Guiding Light’s New Look: Beth Chamberlin and fans’ Feedback!
Beth and Lizzie (Marcy Rylan) (Soaps.com)
On February, the 29th, Guiding Light brought viewers the new look it had been promising for months (which you can read about it here and here). As promised, it is a substantial departure from what everyone’s been used to, changing not only the style, but the atmosphere and pacing of the show. Such an abrupt change can take some getting used to and only time will tell how much of the audience of the beleaguered soap will give it the time it needs.
Of course, the changes are something that not only the viewers but the actors have to get used to as well. For a look at their perspective, Soaps.com managed to snag Beth Chamberlin (Beth Raines Bauer) for a few questions which she was kind enough to answer.
Are you excited about the new direction the show is heading in?
Beth: Yes, as an actor it is exciting to be facing a new challenge, a new way of working. But, more importantly, as a lover of Guiding Light, I am thrilled that in changing the look, we are once again reflecting the times that we live in. Guiding Light has a 70 year tradition of being a sort of historical document. This is another way that we are keeping with that tradition.
Do you expect the changes to impact on the way that the stories are told? If so, how?
Beth: Only in the sense that there will be a greater sense of intimacy for the viewer. The stories themselves will continue to follow the lives, secrets and loves of the residents of Springfield.
Has it changed the way you approach your work?
Beth: An actor’s work always needs to adjust to their surroundings. What is too big a choice in one medium may be too small in another. This is just another way we must adjust. I believe the adjustments we make at Guiding Light will continue to evolve in the next couple of months as we, along with the audience, notice what works best.
Soaps.com has also received a barrage of email from viewers about the changes and, honestly, a disproportionate amount of it has been negative so far. Nonetheless, here is a representative sampling of the good, the bad and the middling impressions which viewers have offered us so far.
Mark R. said: I have been watching GL since I was a little boy (probably nearly 40 years) -it’s been my favorite! Your intro is depressing… Soap operas ARE for escape and fantasy-NOT REALITY. I am from Syracuse, NY and was excited and anticipating your new look with the SU guys. (I too am a graduate of SU.) I’m afraid this new look is what will push me over the edge and cause me to drop GL after all these years. The intro was bad enough and I stuck through it, but no more. The new look is distracting; way too close with faces (almost dizzying) and the atmosphere and color is more reality, NOT soap opera. It defeats the whole illusion and warmth you get from watching soap operas. That look is comforting and synonymous with soaps. I watch Reality TV for other reasons but I want the soap opera look for soaps. Big mistake. I’ll watch ATWT and will drop GL from here on in. I am sure it is too late for you to change it now. I will not watch this.
Melody L. said: Hi, I have watched Guiding Light for about 34 years and this new look is good and bad. The outdoor scenes are great, but the lighting inside is too dark and the sound echoes. Also, there are too many unflattering camera angles from below eyeline. It makes these beautiful people look older, heavier, and is very distracting. But it is a great idea to incorporate the outside views, but it just needs a little fine tuning.
Sharon D. said: I have never written to a show before. I can't stand the new camera angles and [the cameras] getting 2 inches from their faces. I've been watching Guiding Light since I was a young person and I'm now fast forwarding through because it makes me too frustrated to see the actors so close. Friday's episode was totally all new camera stuff. I couldn't watch one bit of it. If this continues, you will lose a viewer. I feel myself getting very tense at the closeness of the picture. I can't believe that the majority of viewers think that this is better than the old way of doing things. I don't enjoy seeing half faces or looking at them as though I was right on top of them. Sorry that the powers that be think this is such a great innovative wonderful way to use a camera.
Margaret G. said: I just wanted to let you know that I do not like the new format. Too many face closeups and the warmth and coziness is gone for me. I have been watching for over 50 years and this is the first time that I do not tune in to the show... Maybe I'll get used to it, but so far NO.
Laura D. said: Hi, I have been watching GL since I was born. I watched it while my mom did hook rugs in the 70's, I scheduled my classes around it in college, and now I tape it everyday on my DVR and love it; however, I think I absolutely can't stand the new look. It looks low budget and the people do not look very good. Please tell me this is temporary. I miss my nice fake world of Springfield.
Lisa W. said: I just want to say how good Guiding Light has been since its doing the live scenes. I mean with the outdoor scenes. It makes it more like real life
Carole O. said: I'm liking GL's new look very much. I would like to know who sings the opening theme song. I find myself humming it threw out the day.
Soaps.com would like to extend our thanks again to Beth Chamberlin and to all the fans who have written in to offer their thoughts on the new direction of this historic show.