Mes chers, today Marlena would like you to meet Patrick Erwin, a newspaper reporter and thinking soap fan who will be posting his reviews here once a week. Patrick is particularly interested in the Procter and Gamble shows. First up, his look at Guiding Light, a show we have all loved at one time or another. How and why has the oldest show in daytime become a shadow of itself?________________________________________________________________
Being a viewer of Guiding Light has been an exercise in frustration and patience for many of its longtime fans. The show may be 70 years old, but after several facelifts, it’s nearly unrecognizable.
When I started watching GL in the 1980s, the show was one of the most compelling hours of television, with talented actors portraying multifaceted, multilayered storylines.
intense emotional range (
Those complicated, eminently watchable characters were once a GL mainstay, but the show has shed much of its skin in the last decade. This troubling trend began with the gimmick-laden writing regime of
With the regime of
Take, for example, the Josh/Cassie storyline. If you feel a sense of déjà vu here, you’re not alone. GL has a bad habit of repeating this story every time
Speaking of nutbags, we’ve also seen some déjà vu with the most recent storyline for Dinah Marler. I shuddered at seeing Dinah chase, and then bed, her mother’s estranged husband,
Having Dinah kidnap sister
Then there’s Rafe and Daisy, for example. Rafe is an obvious stand-in for
It’s not like GL isn’t capable of doing better. Whether you love or hate some of the recent changes, it’s got to be acknowledged that there’s certainly a lot of creativity going on at GL. Characters like
The grand old “Light” may have reached the big 7-0 this year, but right now, watching the show makes me feel like I’m watching an elderly woman who’s suffering from dementia and is tarted up like a teenager. I have a lot of love for this show, and would love to see it come back to life, but right now, Guiding Light is operating at diminished capacity.