Like many of you, I've been watching the antics of our Genoa City friends and foes for a very long time. Speaking for myself, and any other fan that has the same tendency, I can be quick to wag a wiggly finger of fun at all the things I don't like. As fans, we can sometimes be quick to bash a bit or hate just a little (present company admitting guilt on both counts). But obviously, it can't be all bad. Something must keep us coming back. For me, despite the way it might appear in print sometimes, I LOVE this show. Otherwise, I wouldn't waste my valuable and sometimes very limited free time keeping up with it. So this week, just for the heck of it, I think I'll focus mostly on the hits, rather than the misses.
What is it that causes you to keep this show on your viewing schedule? If you feel like it, drop me a line; let me know what some of your favorite things are, and I'll share some of them in a future column. In the meantime, here are some of the reasons I tune it again and again and again.
The characters. Depending on their storyline, my like/dislike for them can swing like Edgar Allan Poe's pendulum in that pit. For instance, I hated Kevin with a blind and white-hot passion when he was playing pedophile and frenzied firebug. But now he's one of my absolute favorites.
When the latest portrayer of Billy Abbott came to town, my feelings for him were lukewarm at best. Frequently one or more sheets to the wind and seemingly willing to frolic in the fresh-washed sheets with any female form that wiggled by, I didn't expect much from this character with odd facial contortions and his never-serious demeanor. Jack, having bought up nearly every share on the Jabot obsession market, there didn't seem to be much room nor rhyme or reason for another Abbott brother to be focused solely on Jabot.
Yet, I wasn't very hopeful when Billy bought the Restless Style rag. But, as it turned out, he is much better running Restless than he would have been competing with Jack and Ashley at Jabot. Despite his many silly faces and irreverent comments, reporting seems to be his niche because he manages to find out everything he needs to know to get his story. One of my favorite things about him: the way he cuts right to the chase. No meaningless there, there, pat, pat for Billy when someone comes crying on his shoulder. With his probing questions, he says everything we fans are usually screaming at the screen. Like with Sharon, who had just told Billy she'd gone to see Adam because she thought it was Nick. So why did you stay, was what he immediately demanded to know.
For those really long-time fans, remember Terry Lester? This Billy has that same nameless charming quality, the ability to make you forgive him over and over in spite of the naughty/nasty tricks he often pulls. He makes no apologies for what he is. A sometimes screwup, with commitment issues, who often drinks too much, but has a good heart. Last, but not least, Billy wins me over completely with his complete irreverence when it comes to Victor. Laughing off his threats, taking his punches without punching back, but most of all, his comical Victor impersonations. "No more Victor talk," he agreeably assured Victoria. "You got that," he added, in Victor's voice.
Which brings to mind another of my favorite things: scribe humor. A couple of the past week's gems: "Hello Mrs. Newman, that's a lovely dress you're wearing," said Billy, channeling Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver. As a Leave it to Beaver fan, I liked that one, scribes. The second? Lily: "I felt somebody lifting me up," she said, syllables soaked with the appropriate amount of both awe and wonder. Cane: "That was me babe, you fell out of bed when I ran in." At that, I promptly fell off the bed, too, with hyena-like laughter.
The week held another taste of something I've long salivated for: bickering battles between the Newman boys, Adam and Nick. Enough of Adam inciting the ladies to insanity. Let's have some man-to-man drama for a while. This is what I've wanted to witness since Adam came to town.
Speaking of Adam, I know many fans hate him so much they couldn't care less about anything having to do with him, but I really want to know if he's truly evil enough to kill someone in cold blood. Despite his denials to the contrary, which by the way sound completely sincere, Adam seems the most likely suspect. Besides, if not Adam, then who? I just don't buy that Adam drove mad hatter Patty to plunge that pen in Hightower's heart. So, did he trick Patty into believing she'd killed him, with fake blood and the like, then did the murderous deed on Hightower himself, or did Hightower somehow die of some freak accident we don't yet know about?
Is Adam really a bad to the bone evil spawn of Satan with no hope of redemption or just a man who always has a Plan B ready to roll out every time Plan A falls to pieces? It's been rumored he may receive a visit from his sainted Mother soon. I'm looking forward to that ghostly visitation because I really want some answers. His mother always described him as a good boy, hardworking and admirable. But that's not the Adam some of his Harvard classmates knew. So what turned him into the vile human being before us today? Was it really all because of the rejection he received in Genoa City? Or has he been pulling the wool over his mother's eyes his entire life? I know I've floated this possibility before and fan Rubie (below) apparently has had the same thought. Was Adam switched when he mysteriously disappeared and Hope sent Victor seeking him? If he wasn't, then when did he become this monster crouching before us now?
Chloe has become one of my favorite things. She's tiny and cute and manages to have chemistry with babies, gal pals, and guy pals alike. Unfortunately, much of that chemistry seems to be missing from her relationship with Chance. I'm glad the two have found sweet, pure love, but somehow their interactions leave me flat. I can't put my finger on why, I just know it does. But that's just my worthless opinion. Others may not feel the same.
Jack almost always has his name inked on my most favorite list. When Jack shifts into his concerned mode, even though I know it's supposed to be sincere, and even though I do take it that way, I often find myself cackling crazily when he puts his shaking head down and uses that mournful, moping voice. Don't get me wrong, I love Jack's acting, love how he can be so tender and understanding, but then at others can get almost well … female-doggish, shall we say, with his mean, cutting comments.
Then there's the wannabe combo pair of Jack and Victor. Mostly at one another's throats, every once in a while they're forced to join forces and work together for the sake of their families. This is one such time, and I'm enjoying them as allies instead of enemies for a change. I couldn't help but giggle though, at their conversation this week. There they were, jointly hosting their two-guest pity party. "If I had only recognized Patty sooner, an innocent man would still be alive," Jack murmured in his most mournful tone, furrowing his brow, gnawing on his lip, while gazing in the general direction of the ceiling. "I'm the one who brought Patty into our lives," Victor countered. "There's blood on my hands, as well," he sighed. Okay, I know it wasn't meant to be funny, but I couldn't quite stifle my snort of mirth. I fully appreciated their interchange, but at the same time, I still found myself thinking that the only thing missing from that scene was the bar stools, the glass of booze to trickle their tears into, and the peanuts. Hey, what can I say, I have a warped way of thinking.
Jeff and Gloria are two more of my favorite things. I love their comic relief. Everyone else in Genoa City might be going through something, but these two are living it up. I don't know about anyone else, but I like this Gloria much better than the greedy, scheming one trying to get her mitts on John Abbott's legacy. One greedy, grasping middle-aged woman (Jill) is enough for one town.
Then there are the parties. Sure, they can be a little bit cheesy, and as we all know if we actually count the guests (and some of us always do), the gatherings are pretty small. But they are always a nice respite from the usual drama, trauma, and partner-swapping. By the way, who where those strangers hanging out in the room when Ashley was talking to Abby? And where did they go? Once they left the room, they were never seen again. Speaking of the July Fourth picnic, was I the only one who found it funny that Tucker kept asking for food, but he never got any?
What could wind up being one of my favorite things is the conflict between Lauren and Jill. Finally, a storyline for Lauren that doesn't involve her kidnapping or attempted murder. It's about time, because that eternal victim stuff got old a long time ago. Not that this new thing with Jill and her sense of entitlement for Fenmore things aren't going to subject Lauren to terrorizing of a different kind.
As usual, if Jill manages to wiggle her way into your family, look out, because she's always going to have her hands and purse wide open, demanding her piece of the family pie. She can be such a steamroller! One minute she's gushing over the fact that she has a sister and family, has found the essence of her being, whatever the heck that means. But before Lauren can even draw a bracing breath, Jill's waving change of name papers in her face and simultaneously demanding her share of the Fenmore fortune. I understand she feels she's owed something, but the way she pushily goes about things just makes her look like the greediest gremlin in Genoa City.
Abby is not one of my favorite things yet, but with the right storyline, I bet that could change. I get Abby's whole "I'm a grown girl now and want to make a name for myself" mentality. I could even probably get behind the whole reality show thing, which these days seems the cutting edge thing for past, present, and winnable celebs to do. But the problem is, I don't care. I'm just plain not interested in her life. The sole reason being because I find it boring. She's just showing up in other people's dramas.
The naked heiress, running around snatching off her clothes in the name of saving what, our otters, fur-bearing creatures, and waters? She's like a streaker that strolls instead of streaks. I don't care about her being naked. I certainly don't want to see her naked. And adding Daniel as the long-suffering voice of reason hasn't helped.
But I don't know. Once again, I'm just voicing my worthless opinion. Maybe her antics are completely entertaining to others. For myself, I would rather see her story head in another direction. Why not delve below the brash and sassy in everyone's face surface, to the vulnerability and pain that must live beneath? After all, this is the girl whose mother stole her father's swimmers and turkey basted her into existence. Her adopted father drowned saving her brother's son, and her stepsister's heart beats bravely in her biological father's chest, the same man indirectly responsible for her death. Not to mention her half-sister used to be her stepmother. And that's just off the top of my head from the Newman side of the family. This girl should have some serious issues. And instead, scribes, you give us the Naked Heiress?!
When it comes to Sharon, I really want her to be one of my favorite things, because I do like the character, though she repeatedly tries my patience. And that being true, I try to defend her, but really, in all sincerity, sometimes you just plain can't because, well … sometimes she just plain does stupid stuff. As much as a fan might try to get behind this girl, there are times when the only thing you can do is shake your head and wish you could get your hands through the screen so you could shake her.
Come on, Sharon, what's all this confusion about Adam and how you feel about him? Ignore, if you must, the diary forging, the Newman business shenanigans, and the ongoing litany of Adam's never-ending lies. Forget, if you can, the gaslighting of Ashley, the sexing of both Heather and Rafe, the Hightower set-up and maybe murder. But the man practically snatched your wee one right out of your arms, handed it off to your former father-in-law and his then round-the-bend-bride, gave you some other baby's ashes to scatter, then sat back and watched you bawl your eyes out over it all. And now you're acting like you don't know if you still love him or not?
Step closer to the screen, Sharon. I need to smack you sensible. She's making the dumb blonde stereotype seem true. And it is a stereotype because I've known plenty of blondes in my lifetime, and I can tell you, there was nothing dumb or deer-in-the-headlights about them.
The Winters family. If they are ever to become one of my favorite things, it's imperative (and long overdue) that the scribes pen for them some decent storylines. Scribes, I love you ladies and gents, but really, can you honestly not conceive of something better for this family than this long, drawn-out, almost universally hated cancer storyline? Although some may disagree, these are more than adequate actors and actresses. Devon is extremely talented if you give him something worthwhile to say, other than some soothing, supportive throwaway line on the edge of somebody else's drama. Without Dru, former workaholic Neil, who rarely took a day off, has been turned into a company doormat on the rare occasion he isn't off on some family leave due to one of Lily's constant crises.
By the way, what is up with Dru's name suddenly coming out of Neil's mouth? I know the fan base is quite split when it comes to Dru, but the Winters family needs something or someone to spark it, and I'm a fan that would be happy to see Dru return, hats and over-the-top antics and all. How many more times can something traumatic happen to Lily? I swear, her contract must state she's only allowed happiness for five minutes before she's assaulted, cheated on, divorced, or stricken with some medical malady. And her poor family gets dragged along as passengers on Lily's trauma train. I hope she's right about that lifted-up feeling meaning things are going to be all right. Because I've had more than enough of her whimpering in her Wheaties.
And lastly, Phyllis will probably never be my favorite thing again unless they pair her with someone other than Nicholas Newman. And I sincerely hope her decision to leave means the scribes are testing the waters to do just that, and not just using this as a poor plot device so Nick can go panting after her and beg her back. Just my viewpoint, but this couple never quite worked for me. I hated the way they hooked up, hated the way Phyllis frequently made a game of sexing her married man right under Sharon's nose. And really came to hate the beaten-to-death horse the three-way tussle between Sharon, Nick, and Phyllis had become.
Sure at first, their hot, monkey-simulated sex was the hook that took fans by surprise. Both Phyllis and Nick are easy on the eyes, and I've seldom seen a Genoa City fellow Phyllis didn't have chemistry with. But like anything else, when you see it over and over, it becomes just two people getting busy in the sheets. And once the sweat had dried, and they actually started relating outside the sheets, these two seemed too much like teacher/student or aunt/nephew for me. Somehow, Nick just didn't seem grown-up enough for Phyllis, and Summer and her sickness, regression, etc., seemed like little more than plot glue to hold them together. That time Phyllis was literally begging Nick not to leave her was painful to watch and so not Phyllis.
When it came to Nick and Phyllis, something was just off for me. And it wasn't due to dislike of Phyllis, because I didn't feel that way when she was linked with Jack. She and Jack had that indefinable something that makes a good couple. I can't speak for anyone else, but they somehow made me root for them. When Phyllis was trying so hard to have Jack's baby and discovered she couldn't have children, I was crying right along with her and Jack. When Diane was all up in their mix, I wanted to jump through the screen and run that interloper out of their lives myself. When they fought I was rooting for them to make up.
Not that I necessarily think Phyllis and Jack should get back together, even though I wouldn't mind seeing for myself whether there are any ignitable embers left in their banked fire. Unfortunately, for many fans that ship has sailed. Towing it back to the harbor after all that time in Nick's seas probably wouldn't work. But that doesn't mean there can't be someone new in Phyllis' world.
As for what to do with Nick, should their separation become permanent, I don't know right now. The long drawn-out competition for Nick's affection has dragged on so long, many fans don't want to see him with either woman. Fans of the Phyllis-Nick pairing have repeatedly said Sharon should be on her own for a while, but maybe it's Nick who needs to spend some time sailing solo.
Until my next time in this space, hope you enjoy what your fellow fans sent to the e-box.