down and learn about the medium. I also said that it was highly unlikely we'd see Olivia and Natalia going at it a la The L Word, on the kitchen table. I've been accused of being a part of the overall Otalia problem for having held this opinion, but I stand by it. Back in May, it would have been ridiculous and not at all in keeping with the pacing of the story line or the characters for Olivia and Natalia to have jumped each others bones, as the "just do it, already!" contingency was calling for. That isn't homophobia on my part, it's respect for this type of story-telling and character development. The fact is, I never thought we'd see an actual sex scene between these two, at all. The most I ever thought we'd see was kissing, and I certainly think the pacing established should have made this a reality some time in mid-May. Hate me if you will, send me nasty emails, but I don't believe Natalia would have "gone all the way" with Olivia by May or June. I said it back then, and I stand by it. This does not mean they shouldn't have or wouldn't have kissed by the time they returned from their spa weekend. Certainly by July 4th they should have done more than hold hands and caress one another's backs. While the writers may not have had much control over what the network would allow, I'm sure they weren't forced into writing in a pregnancy that no one really believes, assassinating Natalia's character, and making a mess of a story line that was really great just a few short months ago.

The fact is, this was a good, solid story line that people cared about. A story line that involved at least one major GL character, and could have included lots of other characters, but the writers dropped the ball.

Next: What could have been

1 comment:

TheWeyrd1 said...

I totally am in your court on the Otalia pacing and figured that after the cancellation was announced we wouldn't see a bedroom scene. But, like you, I totally expected some kissing and we know CC and JL did. I'm sorry to see GL's writers go nuts. I totally think they somehow believed that the serial would be picked up somewhere and they wanted story lines already in place. However, that thinking does not justify crappy writing. Especially after the exception writing for the Otalia story line prior to around the cancellation.