The 1990s opened with Reva killing herself and Guiding Light swiftly changed style. The first half of the decade marked a return to more realistic and slightly more subdued storytelling, going out of its way to avoid the tendencies which marked the years of Pamela Long and Reva. With Roger Thorpe back in the fold, the series concentrated more on the Spaulding and Cooper families, expanding both of them again, and even bringing Meta Bauer back into storylines. The decade also saw the inclusion of major African-American characters. It was the time when Buzz came to town, when Alan-Michael and Phillip battled for the business and Blake made mischief.
The second half of the decade proved to be remarkably different. Ratings had been stable, if mediocre, and this led to another major overhaul of the show. Maureen, often described as the heart of the series, was killed in an accident. Reva returned and, with her, the show's more outlandish storylines. Once again, the series tried to compete in the changing marketplace by adding in fantastical stories like Reva's cloning, her life as an Amish woman and her life as a princess, but the ratings kept falling. Many other old fan favorites were also brought back, but the results were largely the same. Here's a brief look back at one of the decade's most controversial plots – the cloning of Reva.
The decade saw them take on sexual harassment, post-partum depressions, gaslighting, drugging, poisoning, vote rigging, characters returning from the dead, AIDS, cross dressing, mental illness, identity theft, kidnapping, twins from different fathers, pseudo-incestuous relationships, madams and their escorts, the return of long lost relatives, faked deaths, alcoholism, rape, cloning, breast cancer, various affairs, attempted murder, love triangles involving fathers and sons, amnesia and foreign intrigue among other things. One of the most extreme, and arguably successful, plots of the decade focused on a psychotic cross dresser named Brent Lawrence.
In addition to creating a dark and maniacal tone to the series, the decade also launched a few of its great villains, notably Annie Dutton and, by the end of the decade, Edmund Winslow. It also launched a few careers, like those of Hayden Panettiere, Bethany Joy Lenz, Laura Bell Bundy, Cynthia Watros and Nia Long.