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Guiding Light discussion thread


Paul Raven

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3 hours ago, ironlion said:

To me, Guiding Light declined after 1997. Y&R 2001- The production quality went down afterwards. GH - 2000 when Wendy Riche got the boot & Sonny really began to eat the show. OLTL-1996 after Michael Malone left and the Viki DID plot wrapped up. AMC-1997 after Lorraine Broderick left. 

 

I suppose the dates everyone listed were when shows began to decline rather than become utterly "unwatchable". 

 

I've come to understand that Reeva is Sonny Corithos of GL, in that she eats the show at the disdain of older fans. This in stark contrast to Erica Kane or Viki Lord whom fans seemed to like at the center of their shows.

I think most of the Reva disdain is directed at post resurrection Reva. While Pam wrote the show it was more of an ensemble show (not as much as it was during Marland or Curlee but..) and Reva had mostly "normal" for a soap character problems...she needed to be accepted, she was uninhibited sexually which was looked at as being a "slut" but she fell (or felt that she did) in love with her partner..she needed everything to be big or she was bored, she craved domestication and safety but again, felt constricted once there...all of those things can be relatable.  Reva as the middle aged sex goddess fighting psychos, being cloned, jumping through paintings and etc, etc. was not relatable. I have to say the most relatable she did become post Long was during Wheeler...dealing with her devil spawn...(though Jon quickly grated on your nerves) and facing a menopause, cancer, etc...(well the baby got too much but that had to be to assauge Kimmer's ego.)

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10 hours ago, Bill Bauer said:

 

For my five favourite soaps, I can pinpoint the quality decline mark for each (give or take a year or two):

 

GL: 1983

ATWT: 1994

DOOL: 1983

AW: 1975

Y&R: 1986

 

This would be eerily close to my own opinion (again, I have GL going into 1984 as well as DOOL). I assume 1975 for AW was when both Mary Matthews and Steve Frame were both killed off, and Alice was recast?

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9 hours ago, kalbir said:

I think I can guess why some of those years were selected.

 

GL: 1983 - Reva arrives.

ATWT: 1994 - Douglas Marland passed the year before so all his story outlines are over by then.

DOOL: 1983 - Supercouple era starts.

Y&R: 1986 - Cricket becomes a full-time character and proceeds to eat the show for the remainder of the decade.

 

 

LOL. Very spot-on and funny guesses there in a nutshell. I would add for DOOL that it was also the beginning of all the fantasy and far-out storylines and, for GL, it was when the Bauers started to get decimated. 

2 minutes ago, zanereed said:

 

This would be eerily close to my own opinion (again, I have GL going into 1984 as well as DOOL). I assume 1975 for AW was when both Mary Matthews and Steve Frame were both killed off, and Alice was recast?

 

Yes, like GL in 1983, AW in 1975 was when the core family started to be decimated. I guess it matters why you like soaps and I personally don't care about romance, fantasy or focusing on a female heroine (all aspects of soaps). One of the main aspects I like about soaps is that I like familial sagas. Once you start getting rid of the core family, I lose interest. Of course, not everybody would have that same view because everybody likes different aspects of soaps but it is interesting to note that the decline in the writing and production quality of a soap usually coincides with the decimation of the core family and the neglect of history. 

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17 hours ago, Faulkner said:

What happened in 1968 to end that run?


Edit: was it the expansion to 30 minutes?

 

Personally, I thought TGL was still decent in 1968, although not as riveting as when Agnes Nixon was writing it (1958-66, IIRC). Irna Phillips returned for a while, and the Robert Soderberg and Edith Sommer steered the ship from 1969 to 1973. For me, the quality of the writing only dipped for a few years when James Lipton, Robert Cenedella and James Gentile were in charge. I wouldn't say the show was wretched under them, just so-so. Then in 1975, when the Dobsons came aboard, things improved. 

 

17 hours ago, Mitch said:

Oh God..they were terrible for ATWT...

 

I found the period when the Dobsons were writing ATWT to be weak as well, although producer Mary-Ellis Bunim might have played a significant role in the on-screen mess.

 

16 hours ago, zanereed said:

 

Honestly, for my personal best period, I have to go with the time frame between 1977 and 1980. By 1977, the Dobson era was more or less solidified, and there were a good mixture of established characters and new ones. The addition of The Spauldings when the show expanded to an hour in late 1977 only served to strengthen the show. The biggest "dud" during the Dobson's time frame (IMHO) was the botched return of Bill Bauer. It had so much potential, but it unfortunately failed to "stick the landing", as the saying now goes. The ending of my favorite era would be when Roger Thorpe fell to his "death" on April 1, 1980.

 

As far as going off the rails...for me, that was during the end of 1984, when there was nothing left of the legacy of TGL. Any legacy characters from the previous decade or two were either fired or written off. Charita Bauer was the only exception, and she would unfortunately pass away at the end of that year. Katie and Floyd Parker would eventually be written out in 1985, and only Ross Marler survived.

 

I was really disappointed how the show ended up handling the return of Bill Bauer. An important legacy character and patriarch of the main family deserved better than what he got. I was LIVID when they just killed him off again in 1983, to serve function to a very stupid plot.

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 I adored Ross Marler, but I needed more characters than just him to keep me watching daily.

 

 

14 hours ago, victoria foxton said:

To me 1989-93 is my favorite period. I found 1998/99 to just be ok. 

 

TGL really did have a welcome and surprising resurgence during those years. To me, it was the show's last hurrah.

 

11 hours ago, robbwolff said:

Bruhner was around when Phil MacGregor was playing Rick. It was a weird period when Rick and Phillip started hanging around with Morgan. Long arrived in May just as Morgan left town and Michael O’Leary arrived as the new Rick. Was just watching the Thanksgiving 1983 episode and couldn’t stand O’Leary’s antics. 

 

I think MO'L thought he was much funnier than he actually was. I never saw him as viable, future-leading-man material either, just second-banana "comic" relief to be seen occasionally.  There were so few Bauers left on the canvas, the show needed an attractive, commanding actor in the important role of Rick.

 

8 hours ago, Elsa said:

I loved the Potter-Dobson-Marland and the Calhoun-Long-Curlee eras

What is left? The Reva years. This character and the arrival of the Lewises ruined GL for me. The show became cheap, one-dimensional, tacky and stupid. 

 

YES!!! It was painful to see, like watching your beloved grandmother being slowly poisoned by drunken clowns. 

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2 hours ago, Bill Bauer said:

 

LOL. Very spot-on and funny guesses there in a nutshell. I would add for DOOL that it was also the beginning of all the fantasy and far-out storylines and, for GL, it was when the Bauers started to get decimated. 

 

Yes, like GL in 1983, AW in 1975 was when the core family started to be decimated. I guess it matters why you like soaps and I personally don't care about romance, fantasy or focusing on a female heroine (all aspects of soaps). One of the main aspects I like about soaps is that I like familial sagas. Once you start getting rid of the core family, I lose interest. Of course, not everybody would have that same view because everybody likes different aspects of soaps but it is interesting to note that the decline in the writing and production quality of a soap usually coincides with the decimation of the core family and the neglect of history. 

 

This is very well said. I do enjoy a good romance story and strong, interesting heroines, but once TPTB start dismantling the core of shows and destroying founding families, my interest diminishes. It's usually the weakest writers and most incompetent producers who are guilty of this, so the combination of fractured families, poor writing and bad production decisions all go hand in hand. There are valid reasons why daytime soaps' ratings have long been in the toilet, but there are still people out there who would love to watch soaps that are as good as they were in their heyday. None of today's soaps measure up.

 

2 hours ago, zanereed said:

 

This would be eerily close to my own opinion (again, I have GL going into 1984 as well as DOOL). I assume 1975 for AW was when both Mary Matthews and Steve Frame were both killed off, and Alice was recast?

 

My interest in DAYS dropped significantly in 1977 after Pat Falken Smith was axed, but I continued to stick with it until her second go-'round. When she was replaced AGAIN, I just couldn't endure it any more. I acknowledge that Y&R continued to have good years after I dropped it, but my desire to watch vanished after all the Brooks and Foster family members were gone by 1983. The elimination of the Bauers (et al) made me say goodbye the TGL in 1984, and losing, Courtney, Reinholt, Dwyer and even Susan Sullivan in 1975 put the nail in AW's coffin for me. As (the poster) Bill Bauer noted, for some viewers, destroying principle families can be alienating.

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33 minutes ago, vetsoapfan said:

TGL really did have a welcome and surprising resurgence during those years. To me, it was the show's last hurrah.

1989-93 GL is my idea of soap perfection in the modern era. The community felt so textured and (somewhat) diverse, with Af-Am actors put forth in stories that didn’t tokenize or marginalize them. Not that representation is the *only* thing that makes a soap good, as we’ve all begrudgingly watched series that have erased POCs, but when I watch older classic eras of GL (like the Dobsons), the whiteness is glaring. But so were the times. Can’t always project backwards.

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46 minutes ago, Faulkner said:

1989-93 GL is my idea of soap perfection in the modern era. The community felt so textured and (somewhat) diverse, with Af-Am actors put forth in stories that didn’t tokenize or marginalize them. Not that representation is the *only* thing that makes a soap good, as we’ve all begrudgingly watched series that have erased POCs, but when I watch older classic eras of GL (like the Dobsons), the whiteness is glaring. But so were the times. Can’t always project backwards.

 

I always appreciated writers like Irna Phillips and Agnes Nixon, who strove to add diversity to their shows, even in decades when the networks were so resistant to it and a segment of the audience more vocal in its bigotry. Black, Eurasian, Jewish characters were rare, of course, but at least Nixon and Phillips, among a few other scribes, sought to include them from time to time. I gravitated to shows with variety in their characters because it represented the actual world I lived in, where folks came in all different forms. All-white landscapes felt foreign to me. There is still a ways to go in various media, but at least progress has been made. I'm hard-pressed to think of any community that is not represented anywhere, in any form, in popular culture nowadays.

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6 hours ago, Faulkner said:

1989-93 GL is my idea of soap perfection in the modern era. The community felt so textured and (somewhat) diverse, with Af-Am actors put forth in stories that didn’t tokenize or marginalize them. Not that representation is the *only* thing that makes a soap good, as we’ve all begrudgingly watched series that have erased POCs, but when I watch older classic eras of GL (like the Dobsons), the whiteness is glaring. But so were the times. Can’t always project backwards.

Having spent the summer watching a lot of this period- it really was stellar.  And the scripts!  The dialogue was modern sounding and relatable and not really all that soapy- but it still wasn’t ashamed to be a soap.  So many great relationships received careful consideration- families, friendships, rivalries, and lovers.  I’m only sad I wasn’t watching it as it was airing.  That Curlee era, especially when Sherry and Beverlee were still there has become one of my top soap eras.

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3 hours ago, titan1978 said:

That Curlee era, especially when Sherry and Beverlee were still there has become one of my top soap eras.

The one-two-three punch of Kimberley Simms, Sherry, and Bev leaving in Summer ‘92 was really the end of that gorgeous era, then the senseless death of Maureen in January ‘93 was the fatal blow. The show did mostly maintain its high level of day-to-day scripts until Nancy left in early ‘94, but the Lucy/Buzz takeover toward the end of her run really made it hard to watch. GH was really taking off then too under the Labines.

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The one thing I feel that set Bauer’s fates were the needless miscarriages over the years...Mike & Charlotte’s, Ed & Rita’s, and Ed & Maureen etc. While I can see that Ed & Rita’s played up into the heightening drama & tension at the time the other two don’t make sense. It’s as tawdry as Dan & Susan’s first miscarriage over on ATWT.

 

The lost Bauer cousins went over as well as the lost Cory cousins on AW at the time or lost Jett Carver on Days lol. ATWT did the same thing a decade later but found success with Jack Snyder at least. 

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1 hour ago, Faulkner said:

The one-two-three punch of Kimberley Simms, Sherry, and Bev leaving in Summer ‘92 was really the end of that gorgeous era, then the senseless death of Maureen in January ‘93 was the fatal blow. The show did mostly maintain its high level of day-to-day scripts until Nancy left in early ‘94, but the Lucy/Buzz takeover toward the end of her run really made it hard to watch. GH was really taking off then too under the Labines.

That 92-93 time period is a more common date for "When did GL start to decline" than 1983 indeed.

I choose Summer of 1992 because, as discussed a few weeks ago, I think Maureen's death has taken a mythical place as the death knell when it would have been survivable had there not been all the other blows while I don't think the reverse would have been true. But either way it is a date that I feel more comfortable with.
 

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13 minutes ago, FrenchBug82 said:

That 92-93 time period is a more common date for "When did GL start to decline" than 1983 indeed.

I choose Summer of 1992 because, as discussed a few weeks ago, I think Maureen's death has taken a mythical place as the death knell when it would have been survivable had there not been all the other blows while I don't think the reverse would have been true. But either way it is a date that I feel more comfortable with.
 

Totally. And 1992 was deeply flawed and coasting on previous successes, but those actresses (Kimberley, Sherry, and of course Bev) sold their stories, had irreplaceable chemistry with co-stars, and we were invested in them. Barbara Crampton, Liz Kiefer, and Marj Dusay were all solid-to-great actresses but hopelessly miscast in their roles. They magnified the flaws in the writing too. The Nick/Mindy/Alex stuff was becoming dreadful even with KS and Bev in the roles.
 

He was only on the show for a brief time in ‘93, but I think Leonard Staab’s tragic accident and departure as Hart was a huge blow as well. GL really went through the ringer in those years. Just a demonstration that near-perfection is short-lived.

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30 minutes ago, Faulkner said:


 

He was only on the show for a brief time in ‘93, but I think Leonard Staab’s tragic accident and departure as Hart was a huge blow as well. GL really went through the ringer in those years. Just a demonstration that near-perfection is short-lived.

 

Thank you for your that, Staab was my favorite Hart and what had been such a hot story suddenly screeched to a halt. 
 

1993 ended on a high note with Roger creeping around trying to figure out who shot him but 1994 was the moment the show spiraled for sure....I usually start with the Frank & Julie mess

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20 hours ago, Faulkner said:

1989-93 GL is my idea of soap perfection in the modern era. The community felt so textured and (somewhat) diverse, with Af-Am actors put forth in stories that didn’t tokenize or marginalize them. Not that representation is the *only* thing that makes a soap good, as we’ve all begrudgingly watched series that have erased POCs, but when I watch older classic eras of GL (like the Dobsons), the whiteness is glaring. But so were the times. Can’t always project backwards.

 

I agree 100%. Diversity was always lacking on TGL (as well as most soaps), and the Dobson era was certainly guilty of it. I also agree with comments other have stated above - the era closest to any of us is likely the time we started watching and it "hooked" us in. In my case, it was generational. My grandparents initially watched it, and then so did my mother, and then my sister and I. The Dobson era is so clear to me because I remember those storylines and characters so well.

 

I did watch during 1989 to 1993, and I would consider that the last, good, semi-consistent era of TGL. I stopped watching TGL again in 1993 as soon as Maureen Bauer was killed off, as I could not see the show recover from that. I don't think that it ever did.

 

10 hours ago, soapfan770 said:

The one thing I feel that set Bauer’s fates were the needless miscarriages over the years...Mike & Charlotte’s, Ed & Rita’s, and Ed & Maureen etc. While I can see that Ed & Rita’s played up into the heightening drama & tension at the time the other two don’t make sense. It’s as tawdry as Dan & Susan’s first miscarriage over on ATWT.

 

The lost Bauer cousins went over as well as the lost Cory cousins on AW at the time or lost Jett Carver on Days lol. ATWT did the same thing a decade later but found success with Jack Snyder at least. 

 

I also agree with this 100%. Unlike Bill and Bert, who had two sons in Mike and Ed (and eventually Hillary) to foster family legacy on the show, both sons surprisingly had few children. Mike had one daughter! I really wish that either Mike and Charlotte would have had a son or Mike and Leslie. I suppose the latter would have been odd - Leslie had a son with Ed and then a son with Mike. Maybe that's why Mike and Leslie never had children...?

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10 hours ago, soapfan770 said:

I usually start with the Frank & Julie mess

God, I remember that like it was yesterday … so bad. Julie really lost her usefulness without Hart or being in the mix with Dylan and Bridget. Whatever happened to Jocelyn Seagrave?

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