Despite the fact that none of the hardworking actors and actresses who call Genoa City their pretend home were rewarded for their talents in this year's Emmys, I remain convinced that our group are some of the best in the biz.
Daytime has often been labeled as mindless drivel viewed mainly by lazy, bon-bon eating housewives with the perceived intellect of a gnat. Because of this misconception, soap watchers are sometimes reluctant to admit their love of soaps to their non-watching friends, for fear of hearing something like: "Oh, you watch that stuff," a scorn-tinged statement accompanied by a disbelieving eye roll and a pitying head shake. As if there is something off in our brains that lets us enjoy a daytime show. Why do people think soaps are so inferior to the offerings that pack the nighttime hours? And why do TV execs act as if the large numbers of daytime viewers don't also watch at night? Do they think we turn off our televisions right after the 6 o'clock news?
Although soaps often receive a bad rap from non-soap watchers, I don't find them much different than much of the stuff showing on prime time. Criminal Minds, The Good Wife, CSI -- the principle is the same. We watch, we come to know the characters, we fall in love, and we're hooked. Well, the same goes for daytime.
Nonetheless, our favorite soaps are receiving cancellation notices one after the other. Apparently it cost much less to throw together a game show, with one paid celebrity, or hire a group of unknowns to follow an outrageous script and call it reality than it does to pay the salaries of a talented cast. Well, I don't speak for anyone but myself, but I haven't much interest in watching a stranger jump up and down and scream wildly after hitting a one-time jackpot of winnings. Nor can I make myself care much about people who claim to be real but are more pretend than my Genoa City favorites. At least soaps aren't trying to sell what they do as the real deal.
Daytime, prime time, it's all the same to me. All I really want is to sit back and lose myself in a good story. Delivered by characters I've come to love, or at least like a little. I have my favorite nighttime offerings, but I also continue to enjoy what daytime has to offer. I believe my daytime actors and actresses have tremendous talent, and they are selling these storylines, sometimes even the stories the majority of us think are crappy and completely unbelievable. Like the Silver Chipmunk. Although I thought that was one of the most ridiculous storylines in GC history, Greg Rikaart, as Kevin Fisher, still managed to give me something to care about.
So anyway, this week's column is in celebration of all those connected to The Young and the Restless, the execs, the scribes, and, most of all, the actors and actresses who have kept me coming back for more than 25 years. The good, the bad, the gullible; the victims and the villains. In my opinion, every one of them deserves an Emmy for the piece they contribute to the whole.
For instance, Adam Wilson Newman. Despite his dark and despicable past, I've come to love this guy. Although had anyone told me a year ago that would be so, I would have called them a bald-faced liar. But, be that as it may, when he comes on screen, I can't take my eyes off him. I listen to what comes out of his mouth, but it's the little things that often telegraph his true feelings. A twitching eye, a slight eyebrow raise, an uncomfortable shift of his body. Even if you don't like him, and many understandably don't, I still find him fascinating to watch. Adam's unpredictability keeps me on the edge of my sofa seat. Often what looks like the end of the plan is just another step to the next level. Even though his plans fail about as often as they succeed, he keeps me coming back for more, in anticipation of what diabolical trick he might still have up his sleeve.
Of course, like most fans, I hated what Adam did with Faith and the way he tormented Ashley and Patti, but I have no problem with him going after Daddy Victor. As to Adam's latest stunt involving Diane, I find no fault with him. Diane and her greed did herself in, and for that, she will have to suffer the consequences. Like Adam said, all Diane had to do was deny, deny, deny, just as he planned to. But Diane slipped the noose around her own neck and wound up biting off her nose to spite her face. Well, we all know Maura West is on the way out, and the way she's making enemies left and right can only mean a whodunit is on the way. Hmm, three guesses as to who might wind up wrongfully accused of her murder.
Next up, our lady of deceit, Diane Jenkins Newman. It seemed to take forever for the scribes to figure out what they wanted to do with her, and just as she seemed to find her niche, they suddenly decided she's expendable. Nevertheless, I've mostly enjoyed her. She was totally unbelievable as a love for Victor, but I thought she had potential with Nick. It might have been a nice alternative to bouncing him back to Aunt Phyllis, which I fear might be in his future. Phyllis' controlling personality completely overpowers Nick and makes him look like a constantly chastened little boy. It's not a good look for him. Diane and Adam working together against the all-powerful Oz, I mean Victor, has been delightful to watch (except for the ambulance toss, which was completely unacceptable), and I'm going to miss her when she's gone.
Billy Abbott. My heart aches for his obvious pain. I want to both reach through the screen and hold him in comfort and at the same time shake him sensible. I know some fans find family man Billy boring, but I'm not one of them. It's the drunk and semi-disorderly Billy that I find harder to care about. Even though I knew this dark day would come the moment Billy held Phyllis' granddaughter in his arms, it still broke my heart when she was snatched away.
But while I hate the self-destructive path Billy has stepped onto, I hate the way spoiled Victoria has treated him much more. For her, I felt no yen to lean in and comfort. I just wanted to go straight to the shaking sensible part. She acts as if she's the only one who lost Lucy. She let Billy walk out of their Father Knows Best home with nothing but the memory of her last cruel words echoing in his ear. And what was the meaning of that smirky grin as he climbed the stairs to retrieve the last of his things? I guess I'm dense, because I missed the joke.
I wanted to cry when Billy told her he just wanted to come home, and she turned her back and walked away. She behaved like a cold, unfeeling female dog and doesn't deserve a man like Billy. Everything he did was to make her happy, but I guess that meant nothing to Miss I'm-Entitled-Because-I'm-A-Newman. She should have remembered there was life before Lucy. It all began with a great love between her and Billy. Well, I guess she can always go back to Daddy, at least until she does something he doesn't like and he cuts her off again.
By the way, was I the only fan who was amused when Victor stopped by, and Victoria started pouring out her grief about losing Lucy? Victor tried to sympathize with her and uncharacteristically opened up about his regret for going along with Hope's decision to raise Adam without his influence. When he finished, Victoria responded with something like: "yeah, that's too bad. That must have been hard" in a bored tone of voice that clearly said, hey, I don't care about that crap, this is about me, not you. Whiny brat! But I do have to give Victoria big props for her decision not to use Michael to launch an appeal to get Lucy back. The mother in her put Lucy before herself.
Which brings me to Phyllis Summers Romalotti Abbott Newman. Now I freely and often admit that I do not like this character. The character, not the actress. Let me be clear on that. The actress is awesome because she makes this character completely believable. She's often unnecessarily cruel and extraordinarily unkind if she wants something. She won't hesitate to lie through her straight, white teeth and will justify any means to achieve the end she's after. She will slice to ribbons, friend or foe, and in this latest instance, her own son. She clearly believes the best defense is a vicious offensive attack because if she can't out-argue someone, she immediately shifts gears and goes on a personal attack unerringly choosing the exact verbal dagger to extract the most pain from her opponent. Everything's almost always entirely about Phyllis, but the worst part is often the very residents she wrongs in her self-serving quests, are later scribe-ordered to crawl toward her and beg her forgiveness.
But … even though I often want to reach through the screen, snag a handful of that red hair, and go Jerry Springer on Phyllis, there are times when she sells me, at least momentarily, until my bias kicks in, on what she's trying to do. For instance, when she was holding Lucy, telling her she was where she belonged, with her family, I believed she had really done all this for her son. The problem I have, though, is that Daniel did not want this. I don't believe Phyllis' crystal ball works any better than mine when it comes to foretelling the future. While it's true Daniel might have come to regret his decision, the fact remains it was his child and his life, and as her father, his decision to make. Phyllis has her own life, and she wouldn't permit anyone else to step in and make life decisions for her. But she does it all the time in other people's lives. She should have extended Daniel the same right she demands for herself.
That Jack Abbott! I continue to love this guy, but, dear God, can we order some duct tape for his blathering mouth? This recent tendency to behave as if diarrhea has affected him above the neck is so annoying! He's really working my very last nerve with his loose tongue and flapping mouth. How can he convince anyone he's capable of running a company when he can't even stop himself from spewing out every single thing in his brain? Jack has always been a gloater, but never to such an extent. It's not as if this method has worked out well for him in the past. You would think he would learn, but, unfortunately, he never seems to. He makes it hard to feel much sympathy for him when things blow up in his face.
In spite of Jack's motor mouth, however, he finally received the gift he's wanted most. The CEO seat at Jabot. I'm cautiously happy for him, but I'm not letting out a sigh of relief just yet. Now that Tucker is awake, will Jack's behind only warm the CEO seat until Tucker is well enough to void Jack's contract and offer the chair back to Ashley? Especially when Tucker learns Jack will soon be in overly warm water with the SEC? But Tucker really wants a piece of Newman, so a deal involving Jack's Newman stock may well convince Tucker to let Jack continue to steer the Jabot ship for a while.
Abby continues to bring it in spades. I was sniffling loudly and getting quite tearful as she confessed her contrition to a comatose Tucker for running him down. She's trying so hard to be the adult everyone kept urging her to grow up and be, but her parents now contrarily want to treat her like a child and protect her. Thankfully, Tucker has finally woken up. Surprisingly, I have missed him a little.
I'm rather enjoying Lily these days. Our resident victim, she seems stronger this time around. Of course, that doesn't mean I think she's going to be able to keep her vow to keep Cane at bay. I did like them together, but I'm wondering if Cane's never-ending lies have spoiled this pairing. Sometimes this actor is like a blank page. I find myself screaming at him to react, change expression, blink his eyes, heck, break out in a damn jig. Anything other than offer the person talking at him that unchanging blank stare.
It's unfortunate that there are children involved, but for now, Lily should probably run as fast and as far as she can get from Cane Ethan Ashby in those cute little heels she's always sporting. But not because he's been incapable of telling the truth, but because his family is crazy with a big capital C! Between Cane's mother exhorting Glowworm's customers to beware of Colin, and his father, arms wide, shouting "Happy Hour" in that same voice used by psychotic Jack Nicholson in The Shining, was like unwittingly stepping into the middle of a circus of horrors. There is something seriously awry in that family!
Despite Colin's evil villainy, however, I do like the idea of Colin chasing after Jill. Jill has been the chaser so often; it would be a nice change to see her being pursued, even if it is by a criminal. Besides, just because he's a criminal now, he currently resides in Genoa City… where a man or woman can be forgiven anything if the scribes so say.
Malcolm, Sofia, Neil, and baby make a fractured four. Sigh. I just can't help but feel for the Winters clan. Used either as support posts for Lily's sad stories, or submerged in some storyline nearly every fan hates. Since Lily has consistently gotten the lion's share of the scribe's attention, I was pleased to see them finally jot down a line or two for the rest of her family. Unfortunately, they didn't manage to pull anything new from their hat. Come on scribes, I have to believe you can do so much better than this. Yes, it was an ironic twist to have Malcolm poised to suffer the same pain he once caused for his brother when he helped himself to his brother's wife, but had I been at the scribe's table, I would have erased the idea from their laptop and made them keep brainstorming.
But maybe I'm being too critical and should just be thrilled the Winters clan -- talented actors and actresses all -- finally have something to do. So you tell me, fans, are any of you out there invested in and loving this storyline? And if you aren't, what would you like to see in the way of storylines for this family?
A good guy in training -- Deacon. He's definitely been dirty. Working with Sarah to frame Daniel for murder, and helping Meggie steer Nikki back to the bottle. But slowly but surely, he's showing his goodness: most recently risking Victor's wrath to plead on Nikki's behalf, and trying to save Abby from herself. There has to be a reason for the clean-up. Could it be, as some fans suspect, that he'll soon be crowned Tucker's son?
Well, the column grows lengthy, and there are still plenty of Genoa Citians to commend and celebrate. Like Nick, Michael, Kevin, Daniel, Jill, Chloe, Nikki, Sharon, and others. I guess they'll have to wait for Part 2.
In the meantime, I'd love to read what you all think. Which characters bring it for you and which do you think need to dig a little deeper? Which men and women remain permanently on your hate list, and which possess that indefinable something that lets you forgive even their most heinous acts?
Regardless of those I like and those I like less, as I mentioned earlier, all of them deserve an Emmy in my book! See you next time. As always, what follows are your opinions about Genoa City things. I love reading them and wish I could include them all. But here is a small sampling.