As it turns out, today is the one-year anniversary of my first Two Scoops column! And, unfortunately for me, the second most boring week on The Young and Restless that I've ever seen. It would have been the first most boring week, but the news that Gina Tognoni had been recast as Phyllis perked me up from the doldrums, and the news that daytime newcomer Burgess Jenkins will replace David Tom awakened me from my coma.
My pen pal, and intrepid reporter of all things on the boards and beyond, Bessie, was ecstatic over the casting of Tognoni as the new Phyllis, and many of your emails have been very supportive as well. I remember Tognoni as Kelly Kramer on One Life to Live. She was terrific. Bessie and others remembered Tognoni as Dinah Marler on Guiding Light and were equally complimentary of her performance, so at last we may have something solid to look forward to. Yay!
The anti-David Tom folks are equally happy that he is being replaced, and while I am not one of them, I can see the logic, and I certainly don't mind if it results in better writing for the character. Bessie is practically crowing with the "I-told-you-so's." I look at it like David Tom was the rebound girlfriend (or guyfriend). The relationship starts okay,but never works out because no matter how hard the rebound girl (or guy) tries, she/he can never live up to the ex.
Here's hoping the next actor is someone good that we can all live with. I suspect, since management is "taking Billy in a different direction," that NuNu Billy is going to become very unlikable very quickly, and we won't care.
So far, the Billy-Victoria-Stitch triangle is following every soap cliché. Victoria got pregnant after a one-night stand (without protection), following makeup sex (without protection) with Billy, even though she and Billy had tried unsuccessfully to create a baby for several months previously. If the writers are as dull and unimaginative as they appear, the baby will be Billy's, but Victor and Stitch will collude. Stitch will change the paternity test results but will eventually confess the truth because of his love for Victoria, and she won't forgive him. Either that, or Billy will finally reveal Stitch's deep, dark secret, and Victoria won't forgive him. Been there, done that.
I'm in agreement with all the fans that have mentioned the new exterior shots of Genoa City and the various homes and mansions. The photos are wonderful and give a face to the city we've imagined so often. That's another positive for the week. Other than that, I had more fun exchanging email and dishing with Bessie and other fans than I did watching the show, which I've been calling, "The Old and the Motionless." Bessie concurs, and although we don't have exactly the same reasons, we agree that some aspects of the show have been going downhill fast.
Bessie was the one who told me that folks on the boards were calling Dylan, "Dullen." Last week, she wrote that someone had mentioned that I had mentioned "Dullen" in my column. My first thought -- selfishly -- was, "My gosh, someone from another site is reading me." Now Bessie tells me that the latest nickname is "N'Heel," for Neil and Hilary. Darn clever, I say to whomever out there first coined the phrase. And this just in, Hilary is "Hillabeans." That's pretty good, too.
Predictable is the kindest comment that I can make about that pairing. Father and son will soon battle over Hilary, who could still prove to be the gold-digging home wrecker that Lily says Hilary is. I hope not, because I like Hilary a lot better than Lily. Lily and Cane are the couple that I would vote "Most Expendable." I expect Devon to let Lily talk him into dating Hilary with the intention of dumping her, but Devon will fall in love instead. Just as they are about to wed, Hilary will find out. Big Ho-Hum, and unless the writing, storytelling, and pacing improve, it's bound to drag out until we care even less about these characters than we do now.
Bessie's comments about "Dullen" also made me realize that if Y&R had done as good a job at introducing the character of Dylan McAvoy as GH has done at introducing the character of Nina Clay, we wouldn't be calling him "Dullen," and that's no disrespect to Steve Burton. The problem is in the writing, storytelling, and pacing. Y&R rushed the character into town and then scrambled to give him a backstory. General Hospital took a year to create a history and a family, so viewers are anxious to meet Nina Clay because we feel like we already know her, instead of resenting her as an interloper, as we have Dylan McAvoy, who has been forced on us for a year, while our old favorites have been ripped away.
Another predictable scenario is Jack, Kelly, and returning Phyllis. After Jack and Kelly have been happy for five or six minutes and start planning to a) live together, b) get engaged, or c) have a wedding, Phyllis will recover. The bright spot is that all three of these folks can act up a storm, even when they are reading a telephone book, which might provide a more entertaining storyline than the pap we are being served now.
I'm already wondering whom I will be rooting for, because both of these actresses can make you love them. If Y&R can get back to its character-driven roots, then it should be hands-down Phyllis will land on her feet if a catfight ever erupts between those two strong women.
In the "picky, picky, picky" department, I had to laugh when Kelly asked Jack if there was anyone else at home, just as Jack tried to take her to his bed. Jack replied that Billy was on a business trip. He never mentioned his son, Kyle, who has vanished from Jack's home as mysteriously as he did from the show. I'm guessing that Kyle is with Jack's other unmentionable son, Keemo.
I actually started to wonder if I had skipped a day without noticing when Chelsea and Billy started talking about Chloe being sent to Fairview. Last time I saw Chloe, she was in the movies with Kevin. What happened to Billy's sperm, which Chloe stole from the lab and, I thought, was about to implant in herself? Is this the way the actress exits? No fanfare, no wrap-up, no goodbye? Just a pathetic whisper and then gone? I'm still not sure if I missed an episode or if I've been so distracted that I wasn't paying attention.
It is very possible that I did miss something or that I'm not thinking clearly. My father passed away a week ago, and his funeral was yesterday. My brother and I, who lived too far away to attend, were able to view the service through an Internet application. We visited with our family, viewed the body, and listened to the service. It was amazing and reminded me that there are a lot of great uses for technology. My brother made his important visit to the V.A. this morning, and I was here to write my column today.
There is no need for you to offer individual condolences. They are understood and appreciated.
In some ways my dad reminded me of Victor, but he also had a lot of Katherine in him. My dad lived a long and happy life. He served his country in WWII, and after that, he served God, as an ordained minister, for 64 more years. On Mother's Day, after reading a Bible passage that said a person would know who the followers of Jesus were because Jesus' followers genuinely loved other people, I suddenly knew for a certainty that my dad fit that description, and I had a huge urge to call him.
After a brief resistance, because I was busy doing something else, I felt a deep insistence and made the call. Dad sounded great, much better than the last time. I told him what I had read and that I had no doubt that he was a true believer because he demonstrated his love for others on a daily basis and that, despite our theological differences, I was certain that he had earned his heavenly reward. We had a very close moment.
Dad disclosed that the Lord had told him to retire, and he intended to do just that. He also said that he was in a lot of pain, and doctors had told him that he had fused discs and an arthritic spine, which could not be repaired and would only get worse. He asked me to pray that God would heal him.
I said that I could not pray for dad's healing, because only dad could do that. I believe that God gives all of us who pray exactly what we ask for and are willing to accept. It's just that sometimes we don't understand what we are asking, so we don't get the result we expect. What I said was that all I could do was pray that my dad would have the will to open himself completely to God and reveal what he really wanted to himself. Dad thought about it and agreed that my interpretation, though non-traditional, had merit. For the first time, I felt like an equal.
I told him how much he meant to me. He reciprocated the comment and included his other children. We laughed a little more, talked a little more theology, and disconnected. Four days later, my dad was struck by an aneurism and then pronounced dead within the hour. I truly believe that my dad revealed himself to God, and God revealed himself to my dad, and my dad, like he's done ever since he first met God all those years ago, chose God over mortal life. I am so grateful that I had that last satisfying chat with dad.
I am grateful that my dad picked a Godly life 64 years ago, instructed me in it, taught me to respect and value the truth, and ultimately, understood that my non-traditional interpretation of spirituality is just as valid for me as the traditional one was for him. The path we take doesn't matter. Where we end up does. You may not believe this, but I'm happy for my dad, and I don't fear the reaper, because, like my dad, I genuinely care about other people and know that I have chosen wisely.
What does this have to do with The Young and the Restless? Only this: Jeanne Cooper improvised a wave and the words "Goodbye," as she walked up those stairs for the last time, and we recognized, in retrospect, how prophetic that gesture was, even though Jeanne Cooper didn't know what she was doing at the time. The same was true of my dad. My dad's last words to me were, "I've got to go! I've got to go!" He meant the bathroom, but in retrospect, they were equally prophetic. Jeanne Cooper demonstrated her uncanny knack for being in touch with the universe, and she loved others, just like my dad did, so I am sure that somewhere, my dad and Mrs. C are comparing notes.
Now, if that excuse didn't tear your heart out, how about this for hubris: I thought that my own personal soap opera would entertain you more than last week's episodes. Geez, Louise, I haven't even gotten to the absurd metaphysical discussions with my friend the self-styled "Godless Commi," (I'm a Godly Commie) or the tendonitis that's had me seeing a surgeon (not handsome and single like Nikki's doctor, and remember, I did answer all your emails with one hand).
I didn't tell funny stories about my brother's burgeoning business, or my godson's girlfriend, nor did I regale you with the sad tales of my friend's marital problems or the passing of a dear friend at my bridge club. Despite the loss of my dad, I still think my life was way more entertaining than Y&R was last week.
What's more boring than Y&R during May Sweeps? Watching paint dry. No, that's at best a toss-up. Attending a poetry reading? Nope. That's a step up, though a poetry reading is still in competition with a root canal for most excruciating experience. Correct answer: Absolutely nothing.
After following this show for a year, and trying my best to be fair and objective, I no longer believe that the people in charge have any love or understanding of the soap genre in general or The Young and Restless in particular. I have to agree with long time fans like, Cathey, Bessie, Barbara, Tim, and others -- many of whom have stopped watching -- who were highly critical of management decisions, which have resulted in changes that are not popular with the fans.
At best, the movers and shakers are indifferent, at worst, as a recent post by a respected critic at another site suggests, those in charge have been so busy hiring their cronies that they have lost sight of the purpose for the show, which will be damaged further by rapidly eroding ratings. Ever the optimist, I still hope that somebody up there (whoever is God at the network) wakes up and starts listening to the fans, especially those on the boards, like Bessie, who show their love for the show every day with their comments and wise insights. If nothing else, perhaps the loss of 500,000 viewers since February will have an impact.
Okay, that's enough from me tonight. I apologize again for this skimpy column, and I promise to be more scintillating next time. In the meantime, I'll let you shine your light in the YouScoops!