In My Life...The Light Shines

NOTE: For once, I'm going to be on a long ramble. It might only happen in this entry.

I've never truly considered Guiding Light to be one of "my" shows. I wasn't raised with it by my mom, and I still don't have a great grasp of its history. So, I'm not as heartbroken by its cancellation as more devoted, longtime fans are. I'm also not quite as driven to help save the show, unfortunately. I'll continue supporting it and watching it with every hope that another channel picks it up. And I did sign that petition (the link is posted in the previous entry). I am sad over the cancellation, but there just isn't as much emotional turmoil over it. I wish there was.

I was not stunned by the announcement of Guiding Light's cancellation. I "heard" it through Daytime Confidential, which also included the news of As The World Turns having a one-year renewal. GL has been the lowest-rated soap since Passions was canceled. DC has had various rumor reports & speculations of GL getting the ax and all its renewal info as well as the strong belief that the soap opera genre is nearing its end. I too believe that soaps won't be around ten years from now, and GL being canceled could very well be the beginning of the end. Plus, this cancellation comes after Days Of Our Lives firing Deidre Hall & Drake Hogestyn, major stars taking paycuts, and two years of reading about how GL keeps hanging on. It doesn't surprise me that something else sad & terrible would occur in the soap world, and this cancellation did seem inevitable.

It's pretty obvious that this cancellation greatly impacts the remaining seven soaps. Being a P&G soap, it most directly affects As The World Turns (the only other P&G show). And ATWT only has a one-year renewal, so it could be next. And then who knows what?! Usually, it's the soap in last place that's doomed, but of course there ALWAYS has to be a show in last place! Once GL's gone, it could actually be a three or four way tie. So, if it really is the beginning of the end, ATWT had better step up their game story-wise, and most of the other soaps will need to get their acts together too.

And that's my reaction to GL's cancellation and its ultimate consequences.

Guiding Light's cancellation is certainly depressing. Guiding Light has 72 years worth of history - on both radio and television. Thus, it has remained the longest running show in broadcast history - quite an honor for a soap opera. In a huge way, it is the "mother ship" of the other soaps. To lose a show with decades of history is earth-shattering and disturbing. GL is legendary, and it saddens me to realize I've only seen its LAST decade. I'm missing YEARS worth of storylines, moments, characters, and couples. To be honest, the last decade wasn't all that impressive. At least half of it was crap, I think, and the rest was pretty terrific.

Let's ponder back to what I've seen...

I began getting into GL in either 1999 or 2000 (thanks to my grandparents). I remember following Reva's clone story and seeing Beth with little Lizzie running or hiding from her abusive boyfriend. At some point I began watching a little at home, and then that grew. Some days I'd see GL and other days GH. Thankfully, in 2003 it began airing at 10 AM, and I began watching it every single day.

Harley is who I liked first and foremost. I loved her with Phillip and then Gus. (Duh!) I also liked Blake, Cassie, Reva, Marah (in the form of Laura Bell Bundy), and Michelle. I do tend to like a lot of female characters. I watched Richard & Cassie's royal wedding, which is something I'll always remember. They were a favorite couple as well as Josh & Reva, Blake & Ross, Shayne & Marina, and Phillip & Olivia. I think I also liked Danny & Michelle for a little while. And I've liked Dinah & Mallet, Jonathan & Tammy, Buzz & Alexandra, Coop & Ashlee, and probably more that I'm forgetting. But of course, couples and favorites fizzle and/or change. Currently, my favorite characters are Blake, Olivia, Dinah, Reva, Buzz, Daisy, Shayne, Josh, Lizzie, and Bill. My favorite couples are Olivia & Natalia, Shayne & Dinah, and Bill & Lizzie. I also like Frank, Marina, Phillip, Beth, and even the new James all to some extent. And I continue to have hope that Josh and Reva will reunite, especially because of the cancellation. How can the powers that be NOT put them back together in time for GL's finale?!

Of course there are plenty of characters and couples I've disliked for whatever reason, but I'd like to stay positive here. Plenty of characters & actors have come and gone in my time too: Eden, Maryanne Carruthers, Catalina, Tory Granger, Richard, Sandy, Alan-Michael recast, Coop, Jonathan, Crystal Hunt's Lizzie, Aubrey Dollar's Marina, Nicole Forrester's Cassie, Stephanie Gatshet's Tammy, Joan Collins' Alexandra, etc.

And let's not forget the countless moments & storylines I've witnessed!

Moments - There are a ton that occurred, but only some I remember. I mentioned Richard & Cassie's royal wedding - a true gem for me. I saw Olivia and Cassie's mud fight, which is pretty famous. Something that truly shocked me was Reva helping Richard die by taking him off life-support. The first time Olivia and Phillip had sex - extremely hot! I still have Josh & Reva's third wedding on tape; at least I saw one of their weddings. I remember seeing Blake & Ross get married again around Christmas time, and they were outside gazing at the stars afterwords - very sweet! Of course I never missed the annual Bauer BBQ from 2001 onward. Sometimes it felt like I was really there and that it was a real life event to be excited for. My favorite year was 2001 because there was all kinds of fireworks with Richard returning to Cassie from life-or-death drama in San Cristobel and Phillip finally discovering Harley's pregnancy (with BF Rick's baby). Even though I didn't like them much, I know I watched Danny & Michelle get married twice. One time it was during the Bauer BBQ. When the real Jonathan came to town and had it out with Reva, it was explosive. I remember Lizzie causing a pregnant Olivia to fall down the stairs at the Beacon Hotel lobby.

Storylines - There are good ones and bad ones here. I was first hooked on Reva's cloning story, which I know isn't one of Reva's greatest. It was absurd, but I couldn't turn away especially since the clone had Reva locked up. I also recall Reva's time travel into a painting and her being a psychic - both equally ridiculous. Ross and Blake's battle with the obsessive, crazy Tory Granger was pretty thrilling. The "Garden of Eden" murders was crap, and it should have been better. At least it involved Gus & Harley doing the investigating. Phillip's shooting in 04 was extremely memorable; that was a huge story for the Spaulding & Cooper families. I enjoyed it every step of the way. I liked watching Richard vs. Edmund for San Cristobel's throne, and I remember Cassie being locked in a tower and the car accident that left Reva blind & Cassie's baby stillborn. I was always so hooked on Jonathan & Tammy's story, especially once everyone learned about them being a couple and later them dealing with Lizzie pregnant with his baby. And then there was Reva's cancer, which was enthralling & horrible at the same time. It was a fairly good socially relevant story, but it meant the end of Reva & Josh and the beginning of Josh & Cassie (yuck).

Most importantly of what I've seen: everything Harley Davidson Cooper (and Gus too). Important to me at least, in my years of watching GL. And even years that I wasn't watching, thanks to the wonderful Ilena1970 (from ClassicGL Yahoo group) for working hard to make clips of not only Harley but anything & everything Guiding Light.

I've seen Harley with all her major pairings: Alan-Michael, Josh, Mallet, Phillip, & Gus. (To me, Dylan and Cyrus were merely flings.) My knowledge of her with Alan-Michael is still a bit fuzzy. And I didn't see all that much of her with Josh, but they were a brief couple. I know her relationships with the other 3 extremely well. My fondest memories of Mallet & Harley are: their first "I love you"s at Cross Creek, their first time living together at Happy Homes while undercover, almost eloping & then "honeymooning" on a cruise, their surprise wedding, secretly working & being together to bring down Jenna Bradshaw (when she was a jewel thief), and all their love scenes. They were truly in love, and I don't get how Mallet would cheat on her. Mallet really was the love of Harley's life (until Gus). My most delightful memories of Phillip & Harley are: their humorous journey of realizing they're in love, their wedding & honeymoon in New York City, them helping Jenna scam her criminal ex (Jeffrey), their official first date, their love scenes, and the birth of their son Zach. They had the makings of a long-lasting couple because they started out as friends. Their relationship was very fun...until ex-wife Beth returned to town. It's tragic that once they ended, they fought a lot & battled for Zach. My most wonderful memories of Gus & Harley: pretty much everything, LOL! I really look back fondly on their entire relationship (with the exception of 2007 when they were completely decimated). Their ups & downs provided great drama, for the most part. I'd love to live through it all over again. Some standout moments/stories: their first real date, their wedding in 05, their non-wedding in 04, their fights, their love scenes, deciding to live together, the 2002 custody battle for Zach, Gus delivering Jude, getting engaged, and their first "I love you"s, and discovering that Gus is a Spaulding. They were true love, and no one ever loved Harley the way Gus did.

Of course, I've also enjoyed Harley's relationship with her family and friends. Her friendships with Jenna, Blake, and Cassie were the best. She and Jenna were a team for a good bit, and it seemed like the two of them had always been best friends. Later, it was a trio with Harley, Cassie, & Blake. Seeing them get together for drinks or whatever was always a blast. Throw in Reva and you've got a funny foursome. It's Harley's family that truly defines her. Frank raised her, and it was the two of them for so long. I admire their relationship so much. Then they both had to deal with each parent re-entering their lives. Then gradually you add in Marina, Coop, and Harley's kids. And let's not forget Lucy, but I don't know much about her. Being a Cooper means you've got plenty of relatives, and you're also Greek.

My favorite shining time of Harley's life was when she was the number one suspect in Phillip's shooting. That was when she and Gus were front & center. They drove the story on GL for a good 9 months (approximately), and I couldn't have been happier. It was turmoil to see Harley get arrested for the shooting, but everything resulting from that was phenomenal to watch. I truly enjoyed her trial and seeing her struggling with whether or not she shot Phillip because it was good drama & angst. And Gus & Harley wanted to be together, but something always blocked them on that path of being a couple again. This whole ordeal ultimately led to them being on the run, which truly brought them back together. Really, this whole adventure made them closer & stronger. What especially makes this particular story special for me is how much I learned about Harley, Gus, and their love for each other. Harley is not an optimist, and she is very brave for her family. It doesn't faze Gus how much Pepto his drinks. Gus would do anything for Harley, and he lives for her. I literally could see in their eyes the depth of their love for one another. It's that prominent and powerful. I'm grateful for that storyline.

Now to the rest of its 70+ years... Like I've said, there is so much Guiding Light history I'm missing and haven't seen. A TON! But I do know some major things besides events of Harley's past. Reva was presumed dead twice, once from driving off a bridge. I saw a clip of Reva proclaiming herself the "slut of Springfield". I also saw a clip of Rodger raping his wife, Holly. I know about the popular "Four Musketeers" (Phillip, Beth, Rick, & Mindy), especially since they just had a reunion. I know how shockingly devastating Maureen's death was. Phillip isn't really a Spaulding, but he's still Alan's favorite son. Reva married Josh's father & brother before him, but really, it's been Josh & Reva always. Dinah killed the man she loved instead of Cassie. I know about crazy Annie and that she was an excellent villain for Josh, Reva, and anyone who messed with her. Most importantly, I know that the Bauers were one of Springfield's first families. There use to be a lot more of them driving front-burner storylines, and now how would anyone know that?

In closing, I hope to learn & see more of Guiding Light's amazing multitude of characters, couples, and storylines. I'll watch clips on YouTube or wherever, and I have a copy of Guiding Light: The Complete Family Scrapbook that I plan on reading. It's sad that I've only seen GL's final decade, and I really do wish I had more attachment to it. But just because I didn't fully grow up with it doesn't mean I don't adore & love it dearly. I'll always cherish my time with this show. I pray that its CBS cancellation doesn't mean the end and that another channel or the Internet picks it up.

Here's to Guiding Light - the longest running show in history and one of the best damn soap operas ever created! GL ALWAYS!

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