As the week's events unfolded, fans erupted in an incensed outpouring of rage at the turn of events. In the 6+ years I've been penning this column, I've never seen such a fan reaction. As it became clear that Adam the blind super villain was going to triumph again and literally snatch Sharon's newborn so he could cover his diabolical tracks with Ashley, the e-mails began to pour into Soapcentral.com. All shouting variations of the same theme. Bring back the old Y&R. No more Adam, no more baby switch, no more death and dishonor. And most of all, no more crazy, unbelievable, crater-sized storyline holes. When the dust finally settled, nearly 200 irate fans had been heard from, almost all of them voicing their extreme disgust in no uncertain terms. From all corners of the world, fans swore they were turning off, tuning out and taking many of their like-minded friends, family and co-workers with them. Fans are infuriated and fed up with Adam's undetected machinations and mothers everywhere are up in arms over yet another been there, done that baby switch.
Like many Genoa City super villains before him (think Sheila), Adam too has the unerring ability to always materialize at the right place at the exact right time. Although allegedly blind and you would assume deteriorating daily, Adam still manages to get around as well or better than his sighted counterparts. Slinking around, hugging walls and creeping out of corners, like the contemptible cockroach he's become, Adam continues to top himself, piling up one dark deed after another. Although he clearly has no conscience in most matters, it's beginning to appear the long months of tormenting Ashley in the face of her blind faith and belief in his unwavering support of her, have caused him to feel a little bit of remorse. But his newfound consideration fails to redeem him in any way in my biased eyes, because his attempt to repair what he destroyed, has only shifted the suffering from one Genoa City woman to another. Other than when it comes to Ashley, and belatedly, his seeming remorse that his revenge against Victor got out of hand and was now regretted, his other actions prove Adam remains an unfeeling cad who victimizes almost every woman he encounters (Ashley, Heather, Sharon, Estella, just to name several). His poor mother must be whirling in her grave, dismayed and broken-hearted at the behavior of the misbegotten boy she brought into being. By the way, watching Adam and Ashley, was I the only fan who wonders if we're seeing the beginning of Adam actually falling in love with Ashley? Sure, there's an age difference, but so what? That's never been an impediment to inhabitants in this twisted town. And after Ashley heard with her own ears Victor proclaiming his love for Nikki, does she now finally get that it has always been and will always be Nikki for Victor? So who better to dry her tears and heal her aching heart than Adam, the man she thinks has been her staunchest supporter?
I don't blame fans for their anger at Adam's commandeering of Sharon's infant. There isn't likely a mother on the planet whose sensibilities would not be offended at what he has done. Sure, it's just a make believe story in a made up soap world, but the thought of it still strikes a chord within every woman. However one might feel about Sharon, this character did not deserve this. It's not Sharon's fault Ashley went all mush-brained the moment she reunited with Victor, or that instead of fighting her way through her problems, she got the vapors and spent seven months clinging to her bedcovers. And her reward, after wallowing endlessly, squeaking and squawking about Sabrina sightings and Estella hauntings, this poster child for extreme mental malfunction is rewarded with some other woman's baby. It may sound harsh, but in my opinion, Ashley should not be entrusted with the care of a helpless infant. I mean, it isn't as if this is the first time impending motherhood has unhinged her. From her long ago breakdown after she aborted her and Victor's child, through the mind muddle that convinced her stealing Victor's swimmers to engineer Abby's sterile start was a rational act to take, through her bout with Robert the blankie, and now, a hysterical pregnancy, convincing herself her empty womb was filled with a squirming, kicking Newman to be. Every time Ashley or one of her family members mentioned Ashley's beautiful new baby girl, I wanted to hurl something at the screen. To listen to this empty-headed woman prattle about how she was all better now and no longer in need of any mental intervention, like all it took to cure what's been ailing her for months, was the birth of a baby, just tweaked my last nerve. No, Ashley didn't deserve all that's been done to her and it's a shame she tumbled down those Newman stairs - once again the site of a woman losing her baby - but she also doesn't deserve to be handed a baby she did nothing to bring into the world.
The holes in this hysterical pregnancy are hard to ignore for this fan, even allowing for Ashley's mental incompetence. I've read up on hysterical pregnancy, so I can see how the scribes could make this fly, but some things are just are too large and unappetizing to swallow. The months-ago miscarriage was hard enough to choke down, what with its complete lack of any medical complications, etc. Then, we are expected to accept that a woman who's given birth before could actually believe she had just given birth, but not wonder for one single second why she had no accompanying soreness, bleeding, fatigue and everything else a new mother would feel immediately after giving birth. Hell, she awoke feeling refreshed and completely dressed without so much as a damp sheet or a single sweat soaked strand of hair to show for her efforts. Hogwash! I'm insulted!
I'm equally insulted by the running of the so called "first rate facility" the moneyed ilk of Genoa City commit their loved ones to. I have some general knowledge (not personal, thank goodness) of people being involuntarily or voluntarily committing themselves to such facilities. All this undetected running about like headless chickens by Adam and Dr. Taylor would never happen. Disembodied voices telling patients to return to their room in five seconds, then doors locking before the message is even complete. Like even the most nimble patient is going to be able to scamper to their rooms before they find themselves locked out of their rooms and left to fend for themselves in the hallways. Speaking of those rooms, did you see how they were furnished? Sharp edges and potential weapons everywhere a person looked. And don't even let me get started on the complete idiocy of a woman giving birth attended by a doctor with not a single medical instrument, armed with only a few towels and some hot water. How did he cut the cord? By whipping out a pair of nail clippers? Biting it off with his teeth? And finally, the complete unbelievability of anyone, even an allegedly renowned specialist like Dr. Taylor, being able to get away with a documented death without having to produce a body. How did he explain that one to whoever is in charge of such things? By claiming he'd already dropped it off at a funeral home for cremation. Puleeze! Oh and one more thing. What's up with St. Mary's Children's Hospital? As long as I've been watching the goings on in this place, no matter where the injury or medical mishap occurred, somehow the resident always wound up at GC Memorial. Who knew there was any other hospital? I'm telling you, I did my best to suspend my disbelief, but I have to tell you, watching the sloppiness of some aspects of this completely contrived storyline, had me writhing on the floor in hysterical laughter.
As for Sharon, come on, hasn't this character been dragged through the dirt enough? While the actress might be delighted to have the opportunity to showcase her talents in so many different scenarios, I'm a bit tired of the doom and gloom of Sharon Newman's life and am ready for her life to take a turn for the better. Two children have already been taken from her, and now she's had a third stolen away and given to a woman who can't tell the difference between fact and fantasy. The scribes have had her hopping in and out of the sheets or off the sofas with two brother-in-laws, and has had her simultaneously sharing her party favors with two brothers and her ex-husband. Like Ashley, she's suffered through a couple of brain fogs of her own, first believing she'd killed and was being haunted by a dead Cameron Kirsten, then years later, running around town, blocking out the fact that her mind was looking elsewhere while her fingers plucked up other people's possessions. Not to mention the fact that she's lost and gained and lost again the only man she's ever loved. Enough already. How about some lasting joy for this poor girl? Having said all that, however, Sharon hit it out of the park with her devastation at the loss of her baby. I was boo-hoo-hoo-ing in tandem right along with her and Nick. Too sad. Throw us a bone, scribes; please don't let Ashley have this beautiful little girl for too long. Sharon already missed out on a third of Cassie's life. Can she please have this one back before it's too big to cuddle?
Okay, on to the other major happening of the week. Poor Colleen Carlton. Once it was decided some poor unfortunate Genoa Citian would have to die so that other storylines could be given life, who else but the Colleen Carlton character could be placed gently atop the chopping block? While I think its unfortunate, I do understand why she was the most likely sacrificial lamb for storyline purposes. The Abbott-Newsman feud must continue and although it might seem so, Jack and Victor won't be around to fight furiously forever. And since I couldn't name any existing Newman who could conceivably be sacrificed to further the feud, that only leaves an Abbott, once removed. Enter Colleen. Sure Colleen perhaps could have been simply banished with an appropriate cover story, as some fans would have preferred, but I have to admit that wouldn't have churned out much grist for future storylines since her disappearance could never have had the tentacles of the finality of her death. Sure, others could have been bumped off, like Abby who is far from a fan favorite. But Abby is the tie loosely linking the Abbott and Newman families together, so that wasn't likely to happen. Then there was Summer, but her death, while tragic and unappealing due to her young age, would ultimately mostly affect only the Newmans. This might have been different if it had ever been determined Summer really belonged to Jack, as many fans still hope, but since that never happened, at least not yet, her death would have done nothing to deepen and advance the Newman-Abbott feud into future generations.
So, although it's too bad Colleen had to go, at least she's being given a heck of a send off, with everyone being allowed ample time to sob out their sorrowful so longs. Unlike her poor Grandpa John, who was bum rushed off the canvas with an undeserved and undignified quickness, like he'd been a seldom seen walk-on instead of the longstanding backbone of the Abbott family. I know the current scribes have done the best they could to make up for the former scribes' decision to kill off John, by allowing him the occasional ghostly visit, and for that, I guess we'll have to be grateful.
Speaking of that, a word about our scribes. Sure, there is the occasional bottom of the barrel tale told - the Teroni fractured fairytale, for one - but they don't have an easy job of it. Imagine trying to create somewhat believable storylines for the present, while keeping in mind how to take it years into the future, all while attempting to satisfy the varied tastes of millions of fans. Not to mention having to take into consideration that life keeps moving, characters age and eventually expire, so scribes must also figure out how to seamlessly and believably add new family members (Chloe, Chance) to the established core so Genoa Citian generations can continue into the future. Given all that, there's no possible way they can please all of the fans all of the time, so just have to settle for trying to please some of them, some of the time.
But, back to the story. Once you get past the part of Colleen's heart going into the chest of the man who is partly responsible for her demise, it's actually a rather brilliant idea. While the fact that Victor took those bullets for Jack somewhat softened the animosity between them, at the same time it hardened Billy's hatred for Victor. It also showcased the generosity and innate goodness of John's children. Say what you want about Jack and his often ill-conceived plans, he almost always manages to do the right thing that makes up for most of his idiotic actions. I still vividly recall the day he left Victor for dead, his shoe nudging against Victor's hand as he stepped over his prostate body, but just as you gasped at this cold and callous act, Jack returned and in the end made the call that saved Victor's life. So, I was proud of Jack for being able to look past his own hatred of Victor and encourage his sister to grant Nikki's request to donate Colleen's heart so that Victor might survive.
But will Colleen and the Abbott's sacrifice be in vain? Mixing reality with make believe, with the possibilities for future riveting storytelling tentatively set (like a new and different relationship between a presumably grateful Victor and Jack and the Abbott's for their generous gift of life), suddenly the news hits Soapcentral cyberspace that Victor has become the latest Genoa Citian to find himself mired in the quicksand of contract negotiations. (If you haven't read it already, go check out Dan and Elizabeth's Soapcentral article.) It's impossible to imagine right now, a Genoa City without Victor Newman, but if mutual agreement isn't reached, an alternate path will have to be pursued. Will Adam become the new Victor, feuding not only with the Abbotts, but with Nick and Victoria as well? Even blind, there is likely plenty of mileage to be gained through the inevitable infighting between the Newman offspring as each jockeys for top dog position at Newman Enterprises.
But If Victor should survive both the heart transplant and the contract negotiations, will his new heart make him a kinder, gentler Victor? And if it does, will it succeed better than it did the last time his gruff exterior underwent a miraculous change? Because once the newness wore off, I seem to recall most fans weren't impressed or intrigued with the transformation, and found they much preferred the old, villainess Victor.
Okay, I know countless fans are bellowing bloody murder about the baby switch and Adam - after all nearly 200 e-mails definitely do not lie - and while I, too, dislike the turn those storylines have taken, it seems the scribes are also attempting to give us what many of us fans have insisted we have missed. The return of the Genoa City family.
For instance, I know I wasn't the only fan absolutely loving the family interaction. From the Abbotts to the Newmans to the Chancellors, there was bonding aplenty. Once a major fan complaint that family members were being whittled away one by one, resulting in once flourishing families becoming an island of one or two, all that has changed.
Amidst all the sadness surrounding both the Abbotts and Newmans, it was wonderful to see the families coming together. There was a lot of heartfelt emotion and touching dialogue as rifts between Nikki and Victor, Victor and each of his children, were discussed, resolved and forgiven.
Likewise, down the hall the other family in anguish had me riveted to their every word. Jack is always good and didn't disappoint in this situation and sister Traci has been nothing but superlative from start to finish as a grieving mother faced with a decision no parent should ever have to face. Billy has boldly bellowed out everything his fellow family members were too polite to utter but undoubtedly were thinking, at least in part. Even Abby has been bearable and mostly believable in her sorrow over losing her sister. Ashley has been the only weak link, as always, focused on herself, but I guess that should be overlooked, given her mental condition.
As the Chancellors joyously celebrated Jill's birthday, I was chuckling right along with all of them when they made reference to their battles, complete with fights and cake throwing. Kay showed her usual class with her gift to Jill to return to her rightful place at Chancellor Industries. But my hopes plummeted when practically in the next breath, Jill immediately launched herself into left field when Kay answered Nikki's SOS. But the scribes picked me right back up when Jill's family banded together and showed Jill how senseless her accusations were. Jill, for once, actually listened and took Nina's advice to try and be more like the daughter she seemed to want Katherine to think her. The scene between the two women in the hospital room brought me to the brink of a bout of sentimental tears and had me wanting to reach through the screen and hug them both. Very well done!
Okay, that brings me to the close of my monologue. Fans, I wish I could include all of your comments so your voices could be heard in this space. I'm thinking of printing them all up and sending them via snail mail to the scribes and CBS just to let them know what we think. But in spite of the storylines which sometimes make me so mad, I find myself ripping them apart at the top of my voice, like they're real people in my real life, I'm still tuning in, if for no other reason so that I'll be there when Sharon's little Faith is placed back into her arms - whenever that may be. In the meantime, I find there is still more that I like than not about my favorite show. Anyway, until my turn rolls around again, here's a small sampling of the varied opinions of your fellow fans. While the vast maturity of the e-mails received condemned the Adam/Sharon/Ashley storyline and indicated fans could be tuning off in droves, there were a few fans who had other things to say and plan to keep watching in hopes of a brighter future. Enjoy!