Losing faith

This is a fact that was shared in the fall previews, so I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by mentioning here that it appears Guiding Light is wrapping up Josh’s time as a minister. 

I know this was a very unpopular story. I will go out on a limb here and come out of the closet: I was a very big fan of this idea. In fact, it struck me as a great story idea several years ago. In my pipe dreams of becoming a head writer, I always thought I’d want to write that story for Josh Lewis. 

I think a few things went terribly wrong with the execution, though, when GL did launch into this story.

For one thing, it was so ridiculously rushed. Josh went from depression to divinity in about a month, and that’s way too quick of a progression for something so drastic. I think giving viewers more time to get used to the idea would have been so much better.

After all, HB was clearly a man of faith and that element was always in Josh’s background. Having him go to church for several months and find new direction and inspiration there would have made his decision so much more logical. 

But the biggest mistake was, I think, the fact that it seemed at odds with his relationship with Cassie. To me, one of the major points of even doing such a storyline would have been to have Reva be a minister’s wife. GL did play some of Cassie’s spotty past clashing with Josh’s new career, but it didn’t make as much of an impact for me.

Reva has always doubted that she was good enough for Josh on some level, and I think if the show had done this story during one of their many marriages, it would have made more sense. Reva would have had very natural doubts about her place in Josh’s new life – ones that would have emerged organically from her checkered past. 

One reason I believed GL took this step and went in this direction was to cement Robert Newman’s status as the new emeritus member of the show. With many older vets gone, and Jerry verDorn at One Life to Live, Newman seems to be the cornerstone of GL now. 

I hope that even if Josh abandons a career in the ministry that he’ll continue to visibly grapple with issues of faith and morality. Although I don’t think most soap fans want to be overwhelmed with prostelyzing, I think we’d appreciate seeing faith and religion as a source for characters to draw from when they make good choices (or regret bad ones). 

Edited to add: One thing I forgot to mention when I originally published this post…..My original inspiration in thinking this was a good story for Josh was some press coverage years ago of Robert Newman. He discussed his own faith and the role that it played in his personal life. It was an interesting article which made you want to hear more about the subject, and it struck me as a good fit for Josh Lewis as a character. 

3 thoughts on “Losing faith

  1. All I can say is you are good! Also, thanks for the on-going tributes to Beverlee McKinsey. I think you and I came of “soap age” at the same time. I was bed-ridden with mono in 1975 for 12 weeks (at 12) and began my love affair with soaps and Iris and Mac and Rachel (and Vivian and Louise, who always made me at loud – where are those great character moments today?) at the same time. Thanks for a great blog. – Jason

    Response: Thanks, Jason! I do remember those years of AW. Who could forget Vivian?

    Beverlee McKinsey was one of a kind, and I’m always happy to mention her every chance I get.

  2. Patrick – Thanks so much for looking at this with such an open mind. I’ve always said, you can tell pretty much any story with any character, as long as you TAKE THE TIME TO SELL IT TO THE AUDIENCE.

    Josh as a minister makes a lot of sense if you break it down to the core of the character, but like you said, it was way too rushed, and decimated the characters’ integrity to write this change at the same time as he fell in love with his show-established-“soulmate”‘s sister.

    It was only unpopular because the time wasn’t taken to make sure it made sense… those missed emotional beats may not be “exciting” or “suspenseful”, but they are CRUCIAL to selling a plot point to the audience.

    Thanks again for a great blog entry! –tom

    Response: Thanks, Tom! I appreciate an-honest-to-goodness writing pro’s perspective here.

  3. I love the comment about giving the audience time to adjust. There are a number of great ideas in daytime that would have worked, but failed only because there wasn’t enough time to adjust to the change in characters’ personalities. The storylines felt forced. I enjoyed the blog.

    RESPONSE: Thanks for your comment! I think the storyline that most suffered from being rushed was the Zarf/Zoe story on All My Children. There was so many promising elements there, two great actors, and an original idea. The big mistake there was that by week two of the story, Zarf had taken over the show. (I understand AMC only had Jeffrey Carlson for six months.) I think that if the story had been given time to develop it would have flourished.

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