As expected, much of the week was consumed with the sad aftermath of Cassie's death. Black was the attire color of choice for both family members and all attendees. As I looked around at the somber faces at the sparsely attended memorial service, I found myself wondering whether it was possible I had been snoring lightly in the midst of a brief catnap when the Newman's announced Cassie's ceremony would be private. I do recall Nick angrily predicting they'd be practically overrun by scores of inquisitive citizens swooping around like vultures, supposedly ravenous to hear for themselves every choked-back sob and morbidly track the path of each solitary tear that trickled down a Newman's cheek. But it appears Nick's fears were groundless. If one had only the service to go by, it would certainly seem as if other than her family, Cassie was not going to be missed by many. After all, she's been attending Walnut Grove Academy for the rich and perhaps someday famous for quite a number of years. Yet, where were the crying classmates, the sober-toned teachers, the hush-voiced headmaster or mistress? For that matter, where were the employees of Crimson Lights? Sadly, even those supposedly sharing more than a nodding acquaintance with Cassie were conspicuously absent. Like Millie, Alice, Grace, Sierra, Devon, Lily and Mac, the latter so consumed with her panting pursuit of J.T., she wasn't even aware Cassie had taken her last labored breath.
While I buy that in real life Nick's solitary manner of not handling his grief is all too common (remember Damon?), something about using Cassie's death to create the fast-growing strain in the Newman marriage seems like an easy way out and doesn't quite ring true to me. Their anger and arguments seem to have begun a little too soon. Why is Sharon shoving so hard for Nick to weep inconsolably on her shoulder? He never has before. Obviously Cassie's death is going to be the wedge that divides them, though I have to confess Nick and Sharon not getting along for whatever reason doesn't hold much interest for me. Due to their extreme character changes over the past couple of years, they bear little resemblance to the cute couple I used to like, and I long ago ceased to care what happens to them. It's not as if anyone believes they'll actually reach and cross the line of divorce. So for me, all this new distance between them means is that I'll be spared their endless lust-a-thons. Just my opinion, but that's definitely a good thing.
What I am interested in is what will happen next at Newman Enterprises. I'm guessing Nick will spend so much time stoking his anger to white-hot proportions he probably won't have much left to micro manage his employees. So who will step in to overfill his small shoes? Neil is an obvious choice, but Victor or Victoria would be better ones. And just to add a little spice to the corporate pot, whichever Newman takes over could call on Brad for assistance as well. As long as a vengeful Nick is not calling the shots, Phyllis can probably count on keeping her web mistress position, at least for the foreseeable future.
By the way, what possessed rock hardhead Phyllis to don her black funeral wear and attend Cassie's service anyway? I realize Daniel's actions can't be attributed to her, but if she really wanted to pay her respects to the family, she could have fulfilled her debt by signing the guest book before the service when none of the family members were around. She should have expected every harsh word hothead Nick bit off and spat at her. And to say she wanted to represent her son! As far as the Newman's are concerned, Daniel's irresponsible behavior is the reason for their distress. They hardly need a representative in the form of Phyllis reminding them of that.
If I was a kinder, gentler soul, this would be the point in the column where I would proclaim my heart-felt empathy for Phyllis. I would say how beautifully she's playing the part of a mother eaten up with worry at her son's predicament. I would even go so far as to say how deeply I felt her pain. But I'm not saying any of those things. I guess I just don't like Phyllis because I wasn't the least bit moved by her fears and tears. If she hadn't insisted Daniel cut himself off so completely from Lily, not because she really feared his connection with Alex might be uncovered, but simply because she was the seed of hated Drucilla, Daniel would never have had a reason to drown his broken-hearted sorrow in not so strong drink.
It seems there's no end to the ripples caused by Cassie's untimely departure. Her jealousy apparently appeased by the severance of Victor and Abby's connection by way of the long-ago riding mishap, Nikki now suddenly wants to use Abby as a Bandaid to make Victor's Cassie-sized wound feel a bit better. Although considering who really seems to have the final say when it comes to when and where the little moppet comes and goes, perhaps her request should have been asked of Brad. Nikki wasn't the only one who wants Abby to fill some of their empty places. Ashley must finally consider herself mentally whole and is ready to ink her name in several free nights on Abby's calendar as well. But if she's going to get Brad to agree with her, she'll probably have to move out of the crowded Abbott Inn into one of her own. Or, at the very least, get some of the current occupants to vacate the premises.
Of course, if Gloria's haunting has its intended effect, the Inn will soon contain one less freeloader, I mean guest. Gloria is so focused on getting rid of Gitta, she hasn't noticed John isn't at all interested in Gitta, at least not in that way. On the other hand, Kevin is certainly reaping the benefits of Gloria's scare tactics. Allegedly lonely for a kind, sensitive man like the one before her, Gitta liberally ladled on the compliments and Kevin gobbled them up as quickly as he could. Unfortunately, for Kevin, he makes an excellent case for the saying, "lucky in cards, unlucky in love." Buying a winning lottery ticket was probably his one chance to soak in the warming sun. Since we know what he doesn't, that Gitta's interest in him is probably 99 and three quarters percent green card, I doubt that when it comes to he and love, the third time will be the charm. No, it's more likely that love or even strong liking is about to elude him yet again.
Okay, what DA or detective anywhere in any city takes such an interest in the whereabouts of an alleged criminal? It would be different if Daniel had already missed his court date, but it has yet to arrive. And while I'm on the subject of Daniel, I wish certain well-intentioned, but obviously uninformed, citizens would stop referring to Daniel as a fugitive Lily is helping to hide. He's not a fugitive ... yet. So Lily isn't breaking any laws ... yet, although that's probably about to change. Both Phyllis and Malcolm are convinced Lily knows where Daniel is hiding yet neither has thought to follow her. If they don't do so soon, it will probably be too late. Because I look for the infatuated teens to clean out every cent on their debit cards and take off for a place more distant than the edge of the Abbott compound.
Well, at least we know the words Cassie spoke before expiring. "It wasn't Daniel's fault, don't blame him." Call me overcritical, but that was easier than "I was driving!!??" Anyway, as expected, Nick misunderstood the words true meaning - as anyone would - and jumped to the erroneous conclusion that Daniel had somehow manipulated Cassie into lifting him off the hook. Ahh, what I wouldn't give for the CSI team. Or Perry Mason. Or even Columbo. Anyone but the two slow-moving brains inside Williams and Williams.
The mismatched Marsino's provided a little welcome hilarity during the week. Watching pregnant soap women always causes me to wonder from whom and what comedy show they received their inspiration. Waddling around and cradling her not all that big of a belly as if she's a day away from delivery. It ought to be a rule that any soap siren about to pretend a pregnancy is required to go and hang out with some actual pregnant women for a day to see how it's really done. Brittany was as annoying as always with her syrupy-sweet simpering. But Bobby was kind of cute pumping his fist in self-congratulation at the news they had a little Joshua bun in Brittany's oven.
But Bobby wasn't laughing at all a little later, however, when he learned of the arrival of the latest in the line of anonymous gifts. Now, I'll be the first to admit what I know about the mob wouldn't even fill the tip of a tiny thimble, but Bobby knows a whole lot more and he has to know dealing with them the way he's doing is just not done. At the rate he's going, little Joshua's going to wind up coming into the world a fatherless child.
Speaking of born, I wish Mackenzie Browning had never been. Who IS this woman anyway? She answers to Mackenzie's name, but that's about all she has in common with the previous occupants of Mac's body. In her zeal to be the next lucky lass to be able to utter, "my boyfriend," just prior to worshipfully whispering J.T.'s name, is she finally prepared to proffer that most precious of her bodily belongings, a prize she has carefully guarded for 20-some years, adamantly refusing to share it even with the alleged love of her life outside of a marital bed? Are we really supposed to buy that she's suddenly gung ho to loosen all the strings on her morality bag. Now she's gadding gaily about in as little as possible in a maddening "what you can do, I can do better" competition with J.T. in every known arena and playing peek-a-boo in a steam-filled men's sauna. Just to prove she can be both one of his boys and the wild woman of his dreams? She's one of those irritating women who insist their beau make the decision as to what to do on a date, and then proceeds to shoot down virtually every idea he comes up with. As I force myself through yet another of their rather repetitive encounters, my stomach pitching and roiling in protest, I find myself repeatedly mumbling: and how old are they supposed to be again? Just my opinion, but the scribes can supply all the mushy romantic music they want to accompany their silly scenes, but I'm not feeling a thing. On my scale of one to five, this couplet rates a big round zero.
Terrible Tom and Ashley. Now there's an unlikely link-up. I have to agree with Tara below. Not really believable that Ashley would be attracted to him. Off the subject, sort of, why exactly did Michael have to come bounding up to the bar of the Athletic Club in search of a bottle of water, when as we've plainly and repeatedly seen, there are always giant buckets of bottles on ice in the workout room. I don't know what Tom has planned for Ashley, but unless Michael is as tough as the threatening words he's spoken to Tom, what Tom might do to him will not be pleasant. Michael's dirty tricks are more suited to the courtroom; Tom may be much more than he can handle. Of course, I would be overjoyed if Michael proved he was match for Tom and then some. Time will, of course, tell.
Again this week, a lot of fans still had something to say about Cassie. Jessica gives us a view of Genoa City doings from the eyes of a teen. And to round things out Tara, well, you know Tara, she gives it to us as only she can. Enjoy!
MACARENA - I fast forwarded through most of the post-crash scenes because I KNEW they wouldn't kill Cassie. I was contemptuous of the hospital vigil because I thought if they really wanted to unite the Newman's, killing Cassie would do it. They could have just had Nick, but not Sharon, let her go to the party; the subsequent crash would have caused a rift between the parents. Any teen storyline would have placed Nick and Sharon on opposite sides of the DMZ called Cassie. I thought Gitta set her sights on Kevin as soon as John left her behind and headed for the club. Someone needs to rent "Green Card" for her so she doesn't think the INS isn't hip to her.
JENNIFER - It strikes me funny that the police detectives could not figure out Daniel was not driving - wasn't he passed out in the back seat of the car? I missed the actual episode when they crashed but read online he was in the back seat - were both of them thrown from the car? And couldn't they figure out the seat was way too close to the steering wheel for Daniel to have been driving? Oh well - I know it is a soap - but some reality and good detective work (PAUL?) could reveal the truth without leaving the truth to Casey on her death bed.
PAT - Nick's reaction after Cassie's whispered comment was a dead giveaway. Was it not he who pushed for Cassie to be given liberty for the night? Guilt ridden, he must find someone else to blame. I do believe his coolness to Sharon is a defense for his guilt.
LYNN - I live and teach in a community where years ago a teen was driving drunk and killed three of his friends. The trial divided a small community and the driver went to jail. The driver was recently released, and got another DUI. I know I will never feel the same about any of the issues surrounding drunk driving, teens dying, parental rights, jail time, grand jury hearings. I wrote because while I don't watch soaps, I do read about them as it gives me a common thread with my students. The current storyline on Y&R obviously brings back horrific memories, but more importantly, the story has been excruciatingly beautifully written. All the sides represented in this situation reflect authentic issues, and the aftermath promises to do the same. I commend the writers, the actors, and the producers who understand you don't have to add drama to this story, it is inherently dramatic. My students are discussing it in the framework of Cassie and Daniel, principals and tertiary characters, and I see them working out their feelings and opinions, even on an accident that happened years before they entered my classroom. I am grateful Y&R tells stories that allow viewers to engage in thinking before it is necessary.
FRANCINE - I still cannot believe Y&R has decided to kill of such a loving an adorable character as Cassie. I knew nothing of her expected demise and it came as a total shock to me. I was (and I am still) in denial about this storyline. We have grown up with this child and appreciate that Camryn has been the only actress to perform in this role. She has become a part of our families and to just kill her off...for what? To me, there is no storyline that can be created to justify and substantiate this loss. I wanted to see her grow up as a Newman, but not possess the demanding, ornery, headstrong, owners-of-the-world mentality that Victor, Victoria, and Nick possess. I have watched Y&R for the past 25 years and I am so devastated that I'm watching and hoping Cassie will somehow miraculously return from dead. We know this can happen in the soap world.
VICTORIA - What's with the doctors? Didn't Olivia say she had bruises on her chest? Gee I wonder how you get those, maybe from driving & having the steering wheel slam up in your chest! I hope they get this over with. How stupid does Y&R think its fans are? I guess they thought no one would catch the bruised chest thing.
ANNE - Why did Cassie die when the young actress is at a point when the writers could have sent her away to school and brought her back all grown up in a year's time as a different actress. My theory is that her death is going to be pivotal for Nick and Sharon ... and this is the strongest lever they could find... either for him absconding with Noah, going nuts and murdering Daniel, or just wandering off to be a street person (his beard is halfway there already). Leaving room for Victoria to take over at Newman. Whatever their reason for killing Cassie, it has to be a strong one. We will probably find out by Christmas. Meanwhile I shall miss her ... she was a refreshing breath of air in the plastic stultification of life in GC.
LINDA C - After seeing last Tuesday's episode I was so happy to see a return of the old Nick we know and love. I don't remember another episode making me cry so much. Always have loved Nick and no matter how nasty he has been I always will. It's just like Victor. They make me angry but, no matter what, I cannot hate them.
JESSICA - First I just want to say on behalf of teenagers everywhere, that not all of us are that stupid! How much of the stereotype do they want us to believe? Not all teenagers are sexually active, irresponsible, stupid, defiant, fools and yet I see this cliché everywhere. ENOUGH! I do not like Michael and Lauren together; they have no chemistry like Victor and Nikki. I find it impossible to foresee them as anything more than a fling, two bands of gold will not change my mind on that. Mac and J.T. are getting annoying, I would much rather see Mac with Kevin, even though I am starting to think Kevin is too good for this new Mac. Bobby & Brittany (yawn zzzzzzzz, stupid). Lily & Daniel (they have the potential to be something, if constructed right but the wrong storylines and plots could destroy the potential). I had also expected Tom to add a good storyline into the mix, reunite the union of John and Gloria by making them reunite to destroy him, or help Kevin develop the strength he needs to defeat Tom, but this active and live plot seems to slowly be flatlining, which really sucks because it has the potential to be a sizzling summer storyline that Y&R viewers would talk about for years to come. I hope Y&R writers notice the potentials of their characters and put their personalities to good use, after all, the potential is there to make Y&R more of its original big bang award winning show.
MARY R - I really enjoyed the Kevin, Gitta interaction this week. This was about the only bright spot on the show. Kevin was taken aback by Gitta's interest. And I think she is interesting too. One minute Gitta is a shrew and the next minute she is flirty and vulnerable. I was looking forward to maybe some sort of a relationship developing there, but I heard she is leaving in a month or so. So I guess they better do some fast writing. I suppose they will have a romance that hit the rocks and she will go back to dear Norway. I think the scribes are nuts.
TARA - This week I've decided to write about all of the "yea, right" things that happen in GC on a regular basis. You know, those things that test our intelligence as viewers....
Such as Nikki's lip gloss remaining in its position all throughout her hours burned at Cassie's hospital bedside. What distraught, grieving family member maintains such a perfect pout after days of hugging, crying and coffee drinking? Yea, right.
Such as Nikki's choice of dresses for Cassie's funeral. That skin-tight, off-the-shoulder number was totally inappropriate for the funeral of your 14-year-old granddaughter. God forbid, if I'm attending the service of my grandbaby, I wanna look like a tramp. Yea, right.
Such as Nikki's decision to take strawberry shortcake down to the outhouse, er, I mean, Nick & Sharon's house. Dessert's sure to cheer everyone up and make them forget their troubles! Yea, right.
Such as Assley taking a late-night fishing trip and having breakfast with Terrible Tom. Like her spoiled, snobby, snooty @$$ would ever look twice at that sleazy man. Ashley romantically interested in Tom Fisher? Yea, right.
Such as people searching for Daniel at Crimson Lights. The boy is responsible for the death of princess Cassie Newman (at least in the eyes of Defective Weber), like he's gonna hang out at her parent's coffee house. Yea, right.
Such as Daniel hiding out (still) on the Abbott property. Where is he going to the bathroom? Doesn't anyone see Lily's car onsite when she's catering his meals? Why hasn't anyone thought of following her pathetic, puppy-dog patoot? Yea, right.
Such as Mac & J.T.'s gag-reflex-testing sexual banter at the GCAC. That girl's totally a virgin! Yea, right.
Such as Brittany sporting perfectly tailored designer "maternity" jeans and talking of decorating the baby's nursery, but they lack money to fund the insurance bills. Yea, right.
Such as Mac & J.T. being the ONLY 2 people in GC to NOT know about Cassie's death. It's been all over the news! Oh wait, that's right...you guys were off bungee jumping and driving gokarts, you missed the announcement. And Grandma Kay didn't call and tell 'em? Yea, right.
Such as Phyllis showing up at the service in her hideous monstrosity of a hat. "What a great idea to show your respect to the family, Phyllis, nice touch! And FABulous hat girl!" Yea, right.
Such as rock-star Danny not being informed about his son's criminal situation. Phyllis left him a message on his voicemail days ago, why he can't call nobody back!?! Is he too busy to be with his boy in his time of need? Yea, right.
So this week we survived jealous test tubes (insert your Victor sperm joke here), strawberry shortcake, Foreigner, and that God-awful shiny silver-gray suit of Tom's. I can't wait to see what's thrown at us next week! Yea, right.