As I watched Mariah and Abby going at each other in the Underground, just before Nick and Noah intervened, I reflected on the effects of SORAS -- Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome -- and how each character had aged over the years. Just for grins I tried to calculate their ages by turning it into a math problem. See if you can solve it. Here goes:
If Noah is six years younger than Cassie, oops, Mariah, and six years older than Summer, who is 18, how old are Nick, Mariah, and Noah if Nick is at least 17 years older than Mariah?
Answer -- if you'd rather read on than get a pencil: Noah is 24 (18+6), Mariah is 30 (24+6) and Nick is 47 (30+17). By implication, if Nick is 47, then Victoria, who has two years on Nick, is 49 -- no wonder she looks so much older than Billy, a note for all you fans who've been mentioning that in emails -- and Dylan is at least five years older than that! Both Nikki and Paul have to be at least 16 years older than Dylan, so they're at least 70! Is your head spinning yet?
Mine is! It seemed apparent to me that more was in play here than just a minor case of SORAS, so I looked deeper under the microscope and discovered that Abby, along with many other characters, is infected with SOWCAS, Soap Opera Weird Chronological Aging Syndrome, not SORAS. I will stake my reputation on this illogical diagnosis because it allows such a conundrum to continue.
Weird chronological aging is a theoretical construct that keeps Dylan, Nick, Sharon, Billy, and Victoria forever thirtyish, allows Paul, Phyllis, Jack, Nikki, Michael, Lauren, Christine, Neil, Stitch, Kelly, and Ashley to hover anywhere from very late thirties to barely fifty, and allows the age difference between parents and their adult children to range from 10 to 50 years. Soaps, especially The Young and Restless, "don't pay no never mind" to silly little things like age and math. Hence the term, SOWCAS.
Poor Abby, no wonder she's so conflicted and confused. Not only has she been the victim of SORAS in the past, but also her character has been attacked by SOWCAS, which has entirely robbed Abby of her childhood, teenhood, and early adulthood as she has aged two years for every one human year. She has become an unforgiving shrew, apparently taking over for Lily, who has backed off Hilary for the moment. I wonder if Abby and Lily are tag-teaming it on purpose.
Despite my sympathy for Abby's affliction, I don't believe that any person has the right to steal and lie and then blame it on someone else, no matter what the extenuating circumstances are. Abby's rich, entitled behavior made me much more sympathetic toward Mariah, but I sense that that was the writers' intent!
I was in complete agreement with the dressing down that Sharon gave Nick, Noah, and Abby. I suspect that Nick and Noah will feel bad, and Mariah will return to the fold, leaving Abby the odd one out. Abby has to be fearful,now that she's in her late twenties and rapidly running through the small pool of eligible men in Genoa City.
Abby faces stiff competition from her forever thirtyish sister, Victoria, and her perpetually young mom, Ashley, who has not aged at all since Abby's birth. Abby must be stressing about how quickly she is aging and wondering how long it will be until she is older than Ashley. I certainly would not want to be in her soon-to-be-orthopedic shoes unless all that money she has can buy a cure for SOWCAS -- and soon.
Bearing all that in mind, SOWCAS has made me rethink the Neil/Hilary thing -- I can't call it a romance, because we all know that Hilary will end up with Devon eventually, maybe sooner than later, but I think Friday's episode was a tease, and I expect Hilary to stick with Neil. After all "A bird in the hand is..." -- but I'm not so icked out now, because I've realized that both Neil and Hilary, like Paul and Christine, Ashley and Ben, and Jack and Kelly, are afflicted by C/WCAS -- Couples with Weird Chronological Aging Syndrome. Paul is twenty years older than Christine, ditto Jack and Kelly, and Ashley and Ben, but we don't notice the age difference in those couples like we do with Neil and Hilary.
Why is that? For me, there are two things. Neil's conversation with Rose Turner sticks in my mind, because he compared Rose's daughter to Lily. I am just old-fashioned enough to be put off. Of course, that comment was pre C/WCAS, so maybe I should put it aside. Other couples have never mentioned any age difference, perhaps because each was already infected with C/WCAS, and as one aged, the other did not. For all I know, both Neil and Hilary have been exposed to C/WCAS and are the same age now. Anyway, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
The second and most important reason that I don't think Neil and Hilary will last is that Neil is either on the rebound, or he did not love Leslie in the first place, or he is a serial marry-er. (Hi, my name is Neil. Nice to meet you. Want to get married?)
Neil acts like he is in love with love, so any woman that will have him will do just fine. I don't know what happened to Hilary's brains, cynicism, and common sense when she turned to the good side because you sure don't have to be evil and mean-spirited to have a grasp on human nature, which Hilary seemed to have but has lost since she turned into a Stepford -- "Whatever you say, Neil. Of course, I'll move in. Of, course I'll marry you on a moment's notice without consideration or thought, mainly because I have become so desperate for love after giving up my plan for revenge and getting involved with you" -- Hilary.
What would save this plot for me is if Hilary is playing the long con and still plans to get her hooks into Devon, the main prize, who she will fall for and then lose because of some secret! I also think that Hilary is going to know Leslie's new doctor hunk husband from her time at college in Chicago.
So all I'm saying is I can tolerate Neil and Hilary a little longer because I know that Neil is just a placeholder for Devon! Not to mention that Neil still looks good. I'm not super crazy about seeing semi-naked men in every episode, but I appreciate a nice chest now and then, especially when they are wearing tank tops and working out in a sweaty gym scene.
I think most men look better clothed, but I noticed something familiar when Dylan walked away from Victor and Nikki at the ranch. He reminded me of Arnold Swarzenegger when he starred in all those old action movies. Arnold had a terrific body that looked great semi-clothed, wearing mufti, sweatsuits, swimsuits, or wet suits, but he looked terrible in a business suit, more like a monkey than a man.
Steve Burton has a similar problem. He looks great in the gym or in jeans, black tee shirts and black leather jackets -- not really an unusual wardrobe for a business owner like Dylan. I say, ditch the dopey Of Mice and Men-looking plaid shirts, stop with the red hair dye -- yes, you are going grey, but wouldn't some brown with blonde highlights do just as well and be an even bigger indication that Paul is your father? I know, picky, picky, but if Dylan is going to be 54 going on 33, then he might as well dress the part, and while he's at it, Dylan can start riding a motorcycle and taking care of delicate matters for Victor. Avery can start dressing in black, dye her hair black, start a P.I. business, change her name to Sam and...
A quick aside to General Hospital viewers: I'm betting that soft sweet Nina is going to be every bit as sly, cunning, clever, and manipulative as Phyllis was, very soon. She's already off to a good start, and I have no doubt that Nina will achieve her objective in the same take-no-prisoners way that Phyllis did. [Note: I wrote this before I saw GH on Friday! Now I can see that Hurricane Nina is going to be Phyllis times two! So do the math!]
Bessie reports that the boards are still buzzing with very dissatisfied fans, who, not content with John-the-Baptist's -- sorry, I meant David Tom's -- head on a platter, are now calling for Hunter King's. In some ways, it feels like the French Revolution. All we need now is that woman sitting by the guillotine knitting and cackling. Ah, Madame DeFarge, when will the carnage end?
It has never made any sense to me to blame actors for decisions made by the show's honchos. Actors will always come and go, and the better they are, the sooner they generally move on by choice. Over the years, I have been privileged to see a few stars born, as have those of you who have been watching soaps these many years. Firing anyone to appease the fans is wrong. It's like throwing Christians to the lions. Fan getting mad at actors who leave is also unproductive.
Like athletes, actors have a short shelf life and a very small window in which to achieve super stardom. The window is larger for men than women, unfortunately. Not many women achieve stardom on the big screen after 40. Soap actresses are lucky to continue as ingénues well into their 40s, so we really can't get upset with any actor who moves to another acting job where they get more money, attention, and respect. I don't think we should blame the remaining actors or the recast actors for decisions that the actors had no say in.
Now that I've given my objective opinion, I have to say subjectively that, like many fans have suggested, I, too, would gladly accept the old Adam back. Old Adam and Chelsea were a great couple with depth and subtle passion. I loved watching them act because it didn't seem like acting. It felt real, and there was exquisite nuance in their scenes together.
So, yes, I am very selfish. I am thoughtless and a total hypocrite, because the onscreen drama is more important to me that what occurred, or did not occur, off-screen.
I ask Hunter King to accept my apology as well as my congratulations on her Emmy nomination. However, summertime Summer is a character that is now being mocked as "Summer Dumber," and with good reason. It must be tough to live in a town where you are related to all your potential dates. Having two rich dads who dote on you must be hell as well and a very difficult burden to bear. Naturally, one would turn to the first young man one meets. If he happens to be an avenging stalker, all the better.
I do expect Summer's faith in Austin to be rewarded. Austin has already taken responsibility, and Avery will get him a great attorney. Summer's two dads will strut and stomp, but ultimately, Summer will prevail. Austin will be released on probation or a technicality, so Summer and Austin, the felon, can double date with Noah and Courtney, the cop.
Paul, of course, will recover, after Dylan risks his life to give his liver, which he will now that Dylan has overheard Nikki tell Paul the truth about Dylan's parentage. Paul, Dylan, or both will have at least one out-of-body experience and walk to the light. Both Christine and Avery will have ample opportunity to bond and cry copious tears. Lauren should be there to add to the waterworks.
We know that Paul and Dylan will both recover. How else could Paul and Nikki become Ma and Pa Kettle and live happily ever after with Little Abner and Daisy Mae. (Can you picture Dylan in overalls, with a piece of straw in his mouth and Avery in short black shorts and a polka dot top?)
Well, happily ever after until Victor, Christine, or Ian Ward injects a dose of sanity. Thanks to Leslie once again breaking a client confidence -- remind me never to hire her -- Nikki knows for sure that Paul is Dylan's dad. Had it been me instead of Nikki all those years ago, Paul as the father is first conclusion I would have leapt to, because that would have been the most desired outcome.
The same reasoning would have applied to the search that Nikki conducted with Paul. So why didn't Nikki allow for that possibility? And while we're on the subject, why didn't Paul have a clue that he might have been the father? Can't Paul count? Doesn't Paul remember that he had sex with Nikki during the period of time when she got pregnant? What is the appropriate response to that question? All together now, "It's only a soap!"
Moving right along, the rebuilding of the Nick-Sharon family is progressing nicely. Soon, it will be as though Cassie never died. Mariah will blend in seamlessly with Noah and Faith. She will face adversity as she is treated unfairly and set up by Abby, but Nick will relent, and Mariah will develop the same bond with Nick as Cassie had with him.
Who is this girl? She has some secret biological connection to Sharon as yet unknown, but I'm pretty sure it will be another history-changing revelation. Victor conveniently overheard Mariah with Ian Ward, and I expect that Victor will soon ferret out whatever is hidden.
Ben and Kelly still have their secret. Are they brother and sister? Was there abuse, incest? Was it homicide, justified patricide, medical unavoidability? This secret has been dragging on for a long time, but what are soaps without secrets? Certainly not real life, where we put our activities on Facebook for the whole world to see. Instead of hiding a pregnancy like Victoria and Chelsea tried to do, most women can't wait to spread the news.
Secrets are the nuts and bolts, the McGuffins of soap opera, the building blocks for the inevitable house of cards that must eventually tumble as secrets are exposed, lies revealed, alliances and marriages broken, loves lost, new bonds forged, forgiveness sought, atonement achieved, and love regained as the cycle repeats and another secret begins its ascent to the surface.
How many secrets does Y&R have going on now? Let's see: Ben and Kelly's past, Mariah's connection to Ian Ward, Adam is alive, Colin's connection to Bonaventure, Devon's feelings for Hilary, Ian Ward's connection to Avery's cooking show, Sharon's secret, Chloe's sperm sample, and I will bet a doughnut hole that Hilary and Dr. Barton share a secret also. I probably missed a few, but I'm sure there are some of you who will be delighted to bring them to my attention!
Speaking of bringing to my attention, thanks to all of you who wrote to tell me that the city scenes are of Pittsburg, including the night scenes, except that Chancellor Park and the buildings that say "Jabot" and "Newman" are computer generated. After reading those emails, I immediately started humming a country tune, "I've been to Pencil VAIN ya, but I've never been to PITTS burg!" Or something off-key like that! Thanks, guys, for recognizing your own hometown.
One reader wrote that she lived in Wisconsin and had taken a trip to Genoa City, a very small, but real, town in her state. Another sent me a YouTube link to a cute video about that little town, "Genoa City." I got quite a chuckle.
A whole bunch of deserving actors got nominated for Emmys. Four of Y&R's leading men, Peter Bergman, Doug Davison, Christian LeBlanc, and Billy Miller got nominated for Best Actor, but, sadly, only one (or maybe two) of them can win.
Steve Burton, Hunter King, and Daniel Polo also received acting nominations. Y&R scored nominations for Outstanding Writing, Directing, Drama, and a host of other categories. Read the complete list at soapcentral.com.
One last conundrum about condoms: how is it that Austin and Summer had time to stop for condoms while they were on the run, but Ben, Victoria, and Billy never thought it was important to have safe sex? Wouldn't it make a better story for Summer to be pregnant by Austin than for Victoria to be pregnant by either Billy or Ben? -- Just saying!
Now for my favorite part!