Fans, that's my question to you this week. And if you could only choose one response, high five or ho-hum, would your palm be aiming for a spot up high? Or covering your mouth in boredom?
When I poke and pick through the mounds of message board piles and email offerings, I still notice plenty of dissatisfaction from viewers. Is that because fans who haven't yet deemed the show a colossal fail simply don't share their thoughts as often? Or, do many people feel the way one fan confessed she felt -- hesitant about believing in the new regime, lest they sorely disappoint her?
I didn't take any kind of official count during my cyberspace wanderings. But I couldn't help noticing negative opinions far outnumbered the positive. We can all, myself included, easily spot the dark cloud in the sky, flip to the negative side of the coin, or detect the faint whiff of garbage beneath the pile of pretty flowers. But, I know I can't possibly be the only fan out there enjoying and being entertained by the current storylines and their future possibilities. So, although I welcome all opinions, I'd really be interested in hearing what fans like. For you, what is our show getting right?
For the moment, I find plenty to rivet, elate, and intrigue me. Thus, my verdict for the show is an overall high five. Here's why:
At first I wasn't too excited when I learned of Victor and Nikki's soiree to celebrate the unveiling of their new penthouse. I have been a fan of the pairing of Nikki and Victor for about as long as I can remember. When Nikki was losing Victor to Ashley the first time, I was solidly in Nikki's corner. In fact, my head was bobbing up and down in agreement when she told a young and adorably impressionable Victoria that Ashley was the wicked witch trying to steal Nikki's Prince Victor away. I rooted for these two through years of dysfunction, various marriages, and subsequent divorces, continuing to believe one was meant only for the other. So, I have no problem with their reconciliation. It's just that I've heard so very many of their new beginning speeches, I just couldn't muster much enthusiasm for 2012's version.
I expected an interminable evening filled with forced smiles and fake family togetherness that seldom survives the drive home. I assumed I'd be listening with half an ear, while tapping out notes on my laptop, to remind me of things I wanted to cover in this column. Ha! Boy, was I wrong! Things went so far south so fast, I was left fumbling for my remote, to rewind to make sure I didn't miss anything.
The first clue that things might rise from ho-hum to high five was Victor's invite to his usually unwelcome son, Adam. Obviously, Adam's presence would severely ruffle the feathers of Victoria and Nick, possibly catapulting the latter into action to help retake Newman. Of course, Victor wouldn't admit to that, saying he was simply seeking to "lull Adam into a false sense of security." What security was Adam supposed to be lulled into? That this family could actually be his? That Victor was suddenly proud to affectionately call him son? Or that his sister and brother might be ready to accept him as their sibling? Not very likely.
Next, we had Chelsea. Did she not consider that Summer might be a part of the family festivities? Plus, this family has treated her shamefully, snubbing her and insulting her at nearly every turn. Why would she even want to party with them? By the way, I know Summer was at fault for the accident, and while I understand Chelsea is rightly still bitter about the loss of her baby, I still thought her reaction and the dagger eyes she aimed at Summer were rude and uncalled-for. I wish Phyllis had been there. She never would have let her get away with that!
My heart sank like a stone, all the way to my toes, the second Sharon spilled that drink on herself and started unraveling. Because even though I automatically crossed my fingers so tightly they cramped, trying to will Sharon not to get dressed and crash that party, I knew that old childhood trick wasn't going to be enough to ward off disaster.
And when all was said and done, it did indeed turn out to be a disaster of quite monumental proportions. Chelsea kicked it off with a comment that managed to simultaneously convey shock, red-hot fury, accusation, and disbelief that Adam had told Sharon about the party but not her. It doesn't matter that it didn't happen the way she probably thought, because it still meant Adam had seen or talked to Sharon after he promised Chelsea she was out of their life. Chelsea was so heated, you could almost smell the aroma of that egg frying on top of her head.
However, Chelsea's rage was rightly aimed mostly at Adam. Unfortunately for Sharon, that was not the case with the other two Newman females present. Nikki and Victoria are classic examples of the fury of women scorned. The two of them usually point to Sharon's more recent stumbles: letting them believe Victor was dead, taking over his company, blah, blah, blah, but the ugly truth is they hate Sharon because of the men of theirs she sampled. Thank goodness Abby wasn't there with her sharp tongue to also slice a pound of flesh from Sharon's shapely form.
I'm not saying Victoria and Nikki don't have good reason for disliking Sharon, but neither of these two is an angel, by any means. Both of them have done their share of dirt and cheating, yet they often behave as if it never, ever stinks when they visit the ladies.
The way Victoria and Nikki relentlessly formed a verbal tag team to tear savagely at Sharon was ugly and hard to watch, but Sharon's near-hysteria was superb. I kept half-hoping she would blurt out her diagnosis, causing the assembled harsh visages to soften in sympathy and perhaps grudging understanding, but I should have known better. Nikki and Victoria remained cold as human blocks of ice. Despite Noah's presence and Nick's somewhat tentative protests, both tried to wound Sharon as deeply as possible, clearly believing she deserved nothing less than to be shunned and hated by everyone. Forever.
Speaking of Victoria's accusations, I'm so sick of listening to her pin Newman Enterprises' current predicament all on Sharon, I could scream until my voice gives out. She needs to place the blame where it rightly belongs: balanced squarely on the spoiled shoulders of herself, Abby, and Nick. None of this would be happening if they hadn't forced their father into that lawsuit, resulting in privately held Newman landing on the public shelves.
I'm also weary of watching Victoria being tugged like a rag doll between daddy and whatever man she's currently in the process of emasculating. How many marriages has daddy interfered in and ultimately indirectly ended? From Ryan, to Cole, to Brad, to J.T., and now to Billy, ultimately, daddy always gets the girl.
I like Billy and Victoria together for the most part, but I didn't particularly like the way they attacked Jack this week. I know Billy is groveling frantically in hopes of winning Victoria's forgiveness for the kidnapping ordeal his gambling irresponsibility set into motion, but it wasn't Jack's fault. Jack didn't borrow money from a loan shark, then not pay it back. Jack didn't force Victoria to convince Billy to bury a blade of betrayal in his own brother's back. Nor did Jack force Billy to agree to wield that knife. If Jack should take responsibility for the consequences of his actions, then these two should be required to do the same.
Of course, one of the principal reasons I can't enthusiastically condemn Jack for leaping at the opportunity to snatch Newman Enterprises from Victor is because this is the dance that these two men like to do. Jack and Victor both claim to be all about family, but the truth is, family often takes a distant back seat to the thrill of besting the other. I agree with fan Esperanza below. Why is everyone so quick to cry foul and vilify Jack for doing the very thing Victor has done to him many times?
I think it's a given that Victor will eventually regain his company, but in the meantime I'm going to enjoy the antics of the current management team.
Even though Adam's just filling in while Jack recovers, he looks really good perched in the CEO seat. How enjoyable it was watching Victor address his son from the visitor's side of the desk. "The Ghost of Newman Past." Doesn't Adam have the best one-liners? As for Victor, it's always the same tactics with him. A wad of money thrown at someone. A veiled threat. Or, when it comes to Adam, often the carrot of family inclusion dangled before his twitching nose.
I'm glad Adam doesn't seem the least bit tempted to betray Jack. Maybe I'm just seeing things that aren't there, but Adam seemed genuinely concerned, almost worried, about Jack. He doesn't appear to be working an angle, or waiting for the opportunity to steal the company from Jack, for himself, or for his father. Which is a good thing, because once Victor gets what he wants, he'd likely snatch back that carrot, and banish Adam yet again from the company and his life.
The executive meeting at Newman was another scene that was wonderfully done and held my complete attention. Adam, Phyllis, Kyle, even Avery, who knows Jack the least, slowly came to the realization during that meeting that something was clearly awry with Jack. You could actually see the growing alarm in their eyes as Jack made blunder after blunder. I shudder to think of the questionable executive decisions Jack might be making in the middle of the night while under the influence of copious amounts of the oxycodone he's swallowing back.
When I first realized we were going down the painkiller addiction path, I was a bit indifferent. I saw Nikki travel this road in the past and didn't find it very interesting. But now that we've gotten into it, I'm intrigued. Jack is really popping those pills! I admit my knowledge of this subject is limited to watching a few documentaries, but hopefully the scribes have done their homework and will present it at least halfway realistically. So far, Jack's grimaces of pain, his anger, explosive mood changes, desperation, etc., have felt quite realistic. He's already resorted to doctor shopping and bribery to get his hands on more pills. His deterioration and dependence happened quickly, but considering the way he's tossing those pills back by the half-handful, that isn't at all surprising.
Speaking of that doctor, even a quack doctor would have been able to easily tell that Jack was "jonesing" like a street junkie, and in deep trouble. If he's a friend of Jack's, he needs to have his friend card snatched away, because writing that prescription for Jack was definitely not a friendly act.
More trouble in the former paradise of the marriage of Chelsea and Adam. Until death do us part is looking less and less likely for this duo. I do believe Adam loves Chelsea, but after this week, I'm no longer convinced he loves her above all others. Or, should I say, above one woman in particular. To the tune of their special music, which, by the way, is one of my favorites, Adam and Chelsea had another argument at the top of their lungs over Sharon. I fully understand why Chelsea is careening out of control, and she's right to feel threatened, but unfortunately, in both real life and pretend, jealousy is one of the surest ways to drive your loved one away.
It was a kind of sad moment, if you like Sharon or Adam, and I freely admit, despite their stumbles, I still enjoy watching these two, together, separately, or with others. When they said their sad so long, accompanied, of course, by their own special musical tune, it was clear both wished things could somehow have turned out some other way. I couldn't help it. Their longing for each other tugged at my heartstrings.
Of course, I didn't have to be sad for long, because although Adam accepted Sharon's decision, and promised his wife Sharon was officially part of their past, he just couldn't stay away from her. The picture of Adam near-running from the party in pursuit of Sharon was already going to be an image not easily deleted from Chelsea's digital memory. But that was nothing compared to the kiss between Adam and Sharon. Wow, I swear I heard steam sizzling. And Chelsea walked in on that! Well, to borrow this month's oft-repeated phrase from my eight-year old daughter, all I can say about Chelsea's probable reaction is "oh, boy!"
I didn't expect it, but when Sharon opened the door to Adam, the look on his face suddenly made me feel genuinely sorry for Chelsea. Like I said, I do believe Adam loves Chelsea, but I can't help but wonder whether his feelings for Sharon leave any real room for anyone else. I know things can change in a heartbeat in a soap town, but right now, it's not looking very promising for their marital future.
So what's in Nick's future? Will it be Avery? Or somewhere down the line, a return to her sister? Once I put aside the sister-to-sister connection, I still can't decide exactly how I feel about Nick and Avery. They are pleasant and polite to each other. They never fight, and grin at each other a lot. She cooks. He eats. She's understanding, supportive, and nice to his daughter. His family has no ill will toward her. On the surface, there is nothing not to like, or dislike. I guess I'll just have to give them a chance to grow on me.
Nick's eventual romantic partner might be undecided right now, but it's looking more and more likely his career path will lead to a club of his own. Now I understand why Gloria's Gloworm dream had to die. So that Nick's dream could come to pass. I'm actually looking forward to watching this one unfold. I can totally see Nick in the guise of proprietor, flashing that engaging grin at his patrons. And Noah joining forces with his dad adds to the potential for intriguing possibilities.
New face alert. I know it's not really an alert, since everyone will have seen it by the time you read these words, but the new detective from New York has arrived. This is another tale I didn't think much of when it was first rumored to be coming down the pike. But I've since become interested in all things Noah. I'm not quite sure how or when it happened, but in my mind, Noah has become a man, and a rather interesting one at that. But what has he gotten himself into? Why did Adrianna send him that bag of money, and where did she get it? I'm looking forward to more on this!
Finally, what the heck is up with Kyle's sudden fascination with and interest in Phyllis? Maybe it's just me, but the way he touches and leers at Phyllis is kind of skin-crawly creepy to me. Although Phyllis is older, Kyle is the one that looks like a dirty old man. And judging by Phyllis' reaction to his attention, she's just as confused by his actions as the rest of us. Is he crushing on her, or does he have some diabolical plan to repay her for the part she played in humiliating his mother?
I can't wait for Monday!
Well, I'm hopping off my soapbox now and reluctantly returning to the real world. Until my return to this space, please enjoy some fan comments from the e-bag, and keep those comments coming. We love them, and your comments could pop up in a future column!