Benefit of the Doubt
Almost two years ago, when I first began this blog, I posted a set of clips called Outstanding Citizen. Since then, I've been literally deluged with requests to continue where that set left off, so anxious were people to learn what happened after Roger coerced Gilly into humiliating H.B. Lewis at the banquet in his honor. Today, I'm able to honor those requests and present Benefit of the Doubt. As with Outstanding Citizen, the primary players are Roger, Gilly, and H.B. as they spin out from the confrontation at the banquet that leaves most of Springfield thunderstruck. Another prominent throughline is the crumbling of Buzz Cooper's "Rex Mancini" identity as Mallet begins to put the pieces together (and try not to be creeped out by the fact that the baby in Eleni's womb will eventually become Mallet's lover!)
I've said quite a bit about what a strong show GUIDING LIGHT was during this period. This was the height (or nearly so) of all the enthusiastic press the GL was receiving around this time. The show was a critical darling at this time and it's easy to see why: seemlessly interconnected plots, a mind-blowingly agile cast, and deft, spakling dialogue that made you think (I nearly swooned with pleasure when Holly makes a snarky comment about Jenna's move to the Spaulding mansion-- in Latin!! LOL!) This was not a show for dummies or for quick-fix junkies waiting for an evil twin to return from the dead and bury someone alive. This was a beautifully written, tenderly (but pasionately) acted example of the height of the soap opera form.
I absolutely can't go without mentioning that this is also a textbook display of how to incorporate black characters into a daytime drama (which, not for nothing, shouldn't be the mind-boggler that it apparently is!). Absent is the self-consciously "urban" dialogue and passionless, islanded love stories. These characters matter to the canvas as a whole. Their actions have consequences and they are affected by the lives of those around them. Remember around 2000 when David, Vicky, and Ruth all disappeared? No goodbye, no exit storyline, no explanation (at least not until much, much later-- and none at all in Ruth's case). That couldn't happen during the period covered here because Gilly, Hamp, David, and Kat mattered to GUIDING LIGHT in an organic way as opposed to being inserted in some vulgar, incompetant gesture of tokenism. I see the show trying to accomplish the same thing now with the Boudreau family (an attempt to correct the many, many mistakes made during their awful 2001 introduction), but while the effort has been somewhat successful, they have a long way to go before they reach the mojo of the Grant/Speakes family.
This is a truly satisfying clipset and it features big moments and luxurious looks at just about every cast member from mid-1993, not the least of which is the charismatic and underrated Jean Carol as Nadine (one of my all-time favorites). Here, Nadine must cope with her deadbeat ex-husband (Buzz, played by Justin Deas sporting a bafflingly laughable "New Yawk" accent that Michael Zaslow openly mocks in one scene! LOL!) whose return has resulted in her in her being indirectly resposible for the shame of her beloved father-in-law, H.B.
There are so many plots swirling around in these clips, I can't possibly describe them all, so I will just say that you will not be sorry you watched this clipset. It's GUIDING LIGHT at one of the very best periods in its history (with the exception of the painfully lifeless Ann Hamilton as Mindy).
Enjoy, Benefit of the Doubt--