Before I report on the frenetic frivolity of the folks in our favorite fictional soap city, I'd like to reflect for a moment on real life. Since I realize fans visit Soap Central purely for entertainment purposes, some may not be up for more of Katrina, so I won't be the least bit offended at anyone's choice to scroll past the next few paragraphs.
Like you, I have found myself mesmerized for hours on end by the horrifying and unbelievable images of the aftermath of Katrina replayed relentlessly on CNN. Even as I stared in disbelief, horror, awe, and shock at the near-total devastation, at the sheer numbers of displaced people, I still found it difficult to believe what my own eyes were recording. It looked like an incredibly detailed disaster movie, but at the end of 120 minutes or so, the credits did not run; it just went on and on and on. I simply cannot imagine how awful it must be for them.
The pictures and stories showed and told of the qualities in the best of us, those generous, caring people who opened their hearts, their wallets, and in many cases, their homes, to the shell-shocked refuges. Unfortunately, we also heard about us at our absolute worst, the violent mob and survival of the fittest mentality -- ruthless, conscious-less criminals preying upon, raping, even killing those who survived losing everything they owned, only to have their lives snuffed out in a rage-filled moment by someone they may have once passed on the street. Those were not pretty pictures we were seeing -- glossy photographs from which the evil and ugliness had been cropped neatly away. No, the desperation, frustration, hunger, fear, rage, hopelessness, and helplessness of the very old, the very young, and every age in between was vividly plain to see. It has been a gut-wrenching, heartbreaking week, and though it was very hard to watch, I found it impossible not to. Their tears often brought my own; their sad stories of material and personal loss, missing family members, friends and neighbors a sober reminder to always appreciate everything we have and to love and cherish all those who love and cherish us.
For all of the refugees and for any of you who have ties to any of them, my heartfelt prayers and sympathy are with you.
Because his moral and criminal wrongs failed to result in any serious consequences, I know many fans will never be able to view Kevin through forgiving eyes. For those fans, the abusive childhood, prison beat-down, society ostracization, and therapy sessions did not even come close to marking his debt paid in full. But as anyone who's read my weekly words can attest, I became a card-carrying member of Kevin's fan club long ago. Which is surprising since I took an immediate dislike to him the moment he keystroked his Fisherman moniker into cyberspace and never thought the day would come when I would actually like him.
What he did to underage Lily was admittedly wrong, but I was never able to summon much more than a speck of sympathy for her. As the elders used to say, "You make your bed hard, you have to lie in it." And that fast-behind never-listen lass seemed determined to make her nightly resting place as hard as she could. Don't ask me to translate that little saying or the one that goes "A hard head makes a soft behind." Near as I can tell, both of them mean about the same thing. Pay close attention when people who know more than you try to tell you something that might save you a passel of pain.
As for trying to roast the little Colleen duckling, well, even I concede there's no defense for that. At least no one died in his fire (though not for lack of his trying), which is more than can be said for the Sasha-terminating inferno believed to be caused (or set) by Phyllis. Anyway, long before the first heartbreaking scene of a pint-sized, closet-enclosed Kevin being terrorized by the big, bad Tom wolf played out on my small screen, the ice encasing my heart had already begun to melt. This week, those old pictures got to me all over again. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the little boy who plays young Kevin is completely adorable.
A giant leap into the future and there was present-day Kevin trying bravely to stand up to Tom's bullying, but you could almost see him shrinking before Tom's taunting onslaught. And just as I imagine he did in his long ago younger days, when Tom had finished with him, all Kevin could do was run to big brother for protection. And did Michael come through or what? If I didn't already love Michael to pieces, I would have fallen head over heels when he leaped aboard his snow-white steed and galloped to Kevin's defense. Tom had it all wrong. It's not Kevin who's the cockroach; it's Tom, and had it been up to me, his abusive behind would not only have been asphyxiated in a choking cloud of Raid long ago, for good measure, he'd also have been squashed into brown mush under someone's shoe heel.
Although his mother is currently out of the city, Scott has arrived and has already become fast friends with his in-laws to be. And thanks to the former Glo show participants' recent relocation to the Chancellor Mansion, he's got a nice soft bed in which to tuck his body. In the room right next to Kevin's. Two bedrooms down and one to go. Might as well make it three peas in a pod and put Daniel in the third one.
Now that prison is no longer in his future, I expect Phyllis will soon be focusing on her long neglected love life with Jack the sneering rabbit. When thinking of Kevin, Scott, and Daniel, somehow a line of three blind mice keeps cavorting through my head. By the way, was I the only fan that laughed out loud when Scott told Gloria he had built-in radar? Well maybe he ought to go to the radar repair shop and have it checked out. Because apparently the part that sniffs out pure B.S has obviously malfunctioned. Boy, isn't he going to feel like quite the gullible guy when he discovers who his untalented writing student really is?
Surprise! Not. Sheila's entered the City and though she's been away a very long time, she hasn't forgotten the way to the Theatrical Shop. And is already dolled up in deep disguise. Guess that answered my question as to how she'd be the Brenda that Scott knows without getting caught as the Sheila everyone else knows. I suppose she'll "collaborate" with Scott on their story via cell phone from a room at the Genoa City Athletic Club. By the way, what is up with that Athletic Club? Is it a members-only joint or can any Tom, Kirsten, or Sheila snake just slither on in? Or does the members-only status apply solely to rented rooms, workout facilities, or when desiring to run up an astronomical tab? Just wondering.
Now, to that disguise. I will never be able to understand why soap scribes think slapping on a wig, glasses, and better makeup, and tossing in a phony accent will make someone unrecognizable. An accent, by the way, that kept sliding back into Sheila's usual diction. Maybe it's because I know it's her, and even though her disguise is better than Lily's was, she still looks exactly like Sheila. In a wig, glasses, and better makeup, with a phony accent. Since she already had the plastic surgeon on her payroll, why wouldn't she dole out another duffel bag full of dollars and change her own diabolical face? But then, of course, we'd all be denied the displeasure (or joy, if you're a Sheila fan) of having this cracked cranium creature crawling among us.
Oh, one more thing. Didn't the warden say Sheila came back a couple of weeks after running away? Now I know medicine has made tremendous strides, but I find it impossible to believe the scars and swelling from extensive plastic surgery would have disappeared completely after only two or three weeks. Yes, I know, I know, I'm being waay too analytical. Sheila probably had been plotting her plan for months. I guess this is one of those times when I have to instruct myself to repeat at least three times: It's a soap, Nita. It's a soap. But why, oh why, couldn't she have remained obsessed with Eric Forrester on that other soap?
Okay, back to unreality. Even in Genoa City, a tinsel town world renowned for its utterly unlikely coincidences, the she and he devil meeting was a coincidental chunk it took me four big gulps of Kool-Aid to choke down. And since Sheila is a miserable mound of inhumanity who has never known a happy, un-manipulated moment, she would obviously wish the same fate on strangers she knows nothing about. So she didn't hesitate to give Tom the benefit of her evil advice to further torment those he had already put through several emotional wringers.
And Tom, being the carnivorous creature he is, isn't going to let any green grass turn brown beneath his weather-beaten boots. Because thanks to Sheila's advice to spread his venom as far and as destructively as possible, Tom's put a few more miles on those beat-up boots and has hot-booted it over to John Abbott's office, presumably to spin his and Gloria's tawdry tale in a manner more favorable to him than the one Michael and Gloria are waiting at home to regale John with.
By the way, guess I spoke too soon about Tom's gay summer wear. Wear that brought to mind those Dreamsicle ice cream bars -- you know the ones made of orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream. Obviously that was just his one-time lounge chair lizard suit. Because though it was so hot Dru started fanning herself the second she stepped onto her balcony, to Tom the hot summer day must have felt more like fall because he stopped somewhere and changed back into that same old black t-shirt, blue jeans, and black leather jacket that must now be so stiff with dirt and sweat it probably stands by itself in the closet, without the benefit of a wooden coat hanger. And according to him, he even had on boots. Apparently what he was wearing was his family terrorizing attire.
Terrorizing attire that, unfortunately, worked considerably better on Kevin than it did on either Michael or Gloria. Michael, of course, hasn't much to lose by pulling Tom's filthy laundry from its dirty pillowcase and letting it flap for all to see from the top of the AC roof. The same cannot be said for Gloria, however, who, nevertheless, was glorious as she took courage from Michael's close proximity and cut Tom and his blackmailing ego to bite size pieces. I thought it best to wring every ounce of enjoyment from Gloria's cutting tirade because the coming week may make a good case for the old adage about truth supposedly setting a body free. Set Gloria free from her current marital bliss, that is. Michael may very well need every bit of his courtroom arguing skills to win Gloria's case for her.
Please don't send me away, a tearful Lily begged her parents, promises we all knew she wouldn't keep long easily falling from her lips. I had to look twice, one time over my glasses, to make certain it was actually Lily who was making all those empty promises. What happened to the still after-glowing girl who mere hours before was boasting to Dan-yell how she couldn't care less what her parents said, they couldn't stop her; in fact she was going to tell them to their faces how she planned to see Dan-yell behind their backs. Well, it wasn't long before she was forced to whine another tune. Went something like, hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to boarding school I go. And I just can't lie and say I'm sorry.
Don't get me wrong. I liked Lily; most of the time I even liked Lily and Daniel together. Unfortunately, each little taste of them gave me heartburn for a long, long time. In the end, her incessant Dan-yell-ing began to annoy rather than enchant me. But I did manage to enjoy all her goodbyes. Malcolm, to the end, was more friend or favorite uncle than parental, making me wonder, not for the first time, whether all his understanding would have been the same had he really been able to act as her father.
I always enjoy Lily and Neil together and this time was no exception. I wonder if I was the only one who thought so many of Neil's parting words could easily have applied to her real-life future as well as her make-believe one. Her airport departure from Daniel was almost a cookie cutter replica of Colleen and J.T.'s, but was nice nonetheless. As for Dru, I don't quite know what to make of her. Often, she seemed over the top one minute, almost, but not quite shedding tears; a minute later, brusque and disapproving. In my opinion, she'd won. Her daughter and Phyllis' son were at last ripped apart. Would it really have hurt her to graciously let them have their goodbye, without having to sneak and do that too?
With Lily gone, a four's good company, but three could be a crowd feeling could permeate the air at the Winterses' abode. For someone who grew up tasting more the bitter than the sweet part of life, Devon's not acting very street savvy. Either the good life with the Winterses has caused him to forget, or he's determined to ignore the danger in the forest because it's his mother hiding in the trees. It's a bit funny the way he keeps challenging Isaac, the drug dealer. Alex and his baseball bat never would have let him get away with that. Of course, at heart Isaac's really just a big, old generous pussycat, as proved by how easily Yolanda got him to hand over more drugs. That must have been some watch Neil once owned.
And are we to believe Genoa City's admittedly inadequate excuses for law and order have no clue as to what's going on it the well-kept parks in their city? The daylight drug dealing was bad enough, but pulling out your crack pipe and just puffing away was even more ludicrous. But I must say the scribes hit the nail right on its flat, shiny head with Yolanda as a sticky-fingered crack fiend who pilfered Neil's watch. That was probably all she could lift because there must still remain enough street in Dru to know to keep her valuables under pickproof lock and key.
But it's a good thing Devon went back to check on his addicted mother, otherwise the next passerby might have been calling to report a dead body. One last observation: Isaac advising a crack addict to "save some for later" provided one of the more amusing moments. Will Yolanda's near-death experience convince her she's finally ready for rehab? Will Devon point a trembling finger of accusation at Isaac and put his life in jeopardy? Or will he foolishly go after Isaac himself, thereby accomplishing the same thing? It's clear that Devon's difficulties are not likely to lighten Neil and Dru's parental load.
Daniel hasn't wasted one second of his newly freed time. Let's see, he's rocked Lily's world, had a heart-to-heart with both Mommy and Nick, made Scott's acquaintance, soaked up a little sun at the A.C., and still had time for a tearful airport departure with Lily. Daniel's always fun to watch, so I didn't mind. He was properly respectful to Nick, and although Nick is clearly only about halfway through the grieving process, he seems to have nearly completely returned to his old nice self. It's probably about time for him to return to Newman, where I am so curious to see where he will station himself. I'm guessing he's still not ready to retake the lead reins and will be content to continue to let Victoria run the show. At least for now.
Speaking of the grieving process, have the scribes been checking out the message boards? Because methinks there is a little too much "splainin'" going on about Sharon's rapid race through her Cassie grieving. Was I the only fan whose two eyebrows almost became one in bewilderment at Sharon's announcement that she'd gone online to read how she should feel about her only daughter's death? And when was she doing all that mourning Victor referred to? While Nick was off on his quest for vengeance, Sharon was spending all her time weeping on Brad's shoulder, and her complaints seemed more a refrain about how her husband's absence resulted in his inability to hold her hand than any overwhelming grief on her part.
I guess I would have more easily bought this brave and quietly grieving Sharon if all the years we've known her, she'd been that kind of gal. But she hasn't. She's been the original Boohoo Barbara. And, my opinion only, the death of her daughter seemed an odd time for the scribes to suddenly make her Bounce Back Barbara Ann. But be that as it may, that's the way it was written. The bottom line is, Cassie is gone, and if Sharon can move on, well, so can I.
And moving on is exactly what she told Brad she plans to do. As in moving back to Newman to resume the job she never started. Okay, did I miss something? Did something happen during one of those times I was supposedly just resting my eyes but must have fallen asleep and snored through something important. Did someone in the Newman family resign and leave Brad the boss of Sharon? Who else would Brad like to boss around? Victoria?
"Who's the Boss?" could very well be the question the two Crimson Lights employees will soon be asking. Or do they have that many on staff? Is Malcolm still the manager, or did he just fly in for Lily's sad so long? Will Nick and Sharon be willing to sell to Mac and Kevin? Off the top of my head, I could picture Sharon shouting yea, while Nick growls nay. If they sell, will anyone come in to buy their overpriced coffee? Will new ownership and fall finally mean the end of those AC scene openers where little swim-suited sirens with a sliver of each cheek peeking out stroll by?
What's next in the Sheila saga? How will she and Tom use each other to obtain their diabolical desires? What is Sheila's desire anyway? How long am I going to have to suffer while she tries to get it? If the cash cow owned by Gloria is cut off, what will now be Tom's desire? Ashley? With all this upheaval, when's the wedding going to be? Sigh. Certainly doesn't seem like it's going to be in 2005.
With Phyllis and Jack getting close again, it can only be a matter of time before they're fighting over business again. Does that mean she might return to web running at Newman and her feud with Dru? What is Dru going to do now that Brad has taken the Seasons ball out of her reach? What's he going to take next? Neil's job?
And what about Jack? When is he going to start shoveling wheelbarrows of Chancellor gold into his vendetta against Newman, which now also includes Brad?
I guess all those unanswered questions mean there are going to be lots of dastardly doings to watch in the months ahead. I say, bring them all on.
But that's for later. All I'm bringing on now are fan comments.