Kimberly will be on vacation for a few weeks. During her time away, we will be posting some columns from weeks gone by. This week's column is from November 2004 -- the very week that Phillip first turned up as "dead." Of course viewers now know that Phillip is very much alive.
After twenty plus years in Springfield, this week Phillip Granville Spaulding leaves town in a shot - literally - and a cloud of suspicion envelops the whole town. We've all known this was coming - spoilers have changed the way we view soaps today - but still it's a sad day for GL fans.
Many of you have written about how you feel about this change. Whether it was the petition to save Grant's job that you so graciously gave your thoughts to, or soap magazines opinion pages or GL's own Letter Rip - we have all had our say. But TPTB, in their "infinite wisdom" (said with a sarcastic tone) have allowed those voices to fall on deaf ears.
Now I look into the future of merely a week and am thrilled to see that Krista Teserau is returning (for a mere two days) as Melinda Sue Lewis - Phillip's very first ex-wife. But as I herald that return, I am wondering at what GL either isn't sharing or, like I am thinking, completely forgot about. While the name on any tombstone or death certificate is Spaulding, Philip is a Marler by birth. Ross is his uncle, Blake is his aunt (and also another ex-wife). His biological father, Justin (Ross' older brother) is a practicing physician out of the area but would surely return for the funeral of his son. Jackie Marler, Phillip's biological mother, died years ago. Phillip also has a sister, Samantha, who lives out of town. These characters need to be brought in for the funeral, unlike when GL did not see the need to bring back Jay Hammer (Fletcher) for his stepson's (Ben Reade) funeral.
Not to mention that Phillip's half-brother Alan-Michael (and wife Lucy Cooper Spaulding) and his aunt Amanda Spauling Thorpe (Roger's widow) should be there as well. But will GL choose to botch another funeral to save a few bucks? Probably so - in cases like this I always think of the Spiderman mantra, with great power comes great responsibility. It is TPTB's responsibility to get this right. If they choose to kill off a character after 20 plus years, you had better do right by the story.
Now I may be eating a lot of crow next week. MAYBE GL has actually remembered all of these "little details" that long time fans like yours truly come to expect/demand from the captains of this ship. We've been let down so many times before, I am already bracing myself for more disappointment. If I am wrong on this one, and GL remembers all of these things, than I humbly apologize for ever doubting them, but surely you can see what leads me to this conclusion.
That being said, I have to say that the whole murder mystery story has been done well. The scenes with Rick and Phillip this week broke my heart. I remember so many scenes with them over two decades where the character and actor "line" really melted away and you saw the real-life bond that Grant Aleksander and Michael O'Leary share. Those are more of those pesky "little things" that GL needs to spend more time working on, and killing off veteran characters like Phillip doesn't strike me as the smart way to go on this one.
But now that the dye has been cast, and Phillip will be gunned down in Company this week (so fitting, since he so recently meant to destroy it instead) we are left with wondering who in the world actually did the deed? The list of possible suspects reads like a complete cast list. I dare say that only Alan and Lizzie would be possibly NOT in question. Sadly, nearly everyone in Springfield would be gunning for Phillip these days. Gone are the days where the likable Prince of Springfield, Alan's golden-haired son, being the toast of the town. GL worked pretty darn hard to make fans really root for killing him off. While the evil Phillip's demise will be a welcomed relief, it is the connection to so many stories, and so many characters that leaves me very disappointed. I will miss the little boy who grew up with me through the magic of television. The one who's life seemed to mirror mine in many ways growing up, but has become all but a memory even before the final shot is fired...
I mentioned last week that Televest contacted presumably all of the GL Fan Club members with their thoughts on the show. While I certainly applaud that effort, I hope that they keep the lines of dialogue open with the fans beyond this one time mailing. GL has a rich history on-screen with characters we all love, as well as generations of fans who have watched for decades. This is something that GL needs to embrace and take full advantage of. I know from personal experience that many (but certainly not all) message boards are filled with negative attacks that might be upsetting, but the show has to do due diligence to hear what ALL of their fans are saying. What works, what doesn't. We all are working towards one goal - keeping the show on the air. Now GL needs to really listen to what their very concerned viewers are saying. With a near constant 2.2 rating, we need all of the feedback we can get to save the show. I certainly encourage all of you to continue to let the show know what you like and what you don't in a positive way so that we can all work together to keep GL on the air for many years to come.
This week will be a long one, I am sure, so I'll close for now. I do want to mention again, though, that I appreciate all of the feedback that we received regarding this storyline (and in general). While I can't respond to every email I do read them and certainly share your comments with TPTB so they can see what the fans think of their show.
Keep the Light Shining and Have a Great Week! Kimberly