A New Light on Guiding Light

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Soapdom's Dani Roe reviews the debut of Guiding Light's new production model


Marcy Rylan, Tom Pelphrey (Lizzie, Jon, Guiding Light)After 71 years of entertaining audiences, Guiding Light leads the way once again in cutting edge entertainment. February 29th was the official launch in full of Guiding Light’s new filming format. Everyone will have their own opinions and some will down right resist the new look and practically new show. I myself have had apprehensions about the changes that were first announced on stage at the Kodak theatre during the 2007 Daytime Emmy Awards in the wake of winning Outstanding Drama.

The powers that be at GL who decided to slowly incorporate this new style and sets deserve a standing ovation for gently breaking us in to their changes. I am still undecided on my overall feelings about the new look, but I can say for sure, if Guiding Light just came on today without a little prior eye candy then I would not have liked it at all.

Today, I was ready and looking forward to the debut, and enjoyed it quite a bit. These are my observations good and bad of the new Guiding Light.

One of the most shocking details I am surprised, yet pleased, to see was the amount of detail of flaws that are visible now. I will note a couple I noticed recently. I am not singling any particular actress or actor out, as I love and admire each and every person that makes Guiding Light family, these are just a couple that come to mind.

Today, shave bumps on Jonathan’s face, break-outs on Marina and Ava’s faces at the nail salon, a pock mark or indention on Dinah’s face, and actual weight is more apparent on men and women. I think this is a good thing, considering the pressures men and women face day to day, professionally and personally. To show these characters in less than perfect form, lends to the reality of the show, rather than a completely false persona that no one could really be or live up to.

As close to real life as possible is the angle, it appears, that Guiding Light is going. The sets and lighting of course is the first visual indication, but the dialogue and body language between the characters is much more close to how we as everyday people live our lives; rather than long seductive stares in to the camera or exaggerated placement while delivering over the top lines that soaps are often known for.

An example would be Jonathan and Reva’s exchange in the break room at Lewis Construction on today‘s episode. Reva and Jonathan leaned on the counter while they chatted and Jonathan snacked on left over food and complained about it, instead of standing face to face reciting lines no one would ever really say to someone. Despite the heaviness of the topic which they spoke about, it was still casual, making the viewer feel more like part of the conversation than a viewer. Even in primetime or the popular reality TV, the viewer is not invited in and made to feel as part of a show; quite like Guiding Light has managed to step into our homes the way they did when they first aired on the radio.

Staying true to the real life form, the characters eat real food and really eat it. They wear more realistic clothing for working and living. They live, work, and visit real places both inside and out. If Springfield is experiencing weather, they really are; it isn’t a rain, snow, or wind machine on a soundstage simply when it benefits the storyline. Though we have gotten some great plot twists as a result of the writers “planned” weather.

All in all, I do like the new look I realize as I write this and reflect on what I just saw. What I did notice and do not like was, too much music that overshadows the scene or conversation. Also from time to time I noticed, especially on outside shots, the audio did not match up with the movement of the lips. Lastly, the camera seemed too shaky and unprofessional. When panning in or out it was jerky rather than a smooth transition in or out of a close up.
The good defiantly outweighs the bad in this particular situation in my opinion, so I am pleased to see and welcome the new Guiding Light.
This is strictly my opinion and Soapdom welcomes and looks forward to your opinion on this subject and any other soap opera related topic. We invite you to tell us your observations and feelings about Guiding Light’s new filming format. Please feel free to note anything I did not address, and/or disagree with me. Your opinion is valued, without you the fans, Soapdom and the soap operas could not exist, so don’t be afraid or shy to let us and the world know how you feel.