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Home Features Busted to Blissful Busted to Blissful ~ April 2009

Busted to Blissful ~ April 2009


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Busted:  Guiding Light Canceled
CBS announced April 1, 2009 it will pull the plug on Guiding Light this September.  After airing for 72 years, beginning on radio in 1937 before moving to television in 1952, the show has become a cultural icon.  It’s television’s longest running program.  During its run, GL won a grand total of 60 Emmys, a feat not matched by any other show in history.  With statistics such as these, is nothing sacred anymore?

I was a late comer to the light, starting my love affair with the show in 1992.  As a teenager at the time, the Julie/Hart/Bridget triangle captured my attention.  Through the years I grew to love the relationship between Holly and Roger (the late, great, Michael Zaslow), Beth and Phillip, and of course, Reva and Josh.  It was the younger generation that piqued my...

early interest, but it was the established actors that kept me coming back, long after the youngins’ were gone.

Some of my favorite storylines include: the fun Harley/Phillip/Beth triangle, the classic Cassie/ Prince Richard love story, and yes, even the infamous Reva’s Clone story.  I know I’m in the minority about the latter, but I found the concept tender, fascinating and ground breaking all at the same time.

I could relate to Josh’s grief over the love of his life’s death, and the feeling of wanting to bring her back any way he could.  Who among us hasn’t lost a loved one and wished there was a way they could return, and would give anything to make it happen?  If you tapped into the emotional core of the story, and separated it from ethical questions and the science fiction aspect of cloning, I think it was one of the most original and powerful stories to ever air in daytime.  I say this about the story’s inception and initial execution, not the swift, botched ending brought about by nervous network suits in less than a year’s time.

Throughout its history, GL demonstrated a penchant for shaking up the status quo.  In 2008, the show debuted a much hyped new look.  It decamped from its New York studio to the town of Peapack, New Jersey.  The show began shooting outdoor scenes in real outdoor settings as opposed to inside a studio.  They also infused their indoor scenes with a level of reality heretofore unseen in daytime, by utilizing real homes, board rooms and offices for an additional “on location” look and feel.  In addition, the show started using free hand held cameras, with a “shaky-cam” style more reminiscent of films than daytime soap operas.  They relied on frequent fast cuts and extreme close-ups of the actors to further step away from the traditional soap opera aesthetic.

After taking some time to get used to the new look, I loved GL even more.  Any show that can continue to reinvent itself to stay relevant after 71 years in business, is deserving of respect and accolades.

However, GL is renown for much more than its star-crossed super couples, outlandish storylines and pioneering innovations.  The talent that has inhabited Springfield through the years reads like a who’s who of Hollywood.  Oscar winners Christopher Walken and Mira Sorvino received their first big breaks here, as did Emmy winner Allison Janney.  Hollywood heavyweights James Earl Jones, Billy Dee Williams and Kevin Bacon spent time in the light, as did television stars Melina Kanakaredes, Brittany Snow, Taye Diggs, and Hayden Panettiere.

GL has been and continues to be an important part of so many lives, both of actors and fans alike.  Even if you’re not a GL fan, but are a fan of another daytime soap, the day GL was canceled is a devastating one.  It proves no soap - no matter how established or revered - is immune to the tidal wave of change that’s coming to daytime television.  I fear that the cancelation of GL is the beginning of the end for daytime soap operas.

Blissful:  Sharon's Descent on the Young and the Restless
The character of Sharon Abbott on The Young and the Restless has suffered a number of blows.

First there was her teenage son, Noah’s, near brush with death.  Noah’s accident also inadvertently caused the death of Sharon’s best friend, Brad, while he was saving Noah’s life.  Then there was Sharon’s ill-advised one night stand with her ex-husband, Nick, who promptly went back to his current wife, Phyllis, after Sharon expressed her love for him.  To top it all off, Sharon is going through a painful separation/divorce from her own husband, Jack.  Those things individually are enough to make even the most sane person snap.  When you put them all together, it sets the stage for an epic downfall, which is great news for Y&R fans.

Is it any wonder Sharon is teetering on the brink now?  When Sharon’s teenage daughter, Cassie, was killed several years ago, Sharon was the one who tried to hold the family together, and put her own grief on hold.  When her husband cheated with Phyllis, Sharon was angry and devastated, but let Nick go without much of a fight, especially when Phyllis became pregnant.

It’s the most logical thing in the world for Sharon to have some serious, repressed issues from her past, in addition to having trouble coping with the recent events in her life.  We would expect the cool, calm and collected Sharon of old to keep it together, allowing her feelings to fester just beneath the surface.

Instead, Sharon has developed kleptomania and nymphomania compulsions which make her infinitely more fun to watch.  Sharon has suffered memory lapses where she doesn’t remember stealing knick-knacks from friends and family’s homes, as well as a stranger’s cell phone, and books from a bookstore.

As if that wasn’t enough drama, she has also resorted to sleeping with several men in the span of a few days.  She not only slept with Nick and Jack, but is now involved in a secret “no strings” affair with Jack’s younger brother, Billy.

In a less capable actress’ hands, Sharon could easily come across as a petty thief and a slut.  In Sharon Case’s hands, the character of Sharon is a wounded bird feathering her nest with random gadgets and empty sex, anything to numb her unbearable pain and all consuming loneliness.

Case’s delicate portrayal of a woman on the edge has caused viewers to ask – is Sharon’s sex with Billy really meaningless?  Contrary to her current actions, Sharon is not a casual sex type of girl.  Case and Billy Miller, who plays Billy, are hot, hot, hot together.  Their romps are some of the steamiest in Y&R history.  Their scenes have a titillating undercurrent that even Phyllis and Nick can’t match with their gratuitous shower sex.  Though Billy has a wife and an ex in the picture, he doesn’t look at either woman with as much desire as he looks at Sharon.  Hopefully, it’s only a matter of time before these two start to develop real feelings for each other.

Case’s Sharon throbs with such fragility and vulnerability, viewers can’t help but feel sorry for her, and want her to get the help she so desperately needs.  If this help comes in the form of an eventual romance with Billy, than all the better.  It’s time for Sharon to have a relationship with someone besides Nick or Jack, someone she doesn’t have a past with.

For the unenviable task of taking a difficult storyline with a potentially unlikeable character arc, and turning it into something heartbreaking, compelling and sexy all at once, Case is commended.

###

Lesleyann Coker is a reporter and monthly opinion columnist for Soapdom.com.  She is also the co-author of Boob Tube, a forthcoming novel that goes behind the scenes of the soap opera industry.  The book is available in ebook form at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/3 .  She was previously a reporter for Soap Opera Weekly Magazine.

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