Sympathy for the devil

For the Week of September 13, 2021
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They say the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know, but is that really true? And are the devils all devilish, or is there a chance a devil can become a neutral (certainly not an angel)? Join our Two Scoops columnist to discuss the devils we know and the devils we don't yet know are devils.

It's been a long time, and what a long, strange trip it's been. When I last wrote in this space, there was no COVID-19, no shutdowns, no social distancing, no isolation, no overwhelming society anxiety (okay, so there was some, but it was different). It's good to be back, and here's hoping things return to a healthy new normal soon!

I have heard people say -- and these are soap fans, mind you -- that they only have to watch a given soap twice a year to know all that has been happening, because things are too repetitive. I can assure you, I had my friend Luke join me to watch for his commentary and conversation after a long break on his part (he didn't watch the classic episodes and forgot to start again when the new episodes aired), and it took a lot more than two shows to catch up on all he had missed. I had to pause and explain all that had gone on and who new people were, as well as what had happened with old people. We may not love every storyline, but things do move along on The Young and the Restless, and a lot has happened since I last commented on it!

But let's dive in!

Remember back when they first said Ashland had had an affair with an older wealthy woman? Before they gave details that she had become a widow and he had bought her two stations, I turned to Luke and said, "Dina!" Wouldn't that have been a fun twist? It would take some tweaking but could still happen. He's older than Victoria but certainly younger than Dina was, and he's just Dina's type -- handsome and, well, younger than she was. Those seemed like her biggest criteria. And maybe not rich yet. I think she liked having that power over them. It would have been nice to have guest appearances with Dina in flashbacks.

Who is the older woman? Realistically, he's too old for it to have been Katherine Chancellor, who didn't die that long ago. He is far too old for it to have been Dina (who was divorced, not widowed, and who just died -- even in soap years, that's too recent). But part of me feels there has to be some connection to someone in Genoa City. Especially when we now know there is no history for baby Ashland, or teenaged Ashland.

Anyway, I guess we'll find out soon if Ashland is just a ruthless businessman or if there is more to the story (and that mysterious text message that upset him). It's a soap, so I'm guessing there's more to the story. Billy is like a dog with a bone, too. He'll find something if there's something to be found. Even if it costs him Lily, I fear. She seems to have less and less ability to steer him in the right direction as his obsession with Ashland "for the kids' sake" grows.

That Dame

Sally...I know people hate her, so they might not like what I'm going to say. Let me start by saying her upbringing was not good. Her parents were carnival workers (and when Phyllis told her to take her circus act somewhere else, that might have hit a raw nerve), who left her in the care of her grandmother, who hasn't always steered her in the right direction. What others see as inflated ego, I see as insecurity and low self-esteem. And because she grew up learning trickery instead of learning the value of hard work, that's what she knows, and so far, she isn't learning another way. Some people are slow learners. Instead of starting at the bottom at Fenmore's and really proving herself (which she did do), there's always an edge or a smooth-talking hustler way of trying to get to that next level. And she is virtually always caught, even in small things.

She almost had her great-aunt's design business, and while her designs weren't haute couture like the Forresters', they were spunky, and they would have sold. That dream came a little late, and the opportunity was taken away. Then, her love life went to heck when an ex from the past returned to her beloved's life, and Sally was just tossed aside. So, she's always been tossed aside (parents, men) and an afterthought. In order to be anything else, she gets up in people's faces, kind of like a youngest child might do in a big family. Does it do her any favors? Absolutely not. But do I understand it? Yes. Do I think therapy could help her? Unquestionably.

I think what makes Sally most unlikeable is that the moments when she's not brash and confrontational, the moments where she's in her home (or room, as the case may be) and steeling herself to go out and face a world that has always been hostile to her, aren't shown. All we see is Sally getting up in people's faces, flirting, hustling, and scheming to get ahead. If they showed more of that vulnerability, she might be more likeable, if that's even possible now.

However, if this show has had fans of Phyllis through the years, I would think it could have fans of Sally. There has to be someone who's scheming to get ahead, and Phyllis most certainly did, including to get her beloved Grand Phoenix. Remember when she helped Adam steal Dark Horse from Nick? That's where it started, and it kept going with her getting what she wanted in the end, even though her means were not righteous or virtuous. And because of that, I'm still baffled that Nick wants her and forgives all. I couldn't do that, no matter how fun the sex was -- and that seems like the bulk of their relationship to me. Correct me if I'm wrong. (I won't say working from home for a year and a half has helped my memory. It hasn't.)

Sally is her own worst enemy, though. She's not so good at being subtle.

Sally's speech on not saying "should" that overlapped other people's actions included, "You decide how you are going to act." I hope she chooses to act a little better. Words mean nothing. She says she'll do better all the time. She needs to do it.

Anyway, sympathy for the devil, if you will. I don't love Sally's behavior, but I kind of understand it. If everyone on the show were upright and virtuous, it would be a snoozefest! For some reason I don't understand, I'm kind of rooting for her. And I like her with Adam. They might give each other the grace and understanding to move on and really be better people. Of course, they could also bring out the worst in each other, perhaps a little of both. I guess we'll see if they become a couple. The intrigue is there, even though she did just screw up royally by interrupting Sharon's "therapy" with Adam around what was best for Connor (every licensing board in the country would have problems with her helping her ex and his son, and his wife, too).

There seems to be more concern for poor little Connor than there is open communication with him. Could Mommy and Daddy explain that they need to be away from each other, but they are both going to be there for him. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for, and they're resilient, more so the sooner they know what's going on. Somehow, I think he'll learn about Mommy poisoning Rey if they don't give him some information; Sharon told Adam, "The longer you put this off, the more questions he's going to have." Even though she shouldn't be treating anyone in that family, she's not wrong.

Can Adam change when nobody wants to give him a chance? Sharon might be right about that. Even Sharon, who believes in him, doesn't know if he has the skill set. First off, how could he have not learned at least a little something from his mother, a virtual saint by all reports (even when she wasn't seen on our screens)? Second, how can he get the skill set if nobody gives him a chance? Should he probably get treated for the trauma he experienced as a kid? Oh, most definitely. But in all honesty, who in Genoa City hasn't gotten another chance? They're few and far between. He's such a complex character, with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, and he absolutely can't hear one louder than the other.

Comfortable and Easy

Nick and Sharon are making eyes at each other (Rey doesn't have to worry so much about Adam, it seems). Jack is proclaiming undying love to Phyllis. Are we up for yet another round of musical relationships (kind of like musical chairs), where someone always ends up lonely? Sharon and Rey are... okay. Dull, yeah. A lot of jealousy and insecurity around Adam, that's there. But they're okay. Is okay good for a soap? It's not dramatic or exciting, so maybe that relationship could change. And Nick and Phyllis? You can see Nick knows something's going on with Jack and Phyllis, even if Phyllis tells everyone (herself included) that there's nothing there, and Nick insists things are great. Insecurity eats away at relationships (see: Rey and Sharon). Plus, I don't see a lot there other than the love of good sex. And even that wasn't enough to keep her from faking sleep.

Jack is lonely.

There's an ad that used to play on television where a man was repairing the lines on the phone pole in his cherry-picker bucket, looking forlornly into a house's windows (which is not at all creepy...), and lamenting, "No one pays me with gum." That is the look Jack has. He needs romance, and it seems that he and Phyllis are creeping ever closer to that.

I have to say, if my sister cheated with my husband, of course I would divorce him. I would still have a relationship with my sister (it would be strained for some time, and the trust might never be there again), even though holidays would be awkward. I might be civil (but probably cool) toward my now ex-husband. But would I ever consider taking him back? No. No, I would not. Why Jack would return to Phyllis after the whole Billy thing (never mind all the other stuff that has gone on between them over the years)? No, she's not likely to be with Billy again, but the fact remains that she carried on an affair with his brother.

They say friends shouldn't date a friend's ex. I think that goes double for family. And definitely don't mess with the current partner. All this is to say Jack has looked mopey, and he needs romance. He lit up when he was with Sally, who maybe wasn't right for him, but he loves the romance and the companionship of it all. Time to find him a worthy partner, one who he isn't trying to turn into Phyllis, one who makes him forget about her and find something new and exciting.

If Jack winds up with Phyllis -- and you know she's thinking about it after his professions of love --Nick will once again be crushed. Chelsea is kind of available again (but with ties to Adam). Sharon isn't available (but definitely will always have a little something with Adam and was definitely checking Nick out). It seems they all keep wading in the same romance pool, and someone needs to change that water. I don't understand how they can be so gung-ho about it. I think if I had the same old options presented to me over and over, I might become celibate or something. Not that I wouldn't want romance, but... there's a reason they're your ex.

Does it ever feel like the writers are playing a memory card game, with all the cards facedown on the table, and they just pick up two cards and say, "Looks like these two will be together now"? Time for some new cards.

The Devil You Know

Baby Bowie didn't die. Talk about legacy babies -- I know soaps kill babies, even legacy babies, but this one was Chancellor, Abbott, Newman, and Hamilton-Winters. The biggest problem he'll have is that he won't be able to date anyone in town because he's related to everybody.

Stitch should be captured and put into psychiatric treatment. He's unstable, and his son, if he's as ill as Stitch reported (and who knows what's real or not, but he did kill Abby's unborn baby on purpose), should still be in a hospital. If I were Mariah, I would not feel very safe until he was captured. And Abby saying anything about sympathy for the devil who is Stitch is going to be hurtful to Mariah. The fact that people knew him before he went off the rails doesn't change the fact that the man needs help. Perhaps that's all the more reason to get him help. "I can't believe Ben Rayburn would do this" is a sign that Ben Rayburn has had some kind of psychotic break. Or that we didn't really know him.

Mariah, after being held captive for a long time in a small space (not much room for aerobic exercise, although she tried) and giving birth, was able to go for a walk with Tessa in the park as if she weren't in recovery from the physical ordeal. Realistically, I think she might go sit somewhere on the Chancellor property and just relax while breathing the fresh air, lie under the shade of a tree and watch the clouds and the sky. Walking seemed not too realistic for the day she came home from the hospital after giving birth. I do love that Tessa's focus is on her because everyone else is smothering the baby with love. Sure, they think of Mariah sometimes, but there's more worry in it than anything, as Abby's daily looks of concern indicate.

So, this whole Chance thing. Yeah, he's not there. People raise babies with dads actively in the military or with dads who have passed away. Sure, it's harder; sure, it's different, but they learn to rely on their supports and their families, and Abby has plenty of both. My biggest concern around the whole thing is Chance leaving under cover of darkness and leaving a note. Abby started the surrogacy process after Chance was gone. Waiting a year or two wouldn't have been the end of the world, honestly.

But he skulked off into the unknown, and she felt that was the exact moment they should make a baby with their friends. Her struggle may be real, but it's not unique, and she's not isolated, so while I understand that she'd want him back, I'm less sympathetic than perhaps I should be. Waiting until you know he is safe and stable was an option. The whole story was just odd and awkward and seemed like a means to an end, the end being tension with Abby, Devon, and Mariah, exemplified by the complete panic when Mariah took the baby for a walk to soothe him.

Can you believe Mariah was only kidnapped for three weeks? It felt like months.

Sending Out an SOS

Where does Nick actually live, and is Christian okay? Sexy time in the hotel when he has a big ol' house he custom built for himself and a boy who must never see him seems selfish. Christian will be heading off to college any day now (the ways SORAS works), and he won't know his father.

But seriously, what happened to Christian? Nick acts like there is no child at home who might have some interest in remembering what he looks like. He owns a home yet stays at his girlfriend's hotel every night. Honestly, if I owned a hotel, I wouldn't want to be there every night. Sometimes we need a little space between work and personal life, as I'm sure the pandemic taught a lot of us. He's upset about grown-up Summer being away, but he isn't with the kid he still has and can help teach and mold. And nobody seems to mention the child. He's not with a nanny, he's not visiting with his grandparents. I never thought I'd say this, but maybe he would have been better with Adam. Back then, Nick was super dad. Not so much when he's got his sex-based connection to Phyllis.

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

This has nothing to do with the week that was. It's just a little something I've felt on and off.

Lola, come home. All is forgiven. Does anyone else miss her? I know Sasha Calle's off filming a major movie role, and sure, the writers didn't know what to do with her when she and Kyle broke up (and I stopped liking Kyle after the breakup. I just never dug Kyle and Summer), but there was something about her eternal optimism and perkiness that brightened up the show.

I guess with nobody to pair her with romantically, aside from the knife she used to cut veggies veeerrrryyy slllooowwwlllly (like she wouldn't have a prep cook! Or chop veggies better than me -- she totally would), it was a good time for her to hit the road as a guest chef and sample cuisines from diners across the country, maybe find some grandmas whose grandkids want to eat the cooking but don't want to be bothered with learning to make it. Lola can learn it all and cook it all, and maybe she and Abby can start a whole new restaurant whenever she returns.

Maybe a new man will show up in town around the same time to sweep her off her feet while not secretly pining for the one that got away. Lola deserves some real love in the afternoon. And that age group seems underrepresented to me, but I guess age is somewhat irrelevant in soaps!

Random Thoughts

How would you know if Victor was frowning?

I hope you were all sitting down when Jack told Phyllis he loved her. The shock!

Sharon's skirt for the baby's homecoming looked like a stained-glass window, and it was a whole lot fancier than what I wear when I'm cleaning up.

Chloe was upset Sally didn't heed her warnings. I'm surprised she was surprised.

Moses and Faith are cute together. They've got the awkwardness of the situation down.

Rey is pretty worked up about Adam's existence, but in all honesty, Adam really hasn't been hovering around Sharon so much lately.

Mariah and Faith have a fun sister vibe.

They change the blanket, but I feel like it would look more natural if they had a doll for Dominic. There are some realistic-looking dolls, and he could sleep a lot. However, when Lily was looking at Devon's phone, there were actually pictures of a baby!

Should a guy undergoing chemo be drinking a drink with a jalapeno pepper in it? I would think that might upset the tummy. And I think with treatments like that, they instruct people to avoid alcohol and such.

ChancComm without an E looks wird. I would spll it diffrntly. But I'm not a Y&R writr.

Elena's purple flowered dress on Friday made me wonder if 80s shoulder pads were back in style. Maybe a trip to Goodwill is in order for the retro chic thing.

I liked the double date of Victoria, Ashland, Elena, and Nate. Couples friends are so normal.

Nate helping Ashland reminds me of when he was helping Victoria with anxiety a few years back; it felt like they were doing a chemistry test on them then, and it fizzled. I like Nate as the best man. He seems like a solid guy

I'm not sure I'd want someone to have a giant portrait painted of me to hang in my office.

Lines of the Week

Phyllis to Adam: "Where's your she-devil tonight?"

Victor to Sally: "And arguing with me will be the worst mistake yet."

Phyllis gave some inspiring words to Jack: "I'm not gonna be the one to tell you to look on the bright side." And "We're born alone. We die alone."

Closing Thoughts

That was a lot of thoughts I shared today. Thanks for bearing with me. But there's been a lot since I last talked to you all. Stay safe, wherever you are, and keep watching.

Christine

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