Friday, September 18, 2009

Goodbye, Old Friends


I hate to even type this date. After 72 years on radio and television, Springfield's beacon has shut down, and Guiding Light is no more. Having watched and followed this show for over 30 years, seeing it end is like losing an old and dear friend. No, it's like losing a whole bunch of old and dear friends. Tears were shed, even as some parts of the final episode were a disappointment, and others a complete puzzle.


They should have had one kiss. Sorry, but it must be said. Yay for the girls being together, and happily, but there should have been a kiss.

I loved the scene of Natalia and Olivia sitting at the table, Olivia talking about how the happy ending isn't supposed to be hers, and how she can't believe she actually got everything she wanted. Olivia seems like a friend to me. I've been rooting for her pretty much since she first came on the scene - even when she's been soooo wrong about things. I couldn't be more glad to see Olivia get a happy ending if she were a real person.

I know some people were angry at the naming of Natalia's baby. I'm not. First off, Francesca is a really good name. Second, Frank is, after all, the baby's father. Naming the baby after Frank is no less fitting than if they'd named her after Natalia. And, keep in mind that Natalia suggested naming the baby Ivy Olivia - now that would have been walking a little too far on the side of fantasy. Francesca has a father and two mothers. Of the three parents, it was Olivia who got to name the baby, which is significant. She chose a good name (ok, I admit to being partial to Francesca because it's the name I chose for my niece, and my sister actually went with it...but I digress.) She chose a name that honors and acknowledges the fact that the baby's father is part of the baby's life. One can also look at it this way: too many people have this crazy idea that lesbians are trying to be men or replace men, or that we hate men. Some lesbians do hate men. Most don't. If we couldn't have an Otalia that was edgy enough to kiss on screen (heaven forbid!!!!) at least we have an Otalia that has bucked several conventional ideas about women in same sex relationships: we don't hate men, we aren't trying to be men, we don't hate heterosexuals, we don't always couple up in butch/femme pairs, we quite often lead very traditional, family-oriented lives.

But, really, people, they should have kissed.


He's a douchebag with a uniform. I will never be ok with the fact that Guiding Light portrayed a homophobic bastard as a hero. No matter how much I love this show, and how much joy it's given me - this will never be ok, in my book. I'm actually more ok with the whole "let's just have Jeffrey do some pretty damned nice things for Olivia and pretend he never raped anyone" ploy, because that's basically damage control after the fact. With Rafe, the writers didn't even do any damage control. They set up Rafe's homophobia, beautifully, as a conflict, but they never resolved it. A simple apology and admitting he was wrong would have gone a long way. The writers couldn't bother. Who cares if he spit all over a whole segment of society? What's the big deal about him condemning his mother and telling her she was going to hell? For this I don't blame CBS. Blame for this incredibly irresponsible (and sloppy) bit of story-telling lies squarely with the executive producer and the writer. This situation could have been remedied in under 75 words:
"I'm so sorry, Ma. I'm sorry about the terrible things I said. I'm sorry I wasn't here for you when you needed me. I don't really understand what it is that you and Olivia are doing, but I'm going to try my best to just support you the way that you've always supported me. I just want you to be happy."
Um, that took me one minute to come up with. The writers had over a year to figure out how Rafe's reaction to Otalia was going to play out, and they fucked it up, royally.

Phillip and Beth/ Rick and Mindy

I was hoping against hope that Mindy would show up and wind up with Rick. It would have been too awful to leave poor, dopey Rick with no one. Long live The Four Musketeers!

I loved Phillip's revelation that he is now the oldest Spaulding living in the Spaulding mansion. I remember you when you were practically still a boy, Phillip Spaulding! I also loved Beth's little nod to Phillip's literary past - giving him the journal and suggesting he start writing took me back to Phillip and Beth reading poetry to one another, a million years ago, when they were first falling in love.

Alexandra and Fletcher

Sweet that Alex got to do something and be with someone, and moving to see her say goodbye, because that was really Marj Dusay saying goodbye to Guiding Light. I've enjoyed the closeness between Alex and Phillip during the last two weeks. I'd begun to think the writers had no idea how much Alex has always adored her nephew. In so many ways, Phillip has been more like her son.

Reva and Josh/ Edmund and Jeffery/ Jonathan and Sarah

Don't hate me, but I found this to be pretty awful. I am so over Josh and Reva and, HELLO - Jefferey is still alive. It think they forgot to tell Bradley Cole to come in for the last day of filming. Or maybe the writers got home after the last day of shooting, with that nagging feeling that they'd forgotten something. To turn off the iron? To leave water for the dog? Oh, shit! We forgot to finish Jeffery's story line!

Why did they even start the whole Edmund "murder" mystery, if there was never any intention to solve it? Are we to believe that, a whole year later, Jeffery still hasn't had any luck in killing Edmund? Isn't he some sort of secret government operative? And, yet, he can't shoot the broad side of a barn. We never found out who it was that Dinah murdered. There's actually no rhyme or reason for any of this. Edmund is supposed to pose this huge danger to baby Henry, Sarah, and just about everyone in Springfield (although it's kind of difficult to figure out why he'd bother), yet a year passes by and no one has been killed or kidnapped or anything? Who cares?

Still and all, it made me weepy when Josh and Reva drove off in the pick-up truck. It reminded me of H.B., and I loved H.B.

Is Sarah on reverse SORAS pills? We skip ahead a year and baby Colin has aged, Natalia and Olivia have a baby who looks to be a few months old, even stupid Remy and Chistina's baby is the right age. But Sarah is still the same size? Stupid. If I cared about the whole Sarah/Jonathan/Lizzie thing I'd be annoyed. I don't, so I just find it stupid and funny.

Reva and Olivia

This was pure win. I love it that Reva got a crack in about Olivia finally finding someone who could handle her. I am really going to miss these two characters so much! We haven't seen old Reva in ages. This was a glimpse of her, but softer. It made me happy.

Blake and Frank

Awww. That was sweet. I thought Frank Dicopoulous was really good in the bridge scene. He hasn't had much of a chance, in the last year, to play just normal, nice Frank: a pretty damned good guy, who deserves a break. I felt we got that Frank back in the final episode. I loved it that he so comfortably mentioned Francesca having two mommies in the flash-forward scene. Unlike Rafe, whose conflict is never resolved, Frank's journey from "What exactly are you???" to "She's in love with you, Olivia" to "In the grand scheme of things, our situation isn't that bad" to "I thought you ladies could use some help moving" has been realistic and satisfying. He was never going to fall instantly in love with the idea of Natalia jilting him, especially not when she jilted him for Olivia, of all people. Because he is (one last time, people) a good man, though, he's come around. Family has always been the most important thing to Frank. In many ways, the flash-forward scene is all about Frank and Olivia: two people who never, ever got the happy endings, finally getting their turn.

Remy and Christina

Wow. So furious precious time was wasted on these two again. Those minutes could easily have been used to give us some quality Emma/Olivia/Natalia/Francesca time. Or a really good Phillip/Beth scene. Or anything besides Remy and Christina. A photo is in order.
Odds and Sods

  • I'm really sad that Maeve Kinkead wasn't around for the very end. Vanessa and Billy had no screen time together after the wedding. I love Vanessa, and I don't feel as if we've had a proper goodbye.
  • The whole Dinah/Mallett and Shayne/Marina thing is awful and is best ignored.
  • I really wanted Dinah to at least phone her mother, as Vanessa asked her to. It would have been nice to have that bit of closure.
  • Daisy and Ashlee: I dig Ashlee's pseudo hippie look at Berkeley.
  • Daisy and James: cute.
  • Ashley and Doris: Cute, but a little bit of a letdown. I wanted more Doris.
  • Buzz and Lillian: so adorable together in the flash forward scene.
Goodbye, Springfield. Thanks for the years.


dkellergrl said...

I did like the scenes of everyone in the park. The sense of love, family, friends and community is the overall main theme of all soaps.

We share the same thoughts on alot of things, Snapper.

My one main issue is the Josh/Reva/Jeffrey situation.

I mean, I get that Josh and Reva were "meant to be" and "always" and whatever, but IF it was really supposed to be that way, why couldn't the writers treat the OTHER man that was currently in the character Reva's life (and the father of her latest child) with more respect? Or, at least more than a forgotten afterthought.

Why couldn't they write a scene, in which Reva finds out about Jeffrey being alive (in the hopes of trying to "protect" his child and the other Lewis offspring), come to terms with him NOT coming back and then being able to finally have her "always" with Josh?

This is coming from someone who's not a fan of Reva, Josh OR Jeffrey, but it seems like the writers felt that they could tack on this "always" ending and it would be accepted, because Reva and Josh are the most known pairing in GL's history.

I love soaps, because it is about the fantasy, the storytelling and the hope of finding love in impossible ways, but then the writers slap on some horrible trite wrap-up and we, as fans are supposed to just accept it as "it's a soap". As much as this industry gets demeaned by others as being this crazy genre and never getting the respect that it should from "outsiders", it bothers me, when the folks who WORK in it, don't show the same respect for the work that they produce.

ocean1blue said...

ITA Snapper, while I wished it were more, of course, I was happy it wasn't less. I loved that shot of Natalia holding the baby on her lap, and Emma playing with the baby while Olivia looks on and holds the baby's hand. Would have been great if we had gotten one more meaningful glance between the two, and that would also have been a great moment for a kiss. It is the image I will always have of Otalia: the two of them raising a family in Springfield, living happily ever after in the FoL. The End.

Snapper said...

I hope I don't give the impression that I'm OK with the lack of intimacy between Natalia and Olivia - still think it's total bullshit. I also stand firm that there were many bad decisions made re how to wrap things up for these characters. (Don't get me started, again, on Natalia's abandoning my Olivia!) In fact, the very bad things wouldn't be so glaringly obvious if this particular story line hadn't started out with so many damned GOOD things going for it. I just have to admit that it *is* in fact nice to see these two holding hands in public, instead of hiding out in the farmhouse to exchange...glances? Secret handshakes? Lattes?

Also, this show has meant a lot more to me than Otalia and, at the end of the day, Otalia ended up with a lot more respectful wrap-up than, say, Vanessa, who just freaking disappeared after her wedding. WTF?

DJ Bixby said...

Reading this u might have made me like the episode more because i pretty much disliked it all but JEVA. Now i'll have to rewatch because you mentioned things i did like, but glossed over in the scramble of everything.

Robert said...

I was flipping through my "Guiding Light: The Complete Family Album" book last night and was reminded that Philip had once been a writer (while Beth was an artist). It was nice to see a nod to that history with her journal gift.

I'm disappointed in the ending and the way certain things were left without resolution. Honestly, my feelings about the whole thing are so tangled I can't even articulate them properly. I'm sad to see an old friend go away, and will try to remember the good times.

Snapper said...

Yeah - he wrote Lorelei's Diary. Which, I believe, you can actually buy on Ebay.

Ellie4cats said...

Lorelie's Diary was written by Lorelei Hills, but it was compiled from Beth Chamberlin's notes. She keeps notes on her characters when she plays a part. (Or did Phillip write it on the show? I didn't remember that.)

Great blog post, as usual! I enjoyed it!!! Thanks for posting!

Marj is phenomenal and I was so happy to see Alex with Fletch in the end. It was so realistic to see her finally break down when she saw him.

I was saddened that the only Otalia kiss was the one at the farmhouse when Olivia grabbed Natalia. It had no romance or warmth. COP OUT. I mean, what were they worried about? The show was already canceled!

Snapper said...

Re Lorelei's DIary, I was talking about how it played out on the show. I seemed to recall Phillip being the one to get his hands on it and publish it, but now that I think of it, it was either Olivia or Alan - I'm not sure if it was ever made clear. That was a muddled mess of a story line.

Sylvia said...

Well I will never be happy with the way the end was rushed and a bit superficial in some cases.

The bit about Dinah and Jeffrey was mostly due to Gina Ts having gone early and had reasons for not staying around to make it better. So it was clear to me why that felt tagged on.

I guess knowing that I was okay with the little chapel scene, it looks like they will be going all over the world to funerals and weddings kind of like Harold and Maude while they work.

I was okay with the Josh and Reva ending it was just as mushy as it should have been. I liked the nod to that old timey movie where the couple were supposed to meet at the top of the Empire state building but she or he was hit by a car and couldn't make it. Deborah Kerr and Fred McMurrys names are floating around in my head but I really can't remember who was in it or what it was called.

I'm glad that Shayne and Marina ended up together as they were each others firsts.

Of all the people they brought back Maureen Garrett was my favorite. I loved Holly in this time period especially the talk she had with Olivia while Blake ran off to talk to Ross' grave.
To me those were the smartest scenes that whole week. But the best scenes were of Liv and Nat on the rooftop and in Liv's office especially when Nat slammed down the baby name book and said screw time and space and Liv jumping back in her chair and exclaiming oooooooh. Just thinking about it now makes me laugh.

I love Olivia and I grew to love Nat because Olivia did and I would have to have her there if I wanted any of it at all. Not that I don't or didn't like her I just wanted to be her or Michael Sabatino or the cup or glass CC has her beverages in.

I see I won't be able to put everything I'm feeling and thinking in one post so I'll probably have to post again later or in a day or so. I don't know what I'll be leaving out here and now until it's later.

I agree about Vanessa, too bad she didn't get a bit more time in the wind up. I thought something about being the other major female business "mongol" deserved some acknowlegement.

Re: Loreli's book, I've got a copy of it around here somewhere. That was a long time ago. I read a lot and have 7 bookcases that are more in the nature of within the last 5 years so books rotate and I really have no idea where it is, probably packed away somewhere. Yup Beth was an artist and Phillip was a writer. That's what he would have done had Alan not roped him in the family business. But I can't remember who was supposed to have written the book although I do remember that it got published weirdly. It was published after it was found by someone wanting to get back at Phil I think, as I said it was a long time ago.

I have difficulty believing in a kinder gentler Alan. I know I'm supposed to swallow the draft dodging story as his revelation and redemption but it took him too long to come around to that. I've got worse secrets in my closet than that for crying out loud but I've never had anyone murdered.

I remember when Olivia and Cassie became partners in the Beacon. It was this old run down hotel that they, mostly Olivia refurbished. By the way I absolutely love the decor in the Beacon. The dark wood doors and woodwork and the deep olive walls, oooooof really gorgeous.

I was never a big Rickey Paul fan because I didn't care for his character on Another World same goes for DAM I hated his character on AW. Then they bring him into my other soap and he's a wacko again.

It's going to be really hard going back to Days because that show went over the top for me when they made my beautiful Dee Hall and Eileen Davidson characters into spooks out of some horror movie. I left and never looked back when that network cancelled AW. I have all of the books that came out of that show too somewhere around here. That's probably where the Loreli book is, with AW.

It's 4AM, time to go to bed so maybe there'll be more later. I'm so sad to know that Monday will be blank.

Sylvia in Anchorage

Robert said...

As for Philip writing, at one point in the mid/late '80s, he was writing a Great Gatsby-esque book called "Zanzibar" where some of the characters were shown in fantasy sequences, and played by the people in Philip's life. Don't know if it was ever published.

Maybe even more than being annoyed by the way Otalia has been treated, I'm annoyed that so much time over the last several months were wasted on Edmund and Jeffrey, with that entire story left dangling. Not that I wanted it to have lots of resolution on the final episode, but jeez, with all the time spent on the story, you'd think they could have shown Jeffrey finally getting Edmund. Or maybe, when Reva and Josh met a year later, she could have said that Jeffrey had finally come back to her a month ago, but her heart is always with Josh, and that's who she chooses. See, that would have been easy and would have closed the story, instead of the way it was left.

I hope Ellen Wheeler doesn't get another producing or writing job. And I'll be curious to see what P&G does to ATWT to hasten the nail in that show's coffin.

Snapper said...

Rumor has it EW will be working on ATWT. Another rumor is that January will be it for Oakdale. She wimped out so badly during her interview with TV Guide, I'm pretty much at the point where I think Ellen Wheeler can go fuck herself. Say you couldn't show any intimacy. Say you CHOSE not to show intimacy. But don't insult my intelligence by saying you needed another *year*. Frank and Natalia had sex after about five actual dates, total - if that. Cyrus and Mel skipped the dating, completely and jumped into bed. Daisy and James not only skipped the dating part, they didn't even bother with a bed - they did it in a field. Meanwhile, Otalia never even had a friendly kiss on the cheek. CBS may be governed by homophobic dinosaurs, but EW shows herself to be something even worse: a brown-nosing yes-man.

I'm in total agreement with you about the Edmund/Jeffery thing, Robert. The episode where they held Edmund's impromptu memorial was one of the best episodes of GL of the year . It was good, old fashioned soap that involved every character, and it made the most of the production model. It promised a good whodunnit, but it delivered a big, fat nothing. Disgraceful.

I'd totally forgotten about Zanzibar! It's nice that there are so many people out there with these bits of history.

ocean1blue said...

It looks like Ellen Wheeler is the person to hire if you want to run a soap into the ground so it will be cancelled. Charles Pratt Jr at AMC better watch out! If he doesn't ruin that quick enough Ellen Wheeler may be his new boss!

Robert said...

I'm still hoping for some interviews coming out in the next few weeks from former cast members dishing the dirt on GL's final days and EW's lunacy.