He's baaaack! Finally. Reversing the ridiculous decision of November 2004, Guiding Light has allowed the exiled Phillip Granville Spaulding back into Springfield!
We've known for months that Grant Aleksander was returning, but last week, the day finally arrived. I've made no secret that I'm a huge Grant Aleksander fan and I've learned from your feedback that many of you are, too. So I am hoping that this casting decision will be a shot in the arm to the save the show. Now that the #1 item on my "shopping list" to save GL is here, I've gotten to thinking about how to make the most of Grant's return.
First off, let me say that I LOVED Grant's scenes this week with Ron Raines (Alan), Michael O'Leary (Rick), Beth Chamberlain (Beth) and Justin Deas (Buzz). We even got a taste of Lizzie and Phillip's first face to face meeting as the week ended. I think that Phillip's return will jump start the lagging storylines - and Grant's performances really were great in concert with his long-time co-stars.
Now that Phillip has returned, we have to learn "which" Philip is back. The old Phillip who was full of passion (and, let's be honest, flaws. They make his character more interesting) or the Phillip who kidnapped nearly ever kid in Springfield before Alan shot him? And will Phillip pay for his crimes?
Long-time GL fans will remember that Holly (Blake's mom) did much the same thing years before and never did time. While Phillip in jail gives his victims (like Olivia) a chance to prepare for battle against him, I don't think he's been brought back to Springfield to sit in a jail cell. I mean, in all honesty, Grady killed Tammy Winslow (under orders from Alan Spaulding to kill Jonathan) and both are walking around scott-free. And in one case, taking up air time and salary from the GL budget. (Come on, GL - Grady's days have to be numbered… and Cyrus', too).
Once Phillip is free, there are so many stories where he could "fit". He's related to most of Springfield. And his long absence means that he has a lot to catch up on (like the shock that Beth was marrying Alan and he's a grandfather!). So many stories, so much time (we hope) to deliver….
While the show has announced the return of one actress, and a recast of another fan favorite (which I won't spoil here) there is one rumored casting call I'd love to make: Jonathan Randall. Who can't imagine the power house performances between double-Emmy winner Tom Pelphrey and Grant Aleksander? They could bond over the need to keep Sarah safe from Alan - and be a powerful force in Springfield… a girl can only dream.
Phillip's return that ultimately broke up Alan and Beth's wedding - which Coop was injured trying to do himself). It brought him into the story quickly, and managed to move the story to the difficult period that is in store for the Coopers.
Another way in which I see Phillip's return changing GL -- at least in my house and I know many of you have said the same thing -- is that I once again come home wanting to watch GL as soon as I can. There are weeks when I literally sit and watch the whole week in one sitting before working on my Two Scoops column. This week I came home eager to see what was going on in Springfield This is definitely plus for a show sinking in the ratings. Because it is so easy to just NOT watch if you get too far behind - even with a Tivo or other DVR. GL is making the show the way I spend my tv time now - something it hasn't done in quite awhile - at least for me.
As the Coopers and Beth sit by Coop's bedside, I am reminded of doing the same for my father. It was awkward to watch Daisy and Ashlee try to talk to Coop, not sure that he can hear them. Like many characters, you don't often realize how much of a connection a character has until a time of crisis. Coop, in his own, quiet way, is a big part of the glue that is the Cooper family. Now that Harley is "half a world away" he really keeps the family grounded and appreciate what they have - even in difficult times. It will be interesting to see how this crisis affects the Cooper clan - who have so much history (both actors and characters) and chemistry, as well.
This coming week is full of emotions - and will be full of great performances, and be difficult to watch. Since I hate to "spoil" you here I'll just say to keep your hankies handy!
Keep the Light Shining and Have a Great Week!