Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Best of 2006, part 1

What can be said about GUIDING LIGHT in 2006? Well, plenty…
Even the shallowest dip into the internet pool yields an avalanche (Enjoy the mixed metaphor! It’s free!) of criticism for daytime’s oldest drama and the material it put forth in 2006. To be sure, there was a lot to complain about: the force-fed overexposure of Reva and Jonathan, the underuse and/or misuse of longtime characters like Alexandra, Vanessa, and Blake, the promising storylines that were dropped without warning, the bizarre and unfortunate de-SORAS-ing (and that’s exactly what it was!) of Marah. But this writing is meant to focus on the best of 2006. We come to praise GL, not to bury it! I’ll leave the worst of it to those better suited to the task (Yes, SOD’s Carolyn “If it ain’t Reva, it’s crap!” Hinsey, I’m talking to you!)

GL has always boasted an embarrassment of riches in the acting department and 2006 provided wonderful opportunities for many (although certainly not enough) of the amazing cast to shine. Gina Tognoni (Dinah), Beth Chamberlin (Beth), Ricky Paull Goldin (Gus), and Crystal Chappel (Olivia) did some of the best work of their careers. New hires Nicole Forester (Cassie), Marcy Rylan (Lizzie), Michelle Ray Smith (Ava), and Caitlin Van Zandt (Ashlee) all displayed varying degrees of potential and exciting possibility. Returning heroes David Andrew MacDonanald (Edmund) and Fiona Hutchison (Jenna) showed why they’re so loved and missed with crackling good performances that went above and beyond the call of duty. Obviously, this was the year of Kim Zimmer (Reva) and Tom Pelphrey (Jonathan) and they were certainly responsible for a certain portion of the cream of ’06, but it’s a testament to GL’s wealth of talent that this list isn’t one long cavalcade of Reva and Jon.

In selecting material for the Best of 2006, I was struck by the sheer volume of engrossing, intriguing, and just plain lovely soap drama that the show provided over the last 12 months. From Rick and Mel hammering out the problems in their marriage in a morgue (!) in January to Lillian blasting sulky, blustery Alan at his own Christmas party in December, GL was the home of breathtaking drama, gut-busting comedy, and everything in between.

I can hear all of you out there shouting “Come on, come on! Enough blather! Make with the clips!”
Okay, here’s The Best of 2006--
January 6: Restless Mel tracks Rick down at the morgue after an awkward conversation with Josh. The Bauers attempt to determine the state of their marriage in these disarmingly human, subtlely acted scenes.
Us Against the World--clip1 , clip 2

January 11: The first truly great INSIDE THE LIGHT episode featured Josh and Reva creating a video taped message for Marah and Shayne. A touching picture of the Lewis and Shayne families emerges as Reva and Josh collect footage of themselves, Marina, Hawk, Cassie, Jonathan, Tammy, Billy, and others in this thematically brilliant and genuinely heartwarming episode.
In Our Heartsclip 1 , clip 2 , clip 3 , clip 4, clip 5 , clip 6 , clip 7

January 20: David Andrew MacDonald breathed fire during Edmund’s brief return displaying all the electricity, charisma, and passion (and then some!) that made the character into one of the most unforgettable creations in GL’s history. In this clip, Edmund gives Cassie and Josh good reason to doubt that Jeffrey is who he says he is.
Something About Richard

February 10: Alexandra and Olivia cross paths on the way to presumed-dead Alan’s funeral. As brilliant and beautiful as it is brief, this scene is a very straightforward, perfectly played piece of evidence that Marj Dusay and Crystal Chappel are two of the best that GL has to offer.
What Remains Behind

February 14: I tend not to be a huge fan of Gus and Harley as a couple, but when they work, they work reeeally well. These gorgeous scenes from Valentine’s Day show “GusH” at their best: vibrantly romantic and down-to-earth, with the appropriate amount of their trademark humor (and by “appropriate”, I mean with humor that’s actually funny and none of the baggy pants/Vaudeville garbage that they lapse into too often). In these alternately sad and thrilling scenes Harley (Beth Ehlers at her most vulnerable and appealing) spends the evening with the “ghost” of presumed-dead Gus while a newly fiery Beth literally wills the real Gus (her captive) to hold onto life.
Surviveclip 1 , clip 2

February 15: This ITL centered around a sexual “whodunit” featuring a group of Springfield residents at an inn rented by Olivia. The entire show is filled with wonderful, chemistry-rich interplay between a dazzling array of different combinations of characters in delightful “present” and flashback scenes as Lizzie tries (and fails) to figure out who “did the deed” after finding evidence of sexual activity at the beginning of the show. Very funny scenes and surprising bits of tenderness highlight this charming episode
Who’s Been Sleeping In My Bed? -- clip 1 , clip 2 , clip 3 , clip 4 , clip 5, clip 6

February 23 & 24: Very rarely in this the age of spoilers am I left with my jaw on the floor, shocked by a turn of events on a soap. Beth’s cabin rampage and physical and mental torture of Alan and Gus, so savagely and hungrily played by the astoundingly good Beth Chamberlin, was a complete surprise to me that remitted joy after satisfying joy for me as a viewer. The phrase “tour-de-force” doesn’t begin to cover the iron-fisted command and complete ownership of the material (nay, my very TV screen) that she displayed on those two days. Soap columnist Mimi Torchin recently wrote that this story didn’t work on any level. I’m at a loss to explain how she could feel that way and I respectfully and completely disagree. These stunningly powerful and delicious scenes might be the very best thing that happened on GL all year.
Controlclip 1 , clip 2, clip 3

March 1: Alan-Michael’s ITL was very much a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it was very good—and I mean very good! It featured a revelatory and poignant look into the inner workings of the character, highlighted by some of the best “new” flashbacks I’ve ever seen on a soap. It made excellent use of the A-M/Alexandra relationship and contained the only worthwhile moments of the A-M/Marina romance. It set up a fantastic corporate intrigue storyline for Spaulding Enterprises with high stakes, featuring a disparate variety of characters.
On the other hand, this episode was the beginning, middle, and end of any genuine effort put into the A-M character, the relationships shown in the episode, or the storyline begun here (except as pertained, of course, to Harley).
This beautiful episode is a fascinating pleasure, undercut by the fact that nothing ever really came of anything shown.
Prodigalclip 1 , clip 2 , clip3 , clip 4 , clip 5 , clip 6 , clip 7

March 8: I think I’ve made my appreciation for the work of Beth Chamberlin known. She’s very good and that’s on display here in the Beth ITL, but, in addition to her riveting and inspired performance, this episode is especially noteworthy for its construction. The Hitchcockian use of the “ticking clock” device creates a panicked, claustrophobic mood for the viewer that mirrors what the character is experiencing (I especially love the “ticking” digital clock and the repetition of the “ticking” theme with the coffee spoon.) as she struggles to come to grips with the fact that she has left Alan and Gus to die. This show takes us inside Beth’s mind (to a degree) and really does a fantastic job of fulfilling the potential of the ITL’s.
Hickory Dickoryclip 1 , clip 2 , clip 3 , clip 4 , clip 5 , clip 6 , clip 7

Well, that’s part one, folks! Y’all come back for part two! There’s plenty more GL (and my opinions) where this came from! Happy New Year!

---ivnkplng

4 Comments:

Blogger Lone Palm said...

What a wonderful compilation of outstanding scenes/episodes of Guiding Light for the year of 2006.

Thank you sooo much for your hard work!

And for the record I agree with your blog regarding this "Best Of..." series in its entirety!

2:55 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Outstanding Ivn!Thank you so much for your work and dedication to GL and it's fans!

1:36 PM  
Blogger colo3311 said...

The collections of scenes and episodes for the Best of 2005 is absolutely awesome. Almost everyone that is on the show is included in the first part. It was great to watch all the clips.
Thanks so much for all of your hard work.

2:30 PM  
Blogger GlassBeadGame said...

I have been searching for images of one Marsha Clark (the breath-taking lady who played Hillary since 1979. Thank you for all your toils! How can I get DVDs of your clips I've seen on YouTube? GBG

9:24 AM  

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