So often in my column, I cover the people and situations that irk me the most. And depending on which week you tune in, new column readers might wonder whether I even like the show. So, since I never hesitate to poke fun at all the things I don't like about Y&R, this week I thought I'd flip the coin and point out many of the things that have kept me coming back day in, day out, through rain, shine, sleet, snow and frequent breaking news interruptions, for the past 20+ years.
For instance, over the past couple of weeks, I've noticed a definite change in storytelling direction. Our servings of Y&R seem to be getting meatier, and not only am I pushing back from the Genoa City table much more satisfied, I'm actually looking forward with bated breath anticipation to the next day's menu. Two bad Sabrina had to be sacrificed as part of the kickoff campaign to jump start Y&R into a new and better direction. Anyway, bit by bit, the threads of the plots are slowly being tightened and interwoven together. This is what Y&R does best, weaving sweeping, multi-layered stories together that manage to affect and connect in some intricate way, nearly every resident in town.
During the gala and beyond, we were fed tantalizing mouthfuls of all the alliances formed or being formed. And along with them, a brief but fairly thorough summary of all the players and the parts they played in the past to the present. If you were a new or recently hooked fan, you should now have a pretty good idea of what's been going on. And if, like me, you're a fan who's been watching practically forever, it was a nicely done way of refreshing our memories on some of the details we might have forgotten or missed completely the first time around.
As we all know, our soap has suffered through a revolving door of writers, some decent, some deadly, the past few years, who have caused some characters and their storylines to be written right into the proverbial brick wall. And we know how much we all hate those dangling, never knitted together loose ends. Well, some of those storylines writing characters into an unredeemable corner were horrible and made little or no sense, character wise, but those loose strings still needed to be tied.
Now, this is, after all, a make believe world, though occasionally we talk about it as if it is all too real, so we know every storyline won't make perfect sense in a real-life sort of way or be resolved to every fan's satisfaction. But they still need to be cleared up anyway. Some will work, and those that don't, well, I keep an emergency bag of belief suspension on hand for just such situations. In fact, I bring it with me to every day's viewing and park it right next to me on the couch. That way, it will be close by when I need to reach in and toss a handful of it at some tidbit of improbability. Anyway, when it comes to resolving some of our more outlandish storylines, I thought the current crew of scribblers did the best they could with the smelly mess that was left rotting on their doorstep.
For instance, JiMin's murder. Even though many of us had long ago deduced David did him in, none could figure out exactly why. As it turned out, JiMin's dying had nothing whatsoever to do with Jack or Victor or the fact that JiMin was about to spill the unsavory beans about his deals with the devils, I mean, Jack, Victor and Victor's hired legal mind, Michael. And everything to do with messing with the Mob and its high-interest loan money. Speaking of that money, though it was never addressed, perhaps that also explains why JiMin stole the money Amber stole first.
Then there is that other string. Yes, I'm referring to the long, gnarled one tied to Victor's vasectomy. I know some fans feel having Kay relaying Victor's vasectomy reversal news a rather lame way to tie up that particular loose thread, but at least it was addressed. Yes, if you wade too far out into those waters, you'd probably drown trying to imagine a scenario when the two old friends might have occasion to discuss Victor's internal workings. Such as: "Oh by the way, Katherine," Victor might mumble, stuffing his hands in his pockets and directing his gaze toward the ceiling. "I thought you'd uhh, want to know that in the event I might want another little Newman someday, despite the fact that I'm near 70 already, I went to the doc and had him unravel my stitches". "Oh Dear God why," I can almost hear Kay exclaim in shocked surprise, waving her ring-laden right hand wildly in the air. Yeah, it's a bit of a stretch to imagine how and why this subject would come up between them. But for me, it was as good a way as any, and one at least plausible, to address and answer the vasectomy question. No deep dark secret, he simply had it undone, for a reason he may or may not explain in more detail some time in the future. I remember Nikki, during number whatever reconciliation it was, telling Victor how much she wanted to have another little wee one because she was looking for something to fill the emptiness she was feeling at that time and had determined a bawling baby was the very thing to do that. At the time Victor made no bones about wanting no part of that little plan and she eventually gave it up and went to work instead. But it's entirely conceivable he could have later had second thoughts (likely during that softer gentler, sick stage) and planned to surprise her with the fait accompli, so to speak. Of course, when number whatever reconciliation flew south and they went their separate, acrimonious ways, there was no need to bring what he'd done to her attention.
Of course, there's still one more storyline hole that has not been filled in, cemented over and put to rest. Gloria's face cream tampering. Now I'm not looking for her to be handcuffed and carted off to the big house. A little too much water has flowed under the bridge for that likelihood to be remotely believable, even in made up Genoa City land. Besides, the chain of evidence trail of that jar of tainted face cream has twisted and turned so many times and in so many directions, there can't possibly be a legal way to prove Gloria was the one who tainted it. But, because some fans will never completely move on or accept Gloria until she has paid in some form or another, it has to be resolved, somehow, someway, however improbable. Gloria going broke and being abandoned by her family was not enough, because both were only temporary. In the end, the only thing Gloria really lost was a little bit of her dignity having to say Jabot Cosmetics, how may I direct your call?
Other than the scribe's decision to do away with the one person who, whether you were a fan who liked or hated her, was nothing like any of the others, the week really was rather well done, filled with powerful performances by just about everyone.
In fact, there were so many heartbreaking, well-done moments, it was difficult to pick out the best. But if I had to pick only one, I would choose the final conversation between Jana and Sabrina. Definitely a sniffling, double handful of Puffs moment which I watched over and over. With Jana, Sabrina didn't have to pretend she was going to sit up and climb out of that hospital bed one day. And I know I wasn't the only fan who burst into a whole new round of tears when Sabrina told Jana "I['m sorry I won't be there to see it," in response to Jana's claim that next year's attendance would triple. Both of these women hit it far, far out of the ballpark with their performances. If you hadn't known better, you would have presumed these were the two best friends, instead of Victoria and Sabrina.
I couldn't help but feel a bit sorry for Nick through all of this. Even though he realized Victor was likely going to treat him as if he'd donned his invisible suit that day, I liked that Nick was the bigger man and went there anyway. It clearly wasn't easy, not only having to stand by and watch his father lean heavily on Michael, but to also have to get in line behind Adam. As for Victor, he behaved pretty much as I expected he would, but he did unbend a little during my second favorite scene when father and son faced each other and Nick told Victor he still loved him. I had my fingers crossed that Victor wouldn't shoot off some hurtful, flippant phrase in reply and stalk away, and I was rewarded when he reached out and touched Nick's shoulder, thanking him. Sure, I was hoping for a hug, but I was happy with what I got. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm more than ready for these two to heal their relationship and cement their family bond. True, Nick brought some of this on himself by ignoring Victor's warning and going into business with Jack anyway. Nick really should have known better. It isn't as if he personally hasn't had the experience of seeing Jack show his true colors before.
Michael and Victor together were superb as always. First, it's always nice to see Michael independent of his mother. In scenes with Gloria, Michael tends to switch to over-exaggerated, overacting mode. Complete with top of his lungs lecturing in a role reversal with him the parent and she the trouble-making child. But with Victor, Michael gets to do what I feel he does best. Understated acting which delivers a much bigger punch than all that over the top shouting and theatrical stomping about. These two are dynamite together. Victor is gruff and threatening, grumpy and sarcastic. But no matter what he says, Michael is clearly not the least bit intimidated by Victor, lets it roll right off his back. I remember the time Michael didn't act the way Victor wanted him to and Victor fired him. Michael calmly closed up his briefcase and walked out. And he didn't slam the door on his way out. I know some fans look at Michael and call him Victor's stooge, little more than a gofer on salary. But I don't see it that way at all. These two have been through a lot together, both shady and not, and have formed a solid friendship. That was never more apparent than now as he never left Victor's side from beginning to end, quietly and efficiently doing what he knew his friend needed, despite the irrationality and hopelessness of his requests. This is the Michael I fell in love with a long time ago.
Victor was Victor. Using his money and power and name to try to buy the outcome he desired. The care he demanded for Sabrina is no less than what he would have demanded for any one of his other family members, Nikki included. It's just the Victor way. As for his performance, Victor seldom disappoints in conveying his sorrow at yet another family tragedy, and this time was no different. He was particularly effective when just after finishing a mental mini journey of he and Nikki's early days, his anguish intensified when he stared into the wrecked limo and realized it was his current, not his ex-wife whose life was in jeopardy.
And lastly, there was Sabrina, herself. Although the lack of hospital apparatus, bruises and bandages made it a little hard to believe she was literally lying on her death bed, she was as good in coming death as she wound up being in GC life and I'm sure she made fans for life with her performances. I've already been out searching for fan sites for Raya so I can keep up with all her future endeavors. Y&R's loss is surely going to be some other soap or TV series gain.
So, now that Sabrina's been done away with, what will GC life be like without her? One of the reasons Sabrina stood head and shoulders above most of the other women in town was because she didn't get to stick around long enough for too much dirt to be swept under her rug. And had she been allowed to linger, I'm sure she would have been given a few, but at the moment the only rattling skeleton found in her closet was a pretentious, posturing Philippe, and what he had to say seemed to be little more than a spurned ex-lover reciting the equivalent of locker room kiss and tell braggadocio. So what, while he and Sabrina were lovers she furthered his career and her own. Big whoop. Hardly a sin one would be too deeply ashamed to confess to one's Mother. Once Sabrina discovered he was cheating on her and left him, it was he pursuing her with transatlantic phone calls, not the other way around. I hope he enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame, because if Victor has anything to do with it, that little career of his might have gone as far as it's going to. And his career destruction couldn't happen to a more deserving scoundrel.
Well, all I have to say is, after going through all the trouble to kill Sabrina off, I hope the scribes don't mess this one up. Don't let her sacrifice be in vain. Of course, I still believe they could have kept Sabrina living and breathing and still gotten some pretty powerful performances out of it. With all the near incestuous back and forth, Sabrina could have been a welcome addition to the circuit of well-worn women.
For instance, she could have lived, but lost her baby. With Chow out of the way, Nikki still could have borne the blame, at least as far as Victor was concerned. Then as she suffered through whatever she is going to, be it drinking or unemployment, or whatever, he could have found himself drawn to her. That would have provided nice conflict and jealousy not only for him and Sabrina but Victoria, after forgiving Sabrina and resuming their friendship, could have found herself torn between the two women she cared about who were both in love with Victor. For support, Sabrina could have then turned to any one of a number of GC men for solace and a shoulder to lean on. After being married to Victor, it would be too much of an ick factor to have her turn to either of his sons, but what about the Professor? Or Brad?
Was one of the reasons Sabrina was killed in order to preserve the sanctity of a future Victor/Nikki reunion should the scribes so decide to go that direction? That seems to make some sense because when you think about it, there isn't really another woman presently residing in GC that would fit with Victor. Likewise, other than Paul (a ship that sailed centuries ago) there isn't anyone Nikki either hasn't already sampled or would fit with. Unfortunately, I'm not convinced putting these two back together would make much of a compelling storyline. Yes, Victor can be angry with Nikki for awhile but after that, then what? We've already been down the road where she helped him try to bury Jack and not only did it not lead anywhere except to that silly senate seat mess and Chow, it wasn't even very interesting before it went awry. Besides, Victor hardly needs any help with his vendetta against Jack.
Now that Sabrina's gone, so also goes Victoria's main reason to whimper and whine. Yes, I'm sure she's going to wring every guilt-produced teardrop possible from her failure to stand by her friend in the near future, but I have a hard time seeing that as anything more than a reason to make it all about her. First of all, after all her babbling about her sorrow and her guilt to everyone else, in the end she didn't mutter a single word of apology to Sabrina. I know all fans won't agree, but I was really disappointed in what Victoria didn't say. I mean, she sure had plenty to say when she was cutting Sabrina to pieces with her sharp tongue, but when she had one last opportunity to make verbal amends, she didn't say a word, left it to Sabrina to assume she was sorry since she honored her with her presence on her deathbed. And I couldn't help but notice when she actually got the news about Sabrina, there wasn't a tear to be found trickling down her cheek, though she clutched at J.T. a lot to make herself seem in dire need of comfort and consolation. And how quick was she to snap out that sarcastic perfect son comment to Adam, simply because he stayed at the hospital close to Victor and she chose not to. As usual, jealousy reared its ugly head. Sure doesn't take this poor little rich girl long to find a new scapegoat for all of her ills. With Sabrina out of the way, I'm sure she will waste little time refocusing her scornful gaze and hateful tongue on Adam for having what she feels she doesn't - her father's affection. Not that Adam should take any precious moments from his busy day to gloat about that. Because this is Victor we're talking about. A man who can and will, without warning, turn his wrath on his loved ones in a flash, should he feel they've given him a halfway valid reason.
I know one thing, Victoria's whining, all about me mess needs to be over and done with. She needs to be moved in a whole new direction. Any direction that will erase that constipated expression from her face. As for employment, I wonder where she'll jump next. With Nikki all but out of Jabot, I doubt she'll be sticking around there. Will she expect Victor to take her back at Newman or will she turn to her brother and RSM?
And what about J.T.? Where will he fit in future storylines? Surely he isn't going to remain the perfect loving husband and father forever. Not that there's much else for him to do at the moment. Because all traces of the semi-bad boy he used to be have been bled out of him. There wasn't that much to begin with, just a slight sleaze in his character that made him an occasional bed-bounding bad boy, but even that small bit has long been erased. These days he's dependably steadfast and sturdy as a rock. In fact, even though he's not yet thirty, he's already turned into his mentor, Paul. Time to take him out from under the Newman thumb and liven him up.
So, what does the future hold for Nick? As I watched the way he looked at Sharon and Jack at the Gala, I entertained for one brief moment the possibility of a reunited future for these two somewhere down the line. There seemed to be a little bit of something in his gaze, like maybe seeing Sharon had moved on happily with Jack had perhaps made him think about what they used to have, but maybe that was just my runaway imagination. I actually wouldn't mind seeing those two go another round. Just to see if there is a difference now that both are older, wiser and presumably better people. I know not all fans will agree, but they used to be pretty good together sometimes. Of course, I know there are still many Nick and Phyllis fans that adore this duo, but, just my opinion, these two have become a bit dry and not that interesting. It was mostly their frenzied and frequent coupling that hooked many fans, but as it always does, the honeymoon phase has passed and now they're just a rather ho-hum couple. And after all, it's not as if Nick's going to stay with Phyllis forever. Eventually the scribes will want to take him elsewhere with someone else, and at the moment, there really isn't anyone else other than Sharon to link him with.
For Nick, though, fortunately future storyline potential doesn't have to begin and end with Sharon or Phyllis, for that matter. Forget about Daddy's hatred for all things Jack. Nick now has an axe of his own to grind with Jack. Not to mention, there's much bonding that needs to eventually be done, with Daddy and with his overconfident, abrasive half-brother, which will add yet another layer to Nick's character. Nick has been so much more accepting of the changes in their lives because of Sabrina and Adam, and it would be nice to see him influence his sister by his example to soften her obstinate stance against Adam so that the siblings could at least find their way to common ground, if not yet love. Aside from all of that, who knows what angst might lie ahead between Nick and his newly aged son, Noah. I must admit I'm looking forward with great anticipation to seeing what else Nick has to show us.
There should be an interesting road ahead for Jack as well. With Sharon the only pom pom pumping cheerleader on his side, RSM things might not be very rewarding. I still wonder what he will choose to do for an encore. He did a lot of wheeling and dealing with advertisers at the Gala, pushing RSM and doing what he does best, making grand, sweeping promises. Which begs the question: whose body does he plan to throw under the bus to keep them? Of course, as I mentioned before, I'd much rather see him knifing his co-workers in the back at Jabot rather than at RSM. But if he's going to board that luxury liner, he'd better be quick. He'll surely be in good company with the rest of the back-stabbers already aboard, like Jeffrey, Gloria and probably soon to be Brad, now that he's become all disgruntled at how Jill booted him off Jabot's merry-go-round so she could snatch the brass CEO ring for herself. Talk about birds of a feather flocking together! Gloria, Jeff, Brad and Jack. All traitorous backstabbers with not a single trustworthy soul among them. Now that is a fearsome foursome to look forward to
By the way, it really was quite fitting that Brad was left holding the empty Jabot bag when Jill tossed his calculating carcass to the ground and stepped on him like her personal dorrmat. He used and tricked Chow and he got used and tricked in return by Jill. And how ironic that Brad used gambling to knock David off the corporate ladder. Then because of that very same gambling Jabot's stock took a tumble which will likely wind up with him still answering to someone else. And while I'm laughing at, not with, Brad, I will keep some giggles in reserve for when Kay hopefully pulls rank on Jill and in turn snatches the CEO ring right back and hands it to someone else.. Greedy Jill's like that selfish kid in the sandbox. Even though she already has a big, shiny Chancellor shovel to move the sand around with, she also wants the rusty, pitted bent Jabot shovel the kid next to her is playing with.
While Jack is busy plotting corporate espionage with the others who covet Jabot, if that's what it comes to, where does that leave Sharon? She's burning bridges and rescue boats left and right in her determination to back even Jack's most devious deeds, so don't think I feel any sympathy for what could become of her in the future because I don't. And without Jack to take her side, and Nick with no desire to, Phyllis will shout down and ridicule her every idea. So, will Noah be the fly in the creamy ointment of Jack and Sharon's marriage? Because somehow I can't quite see him joining his mother in hero worship of a deceitful step-papa who has no qualms about murdering a person's character, then claiming it was nothing personal.
In the aftermath of Sabrina's death, I expect the survivors will begin to play round after round of the blame game. Fingers will be pointing in so many directions, safety glasses will be necessary to keep residents' eyes from accidentally being poked out. Victor is bound to blame Nikki. For her association with David. And he would be right. At least partly. Had Nikki not been so intent on standing by her lying, gambling man, he would never have been such a prominent part of the gala.
But even if he never admits it, there is plenty of blame for Victor to shoulder as well. The philandering Philippe wasn't going anywhere. Had Victor kept his behind at the Gala instead of summoning Philippe into his illustrious presence for grilling purposes, he would have been on hand to take his own wife home. And instead of injecting himself into the Chow marriage out of concern for the mother of two of his children, Victor should have spent more time warning Sabrina away from the Chowhound. I'm sure Victor will have some blame to throw on Jack too. He's the one who first brought Philippe into the picture, setting in motion all the other subsequent events. I guess he can blame Victoria too. If she hadn't been so jealous and hateful to her so-called best friend, Sabrina would never have had to hitch a ride in Chow's limo.
As for Nikki, perhaps I should, but I have no sympathy at all for her. In fact, her crocodile tears are wasted on me. She was so determined to one-up her ex by marrying a man she knew nothing about. Now she wants to boo hoo hoo and have nightmares. I guess she'll have a real excuse for wrapping her lips around a bottle this time. And I couldn't care less.
Not every story promises to be riveting, must see watching, however. For example, I have no problem confessing I have absolutely no enthusiasm nor interest in watching super stalker Chloe prove Cane is a dummy yet again when it comes to Genoa City dames. This is a chick who has shown she manipulates and destroys lives without an ounce of remorse. And she's a tramp. If she's going to be someone's booty call, at least she could use protection so she wouldn't inflict any of her spawn on the human race. The moment she discovered she was pregnant, she didn't waste one second in joy over her impending bundle or wondering however to break the news to its real father. No, instead she immediately saw it as a surefire way to capture Cane. Funny, one of the main two reasons fans seemed to vilify Sabrina was because they felt she was a gold digger (even though she never did one single thing that supported that accusation), yet not a single soul has accused Chloe of going after Cane for the Chancellor cash. By the way, I felt that wallop over the head as Chloe told Amber she wanted a Mommy and Daddy and happy home for her baby to be because she never had one. I know it was likely supposed to make me feel all gooey and sappy inside, sympathetic to the fact that Chloe obviously had an unloving dysfunctional childhood, so should therefore be forgiven that she's now an uncaring witch on wheels. Not working.
On a side note, what is it with the scribes and a lasting love for Lily? Will she ever fall for a man that doesn't somehow manage to get himself entwined with some tawdry trollop? As for Cane, maybe boyfriend should go to a couple of AA meetings to try to figure out what to do about that drinking/blackout problem of his.
Okay, fans, I'm on my way. I know I didn't say a thing about Amber and Daniel and their morning after parting. That's because after all Amber's screeching, my ears are still ringing and I can't think straight enough to make fun of her. Seriously, I say, let her say so long to Daniel and hello to the Professor. Maybe she won't have a reason to shriek about him.
By the way, before I go, where is Colleen?
Once again, my emails were overwhelmingly in support of Sabrina and Raya Meddine. If you're reading, Ms. Meddine, in case you wondered, despite the show's decision not to keep you, to the fans you were a welcome addition to Genoa City and we will definitely miss you. Best of luck in whatever you do next. I promise you many of us will be watching!
Okay, fans, here's some of what you had to say. Enjoy!