Manny Last Episode at Park
I have been wanting to watch the last two weeks of Guiding Light again in real time. It ended up being a bad time for me to do the whole thing this month, but I’m going to finish out the week in honor of the five year anniversary of the final episode. In each post, I looked for a bright spot in the cancellation and also look for the line of the day which is in many of these posts.
Final Episode – Sept. 18, 2009
NOTE: During the last couple of months of Guiding Light, I did a daily feedback and summary post. I had just started my blog and it was an early experiment that helped establish my style. I put comments and summaries on the same storyline together, with time tags to the different parts of the episode. I put the official CBS link at the end. Sadly that is no long viable so I’m going to put the YouTube link at the beginning instead. The time codes are for a full episode load and so won’t match, but should still give you a rough idea. Also the parts are on a playlist in the wrong order, so you have to watch or it will jump to different parts of the last week, if you don’t watch it. Once again I put the most important stuff (Manny and the Bauers) at the top.
22:51 The Bauer-Santos family is having a picnic at the park. Manny is on a blanket and Mindy and Rick are horsing around. They spot Phillip and Beth coming from a distance and Mindy goes to hide as Robbie and Hope run up to their parents. Hope plops herself on Michelle’s lap and Robbie sits where he can look with hero worship at his father. Phillip and Beth seem thrilled that Manny is back. (Then again who isn’t? – joyful sniff). Phillip always did see Michelle as another little sister. But it only gets better when Mindy pops out and tells them she’s staying. Line of the Day – Rick: “The Four Muskateers Ride Again.”
27:45 – 1 Year Later – Manny, Phillip and Beth, and Rick and Mindy are all in the patio/formal garden courtyard of the Spaulding Mansion. Everybody notice that Michelle has DANNY wearing PINK today. Guess they are really are one person now. ;-) Danny makes a toast to Rick and Mindy. Rick and Mindy are getting married tomorrow and Phillip is serving as the best man. (I wonder if Danny will be an usher? They certainly seem to be of the bridal party even if Danny is a hair underdressed.) Manny is fully accepted as one of the group and Danny and both Phillip and Rick seem totally at ease with each other. Michelle insists they get a group photo. [I hope they post that one to the website - sadly they didn't :( ] Manny is safe, they are happy, they are in sync, they are in Springfield, they are accepted, they are home. THANK YOU! If we can’t see them, we can at least know that, for sure, forever.
35:01 During the Happily Ever After Montage, the group at the Spaulding Mansion share a champagne toast. It just feels so right. This is where all belong, together.
Today’s episode started with a short montage of various openings they had over the years and the motto, “There is a destiny that makes us family.” [Minute 0] As I’ve mentioned before they’ve been updating the opening montage every single day for awhile now. Today included most of the cast’s photos (no Manny ;-( ) and they seemed to suddenly remember that they these were not individual characters, but families. If they had remembered that earlier, maybe they’d done better these last few years. [Minute 4]
The Cooper family and various extensions and hanger on-ers are gathered at Company, still discussing names for the new baby. Frank admits he has a date. James and Daisy come in and she announces she’s going to Berkley, like now. Ashlee and Daisy had planned for years to go to college together, but this Berkley business was leaving Ashlee behind. Doris calls Ashlee down to her office and as a good will gesture she got Ashlee admitted at their writing program, so they can still go together. This is a real big thing for Doris who has previously gone WAY out of her way to destroy every relationship Ashlee had with anyone else. [Minute 1] Ashlee tells Daisy they can go to college together after all. [Minute 4]
Remy and Christina are worrying about being legally married before the baby comes, so they are looking for Mel. [Minute 2] Mel is still otherwise occupied, but for some reason answers her door anyway. In a sheet. The door opens farther and they see Cyrus naked in Mel’s bed and Remy ACTUALLY asks, “What’s he doing here?” Yeah, Remy is DEFINITELY material for the SFPD. [Minute 5] They get all the Coopers over to the police station and Doris performs a quickie legal marriage and then they all rush over to say goodbye to Daisy and Ashlee. [Minute 10] Daisy and Ashlee are driving. So they need to take off now. (Daisy really needs to quit wearing that pair of shorts unless she’s alone with James in private.) Reva and Billy make it for the send off too. Marina, as usual, shows her selfless nature, “You know you’re leaving me alone to be the only Cooper girl.” James and Daisy exchange “I love yous.” I don’t remember them actually saying it before. [Minute 17] Blake and Frank both hurry off, not realizing they are going to meet each other. [Minute 18] They meet on the bridge and slowly it dawns on them they are meeting each other. [Minute 20]They decide they’ll try dating. (Why not, they’ve already worked together twice and slept together, was it just once or more, well never mind.) [Minute 21]
Lizzie and Bill are talking about whether Alex welcoming Fletcher back in her life is a wise idea. Lizzie doesn’t know Fletcher, which is right, she was in Arizona with Phillip and Beth and before that very, very little when Alex was with Fletcher. Bill does know Fletcher, which is also right. He was his best friend’s (Ben Reade) father. Still they haven’t mentioned the elephant in the room, Ben. Fletcher overhears and says he promises to keep Alex out of trouble. Yeah, right Fletcher, you never could control her and you usually didn’t bother to try that’s why the relationship lasted longer than about any of your other ones. Phillip and Beth come in and seem glad, in a long time no see kind of way, to see Fletcher. [Minute 2] Lizzie is still upset about Alex leaving, partly out of concern, partly out of having to face another goodbye. Alex has been the family member closest to her the last few years and they bonded, first over their involvement with Cooper men (Alex with Buzz and Lizzie with Coop) and later over similar life experiences. Although they again never said explicitly (ARGGGH), both of them had their children taken away from them and were unable to raise them themselves. (Alex had Lujack and Nick McHenry, their father who was a creep extreme, sold Nick and off a bribe from Brandon – I’ve mentioned he was evil – kept Lujack from her.) OK, FINALLY, Bill tells Fletcher he misses Ben in their last conversation before he leaves. Alex comes out packed to go on the trip with Fletcher. She promises to come back for Phillip and Beth’s wedding. She pauses as she gets ready to get into the car, looks back at her home while a myriad array of emotions and memories play across her face. She pulls herself in with a ragged breath, winks and blows a kiss to her family before leaving again on her next big adventure. [Minute 6]
Phillip and Beth are together talking at the mansion. Phillip: “This feels weird. I’m the oldest Spaulding living here now.” Notice behind Phillip there are actually family photos on the mantelpiece. There haven’t been family photos on any of the sets (except for Reva’s nutso Jeffery memorial) in ages and here’s a whole row of them. Beth gives Phillip a blank book and encourages him to express his feelings in writing like he used to. Beth and Phillip kiss and then the phone rings. Phillip says “Always” ruefully and goes to answer it while Beth laughs. (I think that’s a soap opera convention joke, but you have to be a Manny fan to truly understand the pain of the dreaded phone call/interruption – Mannyacs should have bought them an answering machine. ;-) )[Minute 19] The phone call is Rick and he tells Phillip he needs to come to the park. Rick tells him everybody is here and now would be a good time. Good time for what we wonder? [Minute 20] (See the Bauer-Santos Report at the top of the page) Besides the good news above, Phillip is glad he’s in the park because he meets up with James and they seem to be in a good place now and toss around the Frisbee. (Alan and James had bonded over playing Frisbee when the SORASed James returned to town.) [Minute 24]
Jonathan, Sarah, and Reva are playing at Tammy’s cottage. (That kid is a real chatterer, Tom seems to be getting sick of it.) Josh calls Reva and asks her to meet him at Cross Creek. [Minute 3] Josh and Reva meet up. She announces that the old truck they’ve been driving around all week was H.B.’s. Yeah, right where have they been hiding that to keep it in fully restored condition all these years? Reva and Josh flirt and he tells her his new plan is to go down and oversee the addition of the new wing on H.B.’s memorial veterans hospital (this is the reason Cross Creek is in Springfield now, they built the hospital on the original Cross Creek site, supposedly as H.B. had always planned (rolls eyes), this is was also the project they used to bulldoze Josh and nuCassie to be together with when Reva was pushing him away during her cancer scare – no, it really didn’t make sense when it was happening either). Reva cries at the thought he’s really leaving. Josh mentioned this was the latest version of his plan. Reva asks if there was another one in the middle and he admits there was. He was going to kidnap and marry her. [Minute 9] Reva reacts to the news by walking off sobbing. Josh catches her up and apologizes for telling her. She tells him she’s glad he did. She still loves him too, but she’s just not ready to commit to him again right now. She’s still dealing with too much. He tells her he understands that, that’s why he’s giving them both some distance, but one year from today he plans on being at the lighthouse at noon. If she’s ready for him then, she should be there. Until then, he’ll be loving her. [Minute 12] Billy arrives, but misses Josh leaving. Billy asks Reva what she will do when the time comes. She doesn’t know, but I think Billy does. [Minute 15]
Bizzie, Jonathan and Sarah are all playing in the park together. Jonathan takes Sarah down to feed the ducks. Bill says he was afraid that now that Sarah was back, Lizzie wouldn’t want a baby with him, but she tells him not to be nuts. She wants children with him. She loves him. Aren’t they sweet? Bill looked so vulnerable when he asked that and it’s great that actually talk about their fears, you know like you should in a relationship rather than leave them to fester like they did before. [Minute 22] The Cooper entourage arrives in the park with all the stealth of a herd of elephants to spy on Frank and his date. Guess they closed Company again, and they are still surprised they have money troubles? When they see Frank and Blake together they go over to give them a hard time. [Minute 22] While hanging out with her family, Marina tells Shayne she’s gotten him that coaching job at the high school. (Yes, schools always hire baseball coaches when the season is over, but I guess for Marina they do.) [Minute 23] Remy, Christina, Mel and Cyrus must have gotten over the strangeness in their earlier meeting in her room and are hanging out together in the park. They share the baby news. [Minute 24]
Mindy is still in town. She’s hunted down Billy to tell him she’s made a decision. All her trips home this year have convinced her she’s sick of living in exile in Paris. She wants to be home with her family and friends and she’s decided to stay in Springfield. They are both very happy. [Minute 8]
Maureen tells her Dad Matt that he ought to be dating, too. [Minute 5]Maureen is in a play. She sets up her dad with the drama teacher. Yes, because Matt needs more drama in his life. [Minute 16] Otalia talk about how happy they are. They decide to name the baby for Frank. [Minute 11] Otalia runs into Frank and Blake and tell him they are going to name the baby Francesca, after him. [Minute 22] Reva and Olivia talk about Josh. [Minute 25]
Flash Forward – One Year Later
Now pay close attention because this goes real quick. Yes, I know they got us all ready for Thanksgiving and then totally skipped it. I’m just reporting here.
Shayne is coaching a nearly championship high school baseball team. Marina and Shayne appear to be together and she has “Biggen” calling Shayne Papa which is kind of wrong since that what they were having him call Mallet, but we know Marina isn’t too big on ethics anyway. [Minute 26]
Billy asks Jonathan to be the foreman on Lewis Construction’s newest project, the new Springfield elementary school. I think Jonathan calls him Uncle Billy, but he kind of mumbles so I’m not positive. Boy, he never did that. He must really be feeling like family. The second he put down Sarah she ran off (Yeah, I think Tom is totally over working with this kid). Bizzie shows up and after months of playing it down Lizzie is really padded out. She calls Sarah over to feel her little brother kick. I guess it will be H.B. 4th. Christina and Remy arrive with their new baby son Clayton, named after Remy’s father. Lillian and Buzz go all mushy over the little tyke. [Minute 26]
Cyrus and Mel are still together. Cyrus and Remy are working together still in the SFPD. Heaven knows that just the last two episodes have shown that Remy needs someone to help him. Frank is giving them a new assignment. Blake walks up with baby Francesca in her arms and she and Frank are still together. Frank: “How come she has two mommies and I’m still all stuck changing the diapers?” Buzz tells him they are picking up Rafe who’s coming how on leave. He’s coming home by bus. (Come on, Olivia’s his step mom now, she could spring for a plane ticket or rental car.) Their family is all at the bus stop picking him up and all seem very happy. [Minute 27]
James is out at Berkley visiting Daisy and Ashlee. They are all actually wearing clothes, which is a nice change and honestly I don’t think I’ve ever seen Daisy look so happy. [Minute 28, Minute 34]
Mallet and Dinah have all their old sync back. They’re traveling around Europe together and having fun and being light hearted. Dinah playfully and softly calls out Elaine a la “The Graduate.” They are stopped at a church and Dinah is peeking in at a local wedding. She and Mallet banter back and forth. She tells him she loves weddings and he tells her he knows, it’s why they’ve stopped at every single church in Europe. They seem almost giddy being together without any of the garbage they had to deal with before. [Minute 29, Minute 34]
The whole town is together and playing at the ballpark. Everyone is happy and there are couples and babies everywhere you look. [Minute 34] A Happily Ever After Montage with brief looks at each group begins to music.
Jonathan and Billy, still at Shayne’s ballgame, speculate on whether Jeva will reunite today. Josh arrives at the lighthouse (one we’ve never seen before by the way). Reva and Collin (who looks way more than 1 year older, I wonder if this is some cast or crew’s kid again?) start slowly walking towards the lighthouse. Josh sees them coming and he can’t wait. He jogs, practically running over to them. Josh: “I wasn’t sure if you’d be here.” Reva: “Oh yes, you were.” [Minute 30] All is literally silent as he comes over. Then suddenly, Good LORD, it’s their couple THEME music!!! We haven’t heard their theme music (or anybody else’s) in years!!![Minute 32] Reva and Josh reunite. Reva: “If you still want to be together, I’m in.” Josh (smiles, his happy full of himself smile): “That’s a good thing.” Then he takes her face in his hands and kisses her deeply. About the final shot is the one Kim Zimmer fought for. Jeva together and kissing with the lighthouse in the background. So for once TPTB kept their word after all. [Minute 33] Jeva and Collin are going to go on an adventure. Reva brought their stuff, she knew Josh would have an adventure in mind. Reva (in a broken whisper, with one arm around Josh and the other around her youngest son, I think partly says to us): “Come on, let’s go.” (OK, I’m crying now and I don’t even like Jeva.) They walk up to H.B.’s pickup, give each other a long smiling look, get in and drive off. Josh (to Reva): “You ready?” Reva: “Always.” [Minute 35] The truck drives down a road. You can see the lighthouse rising above the trees behind them and like a classic, old movie the words “The End” come up on the screen.
And we’ve lost our way to Springfield forever. Goodbye, Farewell, Amen.
P.S. If this leaves you wanting more, please read my fanfic of scenes leading up to and surrounding the finale here:
P.P.S I wanted to repeat this portion of my analysis of the new format.
Pacing of scenes – The last few months I was doing a daily summary of the show (you can find those descriptions by clicking on the July, August, and September 2009 blog entries) and from that experience I can tell you that a long scene was a minute, most were less than that. The last two days I thought something was wrong because I didn’t have as many times in my descriptions. I realized that it was because the average length of the scene had approximately doubled to roughly 2 minutes. The short scenes were supposed to be compensating for the lack of a an ability to block on smaller sets (again from a quote from Wheeler), but even lengthening the scenes by that much (let’s face it 2 minutes is still a pretty short scene) improved the pace rhythm and flow of the show to a marked extent. Watch an episode, even from early on in that last week and then one of the last two days and see if you don’t agree. This length and pacing was an executive decision, not one forced by money or circumstances and was clearly a wrong one and was not one that was experimented with, even though there was just over a year and a half in which multiple things could have been adjusted and tried.
Robansuefarm is the handle of one of Manny and Guiding Light‘s biggest fans following in her family’s footsteps of Guiding Light fandom since 1939. This blog is an effort to make it easy to find Guiding Light and especially Manny online. Check back here for her blog, find fanfic previews and fake WSPR newscasts on her YouTube, find podcasts that look back to old shows and audios of her fanfics on Blog Talk Radio, and finally follow her on Twitter and Facebook.