Oh, to be living a soap opera life… Apparently, the current economic struggles facing families from coast to coast have not reached Genoa City, Wisconsin. Name me the characters that are worried about making a mortgage payment or living from paycheck to paycheck? Even Esther lives in the Chancellor mansion! And does Daniel have a job? Do Cane and Lily think about starting a college fund for the twins, or will some benevolent member of their families just handed over a million bucks for the kids' future?
Even Kevin and Chloe, who presumably are upper middle class -- and work -- never seem to have financial concerns. Jeffrey and Gloria are back in the money, although when she was down and out, she still wore designer clothes. Why am I bringing this up, you ask? Well, it's one of the problems I see with The Young and the Restless. The show is out of touch with reality.
For weeks, we've been watching characters named Abbott and Newman and McCall spending millions of dollars to make more money. It's like they're oblivious to the rest of the world. Even Abby's solution to her screwup at the art gala involved writing a check. What if she hadn't had a quarter of a billion dollars in the bank to solve that problem? There's something askew when the main storyline of a show is how much money characters are spending on depressed Newman stock!
Is romance dead? Okay, maybe it's not dead, but it's on life support. Daniel and Heather's oddball love affair came to a crashing halt with the news that Daisy was in Fairview. Kevin and Chloe are at each other's throats. I guess Cane and Lily are still in bliss, but only because nobody mentioned the name Claude Shirl last week. There's nothing "hot" about Neil and Harmony, and now that Debbi Morgan's been axed, don't expect there to be.
It hasn't always been like this on the show, but it's drifted away from romance and into other directions. Maybe one of the reason I've enjoyed Victor's wandering into the Los Angeles dockworker scene was because it smacked of realism. The workers were in a bad employment situation and were worried about how to put food on their tables and pay their bills. Genevieve was actually shown working for a change, rather than tending to her orchids!
For a while, Victor -- the ultimate billionaire tycoon -- was speaking up for the workers' rights. He was still Victor Newman, but in this situation, he was an oppressed employee and wanted to do something about it. Genevieve even made note of how ironic it was that Victor was on the side of the workingman when he'd always represented management in the past. What a role reversal! Do you think when he's back in Newman Towers he'll remember how tough it is for the guys on the loading dock? Will he give Bonnie and Buck a raise for the hard work they do at the ranch? How about better benefits and a 401K plan?
I have no doubt Victor will be back quite soon. He'll be back in those $3,000 Italian suits and out to get back at all the vultures that tried to take advantage of his company while he was incapacitated. It will not be a pretty picture for Jack or Tucker, but the one who's really going to get it is Sharon. Watch for Victor's most ruthless side to emerge. And to be frank, I cannot see how Sharon will be able to defend her actions.
There was a moment last week, after Adam -- of all people -- tried to get her to look at her situation from another perspective so she could see how misguided her ambition has been, when I thought Sharon was waking up. She went to see Tucker and asked the question, "What am I doing?" I cheered! I've been asking the same question about her for months. The lies, the deception, the cheating… Sharon was not that kind of character a year ago. When she was on the run in New Mexico, it was as a reluctant fugitive. She wanted to go home to her children, but couldn't. She still loved Adam, but let him think she was dead because it was the noble thing to do.
But since that time, Sharon's just gotten more and more odd. I've said it before, but it's worth repeating. She's a train wreck. And considering her experience with men like Jack, Nick, Adam, and Victor, how on earth has Tucker hoodwinked her? I love Stephen Nichols as an actor and think he's very attractive, but I have not believed Tucker's adoration of Sharon for a minute. Maria Arena Bell has written this storyline in the most obvious way, no subtlety whatsoever.
I warn you, readers, don't expect a good storyline resolution when this is all done. We're in a transition period as it is, but the lingering M.A. Bell tale is a disaster. There's no semblance of the Sharon she used to be, and it's nearly impossible to watch her going through these scenes like a cross between a Barbie doll and Joan Crawford in an old black-and-white Warner Brothers' movie, acting all bitchy and angry, firing Victoria and Nick, throwing herself at Tucker… All she needs is a cigarette and a set of industrial-size shoulder pads to become a complete cartoon! I don't think Sharon Case buys this transformation any more than we do.
Are we really supposed to believe that Adam's rejection created this Sharon? Really? Or is this something that happened during her few hours of marriage to Victor? Maybe having sex with Victor blew her mind? Don't laugh; they never showed those two in bed and I think that was on purpose. Our minds might have imploded, too.
While I'm on a tear about characters that are suddenly acting out of whack, what's going on with Victoria? Six weeks ago, she couldn't bear the idea of leaving her Father Knows Best house (with that horrible furniture!) and baby Johnny to go back to work. Now she won't leave her father's desk to go out for lunch! Presumably Johnny is enjoying the care of his babysitters, because Mommy and Daddy haven't been around very much. Billy's been flying off for Restless Style business and Victoria has been having an orgasm as Newman Enterprises' acting CEO. When was the last time Victoria even mentioned Reid…is he coming for Thanksgiving?
Victoria's brother Nick seems to be the Newman parent with a conscience these days. Of course, he has to be because Phyllis has abandoned all responsibility to her children to save her own skin. Nick's decision to remarry Phyllis has blown up in his face. From the moment they said, "I do," she's been lying to him about everything. What a wife! Phyllis never confides in her husband before the trouble starts, only after. Nick is the last to know about every awful thing Phyllis has done, be it hacking computer surveillance cameras, paying off a blackmailer, moving a dead body, or lying to the D.A. And that's all post-attempted murder of a Federal employee. Don't you think Nick would think twice before marrying Phyllis again? Even Victoria told him that he has terrible taste in women!
There are many of you that really like Phyllis as a character, seeing her as feisty and strong. She is feisty and strong -- and fun to watch. But even those of you who adore her cannot deny that she's a criminal. She's not alone. Other characters on the show have broken the law, too, but as the old saying goes, "two wrongs don't make a right."
Phyllis is a lawbreaker, and worse than that, a repeat offender. She rationalizes every misdeed and -- I'm sorry, readers -- that's just wrong, wrong, wrong. It's unfair to the folks that play by the rules, which are most of the characters on the show. True, every show needs villains and evildoers, but don't you think there needs to be some semblance of reality?
Michael and Ronan have allowed Phyllis to remain unpunished for too long. As Christine pointed out, both of them have taken oaths to uphold the law; it's part of their jobs. Michael and Ronan's shifting ethics are disturbing and must be addressed. I don't see Michael remaining D.A. for very much longer, and Ronan is destined to lose his FBI badge.
It was a relief to see Paul take charge of his case by getting into Fairview. Bravo to the show for bringing Patty back, even if it was only for an episode, to provide Paul a diversion so he could get to Daisy. For the first time ever, I was actually happy to see Daisy. When she told Paul the truth about Ricky, explaining that she'd seen the video of Ricky killing Rachel, I was overjoyed. It bothers me that we still don't know what happened to Ricky's laptop computer. And why wasn't there anything incriminating on his cell phone? Another reader pointed out that there's still a hidden camera in Heather's apartment -- why hasn't it been found?
On the subject of Daniel and Heather, I guess they qualify as a "hot" romance… or maybe they're just an odd couple. They seem to be from different worlds. There's also the age thing; Daniel's last hook-up was with Eden, who's at least ten years younger than Heather, don't you think?
Since I mentioned that Debbi Morgan is leaving the show, we should also discuss that Jill Farren Phelps has handed pink slips to Genie Francis and Marcy Rylan, too. I'm sorry to hear about Genie being dumped, because I really like the actress as well as the character.
As for Marcy, is it really a good thing to see one of Victor's children being written off the show? Abby's character as presently depicted is kind of aimless, but couldn't they have changed her with Marcy Rylan still playing the role? My guess is that we're going to see Abby sent to New York to live with Ashley and Traci for a while. She'll return in a year in the guise of a new actress, much as Heather was sent off as Eden Riegel and returned as Jennifer Landon.
Flash! I just read the latest news, and Jennifer's been given her walking papers, too. Bye-bye, Heather. There's also the news that Sofia (Julia Pace Mitchell) has been demoted to recurring.
Well, at least some good news was announced on the casting front. Eric Braeden is going to be playing Victor Newman for a few more years at least, and Jess Walton will be returning to play Jill Abbott as of October 5. Not only will she be back, but Jess reports that she has a great story. But just for a couple of months.
That's all for this past week. Can't wait to see what happens when Victor returns -- and he will survive that explosion! So, till then, let's take a look at some letters from the mailbox. And remember to click here to send me your thoughts. They could very well appear here in a future column!