How do you sum up all of these years in one column? All those years, all those memories...
When I first started writing this column in 1995, I was fresh out of college -= 28 years old. The Internet was a relatively new concept, and GL was my favorite show. I wrote a column that Dan was doing for the website (then amcpages.com) called, Through Your Eyes. Actually, I think I still have that column somewhere around here. The Through Your Eyes section gave a different fan each week the chance to write about the show and share their feelings on what had happened. He must have liked what I wrote because he hired me to do this each week under the Two Scoops masthead. From then on, this has been a labor of love for me to share GL with all of you wonderful, faithful GL fans.
All these years later, I still spend my weekends watching GL and writing the column, trying in vain to answer all of the emails - which I promise to continue to do. So while I want to talk about the final week of Guiding Light, I will also try to share how coming into your lives each week has brought me so much happiness -- and so many wonderful friends.
Let me say that the past week's shows were both very difficult to watch (since we knew the show was ending) and wonderfully done. Billy and Vanessa's double wedding with Buzz and Lillian was very sweet and very romantic. I definitely liked that GL remembered Maureen Bauer's death and it's effect on Lillian's life. Sadly they should have seen that Maureen was a character that should have remained on canvas all of those years ago. It was great that the cast was able to get together as a whole to celebrate one final time. Two if you count the fast forward scenes at the end of Friday's show.
Like most of you, I was stunned to see that Alan died after saving Philip's life. But, thanks to the wonder of the Internet, I heard about it on Facebook before I got to watch the episode. While I was initially very annoyed by that spoiler being leaked to everyone without warning, I think it better prepared me for what were some emotional moments. Knowing how close Ron Raines (Alan) and Grant Aleksander (Phillip) are in real life, I'm sure these scenes were heartbreaking for them to tape. Phillip's anguish over the loss of his father and the fact that his decision to save him probably cost Alan his life was etched across his face for fans to see. How Ron sat still while Grant had to react so poignantly was a wonder - I know I would have broken down myself.
Alan's funeral was a little odd and hard to watch. Where were Amanda and Alan-Michael? No one mentions them at all. Since Alan was gone, he doesn't appear in the last few episodes, which certainly seemed strange for someone who has been on the show so long. Even as a ghostly figure looking over his family, Alan should have appeared - especially in the section devoted to one year later.
After seeing Phillip propose to Beth, we don't see a wedding? Not even them toasting at the end to their marriage -- but Rick and Mindy? Not that I don't love them, as well. But we have so much time invested in Phillip and Beth's story that it would have been nice to acknowledge they are married (they were both wearing wedding bands, so I assumed they were married). Lots of little holes, but I did love the happy ending each couple had.
The fan in me appreciated all of the returning cast members, although I know that newer fans were probably a little lost when they saw them on-screen. Nola and Quint were definitely a favorite couple of mine, so seeing Lisa Brown was a treat. Melissa Hayden (Bridget) looked great -- but we didn't see her interact with Dylan (Morgan Englund) much. In fact, he had only a few lines. I would have liked to have seen some interaction with Dylan and his daughter, Daisy. Especially as she was leaving to move cross-country to attend college with Ashlee. And Harley wasn't mentioned at all -- which seemed odd to me.
Otalia fans didn't get all of the romance they wanted. But GL fans should check out Crystal Chappell's project Venice: The Series online. It will start airing soon. I did like the baby's name, though I'm sure Frank approved.
Fletcher's return was great -- but very short. He whisked Alex away for a year-long trip around the world (as did Ed with Holly), but we never got to see any of them in the year forward scenes. No Fletcher scene with Holly? No mention of their daughter, Meg? No Blake and Holly scenes -- with a reference to the greatest villain GL ever had (Roger Thorpe)? And Vanessa is MIA after her wedding to Billy?
I know that there is already much discussion on how Reva ended up with Josh. I was a fan of "Always" as much as the next fan, but Jeffrey IS ALIVE. Or at least he was when he fought off Edmund's thug on the rooftop this week. Jonathan knows this, yet he lets Reva think Jeffrey's dead? I would have at least shown Jeffrey as Reva and Josh (and Jeffrey's son, Colin) drive off into the sunset with one another.
I did like that the year forward look gave us an idea of what the characters would be up to. The only sad part is we are left to fill in the blanks on where it goes from here. Of course, this could be something that gives GL fans some control over the show and a reason to stay in touch with one another.
There are three events for GL fans to say farewell to the cast. I've mentioned before that there is another event for those who couldn't get tickets for the GL Fan Club event. This one is October 24th and 25th in Pittsburgh. Details can be found at: http://www.celebrityeventsgroup.com/so-long-springfield-details.html I'll be there, so please let me know if you plan on attending -- I would love to meet you. I hope to see plenty of GL fans there -- and in NYC at the GL Fan Club Gathering October 10th, too -- which is sold out.
They have also announced an event in Atlanta November 7th: http://celebrityeventsgroup.com/so-long-springfield-details-atlanta.html
Now that the show has ended its run, I encourage GL fans to remain active, talking about the show we love... I know that there are still efforts to bring a GL spinoff on air, and if I hear anything, I will definitely post the information. I have not heard yet if CBS will distribute any DVDs of the shows history -- but they certainly should given the outpouring of love and support from the fans.
Before I close, I want to say a few thank yous. Thank you to Dan Kroll for hiring me 13 years ago to share my love of Guiding Light with each of you each week. It hasn't always been easy to embrace some of GL's changes over the years, but my love for the show remains. I look forward to hearing great things from you at Soap Central.
Thank you to the wonderful cast and crew who have always treated me with such warmth. Their generosity was such a blessing to me and I will miss them all so much. I loved the times I got to step into the magical world of Springfield on-set and see how our show came together with so much love and support from a great team. I hope to stay in touch with as many of them as I can and share any news of GLers I can find with all of you.
And my biggest thank you goes to you, my GL family and friends. It has meant so much to me to know that you are reading this each week, year after year and sharing your comments with me. Please drop me a line and let me know how you are doing. I count so many of you as friends and hope that we will continue to keep in touch. JulieV -- my first GL friend in Ohio, LoriBug in Illinois, Laura in Massachusetts, Marie my fellow Marylander -- my GLFC weekend roomies for so many years. Jen in Florida, Carlita and Tracy in Pittsburgh -- hope to see you both next month (I can't promise not to cry), Ron in Canada and Charles in Florida -- I will miss you all -- please keep in touch. My fellow GLer and Redskins fan Robin -- I am looking forward to meeting you soon!! And to my GL angel Kate, who no doubt watched the finale in a better place, I miss you so much. Your warmth and kindness will never be forgotten. I promise to keep an eye on our "boyfriend" (Bradley Cole) and keep you posted on his career.
I also want to say that I am so proud that GL fans did not take the cancellation lying down. CBS might have counted GL fans out, but we all really pulled together to save the show. I know that there are still efforts by some to find a new outlet for the cast, and will certainly share any info I receive with all of you. The cast and crew were most appreciative of all of your efforts and feel the love from the GL fans all over the world.
So where do I go from here? I have no idea. The loss of Guiding Light leaves a massive hole in my heart, and my life. So much of what I have done personally has been about the show. There are two more events for me to attend (GLFC in NYC 10/10 and So Long, Springfield 10/24 in Pittsburgh). I don't think I'll make the Atlanta event, but will be there in spirit. I know that there will be no other show that will ever mean so much to me. That I connect with on so many levels. My life has been measured on GL time since I was 9 years old and I know that at 42, it will be very difficult for me to fill the void. I can't say that I will return to daytime to have another show taken from me. Not that any show could ever take the place of Guiding Light in my heart, ever.
So for the last time, on this page at least...
Keep the Light Shining - Forever in Your Heart!