For far too long to remember, many fans have been less than thrilled with the Genoa City storyline fare dished up and served to us daily. Some have given up and taken off for parts unknown. Others have remained, but are voicing their frustration in venomous vitriol on message boards and in blogs all over cyberspace. But, at last, there is a faint yellow glow at the end of the long, dark tunnel we've been blindly trying to traverse. Jill and Josh, we are pinning our fervent hopes on you. Please don't let us down.
As mid-October grows ever closer, dribs and drabs of information have been teasingly dribbled out. Michael Muhney has tweeted a tidbit or two. Josh Griffith's recent interview gave us even more tantalizing glimpses into the future of our favorite soap. I was gratified to note that nowhere in that interview did I read the words "explosive" or "will change the face of Genoa City forever." Maybe I'm just being led down the lane by my gullible nose, but what I'm hearing and reading has me cautiously hopeful and optimistic that in Genoa City, happy days could soon be here again.
As I began this week's column, I thought about what I could say that I, or others, hadn't already covered. You know, more of my opinions about Phyllis' meanness, Sharon's head-scratching behavior, Abby's snarkiness, Adam's exile, Tucker's sleaziness, Jack's insatiable greed, Ronan's dirty-cop core, Michael's law-bending cronyism, and more.
Sure, while impatiently tapping my fingers, awaiting that magical October 12th day, a day I hope will be the beginning of a better arc of storytelling, I could have hurled more derogatory darts at the storyline targets. But I decided that instead of spending another column beating up on the same half-dead horse, I would use this space to talk about what has kept fans watching this show for 25-plus years: our Young and the Restless cast. In spite of the sometimes drivel they were given, they still delivered. You are all awesome, so I'm tipping my hat and raising my glass to you.
Let's begin with my favorite love-to-hate redhead, err, currently a brunette. I'm wildly guessing her tresses were darkened to make us wonder whether she might be the mystery mother who sprung Daisy from mental captivity. But, not-nearly-as-crazy-as-she-pretends-to-be-Patty also fits the image of the dark-haired woman on the security tapes. Since Patty is presumably on lockdown, though, it isn't likely she was the mystery mother, but it seems obvious she knows more than she's saying about Daisy's great escape.
Every regular Two Scoops reader is likely well aware of my opinion of Phyllis. Which is a testament to Michelle Stafford, who has sold me, hook, line, and sinker, on this character. Ms. Stafford plays Phyllis like she is Phyllis. In fact, sometimes, I get so heated over some of her antics, I have to talk myself back from the abyss, reminding myself she's a made-up character on a make-believe show.
Once despised by most Genoa City dwellers for her outside-the-lines behavior, Phyllis has become the cat's meow. For years, little has seemed to stick to her Teflon surface, yet her good fortune has seemed to make her more abrasive, manipulative, and mean-spirited. Phyllis is all sweetness and light as long as you're playing by her rules. But veer, even minutely, from total agreement with her, and for just a moment, I expect to see her head swivel 360 degrees just like Linda Blair's did in The Exorcist.
Phyllis has always been a woman who lied, cheated, and manipulated reality to get what she wanted, usually someone else's fella, but that's standard soap fare, and I don't hold that against her. But she wasn't always so universally dark and hateful. There were also moments when we were given believable glimpses of her vulnerability. Now when she turns on the waterworks, or plays the guilt card ("please, don't leave me, please don't leave me;" or "you're my only friend"), the only thing she convinces me of is that she's only doing it to get what she wants.
Although the pairing of Nick and Phyllis was a big hit with scores of fans, I never warmed to it. Not because of the cheating and the Cassie connection. I've long ago gotten over that. But because in my opinion, there were too many times when Phyllis and Nick's interaction, especially when he'd done something she didn't like, reminded me of the way she treats Daniel.
Not that there wasn't chemistry between Nick and Phyllis. Remember when they first started up and they were always body-slamming each other into doors and walls, ripped clothes flying in every direction? In fact, they played it so well that if I were the wife, I'd be watching those scenes, saying: "Damn, Josh, into it much?" No, I'm just kidding. I've seen pics of Josh's wife, and she's beautiful. I've also read enough about him to know he loves his wife and family and just seems like an all-around awesome man.
Nick and Phyllis fans likely won't agree, but there was once a pretty special connection and chemistry between Phyllis and Jack too. I'm convinced that for Jack, every woman that came after Phyllis was a consolation prize he accepted because he couldn't have the real thing. Unfortunately, the one time the scribes briefly reunited them, during a Nick-Phyllis break, they just couldn't seem to recapture the same zing.
When they linked Phyllis with Ronan, I thought the pair sizzled together. For the first time, it seemed like Phyllis had finally found a man who could hold his own with her. Phyllis is such a strong character that she sometimes tends to overpower the men who love her. But it wasn't that way with Ronan. At least it wasn't until the scribes ruined him by changing him from a principled, by-the-book FBI agent into some kind of rogue dirty cop persona who lied, hid evidence, and compromised everything he once stood for. That he allegedly did all of that out of love for Phyllis was just too hard for this fan to swallow.
Next up is Mr. Nicholas Newman. I do adore this guy. Joshua Morrow plays him perfectly. So well, in fact, that I imagine there must be a lot of Nicholas Newman qualities in Josh. Most of the time, Nick is one of the good guys. Even though he has a bit of a wandering eye sometimes, as far as cheating goes, he isn't the most rented limo on the lot. In fact, I think we can still use a single hand to add up the number of notches on his bedpost.
Of course, we all know Nick can also be a hothead when something or someone has gotten his dander up -- as proven by the number of his castmates who've been on the receiving end of one of his sucker punches over the years. I've often wondered if the scribes draw straws to pick out which Genoa Citian is going to have to take it on the chin or in the eye from Nick's balled-up fist. Give us a tweet, Josh. Do you take a bit of ribbing from the guys having to take your sucker punches but rarely getting to hit back? Inquiring fan minds really want to know.
Sometimes Nick is too good though. For instance, when Phyllis is chewing him a new Ö attitude, I always find myself impatiently muttering: "Come on, Nick; don't let her talk to you like that. Stand up for yourself!" Instead, he stands there looking like a terrified kid as Phyllis screeches at him. I remember when I was young and had just gotten caught doing something I knew was probably going to earn me a spanking from my Mom or Dad. I'm sure my face held that same look of terror.
Of course, there are also times when Nick really irritates my very last nerve. He is a Newman, after all, and there is a definite air of entitlement and arrogance that goes along with all that Newman money and power. That particular side of Nick shows itself most often in contacts with his brother.
Which brings me to Adam Newman. As I've mentioned before, I think Nick and Adam are virtual soap opera gold, and I think the scribes are widely missing the mark, passing on opportunities to put these two men together. Any time the Newman brothers are facing me from my screen is swoon time. First of all, it's hard to know which one to watch, since both are such yummy eye candy. Sorry, straight guy fans, I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes right now, but I'm a girl, and I still like to look at cute boys.
Anyway, these two play off each other well, and my fingers and toes are crossed so hard they're cramping in hopes that there is some substantial Newman-on-Newman time in the new writing. How could any scribe worth his salt not want to capitalize on this chemistry?
Sometimes I feel like I'm literally gushing when it comes to Adam. But I can't help it. Not to take anything away from any other actor, but Michael Muhney has put his distinctive mark on this character. What he did to Ashley and Sharon was particularly despicable, and I would have bet every penny of my savings that there was nothing even the most talented scribe could come up with to redeem Adam in my eyes. But Mr. Muhney changed my mind to such an extent he is now one of my favorite Genoa Citians. When he's onscreen, I can't take my eyes off him, lest I miss hearing some uproariously amusing snarky comment or seeing some miniscule but telling facial expression.
I thought Adam's scenes reacting to Victor's death and resurrection, and his hurt and pain at finding himself far outside the family circle (again) were particularly well done. He didn't cry, but I wanted to weep for him.
Sticking with the Newman clan, I'd like to see more interaction between Victoria and Adam as well. I don't know who despises Adam more, Victoria or her brother Nick. If Adam is needed to stand with the other Newmans when a front of solidarity is required, Victoria isn't above calling on her brother. But when the need has passed, she has no problem shutting him out again. In fact, Victoria can be so cold sometimes, she can make this fan shiver.
For example, when Sabrina married Victor, her once best friend, Victoria iced her right out of her life. Although the two had a reconciliation of sorts, not long before Sabrina went peacefully off to the land of no return, I always felt Victoria seemed not as sorry for how she'd treated her friend as I would have liked.
But at other times, Victoria's tender heart has made me cry for her. Like when J.T. successfully won custody of Reed, the son Victoria would have given her life for in exchange for his. And when Victoria lost Lucy, I wanted to leap into the screen and beat Phyllis to a pulp for taking Lucy away. There was a time when Heather Tom was my favorite Victoria, but I have to admit Amelia Heinle has now become Victoria in my eyes.
Which brings me to the final Newman I'm going to discuss this week. The great and powerful Victor Newman.
Eric Braeden has many fans, and most of the time, I am one of them. Even though Victor is opinionated, controlling, vindictive, unforgiving, and frequently, just plain cruel, he also has a kind side, though he doesn't show it often.
Fans know Victor's backstory well, which goes a long way toward explaining why he acts the way he does. His mother gave him away. He grew up fighting for survival in an orphanage. His father was a heartless, hateful man, who regretted none of his lifelong actions and refused to toss his son even a scrap of caring or apology, even as he lay on his deathbed. Unlike Jack, who inherited his wealth and the family company from his father, Victor's business was built from the ground up and seasoned with his blood, sweat, and tears.
Though foes of Victor say the show would be better without him, I can hardly imagine a Genoa City without Victor's scowling presence. Equally hard to envision is a Victor Newman who isn't Eric Braeden. Jack's sole reason for living seems to be to best Victor. What would he do without him? Nikki, too, would have little to do if she couldn't fall in, and then out, of love with her dark knight.
Victor has always been particularly vengeful toward those who dared cross him, and I don't expect the new regime to make many changes in that area. In fact, I cringe to think of the comeuppance Victor has planned for Sharon, who is too far out on the limb of mental instability to realize what's about to befall her.
Speaking of Sharon, she's a disaster looking for a place to land, and there's clearly no one on the ground ready to cushion her hard fall. Of all the Genoa City characters that have been twisted beyond recognition, Sharon Newman bears the least resemblance to who she used to be.
She's practically been turned into the town mattress. She's been labeled a thief, a liar, and a bad mother. Everybody hates her, and I mean everybody. The men who once loved her have all turned their backs. Her son repeatedly sides with the "other" woman. Her mother is so unsupportive, I want to slap her right out of her wheelchair every time she shows her disapproving face. And I know that's a terrible thing to say about a handicapped person. Of course, I wouldn't really do something like that in real life.
Anyway, I don't blame Sharon for not wanting to move back home with this depressing despot. Doris needs to shut up with all her annoying and unsolicited advice, because if it wasn't for her "girl" and the fact that she married up, Doris would still be stuck in some seedy two room apartment using guilt to keep her daughter in line. I can't stand that woman!
But, my disdain for Doris caused me to slip off track, so back I go to Ö Victor, who used Sharon, first to hide his own activities with Skye, then to get under Adam's skin, and finally, to make Nikki jealous. But Tucker treated her worst of all, and deserves everything I hope he gets for his deceit.
Good luck, scribes, rectifying this Sharon mess. If I hadn't seen how scribes were able to change the opinions of fans toward Adam, I'd say there was no hope of turning Sharon around. But I have confidence in our scribes, who, in my opinion, are every bit as good as the actors and actresses they write for.
Speaking of Tucker, while I almost never agree with Abby Newman, her assessment of the hound dog is right on target. He is a sleaze who is so slimy, I'm surprised he doesn't leave an oily residue on everything he touches. Not that I am surprised by how he used Sharon, then tossed her aside like unwanted refuse. After all, he did exactly the same thing to Jill. On top of that, this is a man who went after his own mother.
I want to be mad at Tucker. But it isn't as if he's acting at all out of character. This is the type of man he is. One who doesn't hesitate to use any woman available if it will help him get what he wants. And what he's long wanted was to get his mitts on a chunk of the Newman pie. Sharon, even in whatever oblivious state she's existing in, should have known better than to trust him so completely.
I know Tucker must have a heart in order to remain upright, but his must have been inserted with an on-off switch. Obviously the switch was in the off position when Sharon was pouring out her gratitude for his friendship and support. And it couldn't have been on when he was urging Sharon to take control of the company mere seconds after learning Victor was dead. It clearly didn't bother Tucker one bit that Victor might be alive had he let Genevieve bring him home. What a tool! Kudos to Stephen Nichols for rocking this role.
Finally, we have Jack. As usual, though I like the man, it's nearly impossible for me to feel much pity when things blow up in his face. Jack is the king of bonehead moves, and his obsession with Victor has been landing him in hot water for years. And no matter what he gets, it's never enough for more than a nanosecond. I thought if you were unlucky in love, you were supposed to be lucky at cards, but Jack is not lucky at anything. Though he might manage to squeak out a giggle or two in the midst of one of his ill-fated schemes, he almost never gets to laugh long or last.
I have plenty more to say about our talented cast, but I've run out of time and space. So, shout-outs of admiration to Kevin, Michael, Billy, Nikki, Paul, and the rest, who will have to wait for another column.
Until then, I'll close by saying: all of you are the cream of the crop, and I'll keep tuning in as long as you keep putting in the performances.
Turning to the e-bag, I hope you enjoy a small selection of fan opinions. Enjoy, and keep those comments coming. We love them, and your comments could pop up in a future column!