Sunday, September 20, 2009

My (Inadvertent) GUIDING LIGHT Tribute

Nelson Aspen is one of Entertainment's most charming on-air personalities in TV, radio, print and on-line. For three seasons, he was the Hollywood Producer/Reporter for TV Guide Television and frequent guest star on everything from celebrity news and talk shows to sitcoms and travel programs. He's contributed to a vast array of outlets, from news magazines EXTRA, ACCESS HOLLYWOOD and INSIDE EDITION to his own how-to series "NEW with NELSON!" Currently, he's juggling regular correspondent duties for the #1 morning shows of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, as well as a fifth consecutive season on Ireland's AFTERNOON SHOW...bringing the latest in entertainment and pop culture to millions of viewers around the world, every morning!

My (Inadvertent) GUIDING LIGHT Tribute
By Nelson Aspen
Guest Editorial

Like most diehard GL fans, I was dismayed by the degeneration of the show in recent years...but stuck with it out of sentimental obligation. Almost like the way you force yourself to call/write/visit an Auntie who's not the same lady you remember from growing up. Of course, since April's cancellation notice, I tuned in more often than usual and tried to acquaint myself with the new, largely untalented/uninteresting cast of characters and take some comfort from the aging stalwarts. With a firm Sept 18 end date on the calendar, I wanted to grab as many GL moments as I could...hoping in vain that P&G wouldn't be as heartless with the funeral as they were with the euthanasia.

I came to GL off of my grandmother's devotion to was a "hand me down." I was first intrigued by Evie/Ben/Amanda...then hooked with Alan/Elizabeth(Lezlie Dalton--my first crush and years later, first talk show co-presenter!)/Justin/ the time Phillip and India (my beloved pal MKA) took center stage, I was hooked. I can still vividly see Kelly Nelson's pecs...Sunny/Solita's "beauty mark" college girlfriend Liz Dennehy's confused (thanks to scab writers during the WGA strike) turn as Blake/ many important-to-me memories that I'm sure every longtime fan has catalgoued. My all-time favorite storyline would have to be 'who shot Diane Ballard?' and what a credit to the writers and actors (especially Jane Eliot) that no one would have dreamt it was Carrie Marler's schizophrenic alter ego!

So now it's over. The good news is that GL was "put out of its misery" by a production company and network that seemingly could have cared less. The bad news is that seven-plus decades of American TV Viewers will no longer have the option to spend a little time with their friends in Springfield. Maybe it was no longer "must-watch" television, but it was a comfort to know that on a sick day, or if the timing was right on a gym treadmill, you could catch a glimpse of a Lewis, Cooper, Spaulding or (all too rarely) a Bauer.

Even though I said goodbye to "my" GUIDING LIGHT around the time that my mentor, Mary Stuart, passed away, I shed a tear as Josh & Reva drove off from the lighthouse, ignoring the fact that they (and a rapidly aged Colin) had neither seat belts nor license plates on the old pickup truck.

And then, Turner Classic Movies did me a favor as they so often do: aired a movie that matched my mood. On came 1939's "Wuthering Heights." Would you believe I'd never seen it? I know it was a classic that Doug Marland exploited in the 1980's to fuel some of Nola Reardon's romantic fantasies. So I watched it. I was ENRAPT. It was Nola & Quint's love story--almost to a tee! I remember seeing Lisa Brown on Broadway around that time in "42nd Street" and thinking what a Judy Garland type she was...perfect for a "Wizard of Oz" fantasy, just as Marland concocted. Everything started adding up/making sense and I spent two glorious hours watching a classic movie that was the ultimate soap opera...with the cognition that it was the same kind of storytelling that not only inspired Marland's writing, but inspired all of us who fell in love with GL during its heyday.

We're lucky to have YouTube and websites like "welovesoaps" and "daytimeconfidential" to help us remember when soaps ruled the daytime airwaves. But I encourage those of us who remember those glory days, to keep the shows close enough in our hearts to remember them when we see their glimpses in other mediums...whether those are from the past (like "Wuthering Heights") or in the future (gulp! reality shows).

No comments:

Post a Comment