Three days ago, on April’s fool day – not a reliable date – I was told by one of my voice over colleagues in Milan that Guiding Light – the series I’ve been dubbing for 15 years – is going to END forever, as CBS has apparently decided to cut all its soaps.
I was – and still am – in total shock. GL isn’t something that can end. GL is eternal and recurrent like Christmas, sunrise and chocolate ice cream. Guiding Light started on the radio in the USA 72 YEARS AGO. It has survived World War 2, the cold war, various recessions and George Bush. GL is part of our collective identity whether we like it or not, because it created a genre – the soap opera – that went on to conquer TV networks all over the world.
In Italy, GL, under the (terrible) name of “Sentieri”, has touched at least 3 generations. I remember my latin teacher at high school rushing home after her last lesson at 12.30 to watch what had happened to Beth and Phillip (who were teenagers back then). I was personally hooked by the Roger and Holly story way before beginning to “dub” the soap.
GL DESERVES to be saved, because it makes no sense to keep other soaps alive (horrible stuff such as the Bold and the Beautiful for instance) while killing their “mother”. We either decide to abolish all soaps or we keep GL!
And then, I wonder, how are the producers thinking of “ending” the stories of characters that have been alive for decades?
It’s impossible to end GL because GL is like the world. Since it began in 1937 we’ve seen characters being born, growing up, getting married, giving birth to new charcaters who have married other characters creating a second generation, then athird, then a fourth… The families in fictional SPRINGFIELD have multiplied, it’s not only the Bauers anymore, it’s the Lewis and the Spauldings, and the Santos, and the Coopers, and the Marlers and many many others…
…It’s humanly impossible to come up with an end for all those stories because GL simply deals with life and you can’t put an end to Life, unless you have a cosmic catastrophy sweeping away the whole human race. This is really the only end for GL, an asteroid falling onto the city of Springfield, delating all its inhabitants and every trace of their existance. In that case Reva, and Harley and Lizzie and Phillip and Rick will suddenly disappear like the dynosaurs.
I do hope Procter and Gamble, who have been producing GL since 1937, will find a different collocation for the show and therefore save Springfield from extinction. If they don’t, I can imagine myself, a few years from now, wondering how my friend Lizzie Spaulding is doing – because nobody knows what happens to characters once writers stop telling their stories and actors stop embodying their lives.
Where do they go? Where would the thousands and thousands of people who have been passing through “Springfield” end up now that CBS is going to take away their right to exist?
If Pirandello was alive, he might try to write a play about it. “2500 characters in search of a channel”.
Perhaps he would end up writing a soap.
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