Requiem for a Daytime Drama: Finale

The final part of a highly personal, non-objective series highlighting various aspects of the last episodes of Guiding Light, which which ended its 72 year run on September 18th.

What was it that got me first?

Was it the opening flurry of Guiding Light's logos throughout it's 72 year history or was it the show's last "Only Love" opening featuring the most of the current cast as it had never done before? Whatever it was that first triggered a torrent of emotions that ran through me, this is what happened on Guiding Light today:

In the wake of Alan Spaulding's death, Fletcher whisked Alexandra away to see the world. Doris pulled strings and got Ashlee into a writer's program at Berkeley; Daisy and Ashley went to California together for school, while James stayed behind and bonded with his father. Mindy informed Billy that she was moving back to Springfield. Remy and a newly pregnant Christina got married in the quickest wedding in soap opera history. Olivia & Natalia settled on a name for the baby — Francesca, named after Frank. Maureen played matchmaker for Matt and one of her pretty school teachers. After weeks of online dating, Frank & Blake finally hooked up for their date, with seemingly all of Springfield stalking him. Beth gave Phillip, who once had great dreams of being a writer, a journal in which to put his every thought.

Finally, there was everything involving Josh (Robert Newman) & Reva (Kim Zimmer).

It wasn't what happened "today" that was most important; it was what happened "one year later" in Springfield that truly mattered. As I sit a home, with the television now turned off and with more than a few tears in my cynical eyes, I cannot help but be amazed that I bore witness to what I believe was one of the greatest series finales of an American institution as has been produced during the long — and now endangered — life of a uniquely American genre.

An Open Letter to Christopher Goutman

Dear Mr. Goutman,

If ever I was convinced there is a real world application of the phrase "an exercise in futility", this letter might qualify as proof of that concept. After all, you have been quoted in at least one now infamous interview that you do not listen to what fans have to say and that you follow your gut instincts about what you feel is best for As the World Turns as its executive producer. In many respects I applaud you for it. Vision, however forward thinking or flawed, indicates what might be called passion, which itself implies a belief in something. I think, in your own way, you really do believe in your show.

Savvy viewers (including those of moderate intelligence like myself) more than appreciate the fact that Procter & Gamble/TeleNext soap executive producers like yourself arguably have tougher rows to hoe than their counterparts. You have your corporate bosses at P&G to answer to, as well as another set of head honchos at CBS. Reports from the war front regarding the recent cancellation of ATWT's sister show Guiding Light exposed that often these two factions have differing agendas, which can only make your job that much harder to do in a climate of increasingly draconian budget cuts and free falling ratings amidst an ever shrinking — some openly say dying — genre with roots that can be traced back to Charles Dickens and beyond. No wonder you tune out the noise, if I may, to concentrate on one of the hardest jobs in all of television: producing 350+ hours of television every year.
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Texas: Anatomy of a Smack Down

One of the most underrated soaps of all-time is quite possibly NBC's Texas, one of Another World's many spinoffs. Although little watched during its inital run, the Dallas-style soap has gained something of a cult following online in recent years. The serial was a showcase for the legendary Beverlee McKinsey (the only soap actress ever to receive "starring" billing in the opening credits) who played the equally legendary super-bitch Iris Carrington on both series. McKinsey left Texas midway through its two year run and went onto great glory as Alexandra Spaulding on Guiding Light. The acting by McKinsey and Lisby Larson (Paige) is top notch, as is the scorching writing. This, friends, is classic soap opera.