Farewell Guiding Light, Old Friend




September 18, 2009 is a day that will live forever in broadcast history. As we all know, it is the day the longest running television drama ever said "Goodbye" to the world. I watched the finale of Guiding Light with the heaviest of hearts. I couldn't believe this was the last time I would see Josh (Robert Newman) and Reva (Kim Zimmer) give each other those looks that could fry an egg on the street. I couldn't believe it was the last time I would see Alexandra Spaulding be absolutely fabulous on my screen. Don't forget to add some extra fabulous Fletcher Reade (Jay Hammer) on the side.

I can't tell you the pain in my heart when those infamous words "The End" flashed across the screen. It felt like I was losing apart of my soul. You see, Guiding Light was my grandmother's show. She watched all the soap operas and I do mean all of them, but The Guiding Light, as she called it, was her absolute favorite. Memories of watching this show with her when I was little came flooding back to me while watching the finale. Those are some of my best memories of her, watching her "story", The Guiding Light. She passed away about a year ago and watching Guiding Light helped me feel connected to her in a way. That connection is gone now that her show is gone. Losing Guiding Light is so much more than just losing another American soap opera, it's like losing a family member. I don't think it will truly hit me that my grandmother's show is gone until I turn on the television at 2 p.m. on Monday and nothing's guiding my light.

Now, I must speak about the finale itself. I absolutely adored some parts, but others I could have done without. I'll get the not so great parts out of the way, first. For starters, where was Vanessa? Vanessa Chamberlain (Maeve Kinkead) is a character that has been featured on Guiding Light for a period spanning nearly 30 years. How is it possible that a character with this much rich history did not appear on the show's final episode? She was mentioned, but I didn't see her. Maybe it was the actress's schedule, but I still feel like their could have been some way for her to make it for the finale even if it was for five seconds.

What happened to Jeffrey (Bradley Cole) and Edmund (David Andrew MacDonald)? To be honest, I don't particularly care about what happened to both characters, but it doesn't make sense for two characters with so much history and who aired the previous day to disappear into thin air. Also, Jeffrey was in a semi-popular pairing with arguably the show's most recognizable character, Reva Shayne. It was downright shameful for that couple not to get any closure, but on the flip side it was worth it for the outcome which I will get to in a bit.

Another gripe I have about the finale is about Olivia and Natalia. Why couldn't they share a kiss? It could have a been at little peck on the lips and I would have been satisfied. However, we were forced to seeing more hand holding and longing looks. That's fine for a while, but it's absolutely absurd that a couple so deep in love couldn't share not even one real kiss. At least we know they are together. 

On the other hand, there were some pretty stellar moments from the Guiding Light finale. My heart melted into a big bucket of mush when Fletcher (with frumpy hat) took his Alex, his "blondie", away from Springfield with him. Fletcher and Alex were always there for each other, so for them to leave together was a great nod to Guiding Light history. Another fantastic moment was Ed taking Holly with him on a worldwide trip. I can't tell you the smile that flashed across my face when she agreed to go with him. Granted it was a bit random, but I didn't care because it was Ed and Holly!

I also really enjoyed seeing Dinah and Mallet get back together. Some people want to say they are just friends running around Europe together, but I beg to differ. Mallet throwing Dinah over his shoulder like used to, cemented them being together forever. All those moments were amazing, but there is one moment, from one couple, that makes all the others pale in comparison. Of course, I'm talking about the reunion of Josh and Reva. I believe my fellow DC Blogger, J Bernard Jones, said it best about the Josh and Reva scenes. He said they were "sheer perfection" and I couldn't agree more. I cried buckets and buckets of tears watching those get back together. I like how they did it in the flash forward instead of having them get back together in the present year. It made more sense for Reva to have the time to get over Jeffrey and be with her true love Joshua. I couldn't have imagined the show ending without Josh and Reva together. After all, Always means Always. 


Comments

craigcp's picture
Member since:
6 May 2009
Last activity:
1 year 37 weeks

It was my mom and her grandmother listen to it on the radio. It's a damm shame the way GL was treated over the years, people never even herd of it when watching the daytime Emmys when a GL actor won, there wasn't a big reaction to the crowed. GL was popular in the Midwest couldn't get ABC. My mom loved the end too when they played Josh and Reva music, they use to always play. Loved seeing the light house, as stories were once centered around it.

But GL as I said before wasn't about perfect bodies or perfect looks, it had normal everyday people with normal stories, that's what made GL popular; my mom just told me doesn't want to get into another soap don't know the actors or there history. But she will not watch Let's make a Deal. She thought it was a stupid show then, I'm sure they’ll put a modern twist and make it even stupider.

As you said really going to hit us Monday at 2:00 when GL won't be on. She'll try to watch General Hospital is on at the same time. Any chance of the GL actors going over ther? Be nice if they could play the same characters since it's a P&G show?

DC please keep up updated on were the GL actors are going. Did a great job in covering GL over the years.

Member since:
5 July 2008
Last activity:
2 days 6 hours

Awesome Job Mel

Member since:
2 January 2008
Last activity:
1 year 13 weeks

Sad sad day i can remember the first storyline that drew me in,it was crazy brent lawrence pulling a mrs doubtfire as crazed marian crane.This show has meant so much to me its like a family member died.Back in the mid 90's was when soaps were written well and we had actors that werent hair models

Member since:
7 August 2009
Last activity:
4 years 14 weeks

It's funny...with all of the coverage of recent months, people frequently mention how generational love of GL is. I kept thinking 'well, that's because it's been around so long.' But I realized that wasn't it.

I clearly recall my first GL episode in 1976, when I was ten years old. I was in my much-adored great-aunt's house and she explained who all the characters were. I'd watched ATWT before (my grandmother got hooked watching when Ellen Stewart was on trial for killing someone with a candlestick) but it was GL that pulled me in. Four years later, my aunt died. But in the thirty years since then, the presence of Guiding Light made that first day present in my life...it made someone I grew up adoring present in my life.

The show is a legacy that's been handed down, viewer to viewer, actor to actor, over the decades. It's just bittersweet to let go.

Member since:
8 April 2009
Last activity:
12 weeks 2 days

I couldn't of said it any better Mel...I feel exactly the way you do..I can't imagine what Monday is going to be like either when 2:00 comes and no Guiding Light..I'm sure I will start crying all over again..

Guiding Light you were the best and I will never forget you...You will forever live in my heart...Thank You for the 35 years of joy you brought into my life...

Member since:
6 February 2008
Last activity:
3 weeks 6 days

You know the old say the old saying you never know what you got until it's gone. That is proving true especially in the case of Guiding Light. I was not a regular GL watcher since when it was on I was in class or work but when I did catch it I enjoyed it. I like the Reva driving off the bridge in Florida. I like the girl in the wheelchair Sam. I am truly sorry for all the GL fams that there show is gone but take heart the Light went out with class and it's head held high

Dinah's picture
Member since:
14 December 2007
Last activity:
1 week 3 days

Amen and I feel the same

banterlove's picture
Member since:
5 April 2008
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3 years 44 weeks

Beautifully said, Mel.

Member since:
20 August 2009
Last activity:
2 weeks 4 days

I haven't watched Guiding Light since the 80s, but your tribute to them made me cry anyway.
I used to watch One Life to Live with my Grandmother, that was her show. And even though she has left this world I continue to watch OLTL because it makes me feel close to her. Every time I watch, I can hear my Grandma's voice in my head making comments. Smile It is always amazing to me to hear these stories of soap operas being passed down through the generations. It is something that just doesn't happen with other television programs.

Member since:
25 February 2009
Last activity:
1 week 2 days

As usual, great blog ! I keep thinking about GLs cancellation and what that really means to people..You have really captured it...It's more than a TV program - there are a lot of sentimental feelings associated with the show.

To me , cancelling GL is like tearing down an ICONIC older buidling , and replacing it with a Parking Lot...The thought being that the building isn't 100 % percent leased, and that a Parking Lot is more practical.

Wellllllllll, let me say this. In a few years, I predict that people will see cancelling GL as a mistake...

Goodbye my friend is right !

CGat's picture
Member since:
23 July 2008
Last activity:
43 weeks 5 days

Mel. You are my hero. You and J Bernard could not have comforted me more during these latter days of the best television show to grace the waves of television. thank you Mel for all your insight. I feel as if a piece of my heart has forever gone, and I haven't the slightest clue how bad it's going to feel tomorrow when I get home, and there's not an hour of The Guiding Light to rewind and play. But thank you Mel. This show meant so much, and it always will. ALWAYS.

Jorpa's picture
Member since:
5 November 2007
Last activity:
1 week 2 days

Thank you Mel. What a wonderful tribute. I have many complaints about the ending also, but in the end, all is well. I got my "always." Now it's time to pick up the pieces and carry on. How, I don't know yet, but we all will learn how to live with this hole in our hearts.

blake3b's picture
Member since:
3 March 2009
Last activity:
4 days 23 hours

The last week of GL has been awesome (well minus the stupid little stories like Remy and Cristina having to get married AGAIN!!!). I was so happy to see Josh and Reva get back together and ride off in the sunset together (with the lighthouse behind them!!!) and to see Dinah and Mallet back together and happy, Billy with Vanessa, Otalia happy (still no kiss or love making? WTF?), Rick and Mindy together, Ed and Holly together, etc. Also it was cool to see them show all the old openings at the beginning of the last episode!
My mom and sister recorded and watched them and cried most of the week, and because of work I had to catch up with all the episodes online but at least I saw it all by Friday night.
Too bad Another World couldn't get that great of a send off but I'm at least grateful that GL did.

Member since:
19 December 2007
Last activity:
4 years 5 weeks

Again...How sad. I feel like someone peed in my cherrios this morning. Yea for happy endings but really it was over kill. I think that is what part of GL's problem was. Everything was happy happy joy joy. When there was conflict it was resolved too quickly, and most of the time sappy. GL didn't have a true villaness any more and every good year of story telling it has great strong women. Sorry to see you go. I think that someone should find Ellen and smack her around....it takes a lot to kill off a soap, but she managed

Bob's picture
Member since:
22 April 2008
Last activity:
10 weeks 3 days

All of the GL coverage has been great. I am especially grateful for Melodie's and J. Bernard's pieces (the screen caps were also wonderful).

One question... where were Ed and Holly? I somehow missed them in the 9/18 episode. Were they just on for a minute? I don't know how I could've missed them, but I did.

--Bob

Member since:
22 September 2009
Last activity:
4 years 29 weeks

Really appreciate the great coverage. I'm a 39 yr old male who got hooked on GL in 1981 when my older sister watched it after she came home from high school. I quickly got sucked in, and watched it for years after on my own. Reva & Josh and the Four Musketeers being my biggest draw.

I'm a well educated, professional guy. I followed GL, and saw the drop-off in quality in the last 2 years, but still always thought it would rally and come back to its old quality once the economy improved. I was devastated at the announcement of the cancellation. I thought for sure P&G would sell it to another outlet. I was ashamed by CBS's decision.

All that said, I watched all of the last week's episodes, enjoyed the cameos by returning actors, and thought I was prepared for the final episode.

What I learned as of Friday, was that the loss of this show has been far bigger to me personally than I ever could have imagined. I am devastated. I have been hooked on watching classic moments on YouTube all weekend. This show, and many of the characters were a link to my past, and to relationships with my mother and sister.

Losing Reva, Vanessa, Philip and BIlly and Harley is like losing family. I am so heart-broken I'm embarrassed to admit it. I didn't know what to do today at 2:00, and I felt more alone than I expected. It's a terrible, terrible loss that CBS woefully underestimated. I am devastated. I feel so very alone. I appreciate the coverage here as an outlet over this devastating loss.

Member since:
22 September 2009
Last activity:
4 years 30 weeks

Your comment really reflects how I've been feeling the past few days (to an eery extent). I'm a 27 year old male and started watching Guiding Light with my Grandma when i was very young. I remember really becoming a fan and watching on my own starting in the mid-90s.

I knew the finale of Guiding Light would be sad, as I'm nostalgic for all icons of passing pop culture, but the way I felt during the last episode was surprising. I too have been glued to youtube for the past several days, watching old episodes with the original Alex, Vanessa, Ed, Lillian, Alan-Michael, Roger, etc.

Yesterday was the first Monday in my lifetime that Guiding Light wasn't on and it feels like the end of a phase of my life. I feel really isolated in these feelings of loss, because I am embarassed to admit how strong they are. I don't think anyone around me can relate to them.

I would really like to connect with you and discuss our mutual good memories of this great show. Let me know if you're interested.

Member since:
22 September 2009
Last activity:
4 years 29 weeks

Hey there nww711. It's great to read your response, and realize someone else is feeling similarly and has had a similar experience with the show. Yes, I'd be interested to connect with you to discuss fond memories of the show.

In a way, I felt like what was really missing on Friday was some sort of retrospective montage, and/or behind the scenes sign-off from the cast & crew, like they used to do at the end of their Christmas episodes. I feel like there was some closure they missed out on, and as a lifelong fan, I think that's probably what I've been seeking in watching the old clips. And have found some really great ones on YouTube this weekend.

Anyway, yes, let's connect! That would be great. You can email me here or at Yahoo under this user ID.

dmsf70