About a month ago, I read an interesting article over at nymag.com about how Guiding Light’s Executive Producer Ellen Wheeler was hoping to save the Daytime Soap Opera.
The first thing that came out of my mouth was, "How the hell can she save Daytime Soaps when she can’t even save her own damn show?"
Hey! It’s Just My Point Of View!
BY: NOEL D.
TVS TV COLUMNIST
Friday, September 12, 2008, 2:36 AM
About a month ago, I read an interesting article over at nymag.com about how Guiding Light’s Executive Producer Ellen Wheeler was hoping to save the Daytime Soap Opera. I’m usually a quiet person early in the morning as the first thing I do when I wake up is turn on the computer and log onto Soap Opera Source to make sure everything is okay on the message boards. After that, I usually go down the stairs and head into the kitchen and brew myself a nice pot of Folgers coffee and I head outside to see what the weather is going to be like. After the coffee is finished, I’ll pour myself a nice cup and head back upstairs just to get caught up on some Soap Opera backstage drama. And believe me, I do. When I read this particular article on Ellen Wheeler and how she hopes to save the Daytime Soap Opera, the first thing that came out of my mouth was, "How the hell can she save Daytime Soaps when she can’t even save her own damn show?"
It was the year of 2004 when Ellen Wheeler was named Guiding Light’s Executive Producer and it was the year that I thought that Mary Alice Dwyer Dobbins (former Executive in Charge of Production of PGP) played a notorious game of ‘Pin The Tail on the Donkey’ being turned around and blindfolded and she simply gave the title of an Executive Producer so quickly after former GL Executive Producer John Conboy was given the pink slip.
True. I’ve never been too keen on Ellen Wheeler’s executive decisions. I mean, it’s not like she and I share warm laughter in the middle of a park and exchange chocolate truffles. But I’ll save my thoughts and opinions about Ellen Wheeler at a more convenient time when I feel that it is appropriate. But right now, I would like to discuss about the shows new filming format because I feel that this raises a very good question. Which new filming formats have hitched and which new filming formats need to be ditched?
Picture it if you will: February 22, 2008. It was the day where you saw all sorts of promotions for Guiding Light on various cable networks and when you saw the advertising promotions, it introduced the new look of Springfield. The new look of a town that has the population of a little over 2,000 people compared to the look that Guiding Light viewers were introduced to during Christmas Eve of last year. Does anyone remember that particular episode? It was the episode where all of the characters of Springfield were locked inside of a mall. And it wasn’t just a mall either! It was a gigantic mall and the viewers even got to see how extremely large Springfield really is especially with its huge skyscrapers and noisy traffic! But now? The only thing that seems lively to do in Springfield is to go and purchase some earthworms over at Billy Bob’s Live Bait and Fresh Produce Shop! Yes, it was the day where Guiding Light’s Executive Producer was going to change the daytime genre with a more realistic approach to it. Out went the old pedestal cameras and in came the floating hand held cameras. Out went the sets of old with three walls and a floor; in came the sets that didn’t look too flattering except for the Spaulding Mansion. Out went the characters that looked like plastic figurine dolls and in came the crusty boogers at the tip of their noses! But has this certain approach worked with long-time dedicated viewers which tends to cater to an older audience? My present answer is no because the ratings obviously prove it, but then again, the ratings aren’t looking too outstanding for any daytime soap-opera these days. But will or can viewers be able to adjust to this new filming format down the road? Maybe. And I say that with very much criticism.
I wish I had this Editorial Column back in February because I could list so many things that I disliked about the new filming format. One of the things that I hated about watching the show was that it simply reminded me of this:
What was up with all of the orange faces? Why did the show look like Cinemax late night soft porn? And why were cameras zooming in on nostril hairs? What was with the Lilith Fair music you constantly heard in the background? Why were characters showing up in places right in the middle of nowhere? To boast and brag that they were outside walking on grass or something? Okay, we get the point. On a serious note, I kind of knew what to expect on February 22nd as I had watched their practice before, but the thing that boggled my mind was that they needed more practice. So why couldn’t they have practiced just a little bit more and launch its new filming format during May Sweeps? Why the urgent need to do it in the late part of February? That would have made more sense to me as I’m sure it would have made sense to any Guiding Light viewer who are just as Sweeps savvy as I am!
But now, watching it isn’t as painful to my eyes as it was back then. However, the subject of writing is a complete different issue. But since we’re talking about this new filming format, I kind of like it. I enjoy seeing the characters walking by the park or hanging out in front of the pond. And the cute little duckies who dip their little heads in the water. I like the new feel of Main Street as it gives Main Street a whole new meaning compared to the old Main Street that echoed all the way from New York City to Madagascar! I also enjoy how you feel that you’re right near the character and that you can get the actual feeling that someone like Marina is outside enjoying the nice morning breeze and then she smacks the right side of her face because some pesky gnat is flying around her. I like how you’re not seeing so much of the Beacon. You know the horrible place where it seemed like every character of Springfield and their great-grandmother lived at? The place that almost burned down to the ground by Dinah and we all wished that it would have burned down to the ground? Yeah … that Beacon. I also enjoy how you’re being invited to a certain character’s home. Take Reva’s home for example. Sometimes, I’d like to smell her flowers that she always has out for display and there are times I’d like to open up her refrigerator to at least see if she has any decent snacks. Or better yet, alcohol and lots of it! Selfishly, there are other times when the Annie Dutton starts to come out in me and I’d like to re-create the moment where she grabs a bottle of booze and beats on Reva’s fire mantel and yell, "You were there all along! You never gave us a chance did ya?" Then I’d like to take an axe and chop it up and scream, "You didn’t give us a chance! You didn’t … give us … A CHANCE!!”
I cannot believe that I am about to say this because I remember viewers complaining about this a long time ago. But where exactly is Springfield’s nightlife? There is no nightlife. The last time that I remembered seeing nightlife in Springfield was when Harley and Cassie were talking over at Cassie’s paint chipped hovel (that magically turned into a brick house) and Alan shows up unannounced to confront Cassie about her switching paternity test results over at Cedar’s Hospital. What’s up with that? And do you mean to tell me that Cassie and Cyrus have sex in broad daylight in someone’s nasty garage? Yes, I read the spoilers when Nicole Forester gave the previews and she said that Cassie and Cyrus have sex in a barn, but it wasn’t a barn. It was a garage. In fact, I bet it’s the same garage that Daisy and Grady had sex in. But you can’t tell because it seems that nothing appears to be concrete.
And what is this "Love Can Save The World" crap when there’s absolutely no true love on this show? And why this new theme opening? Sure, it beats the 70th Anniversary Captain Planet/Hairy Arms opening by a landslide, but this current theme is the pits! It has nothing to do with Guiding Light whatsoever. If you look at the past soap themes like One life To Live, Loving, Another World, or Passions, there’s a brief mention of the word (or words) of what the viewer is watching. Does this make any sense or do I need to describe it more? I think I do. You take me away to Another World! You are my Passion for life! Cause we only have One Live To Live! L-O-V-I-N-G! Where is there one mention of Guiding Light with "Love Can Save The World"? I rest my case! Seriously.
Here’s my advice to Ms. Wheeler: Ditch the Lilith Fair background noise and ditch this bitch of a theme opening! Please! Simply replace it back with Guiding Light’s theme opening in 2006. A theme that the viewers of the show will be happy to hear five days a week. A theme that was full of passion and vibrance. But better yet, a theme that actually made sense!
All in all, I think Guiding Light is doing pretty well with what they have. It’s kind of depressing when Sweeps walks around and it seems that just about every other soap has the budgets in order to provide a wow factor for the audience. Am I being a little bit nit-picky? What else can I say except, "Hey! It’s Just My Point of View!"
Coming up next on “Hey! It’s Just My Point Of View!”
The "normal" Guiding Light viewer v/s The Guiding Light message board viewer: How much do we differ and how much are we alike?
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