It would have been nice to have a montage of past Guiding Light characters. After all, the show has been on TV since 1952, so why not take a little trip down video memory lane? It was fun to see all of the openings they've used over the decades at the start of the show (in reverse order), but it would have been good to see something at the end of the show to bookend it instead of a "The End" and then a commercial and the Tele-Next logo. Seemed kinda odd.
However, that didn't ruin the episode itself, which turned out to be everything that GL fans could have wanted and more.
The show started on TV in 1952 (from radio). Here's the 1953 opening:
I think there's too much emphasis on recent characters, but that's just an old fogey talking I guess, and there are some great classic scenes too (for a fan, this video could be an hour long and we wouldn't complain). I love that they included Charita Bauer and Chris Bernau, the original (and best) Alan Spaulding.
Doesn't make much sense, does it? But that's pretty much what's happening these days on Guiding Light, as it heads toward its last episode ever next month. The long romance of Reva Shayne and Josh Lewis - something that has been simmering off and on for over 25 years - has pretty much been over for a while.
But I thought that, since the show was ending, they'd start wrapping up classic storylines and actually get Reva and Josh together forever, to please fans of the show. It doesn't look like that's going to happen.
In fact, the opposite seems to be in the minds of the writers.
It's probably the starting gun for other networks to get rid of their soap operas. It's a dying genre, either gone forever or scattered here and there on the TV landscape. It's really sad. Fans can mourn the death of a long-running network show, but a big part of pop culture is dying too. I watched the show since the late '70s/early '80s, and while I drifted away a few years ago, I've been watching it again, so it's going to be weird that it's not on anymore. I'll be recording that last episode and grabbing the inevitable collectible issue of Soap Opera Digest.
So what will CBS do now that they'll have another hour on the schedule Monday through Friday? A look at some of their options after the jump.
But things might be getting better at Guiding Light. After several years and lots of negotiations, Grant Aleksander is returning to the show as Philip Spaulding.
(S19E10) "To Springfield!"
"The one where The Simpsons live."
My oh my, was this a jam-packed episode of The Simpsons or what? I haven't seen this many sight gags in one installment of the show for the longest time. Not only that, but this was probably the first episode of the season where Homer and the rest of the family took a back seat to the rest of Springfield's citizens.
I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.
If you watch Guiding Light, take note of this. The show is going to change in early 2008, according to the show's producers. Say goodbye to the ordinary camera locations and the sets. The show is going for a more cinema verite'/MTV-style show, with hand-held cameras and edgier editing. They want the show to have the look of a reality show. Or something. Ugh.
Springfield, VT was a last-minute entry into the contest. City leaders said they didn't even hear about the contest until the videos were almost due, so they hurried up and slapped something together. That video is pretty darn good, actually. It begins with a live action re-creation of The Simpsons opening credits, which comes to an abrupt stop when a man impersonating Homer Simpson sees a giant, pink doughnut. He chases it around town-- showing off Springfield, VT in the meantime and introducing characters, such as a post-pubescent Bart. Whoever wrote the script definitely has knowledge of The Simpsons. You can see the winning video (and the other contenders) here.
Springfield, VT will get to premiere The Simpsons Movie on July 26th. It opens nationwide on July 27th.
And I just spent a significant amount of time on The Simpsons movie promotion site, which includes an avatar creator. And we all like these goofy programs, don't we? It's a good way to kill a couple of hours on a Sunday, making avatars of yourself, your friends, and random celebrities (my attempt at a Brad Pitt avatar was a little pathetic).
The program asks you to login and register, but you don't have to. It's only if you want to 'Save' your avatar. I just finished mine and took a screen grab of it. 'Cuz I'm out of ideas for fake e-mail addresses.
[Via Lost Remote]
The city of Springfield, Oregon, for example, did a Bill Kurtis-style investigative report on where the real Springfield is and determined it was in Oregon. There was even a cameo by Tony Hawk! The city of Springfield, Massachusetts had a similar premise, but with higher production quality. Theirs includes a message from Sen. Ted Kennedy.
You can see all the videos here, where USA Today is hosting a vote from now through July 9th on which Springfield deserves the premiere. The website doesn't say whether our voting will actually determine the premiere location, though.
There's a great quote in the article from some uptight woman who said she'd rather see an Andy Griffith movie come to town: "I don't think it's [The Simpsons] a wholesome show. I hate the show, and if I heard Springfield would support something like that, I would think it's a sign of what's wrong with America."
I'm sure there are a few of the 2,000 Springfield, MN residents who like The Simpsons. To the rest, I simply have two words: Jesse Ventura.
While my personal favorite is Springfield, Oregon because I live in Portland and can easily drive there, I think Springfield, Illinois may be ahead in the running. According to this LA Times article, Mayor Tim Davlin recently gave a speech where he said "we are indeed the city that best represents the community on television." Either he's trying to make us think he's the real Mayor Quimby (because that is totally something Quimby would say), or he has never seen The Simpsons. The Springfield portrayed on the show ain't exactly paradise. It's more of a dump, really.
Davlin says his town's assets are the donut factory, nearby Shelbyville, and the fact that Abraham Lincoln once lived there (think: Abe Simpson). Another contender, Springfield, Mass. is going just a little too high-brow, claiming it should get the premiere because it's the nation's first Springfield, and the birthplace of Dr. Seuss and frozen food.
Homer: What are you, a travel agent? 'Cause you're sending me on a guilt trip.
I've been watching a lot of early Simpsons episodes lately, mostly from the first five seasons. I know many fans cite the earlier seasons as the best of the series, but I tend to disagree with the notion that the show was only good up to a point and all subsequent seasons are a complete waste. It's easy to say "everything after season six is crap," but you're disregarding A LOT of episodes when you make a statement like that. I try to judge each episode on its own merit, regardless of the season.
It's certainly not wrong to prefer some seasons to others, as humor is always subjective, and, in the case of The Simpsons, I think there are numerous variables that come into play as to why some still love it and some abhor it. I won't go into that here, though.