Even as the ties that bind one family together tighten, other families' once-tight ties are unraveling like string from a dropped ball of yarn.
For years, Lauren and Michael topped the list of couples who lovingly guarded each other's back, bravely fighting off and eventually triumphing over every evildoer who meant them harm. These two seemed to be virtually unshakable, a united front that nothing and no one could divide and conquer. But, unlike all their other battles, this time, the threat came from within their family circle.
The fiercest lioness in the African wilderness could probably learn something from Lauren when it comes to protecting her young. I understand that, as a mother, Lauren wants to believe the very best about her boy. But Fen's been behaving disrespectfully for months, flouncing angrily out of the apartment every time he didn't like something his parents had to say. Insisting on blaming Fen's frequent insolence on typical teenage angst, Lauren ignored the telltale signs of Fen's instability, instead doing something akin to sticking her fingers in her ears and chanting "na-na-na-na-na."
However, when it came to Michael, Lauren had no problem placing blame, treating Michael as if he obtained some degree of pleasure at having to authorize the arrest of his own son. After Jamie pressed charges in front of witnesses, what exactly did Fen and Lauren expect Michael to do? Say, "Sorry, Jamie, my son wouldn't do that, so case dismissed"?
As for Lauren, after all her years of loving loyalty, suddenly she's channeling the tawdry behavior of her long-ago youth, drunkenly slurping down wine and swapping spittle with the sleaziest bartender in Genoa City, in full view of any arriving or departing patrons. How totally disrespectful of the husband who has been so devoted to her. Color me quite disappointed in her behavior.
Even though it turned out that Fen hadn't pushed Jamie off the roof, Fen was by no means an innocent boy being wrongly railroaded into a juvenile detention cell. He deserved that night in lockup, if for no other reason than for being a sniveling, jealous coward, hiding behind an untraceable, throwaway phone. Given the silver-spoon life Fen has led, I'm finding it impossible to feel any sympathy on his behalf, all because his parents paid a little attention to a boy who literally has nothing. So forgive me if I have no patience with Fen's melodramatic complaints about Jamie's lies. What about Fen's lies? What about stealing from his own mother, planting the items in Jamie's bag, and then lying about how they got there?
By the way, instead of whining like a petulant little baby girl, perhaps Fen ought to thank Jamie. For doing the one thing he couldn't manage to accomplish on his own -- bring Summer running back to his side.
Speaking of Summer, the pea brain behind the bullying debacle, she didn't fool me for one second with her down-turned mouth and momentarily regretful demeanor. Because as soon as Jamie refused to accede to her demand that he immediately exonerate Fen, she quickly changed her tune, viciously labeling him a loser. And when Summer told Jamie, "Just because bad things happen to you, you shouldn't take it out on everyone else," I nearly fell off my couch with hysterical laughter. Forgive me if my mind is addled, and I'm remembering wrongly, but wasn't she taking out on Jamie all the bad things she felt Ronan and Phyllis had done to her? In my opinion, the real losers in this bullying game are Summer and Fen.
Even though I suspected it was probably going to come out this way, I was still a little disappointed when Jamie confessed his deception and effectively gave Lauren and Fen a reason to beat Michael endlessly with the "I told you so" stick. Now, I'm not going to claim Jamie was right to wrongly accuse Fen, but after every rotten stunt the spoiled Fen pulled, I can't completely blame Jamie either. But I'm glad his conscience wouldn't let him carry on the charade. At least Jamie has a conscience. If Fen has one, he's not showing it.
Jamie's second attempt at suicide gave Paul an excellent opportunity to show off his acting chops. I loved the way Paul talked Jamie off that ledge then immediately went to his defense, rivaling Lauren in ferocity. When Jamie was homeless, I always thought Paul would have been a good choice to take Jamie in. Especially since Fen so clearly had serious objections to Jamie temporarily joining the family. Now that everything is out in the open, I hope the scribes choose to go down that path. It would give Paul the opportunity to be a father, to make up to the universe for his less-than-fatherly behavior when it came to his own son.
Paul isn't the only person who might get a second chance at being a good parent. All looks to have been finally forgiven between mother and daughter, Phyllis and Summer. It was a very nice scene as the two bridged the chasm that has separated them for months, pledging that their future path would be free of secrets.
While the ties between the Baldwins are frayed and near their breaking point, those linking the Abbots are getting stronger with the arrival of each additional Abbott. Abby has returned to town and, surprisingly, has decided she'd like to play on the Abbott side of the family fence. Not having been a big fan of the snarky Abby character in the past, I wasn't looking forward to her return. But I've been pleasantly surprised by her behavior so far. For the first time, most of the Abbotts are working toward a common goal, and I can't wait to see what will happen next.
With Newman Enterprises not yet back in Victor's hands, the Newman family members are following their own paths for the moment. But once Nikki's multiple sclerosis diagnosis becomes known to the family, I imagine the ties between them all will tighten.
Helped by the haunting piano tune Nikki keeps attempting, I'm enjoying the beginning of this particular storyline. Nikki is always much more enjoyable when she actually gets a chance to act, instead of shrieking at Sharon or delivering one of her nose-in-the-air insults to some lesser mortal. While that snooty side is always likely to be a part of Nikki, it's her more humane side that I prefer.
Although Nikki has only shared her medical condition with Jack so far, I enjoyed the tender way Victor treated Nikki when she was so clearly upset over her piano playing, promising another of those leisurely round-the-world trips, a promise even she acknowledges Victor isn't likely to be able to keep.
Of course, that doesn't mean I like much else about Victor's behavior these days. I don't have a problem with Victor poking into Congressman Wheeler's connection to the case Avery's championing. After all, Wheeler brought that on himself by threatening to expose Victor's role in his daughter's death. But, I hate what Victor plans to do to Sharon, and my fingers are crossed that Mason can continue to resist the intense pressure Victor is placing on him to replace Sharon's pills with placebos.
Despite the friendship and growing closeness between Sharon and Adam, Chelsea's pregnancy is sure to derail any possible future relationship. I haven't been a fan of the Chelsea/Adam pairing for a long time, so I had no desire to do a little jig of joy when the test confirmed what I suspected the moment Chelsea suffered that little bout of dizziness.
Of course, in usual soap fashion, Chelsea isn't likely to tell Adam the news right away, but clearly, her baby bump won't go unnoticed forever. Chelsea and her endless complaints about Adam's choices, his relationship with Sharon and his father, plus his need to be part of Newman Enterprises, makes for less than riveting watching for me, so I'm not looking forward to round two of their so-called love. Especially if it is just more of the same of Chelsea's demands.
Love is supposed to be about accepting that person for who and the way they are, not for who they will be once you've changed all the things about them you don't like. I know many fans see Chelsea as the love of Adam's life, but if that is the case, it is the one time Adam is just not selling me on the fact that he's pining away for Chelsea.
When it comes to Nick and the perpetually pleasant, near-perfect Avery, even though there's nothing wrong with them, I still remain mostly unmoved. I can't see the big-hearted Avery spurning Nick in order to reconnect with the long-missing Dylan, at least not at first. But if I had to pick a favorite pair, I'd lean more toward Avery with Dylan than Avery and Nick. Choosing Dylan would probably go a long way toward repairing her relationship with her sister, but I'm still guessing Avery's choice will be Nick.
But will she be able to stick to that choice when all the facts are known? Obviously, Dylan wasn't brought onto the canvas just to be rejected and sent skulking back to wherever he's been hiding. So once Avery learns the true reason Dylan didn't come back to her (a truth that may well involve an incapacitating injury), will she still feel the same?
For the Ashby family, if you look closely, you can see the edges of their tie starting to unravel. Cane's inexplicable and determined championship of Chelsea is drawing attention from both Neil and Lily, and neither seems to like what they see. And Tyler's near-stalkerish focus on Lily can't possibly help matters. It seems trouble has entered the Ashbys' paradise of love.
And lastly, will this third time finally be the charm for Phyllis and Jack? Once one of my favorite couples, Jack's obsession with business, and Nick and Phyllis crossing paths, ruined their relationship. Even though Phyllis and Jack had a brief fling before Summer was conceived, they just didn't seem to have the same sizzle as before. Because of that, I didn't feel very optimistic that things would be different this time around. But I like the way they are slowly rebuilding their friendship, and I have high hopes they could once again make a combustible combination.
Well, that's my opinion of Genoa City things for this week. As usual, I await, with great anticipation, what the scribes have up their sleeves for the days ahead. In the meantime, enjoy a few opinions from your fellow fans. Keep watching and don't forget that you can send your thoughts on the show by clicking here. We love them, and your comments could pop up in a future column!