Friday, June 08, 2007

Secret Admirers/The Heart of the Matter

I've written quite a bit about how much I love the late 70's/early 80's period as well as the early 90's period. Another favorite of mine is the early 00's. The head writing tenures of Claire Labine, "Lucky" Gold, and Millee Taggert & Carolyn Culliton were (for the most part) filled with such tenderness, intelligence, and vibrance. Dud storylines like Alonso & Camille and Reva's time travel painting aside, this was a truly magical (in a good way!) time, with GL really recapturing its identity as "the human show."

Today's entry features a new smallish clipset that sets up a previously posted set which hasn't been featured in the blog yet, but which is one of my favorite collections ever put forth as part of the GLMP. Secret Admirers is the new set, taken from the end of 2001. It deals with the frustrated courtship of Rick and Mel and the beginnings of Gus' full-on pursuit of Harley. Both these developments are hampered by the fact that Rick and Harley have committed to raising their newborn son together. This set is a very nice look at two of the iconic faces of this time period: Ricky Paull Goldin as Gus and Yvonna Kopacz-Wright as Mel.
Facile, silver-tongued Goldin hit the ground running when he arrived on the Sprinfield canvas as an edgier version of Gus, but it was this storyline that really made the character into someone viewers could love, taking full advantage of Goldin's considerable powers of comedy and ultra-magnetic charm.

Kopacz (these storylines occurred before she married and became a Wright) is a little tougher nut to crack. Certainly not as able a performer as Goldin during this time, she had yet to display the power and gravitas that her 2006 Bauer/Spaulding storyline would showcase, but what is readily available here is a very generous and appealing screen presence. Even for her obvious inexperience, she remains sympathetic and very watchable, which I think is why so many viewers were so pleased to see her eventually blossom into the engaging and vibrant (if woefully underused) actor that she is today.
Secret Admirers is also a nice look at the historical beginnings of two GUIDING LIGHT couples whose lives are still reflected on the show today. My favorite scenes from this set are the lovely Gus/Mel conversations. Strangely enough, Kopacz-Wright seems far more comfortable and alive in those exchanges than she does in the Rick scenes, which gives me the feeling that an opportunity was missed there.

At any rate, enjoy Secret Admirers--

The other set is called The Heart of the Matter. I posted it in August of last year and, as I said above, it's one of the best clipsets ever put together as part of the GLMP. It spans the mid-2002 wedding of Rick and Mel as Rick is hospitalized with a deadly heart condition and it goes through the truly gorgeous scenes of Ed's return, through a 21st century reunion of all four Musketeers, and all the way through to the families of Rick and Richard agonizing over their dying loved ones as Reva pulls the plug on Richard, but Mel is implicated in the crime. This set is an ocean of stunning performances, but none so much as the incomparable Peter Simon as Ed. I can scarcely think of adequate words to describe the heartbreaking perfection he brings to each and every one of Ed's scenes. There's a solo scene with just Ed and a water faucet in clip 8 that has got to be one of the most breathtaking moments of acting I've ever seen anywhere.
Other noteworthy performances are turned in by Michael O'Leary, Maureen Garrett, and Grant Aleksander, but as I said, pretty much everyone is wonderful.
The Heart of the Matter--


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