Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What I Learned From Guiding Light (Soap Opera Blog Hop)

The longest running of all soap operas- not including its radio beginnings- Guiding Light had a lot to say about redemption. Even the evilest characters were not beyond hope and someone's love. Roger Thorpe, the show's tortured supervillain for almost three decades, would never be good enough in his father's eyes, but that didn't stop Holly, his ex-wife/victim/codependent and their daughter Blake (Christina) from going to great lengths for him even when they knew better. While not healthy by any means, viewers couldn't turn away because Roger wanted to be redeemed.


Roger Thorpe and Holly Norris, codependents from Hell (who always wanted to be better)
No one on the show was perfect. In the Sixties, Ed Bauer was a wife beating alcoholic. By the Eighties, he had sobered up and was a head of family and community whom many came to for advice. On this show, good people were always thisclose to tipping to the other side, and bad people wanted to be better. The ratings ultimately dropped not because people couldn't accept their beloved characters' human frailties, but because the stories that highlighted them started to be rushed and out of character.

The lesson: characters are the foundation of a story, but the plots have to be worthy of them.