Just when you think you know what direction life is taking you, there is a surprise that makes you realize that you aren't as in control - or as informed - as you'd like. I knew that this week was the big change with GL - the camera work, the new on location filming. So I knew what I'd be focusing on this week - even before the week began.
That was before I got the notice that Ricky Paull Goldin (Gus) was leaving the show - this month. I'm sure that even me writing it here will have some fans shocked - and I know how you feel. RPG has been with the show for so long, and is a fan favorite. But part of me isn't surprised, either. [For more on Goldin's firing, please click here.]
In interviews I've seen with him, and even the few moments I spent with him in December, it seemed he wasn't all that happy. He made no secret over the years of how much he enjoyed playing opposite Beth Ehlers (Harley). Their chemistry was something that really drew fans to the pair - and kept fans rooting for them through some hard times. But GL decide to implode the couple last year, and Gus - and Ricky - just haven't seemed the same.
As a fan, and someone who has spent some time with Ricky, I can tell you that he "gets it" as a soap actor. Like any other show - but most especially in daytime - the fans really are a big part of the show. If they like you, you're golden (pardon the pun) but if not… well, you know. Fans adored RPG from his days at AW, his stints on Broadway, and the pieces of himself that he has shared with us along the way in interviews, awards shows, on the red carpet, etc. He embraces his fans - loves the interaction, and appreciates you all very much. But like any other show, the interaction is one part of his "job". The story is very important to him. And I never felt that he enjoyed the direction Gus has gone in. This is, of course, pure speculation, but one I would understand. The fans (myself included) haven't been shy talking about the sheer dislike of the story. Did that have a part in his leaving? We may never know.
I can also tell you that Ricky lost his dad recently. And as anyone who has lost a parent knows, it's never easy. Losing a parent, or a loved one, forces you to look at things again - realizing life is short and you need to enjoy every day. I know I certainly did that when my dad died 5 years ago. Do I remember that lesson and take it to heart every day? No, I remember him, but I don't always do what I want - more of what I "have to" - like most everyone else does. But it certainly changes your perspective on things. Could that have had something to do with his decision - certainly.
Whatever caused Ricky to walk away from the show, I know the fans wish him well. They appreciate all of the hard work, his dedication to the show, and those of us who love tuning in to see him. I'm sure he'll keep us posted on what he is doing, and we'll certainly share any info we get with him with you.
That being said, the loss of Ricky, and Tom Pelphrey, leaves the show with some gaping holes. The "new look" GL - which I like for the most part - needs to find its heart - in the characters fans have all come to adore. I had lunch yesterday with my family for our birthdays and my brother and sister-in-law, both infrequent GL watchers over the years, asked if Frank, and Buzz, and Rick were still there. I assured them that they were - and all played by the same actors. Even though Gregg (my brother) and his wife don't watch the show anymore, they remember the characters, the stories, and the show they enjoyed. GL needs to remember that, and focus on the characters they have, before they start building stories on characters we aren't as familiar with. Sure, we need new faces, but don't forget the old ones, either!
As fans, we've seen a lot of changes in the show. And this new "look" will certainly bring more changes. I like location shoots - always have. But the hand held camera work is a challenge (and I should know - I used to work as a professional camera operator). It's not as easy as it looks - especially with figures in motion. But hopefully they will improve over time. Look at the bright side - that tacky Cedars set didn't look quite so awful when only shown in the background!
I just hope we (the show) can survive the changes and keep the fans we have - despite losing two fan favorites. And now we need to focus on getting new fans - always a challenge with people having more options (and less time) each day. And let's hope GL rewards our loyalty with more great stories (and some happiness, please - have pity on us already!!!).
Keep the Light Shining and Have a Great Week!