Mr. and Mrs. Michael Baldwin

by Nita
For the Week of December 12, 2005
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Mr. and Mrs. Michael Baldwin
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With plenty of plots and sub-plots percolating above and below the surface, the wedding week was quite enjoyable.

Before I get started, fans, the end of the year is almost here. Which means it's that time again to talk about everything we liked or didn't about our favorite soap and its fictional folks. We'll cover it in two columns. The first one will discuss the duds and the dislikes and the second will feature the loves and the wants.

Please don't make me do it all by myself, fans. Tell me what you thought about 2005, good and bad, and what you'd like to see in 2006. Who did you hate to see go and who do you wish would come back? The best, the worst and everything and everybody in between. The columns will post on Christmas and New Years, so send me your thoughts as soon as you can.

Now, on to the show.

With plenty of plots and sub-plots percolating above and below the surface, the wedding week was quite enjoyable.

In the realm of the ridiculously unlikely, I couldn't help but scoff at how easily Tom gained access to Lauren's apartment, then was able to lurk practically in plain sight in the same room with Lauren and Ashley, and neither of them noticed. Heck, he was so close it was a wonder they weren't both overcome by the fumes of the pungent chloroform soaking his hanky.

For that matter, why ever would Sheila assume Lauren would be home all alone on her wedding day anyway? It was a stupid assumption that accomplished exactly what assuming is said to frequently do. Made a donkey's nether parts out of the assumers. Of course, Sheila is quite accustomed to seeing her plots fall into pitiful ruin right before her angry eyes. But for this ever-enterprising villain, even as one idea disintegrates, another immediately rises fully fleshed out from its ashes. And so it was this time. Because though Tom was unable to complete his kidnap mission, he didn't leave Lauren's entirely empty handed. He returned with one tiny tidbit; the honeymoon yacht information. And never miss a dirty trick Sheila picked it up quick as you'd snatch lint from a dark suit. Moving us one step closer to Tom and Sheila serving as indiscreet crew members.

Poor, poor, maligned, misunderstood Sheila. How nice it must be to be the sole inhabitant in your own warped reality. You could almost feel sorry for her; let her off the hook just a little, because she seems to actually believe her doctored version of the truth. That is, until you see one of those sly little smirks of satisfaction every time she suckers someone into believing it too. In my opinion, this woman is far from insane. The bottom line is she wanted what Lauren had and she couldn't get it. Not by hook or by crook. And for that, Lauren must pay. Of course I can't really blame Tom for being taken in so completely. There's no way he could possibly imagine the depths of Sheila's depravity.

But I'm sure before it's all over, he will. Most have probably heard the rumor about the imminent end of Terrible Tom's reign of terror. Even though an equal number of contradicting ones are floating around as well, my penny wager is placed on the former. Not much else can be done with him now. Though he's been shaking it for all he was worth, not a single crumpled dollar can be seen falling from the rotted branches of his money tree. The few threats he foolishly continues to make fall on mocking ears because everyone can see his loud barks come from a mouth with no sharp teeth. All that's left for him now is to become Sheila's scapegoat. Is that when we'll see that passport again? As proof that he was once somewhere but now is not?

As Tom paid special visits during the week to Michael and Ashley, it certainly seemed like he was singing his final swan song. Of course, how like old Terrible to ensure the last memory anyone had of him would be one that left a bad taste in their mouths. Take for instance his stepfatherly advice to Michael. For one scant second after he arrived at Kevin's door, I thought Tom had suddenly discovered a conscience living in his rancid soul. But all he offered were portents and predictions of doom and gloom for Michael's matrimonial future. Leave it to Tom to make certain there was no chance he'd accidentally endear himself to us fans in his final days.

Perhaps having lingered too long trying to pour spirit dampening rain on Michael's parade, Tom didn't have much time to spare but he used what little that remained before the wedding by letting Ashley know he was on to her tricks. Though he did manage to make her shake just a little in her black boots, he was just blowing off steam; in the end he didn't so much as touch a hair on her arrogant head.

While I can understand Tom's gullibility, Paul is a different story. If I ever move to GC, I hope I never have need of a PI. Because if I had to count on Paul to yank my burning bacon from the crackling flames, I guess I wouldn't be eating that day. Where in the world is Columbo when you need him? Must someone pop Paul across the back of the head before he gets a clue?

Watching Paul, J.T. and Jack was kind of like seeing a bad episode of the Three Stooges, without the violence. Moe and Larry set off to break and enter into Jennifer's domain to rummage through her paltry possessions. Moe instructed Curly to trail the prey but without bothering to tell him why. And even though they were in the midst of finding wigs, stick on facial features, fake accent CDs and Brenda's planner, it apparently never occurred to Moe to make sure Curly told them when Jennifer headed home. Which literally made them look like a couple of stooges when she walked in on them. But even though he's still a long way from figuring out the whole truth and nothing but, the light bulb in Paul's slow moving brain is finally beginning to flicker fitfully on its way to full brilliance. Though it sometimes seems Paul practically needs the puzzle pieces numbered chronologically with a correspondingly labeled puzzle board in order to put a case together, he's has finally had an AHA moment! He's figured out that Brenda and Jennifer are one and the same conniving creature. And with that piece of the puzzle in place the race to uncover the truth can begin. Lauren literally holds another piece of the puzzle in her hands though she's yet to realize it. Scott's wedding present. The first 10 chapters of his book. Of course, we know she won't discover it until it's much too late to help her. So the clues are all out there now. With the disguises, Scott's physical description of Brenda and everything else he knows about her, and finally, the manuscript, it can't be much longer until everything is strung together in a nice, neat little line. All of which is guaranteed to make the coming week quite exciting.

For several people unrelated to the Sheila shenanigans, the coming week promises to provide excitement of an entirely different kind.

First we have Victoria. Her delight at attending the wedding of the year on the arm of Bradley was short lived when she was forced to send him trotting to St. Louis to pick up the meeting ball Dru dropped. She didn't give in without a struggle, though, first trying unsuccessfully to push Nick on the plane, but he was having none of it, and rightfully so. After all, haven't Brad and Victoria been insisting B of N was their baby? I don't blame Nick for refusing to play babysitter now just so Vikki could frolic with Brad at the festivities. When Daddy unexpectedly appeared, Nick could have blown his sister right out of the water, but he left her in the rowboat with one oar and didn't call her on her pretense that she intended to send Bradley all along. And on top of that she's having no luck gathering her half-sister closer. Now she wants to take her on a pony ride? The very thing Abby suggested not so long ago. Unfortunately, Vikki old gal, what goes around, often comes around. And if all that wasn't enough to deflate her balloon, she was that one unintentional eavesdropper the old saying talks about. You know, the one about eavesdroppers never hearing anything good about themselves. Such was the case when she overheard heard Daddy proudly introduced Nick to Eric Forrester as Newman's CEO.

Next, there is Nick. He may not want to spend any more time than he's forced to with his wife, but that obviously doesn't extend to all females. There he was yukking it up with Phyllis, having himself a high old time, completely unaware or uncaring that he had practically pushed his needy wife into Brad's arms. The signs to this one are plainly posted: Dangerous Curves Ahead - Proceed Cautiously. No Trespassing. Wrong Way. STOP! But I expect Nick is about to ignore them all.

It doesn't help matters that for Jack, who has NEVER been accused of actually learning from any of his many mistakes, his present is slowly repeating his supposedly repentant past. Once again, though not so long ago he swore he wouldn't, he letting business come between him and his lady love because now, as then, Phyllis refused to dance to any of his off-key, get Newman, tunes. Something tells me Phyllis might not be averse to swaying to some of Nick's music.

Which brings us to the final member of this foursome, Brad. One thing you have to say about Brad, he doesn't scare easily. When he was pursuing Nikki, nothing Victor said managed to scare him away. That is, until he thought to say: Will you marry me to Brad's then fiancé. Jack fared no better as he watched both his sisters get caught in Brad's seductive snare. Even his daughters' dislike isn't going to come between him and a juicy, matrimonial prize. He didn't let Colleen keep him from her aunt, and he's not likely to let his adopted daughter steer him away from her half-sister. Old Bradley does believe in keeping it in the family, doesn't he? Anyway, with his track records it's highly unlikely anyone has a hope in the hot place of detaching him from Victoria and the future potential power he hopes to wield through or because of her. Sure, he wants Sharon so much he can almost taste the sweetness of the skin behind her ear, but burying himself too deep in her (pun intended) would only cause him to be bum rushed toward Newman's exit door. I doubt there'd be a door with his gold plated name affixed to it should he waltz away with Nick's wife. I bet he had to work really hard to appear properly disappointed at missing his wedding date with Victoria. The moment he shut the door behind him and was safely in the hall, he probably did cartwheels and back flips all the way to the elevator.

Along with all the other bubbling plot pots, there's still room on the range for the Winters family's savory stew. I tell you, what a town is our Genoa City! Where the business of dispensing dope is so slow, dealers now go in search of their addicted clients instead of the other way around. What's next? Home delivery, much like the Meals on Wheels program? What could Isaac call his business? Drugs on Delivery? Crack on Command? Meth by the Month? Perhaps he could even set up accounts and send out invoices, stamped payable upon receipt. But, judging from the reception he received from Devon when he sought out Yolanda at Crimson, he might want to just continue as he's been. Lurking behind park bushes. My, such parental hullabaloo over Devon's one-punch fight with Isaac! He didn't kill anyone, for goodness sake. Isaac's not pressing charges, so what's makes it so big of a deal, Dru has to abandon her corporate responsibilities to come rushing back to GC. Where it's presumed she will repeat, although much more dramatically and with the requisite accompanying hand wringing and hair flipping pretty much the very words her husband has already spoken. What is it she thinks she can do anyway, totally after the fact? She probably ought to be more concerned with the woman she invited to share her home. For now, Yolanda has only tried trying on Dru's designer duds behind her back. How long before she begins to wonder how good a fit her man and her life would be? By the way, I know Yolanda is Devon's bio mommy, but perhaps before she's so quick to place her two pennies in the pot, she ought to get a job and take care of her own son. I know she's allegedly recovering and all, but since when does that stop one from getting a job? And I know exactly where she can go to get hired right off the street. I'm sure Gina can find her something to do. At least Yolanda wouldn't try to murder any of the guests or their desserts.

And now, drum roll please, THE WEDDING!

I thought it was quite amusing that though a sea of security men were in place, none of them could see Jennifer sidling to and fro. Or Tom for that matter who walked right up to the gift table without being spotted, even though J.T. had supposedly circulated his picture to each and every one of them. Perhaps the security team should have spent less time talking conspicuously into their lapels and more time actually looking at the guests around them.

But that aside, the men in their tuxes were all tasty eye candy, the women, beautiful, though I'm a woman, so you knew I'd have something to say about their attire. For one thing, I could have done without that diamond thing clinging for dear life to the edge of Nikki's dress. And even though she has the body to carry it off, I confess I wasn't overly enamored of Phyllis' brownish frock. Ashley just made me want to turn up my heat. I loved the color and design of Mac's dress, but Gloria's was by far my favorite. Poor Joanna, I remember she said she didn't get an invitation. Perhaps that's why she only packed business meeting suits. Oh well, at least no one could be accused of trying to upstate the bride. As for the bridal gown, as expected Lauren looked quite lovely, even though I won't claim to be the number one fan of the mermaid look.

I can't speak for any other fan, but all told, the long day lived up to my expectations. Being a Kevin fan, you know I absolutely loved it when he gave Michael the picture (which was adorable by the way) and reminisced about how he used to look at it and wish they could be brothers like that again. As I dabbed at my eyes, I was reminded once again why I like Kevin and Michael so much in spite of the many spots and blemishes on their characters. I had to watch it three times, prompting my son to go "Mommmmmm" using his most exasperated, hurry up and get to the next part tone of voice. These guys make watching this show mandatory for me.

Though at first it appeared Joanna showed up for the sole purposes of laying a wet, wool blanket across the entire festivities, after all her ragging and overbearing interference, it was a very nice moment when mother and daughter connected.

The music was perfect. Of course Chris Botti just happens to be one of my favorite jazz musicians.

But by far, the best part of the day was Michael's touching vows to Lauren. And by the time we reached the point where Lauren was reading his letter aloud, I was trying to swallow past the sentimental lump in my throat and hauling out the hanky again to swipe at my eyes.

The spoilers about what happens after the wedding are plentiful and particularly impressive. Forget November sweeps. December could be the month everyone will be talking about. Well, I'm not going to spoil it for anyone but even if the rumblings are only partially true, the coming week could be quite explosive. I will be double checking my VCR daily to make sure it won't miss a moment.

And finally, for everyone who adored J.T. and Colleen, or even if they didn't, hate the pairing of Mac and J.T., according to a fairly reliable source, Ms. Carlton is said to be on her way back. But before anyone gets all teary-eyed and nostalgic, it's not likely to be the Colleen everyone remembers. Sigh, yes it's another recast. Will that old black magic still have J.T. in its spell? We know it's all about chemistry. Some have it, but unfortunately, a lot of recasts don't. Time will tell.

Okay, Faith and Antoine, what say you two about the week's offerings?

* * * * * * *

FAITH - I still can't understand how Sheila/Jennifer can be totally undetected at Lauren's wedding except for a brief sighting by J.T. for a split second while he was distracted by Mac, then she disappears again! Not one person sees her lurking around, and she can eavesdrop on everyone's conversation too. Any normal person would be caught in a nanosecond. Phyllis used to have those kinds of powers, but she lost them when she became a better person. Kevin and Michael used to have those powers when they were "bad." It seems like characters in Genoa City lose these "powers" when they become better people. I can't understand why Scott hasn't checked on that picture of Sheila he left with the nurse at the hospital. Did he forget about it? You would think he would at least want to go back and see that cute nurse that was flirting with him. I am so glad they are done with the Brittany/Bobby story! I couldn't stand another minute of Brittany's whining. I hated the way they wrapped that story up, it didn't make sense. I hate the way Sharon hangs on Brad, she acts like she has no talent, like she is nothing without Brad! She gives him credit for everything. "I couldn't possibly have done it without Brad." That makes me sick. That is an old strategy women used in the old days in order to entrap a man, give all credit to a man and take no credit for thyself so you can capture his heart. I think it is so dishonest and manipulative and I hate it. Also, Brad isn't Sharon's man, Nick is. Why does she never appreciate Nick when she has him? Any woman would kill to be in her position, be married to a handsome, rich man that adores her. Why would she want Brad? If Brad and she would get together, they wouldn't last long. Plus, Brad has used women to get where he is at today, why don't any of the women on Y&R see that? I know Nick has his shortcomings too, but Sharon has plenty of them. I think if we totaled what Sharon did wrong and Nick did wrong in the relationship, Sharon's list would be longer.

ANTOINE - I have to agree with Janette. Passions is by far the most outlandish soap opera. It is absolutely crazy and nobody can compete with that!!! When I watch Y&R it is waaay more realistic than passions, but Y&R can get off step a few times as well. The one thing I did not quite understand this week is why did Drucilla need to go home so immediately. Devon punched out Isaac, but what can she do in person that she can't do over the phone. It's not like Devon is in ER or doing something that needs her to be there this second!! Also, what I couldn't firmly grasp is the reason why Nick did not want to go to St. Louis with his wife. He said he didn't know Seasons. Well enough to be making decisions for it. As if Brad is? Nick was the one who gave the okay for Seasons when Drucilla presented the idea to him. Brad is the one who was hired into Newman Enterprises two month ago. The scribes are plainly making up any excuse to push Sharon and Brad together. I also can not understand how Lauren Fenmore was face to face with Sheila for the second time, and did not who she was!! What is wrong with her! This time "Jennifer" talked to her, and her real voice slipped out when she said to Lauren, "you deserve a whole lot more." Maybe that poisoned necklace inadvertently erased all memories of the person who tormented her for 20 years! What I did like is the wedding! It was perfect, and was done extremely well! On Passions I can't think of anyone who was married and they truly love each other!

Don't forget to send me your opinions!!!

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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.

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