In any relationship, communication is vital to the overall success of the relationship. Yet it seems GL is sending fans mixed messages of late.
The show recently announced that it has been renewed through 2009. Good news for fans, indeed. But in order for the show to succeed, the fans have to remain as well.
Three things that we learned this week have really made me question whether or not the show will actually make it though the length of their contract. While two of them weren't really shocking, given spoilers and casting news online, the last one has this long time GL fan longing for what we used to have - the "Good Old Days".
When I learned of the storyline that paints Gus as a dirty cop, I was outraged. Ricky Paull Goldin gave GL all he could for seven years. He had some really great storylines, and some long pauses without much air time. But in the end he felt it was time to move on. He was fairly honest about his feelings, and how much he appreciated his time on the show. But GL has acted like a lover scorned - killing off his character and ruining his reputation so there is no hope in ever returning (not that I thought he would - but the door could have remained open for this fan favorite).
Except GL had other plans for the actor and the character. Without any regard for his fans, who would be devastated by his departure, they now want to tarnish the character of Gus Aituro. To paint Gus as a "dirty cop", while it could be an interesting story, could also make the fans who are angry about his departure even madder at the way he was treated. It reminds me of a boss I have had that, once you give your notice, simply acts as if you never existed. It's childish and petty and bad for business. But I don't think that matters to GL, although it should.
Now, on top of Gus' departure and fall from grace, we learn that Beth Ehlers has also signed with AMC, joining RPG once again. So long time fans (including yours truly) are dealing with yet another loss. And while it is sad to see her go again, I do wish her well. She has been a part of GL (on and off) for most of my GL life. Harley and I have grown up together, and while I try not to overly play favorites, she is a character I have always seen myself in. Not the multiple husbands or the crazy 80's hairdos (well, one or two perhaps) but she has always been the girl who is emotional and sometimes insecure, but always goes ahead with all that life has to offer, full steam ahead. It's not always the best move for her, but she does it anyway. And GL will go along without her, but her fans will miss her (and her character) terribly.
The show has gone through many changes recently. The on-location scenes with the herky jerky hand held cameras and poor sound quality still need a lot of work. But it seems that the show is going forward with this nearly full time. Cross Creek is now some hideous log cabin, and the Carriage House was mentioned twice this week as being demolished (for those that even remember the lovely set that I first remember as Ben and Eve's house in the mid 1970's). Last 4th of July the Bauer bar-be-que was held on Main Street (a set so ugly and unimaginative I could have done it myself). Cedars Hospital looks like a Tiki Hut. All that is familiar is slowly slipping away. And with that, so go the fans. I have heard from so many of you that it is harder and harder to watch the show. You have your favorites, and want to see them in good storylines, but it isn't happening. I only hope that in the midst of all the change, the show returns to stories that we can embrace, with characters we see more often (and not ones that go AWOL for weeks on end).
This week we learned of the loss of Beverlee McKinsey who originated the role of Alexandra Spaulding. While she left GL abruptly and famously over 16 years ago, her memory is so vivid for me. Her character was always so strong and poised, even in the face of adversary (and there was plenty of that, too). Her powerhouse performances were legendary - and worth watching over and over. For those who want to reminisce or see what you have missed, YouTube.com has some great GL footage of Beverlee (and Michael Zaslow, who I adored) that will bring you back to a time when GL was a show that you couldn't miss a single day of, with characters you loved (and hated) with stories that held your interest. I suggest the current staff of GL take a look and see what these shows are all about - maybe they'll get some ideas for how to turn things around - and soon.
I am heading on vacation for the next few weeks to San Francisco and Yosemite National Park. Even though I am away I will try to keep up with the show and post updates from the road. GL could certainly help a girl out and fix their Podcasts that I have complained about for ages!! But in the event technology fails me (as I am not the most technologically able person ever) fear not, I will return at the latest June 8th .
Keep the Light Shining and Have a Great Week!