Are happy days really here again? Some fans say yea, while others cry nay, shaking their heads in disappointed dismay. Speaking for myself, while I realize we're only a couple of chapters into the new regime's book, I'm more pleased than not with their stories so far.
For instance, Nick Newman has undergone a miraculous transformation. For the first time in a very long while, that familiar look of apprehension that usually fills Nick's eyes when Phyllis begins to rake him over the hot coals of one of her raging, verbal fires, never appeared. Instead, Nick stood his ground fearlessly, letting Phyllis' wrath wash harmlessly over him. I almost stood up and cheered!
I really admire this new and stronger Nick, although he's wasting his breath, trying to advise Phyllis on how best to handle their disillusioned daughter. Phyllis can always be counted on to do the opposite of what anyone else says, and this time, like most others, her way was the wrong direction. Instead of drawing Summer closer, she only pushed her further away.
Okay, in the midst of my love-fest for Nick, I confess I giggled uncontrollably when he told Noah he wasn't going to let Summer get away with disrespecting her mother. Funny, he seems to have no problem with Noah's disrespect of Sharon. By the way, why is Noah not upset with his grandpa for the way he mistreated his mother? Looks like Genoa City double standards are still alive and well. Another by the way, what's going on with Noah and his abrupt return from New York? Does it involve a lass? Or a lad?
But back to Nick. I could have leaned forward and kissed his onscreen image for surprisingly opting out of the fight for Newman, and then rejecting Phyllis' offer to spy on his behalf. Obviously, Phyllis, like almost every one of her Genoa City counterparts, never learns anything from past mistakes. Lying, scheming and manipulating are the underlying reasons their marriage has floundered on the unforgiving rocks of divorce. We've already got Billy, Victoria, Jack, Victor, Tucker, Michael, and Ronan behaving despicably. Do we really need to add Phyllis' name to the long list? Of course, my admiration will do Nick no good when Victor leans on him and tries to guilt him into supporting his sister and the Newman family, which I'm guessing won't be long in coming.
Speaking of Phyllis and Nick, I admit I was not one bit moved as she tearfully confessed she thought Nick would always give her and their family a second chance. Even the piano chords plinking in accompaniment to her tears failed to make me all misty-eyed in empathy. Phyllis tore that family asunder. Not Nick, Ronan, Avery, Sharon, Christine, or anyone else. She did that. So, even though fans are beating up Nick for his decision to finally call it quits, I can't blame him. Even though wrong was done by both, I've lost count of the number of times Nick begged this woman to trust him and be truthful. And for every plea he offered, Phyllis simply told another lie.
I have been a loyal fan ooh-ing and ahh-ing over Victor and Nikki's romance almost from day one of my Genoa City watching. Time and time again, I stomped my foot in frustration every time they got together, only to sometimes immediately, break apart. After umpteen years of been there, done that with these two, Victor breaking out yet another engagement ring box left me cool to partly cloudy. Over the years, each bauble has been bigger than the one before. I half-expected Victor to whip out a diamond the size of a fist to weigh down Nikki's finger. Despite the sentimental flashbacks in the middle of a burned-out ranch house, I tried but honestly couldn't shed a tear. I guess it will take some time for me to warm up to, or believe in, this super pair again.
As for Victor, for about one episode, I dared to believe he was actually turning over a new leaf, genuinely adopting a hands-off approach to Newman Enterprises. Leaving the battle to regain Newman to Nick, Victoria, and Abby, while keeping himself directly out of the fray, was an interesting twist I hadn't predicted. Finally, the fight would change from a battle between two titans, Jack and Victor, to more of a Hatfield and McCoy conflict, with the Abbotts against the Newmans. Well, it didn't take long for my red balloon to get popped with a long, sharp Newman needle. Victor is opting out of nothing. I'm guessing that although it might be Victoria's manicured hands holding the reins, Victor will be the one in the saddle. And should Billy manage to grow a backbone during some sleepless, guilt-filled night, a few whispered words from Victor, threatening to enlighten Victoria about Billy's real role in Victor's extended California stay, will likely be enough to force him to remain in the role of corporate spy.
However, while I can't really fault Victor too much for using Nick and Victoria to do his dirty work for him, Victoria is another matter. Though I don't blame her for wanting her family's company back, her willingness to pit brother against brother to accomplish it leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Because, despite what they tell themselves to get to sleep at night, the loss of Newman is not the fault of Sharon, Tucker, Jack, or anyone else. Nick, Victoria, and Abby set this all in motion with their lawsuit, and no matter how many times Nikki tries to pin the donkey's tail on somebody else's non-Newman derriere, the blame lies squarely at their feet.
When it comes to Billy, even though I totally understand that he adores his bride, I have to admit I lost respect for him for his too-quick agreement to stab his own brother with the knife Victoria thrust into his hand. She wants the company so badly, let her figure out a way to get it without destroying what's left of the Abbott family. Blood might be thicker than water, but apparently it's no match for marriage to the strong-willed, petulant Victoria. I hope Billy at least has the grace to feel guilty about his deception.
I don't know why I should be surprised at Victoria's request, though. Like her father, she demands full and unquestionable loyalty from those who claim to love her. And why should she care if she destroys a family? In her mind, the only family that has any importance is her own. Victoria may live to regret her decision, however, if this all blows up in her face. She may very well look back one day and wish she had heeded Nikki's warning that starting down this path could wind up destroying her marriage.
Moving on to another faction of the fractured Newman family, Adam is liable to end up as unbalanced as poor Sharon before this is all over. He's caught between two women, both leaning on him so heavily it's a wonder he can even remain upright. This is almost certain to blow up in his face, poor guy, but I buy that he's trying to do what he can to help Sharon, perhaps, in part to right some wrongs he dealt her in the past.
Everyone connected to Sharon has played a part in her downfall, yet it irks me that most can so easily wash their hands of her, while giving each other a free pass for their judgmental or ostracizing part in her slow disintegration. For instance, I had little patience with Noah, who, after months of treating his mother like the worst sort of criminal garbage, had the nerve to comment that Sharon wasn't returning his calls. In fact, my lip curled so far back in derision, you could probably count every one of my teeth. Last I heard, he so couldn't stand to look at her, he crowded into the tiny tack house that must have added several stories when we weren't looking in order to accommodate the growing number of bodies who have recently relocated there. So, you know I thoroughly enjoyed Adam telling the young man exactly what he thought of Noah's defense of his father and grandfather. Still, I guess I have to grudgingly give Noah a point or two for at least coming by to check on Sharon, which is more than anyone else did.
I know this is likely to be an unfavorable opinion because Chelsea and Adam have definitely become the cat's meow to many fans, but I confess all that cloying sweetness and nonstop gushing was a bit hard to wade through for this fan. Yes, of course, it's tragic that they lost their child, but this twist has given Chelsea an opportunity to show there is much more to her than gushing and supporting. She has been poignant and completely believable in her pain, isolation, and understandable need to lean on her husband.
Many fans, however, are beside themselves with rage that Adam has reached out to help Sharon while leaving the woman who has just lost their child to fend for herself. But I don't quite see it as Adam choosing Sharon over Chelsea. Because, clearly, romance is not on either of their minds, and there is little chance they will suddenly fall onto the nearest bed or couch to make mad love together, which would only paint them once again with the despicable brush. Sharon is literally coming apart at the mental seams, appearing alarmingly close to losing it completely, necessitating a trip to Fairview in a straitjacket. Like a snowball rolling unimpeded down a hill, she's picking up speed and taking on debris. If Adam isn't careful, he's going to find himself hopelessly entangled with her and in danger of going down himself.
In the meantime, Chelsea is skirting a dangerous precipice as well. Adam's attempt to shield her from any fallout from the laws he's likely to have to break in order to keep Sharon from losing her daughter and her freedom is only fueling her insecurities and her suspicion. This is definitely the storyline to watch, and all are putting in such great performances, I don't know what or which one to root for.
Although fans and Genoa Citians alike have turned their collective backs on Sharon for her "crimes," if one can even call them that, compared to some of the criminal actions committed by many of her fellow residents, Sharon's transgressions are relatively small, even that of her drunken torching of the ranch. By comparison, Nikki got drunk and wound up killing Diane. From the comments I have read on several message boards, you would think Sharon murdered a score of little children instead of setting fire to a place that will easily rise from the ashes. Yes, treasured mementos are lost forever, but returning this place to its former glory, better, even, is nothing more than a series of orders to workmen and contractors, and a quick slash of an indecipherable Newman scrawl on the signature line of a check.
Okay, on another subject, am I the only fan who fails to feel Summer's pain? I think part of the reason she leaves me cold is because she still feels like a total stranger to me. One minute she's about eight years old, bouncing on the couch, playing video games with her parents, and the next, she's 16, drinking, driving, and smarting off to any adult who riles her. All because her parents are up to their usual dysfunction.
Phyllis and Summer are like mirror images, with their blame, blame, blame mentality. Phyllis sounded like such a hypocrite, telling Summer she'd owned up to what she'd done, so Summer should do the same. I must have missed the part when Phyllis did all this owning up. Unless owning up meant letting Ronan and Kevin cover her remarkable rear. For her part, she employed the old deny, deny, deny tactic. The only reason she was forced to acknowledge the affair with Ronan was because Summer practically caught her with her panties round her ankles.
In fact, Ronan is still making excuses for Phyllis. Does this man have nothing else to do other than accost his fellow Genoa Citians to proclaim Phyllis' sainthood? It was me, me, me, he insisted to Summer. Yeah, it was him all right. I saw it all. Especially the part when he tossed Phyllis to the couch and forced her, kicking and screaming, all the way to a shattering climax. I know, that was probably a bit too crude for daytime drama, but come on, Ronan. Give it a rest. You both did what you did because you wanted to, and now you have to pay the price for your pleasure.
After months of existing in Phyllis' shadow, Avery is finally developing a personality and a life of her own. It's just too bad there are so few available fellows in Genoa City that she has to be tempted by her sister's ex. I know fans are already painting Avery with the tramp brush, but I can't hold it against her if she goes back for round two with Nick Newman. In the near-incestuous, sparsely populated soap city, sisters, brothers, mothers and daughters, or sons and fathers, sharing the same partners is an inevitable occurrence, and scarcely causes an eyebrow elevation in me.
Despite clearly having designs on, and vivid daydreams of, her sister's soon-to-be ex-husband (maybe, the verdict is still out on whether they are actually over), Avery is still trying to do as Phyllis requested, be a friend to Summer. Unfortunately, her good deed is not likely to go unpunished if Summer realizes her aunt's affection for Nick is more than sister-in-law-like.
In wresting Newman from Victor, in Jack's eyes, the universe has finally come full circle, and the score is now even. Unfortunately, though I know Jack thinks he has everything under control, I fear he has bitten off much more of a mouthful than he can comfortably chew. There's no way he can successfully juggle Jabot, Beauty of Nature, and the vast Newman Enterprises empire, especially when his inner circle contains Judas-like associates, with agendas of their own or someone else's. He won't likely get to keep Newman long, so I hope he savors the victory while it lasts.
Of course, Jack hardly has time to enjoy his big win, what with all the good citizens marching in and out of his office to tell him what a poor excuse for anything human he is. Joining the long line of naysayers and critics, Kay made a special home visit to deliver her dollar's worth of chastisement to Jack. I couldn't help it. I started rolling my eyes the moment she appeared, and kept them pointing skyward throughout her long, meandering speech. Though I wracked my pea brain until it ached, I couldn't recall her telling her oldest and dearest friend, Victor, as she's repeatedly referred to him over the years, to suck it up and move on, as she once told Jack to do when he wanted his family company back. Why should Jack be made the bad guy for snatching at the opportunity of payback? It seems that in this town, the only residents allowed payback are those with the last name of Newman.
As if condemnation and finger-pointing from Victor, Victoria, Nick, Abby, and Kay wasn't enough, Jack also had to endure multiple visits of disapproval from a ghost. Aren't there enough Newman and Abbott enemies already taking aim at Jack without adding his own father to those sending a poison-tipped arrow his way?
Finally, as bitter icing to Jack's just-baked Newman cake, is that bullet still lodged in his body, which may very well plop him right back into that wheelchair he so recently clambered out of.
Already, things on my favorite soap are looking up, and I have every hope Genoa City things are only going to get better. I can't wait to see what happens next! So, until my next time in this space, I will leave you with a few opinions from your fellow fans. Enjoy, and keep those comments coming. We love them, and your comments could pop up in a future column!