It's that time of year, time to look back, look ahead and see what has gone on in Springfield this year. 2006 has been an award-winning year for Guiding Light, and here are some of the highlights:
What can you say when one show takes four acting awards at the Daytime Emmys? Longtime fans know that the cast of the show has been one of our major strengths, and this time they were amply rewarded. Here are this year's winners:
Best Actress: Kim Zimmer
Best Supporting Actress: Gina Tognoni
Best Supporting Actor: Jordan Clarke
Best Younger Actor: Tom Pelphrey1
I have to say that I screamed myself hoarse that night - wanting my voice to be heard all the way from southern Maryland. Having met all of the actors involved (except Jordan Clarke - which is my goal in 2007) and having watched the show for 30 years, it feels like family members being recognized for their hard work. I just wish this domination meant a boost in the ratings for the show. A girl can dream…
If GL can take the momentum from these wins and get higher ratings in 2007, I would feel a lot better about the show's chances of staying on the air. I know that one goal was to stay on until the anniversary - but since that is next month - we need to see an improvement in ratings for the show to remain intact.
And Seventy Years Ago…
It seems so hard to believe that we're less than one month away from GL's big 70th anniversary on the air (both radio and television). The show is gearing up for a big celebration all year and in an email I just received, head writerDavid Kreitzman gives us a sneak peek at what we'll be seeing in the new year. To read the email, please click here.
Over the years I've met and spoken with so many long time fans of the show. It is heartwarming to see that multiple generations of a family can all connect with one show. My own aunt (who died in 1996) who raised me got me started watching after school. Thirty one years later (in 2007) I still feel that GL is a part of my family - without the expense of holiday gift giving!
But besides the accolades and the upcoming anniversary, there were plenty of good memories in 2006. Here are just a few:
Best Mother's Day - Long time readers know I am a major sap and love a good story that involves much-loved veterans. The "Inside the Light" episode that focuses on the return (in ghostly form) from Jenna, Nadine and Sarah was wonderful. While I am never a fan of bringing people back from the grave, this was a great homage to the actors, the characters they portrayed and the dynamic with characters currently on canvas.
Best Kept Secret - Blake is the Springfield Burns.com Blogger. Although the story dragged on forever, and was forgotten for long periods, I didn't really peg Blake as the Blogger for awhile. After all, she was a target of the site as well. But knowing Blake's twisted sense of logic it all made sense. But now, Springfield has forgotten the blogger - and it's long time resident, Blake.
Hopefully someone will remember her soon - and at least mention the character who lies in Cedar's Hospital (as far as we know, at least).
Best Return to Springfield - Without a doubt, the return of Vanessa (with Matt) was something the show really needed. GL's veteran actors and their great chemistry is a major strength that I hope the show will focus more on in 2007. We also saw Hawk, Rusty, Dylan, Jenna, Sarah, Nadine, and Marah all this year. The character of Susan will return next month (with a new actress in the role) so only time will tell what her re-appearance means to Harley and the Coopers. Let's hope we see more blasts from the past in 2007!
Best Video Library - When a show has been on the air for nearly 70 years - most of these on television - there is plenty of footage to use as a way to bring a story together (or just make me cry for better days). I loved seeing Bert Bauer this year with a much-younger Michael O'Leary. The show is getting better at playing to these strengths and should continue to use this - sparingly - to bridge the gap between characters no longer on canvas and those still in Springfield.
A great example on how GL can (and should) use their video history is the many montages that we saw at Ross' memorial service. Since Jerry verDorn (Ross) and Liz Keifer (Blake) have played their respective roles for so long, we could really see the history and chemistry they share - both on and off-screen.
Best On Again/Off Again Couple - Dinah and Mallet - I have to admit that I wasn't sure that GL would be able to get these two back together after so many times apart, but it looks like (for now) they have succeeded. But what will happen when only one show "The Law" or Dinah's "Light on Springfield" can succeed? Can GL keep this couple together - and interesting - in 2007?
Best Plot Twist - Beth Kidnaps Alan and Gus - Certainly showing a new side to Beth Raines Spaulding, professional victim. We've seen Beth over the years take a back seat to the men in her life. But this time, Beth took the lead and kidnapped Alan and Gus for weeks! Certainly not something I suspected from the normally meek Beth, but it would be nice if she could manage to keep the backbone in 2007! But I think her affair with Rick has given Big Al too much ammo for her to succeed.
Best Story Idea - Reva's Cancer - When I first heard about this story idea several years ago, I had two thoughts. One: those fans who think Kim Zimmer already gets too much air time would be upset. And two: I hope the writers can do the story justice and really educate viewers about cancer and offer hope.
But the focus of this story quickly switched to keeping the cancer from Josh and most of Springfield - angering many GL fans. I realize that the show might want to put a few plot devices together to bring this story a connection to other ones, but the focus on Josh/Cassie/Reva took away from the cancer story. In the end, the show mildly redeemed itself by remembering that Lizzie and Lillian were cancer survivors themselves. But the anger about Josh and Cassie's relationship really took away from what could have been a great storyline. Now the whole Lewis/Shayne clan is the butt of even more jokes as the partner swapping continues with this clan.
Best Exit - Sandy Goes Over the Cliff! - In a twist of fate, Sandy leaves Springfield the same way Jonathan left Sandy years ago in boarding school - over a cliff! But Jonathan survived, and Sandy left Springfield (and Tammy) after months of causing trouble for those he professed to love.
Most Pent Up Anger - Olivia Spencer Lewis Lewis Spaulding - Who said the past is supposed to make you stronger? Her past has made her strong - and bitter as a ripe lemon! How can Olivia carry around so much hatred when she has the love of sweet Buzz Cooper to mellow her somewhat? Sure, her life hasn't been pretty all of the time, but she should count the blessings in her life in 2007. Still, it's great to see Crystal Chappell (Olivia) give such great, emotional performances - which we've come to expect from this Emmy-winner.
Most Emotional Dads - Alan Spaulding and Jeffrey O'Neill - There is nothing like the loss (or gain) of a child to bring out the softer side of two of Springfield's biggest curmudgeons. Watching Alan lose his child (with Beth) you knew that for someone who believes in the importance of family (whether the law is on his side or not) he would go off the deep end. Ron Raines performances as the over-the-top billionaire whose money could not save his baby were heartbreaking.
And after making Jeffrey O'Neill the least feeling guy in Springfield, and one without any familial ties, I wondered if Bradley Cole's days were numbered. But GL has finally given him a heart - and a daughter. It's nice to see that softer side we witnessed with Cassie's kids when they were dating. Otherwise, he would be an out of work guy with a pretty full little black book.
Most Creative Use of Showtime: Harley as "The Guiding Light" and the Reva "Dream" Episode - While many fans don't get to see the actors they adore in other roles too often, these two were nice ways to show other sides to their acting range - and entertain the viewers. But if the stories currently on air are dragging (as they were) can't we take this creative energy to step on the gas - story wise?
It's always great to look back at the positive things from the show and I hope you were able to think of some great memories from 2006. And please make some great memories with your family this holiday season!
Keep the Light Shining and Have a Great Week!