What You Need to Know About Phillip Spaulding Before the Next Story Arc

What You Need to Know

Phillip Spaulding plays a very important if minor role in the Manny story. Although we have seen Philip intersect with the story before, this period is when we see Phillip connect with Manny the most. So who is Phillip?

Phillip And….

Phillip Spaulding is one of the keystone characters of Guiding Light history. His introduction in the late 1970s lead to a long and complicated parentage story that not only looked at specifics, but also asked questions about what it really means to be a parent, should being adopted matter, what decisions really are best for the child and which ones are just best for you. (It also kicked off a reunion for Justin and Jackie Marler  – his bioparents – whose chemistry and on screen appeal glossed over a pretty awful backstory. – Seriously now I’ve read up on them why did I love them so much again?)

Phillip and… is important because Phillip was first and foremost about his relationships with other characters on the show. That’s how he drove story and provided throughlines for many other characters. His return in the last year of the show completely turned around and regenerated a show that had completely lost its way. So most of what you need to know about Phillip starts out Phillip and…..

And Rick Bauer

After the cancellation announcement a lot of articles came out (mostly ones where they had talked to Kim Zimmer) that called Jeva (Josh Lewis and Reva Shayne) the flagship couple of the show. I don’t think they were. They were central, but the “couple” who defined the show from the late 1970s through the end of the show were best friends Phillip Spaulding and Rick Bauer. They are what drove story, not just their own, but other people’s.

Phillip and Rick became best friends as teenagers attending the same high schools and living next door to each other (most of the time). Even though their relationship was often tested (Phillip impregnated Rick’s wife or fiance twice and Rick did it to Phillip once), they remained best friends. Even after Phillip went nuts and kidnapped Rick’s kid (it’s a long story), Rick was willing to help Phillip get out of a mental hospital when he got better.

The Phillip/Rick connection tied families together. The relationship between the Spauldings and the Bauers was a ridgepole across the canvas. Fans valued this connection and they were so vocal about it that for a time when both actors/characters were off canvas the show that the attempted to create a lite version with Frank Cooper and A.C. Mallet.

In terms of the Manny story, Rick is of course Michelle’s older brother and Phillip was his sounding board through all of his concern about her relationship with Danny. In fact, it was Phillip’s idea that Rick have Michelle committed to try to keep them apart.

And the Four Musketeers

Not long after Rick and Phillip started attending Springfield High School (they’d been in boarding school before) that they befriended first Mindy Lewis and then Beth Raines, forming a group known as the Four Musketeers. They were a rectangle that changed partners several times and those relationships drove story from the early 1980s through the end of the show. (It wasn’t a coincidence that their high school reunion was featured in the last year.) In fact the grouping was so successful that the show tried to copy it a few times. The most successful of their attempts brought in an aged Alan-Michael Spaulding, and introduced Vanessa and Ross’ daughter Dinah Marler and Harley Cooper. (Plus Cam, but Cam was pretty irrelevant and boring until he landed on 90120.)

The connection to the Manny story is TPTB were clearly aiming for another run at this with the younger set slightly before Manny blew up their plans.

And Beth Raines

Rick and Phillip had been best friends for years when a new girl moved to town, Mindy Lewis. Soon after, thanks to Mindy and Beth sharing a hospital room, they met Beth Raines and became a foursome. Although other people distracted Phillip and Beth, ever since high school Beth and Phillip had a bond that none of the other people they were involved with never really understood. Although most of Phillip’s other exes would say that their relationships with Phillip didn’t work out because he always felt an inexplicable need to rescue Beth and she played into it, I don’t think that’s true. Frankly, Beth had been through a lot more than any other woman on the show — with the possible exception of Reva — and it was amazing she was even functioning. Yes, she got into bad situations and expected Phillip, Rick, and Mindy to help get her out, but the aid was mutual and she helped them out when needed too.

What it mostly came down to was that Beth wanted someone romantic who would make her feel safe and sometimes with his strand of instability in his make-up Phillip couldn’t always give her that and Phillip — having been raised with Spaulding traditional values — always thought he should be able to have both Beth and the latest flavor of the month. When the show ends they have gotten married again and I think that’s really where they belonged, where they were happiest. I hope they both finally figured it out too. Even before that happened anyone Phillip was involved with needed to understand, Beth doesn’t go away. Even when Phillip and Beth weren’t romantically connected there was an incredibly strong bond between them.

And Alan Spaulding

Phillip was raised by Alan Spaulding not finding out until he was 18 that he was adopted. That put a strain on his relationship with Alan when he found out that Alan had been lying to Phillip his entire life. Even before that Phillip never wanted to become a businessman like his dad. He had all sorts of “escape” plans. They involved everything from being a professional tennis player to a writer. However, as he got older he couldn’t deny his talent and desire to also be a businessman. He would spend most of his life bouncing back in forth between writing (newspaper, novels, etc.) and being a Spaulding executive.

Alan’s father Brandon Spaulding was a truly evil man. He pitted his children against each other, competing for his affection and control of the company. Alan was a much better man, but had this idea hardwired in. He would also pit his children against each other to grind out what he saw as weakness, etc. He did truly love his children, but that didn’t stop him.

It should also be noted in Alan’s favor that he was one of the very few characters on any soap that didn’t value biology above adoption. Alan never saw Phillip as anything less than his son and Phillip was in fact his favorite child. It was a complicated relationship though. Alan shot Phillip twice, once before this point in the timeline by accident and once after this point on purpose as part of an effort to get Phillip help and to save his grandchildren.

And Danny Santos

So far Danny has interacted with Phillip more than Alan and that has been a significant if rarely played relationship. Early on during the Ben Warren feud Danny went to Philip, scion to scion, but Phillip underestimated Danny and wouldn’t meet him on equal ground. Later when Michelle and Danny are divorced during a dinner with Michelle, Phillip told her that he now saw Danny as a good man. Phillip was too concerned with his own problems during the next part of the Manny story and they are only reconnecting now.

Phillip, still being wary about being involved with Danny and having already had his first dose of being pitted against Danny by Alan, shows up to feel Danny out and put him on his guard. That’s one of the most important Danny-Phillip scenes but the important scenes between them will continue to show up all the way through the final scenes of the show.

In many ways, Danny and Phillip were very similar. They were both male pscions of powerful and rich families who believed they had the right to run roughshod over the law. They both had complicated relationships with their families, but despite the fact they both realized that some of what their families had taught them was wrong. In a lot of ways they were faced with the same problems and started from the same place, but ultimately Phillip accepts that Danny is the one of them that found the right answers. But at this point in the story the game is still in play.

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.

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