A thousand points of light

gllogoLast week, Roger Newcomb posted about the Save The Light Rally for Guiding Light slated for Friday, May 22nd in New York City. The focal point of the rally is for fans to be seen in the outdoor plaza of the CBS Early Show.

I’m curious how many readers of this blog are intending to go. If you are – particularly if you’re traveling a long distance to get there – please email me at t1000worlds “at” yahoo dot com and let me know. I’d like to talk to you!

Speaking of Guiding Light (and when am I not?) I got an email from a one of my readers.

He challenged me: Could I be critical of Guiding Light? Or had I lost my snarky mojo?

Yes, I’ve been a great fan of how far the show has come in the last six months, and for me, GL is again must-see TV.  And though I can’t trace the exact DNA of these changes for the better, I believe much of the praise can be put at the feet of Jill Lorie Hurst. I think she’s had a great impact on the writing, and she and Ellen Wheeler seem to make a far better match of writer/producer than was previously in place.

But all of that happened after a long, looooong period of disillusionment for me. When I was a contributing writer for Marlena Delacroix at her site, I wrote several posts there (including this one) that were very critical of where GL was at that time. One of those was from last May, just a year ago. In that post, I was ready to walk away from the show in disgust.

Things are much better now, of course. And since GL is seeking a new home, I’m happy to focus on the positive!

But here’s a few things I’d still like to change:

ONE: No matter how hard GL tries, I absolutely cannot root for Jeffrey O’Neill. GL has done so much that makes sense, makes us cheer and has encouraged new story and new growth, but the character of Jeffrey is dead wood and it’s becoming more and more noticeable.

I’m not saying this as a Josh and Reva fan, because this isn’t about couples or about Reva. Jeffrey is a character with few family ties that, six years on, I don’t care about. He’s slept his way through Springfield and every subsequent conquest of his made him more and more of an ass. I didn’t buy a second of his insta-family with Olivia and Ava, and any small goodwill he’d ever accrued with me was torched by the whole Olivia/Jeffrey rape mess.

No offense to Bradley Cole, who I enjoyed immensely as Richard. I just don’t find anything viable in this character.

TWO: I’m a fan of the new production model, and the outdoor scenes have been so beautiful lately. I think that many of the indoor sets look good, too.

The set that’s not reading so well for me these days is Marina and Mallet’s place. It’s an odd mix of tan and blue that just doesn’t read well on camera at all. And note to the set design team: I know these characters are in rustic settings, so a little “country” is great. But it’s kind of like a Bedazzler – at some point, you have to walk away from it or you overdo it.

Mallet and Marina’s kitchen and living room (and Reva and Jeffrey’s kitchen) could use a little more shine, and a little less clash. (Hey, IKEA is cheap AND classic. Don’t be afraid of those Swedish product names!)

THREE: I loved the beginning of Edmund’s return, and the chance to see David Andrew McDonald again.

But this story started out strong and then…..zzzzzzzzz. Granted, the kidnapping of Colin was an interesting blip (and gave Kim Zimmer some great scenes to play). But there was no consistent buildup. We’d see Edmund a few days in a row, and then nothing more for weeks at a time. This Edmund go-round was, overall, a big miss.

FOUR: I’m OK with the Marina/Mallet/Dinah/Shayne story. Baby Henry is going to throw these four together, and ultimately it’s a clever way to mix these characters up. This story has managed to wake up the borefest that was Marina/Mallet, and give them something to do.

But as a viewer, we did have to swallow our disbelief and accept that this was the biggest coincidence in the History of Ever.

(Not to mention accepting the fact that there’s apparently a direct Concorde flight from Springfield to Bosnia.)

FIVE: This is perhaps the biggest, most important point, and I mention this at the peril of a riot from the Otalia fans.

But here goes: Olivia and Natalia desperately need a one-way ticket out of the storyline island they’ve been stuck on.

I completely understand that this was a slow build for them, that they needed time to become a family, to sort out their feelings, and to tell each other how they feel.

But despite a few interactions on Olivia’s part a few months ago (Jeffrey, Mel and Bill), almost no one else knows what’s happening.

The Coopers are still, for the most part, in the dark; Frank’s just learned (thanks to Doris) about Natalia’s feelings for Liv. But I’m surprised that a family full of cops couldn’t put two and two together. Blake is savvy and smart and should have totally been able to tell what was happening when she saw Olivia and Natalia today.

I completely get that Liv and Nat needed a quiet space to let those big purple dreams grow into reality. But the best part of any soap story is watching the ripple effects. The more we see how neighbors and friends in Springfield react to what’s happening, the more impact it will have on the audience.

9 thoughts on “A thousand points of light

  1. I agree with the story island comment on Otalia. I liked how Reva was told that Frank/Natalia wedding didn’t happen. but Olivia told so many people of her feelings it totally should have rippled back

    and I just might hop a train to that rally…

  2. I’m not sure Otalia fans would object to a little more forward progression in this story. The getting to the love part of the affair and the reaction of Springfield has been set up in fine detail. It’s time to let loose the dogs of war and let anyone who objects (Alan) have at it. The girls are strong and can take it. And I am more than ready for Otalia to explore the love when they’re not engaged with the town. Blake is perfectly clueless and perfect for Frank. Maybe Otalia can buy her a clue and she can rush to console Frank.

  3. I agree with all five of your points. Thank you for the article.

    For those of us who can’t make it out NYC in person; is there something else we can do on May 22nd to be heard instead of seen?

    Thanks again.

    NPG, I know that the post on Roger’s blog mentioned that anyone who can’t make it to NYC could rally at their local CBS affiliate (or wherever you see the show). If that affiliate happens to have a morning news show, or talk show, that would be an ideal place to show up at. (Pittsburgh fans, this means you should book yourself into the audience of “Pittsburgh Today” that day!)

    Beyond that, you might want to email your local paper or magazine and mention the 5/22 rallies….they may pick it up and talk about it. The more it’s discussed, the better!

  4. Patrick, just wanted to say I check your blog often, and I agree with what you have said about GL, and while the show is pretty much must see tv these days, there are still some plot points that need work. And I believe you were right on point with them. Lets hope with a possible move somewhere else and the (rumor) of them getting a different studio space that these changes will happen.

  5. No riot from this Otalia fan and I believe GL is setting up this arc right now. The island is about to be absorbed into the town if only for the number of times in the last week they have said ‘everyone is about to find out’.

    I for one can’t wait to see how the ripples effect Springfield and the pairing. I am especially looking forward to not only the negative “fighting back” reaction from Alan but also Buzz’s reaction as well. For about a week there I really thought Buzz had the girl’s number and then overnight he seemed to have left it in a drawer at Company.

    Phillip already seems to know it all but the rumored platonic friendship between Natalia and Phillip is also something I can’t wait to see especially as Natalia helps Liv trust Phillip again with Emma.

    And Rafe – oh Rafe – I know some fans think he’s going to be perfectly fine with this. I, for one, see the writing on the wall – there is no way in the world he’s going to be all happy for mom. And I think the conflict will be interesting to see play out. With one child so ‘okay’ with it and the other going to be so upset – the conflict will be a nice way to keep the story still moving slowly without seeming to be forced to stay that way.

    These two gals have been essentially working only with each other for over a year now and we all know the death of any super couple is not having a place in the landscape so the more other characters that weave in and out for them the better. Especially Natalia…. as Liv has done a grand job of being towncrier Natalia was trapped in only a hand full of completely chemistry free ‘date’ scenes with Frank. I look forward to her taking her place as a strong female character of Springfield.

    So yes GL bring this Otalia pairing out and about in Springfield.

    I also very much agree on the other points you have made. As a new viewer I don’t have the baggage with Jeffrey that I hear fans speak of but I see how your point about Jeffrey’s place in Springfield is a tad underdeveloped. The man needs an ‘adventure’ to work on or something and quick.

    It is also clear that Edmund is a great foil to the goodies of Springfield but seemed to be constantly bubbling up but never got to hit full steam. Whether or not the show is picked up elsewhere in September I see Edmund’s circling of Springfield a huge positive if they want to go out from CBS with a bang.

    Marina and Mallet are actually a watchable couple and this has emerged for me as the baby story took off. I look forward to the cause and effect of the babies identity – and will forgive them the coincidence – but you are right can Marina now go shopping with her time off the force and fix that set.

    I am only a viewer of GL since last September but the improvements have been grand in that time and I look forward to the momentum continuing. GL is now the only soap I am watching (I dumped AMC and GH in that time because it was getting so unwatchable for me) and I hope this momentum continues to build.

  6. Absolutely spot on, but as an Otalia addict who hasn’t been disappointed yet, I do have faith that #5 will soon be solved. Re: 2&3, *loved* Edmund’s snarky comments on Reva’s country decor during the kidnapping scenes.

    And #1 CANNOT be said enough. No more redeemed rapists in daytime.

  7. You are spot on. Jeffrey is a dead end character. Otalia need to have alone scenes but are so cool when they are out on the town. I loved all the scenes when Olivia was telling everyone she had feelings for Nat, and I love the scenes with Doris!

  8. Good luck to those who are going to be out on Memorial Day weekend. Hope the weather is good.

    Going via your numbers…

    1. Jeffrey is just not a character that interests me.

    2. Some outside scenes are fine, some are not. They have gotten better in general. Wish they would do a better job with the weather matching. Still don’t like Cedars or the courthouse. What they used to be the Bauer cabin was not attractive. It is not that big.

    3. Edmund’s return was disappointing as the story was about Shayne who was a new recast and them talking about Lara we never met. It could have been a lot better.

    4. The Mallet/Marina/Shayne/Dinah baby Henry story has been predictable. Don’t hate it, but once they went to Bosnia it was obvious.

    5. ICAM about Olivia/Natalia bubble as I mentioned it after another entry you did about them.

    That said, Patrick, you know I have to defend Blake on not noticing what was going on between Olivia and Natalia.

    Blake barely knows Natalia (this was only the second episode I can recall them having a real conversation. The first was at Towers months ago when they talked about being single moms, and once Blake exited Frank came in and told Natalia she should not be friends with Blake (that was totally out of character for Frank). In the ten years Olivia has been on GL, Blake and Olivia really haven’t spent time together. Olivia was close to Blake’s mom Holly years ago and with Blake’s almost sister-in-law Cassie. They have people in common, (and Emma is blood related to Blake’s children) but they aren’t friends. So I can understand why she didn’t pick up anything beyond friendship between Olivia and Natalia. Unlike the audience, Blake didn’t see the looks that Natalia and Olivia shared while on the massage tables. The idea that two women would get massages together wouldn’t make Blake suspect a thing as she used to do those kinds of things with her girls Harley and Cassie.

    Anyway, Blake’s more intelligent than they usually write her, but in this case, I didn’t see her behavior as clueless or as dumbing down the character. Being “flighty” or a klutz doesn’t mean one is stupid. Back when Frank and Blake became friends with benefits in the 90s it was written that she was out of his league as they were so different. Business and college educated woman Blake with Frank the guy who ran a diner and was kind of a himbo. Being a stay-at-home Mom who had a husband with a powerful job did not make her a trophy wife. I did appreciate that Blake didn’t want Natalia to marry Frank if she didn’t love him. What Blake said about love SIGH, as it wasn’t as if her marriage was conventional as ending up with a man who once was engaged to one’s mother is not exactly the norm. If they keep her in character, Blake would be accepting of Natalia and Olivia. She’d feel sorry for Frank having unrequited feelings for Natalia, but she would also understand how Olivia and Natalia wouldn’t initially realize that they had genuine romantic feelings for one another.

    Thanks as always BL. The comment about Blake wasn’t meant to be a criticism of the character per se. I just think, overall, someone, ANYONE, must be putting 2 and 2 together somewhere as to what’s happening between Nat and Olivia. Blake was a great candidate for that and I’m sorry that GL decided not to make that happen.

    I know Blake isn’t close to either woman, but Blake was, at least back in the day, a very sensual, sexual woman. I think one glimpse at a look between Olivia and Natalia and she would have TOTALLY known what time it was. But Blake’s changed and grown a lot, so maybe her head’s in a different space now.

  9. Re Natalia and Olivia’s story island – don’t you think that’s almost a metaphor for trying to live in a vacuum, where no one knows your dirty, little secret? Olivia even says (on the bench, outside of the hospital) that they “can’t stay inside forever.”

    If Emma was already scheduled to go on an overnight trip, why make such a big deal about getting out of Springfield to ‘figure things out’? Seems to me the farm is far-flung enough (if they would only lock the doors) that two people could spend a weekend there and get some relationship work done. But that’s not enough for our girls who are so intensely worried about what people will say that they can’t even have “the talk” in Springfield, proper. This goes as much for Olivia “I don’t care what people think” Spencer as it does for Natalia.

    They’re on story island because they’ve placed themselves there. Even Olivia’s letting the cat out of the bag won’t change that, at least not right away: Buzz is not about to talk about what he suspects, because his son’s feelings are more important to him. Josh is way too preoccupied with Edmund and Reva to bother thinking about Olivia’s love life. Jeffery is too busy trying to figure out how to be the only guy to ever keep Reva from Josh’s arms for more than ten minutes. Bill is too caught up in his own nonsense to give Olivia’s love life a second thought. Doris…Doris has already done her damage. I don’t see her spreading this juicy tidbit around any further. And Frank? I know it’s not a popular opinion among fangirls, but Frank is, at the end of the day, boring and slow, but terribly decent. I don’t believe for a minute he’d go around telling people what he knows about Natalia and Olivia.

    I agree that it will be good to see this story as it plays out in a wider context, but I think doing that will, in and of itself, be like coming out of the closet. And that sometimes takes time.

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