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0 September 18th, 2009 Guiding Light :The Finale What worked What didn’t!

I have been taking it all in, today’s final episode of the beloved Guiding Light. To prepare, I decided to sit by the television the old-fashioned way and watch the show in real time at the 2PM designated CBS time slot that the show has aired for decades. (instead of watching it later on CBS.com) I know for so many fans and generations of families that GL is their story coming to a conclusion. This was a big event. This week we have been blessed with four episodes that were heartfelt, emotional and had great story moving through it and propelling us to the grand finale. The set-up seemed pretty ripe for a big cliffhanger between Reva/Josh and Jeffrey, or so I thought.

I had known for some time the show was going to flash forward ahead so the viewers could see where the lives of the people of Springfield had ended up, I thought that was a great idea. My only wish is I wish it would have been more than a year. Just to see a bigger difference of how time impacted these characters lives.

While I was engaged at seeing how the show and writers would wrap up the various characters, it all seemed so forced, compressed, and quick. While I understand the need to move burgeoning relationships ahead, this was at light speed. Question: Were Beth and Phillip remarried in the flash forward? I was confused by that.

It was appropriate and deserving that the big scenes in the show belonged to Kim Zimmer and Robert Newman, and the big question: Would Reva and Josh reunite? I thought Kim was wonderful. She brought me to tears multiple times through the episode. Her Reva will be sorely missed. Kim is one of the all-time greatest and you saw today, just why that is. I loved the scene where Josh tells Reva to meet him at the lighthouse in a year. I l have loved Josh and the exceptional Robert Newman all week long and more than ever. Touching. So, now I thought, “Wow, Jeffrey is going to come back the same day Reva is to head to the lighthouse to meet Josh and now she will be torn. She has decided to go to Josh, but then lo and behold …Jeffrey shows up. I thought that up as one possible ending. It would be a “Reva’s choice” cliffhanger. When that was not to be, I thought, “Is she going to tell Josh, yes?” “Where is Jeffrey?”

Don’t get me wrong, I have always wanted Reva with Josh in the end. So when Kim Zimmer’s Reva, in an incredibly moving scene, told Josh she wanted to be with him, too, I thought that all long time Josh/Reva fans must have enjoyed that, as much as I did. Now looking at my clock, I thought, “OK, now is Jeffrey coming? Perhaps, just as they are driving out of town? ” But that did not happen either, and the show ended with Reva and Josh driving off in H.B.’s car. I am glad Reva got her ‘bud” back and Josh got the love of his life. But is Jeffrey dead? Perhaps, I guess its left open-ended or implied, depending on what the viewers take on it is.

The other nicely nuanced performance was given by Grant Aleksander. The scene in the Spaulding dining room, when Beth comes in and gives him the journal to write his thoughts in, was very poignant. It was also a tender heartfelt moment between Marj Dusay’s, Alex saying her goodbyes to Phillip. I loved seeing Gina Tognoni and Rob Bogue back for a millisecond, but I wish we could have gotten a more dynamic moment for them.

There was a lot picnic, playing, frollicking and we get the sense that it’s a lovin’ place Springfield , and life goes on, and love was finally in the cards and in the air for everyone, yet I felt let down. There just seemed to be to much throwing every one together and a focus on the minor characters: Mel, Remy, Cristina, Cyrus. But I understand, spreading the wealth and giving your hard-working actors their due. But still…..

Fans emailed and tweeted, people called me, and no matter how you look at it, today was sad. A sad day. I will miss Reva, Josh, Phillip, Beth, Alan, Olivia, Natalia, Buzz, Jonathan, Shayne and Dinah very much. Who will you miss the most? Let me know your thoughts by responding to this blog.

Till next week, (when there is no Guiding Light on the air, ARGH!)

Michael

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