September 16, 2009By Marc Wilkofsky Posted: Sep 16, 2009
Watching the extremely moving developments in GUIDING LIGHT’s Phillip/Alan story, in which Alan bravely saved his son’s life but suddenly passed away, has been challenging but also cathartic. My dad, Sol, would have turned 75 today.
As I've mentioned in this occasionally personal blog, he regularly taped GL for me and my mom, Barbara, and the three of us watched it together for years. We were so into the show that one afternoon, during one of our many fun trips, we sat in the lobby of an Ocean City, MD, inn, watching it with the front desk clerk, who also happened to be a viewer. When someone asked if Warren Andrews, who was passed out on the floor of a Cedars elevator, was dead, the clerk said, "He'd better be; he's been lying there for two days."
I recently found one of my dad's tapes from 1987, which happened to feature my favorite male GL character of all time, who is not Josh or Rick; it's Rick's cousin, Johnny Bauer, a pilot who became the host of the Springfield talk show One on One. (Holly, who was his WSPR boss, is my all-time favorite character, largely due to her strength, wisdom and wit.) I watched this tape and marveled at its good advice from the mysterious but selfless Esme, who helped Johnny through his battle with cancer. I'll paraphrase her words to him: Don't live with a fear of dying; just live.
|Three of my favorite people: my parents and Maureen Garrett (Holly, GL)|
This past February, as the dying Coop said, "Good night, Dad" to Buzz, it's a good thing I was watching a recording at home, because let's just say I was teary. That's something I used to make sure to tell my dad for years, in person, by phone and in his hospital room. Coop's final words, "I'm just like you," were beautifully written, and boy, do I relate to them; I'm very much like my friendly and caring dad.
Phillip could relate to Hamlet's simple but heartfelt words about his father: "He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again." That last part could also be said about the soap itself, which entertained and amazed us with Phillip's powerful, decades-long epic, along with scores of other wonderful stories. We will not have a show like GL again.
On that note...
Dear Mr. Wilkofsky,
It doesn't seem right that I should be sending this e-mail, addressing the end of GUIDING LIGHT. I have been a GL viewer for only approximately three years. The first episode I watched was purely accidental. I was channel surfing one day — the day of Tammy and Sandy's wedding — and decided to watch for a couple of minutes. That couple of minutes turned into years. I am so sad and so shocked that a show of this quality is ending after such a long run. As sad as I am, I cannot even begin to imagine what it must feel like for the millions of viewers who have been watching for 10, 20, 30, etc. years.
I have watched soaps my entire life, since I was a teenager. I am in my 40s now, so that's a long time. There has never been a soap quite like GUIDING LIGHT. There were, of course, a few nonsensical storylines over the years, I'm sure, but there was something very special about GL that was never captured in quite the same way on ALL MY CHILDREN or THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, or any of the other soaps.
This show will be terribly, terribly missed. The one and only bright side to this story is that I can still see Tom Pelphrey on AS THE WORLD TURNS, although somehow he'll always be Jonathan Randall to me.
At any rate, I just wanted to voice my sadness to someone who I knew would listen. Thank you.
A soon-to-be-former GUIDING LIGHT viewer
Thanks for your letter, Kristi. I'm definitely listening, and as always, asking our readers for their memories of GL and reactions to the wrap-up week. You can reach me at GLeditor@soapoperaweekly.com.
Here's another reason to keep the TV on, people (as I've heard a few of you note that your screens are off for good once GL ends): Fox's GLEE. This series, featuring the engrossing struggles and stunning performances of a high school glee club, is truly the finest new prime-time show of the season, and ultraclose to perfect. Both laugh-out-loud funny and dramatically compelling, it's one show which pays to rewind, while it also features soapy storylines, including two of unrequited love. The incredible singing talent of Lea Michele (Rachel) alone is a reason to catch a Wednesday installment, and I sincerely hope GLEE's well-deserved hype will bring more viewers to McKinley High every week.