Breaking my heart

I tried.

I really, really tried to watch Beth Ehlers on All My Children. I wanted to catch a glimpse of Ehlers (formerly of Guiding Light) in her new role as Taylor, a wary veteran just back from Iraq.

It all sounds ideal. The role plays to all of Ehlers’ strengths. AND she would be reunited with the actor who has been a big part of her success over the last several years (Ricky Paull Goldin).

But I tried to watch, and I have to say, it just Broke. My. Heart.

I know that there was a time when Harley didn’t exist, but I fell for the character when Ehlers made her memorable entrance (giving birth to Daisy in the back seat of a car). I’ve followed Harley through thick and thin, and loved the changes and nuances that Ehlers gave the role. Quite simply, Harley was THE glue of GL for me, and Ehlers was my favorite actress there. I admit I was not the biggest fan of the Gus/Harley pairing after a while, but I understood why Harley would be attracted to him.

It broke my heart that Goldin and Ehlers aren’t in those roles anymore. And trying to watch them on AMC just reminds me of – excuse my French here, folks – the very shitty way that they were treated as they left and since. (This isn’t conjecture; Ehlers discussed this in Soap Opera Weekly.)

It makes me even sadder about the current state of Guiding Light, a show that (despite the efforts and affection for the show from its cast and crew) clearly seems to be beyond the point of return and is sliding slowly towards its inevitable death in the most undignified way that it can.

And if I may go off on a tangent here? An open letter to Ellen Wheeler and whoever’s-writing-the-show-right-now:

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, NO WAY – EVER, EVER, EVER – THAT HARLEY WOULD ABANDON HER CHILDREN FOR MONTHS. None. It is completely outside the realm of logic. If any of you knew the history of the show farther back than five years (or the last commercial break) you’d know that Harley was abandoned by her mother and father. She just would NOT put her kids through that. So DO SOMETHING. Recast the role permanently, or if you’re going to kill her off, at least bring someone back to play her off the canvas. (Hayley Sparks is probably available.)

Sorry if this comes off as angry and defeated. But I think my ability to have hope and faith for a show I’ve loved for decades is almost completely gone. And I don’t know if it can ever come back.

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3 thoughts on “Breaking my heart

  1. My feelings about Beth being at AMC are bittersweet. I’m glad she has a gig somewhere else and seems happy there, but I wish the conditions at GL were different, so she wouldn’t have felt the need to leave. I have great empathy though, as I’ve been there with the broken, battered soap loving heart. Guiding Light has made so many mistakes and the list of people who’ve gotten hurt has gotten longer and longer. Who knows when all of it will end, and it just is sad it got to this point.

    Zach and Jude have joined Harley in Greece, thankfully. So she isn’t ignoring her sons anymore. Daisy could have moved as well, but decided to stay in Springfield. Having Harley abandon her kids for good would have been disgusting, at least with some scenes they resolved that idiocy. Harley is happy living off canvas with her sons, so at least she had a positive resolution.

    Then I stand corrected, BL. I somehow missed that resolution in all of the Daisy-madness. But it still doesn’t take back the fact that she would have never left them in the first place. It makes me sad that TPTB forgot that Buzz left his family for years, and that Nadine abandoned them for her career.

  2. Patrick, I couldn’t agree more. Harley started to fall apart when GL decided to break up Harley and Gus and bring in another. been there, seen that family for Gus. Not only did GL’s writers and producers (or should I say one producer in particular) destroy Gus and Harley the couple, but this story of Gus cheating on Harley and getting to know his long lost love and son, destroyed the characters of Gus and Harley as well.

    I’m sure money wasn’t the only reason Ricky Paul Goldin and Beth Ehlers left a show they called home for so many years. They both are daytime professionals who understand what soap opera should be and how soaps must respect the characters and the fans. Thats what GL lacks these days, respect!

    Harley was also a core character for me. A character I loved, loathed, got sick of and then missed terribly if she wasn’t on for awhile. I saw her grow, and I knew absoulutley everything about her. It saddens me that Harley was written as a back stabbing slut who stole her niece’s fiance, a niece who admired her for years. It angered me when Harley dumped her boys and Daisy onto family members so she could help a fugitive just because he was Gus’ son.

    I don’t get Guiding Light anymore. I rarley watch full episodes. I skim it at best. I miss Harley. I miss Gus. I miss Phillip. I miss Ross. I want the real Reva, Josh, Billy, Vanessa, Dinah, Rick, Beth,and Alan back on my screen. I honestley can say that I rather see GL end now than see it drag out any further.

    Ken, you’ve hit on some points that I think a lot of us see. Some days I see promise and some days, like you, I wish it would just end.

  3. You know sometimes when I watch AMC I try to pretend that I’m actually watching Harley and Gus (yes, pathetic, I know…) But a world w/o those characters is just depressing. And that’s basically how I feel about GL. No matter how bad it’s gotten, a world without Reva, Josh, Buzz, etc… just seems so wrong. And don’t get me started on DAYS, which I’ve watched the longest out of the remaining soaps….

    I’ve said good-bye to soaps before: Search for Tomorrow, Santa Barbara, Another World, and it’s not something you get used to. And now when I think of GL and DAYS possibly being cancelled it’s especially upsetting because not only will fans miss their shows and their beloved characters, but it just seems to be further confirmation that soaps are a “dying” genre 😦

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