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« As the Scalpel Cuts: Not That We Mean To Imply Anything With That Title | Main | Ballistic: DiMera vs. Brady »

June 21, 2007

Soap I Don't Watch #1: Guiding Light

For the most part, SoapNet is one of the best inventions of modern times. (The list is something like 1. cotton gin, 2. TiVo, 3. internal combustion engine, 4. SoapNet/Bobbi Brown cosmetics (tie).)  Being able to watch soaps at night or on the weekends is great. I have TiVo, so I’m fine with recording them during the day to watch later, but there is a weird satisfaction in sitting at home at night and being like "Oh, Grey's Anatomy, so you say Izzie and George -- f'ing Izzie and George! -- are a couple now, huh?  Really?  Well, I'd rather click this little button right here and surf on over to another 'hospital' show that has one-tenth the medical accuracy, 'heroes' shooting at cops, and a wisecracking ghost in a track suit, so what do you think about that, you shark-jumping bitches?!"

Anyway, occasionally SoapNet does boneheaded stuff like pulling reruns of great soaps that haven’t been available to anyone for two decades in order to air recently canceled or inexplicably not-yet-canceled nighttime soaps that nobody cares enough to really watch during their first airings.  But then all is forgiven, because every one in a while, they have a super-fantastic idea. Previous examples include the Bo and Hope marathon, the Luke and Laura marathon, the Sami Brady marathon . . . pretty much marathons. I am emphatically pro-soapy-marathon.

So this year as a prelude to the Daytime Emmys, SoapNet whipped up some marathon magic in the form of an episode of each of the four shows nominated for Best Drama -- the Daytime Emmy Dramarama.

And since I 1) have the aforementioned marathon love, 2) only watch two soaps and really have no idea what else is out there, and 3) enjoy fictional people more than real ones, I decided to watch. And I thought, what would our readers like more than to hear my random musings about soaps that I know nothing about but that in all likelihood are near and dear to their hearts and therefore worthy of much better coverage than I could ever provide? I know, right? I’m always thinking of you guys. Anyway, here is the first in a series called Soaps I Don’t Watch.   


BREAKING NEWS: Guiding Light is a real show and is not imaginary. This is totally new information, Daytime Emmy wins notwithstanding.

During the Daytime Emmys red carpet arrivals, and continuing right throughout the ceremony, Promising Ingénue and I started making jokes about Guiding Light not actually existing, since neither of us has ever seen the show nor met anyone who has seen the show.  Well, consider me corrected.  Guiding Light is not imaginary, and I apologize to our 29 readers who watch it for our inconsiderate tone. (Of course that's an over-exaggeration.  Only 23 people watch Guiding Light in total, and only four of them ever visit our site.)

For this and the other three reviews I shall employ the highly sophisticated and precise process known as “pro and con.”

Guiding Light Pros:

  • There is a character named “Mallet.”
  • Mallet is a cop, who does not appear to be a moron. And who gets romantic storylines. Even just thinking about such things makes Bob Guza’s eye twitch.
  • Pacing. Things seem to move quickly; over the span of about 45 seconds two characters (one is the aforementioned Mallet) went from discovering their wedding had not been canceled (as it apparently should have been) while one of them was still in her pajamas, to being fully clothed and presumably bathed and arguing with the hotel guy, to having a number of more detailed conversations with said hotel guy that presumably spanned many minutes or hours in real time. And then in the same episode a party started, an ex-groom re-proposed, a party became wedding, the bride got ready, the bride bailed on the groom, and the bride had sex with a guy I suspect is quite sleazy.  On Days, this would have taken four episodes. A year ago on Days, this would have taken four months. On GH it might have only taken a couple of episodes, but one of the participants would have gotten shot at point-blank range in the head. My money would be on the chick.
  • Gina Tognoni. She’s fabulous. Which makes her Emmy dress all that much more puzzling and sad (though last year's gown does really cancel out this year's ugly). If what Promising Ingénue says is true and GH considered Tognoni for the Carly recast a couple of years back, that kind of makes sense, in that she would not have needed an adjustment period to a tacky wardrobe.



  • Gina’s character is named Dinah, which really has endless humorous possibilities.
  • Humor. Intentional humor. That is actually funny.  On a soap, seemingly fairly consistently.
  • Justin Deas is on it. I loved him and Robin Mattson on Santa Barbara.  During his five seconds of airtime in this episode, he was just as entertaining as he was back in the day.
  • It featured the guy named Mallet flinging Gina Tognoni semi-angrily over his shoulder and carrying her out of the room, a soap cliché you rarely see anymore and one that I miss terribly.


  • From the credits, it seems Crystal Chappell is on it. Carly! I love her. Is she still married in real life to the guy who played Lawrence?  Regardless, she’s awesome. I think she’s the only woman I’ve ever seen who could compete with Kristian Alfonso in eyebrow acting.

Guiding Light Cons:

  • There is a woman taking off her bra in the opening credits. That’s putting a little too much out there, Guiding Light.  (Plus, everyone already knows you're a grandma soap, so this is both pointless and probably offending/causing cardiac arrest in elderly women nationwide.)


  • Not enough hot men.
  • This outfit


  • Dinah hooking up with that Jeffrey guy at the end.  Somehow I don't think that ended well.  But it's a soap, so I assume it led to a Who's the Daddy storyline, and I imagine Gina Tognoni rocked that.


Deas, Tognoni and Crystal Chappell? How come I cannot find this soap anywhere on my dial? I actually watch two CBS soaps intermittently -- ATWT and Y&R. Wouldn't you think CBS would advertise this gift to the acting gods a bit more? Perhaps it's a local station thing. Bastards.

Oh, fave line of the day? "I'd rather click this little button right here and surf on over to another 'hospital' show that has one-tenth the medical accuracy, 'heroes' shooting at cops, and a wisecracking ghost in a track suit, so what do you think about that, you shark-jumping bitches?!" Bwahahahahha!

I only watch Guiding Light over the summer, due to the ugly time slot.... and to my knowledge: Nope, no baby! :)

Another plus: Not too long ago, show featured longtime herione Beth going completely batshit and whacking people with what appeared to be a giant table leg.

I'm glad you guys "discovered" GL. It's typically a pretty good show, but I gave up on it earlier this year--after watching this regime screw up the best thing that had happened to the show in years: Jonathan and Tammy. Serves me right for returning after they screwed Grant Aleksander and returning before that after they disrespected the fantastic Micahel Zaslow.(The execs responsible for the later were gone when I went back, but I think the entire production is bearing the karmic load and that mess.)

Sounds like you viewed one of GL's Wednesday episodes. Some of the 23 of us who watch it like to call it "wacky wednesday", because you never know what might happen.

GL certainly has its detractors and it doesn't do everything perfectly, but one thing I've noticed in comparison to GH(the other soap in my life, but we are currently separated)is the cast balance. You can't tell by the wednesday eps, because they usually focus on a single character or storyline, but they do share the wealth. They had 4 nominations among supporting/lead actress last year, and 3 this year due to "pitching the ball" more than once to their cast of homerun hitters.

They have a family of cops who have a fairly decent arrest rate. They have a family of doctors who can't always save people, but sometimes pull out miraculous cures. Cancer storylines that are given focus and play the emotional beats (even if some of the plot twists are a little clunky). They have the Spauldings, who are like the Quartermaines on steroids(Alan Spaulding would have had Sonny buried with his meathook, then smoked a cigar and laughed evilly while he listened to classical music). They have Gina Tognoni who rocks the character of Dinah(a character that has to be at least 10 times more enjoyable to play than Carly or Brenda on GH). They have Lawrence St. Victor (Remy) who has one of the best bodies in daytime, although they could use a few more like him. They have Justin Deas, Crystal Chappell, Marj Dusay, and Ricky Paul Goldin. They have stories that are about family and they are spending the whole year celebrating 70 years as a soap by doing charity work side by side with their fans.

GL has been a joy for me to rediscover and watch over the past 2 years. There are fans who detest it as much as I loathe GH right now, but I can only speak to my own experience: GL is a flawed show that exists on a shoestring budget with a small cast of actors who you never catch phoning it in. Not a week goes by that this show doesn't make me intentionally laugh, cry, and cheer. Rarely do I have the urge to throw my dvr into the tv causing a massive explosion; facilitating the end of my soap opera addiction(that is why GH and I are on a break).

You should check out one of the other "imaginary" soaps, As The World Turns.

CBS.com just started putting Y&R, GL and ATWT episodes online.. so try it.

(You might just like it.. no mob to be seen, smarter policemen and some cute boys..)

In addition to ande mcbeal's fine summary of story and players, the Light has a relative newcomer named Caitlan Van Zandt, who has the occasional scene where her talent is allowed to shine. She is truly a gem, among a Tiffany-worthy cast.

I am not her mother.

GL will surely be cancelled at any moment which is a shame. I always admired it in the past, despite, you know, REVA. Every time I look in on it today I am consistently impressed by the quality of writing, acting, and editing. They give good montage, as opposed to ABC these days. And Gina T. has been a revelation over there, given that I despised her in her last few years at OLTL.

P.S. - I so don't want to be seen as biting your guys' style given your posts on GL and Britsoaps, as I've already established I am sickeningly envious of you, so I did want to tell you: I'd been planning to write up a special post on British soaps and their "don't give a fuck" attitude for awhile as well. I used to love Eastenders on PBS and even watched it by, er, other means during the "Return of Den" story a few years ago, and have been keeping up on the brutal body count on it and other British soaps. Look what they did to Pauline Fowler, and the viewers didn't bat an eye! Amazing. Anyway, there's that, and also, since I did admire GL's style of late, I was considering trying to blog it for awhile, try it out again. I hope you guys won't take it as the shameless plagiarism it clearly is because those ideas really have been knocking around in my head for awhile. So, okay!

God, I need a job.

Because it was mentioned, and it really was too much soap fun: Beth Raines Spaulding, BatShitCrazy Beth, doing her thing with the wooden table leg...


Team Villain, I sat through that whole clip, as that Beth person increasingly creeped me right the hell out, but then there was no wooden table leg madness! What am I missing?!

jase, much as I love the idea that once we post even a sentence about something we have occupied that field for the entire internet, I promise not to put a hit out on you if you blog about the soap I've watched once in my life or the British one that Promising Ingenue and ten other Americans watch. Also, since you're looking for employment, I hear that the job of choice for young men these days is working for the local mobster, who is under no circumstances involved with drugs, prostitution, or arms dealing. I think you should look into that!

buddz, I think you'll need to point us in the direction of a clip of your daughter.

That was my bad, Evil But Twinless, I thought it was the clip when she is wailing on her hostages with a wooden table leg. If you look closely at the beginning of the clip, you can see the wooden table leg in her hand. Sadly, I cannot immediately find the clip where she actually put the leg to use, but if I do, I'll send it your way. It is the least you deserve after having been sufficiently creeped out.

Ok, I found it. I double checked the clip this time. Here is BSCBeth and the wooden table leg. It is towards the end of the clip, but the setup is worth watching.


Okay, that was pretty awesome. I could think of several characters on both GH and Days who could benefit from a table leg to the cranium.

I loved the post. I've given up watching GL but they do have a very fine cast and their Wednesday eppies can be fun to watch. The only problem is that too much starts to happen on their "Inside the light" Wednesday shows and not enough on the other days of the week.

Justin Deas is underutilized but as great on this show as he was on SB and ATWT. His character was romantically involved with Crystal Chappell's awesome character. Unfortunately, it looks like they're ending that in order to write a 'romance' between her and the guy who raped her character and knocked her up when she was sixteen. (He's the guy Dinah slept with at the end of the episode you saw and he has had more backstories than John Black.) I don't like the story on DOOL and I like it even less here.

To answer your question, yes CC is still married to Michael Sabatino (ex-Lawrence Alamain) and they have two kids.

Jase: I will visit your blog if you include the Aussie soap: "McLEOD'S DAUGHTERS". Gorgeous guys WITH accents, strong women, lots o' sheep. 'Soap on the Range'. LOL. I think that there are now six of us in the U.S. who watch "McLeod's"...and as of the last few seasons, it has become perfect foder for a Serial Drama Blog: bad, bad, bad.
(Could Guza & Co. be moonlighting in Australia?)
Re: Guiding Light. Hmm. Watched the clip -- looks interesting. I can't resist someone wielding a wooden table leg. [I can think of a few GH WRITERS who would benefit greatly from a table leg to the cranium!] However, I am a jinx -- if I watch GL, it will be cancelled for sure. Ever hear of "Frank's Place", "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip", "Sports Night" or "The Days & Nights of Molly Dodd"? No? Of course not! Great, well-written shows that I liked..CANCELLED! The only thing that can save GL and GH from my hex is....BAD WRITING!!! (Seems GH has a lock on that just now). Watch out, GL, I am intrigued... (Is Gus still on the show or did he die from hypothermia? He looked kinda cute.)
I thought that "As The World Turns" was already cancelled -- wait, that was "Another World." It is all so confusing!

LOL, Yes, Gus is still alive and very cute.

Too bad about "Another World" being cancelled. Tom Eplin rocked my world.

As a parting gift to this "discovery" of GL not being an imaginary show, one last clip: A string of dialogue from the show, which includes some wonderful fashion tips.


Oh TEAMVILLIAN, thanks so much for letting me relive the glory of BSCBeth. I flove it. I've waited years for poor Beth to finally snap.

The 3rd part of that series of clips is my personal favorite.


I love Guiding Light, It is the longest running TV show.

dude live, well the pelphrey fam (tom/aka Johnathan randall)

live around
blocks only in south jersey from my family
member in law actually.he show real men like
me we can find REAL love.without creepin cheat
etc. bull shit games.

just real love even after
life even after death,he still IN LOVE with her amazing man great actor there will NEVER
be any other J&R ON GH AND JAMMY ON GL.

All you superficial dumb axx fxxxxxxx may want to stop bad mouthing Guiding Light. I am so sorry...maybe they should slap each other more, or have witches and vampires. No, let's have more people come back from the dead! Give the show a chance. What idiots! You are the same freaks that support reality television, but you don't want to watch a realistic soap? Dissapointing, but typical of 'people'.

Many people watch GUIDING LIGHT and I for one like the show. Its only been on for 71 years and is the longest running show. It was number one in daytime for many years and even when it slipped it still stayed in the top 4 for a long time. Yes I know it is at the bottom now but the other show are right beside her by a .2% point. Like ALL MY CHILDREN, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, DAYS OF OUR LIVES and AS THE WORLD TURNS. Soaps are dying but GL is lowering production cost and re-inventing the soap to try to stay with modern times. Risky and hard to get used to but if you watch soaps you will notice that all of them are starting to follow the mother of all soaps, GUIDING LIGHT!

Guiding Light is the only soap I now watch. Please continue to keep it wholesome. remember it is a daytime soap & hot & heavy love scenes are not necessary.

I am EXTREMELY depressed. My mother called me last night with this sad news. I cannot believe that CBS would entertain canceling Guiding Light. I am 48 years old and have been watching this show since I can remember. I watched it with my grandmother and my mother -- it was a family afternoon event. I ran home from school each day because I did not want to miss a single episode. I now work everyday but am excited to watch it later using the website podcasts. This is definitely a sad moment in daytime television. Please do not cancel Guiding Light!! I must admit that I do not prefer the new filming format but it has NEVER kept me from watching my favorite program. I do, at times, watch other CBS soaps but this is the only one that I am emotionally committed to viewing. DO NOT CANCEL GUIDING LIGHT!!

This cancellation is appalling. Where in life is ANYTHING as continuous as a 72 year show? The world needs some sort of stability, and at a time when we're all disheartened, depressed, have lost hope and money, CBS cuts the umbilical cord to let us all sink.

I watched GL with my grandmother, mother, my two children, and now a granddaughter. Generations!!!!! We all called each other to cry when someone died, or was wronged. We cheered when the villain was foiled.

Ratings be damned. Some top movies get poor ratings. Who cares? CBS should be ashamed. I hope another network picks up the Guiding Light and makes a fortune. That's what CBS deserves. This is what we're all praying for.

Still miss GL. The worst GL is better than the lame-assedness of B&B or watching Victor and Nikki get married for the bajillionth time.

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