Forgive me, fans/addicts, for I have sinned. It's been many years since my last visit to Genoa City. I confess that I quit watching in a snit of protest because I was unhappy that the writers had decided to kill off Sharon's daughter, Cassie.
Despite my hasty departure, the residents of Genoa City remained near and dear to my heart. Secretly, I followed their comings and goings through Soap Central, plotting a return visit, vowing to beg for forgiveness, but pride stood in my way. Luckily for me, the addition of Steve Burton to the cast was just the incentive I needed to resume my guilty pleasure.
Consequently, I am pleased to say that the prodigal backslider has returned to the fan/addict fold. Happily for me it could not have happened at a better time. I "tivoed" back to town just as Nikki and Victor wed for the third (or was it the fourth?) time. I saw Adam take a bullet and Billy defuse a bomb -- and that was only the first week. Wow!
The last time I saw Adam, he was a toddler living on a farm in Kansas -- or someplace equally Midwestern -- with his blind mother, Hope. I thought that Nick and Victoria were adults at the time, but as we all know, when a child gets SORAS (Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome), anything is possible and even probable.
Billy was also a surprise. When I last watched, Billy and McKenzie had broken up after being told they were brother and sister -- they weren't. I left Genoa City shortly after David Tom vacated the role of Billy and the actress who played McKenzie left the show. I've missed everything since. Obviously, had David Tom retained in his role as Billy, and had the original adult Victoria, played by David's real-life sister, Heather Tom, remained in hers, we would not have the pairing of Billy and Victoria, a supercouple played by two terrific actors with sizzling chemistry.
Recently, I watched a crime drama where Billy J. Miller (Billy) played a creepy child predator. It was an awesomely chilling performance. I can hardly wait for "Billy Boy" to succumb to his gambling addiction and deal with the aftermath of his inevitable fall from grace.
When I left town all those years ago, Nick and Sharon owned Crimson Lights, and Noah was in kindergarten. Clearly, SORAS struck the Newman clan again. Obviously it is a hereditary disease that affected both Newman men. In order for Noah to be 23 now, Nick could have been no more that seven when he sired Noah, if, as stated at their wedding, Victor and Nikki have been together 30 years. This is an excellent example of what I love about soaps: absolutely no respect for the time-space continuum. Anything is possible, and even probable, when you live in a universe not bound by the laws of physics! My kind of place. When I grow up, I am definitely moving to Genoa City.
I missed the Phyllis-Nick years, and I'd love to hear from fellow fans who can give me insight into how they got together and what broke up Nick and Sharon. I wonder how long the writers will drag out the mystery of Summer's paternity. This storyline feels like a reverse redux of the Billy-McKenzie tale. Personally, I'm rooting for Summer to be Nick's kid because I think the dynamic between Summer and the recast Kyle is much more believable than when she was taking off her clothes for the other guy. Besides, who could Summer date if she is Jack's spawn instead of Nick's? I guess Summer could date Noah, but that just feels icky and wrong.
Tell me fellow fans/addicts, how will we get along without Phyllis? I simply cannot imagine Genoa City without her, but then I can't imagine it without Katherine Chancellor either. I'm so glad that I was able to get back to town in time for Jeanne Cooper's last scenes. The departure of Phyllis and Katherine will leave a black hole in the Y&R universe. Do you think that the show will recast or move on? At the moment, I can't believe that anyone could step into the high heels of either actress who played those characters, but I'd love to know what you think the show should do. If you have an opinion and feel like sharing, drop me an email.
Another thing that I noticed after my long absence from Genoa City was how well some of the actors have weathered the aging process. Most everyone still looks great, but Greg Rikaart, Joshua Morrow, and Tracey E. Bregman seem not to have aged at all. Joshua Morrow looks so doggone young, I have trouble accepting that Nick could be the father of a 23-year-old son. I looked Joshua up on Wikipedia. I was surprised to learn that he is an elderly 39, so despite his youthful appearance, he is chronologically old enough to have fathered a 20-something! Or so I keep telling myself.
It's actually nice to see the grownup Newman and Abbott offspring. I like all the family stuff and the Montague-Capulet opportunities for storytelling. Another thing I like about Y&R is that the happy relationships between families and couples seem to last more than a minute before they are destroyed. This is very different from another soap that I watch. Both depend on conflict to keep us fans tuning in, but Y&R knows how to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary.
For example, on Wednesday's episode, Leslie told Tyler not to mistake compassion for love and then followed it up by asking if Tyler really wanted to be responsible for hurting Lily's children in the same way that Tyler and Leslie had been hurt when they were children. To me, that conversation was poignant, and certainly as riveting as any shootout in Port Charles. There was drama in the conversation between Leslie and Tyler plus there was mystery as a lurker loitered nearby, secretly snapping candid photos of the siblings. I'm betting that it has something to do with the mysterious Rose referenced in connection to Gus before he passed away.
I was stunned to see Jill acting so motherly towards Cane. He's new to me, and I don't know his history or why he is so close to both Jill and Katherine. Katherine and Jill acted like family to each other, but last time I was in town, I was under the impression that Jill had just found out that Katherine was not her biological mother. Now I'm confused. I can see I need to catch up in the character archives, or (hint, hint) get a little help from my (hopefully) newfound friends.
I noticed that Lily is carrying on the tradition Ashley Abbot started of wearing "dresses-I-can't-imagine-ever-wearing-to-work," or in my case, out of the house. I remember a black dress that Ashley wore several years ago. From the front, it looked like a normal, ordinary dress. When she turned around, it was sheer black mesh from below the waist up. I couldn't stop laughing as I tried to imagine wearing something like that in my office.
The dress that Lily wore to lunch with Neil was really quite pretty, and arguable totally appropriate for a mogul at a fashion house like Jabot, but it still had a mesh, see-through back. Lily's had a floral design in the mesh and was not so low-cut, which made it a little more modest than Ashley's dress. One thing is for sure: when it's time to get gussied up, nobody outgussies the women of Genoa City, who are at the forefront of the soap fashion world and prove it five days a week.
Chloe, Chelsea, Avery, and Dylan are all new characters to me. Y&R does a great job of including background so that new and returning viewers can get caught up quickly. I know that Chelsea and Adam are divorced after losing a baby and that she is passing Adam's baby off as Dylan's. I know that Avery had an affair with Dylan and got pregnant with his baby while she was married to someone else. When Avery lost the baby, Dylan went to war and was presumed dead. When Dylan returned from the dead, Avery, who is Phyllis' sister, had moved on to Nick after Phyllis got done with him.
I think that Chloe is related to Esther. I seem to remember that Esther got pregnant a few years back and had a child. When and why Chloe married Kevin and how Kevin ended up owning Crimson Lights is still a mystery. Dylan is the only character on the show without a relative in Genoa City. That is usually the kiss of death on a soap.
No doubt, though, if the fans like Dylan, it will eventually be revealed that Dylan is a previously unknown Newman or a long-lost Abbott, depending on which family needs to add a member to keep the odds even. Dylan could also be related to Katherine, Jill, or even Cane. At the moment, it does look like Dylan's star is on the rise and that he will be going from down-and-out to up-and-coming before the week is out. What do you folks think about Dylan and his chances for happiness with Chelsea? Probably not too good now that Adam is sniffing around Chelsea's doctor for information.
Taking over this Two Scoops column means trying to fill some might big shoes. Any advice, comments, or suggestions that you may want to offer will be very welcome. I am trying to put my best foot forward and start on a positive note. (I'm saving the jibes and cheap shots for later.)
Please know that I am passionately devoted to the soap genre. My grandmother was a fan, and she used to clean her house during the commercials. I laughed at her and her "stories," until the 1980s, when I was home for several weeks with an employment-related injury. My roommate worked nights and viewed the ABC soaps daily with a decided fervor. I started having lunch with her, and the rest is history. Within a week, I was hooked. My grandmother rolled over in her grave, and I can still hear her laughing as she watches with me.
When I returned to work, I caught my soap in the break room on my lunch hour whenever possible. Thank goodness for the inventions of the VCR and DVR. At one time, I watched five soaps a day, which is why I call myself a fan/addict. I had to cut back in order to have a life, though I would have preferred to cut out work! Unfortunately, if I wanted to keep eating, cutting out work was not an option.
What I like most about soaps is that they are real and not real (the aforementioned SORAS and the gap in the time-space continuum) at the same time. Some of my snooty friends have laughed at me and disparaged my interest in soap opera after overhearing me lambaste some soap character or another during a conversation with a fellow aficionado.
I tell the disparager that I prefer saying mean things about someone who isn't real, "She sure is fat," "What a bitch!", "I hope she rots in hell," than saying them out loud about someone who is real. I've also found that my imaginary soap friends are much more inclined to tolerate mean-spirited insults than my non-imaginary ones. Go figure.
Picking apart a soap character that you hold to an impossibly high standard doesn't hurt anyone. Doing the same thing to a real person might. Witness what just happened to Fen. He is definitely a sad sack and exactly the kind of person who might commit suicide or engage in some other violent act because he feels so helpless to change the circumstances of his life. Y&R is vividly and compellingly showing Fen's pain. It scraped me raw and instilled immense empathy for today's teens.
Another great thing about soap operas is that the story is endless, and there are no reruns. It's comfortable, familiar, and a place to retreat and recharge for 37 minutes a day. Like the Energizer Bunny, a soap just keeps going and going. It only stops when the cancellation demon catches it. That sad conclusion is highly improbable for Y&R, which is the crème de la crème of the genre.
The Young and the Restless is the top-rated soap for all the reasons that I've listed and probably a bunch more that I haven't. I invite all you fan/addicts out there to put in your two cents. Tell me what I missed, share your opinions, and, like the carnival fortuneteller on a recent episode, predict future events. Tell me what you see in the cards for the beloved denizens of Genoa City!
When will Adam find out that Chelsea is carrying his baby? Where did Adam get the money to buy back Newman? Who is Summer's biological father? How much of Victoria's money will Billy burn though before she figures out he is gambling again? How long will it take for Dylan to transform from down-and-out to up-and-coming? Will Rose prove to be a thorn in the side of Tyler and Leslie? Who stole Neil's journal, and what long-buried secrets will eventually be dug up? Will Lauren turn to Carmine again in the wake of Michael's departure? What is the probability that Sharon and Nick will find their way back to each other?
Until the next time, fellow fans, I will leave you to ponder the imponderable while I do penance for my sins by researching the archives, reading character bios, and personally answering every email I receive. I pray that Victor, who still thinks he's God, and the faithful fans of Y&R will have mercy on my soul by welcoming me home to Genoa City and taking me back into the bosom of the fan/addict fold.