If you are a recap reader, then you know that I summarize Y&R's Wednesday episodes. I only mention that because I recapped the reading of Katherine's will, and boy howdy, was that a doozy of a day, second only to the previous week when Katherine appeared to Jill and Nikki and then disappeared in a dazzling display of white light at the end of that day's show.
The reading of the will was a very well-written episode, done Pulp Fiction-style. The drama opened after the will had been read. Jill was caught in an angry snit as the aftermath for several other legatees was also revealed. After the opening credits, the episode skipped back to the Chancellor drawing room just before the reading had started.
I have to admit that at first I thought I had lost an episode, and I was devastated that I had missed the actual reading of the will. The writers totally fooled me, and I liked it! I took that as a good sign of improved writing, primarily because I am old and jaded and not that easy to fool.
The scenes of the various characters, as they imagined their lives in the event that Katherine had left her entire fortune to them, were hilarious. Predictably, Jill, Esther, and Kevin imagined getting it all, while Devon was modestly hopeful of receiving Katherine's vinyl record collection (which went to Devon's dad, Tucker). When the will was actually read, Esther was delirious over a $20,000 a month stipend that included the stipulation that she continue to care for the mansion.
Kevin's heart and eyes were opened by the bequest of an antique box, a skeleton key, and some very wise words from Katherine, who regally proved her right to be remembered as the queen of daytime.
Jill was stunned to receive ownership of half the mansion with the proviso that she could never sell her share. Jill also received a music box that Katherine called her "most prized possession" and Jill condemned as "made in China."
Jill was as devastated as Devon was dumfounded when Katherine bequeathed half her fortune, $2.475 billion dollars, to Devon and left the other half to everyone but Jill. I can't even imagine that much money. It makes the half billion each that the Newman kids got from Victor look like chump change.
This is one of the things that I love about soaps. Where else can you find people worth billions, working and holding responsible jobs? If I had inherited even the paltry $500 mil that Abby did, I don't think I would have continued working. She and her wealthy relatives are made of stronger stuff than I am! For such a tiny town, Genoa City sure seems to have a lot of zillionaires. The service tips must be awesome. Maybe that's how Carmine had enough money to support his evil plans!
I'm kind of curious to know what Devon's role will be in the future. Inheriting all that money should make him very important to the town, but his character hasn't impressed me as a leader type. I'm thinking that Hilary will find a way to go after him and steal the fortune, but that would draw out the blogger story even farther, and like all of you who have written to me, I'm tired of this story. It's time for Cane and Lily to get proof, expose Hilary, and confront her about her identity and her hurtful actions as the blogger.
I'm not sorry that Nick was left at the altar. I think that he needs to deal with Faith and her issues before he gets married to Avery or anyone else. The present situation is not fair to either Avery or Faith. Faith needs therapy, and she needs it fast. It wouldn't hurt to check her mental health, since I assume that Sharon's condition can be inherited and that it can surface at any time. (Anyone knowledgeable, please give me feedback.)
Nick is more like Adam and Victor than he wants to admit. All three put themselves first, kings in their proverbial castles, even though Nick usually finds justification for his selfish actions, or someone else does it for him. There are two rules in Genoa City: 1) Nick never does wrong. 2) If Nick does wrong, as in neglecting a paternity test for 18 years, see first rule.
The knowledge that, as far as we know right now, Nick is actually Summer's biological father does not alter the fact that Nick, in mourning for a daughter that was not his, left a son who was his and a grieving wife who needed him to become a father to another child that might not have been his at all. I don't find that admirable. I think that Nick ran away instead of facing the fallout and being responsible to the wife and child that he had made a commitment to. Of course, if Nick had just had a paternity test done at the time, there would be no fallout to handle now.
As for Faith, she is one very disturbed little girl. It's true that Sharon, while appearing to help Faith, is subtly manipulating Faith's dislike of Avery, but that dislike has existed for a long time, and Nick should have gone into counseling with Faith and Avery way back when. He needs an outside objective opinion, and so does Faith. This little girl could be scarred for life. She needs help now.
It is also not fair to Avery, who has tried to befriend Faith and allay Faith's fears. In another soap town, far, far away, another daughter objected to her father's choice of girlfriends. That father put his daughter first, which turned out to be a good decision when the girlfriend proved a shrew. Avery is not a shrew. Faith is the shrew, but Faith is a little girl. Avery deserves to be happy and comfortable in the home she will share with Nick. That won't happen until Faith is willing to give Avery a chance, so stop being so selfish, Nick, and get the kid some counseling!
At last, Noah has discovered that Sharon is off her meds. He made a good move when he told Summer about it. Maybe these two will put two and two together and discover Sharon's role in Phyllis' fall. Summer has the lipstick. Noah knows about Sharon's traffic ticket and took all those photos at the benefit. At the least, we can hope someone will finally start worrying about the quality of care that Faith is getting from her mentally unstable mother and look out for that child.
Nick was terse and tight-jawed when Avery showed up long after the minister had left and most of the wedding guests had departed the park. He is not going to be happy that Avery ditched him for Dylan, no matter how urgent Avery insists that it was.
Kudos to Steve Burton on a heart-rending performance. I could feel Dylan's loss and pain as he admitted that he had wanted a family so much that he suspended disbelief and reached for his dream. I was devastated for both Avery and Dylan as they relived the tragic loss of their own child. I hope that Dylan will decide to honor his wedding vows and become king of his castle again so that he can help Chelsea fight Adam. I know Dylan is hurting. Dylan has to decide if he loves Chelsea and Connor enough to forgive Chelsea's lie.
Chelsea does love Dylan, and at the moment, it appears to me that Dylan will be a better stepfather than Adam will be a father. Chloe was funny when she told Chelsea to take the baby and run. She is the worst best friend ever. Chelsea had the good sense to ignore Chloe, put her baby first, and go to Adam. Adam, on the other hand, was deceitful and duplicitous and deep-down mean.
I know that there are many Adam fans out there. I would be an Adam fan, too, if he showed even one shred of compassion or remorse, or took an action that wasn't selfish or self-serving. Since I haven't seen a good side of Adam yet, I stand behind my opinion that Adam is a spoiled brat who never learned to share and was taught to believe that the world revolved around him. I don't think it was done on purpose; I don't think that Hope was a bad parent. I think that she cared too much and tried too hard to protect her child from all the dangers she feared might be facing him.
Unfortunately, one of the dangers that Hope tried to protect Adam from was his father's world, and she accomplished it by denying Adam access to his real father, Victor. As it turned out, the dangers of Victor's world became all the more attractive to Adam because they were forbidden. In the end, Adam blamed Victor for honoring Hope's wishes instead of blaming Hope for insisting that Victor stay away from his son. Adam is as determined to make Victor suffer as he is determined to punish Chelsea.
Let me make it clear that I never approved of Chelsea lying to Adam and Dylan, but after Adam's vindictive, mean-spirited, lying, manipulative behavior to Chelsea when she raised the white flag and came to him in peace, I can see why she was frightened. Adam is ruthless. Dylan is a much better choice as both a man and a father. Too bad for Chelsea that biology is still trump in the parent game. Adam definitely deserves to know his son, but Adam's behavior is as disturbing to me as Sharon's is.
Adam's favorite song is "Me, me, my, mine, me, mine, whine, whine, whine." No thought about the welfare of his child, or what is best for that precious little bundle. No thoughts like "How can we work this out so that everyone, especially this special little soul that we have brought into the world, gets what it needs." Or perhaps "Thank God I found out while the kid is still an infant. I'm lucky, after all, because I kept Faith away from her family a lot longer than that, and who knows what damages or insecurities I caused." Or maybe a simple "Thank you, God, for giving me a chance to know my son."
I didn't hear any of that from Adam's lips. Empathizing and caring about others is not in Adam's skill set. I'm not saying that Adam is unredeemable; I'm just saying that he isn't redeemable right now, because of the kingly, Henry the Eighth, "off with her head" attitude that Adam demonstrated with Chelsea.
Adam is the kind of guy that women with daddy issues are often attracted to. Been there, done that myself, until watching the repetitive behavior of soap characters like Adam -- coupled with a few bad choices of my own -- put me wise. The impulse is to mother. You think that if you can just demonstrate your love, it will heal that person. The problem is that you can't heal a person who ultimately believes that he is not worthy of love and clings to the notion that anyone who loves him is a liar or is mentally deficient.
In his delusion, your love is worthless because he is worthless. He's the guy who always wants what he can't have, often for the very reason that he can't have it. If he can have it, it's worth nothing. That kind of person is a bottomless pit of need that can never be filled.
Sometimes you get lucky and meet someone who figured it out and got over his/her mommy/daddy issues -- they are immediately obvious, because that guy (or gal) will value and accept your heartfelt love -- I wouldn't doubt that some of those folks who wised up are soap fans.
Occasionally your love might actually redeem a guy (or gal -- it works both ways), but for the most part, such relationships start to show diminishing returns, with you doing all the giving and the other party doing all the taking, all the while telling you that you still aren't giving enough. It's as though they are daring you to crack, they are making you prove, in the meanest way possible, that you will love them no matter what they do to you. You are forced to demonstrate unconditional love over and over again without receiving so much as a smidgen of even conditional love in return.
When I got to that point, I bailed and never looked back. I realized that in order to love another person, it is necessary to love yourself. Once I understood that I was never going to be loved back, it was easy to walk away. Right now, Adam is incapable of loving anyone. He might find love with his child, and I would really like to see Adam as a loving, caring parent providing a wholesome, stable environment for his son, but the odds are against that if Adam does not come to an amicable reconciliation with both Chelsea and Victor.
I don't want to see some dopey soap opera farfetched scenario that makes the courts and social service agencies look stupid and powerless in the face of Adam's wealth and influence. I don't want the courts to allow a vindictive Adam to take custody of his son and shut Chelsea out in the cold. Adam has lost very little actual time with his child, and he is overreacting.
Both Avery and Jack defended Chelsea's parental rights. Both told Adam to calm down and wait for the test results. Chelsea is a good mother, and she fessed up as soon as she knew that the jig was up. All Chelsea asked for was mercy, and Adam could not even be gracious in victory. What a bullyboy.
Billy boy, on the other hand, handed Victor the trump card he needed in his game with Adam. Billy told Victoria that "fishhook" was a poker term. Victoria wasted no time in telling Victor what she had learned. In a flash, Victor figured out that it stood for "Jack," which proves that being cute and condescending when trying to fool a wily opponent can often be a pitfall instead of the "gotcha" that Adam had been smirking about earlier.
Victor acted quickly. He sent Jack an email from Adam's address that lured Jack to Adam's penthouse, where Victor was waiting to pounce. Next week's confrontation between these two titans ought to produce some sparkling dialogue. They are bound to engage in some biting banter about Summer and discuss their various takes on parenting and each other's character, among other topics.
Victor will lay his cards on the table with Adam as well. Adam was confident that he and Jack had the upper hand. He also believed that Victor would not understand "fishhook." My money is on Victor to win the final showdown. Adam is in for a surprise, but he won't go down easily, or immediately. He will be fighting on two fronts if he goes after Chelsea. We have yet to see how another Newman heir will affect Victor's perspective on Adam. I'm guessing that Adam will get another chance.
I remember that when Melanie complained that she had been no more disloyal to Victor than Adam had, Victor told her that the difference was that Adam was his son. I believe that Victor was sincere when he tried to make a place for Adam in the family. It was Adam who resisted and lashed out at every opportunity. He did not try to get to know or support his half-siblings, and he went out of his way to hurt them.
Adam clearly wanted Victor's love all to himself, something that neither he, nor any other family member, would ever be able to claim from Victor, nor should they. Instead of competing, Adam should learn to share. Adam's behavior is infantile. He has not grown out of the self-absorbed baby stage of life. If Adam could tap into his adult self, he might find that sharing can be a pleasant experience.
Adam thinks that the way to get Victor's respect is to prove his superiority in business, when in fact, Victor has said that understanding family, no matter what it took, was what would make Victor respect Adam. Victor showed his good faith by standing behind Adam, both publicly and privately, when Adam was falsely accused of rape, but that held no sway with Adam, who did not believe Victor meant it, but we saw Victor defend Adam to Nick, so we know that Victor meant it.
Some of you wrote to me and cited all the bad things that Victor has inflicted on his kids in the past. My reply is that the past is done, and any mistakes that Victor made with his other kids has nothing to do with Victor's treatment of Adam. In Adam's hospital room, after Adam took a bullet for Victor, Adam and Victor agreed to forgive each other and start over. You can't wipe the slate any cleaner than that. The only way to get over the past is to learn from it and move on.
Victor meant his forgiveness and stood behind his word. Adam was ingenuous from the start. His word had no value. He was dishonest and deceitful. Adam's goal was to best Victor, and there was nothing that Adam wouldn't do to achieve that goal, including taking a bullet, perhaps as a means to lull Victor into a false sense of security so that Adam could betray Victor at a later time. Victor had no such agenda.
Can you imagine Jack betraying John? Never! Family is blood, and anyone who turns their back on family needs a whole lot better reason than Adam has. Believe me, my family put the "fun" in dysfunctional, and while we endured some verbal and psychological abuse, we generally agree that it was the result of unintentionally bad parenting.
When all is said and done, blood still means something, especially if, over time, you manage to learn a life lesson or two and reconcile some of your issues. The time comes to accept responsibility for your own destiny, rather than blaming your condition in life on the failure of others.
Even Jack, who hates Victor, gave Adam good advice about family when he told Adam to think about his son's welfare before taking a rash action. Jack also reminded Adam that Jack had invested in Newman stock to help Adam rebuild his relationship to Victor, not destroy it.
As usual, Adam disregarded any opinion not his own and charged ahead to take Chelsea's baby and make her pay for crossing Adam. I can't think of a sadder fate for a child than to lose a loving mother and become the pawn of a cold, vindictive, pre-alcoholic with control issues. Some of you mentioned the loving looks that Adam gave the baby when he held him for the first time.
That's what gives me hope for Adam, but that love will have to translate into doing what is best for his child and into letting more than one person at a time into Adam's life, before I'm convinced that Adam has discovered a moral compass. An obsessive love for his child that limits Adam and his son's worlds to each other will be as harmful to Adam's son as Hope's sequestering of Adam was to him. A child needs both its parents. It's just as wrong for Adam to deny Chelsea custody of her child as it was for Chelsea to hide her baby's paternity from Adam.
I really love Jack, and I hate it that Victor can't see any of Jack's good points. The advice that Jack gave to Summer and Adam was terrific. Summer did listen and was glad that she did. Jack, sadly, can never win more than momentarily in a conflict with Victor, because Victor is the hero of this soap. Jack is often felled by coincidence or circumstance, as in Friday's episode, when it was Billy who gave away the vital clue that tipped the game in Victor's favor.
Adam has hitched his wagon to the wrong star. If he wants to be a winner in every sense of the word, he needs to come clean, admit his lies, find a moral compass, and become a man whose word means something. Adam needs to do whatever it takes to undo his betrayal. No character, in the annals of fiction, has ever gotten to live happily ever after, after stabbing another character, especially if that character was his father, in the back. Betrayal and backstabbing are big no-nos, even for antiheroes.
Hey, Adam, wake up and feel the love. If you don't learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it. What happened to those homegrown, Middle American values that you were supposedly taught by your mother?
Can you believe it? Not everyone agrees with my opinions. I am positively shocked!! So, in the interest of fairness, I'm going to share some opinions from the email bag that are not mine! Here's what Julia had to say about the show's writing, which I stated at the outset of this column was improving.
"I have watched Y&R from the very first day it aired on television in the 70's. During those years it was fascinating however, recently Y&R has become almost predictable and that isn't a good thing. Sharon is becoming boring and repetitious as with most of the cast, sleeping around with each other. It is time to settle the Summer paternity and somehow let Summer know that Nick is her father. Whatever happened to the lipstick in the steps? Is Summer not smart enough to know that it wasn't her Mother's lipstick so someone else had to be in the staircase with Phyllis? Either Summer is stupid or the writers are playing the viewers as stupid. Honestly, I don't think the writers have determined which direction they want to write but it needs to be better than it is because I am getting bored after almost 42 years of watching Y&R!"
Years ago, I thought that Victor made a bad choice when he did not fight Hope for visitation, but I do not think that Adam should lay the blame solely on Victor and demonize him. Bessie disagrees. Here is what Bessie said in defense of Adam.
"Since Adam has come into the Newman realm of family he has always been made to feel less than by Nick and Victoria whether in public or private it has been the same treatment by both of them, that has not changed in all this time. Then there is Victor, he expects total loyalty, no matter what the price, just like telling Adam to give up his relationship with Sharon to prove himself to him, who does that, that is personal, not business, why is it his say as to who Adam is involved with, controlling 101? Then at the base of all that has transpired is the biggest resentment of all that Adam has for Victor, at the very beginning I don't remember if it was Sharon or Chelsea he told but it was how he felt abandoned by Victor as a child and never knowing his father growing up, like he did not matter and was not important enough to even bother with knowing your own son, how would you feel if that was you? Wouldn't there be a strong feeling of resentment there that maybe would outweigh all else that happened? How do you make up for that big hole you created in your child's life?"
The following comment by Lauren has validity (especially that first part about enjoying my column). She also makes some good points about Adam and his relationship to Victor. I do think that that Victor loves his kids and what some call "torture" others might term merely "meddling."
"I always enjoy reading your columns and usually agree with you 100%. This time, however, I disagree with your take on Victor and Adam. Victor is not the victim in this case...he never is and never will be. Adam is driven by the need for his father's acceptance, but he is still his father's son. Reminds me of the saying: 'When a pat on the back doesn't involve a knife'. In my mind, Victor has lost any redeeming qualities he might have once had. He tortures his kids in what he calls 'their best interests'. He is a father. Adam doesn't have a child and doesn't yet know what it's like to be a parent. In my opinion, no parent should or would ever treat their children the way Victor does."
Another good comment on a different subject came from Cathy:
"Why would Katherine give her fortune to Devon? Never really liked the character. He has an attitude and always holding grudges. Couldn't Y & R find another way to have Nikki get pregnant other than that cult? How stupid. I still believe that Dylan is not her son. Glad to see Chelsea get what is coming to her. Way to go Adam."
I actually agreed with everything Cathy said right up to "cult." I got an interesting email from a fan a few days before Nikki revealed to Paul that she had a secret child fathered by cult leader Ian Ward. Faith wrote:
"The only thing I want to come out of this Nikki's Secret storyline is that her son was fathered by Brad Carlton. That would be the perfect twist of the Victor Newman knife. The only man he ever hated more than Jack...was Brad!"
Another viewer suggested that Paul might be the father. I thought that was a great idea, but apparently neither scenario is possible now that Nikki has named Ian Ward as the guy who got her pregnant.
I don't think that it is a good idea for Nikki to keep this secret from Victor. If I've learned anything from watching soaps, it is to be truthful. Lies always come back on you, and secrets are hard to keep if more than one person knows. I guess that's the real difference between fictional soap people and us. We write our own scripts!
If Dylan does turn out to be Nikki's son, Susan had a good idea for a romantic pairing and dramatic tension.
"An Avery and Dylan pairing would be boring!! A much better couple would be Sharon and Dylan!! They could meet up and commiserate while in the hospital for treatment for their respective mental health issues and become supportive of each other while they recover. Dylan would be able to empathize with Sharon. As a couple, they would not only ruffle Avery's feathers (because she doesn't really want anyone else to have Dylan), but Nikki's too!! Nikki would see it as Sharon going after yet another one of her men."
Ellen had some good points to make about Victoria. It would not have hurt for Victoria to have been more supportive of Adam and given him a real chance.
"Victoria is a hypocrite of the highest order! After gloating about Adam's fall from grace she rallied her siblings to 'save' Newman from the clutches of Adam and outsiders. As usual she has conveniently forgotten that Victor lost Newman in the first place because of HER actions! She, of all people, should actually empathize with Adam. After all, she has worked for Victor many times before and stormed out the door almost every time due to Victor's actions. This is really about her childish jealousy over her father's affections for Adam -- she needs to get over herself!"
Third time is the charm. I stand corrected again! Phyllis did not intend to kill Dr. Tim, only drug him. Many of you pointed that out, but Margaret was the most direct.
"Phyllis did not intend to murder Tim Reid; she only wanted him to fall asleep."
I had a lot of email last week, and I enjoyed the spirited dialogue with long-time viewers like Bessie and Cathy, who did not always agree with me, but addressed their sentiments with wit and intelligence. So far, email from readers has been mostly positive.
I did upset one fan when I exposed a spoiler in my last column. I apologize, but honestly, I thought that anyone who reads this column would read the Scoops and Spoilers like I do. I assumed, incorrectly, that I was "preaching to the choir" and merely discussing something that was already common knowledge in this crowd.
Who knew that there were actually soap fans out there who could delay gratification and control those pesky impulses to look into the future and make wild speculations. I sure can't! For those virtuous paragons, I will try extra hard to avoid being so inconsiderate in the future. The least I can do is shout out a "spoiler alert."
Until next time, fellow fan addicts, I look forward to hearing your thoughts and predictions. What will happen to Jill and the mysterious music box? Did Katherine leave Jill clues to a spiritual treasure, a monetary treasure or both? Who will decide the fate of Chancellor Industries? Who will get the business from Katherine? Who got the other half of Katherine's house? What will Devon do with his billions?
How long until Carmine get out of jail? Will Victor remain king of the mountain, or will Adam and Jack succeed in toppling Victor from his throne? Will the slow-to-act Winters clan ever confront Hilary, or think to research the Internet to find a photo of Anne Turner? Will Chloe's new job be editor of a bad advice column for GCBuzz?
I would be remiss if I did not mention one more time the absolutely fantastic job that Y&R did as a tribute to both Jeanne Cooper and Katherine Chancellor. If you did not catch Teddi's awesome Two Scoops column last week, go there now and read all about it! You'll be glad that you did.
Till next time, keep on soaping, and, as you seek temporary respite from the vicissitudes of life, may the soaps always be with you!