Guiding Light, That’s How You End A Show

Ending a serial television show, either comedic or dramatic, is extremely difficult and wrought with pitfalls.

Since finales are usually reserved for long running and successful shows there’s a presumption that the final episode will be given the resources and attention not reserved for regular productions. Therefore there’s the assumption that the finale will be the best episode of the series. These high expectations usually sink a finale before it begins.


On top of that, the appeal of sitcoms and dramas is they don’t really advance the characters. The idea of a finale demands that you advance the characters. Producers also have to juggle whether or not to dismantle the conceit of the show or keep it intact (i.e. do they get off island or stay). Many fans enjoy the thought that the characters in their favorite show are still doing what they do best.

That’s why Land of Punt was so fascinated by Guiding Light’s final episode. The CBS soap opera was on the air (either on radio or on television) since 1937. It debuted in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s second term. The series aired for 72 years and produced 15,762 episodes.

So how do produces end a show that’s been on for a lifetime? Probably everyone involved with the production wasn’t even born when the show debuted. It’s hard enough to wrap up a show that’s been on for seven seasons much less seven decades.

Furthermore, Guiding Light is a soap opera. By definition they never end. How do you write a conclusion for a show that’s supposed to have no conclusion?

Now, LOP hasn’t watched on second of GL, nor did we watch the finale, but we did turned in for the final scene. We had to know how it ended.

The show’s chief couple, Reva, played by Kim Zimmer, and Josh, played by Robert Newman, piled into a classic green pickup truck with a toddler.


Once inside the truck, Josh smiles and asks, “Are you ready?”

Reva smiles back and says, “Always.”

The perfect word to conclude a show that’s graced airways for 70% of a century. Even thinking about gives us chills up and down our spine and that’s saying something because we’re a quasi-pseudo mythological land.

Josh said something else but producers allowed the tender pop song, “Together” by Michelle Branch, to drown him out. Obviously they wanted the word “always” to be the series final syllables.

The scene concludes with a few shots of the pickup truck driving on a picturesque country road with a lighthouse in the background. Which is a perfect allusion since a lighthouse is a light that guides.

The last shot: a truck drives past the camera and the words “The End” appears on the screen. Fade to black.

That’s the way you end a series.

You can see the ending below but due to copy right restrictions the audio has been replaced with another song.


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