Master Verbal Pyrotechnician
Joined: Sep 2008
RE: And then there was Seven.
(04-03-2009 12:04 PM)RonJon Wrote:
(04-02-2009 09:29 AM)Tristan Rogers Wrote: It was to be expected that Guiding Light would probably not make it. However, news of its cancellation was still a shock, more so because these are uncertain days for all the Daytime soap opera’s and the passing of any one of them makes you think about time running out for the remainder. I can remember writing about a year ago, in an upbeat and enthusiastic way about the “new deal” that was about to emerge from GL, and perhaps herald this as a “break out” show. There was the introduction of a digital look, location shooting and a different “way” of telling the story. Coming from a show that was one of the original pillars of the genre, this sounded like GL was making serious efforts to “re-invent” itself. At the time I found this very exciting.
What went wrong?
Well, somewhere along the line someone forgot that all these new and exciting elements needed to be made into……… a show. And from what I saw, that never happened. Can we learn something from this?
It gets back to what I have always thought, and that is, changing the direction of “any” soap is a daunting project. But, when you are about to change a show that has been around for 70 plus years you tread very carefully, and above all, you have a really solid plan in place. Making a change to a show like this would be, in my opinion, akin to changing the shape of the moon. You have so many things both historical and traditional that need to be considered. And above all you have the fan base. As a person with little real understanding of GL I would have sat down with the fans and listened to what they had to say. Whether this happened, I don’t know.
What I do know is that after the initial excitement/wariness of “change” had passed the fans became very dissatisfied. The overall look of the show was widely compared to something from YouTube, and the story telling seemed to lack structure, something this show had always been noted for. Rather than making subtle changes that gradually altered the “feel” of the show GL went for the jugular and tried to do it over night. When this failed, rather than fall back on familiar ground they continued to move ahead. I tuned in occasionally and from an outsiders viewpoint I never had the feeling that this show was settled. It felt more that “the new technology was at odds with the shows tradition and history”. Still, I felt that these problems could be overcome. But it never happened. Procter and Gamble must have spent a ton of money here and the only thing to show for it is a cancelled show. To me they could have obtained a better return for their efforts.
Guiding Light was the show that had literally written “the book” for soaps. GL had been ground breaking in its contribution to this genre and the thought that it will not be around simply lends credence to the notion that, “nothing lasts forever”.
When all of the columns have been written and the retrospectives run their course GL will take its place on a shelf along with the other cancelled soaps and await the time when “other” shows will join it.
Thoughtful as usual, Tristan. So true--nothing lasts forever...life is always moving, things change, shit happens! And of course change opens up room for the new--and sometimes that can be great. I would guess strongly that when you saw your daughter acting(per your twitter)--that shows how great new can be. To see the world with fresh hope, fresh eyes.
Anyway with GL leaving--that's not good for those who love the form and tradition. What good can come from this? One can hope the other soaps get a jolt and say we really have to pick it up. Sure they have known for a long time the old stay at home moms demographic has been shrinking steadily--but just wishing the REALITY of another dead soap lights some fires.
I'm all for more interaction between tptb and their audiences...that is only smart--and it has been woefully lacking. Though that needs balanced because there is the danger of too much nostalgia, too much fangirlism, too much desire for happy happy with no edge. Respect the past but don't swamp the future with it.
Yeah, it's tricky driving change without losing bearings. One thing I like is emphasizing the great families of all the soaps and making sure it's multi-generational. Sure soaps always need a focus on the youngish and beautiful but they are stunted and not hitting on all cylinders if those above a certain demographic aren't vitally involved also. The multi-generational great families would be the anchor for changing the course of the huge monoliths we call soaps.
I hope they all wake up and start thinking hard about a plan for not just surviving but also thriving. And also consider some fresh blood for writers--those who can integrate with more established ones and help create vitallity and tradition. Not easy but doable.
TR is insightful and enlightening as ever. He says that the GL "story telling seemed to lack structure, something this show had always been noted for" which I think is an excellent point. And I agree with RJ's statement about needing audience participation, balanced storylines, multi-generational families and respecting "the past but don't swamp the future with it."
So within that framework of thought, it just seems like the sensible plan of action would be to 1) bring new blood into TPTB at GH (even a more daunting task now that it's been publicly stated that Frons will never get rid of Guza) who would listen to the fans upon whom the rating depend; 2) look around at what is succeeding and use that info wisely (Y&R's multi-generational stories); integrate the past (and honoring actual history in a way that honors beloved characters) and the future so that both current and "returnee" fans would want to tune in and watch; 3) And finally, give a little credence to what GH was "noted for", great characters (both good and evil) who brought about a balanced storyline that used multi-generational families to both honor history and move forward with new things.
What TPTB are doing now will only slowly bring GH to its demise, which means that TPTB are cutting their own throats. I just don't understand that!
At the Robin/Patrick wedding, someone had the good sense to bring RS/AD into the story. Quite logical storytelling. Then they disappeared into thin air, when they could have been used to keep those fans who tuned in for the wedding, and regrow the fan base, which would logically bring the ratings up. That would solve the issue of history and multi-generational families. But instead TIIC create Ethan with the possibility that he is either Robert's son (okay, the coma thing could have worked) or Luke's son (which would destroy the history and character of Robert, Holly, Luke and Laura). So Ethan either has no or should have no family connection. Then there's Holly, who will enter the scene, either as Ethan's mom (see Robert and Luke WTD above) which is detrimental to history, etc., or with no connection to family (which could be overcome by bringing Robert on).
So really, GH is still spinning its tires and going nowhere, except for the purposeful inching downward into the abyss of cancellation. Sad. Thanks Fronsie.