Double standards

by Nita
For the Week of May 14, 2012
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Y&R Two Scoops: Double standards
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Genoa City is a city of double standards. Just because one person gets away with something, it doesn't mean someone else will get the same bragging rights. This week's Two Scoops column takes a look at the cans and the cannots.

Apparently there is one set of acceptable standards for Sharon Newman, but another much more lenient set for everyone else. In my worthless opinion, it became stale and tiresome long ago, yet here we go again. For those who might be thinking, accompanied by exaggerated eye-rolling, of course, "Oh no, here Nita goes again, ranting about Sharon Newman," multiple e-mails convince me I'm not the only fan who feels this way.

On Monday, Nikki, in her inimitable fashion, snobbishly stated, "Nick is going to do exactly as he pleases, regardless of what others think." And she clearly felt he was well within his rights to do so. She actually sounded proud of him for his stance. Though she was speaking about Nick at that particular moment, the name of several Genoa Citians could have easily been inserted instead. It seems that everyone in Genoa City is allowed to do whatever they please and still remain an accepted member of society, yet Sharon is condemned when she does the same.

For instance, with the exception of Daisy, every mother in Genoa City has regularly parked their tots with nannies, other children's parents, boarding school, and/or grandmothers, or the children are simply not seen nor heard from, but assumed to be somewhere safe being taken care of by someone responsible. But the moment Sharon pays some man some attention, or is paid some by an admirer, people immediately label her a bad mom, and raise a hue and cry about her abandonment of her children. Oh, my goodness, they wail. What is this going to do to her children?

I say give it a rest. One of her children is a grown man, who has been less than loyal to his mom for her choices, yet gave his cheating dad a free pass. The dad who left him, along with Sharon, without a backward glance, in order to eagerly embrace his new reality with his then-illegitimate baby-to-be and the mistress he'd been cheating with. The same son who, for quite some time, actually sided with Phyllis against the woman who'd brought him into the world and who had loved him a lot longer than the new woman in daddy's life. So forgive me if I could care less what Noah thinks about his mother's behavior.

As for Faith, why pick on Sharon for the time she's not spending with her, when we haven't seen Nick doing any better. For weeks, he's been trailing after Phyllis, tending to her every hitch and hiccup, and if he's so much as murmured Faith's name, I must have coughed and missed the mention.

How dare Sharon long to be with Adam or Nick or Victor! Or Brad or Jack or Billy in the past. Shame on her for lusting after Brad when he was married to Victoria. What a terrible person she was for sleeping with Nick while he was wed to Phyllis! No matter that Victoria was just as bad when she cheated on Brad with J.T. Or when Phyllis was bedding Nick despite his marriage to Sharon. What about Nikki, who cheated too many times on too many men for me to keep track of it all. And Ashley, who spent years cavorting with Victor, who was then married to Nikki. Yet it seems that only Sharon should be strong enough to refrain from lusting or cheating or making questionable choices. Only Sharon should sit down someplace unseen and unheard from, tending to her children and living a lonely and man-less life.

But enough about that. It is what it is, and apparently it is Sharon Newman's lot in life to be either the town punching bag or pariah. Now, don't get me wrong. All of the above wasn't to say that I'm a fan of this latest collaboration between Sharon and Victor. I just can't bring myself to think of it as a possible romance, though they have shared a couple of kisses, because I'm still hoping their relationship won't cross the sexual line.

I know near-incestuous relationships are standard soap opera fare. Such developments are frequently touted as "shocking" or "explosive" and claim to be likely to "change the face of Genoa City forever." But, sometimes, instead, it turns out to be just plain tawdry and disgusting. And when the dust has settled, the face of Genoa City pretty much remains unchanged.

I was once a fan of Brooke Logan on The Bold and the Beautiful. A viewer from the beginning, I hung in there as long as I could, rooting tirelessly for Brooke and Ridge, until the ick-factor of Brooke making her way through the entire roster of Forrester men chased me from the show. Now, on my beloved Young and the Restless, the scribes seem determined to make Sharon Genoa City's Brooke, Nikki a Stephanie, and Victor an Eric.

Well, maybe it's just me who thinks so, but standard soap opera fare or not, I find the possible pairing of Victor and Sharon neither explosive nor entertaining. Don't get me wrong, Victor is a handsome man and shouldn't be barred from romance simply because he's of a certain age. But, does it have to be with a woman who has wed both of his sons? Most fans single out Sharon for much of their outrage, but what does such a choice say about Victor? It's not as if he's some inexperienced lad who's being led down the garden path by an older, sophisticated woman of cunning. While May-September romances are nothing new under the sun, especially the soap sun, this one reeks of inappropriateness on multiple levels. I just want it to stop before it goes too far.

But I am curious. I know I don't like them as a romantic duo, but what say you all? Are there any fans out there who think this coupling has potential? Who can foresee a storyline twist that would make them care for or root for this couple? If there are people out there who think this could work, I would really like to hear your opinions and, of course, I will share them with everyone else.

But, I do have to admit, while I don't want to see Victor and Sharon take this one all the way to the satin sheets, I have thoroughly enjoyed the thrusts and parries between Nikki and Sharon.

From the day Nikki laid her judgmental eyes on Sharon, Nikki has mostly been against her. Though Sharon has rarely, if ever, shown any gold-digger tendencies when it came to Nick, Nikki has insisted on treating her as if the Newman money was her goal. Yet there were times in the past when Nikki vindictively went after Victor's possessions and money in her quest to hurt him. Nikki's beginnings were worse than Sharon's, yet she behaves as if she started life on a cashmere blanket, her tiny mouth pursed around a miniature silver spoon, while looking down at Sharon for her humble start. Nikki has constantly followed her heart when it came to her love choices, and has frequently paid a price for her ill-thought-out choices. Just like Sharon. But, while Nikki constantly accuses Sharon of wanting to be her, most of the time Nikki's behavior seems to indicate that, for whatever reason, she may long to change places with the woman who Victor never seems to completely abandon.

But, alas, since Nikki's motivations are too much for my amateur psychology evaluation attempts, I just allowed myself to be entertained by her antics.

Nearly blind with jealousy upon finding Sharon and Victor together, Nikki immediately proceeded to rub, not just her nose, but Sharon's entire face, in the news of Nick's plans with Phyllis. Her nasty, snobbiest side was in full force and effect, the side of her that is the most unattractive, but at the same time hilarious to watch. Oh, Nikki might have been laughing her heartiest when she was getting in her sarcasm-dripping jabs, hoping to see every drop of Sharon's blood drain from her veins. But, later, it was Sharon who wound up getting the biggest laugh out of me when she finally returned some of what Nikki has so often dished out to her.

This was after Nikki had spent practically her entire day straddling her broom, streaking from person to person, anxious to heap as much dirt on Sharon's name as she could, even bursting in on Jack's therapy session to rant about Sharon's sluttiness.

As Nikki crossed Sharon's path for the final time that day, deciding to taunt her one more time just for the heck of it, Sharon stopped her cold when she told her, "You took your clothes off for men for a living because that's the only thing you had going for you," in a tone so disdainful it literally made my soap day and ruined Nikki's. As Nikki stood open-mouthed before her, the air in her self-righteous balloon hissing out audibly, Sharon finished her off with "You started on the pole and you wound up in a bottle. Why in God's name would I want to emulate that?"

I clapped and hit rewind to hear it again. And then once more.

So even though I am not into Victor and Sharon, I was thrilled to hear Sharon finally decide not to take any more abuse from this hypocritical harpy. Because for decades, the Newman women, men, and anyone else in Genoa City, have hurled every disrespectful, insulting, or opinionated thing they felt like at Sharon, despite their own shortcomings, and Sharon has rarely muttered a word in her own defense. They were words Nikki had long deserved and were almost worth the wait.

But why is Nikki so beside herself with rage anyway? Though Victor had recently professed his love for her, imploring her to come back home, Nikki rebuffed him, insisting her future lay with Jack. Just before she found Victor at the ranch with Sharon, she was all puffed up with indignation, presumably intent on telling him for the 199th time why she wanted nothing whatsoever to do with him ever again. In fact, when she spotted the candles and champagne, she was ready to blast him for his mistaken assumption that she'd be amenable to any of his romantic overtures. And by the way, Sharon did not come "strutting in like queen of the manor" the way Nikki later related to Nick. She simply entered the room with no idea that Nikki had even ridden in on her broom. But the moment Nikki saw Sharon, suddenly she was the victim, and her feathers were ruffled.

Moving on at last from the perils of Pauline, as some refer to Sharon's life, it's on to the next dysfunctional duo on my list (at this point, are there any other kind in Genoa City?): Daniel and Daisy.

As many had predicted, Daniel decided the best way to protect Lucy -- and somehow wind up with sole custody of her -- was to hitch his horse to Daisy's covered wagon. Long-time fans will appreciate the similarity in Danny making the same choice when it was Phyllis clutching the baby card. But unlike the father, who planned to make a real try at a family of three, the son is clearly faking it. Given what Daisy has done, I wasn't surprised or overly dismayed by Daniel's actions. At first.

But he lost my support with what he did next. Daniel has gone to great lengths to prove to anyone willing to watch and listen that he now loves his daughter practically to distraction. He begged the court for sole custody, swearing he was the better of two choices. Then on his wedding night, he purposely plies Daisy with so much champagne she passes out senseless. I had little problem with that, because I assumed it was to avoid the night's deal-sealing, bed-bouncing. Instead, he LEFT!

He left this helpless little daughter he loves so much that he married a woman he loathes, in the care of someone presumably incapable of coming to her aid should the occasion warrant it. And why did he leave? To go to Jimmy's and drink and maul and fondle the woman he had dissed for months, first while chasing futilely after Lily and then as Chloe's strong shoulder. That proves Daniel is the same, selfish, self-centered oaf he has proven to be in every one of his previous relationships. Apparently, the judge was right to deny him custody.

The dysfunction continued with another coupling crumbling into the Genoa City dust: Tucker and Ashley. Drunkenness is not an acceptable defense for what he did, and I doubt anyone blames Ashley for dropping him like a bad habit. Now that we know Ashley's character has recently been cut from the Genoa City cast, presumably the scribes decided it was as good a way as any to wrap this one up quickly. The question now is what kind of ripples Tucker's betrayal will cause in the lives of Devon, Harmony, Neil and Sofia, just for starters.

Sofia, who has already learned of Tucker's misstep with Harmony, might well believe it means Neil will turn his attention away from Harmony, especially since he now knows Sofia loves him. But this turn of events could have the exact opposite effect. Kay has already yanked the welcome mat out from under Harmony's feet. Billy might well do the same at Restless Style when he knows the part Harmony played in his sister's devastation. Tucker won't be anxious to have her around as a reminder of all he lost. And lastly, her actions could temporarily undo all the progress she's made with her son. So, instead of Sofia getting her husband back, Neil could be drawn even closer to Harmony as her only friend.

One couple not currently residing in Dysfunction Junction is Nick and Phyllis, who are well on their way toward marital bliss. Once this crisis with Daniel and Daisy is behind them, they can spend their time taking turns stroking Phyllis' burgeoning belly, and gushing endlessly about their baby-to-be. At least until Ricky stirs things up by revisiting Phyllis' less-than-illustrious past.

When it comes to the singles in this town, many of them are faring little better than their coupled counterparts.

Ricky, the current resident evildoer, has lost both his job and his home, but he continues to wander to and fro, planting seeds of disaster in the welcoming dirt. Though he doesn't seem to like anyone overmuch, the bulk of his dark rage is aimed squarely at Phyllis. As we all know by now, Christine, Danny, and Dr. Tim will soon be returning to town, and presumably Ricky will be perusing the dusty pages of the past, searching for something that will cut Phyllis down to a manageable size. All that Ricky is liable to learn, however, is what the rest of us have eventually had to come to terms with. Phyllis' exterior, much like Victor's, is made of the best Teflon money can create. Anything adhering to her nonstick surface will easily be washed away with warm soapy water and a sponge.

Avery is definitely not evil, but neither is she exactly the do-gooder she's frequently labeled. I like Avery, although I wish she wasn't in perpetual apologetic mode to the other Genoa City residents so often. Since her arrival, she's offered her abject apologies to Phyllis, Nick, Daniel, Michael, Lauren, and Jack. I imagine she'll soon find herself apologizing to her new boss, Victor, for some infraction or other. I found it interesting that even though the good Avery thought Ricky was amoral, she wasn't averse to exploiting that less-than-admirable quality in order to win her case. I guess her motto might be that the end justifies the means.

As for Kyle, the verdict is still out on him. Like many rapidly aged Genoa City youngsters, he has returned with a large chip balanced on his shoulder. I don't blame him for resenting Nikki's presence in Jack's life, but the rest of his behavior is less easy to understand. Like the rest of the Abbott men, his quickness in bedding Eden proves he's no novice in the female department, and also like them, has no interest in confining himself to just one. When is he going to report for duty at Newman Enterprises, and who knew Newman had a department specializing in hockey skills?

So many newbies in town, but no more time to talk about them. Who they are, why they are here, and how they will impact the others will be covered in another column. Until then, as always, your fellow fans had plenty of opinions. And, as always, I love reading them -- so please continue to send your thoughts.

* * * * * * *
  • Wouldn't it be really refreshing if just once one of the SORAS'd kids did NOT come back with a chip on his/her shoulder? That just once one of them came back nice? Just by way of contrast? This whole Sharon with Nick/Adam/Victor is just Reva Shayne revisited, and I thought it was nasty on Guiding Light. Why not hook her up with Tucker? I could see the two of them getting tanked one night and ending up back at his place. And please, bring back Ronan and put him and Phyllis together. She is just too little girly around Nick -- with Ronan she was strong and sexy. - Eve

  • I just wish Maria Arena Bell would start writing some real stories for the great characters on this soap. Right now the writing is idiotic and the great acting by the characters is lost. Is there really any happy couple on this show? Right now the only interesting characters are Adam and Chelsea. And to age Kyle old enough to be a college grad when he just went off to boarding school as an adolescent. Too stupid for words. Y & R has to stop with the semi-porn and bed-hopping and get down to some great storylines. There are too many characters and the stories never seem to end. - Mari

  • The way the writers have changed Sharon and Nick's relationship to something more trivial is disgusting to those who have watched for years. The writers are destroying Sharon to the point of oblivion. I didn't think they could bring her down anymore but they are with her being paired with Victor again. I for one won't be watching. I am starting to think the writers are planning on killing off ... Sharon as I see no point to her being there anymore except to be Phyllis' punching bag. I have never liked Phyllis and nothing she has done is redeemable in my eyes. She is a mean, vindictive, manipulative, megalomaniac who selfishly ruins others' lives to get what she wants. The fact that she wins all the time is beyond ridiculous now. The upcoming storylines of her past being revealed, I think, will just be a little blip but will actually garner more sympathy for her and she will win yet again. There are great actors who have been on the show for years and they have now been shelved so that these other characters - mainly Phyllis and Victor - can always be in the story forefronts. The Y and R used to be the most realistic soap and I have watched since the beginning. I don't even recognize it now and it makes me sad to go but I just can't bear to watch anymore. - JoAnne

  • I've said it for weeks and I have to say it again........I have 1 word for Neil Winters......Hypocrite! Sorry but "do as I say not as I do" Neil Winters has gotten on my last nerve here lately. He is all about Neil these days and I don't like his sanctimonious self one little bit. And Sophia needs to leave his butt like yesterday before she gets any more hurt than she already is. Besides I think she can do better than Neil. Maybe Sarge? Now that I'd like to see. I think Sarge is great, just enough toughness to get Jack Abbott walking again and just enough sass to not let Harmony lie about him ever again. Besides Sarge and Tucker sharing the stage to protect Sophia now that I'd like to see and don't think I don't see a soft side to Sarge; you bet I do. I like what I see too. - Nonniepat

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