who's been taking some hits on the blogsphere for his comments to Soap Opera Digest regarding the cancellation of Guiding Light. In particular:
It's a damn shame that this show is gone, as it's still a damn shame that ANOTHER WORLD is gone. The flip side of it is that you cannot reinvent the wheel. Not to name names, but in desperate times, desperate measures are sometimes the worst things to resort to and it's clear now in hindsight and it was clear to the viewers as it was going on what [GL became] was not soap opera.
I get how we've become so caught up in the wonderfulness that Guiding Light has become; it is classic soap opera storytelling at its best. (Well, the best it can be with such a severely limited budget; there are still some glaring bare patches we're all overlooking. Why have we not seen Buzz and Alex together? And why wasn't Beth at the party for Bill and Lizzie when Dinah confessed?) But I have to confess, Corday's comments about GL not being a soap opera sounded a lot like my own thoughts through most of last year. Although my doubts about whether GL was still a soap opera had less to do with the new production model than the storytelling.
From a March ‘08 response to Patrick Erwin: right now the writing feels so thin, like they're just shooting an outline with none of the dialogue filled in; there's no connection scene to scene. TIIC seems to have confused how a show looks with how it feels; "real" is not the same as intimate.
Another comment from last May: This lack of pacing, momentum, connection - and anticipation - makes it really difficult to explain the power sustained, serialized storytelling used to have.
As late as January, I still had doubts that echoed Corday's: But in soap opera, the storytelling is not an afterthought, but rather, the genre's raison d'être. That expecting fans, some of whom have been watching GL for decades, to continue watching for the better part of a year before putting even a hint of a longterm story in place is folly. How could Ellen Wheeler have gotten it so backwards?
Interestingly, there was no outcry when Tristan Rogers made essentially the same point as Corday. Well, somewhere along the line someone forgot that all these new and exciting elements needed to be made into......... a show. And from what I saw, that never happened. Can we learn something from this?
And then, because procrastinating is one of my very best things, I spent several hours this weekend reading through Television Without Pity's GL thread beginning in March '08, and there were more than a few posters (too many to link) who had their doubts as well. This one from last April was typical:
Take heed, TPTB. No one is sitting around waiting for you to make stories interesting. We'll just go on with our lives until you do and maybe by then we won't have time to care anymore.
And that's probably exactly what CBS figured when they decided to pull the plug. It's just so sad and ironic that the decision coincided with almost the exact moment the show finally gets its shit together. I know efforts to find a new outlet for GL are on-going, with Lifetime and Hallmark channel considered strong possibilities. But given the growing buzz around Otalia, I'm thinking the GLBT station LOGO might be a real possibility. And while Otalia's not quite an umbrella story, there is a serious core: Olivia, Natalia, Emma, Doris, Ashlee, Rafe, Daisy, Buzz, Frank - even Phillip - who could set up shop at LOGO. Something to think about.
© 2009 Lynn Liccardo
Limited Licensing: I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the Creative Commons Attribution license, granting distribution of my copyrighted work without making changes, with mandatory attribution to Lynn Liccardo and for non-commercial purposes only. Lynn Liccardo
Causes lynn liccardo Supports