We are one week into February sweeps, and the ratings report is available for the week following Muhney and Miller's departure, the week that fans threatened to boycott in droves, and guess what, folks? The ratings for The Young and Restless are higher than they have ever been. Even if all those who threatened to quit actually did, there were plenty of new viewers to take their place.
What I suspect is that the quitters are a small but ardent contingent of the broader fan base, most of whom probably watch every day and never even think to go to a website to read a column like this. They are the "bread-and-butter" fans that watch and enjoy the show, perhaps because of its continuing nature, which is one of the reasons that I watch.
Way back, when I was a child, it was a lot more difficult (and expensive) to keep in touch with friends and family over long distances, than it is today -- you know, because of the covered wagons and all. My family moved a lot, so I had no roots or continuity. The soaps gave me a sense of that long before I had the Internet or a cell phone. I like to think that there are others with similar stories.
I got a chuckle, and had a nice, interesting conversation with a viewer who said that I watched the soaps for the "wrong" reasons. I questioned what the "right" reasons were because I couldn't fathom that there were soap police monitoring us to make sure that we all have the same reasons for watching our show. I don't believe that it is necessary to watch the show for the same reason in order to share the pleasure that watching gives us. Why we watch specifically is and should be personal to each of us. In my fairytale, we all board "The Good Ship Lollipop" for a three-hour tour to Gilligan's Island.
Oops! Just shared something personal, thus further irritating all those folks who criticized me for ranting about house cleaning. (Oh, the tongue-in-cheek, oh the irony, oh the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.) Hopefully, though, I will please those of you who recognized and enjoyed a little light-hearted banter before I got down to the sad, depressing, meager, and hashed-over-so-many-times-my-head-was-spinning storylines that were playing out that week.
I am now going to address the Billy Miller/Michael Muhney mess, preferably for The Last Hurrah. This is mainly for those who threatened to quit, so if that's not you, skip to the chase, because the next four paragraphs are for the quitters, and if they are all gone, there should be nobody left to read this.
Yes, it's a real shame that two fine actors are gone, but neither is irreplaceable, even if it feels like it to some of you right now. For my part, I had a very difficult time initially warming to Miller as Billy because I had recently seen him in two very chilling, very memorable performances: one, a serial-killing pedophile, and the other, a cold-blooded murderer. It took awhile for me to accept him as a loving family man. Miller is very talented. He still has a chance to star on the big screen or in primetime. I can understand why he would want a lot more of something, either money or time off, to continue at a job as grueling as carrying major storyline after major storyline, especially if he were tapped for a big part elsewhere. To be fair to Miller, I had to let him go.
As for Muhney, I can't help but believe that he brought his problems on himself. The fact that he was willing to admit to "hubris" was enough for me to understand that Sony, which is in business to make money, would not have fired our boy if there had been any other choice. Don't forget that he was allegedly fired from his primetime show because he was disloyal and leaked information about the show that he had been asked to keep quiet.
Like anywhere else, the set of a soap is a workplace. I don't think that any of us would stand by a coworker who gave away company secrets or groped us, even in fun, just because they were good at their job or charming, personable, and popular with the customers. And there is another perspective. Muhney and Miller were great, but over the years, we've seen a lot of actors start out on soaps and end up as major stars -- David Hasselhoff comes to mind on Y&R. (Now there would be some stunt casting if the producers could get him back again for a short time!)
So, please, don't lose hope. Instead of saying that there is no one better, demand a recast that is competitive enough to top Muhney's performance. Peter Bergman did that when he took over for Terry Lester, and Jess Walton nailed her part also.
Happy belated Valentine's Day to all you romantics out there, especially to fans like Marylou who wrote that that she and her husband are still best friends after more than 34 years together. That made me mist up almost as much as I did when Fen went free. Did you notice how fast Michael made that video and got to the courthouse from Carmine's supposedly far-off hidey-hole?
And thank goodness for that. We were ready for that drama to be over. But it seemed almost anticlimactic, and Carmine never paid for his crimes. Want to bet that Carmine will be back yet again? Maybe not right away, but say a year or two down the road when enough time has passed that everyone has forgotten Carmine, and Lauren is due to be stalked again. She will receive a mysterious valentine from a secret admirer and it will take weeks for the light to dawn that Carmine has returned.
For the moment, Lauren's fairytale has come true. Though Michael was out of town, Lauren had Fen by her side at the Delia Project gala with no worries that the police would bust in and arrest one of them. Lauren was stunned, along with everyone else, when Colin walked in with Jill and announced that he and Jill were married.
Tristan Rogers doesn't have to work very hard at this role. He's playing Colin like a bad boy Robert Scorpio. I don't mind that. In fact, it's fine with me. There's the potential for redemption. No matter how bad his past crimes, Colin can change and be redeemed. At least Colin and Jill are funny together and have chemistry, unlike many of the other couples on the show. (This is a major area that needs to be addressed by the casting and writing teams because the romantic interludes on Valentine's Day in Genoa City were mostly busts or yawners, at least in my opinion.)
It's hard to say who should be named most boring couple, especially on Valentine's Day. Most romantic couple is equally difficult. Cane and Lily were really the only contenders, though Billy and Victoria, and Nikki and Victor, did exchange words and gifts. I think that David Tom is going to be just fine as Billy. I liked him when he originated the part, and I like him now. Even if, as some fans contend, Miller was the definitive Billy, it does not diminish for me what Tom will bring to the role.
I do feel that Tom has effective chemistry with Victoria, just not the valentine kind yet. Acting together is a lot like falling in love. You have to get to know each other for the chemistry to be more than fleeting. I think that this couple will be torn apart and have the chance to reunite in what I am optimistically hoping will be another sweeping romance.
I was proud of Nikki for standing up to Victor and telling him the truth about himself. I just wish she would tell him about Ian Ward also. In some ways, I feel so sorry for Victor. No matter how hard he tries, he will always be that little boy whose mother abandoned him in an orphanage where he had to tough it out to survive. It's just too bad that his insecurities, paranoia and wealth allow him to build walls that are difficult to breach and give him the power to exert unwanted and undue influence on other people's lives to the detriment of all.
I was not surprised to see that Cassie is a real person who is working for Victor. I was pretty sure of that when Faith found the word "phantasm" on her play table, plus I think a reader suggested it a few weeks ago. Manipulating Sharon is exactly the kind of despicable thing that Victor would do to someone that he believes is bad for his family.
Victor has a double standard: one for him and his family and one for everyone else. According to Victor, Nikki's addiction was understandable, and she was admirable for managing to recover and stay clean, but Jack and Billy were bums who couldn't control themselves. Nikki didn't see the difference between her addiction and those of Jack and Billy, but Victor did. He sees all his actions, no matter how self-serving, as acting for the good of the family. Nikki pointed that out to Victor, but he gave her gifts instead of dealing with the issue.
Nikki was touched by the knowledge that none of the harsh words or events that had transpired between them had affected Victor's love for her, but Nikki had to take time to think whether or not the same applied to her. My opinion is that as many times as Nikki and Victor have been married, Nikki should commit to the long haul and stick by Victor's side and continue the dirty job of trying to set him straight.
Maybe Victor will prove to be an old dog that can learn new tricks, though I doubt it. Nikki made her bed, so it's Nikki's job to keep Victor in check, don't you think? Victor is wily, but Nikki, on many occasions, has proven to be even wilier. As they age, Victor and Nikki could become a wealthy version of Archie and Edith Bunker, with Billy as Meathead, or maybe Lucy, Desi, and Little Ricky, only German instead of Cuban. I can hear them now…
Victor may beat Jack in business, but Victor is a loser in family, and he will never have what Jack has, because Victor can't trust anyone or admit that he was wrong. Victor lives a version of King Lear and will eventually sacrifice his children in the belief that he is saving them.
Though many of you will not agree, my favorite couple at the moment is Nick and Sharon. I don't even mind bratty little Faith. Nick and Sharon just ooze something that makes me feel like there is a real connection between them. That said, I don't know how it can ever work out, especially when the paternity test results are exposed, which can't be too soon for me. Even if Sharon did not actually change the paternity tests, she still pushed Phyllis down the stairs, accidentally, and did not admit it.
I would certainly like to hear a plausible explanation that would allow Nick to forgive Sharon and return to the days of yore, but that's going to take a miracle. I lean (slightly) toward the "I hope Summer is Nick's kid" side, so maybe their story could be Dallas or A Midsummer Night's Dream, and we could forget the whole "Sharon is a psycho" episode. Phyllis would not be in a coma, and Summer would not be confused by My Two Dads.
With Victor's fake Cassie in the mix, something has got to give, and I'm guessing sooner rather than later in soap opera time, but certainly not before Sharon has been tortured to the max. Gaslight is the "Grimm" fairytale confronting Sharon in the immediate future.
I'm not finding Neil and Leslie interesting either. I don't really care about them or whether or not they get married. They are window dressing to fill out the cast. I've tried to like Abby and Tyler, but what kind of lunkhead doesn't tell his girlfriend what she has already figured out: that his ex is back in town and wants to reunite with him. How can you be a couple if you handle your problems separately? "Why does the ex want him?" is an even better question, despite the hunky muscles.
It's time for Tyler and Abby to go all in together or go their separate ways. Too bad for Abby. I think she's already dated the only other guy in town that she's not related to by birth. "Beauty or the Beast Mode*" for these two. ) (* My shout-out to Marshawn Lynch, great warrior of the Settle Seahawks.)
Chloe finally cracked under the stress of Delia's death and found the perfect valentine for herself. Unfortunately, the valentine had no say in the matter, since he can't yet talk. After convincing Anita to leave her alone with Connor, Chloe packed a bag for the baby, gathered up passports for Connor and Chelsea/Chloe, and then called a cab for the airport.
Will the cab arrive before Chelsea gets home from the gala? Will Kevin shadow Chloe to the airport and convince her to give up Connor for a doll full of diamonds, or will Chloe become even more delusional and decide to sue Chelsea for joint custody of Delia's corneas? Will it be Kidnapped or Judge Judy in Chloe's future?
Fen and Summer look like they are becoming a couple of friends. Can't see a love match there, but I can see them joining Ian Ward's cult and needing some help from mama bear and papa bear to get out of the lion's den. How's that for mixing metaphors? Goldilocks and the Three Bears for Summer. "The Big Bad Wolf" for Fen, who might have to contend with Womack, the guy who just mucked up a simple heist by hanging around too long. Lily astutely recognized an interloper when she saw one. She managed to stop Womack from taking the antique doll and exposed the diamonds hidden inside. Unfortunately, Womack overpowered the bumbling security guards and is holding the remaining party attendees as hostages.
As if things couldn't get any worse for the gala goers, it appears that Paul will be leading the SWAT and hostage negotiation teams. Is it Fairytale town, Frontierland, or better yet, Robocop, that will be the not-so-fairytale theme for the dapper denizens of Genoa City?
Will Jill realize that Womack is Colin's significant other because Womack gives it away when he tries to get away? Will Womack escape unscathed, or will he be shot down by Genoa City's finest before anyone catches on that Colin masterminded the heist? And what does this all have to do with that music box that Jill disdains but Colin claims to have knowledge of?
What was Katherine thinking when she left Jill that gift? I hope she's getting a good laugh out of all our puzzlement. Honestly, I can't believe that Madame Zelda still hasn't figured it out. I hope she does so before I'm humiliated! Oops! Was I getting too personal, again?
I suspect that Colin will be around for a while. I don't expect him to get caught anytime soon, though there will surely be some near misses. He and Jill are The Taming of the Shrew combined with The Turn of the Screw, or "The Turning of the Shrew," if you will. I think this duo could really play it for laughs, so I say bring it on.
Hit Colin on the head and convert him to not-so-evil, and let the battle of clever repartee between rapier sharp wits begin. Colin and Jill could be an older version of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, but without the guns and explosions. These veteran actors can slay with words just as effectively as actors who can't act use prop guns.
I really liked Avery in her scenes with Ian Ward, as she deftly put him in his place. Avery was also great when she spoke to Chelsea about Adam, but she practically puts me to sleep when she is with Dylan. I don't know what it is, but that couple does not click for me, and I confess that I fast-forward through some of their scenes together. I hope that doesn't make me a heretic! Just like Tristan Rogers seems to be playing a reverse Scorpio, maybe Burton plays Dylan as a reverse Jason when he's with Avery. My fairytale for them: "Asleep at the Wheel."
Dylan had a lot more animation in his scenes with Chelsea and Connor last week than he did with Avery. I think Dylan and Chelsea make a much better couple. When Dylan believed that Connor was his son, they made a terrific family. Now that Adam is gone, Dylan and Chelsea could find their way back to each other and be a cozy family again, especially if he helps rescue Connor. Then, when Adam returns to claim his family, Dylan and Chelsea would be strong enough to fight him. It would be Camelot, but in a court of law, not on a field with horses and lances. They could just divorce and move on.
I'm not feeling it for Lily and Cane, either. I feel guilty about that. They are the perfect young, loving, have-the-right-family-values parents to charming children. So why do I feel like I'm watching a sequel called The Stepford Family? Maybe they are just too perfect, or maybe I don't care for the acting. I definitely don't like the way that Lily has been treating Hilary in front of other people. Enough is enough, Lily needs to ease off, keep her distance when she can, and muzzle her opinions in public. If Hilary is up to no good, it will be apparent to others more quickly if Lily doesn't roil the waters.
I do wonder what's going on with Hilary. Kissing Jack seemed a bit far-fetched. For someone as focused on revenge as Hilary was for her first several months in Genoa City, it seems out of character to get a schoolgirl crush on Jack. I'd like to see that doused right away. I was beginning to warm to Devon and Hilary, and Hilary is definitely a step up from Esmerelda. I cannot believe that the writers are making Devon so dumb that he cannot see that Esmerelda is only interested in his money and is willing to trade sex to get it.
I like the reformed Hilary. She makes Devon more interesting. Without her, he is just another stereotyped guy who thinks with his little head and never realizes that he is doing it. Of course, it could be a ploy on Devon's part to make Hilary jealous and at the same time to get as far as he can with the accommodating fashion model. Any stereotypical, rich, smart guy would do the same thing. Could it be Fast and Furious for Devon, who does look a little like Vin Diesel, if you close one eye and squint.
We learned a little more about Stitch, who revealed that his wife wanted a divorce, when he spoke with Dylan at Crimson Lights. He did not sleep with Kelly, if Stitch was telling the truth when he said that he had not cheated on his wife, Jenna. Stitch, the busybody, seems as reluctant to talk about his personal life as he was eager to warn Kelly away from Billy. Now I'm even more curious about his past relationship to Kelly. Did he accidentally kill her son or fail to save Sam after the child was brought into the ER?
I saw a spark between Kelly and Jack at the gala. I hadn't thought much of Watros' very understated performance as Kelly until I saw her smolder briefly with Jack. I wonder if the part will be recast when the actress departs for MTV? I had her pegged as the real driver, not Adam. I'm sure she'll have time to break up Billy and Victoria before she leaves, but that will give First-Billy and Second-Victoria the chance to do the mating dance all over again. They will be Romeo and Juliet without poison or suicide, like a musical with a happy ending. Oh, wait, that was called Oklahoma.
We do need Phyllis back. Whether or not it's Michelle Stafford doesn't matter to me. Jack needs a girlfriend. We can't have such a gorgeous, loving family man pining over someone in a coma. I don't think that there is anyone for Jack except Phyllis, (though, like I said, Kelly went from whiner to sultry, and she even looked pretty when she flirted with Jack.) How about this: Phyllis awakens from her coma but has lost her short-term memory. Every day is like Fifty First Dates for Jack and Phyllis. She wouldn't remember Sharon, and Jack would never think of Kelly again.