September 4, 2009By Marc Wilkofsky Posted: Sep 4, 2009
With two weeks to go, GUIDING LIGHT is certainly combining the dramatic, the depressing and the delightful these days, as Phillip's terminal illness and Henry's paternity (that's the delightful part) are both out in the open. But I have another storyline to discuss: the revisionist redemption of Cyrus Foley. I have no problem with him being the son of fellow jewel thief Jenna. This connects the Cooper and Bradshaw families in a new way (along with the Boudreaus, as he has brought romance to Mel's life and befriended Remy). Also, the fact that he romanced Harley and Marina, who he didn't know would later become his sort-of-family members...what? A soap character bedding people indirectly related to him through his family? That never happens. Cyrus has brought Buzz miles away from his depression over Coop's death by giving Coop a brand-new brother, and Buzz, a new "son." Would you rather see the chipper, fun Buzz, or the glowering, deeply down Buzz we watched mourn Coop (whose passing was the saddest I've watched on GL, but that's another story)? So just like I got past the fact that Daisy should be way, way past college age by now, I can easily get past some creative "rewriting" of Springfield history.
What I do have a problem with is how Edmund, most likely due to time constraints, has become a lightly developed villain. He's not exactly a one-note one, but the show hasn't recently offered much about his multifaceted personality and history, let alone the women who brought out his (gasp) sensitive side, including ex-wives Beth and Cassie. I realize the character has done some dastardly acts, and is still terrorizing Jeffrey, Jonathan and the rest of the town, but he helped Lizzie through her leukemia and brightened the days of his lovers, albeit briefly. At least David Andrew Macdonald is putting his all into portraying what looks to be GL's last villain.
In other "news," I have recently decided that my favorite current male character is Rick (his former stepmom Holly is my all-time favorite GL character). Shayne, Josh and Matt, who have lately proven to be as selfless as they are entertaining to watch, run right behind him, but I've "grown up with" the doctor and watched many of the wild and worrisome things that have happened to him. These include his barely passing his med school exam due to accidentally taking sleeping pills before it, and his losing several love interests over the years, including Mindy, Roxie, Abby and Mel. Rick's hilarious when the viewers need a laugh, and appropriately serious when his friends, like Phillip, need support.
By the way, regarding Shayne, a hearty congrats to his portrayer, Jeff Branson, on his well-deserved Emmy win; he has done an excellent job since jumping into Springfield last year, and has helped to revitalize the character. Next year, GL can still score an Emmy or three for its tremendous 2009 episodes and performances. Plus, maybe another GL montage will be played in 2010's Emmys broadcast, and it won't be truncated. Not to be overoptimistic, but at least we got to see a montage of classic GL clips — the Emmys might not have aired at all if not for The CW. Yes, there was obviously a scheduling problem, and the GL tribute should have been presented during the first hour to help make sure it was complete. To paraphrase a Vanessa Williams song, the producers obviously saved the best for near-last.
I promised to write more on last month's "Good-bye to GUIDING LIGHT" event, held at Manhattan's Paley Center for Media. After the lively panel and presentation of videos — including glimpses of cast and crew members emotionally putting together the final episode — the actors graciously spoke with the attendees at a post-event reception. Kim Zimmer (who was touched by an audience member saying she plans to mourn her husband "all-out" like Zimmer's character, Reva) stayed around for a long time, and several actors who were both on the panel and in the audience staged mini-meet-and-greets, while GL's former openings (including the well-loved "Dancing Harley" one) were displayed on video screens. There was a feeling of celebration in the air, and I applaud the Paley Center and everyone involved for giving the people who care about GL a chance to connect with each other. That, in large part, is what GL is about.