WTF? CBS Pimps Daytime Lineup on Canceled Guiding Light
For the first time in ages, and certainly since I've been blogging for Daytime Confidential, I am absolutely furious and utterly appalled over a bit of business that happened on today's episode of Guiding Light in scenes involving Buzz (Justin Deas) and Cyrus (Murray Bartlett) set on location in New York City.
While tracking down a lead to a clue that the late Jenna (Fiona Hutchinson) left in a hotel room, Buzz and Cyrus wound up at the real CBS Broadcast Center in Manhattan. Once inside the building, they spoke to a page (think 30 Rock's Kenneth) who awkwardly and painfully informed them that The Price is Right films in California and gave them the actual phone number to would be contestants in the studio audience. Things didn't stop there. The page then told them As the World Turns tapes in Brooklyn and airs at 2PM. I am not making this up.
At the risk of being kicked off Daytime Confidential, I have to state for the record that I have never seen such a pile of disrespectful real life horseshit in all my decades of watching soaps. Forget the niceties of "WTF?" Seriously, what the fuck was that? In what freaking universe did Ellen Wheeler, Barbara Bloom, Brian T. Cahill, or Les Moonves think it was a good idea to pimp parts of its daytime lineup on a show they recently kicked to the curb?
I cannot recall seeing anything like this on any canceled soap — much less any show period — ever. Had the scene been played for camp or irony with Ms. Bloom herself or possibly a cameo from Moonves playing the page, it might have gone down easier; but with the exception of an awkwardly delivered line from Buzz about ATWT ("I've missed the last few episodes, how is Carly doing?"), I just stared at the screen in slack-jawed disbelief.
Can anyone who watched Santa Barbara imagine Julia Capwell saying in that show's final days, "Mason, Sunset Beach will be making its debut in our time slot about a month from now on your local NBC affiliate following Days of Our Lives!" Or how about The City's Syndey Chase uttering, "Don't miss The View, which will be filming right here in our studios some time after the Happy Now Killer knocks me off!" I really expected Wayne Brady to stroll through in a cameo and give Cyrus and Buzz the email address to sign up as contestants for Let's Make a Deal, the game show that will replace Guiding Light when the 72 year old soap goes off the air.
This is an outrage that far surpasses the firings of beloved actors, the assassinations of characters, abysmal writing choices, or even cancellations themselves. It is monumentally stupid: by name-checking ATWT as a fictional soap opera, whoever wrote that steaming pile didn't seem to know or care that that show's fictional locale of Oakdale shares the same fictional universe as GL's Springfield. Sure, other shows have namechecked each other but that was within the context of their own universes, not to obliterate decades-long connections altogether.
Even more outrageous, this is one of those proverbial slaps in the faces of many fans who are in literal mourning over the loss of Guiding Light. For all its missteps, mistakes, and the criticisms we have had of the series, GL remains a potent force in the emotional lives of its many devotees, from the few left who listened to the show on radio when it was set in fictional Selby Flats, California to those people who recently became enamored of Otalia in real life location Peapack, New Jersey.
While I have no idea how Deas or Bartlett felt about filming those scenes, I felt badly for them and, by extension, all the actors, crew and production staff at GL during what had to have been and likely still is a tough time for many of them. The entire scene not only felt demoralizing, but seriously pulled me out of an otherwise fairly strong episode of character work and poignancy highlighted by Bill (Daniel Cosgrove, who showed up to act) and Remy (a heartbreaking Lawrence St. Victor) remembering and finally making peace over the late Baby Max/Clayton Boudreaux II.
As something of a go-with-the-flow kinda of viewer, I rarely get upset with a show but this scene ostensibly set at CBS Broadcast Center pissed me off royally. What might have been intended as gentle comedy came off as crass and disrespectful to Guiding Light's cast, crew, fans and, in many ways, its legacy. My anger is not at The Price is Right or As the World Turns, but rather the boneheaded idiocy that prevailed when someone came up with the un-brilliant idea to pimp them by name (and phone number!) during Guiding Light's final days on broadcast television.
Whoever made the decision to shoehorn that unnecessary crap into Friday's episode whether at Telenext, CBS or the GL writer's room, shame, shame, shame on you.