With only 18 or 19 episodes left to air, I’m already pretty satisfied with how Guiding Light is ending up. It’s not perfect, by any means, but many of the characters we know and love are onscreen and acting in character. It’s far more rewarding and entertaining than, say, Another World’s ending (for many reasons, mainly that AW was given ten days to wrap up the show).
There have been many scenes, especially surrounding Phillip’s illness and Ed’s arrival in town to help him, that are intensely allegorical scenes. The scene between Ed and Lillian today where Ed said, “we just need more time,” almost made me cry.
But time is fleeting, and GL is coming to an end. There are many unresolved threads and story ideas that were never pursued. Here, indeed, is where the story ends.
Opinions and story ideas are a dime a dozen on the Interwebz, but as someone who used to fantasize about being head writer of Guiding Light, I thought I’d share a few of my ideas about characters that aren’t on the canvas right now, but might have been a part of the tapestry of Springfield had GL been allowed to live.
SPRINGFIELD: THE NEXT GENERATION
Some ideas about the younger citizens of Springfield that we never really got to know.
Peter Reardon: You’ve seen Peter’s name in this blog before; not to beat a dead horse, but I always thought Peter would have been a great character to explore and perhaps a powerful one. After all, Peter’s grandfather was Roger Thorpe! (His mom is Bridget Reardon, who we’ll see again in a few weeks, and his father was the late Hart Jessup.)
One problem that GL and As The World Turns have had is that their complex family trees mean younger characters are more likely to be related. The genius of Peter was that he didn’t have many direct relatives on canvas (only his aunt, Blake) but was still connected to many other characters. Vanessa was his adoptive mother for a time and would ostensibly still be involved in his life. Same with Billy (it was his marriage to Nadine that created Nadine’s whole insane baby-adoption scheme). He would have connections to Bill and to Dinah (who on the one hand would have kinda sorta been his sister, and on the other hand killed his father).
We’ve seen Jonathan, Shayne and now James Spaulding do the angry! young! man! thing, which has been done to death. But I think Peter could have been just as vivid. Since Peter had so many people who loved him, and so many people share custody of him, I envisioned him being lonely and insecure despite all of this love and affection. (After all, as soon as Pete got close to someone, they’d have to shuttle him to the next person.) Peter would be funny, intensely smart, and incredibly handsome. But he’d also be manipulative (hello! Roger Thorpe’s grandson!) and it would be hard for people to see behind his protective mask – family, potential girlfriends, etc.
The Marler twins: I’m sorry that we never got to see Ross and Blake’s children become Springfield: The Next Generation. I actually thought Ross and Blake were great candidates to become the “new” Ed and Mo – in effect, the new core family in Springfield.
I envisioned Jason and Kevin being somewhat opposite but very close (think Phillip and Rick). I thought the two of them and Maureen Reardon (Matt and Vanessa’s daughter) could have years of story. Jason (I’m just picking one of the boys) and Maureen would be incredibly close friends…..because Jason had confided to Maureen that he was gay. Meanwhile, Kevin would be in love with Maureen, and be understanding (but jealous) of his brother’s closeness with little Mo. Once Jason came out of the closet, Kevin would pursue Maureen.
Dorie von Halkein: Dorie’s not exactly a child – she’s a few years younger than Dinah – but I think Dorie would have been a great addition to the canvas. Dorie would have provided the “rich girl” part of a rich girl/poor boy coupling. Her “mother” is India – and yes, that’s a good enough excuse for me for Dorie to be on canvas, so India could have more excuses to come to town!
For maximum effect, I would have made Alexandra Dorie’s mentor; Alex and India crossed paths when Alex was off canvas, so it makes sense that she would have befriended Dorie and taken an interest in her. This would have made for a great All About Eve type story.
WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY
I think this batch of younger characters could have really filled in the gaps where the tweens and twentysomethings needed reinforcement over the last few years. GL made some unfortunate choices trying to link newly created characters (Ava and Rafe) to existing characters through storylines that either contradicted what we knew (or in the case of Olivia/Jeffrey, were just plain awful).
To have one character bomb is challenging. But in 2007 and 2008, many of those new younger characters (including Grady) bombed with viewers. Ava and Rafe were forced on us when we barely knew them. (Fans have come to care about Ava, but she’s still by no means a hit.) Grady was one of those characters created to imitate another (Jonathan). That’s been tried over and over again, and it never, ever works.
Aging Leah was another really bad idea, since the character was born in 2004 and was all of three when the character was aged. I understand GL wanting a more diverse canvas, but I think a far more compelling, interesting idea would have been to reveal that Mel had a baby as a teenager or college student – maybe after a tryst with someone in Springfield? The same idea applies to more Hispanic characters on canvas; I always thought that perhaps Sonni had given birth to Josh’s baby (when he thought she was dead).
The point is, these characters could have been tied to existing ones in a way that really drew them into the action. I’m glad we have Natalia, but whether it’s the writing, the direction or the actor, mumbly Rafe is perhaps the most unlikable GL character since…..well, since Jeffrey O’Neill!
Is there a Springfield character, past, present or “future”, that you have envisioned a story for? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
6 thoughts on “Here’s where the story ends”
I really wish they could’ve done something with Stacy Chamberlain. She was connected to all the families, plus she could’ve been like her mom and had great movie fantasies.
Jennifer, Stacy would have been a great addition – though after the mishandling of AJ aka “J” I wasn’t optimistic that they’d bring her back. Revisiting Samantha Marler would have been another great idea.
WHY IN THE WORLD WERE ALL THE GL LADIES MADE PREGNANT, TIME AND AGAIN, IF THEIR OFFSPRING WEREN’T GOING TO BE THE NEXT GENERATION?
For “Who’s the Daddy?” stories and Christmas Eve birth scenes in cars and cabins, of course.
I echo you on Peter, Patrick, and Kevin, Jason, Clarissa, and RJ were all Thorpe grandchildren too. Who knows how the combined DNAs of Roger, Holly, Hart, Blake, Ross, etc., messed those kids up for life? LOL
NEVER meeting Nola’s daughter, Stacy? Never thought THAT would happen. Was always expecting her to show up in town. (Tammy Blanchard should have played HER.)
Ben Reade–abused child/male prostitute/murderer?
Michelle Bauer–the ostensible “next Gen” heroine of the show had, legitimately, ONE 6-year storyline (mi suegra wants to kill me!) and then vanished. Marah Lewis, her counterpart, had possibly worse stories, including CRUEL INTENTIONS redux, Sandy and the Mole, “I love Tony but I’ll give my virginity to Romeo,” and that icky hook-up with Jeffrey, which ruined her.
I could go on. I won’t.
Stories we SHOULD’VE seen?
Lizzie was always crushin’ on Shayne as a kid. Now, Bill is nothing to sneeze at, but when the inevitable Bizzie rift occurred, Shizzie would have been HOT. Built-in history AND family tension.
Jonathan should have returned, full-time. (And Kane Manera should have played HIM, if need be. We hated Grady, not Kane.) Did you know that Rob Layne sold one of Cassie’s twins to pay off some gambling debts? Yup. He thought Samantha went to a good home, but she wound up alot like her mother, living on the streets and stripping. Imagine the shock when Sammy Layne shows up in Springfield, a dead ringer for her dead twin…but NOTHING like her.
Shayne should have successfully broken-up last year’s ill-fated Marina/Mallet wedding, because Mallet’s heart wasn’t really in it, and then we wouldn’t have had 9 painful months of watching that couple NOT make it…just like we knew they wouldn’t.
Ed and Holly should’ve been a couple offscreen, for years now, unmarried but happy…and nobody knew. Holly would’ve also been involved in her daughter Meg’s life again, and her guilt over losing her daughter to Fletcher (THAT never made sense) would’ve finally healed. (Although every time Holly sees a flask, a leather jacket, or gloves, she wants to snatch a child…or take a swig…LOL.)
Mindy returns to Springfield, pregnant from a recent one-night, for old time’s sake, fling with Rick…but doesn’t care to marry him, as she’s just met Mr. Right–Cyrus, during his recent time out of Springfield. She follows Cyrus back to SF, only to find that he’s already moved on…with Mel. Great quadrangle, and I wouldn’t know who to root for.
And although I’m sick of pregnancy stories, I wouldn’t have minded Pilar Santos showing up at Bizzie’s wedding with a 10 year old daughter that looks just like her and Bill…(and Carmen, sensing yet another grandchild in the vacinity, wakes up…)
Always wanted the Spaulding family back in full-force again, with Alan-Michael and Amanda (Who’s HER Daddy? Alan. ‘Nuff said.) in tow. Actually, ALL the families. Eliminate the non-essentials (Remy, Christina, Ashlee, et al) and get back some core family members to play essentially the same roles. Rocky Cooper. Lucy Cooper. Hope Bauer, smarter, wiser, meaner, and out to teach Alan Spaulding a lesson by seducing him all the way to the altar again…and dumping his ass! (And rewrite history–it’s ok, I’m allowing it–by saying Hope remarried, to someone rich and powerful, and had more children. Hmmm…Kyle Sampson comes to mind. And I’da loved to have seen Kim Zimmer’s Reva try to take Kyle away from Robin Mattson’s Hope!) Harley’s sons–you age Leah, you age ’em all. Would Zach have been “the good son” to James’ “bad?”
I’ll shut up now, Patrick. But great thread. GL will live on forever in our imaginations. Or 10 years from now as “GL Today” online only…LOL.
Ant, those are some GREAT ideas!
I would have loved to see Kyle Sampson return. I always thought he, and not Josh, was Marah’s biological father. That could have opened up a whole new can of worms, especially if Ben Sampson/Reade hadn’t been so foolishly wasted as a character.
ITA about Peter. He was great as a concept, but he never really existed as a personality. He would have had connections to virtually EVERY Springfield family; the Lewises, Chamberlains, Bauers, Reardons, and Marlers. And he’d be a Thorpe!!! How perfect would it have been if the baby initially raised by Vanessa had grown up to be less like his dad (Hart) and more like his grandfather (Roger)?
I have my own theory about Holly, and about what may have been planned for her, but I’m blogging about that tonight, so I’ll leave it at that.
Why the hell has Marah not even checked in to see if her mother is ok?
Peter was actually mentioned in CBS:SID this week, I was very surprised by that. I won’t say more due to spoiling issues, but it was in an article with Melissa Hayden about Bridget’s return. I like your ideas of who Peter would be personality wise. I would see him as someone who is quick to befriend people, but it is a mask as he is insecure due to being shuffled around so much.
With Kevin and Jason Marler, I would have them be a cross between Rick/Phil and Mike/Ed. They would love each other, be rivals in some sense, but unlike Rick/Phil not fight over women. They would have such issues due to their family. The poor kids the first time someone googled any of their relatives. So while I wouldn’t want angry young men kind of stories, I would want that to be part of whatever scenario was used. That said due to the whole plane crash situation, I would want Kevin and Jason to have major trust issues. If they did come back only as adults, I would want one of them to pull a Blake Lindsey and go after Rick/Phil, but not as “angry young man”, but a cool calm devious one, earning their trust and then boom. That story though is way too involved to go into in a blog reply.
If they want diversity when it comes to race, they should have allowed Dahlia to be Frank’s kid. Years ago that was teased, but it never came to fruition. Or Buzz should have had an a child from his child in Vietnam (like Tom Hughes ).
Like antmunoz I believe the characters will live on in our imaginations and subconscious thoughts, so we can have them do whatever we feel.
Well, I always regretted the storyline shift when they decided that Michelle really DID kill Mick Santos (in order to make Carmen and Michelle eternal enemies) when it was clear that that was not the original intent. Mick’s body was not found in the same place where Drew and Michelle fought him off, and crazy uncle Ken Norris had threatened Mick earlier that day because he had done something to Blake. But Ken quickly disappeared and Michelle ended up married and then actually in love with Danny.
Never could buy Papa Bauer’s great-granddaughter married to a mobster. And then they went and tied the Santos family to San Cristobal, ensuring that both horrible concepts would stay around for years! I was soooooo outa there!
kane manera was a wonderful addition to guiding light and a i want him to come on another soap soon…..just not as grady!
he and michelle ray smith would work so well together seeing as he began trying to kill her and then we find them together on another show. it is a close connection that would interest many gl viewers and get them interested in other shows i feel.