Today was day one of the last chapter of Guiding Light.
It was also the wedding day for Billy and Vanessa, as well as Buzz and Lillian.
And it was a great episode of GL.
Of course I was objective. It took me a whole fifteen minutes before I burst into tears.
The wedding was joyful. Though it was supposed to be Vanessa’s day, today was truly a showcase for the magnificent Tina Sloan. Lillian’s been front and center as GL has come to an end, and today, it occurred to me that Lillian has been perhaps the most consistent character over the years. She’s had such a transition from the mousy woman we first met 26 years ago, but she’s always been a woman who loved her children and her family.
I loved, loved, LOVED the scene where Lillian went to Maureen’s grave. And believe me, I was getting sick of seeing that damn graveyard – especially for those beyond-bizarre scenes where people went to talk to the headstone of Phillip. (Who is not dead.)
But I digress. Lillian’s “chat” with Maureen was so wonderful. Of course she would tell her friend that she’d put her life on hold – and is now moving on. I thought the line about “this town has never been the same after you died” was a nod to viewers and critics who think Mo’s death did, in fact, change GL irrevocably.
But the moment that got me was a small, tiny moment that spoke volumes. And of course, it came from Lisa Brown.
I’ve raved about Lisa and Nola for years. As with Maureen Garrett and the character of Holly, Lisa Brown and Nola Reardon are a big part of Guiding Light’s history. Her scenes today were as quick as Garrett’s were – a few throwaway scenes that didn’t do Nola justice – but it was great to see her.
Like Garrett, Brown is an actress who comes from the theater. I remember Brown being compared to Bette Davis, even getting a letter from Davis telling her that she’d done a great job. And Davis was an actress who could do more with a look than some actors could do with a whole page of dialogue.
Lisa Brown did that today in a small moment. Nola looked around Company – the place her family had owned for years, the home of so many of the moments of those character’s lives. And then, as she started to walk out the door, still looking around, she blew a kiss.
There was so much subtext in that simple moment – saying goodbye to those memories. Those characters. And goodbye to GL.
I lost it. Couldn’t stop sobbing for the rest of the show. (Yeah, I’m a big sap.)
Michael Logan has a phenomenal interview with Lisa Brown posted on the TVGuide Magazine Web site. It’s a must read. Go do it.
POSTSCRIPT: I just read a spoiler for tomorrow, and…..just wow. I need more Kleenex. (Is that a P&G product?)
6 thoughts on “The long goodbye”
then i’m a big sap, too. she blew that kiss and i was a goner.
It makes sense to me that we would find context – or subtext – in the same thing, Lynn!
Can I say me too! It was what I call my “ugly cry”. I can’t get through an episode without dissolving into tears.
I’m beyond sad.
Buzz and Lillian – perfection!
Nola/Lisa Brown – perfection!
And the fact that despite all the bad – that they didn’t kill off Phillip – perfection.
And I’m still beyond sad.
Alan Spaulding, at the lakeside. What an enduring image…. What a perfect end!
Watching this week has been heart wrenching. I loved seeing Nola, one of my favorite characters and story lines from GL. Sometimes I think this is just crazy feeling so bad about losing this show, but it is what it is. Thanks again for your great column
Nola broke my heart when she blew that kiss to Company, the boardinghouse, Bea, Tony, and all Reardons everywhere. If GL had brought back Nola, Bridget, Dylan, Holly, Ed, Michelle, Danny, etc., before Phillip, I think we’d be watching GL for another year.