Dylan McAvoy got a terrific send-off last week as befitted a veteran actor of Steve Burton's status. A few tears fell down my cheeks as Dylan said goodbye to his nearest and dearest. Sending Dylan into "Witness Protection" was a much better way to remove the character from the canvas than to have him just disappear into limbo without a clue. It also gave Sharon, Nikki, and Paul -- and their portrayers -- the opportunity to shed genuine tears and get closure. We viewers got closure, too, and we got to shed a tear or two as well. I liked Dylan's exit, including all the flashbacks. In fact, I liked it so much that I'm not even going to point out the flaws in Dylan's illogical belief that leaving would make everyone he loved safer. I'm just going to say, "It's only a soap!" and be done with it.
I'm not going to mention that if Dylan's fears that the gang would find his family were valid, then wouldn't the gang still find his family even if they couldn't find Dylan? Another question I won't ask is "Wouldn't this same gang still threaten-kill-take-hostage one of Dylan's family members in order to get Dylan to come out of hiding? I'm also not going to ask "What kind of criminal on the run is going to have the time or resources to get any information off a burner phone?" Dylan's phone had only dialed one number, and that number was to Paul's burner phone. Turn off Paul's phone, and voila! Problem solved, no info for the criminals to track.
There are a lot of other questions that I am not going to ask because "It's only a soap!" and I love where Y&R is headed right now -- the soapier the better, I say. High camp mixed with emotional realism, good dialogue, and stellar acting. Put that together and you've got the recipe that makes the soap genre so compelling. Last week, the show started clicking for me. Each episode had me wanting more. What had been old and stale felt new again, and I really, really hope that this is a trend and not an anomaly!
I would really like to see a Dylan recast in the not too distant future. His character works for me, and we've lost Adam. I started trying to think about male actors who might be available. My first thought was Cameron Mathison then I considered Greg Vaughn or Tyler Christopher. I'm sure there are a lot of other actors who would make a good recast, and I'd love to hear what my readers think, so please comment below and tell me whom you would recast as Dylan.
Elsewhere, Hilary finally got the kiss-off from Devon, but I don't know how long that will last. Those last scenes between Devon and Hilary were very powerful, and it was clear that Devon still loved Hilary. For a second or two there, I wondered if Devon would succumb and forgive Hilary yet again. He didn't, but I can't help but think that he will cave. I'd still like to see how a Devon and Mariah pairing would work out -- maybe boring, maybe not. Hilary and Mariah going at it, definitely not boring! In my opinion!
Hilary's next conquest might be Jack, who is finally back to the cocky, smirking Jack that I remember -- and loved to hate -- from many years ago. Despite reclaiming his strut, Jack still turned out to be Wile E. Coyote to Lauren's Road Runner, and he got what he deserved for trying to take advantage of Lauren's predicament. Lauren used her feminine charm and extensive contacts to turn the tables on Jack, who was bamboozled and outmaneuvered. He gave Lauren everything she wanted, and she left Jack and his big ego believing that they were the winners. I loved the verbal sparring between Lauren and Jack. I got a Tracy-Hepburn vibe after Jack admitted that he and Gloria had sabotaged Lauren's deals. Lauren spat out, "That's disgusting!" Smiling Jack shot back, "That's determination." It went on from there and sparkled.
I do wonder why Lauren didn't think to approach Devon for funding, and I wondered where Jack got all the big bucks he has been spending so freely. As I recall, Jabot was dead broke at Christmas a year ago and had to lay off all senior Jabot staff, including Gwen, who had been dating Neil and ran Jabot's accounting department. Is Gwen back working? Did Jack rehire the staff that he had previously laid off? How did Jabot go from near rags to riches is one short year? Was it Jabot Go? (Memo to self: forget the minutia and concentrate on that dialogue and acting. Besides, on soaps, isn't rich the new poor and poor the new rich?)
What's old is new again, and that's okay by me. I want more Lauren. She hasn't had a story in a long time. Call me cantankerous, but I'd like to see her in one that doesn't include adultery. According to a news item elsewhere on this site, Lauren's son Scotty is coming home. I'd love to know what you folks think about that. (If you need a refresher on Scott(y), check out our character profile here.) I'm ecstatic to have a non-Newman, non-Abbott male on board. We've also got a hot photographer arriving, I assume for Lily's photo shoot. Hopefully he's not related to anyone else on the show, either. Both men should be should be about Abby and Mariah's age, so maybe there is romance in the air for those young women.
There's trouble brewing in the Ashby household. Cane does not appear to be happy with Lily's new career choice. I do think that Billy and Jill should have spoken to Cane before offering Lily a contract, and Lily should have spent more time thinking about the offer and what it meant to her family instead of rushing over to the Brash & Sassy offices like a star-struck teenager. Lily does have two children and a husband, and she hasn't given any thought to how they will feel when they see her being ogled by strangers.
Lily is loving and loyal, but she is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. She doesn't see that working with Billy in the same office as Cane is a disaster waiting to happen. Billy will flirt outrageously with Lily and stir the pot, just to get under Cane's skin. At some point, harsh words and fisticuffs will ensue. Cane will come off as the bad guy, and Lily will cry on Billy's shoulder, just like Phyllis did. The real question is, "If Lily and Billy sleep together, will we call them Bily or Lilly?" If they do end up on the sofa, I can just imagine that Victoria will also blow a gasket or two.
Oh, and by the way, I think that couch in the conference room sees as much action as an hourly room at a seedy motel. I've lost track of all the couples that have had sex on it, and I don't even want to think what it would look like under one of those lights that CSIs use to find bodily fluids, let alone -- God forbid -- to sit on it.
Victoria rushed to chastise Reed and Billy because Reed had gone to Billy instead of Victoria for answers to questions that Reed had about sex. Had I been in her place, I would have been relieved that Billy had handled those questions with tact and discretion. Again, I loved the sparkling, realistic dialogue. The new kid on the block has the sulky teen act down pat. Even I wanted to thump the back of his head when he was kissing his girlfriend instead of paying attention to his siblings. When Reed gave his mother a smart-alecky answer and walked away, he reminded me of every other teen I have ever known -- including myself; I remembered being horrible to my mother and I cringed, which I took as a good sign. I look forward to seeing Reed grow into a young man and his portrayer grow and progress as an actor.
The conversation between Nikki and Victoria was priceless and laugh-out-loud funny. When Saint Victoria recalled her teen years and Nikki started chortling, I did too. The hurt, deflated look on Victoria's face was so real and the ensuing exchange so true to life that I forgot for a moment that they were acting. Good drama in the down-to-earth details was a hallmark of the Bell era. It was old, but it was new again, and I loved it!
The kinder, gentler Victor is a refreshing change from the unrepentant, egomaniacal, revenge-driven kidnapper that Victor had become -- all black, no white or shades of gray. I don't know whether or not this is a lull between schemes or if the big bad wolf of Wall Street will ever return to the boardroom. I wonder if Victor's self-imposed exile from Newman is personal penance for the part Victor played in destroying Adam and his dream of a happy life.
In the meantime, Victor has been terrific with Nikki and Faith. His scenes consoling a tearful Nikki were tender and loving, as were those counseling Faith, who, in my opinion, is a very talented child actor. She and Victor were very natural together, and Victor was surprisingly unbiased with his advice to Faith about her parents. That sort of heartfelt, slice-of-life scene will never get old for me.
Sharon's scenes with Dylan as he departed were gripping. As she told Dylan that everyone leaves her and nobody stays, I gained a greater understanding of why Sharon is so desperate and clingy. Sharon shattered as she told Dylan that her father had been the first man to leave her. I was heartbroken, too, and I wondered if a future story might feature Sharon addressing that issue. What Sharon thinks is fate seems more like a perpetual self-fulfilling prophecy to me.
If last week was any indication of what's to come and not an aberration, then, woo-hoo, Sweeps is a-comin', and I want to ride that train all the way to the station. On my wish list is more Devon and Mariah, and/or Mariah and Hilary, and/or Devon and Hilary. If Mariah is too prickly and independent to have a boyfriend, then maybe she could find a guy to be her wingman at first, like the screwball comedies of the thirties. Take what's old, modernize it, and make it new again! Mariah is a hoot, and I want more!
It must be a real relief for DAYS viewers to know that their show has been renewed. I understand that soaps are more expensive to produce than talk and game shows, but I think that the "Suits" are being very shortsighted and missing a real opportunity. Instead of reducing the number of soap cast members, the powers that be should be increasing them. Over the years, I've seen many soap stars leave and move on to become TV or movie stars. Michael Weatherly of Bull and NCIS started on Loving. Meg Ryan, Josh Duhamel, Tommy Lee Jone,s and David Hasselhoff are just a few of the other stars who started out as soap cast members before landing a TV series or a movie.
It seems to me that soap operas could serve as a very good training ground for actors, just like the studio system of old. It would give young actors a chance to practice their craft and learn from veterans. It would give producers a consistent way to check actors' work habits, ability to memorize lines, timeliness, reliability, and all the other facets that affect production and costs. Choosing an actor that doesn't resonate well with the audience or one that has alcohol, drug, or psychological problems can cause costly megabuck problems to a fledgling production. Finding out problems before investing in someone could potentially save a fortune in non-productive costs.
A fellow opinion writer noted that one of the problems in the modern soap age is that the stories don't move at a fast enough pace, and I agree. With all the video formats and streaming services out there, the demand for programming and acting talent has to be at an all-time high. So why not use the soaps to separate the up-and-comers from the chaff?
With tongue planted firmly in cheek, I urge you to join me in two weeks at the Underground for the next Soapaholics meeting featuring special guest speaker Jack Abbott. Jack will be reading excerpts from his new book, Making Jabot Great Again, co-authored by the late John Abbott. The book will be available for purchase and autographed by both authors on request. Please note: John's signature will be ghost written.
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