Crazy! Insane! Unbelievable!
Those are all words some fans have used to describe The Young and the Restless' Sharon Newman (played by Emmy-winning actress Sharon Case), but they're now being exclaimed about the storyline the love-her-or-hate-her character is currently experiencing, as well. The facts are enough to make anyone's head spin, even those of practiced and well-seasoned soap fans: A mentally unstable Sharon had a miscarriage and, hoping to save her relationship with Dylan (Steve Burton), kept the tragedy a secret and quickly tried getting pregnant again. Her psychiatrist, Dr. Anderson (Elizabeth Bogush), "confirmed" Sharon was pregnant again, and though she was overjoyed and relieved, Sharon suddenly decided to check herself into Fairview Hospital. Once there, she began having mysterious memory problems, was told she herself refused visitors (even though she had no recollection of doing so), and began thinking maybe she wasn't really pregnant.
However, though Sharon had no recollection of giving birth, Dr. Anderson presented her with "her" new baby, which she and Dylan named Sully. Unbeknownst to Sharon, however, baby Sully is actually Sage's son -- who Sage and her husband, Nick (Joshua Morrow), believe to be dead. And just to twist things up even more, Sully doesn't even belong to Nick (Joshua Morrow) like he assumes, but rather to Adam Newman (Justin Hartley), with whom Sage had a secret one-night stand! Viewers still don't know what drove Dr. Anderson to steal Sage's baby and make Sharon believe it's hers, but many theories have been bounced around. What does Case think of the convoluted, super soapy story and Dr. Anderson's possible motives? Soap Central spoke with the actress to find out.
soapcentral.com: It's the start of a brand new year, and from Sharon's perspective, things are looking rosy. What do you think she should focus on more or change in the year ahead?
Sharon Case: You know, I think she should focus on really getting her life together. Right now she's got a great family, a husband, children. Rather than see her stumbling into Fairview again, it would be nice, at least for a while, to see her get a career.
soapcentral.com: That could maybe give her something worthwhile to focus on and maybe keep her out of trouble!
Case: Yeah, and also it would give her more people in town to speak to and get to know and be friends with.
soapcentral.com: Many soap storylines that deal with mental issues and instability will play the story for the shocks and awe, and then it's dropped. But not with Sharon. Her mental instability has been present for quite some time, and it doesn't seem like it's going anywhere soon. What do you think about those issues being front and center or always lurking in the background?
Case: I think it's good because people who really do deal with this disorder don't deal with it … one year and then it's gone for the rest of their lives. In order to play this storyline realistically, it does need to be a constant thing. But that doesn't mean it has to literally be there all the time. People with bipolar disorder certainly have successful careers. They don't spend all of their time in the hospital. But I like that we play the storyline realistically. On the one hand, the disorder is there, yes. But these people also have normal, strong lives too.
soapcentral.com: Actors always say they love playing crazy. Are you in that same boat? Do you prefer when she goes off the rails and is out there?
Case: Yeah, I really do, actually. It's fun to play someone who's sometimes that crazy. And you get to do a lot of interesting, challenging things as an actor.
soapcentral.com: The big mystery everyone is trying to figure out is what the heck is Dr. Anderson up to?! There are so many theories flying around.
Case: I know! It's a good mystery. It's been so much fun to play it. The audience can't wait to find out. It's a good story. But I obviously can't say what she's up to.
soapcentral.com: Of course, but when the story first started to unfold, did you have your own theories as to what drove the character to do what she's done?
Case: No, I actually had no idea. I just thought she was a regular doctor, just Sharon's doctor, and it was weeks before I started noticing something weird about her! And then when that went on for a while, I finally asked [Elizabeth] about her character, and she explained it to me and revealed the storyline to me, because prior to that, I didn't know anything about it. I was so shocked! I was like, "Wow, all this time, and I didn't even know!" I just thought it was Sharon and her doctor, that was all. [laughs] But I like it that way. I don't like to know the storyline. And it was fine because Sharon thought nothing was wrong with her doctor. She didn't know any better and thinks she's a normal doctor. And it's how Sharon is supposed to think of her doctor, so that I didn't know any better worked for me as the actor.
soapcentral.com: Well, wait, why did Elizabeth know what was going on, but you didn't?!
Case: Well, sometimes the producers or writers will tell the actor about the storyline and about what their character is supposed to be doing so that it helps them play the scenes with whatever nuance they're supposed to be putting into it at the time. Sometimes it helps the actor to have the information. And sometimes the actor is told just because people were having a casual conversation, and that's what was said! There's no particular reason. Or a lot of times, actors will ask the producers or writers. A lot of actors always ask and want to know all the time what their storyline is going to be. But I don't usually. I mean, if somebody tells me, that's fine. But I wouldn't ask or think of [asking].
soapcentral.com: I love when the writers dig into the past and connect current storyline to things that happened years and years ago. It's really fun for the audience that has been watching for decades, but I imagine it's fun for you guys, too, if you've played the character a long time. Have the writers ever surprised you with storyline details from years ago that you completely forgot about? Like, "Oh yeah, that thing from 1989!"
Case: Oh, yeah, all the time! There was something recently, and I can't remember exactly what it was, but I was surprised because it was something from a long time ago that was referenced in a scene, and I mean years ago. And that always does mean a lot to me, when I see that the writers remember these things and pay attention to your character's history and can bring it forward into today's storylines. I think it's great. It really impresses me. It takes really smart writers.
soapcentral.com: Eventually, the truth about Sully's maternity will come out. How do you think something like that might affect Sharon? She's already on a slippery slope mentally, and I imagine that's going to be a huge blow.
Case: I know! It will be. I keep thinking on it, because obviously I know that's going to come up one day. I have no idea when, but I keep thinking what her reaction should be. But then I realize there's really no way for me to know that in advance, because we could take the common route, which is everybody will be devastated. Or, I don't know what direction the storyline will go, but maybe they'll make it a little bit different or not quite as dramatic. There could be a lot of different circumstances there where it might not end up being this thing where her entire life falls apart. That will probably depend on how she finds out and what the other circumstances are in her life at the time. It will really depend, and I can see it going a few different ways, when I think of it.
soapcentral.com: Especially because there are so many characters involved!
Case: Yeah, there are a lot of different people involved, and I think if she starts piecing together everything in a calm way and everything starts to make sense, her reaction to things might be very different.
soapcentral.com: Sharon already hid a miscarriage from Dylan to hold onto him and their relationship. If she somehow pieces this together before he does, do you think she'd hide this, too?
Case: You know, that's a good question. I think Sharon didn't do well with the miscarriage. She was feeling insecure at the time about her [relationship]. She was trying to build her relationship with Dylan and wasn't sure if he really wanted to be with her or if it was just because of the baby. Now she seems a lot more stable, so depending on where she's at in the future when this revelation comes about, how stable she is at the time, will change everything. Maybe if she's feeling secure about her and Dylan, or who knows, maybe by then, she and Dylan have split and that seems to be a good thing for them, I don't know. But whatever her circumstances are going to be, [will determine] how she deals with it. Maybe, yeah, like you said, it could be that they're still married and she still feels insecure and doesn't tell him. There are so many ways it could go. And I don't know what it's going to be. So I can't really give too much more. I guess I could ask, but you know what, I don't want to ask. I want to be surprised!
soapcentral.com: When the couple first got together, Dylan admitted that he has a tendency to be the white knight in relationships, but the women end up getting hurt in the end. Do you feel that will be the case with him and Sharon, or do you think Sharon will be the first to hurt him?
Case: Gosh, I really don't know. Anything could happen with this couple, as it usually does with soap opera couples. It could be him that gets hurt, it could be Sharon that gets hurt, it could turn out they're really brother and sister. It could be anything! I don't even know. There are a lot of different ways this could fall apart!
soapcentral.com: Well the reason I ask is because Sharon seems to have such a polarizing effect on fans. Some think she can do no wrong, while others think she's a manipulative home wrecker who deserves what she gets. Are you aware that she kind of splits fans?
Case: Yes, she does! I don't ever think about that, but I am aware of that because I see it on social media. So I guess I am aware of it, but I never really thought it over. Some fans can really think Sharon is a bad person. And that's funny to me. You know, I don't mind what any viewer's opinion is -- good or bad -- but personally, I'm the one that plays her and finds every one of her opinions and emotions out of that material. And maybe that's the reason why I don't see her as a bad person. I think she's done bad things, but I don't see her as someone who's out to manipulate people or who does things for all the wrong reasons. You know, I think that even when she has manipulated people and she has done crazy things, her objective, her overall character objective, is good. And every character has one major, overall life objective. And that can be something dark or something positive, and Sharon's is positive. People are not all black and white; I'm not saying that. There are multiple shades of gray, but you still have one main color to you, and that's what I know of Sharon. So when people have a bad opinion of her, I don't really think a lot about it. I'm just glad they're watching the show! But it is interesting how some people can read her that way, that she can really come across that way, convincingly bad, to some people. It's fascinating.
soapcentral.com: If you were friends with her, what advice would you probably give her?
Case: You know, I don't like to give my friends advice. I like to give them a lot of support. I think that's a lot more valuable. It's hard to tell someone what they should really do, and sometimes advice can be more introverting, and sometimes it never really helps them get better or do anything. So I like for my friends to know that I'm there no matter what and I love them unconditionally. That's what is most important and that's what I'd do for her.
soapcentral.com: You'd be there for Sharon unconditionally?
Case: Yep, I would be!
soapcentral.com: Well, you're a good friend!
Case: [laughs] Thank you!
soapcentral.com: Dr. Anderson is trying to cover her own tracks by insisting Sage could be a big danger to baby Sully. Does Sharon feel that way? Does she feel it's not a good idea for Sage to be around the baby?
Case: I don't think Sharon initially or really ever has had a sense that Sage is dangerous. Sharon believes anything that Dr. Anderson tells her, because she believes that the doctor is a miracle worker and has never been wrong. So she really is willing to do whatever the doctor says and takes her advice no matter what. Sharon understands that the doctor, being such a professional, can see things that perhaps Sharon has never been privy to, so she's going to take the doctor's advice and keep the baby from Sage.
soapcentral.com: Do you find it a bit interesting that Sharon is being so trusting of this doctor? It's like blind faith!
Case: Well, from Sharon's point of view, this woman pulled off a miracle. And that's why she trusts her so much. You don't meet very many people who can pull off a miracle for you, and if you ever did, you would probably carry on trusting them!
soapcentral.com: Well, unfortunately, we all know this not going to end well for poor Sharon. Her trust in people might be crushed, to say the least.
Case: Well, you never know! Maybe she'll keep the baby for years before anyone finds out. Maybe the baby will be graduating high school by the time the secret comes out.
soapcentral.com: I'm not sure the show would have the guts to carry it out that long, but I'd love to see them try!
What do you think drove Dr. Anderson to give Sage's baby to Sharon? What is your general opinion of Sharon? Is she good at heart, or do you think she's really a manipulative home wrecker? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.