Second verse, same as the first

For the Week of December 15, 2014
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Adam  faced  Sharon at the coffee shop and  the angel of mercy  found Nick in the bar. Which lady will become the focus of the battling brothers' attention? Phyllis made Kelly pay with her own smack of justice. Will  Red  be able to get past her anger to move on with Jack? To learn more, read this week's Two Scoops.

With another holiday season quickly approaching, I can't help but think that this time of year can bring the best out of some people while showing the true colors of other more desperate folks. The season showcases emotion through singing, gift-giving, and an all-around spirit that should fill everyone with feelings of love and joy. However, some become depressed, and others are saddened or angry due to a lack of warmth and affection in their lives...the very warmth and affection that the holidays seem to embrace. Strangely enough, soaps are guided by this very sentiment year-round, which is what makes our favorite daytime serials so engaging and addictive.

Think about it -- there are some soap characters that the holiday spirit doesn't seem to affect at all. Victor Newman, anyone? Could you imagine ever seeing a bright joy shining through Victor's eyes, emanating from his very soul? Well, maybe if he trounced Jack in yet another, that would give Victor true pleasure, sad to say. Victor would have to care about what someone else actually wanted in order to be able to give a gift that he or she could truly treasure. But since Victor has never been concerned about what his loved ones cherished, as he has proven time and time again, he continues to chase away the ones that his children care about the most.

Will anyone ever be good enough for Nick, Victoria, or Abby in Victor's eyes? We may never know. My guess is that Summer, Noah, Faith, and now Katie are not going to have it any easier. Victor loves to be in control, so any person they select will never measure up. Seriously, Dylan and Mariah should be grateful that they aren't related biologically to Victor.

I recently had to go to jury duty and I had to wonder, as I waited not to get picked again, how Victor would do serving on a jury. Would any other juror get a say in the case? Or even be allowed to have an opinion? Victor would have to be the foreman and in control, for sure. And heaven forbid, if the poor defendant looked at all like Billy Boy or Sharon. Guilty! Forget the evidence and facts. Victor Newman makes for great drama on a soap opera, but I'm afraid that he would probably be the worst juror in history. After witnessing Victor as a juror, Lady Justice would never, ever want to remove her blindfold!

Shoot, Victor had to be in control even in the battle with Jack over a ding-dong Christmas tree. Victor had to make sure that he one-upped Jack over the tree and in his donation to charity. I don't know why Nikki bothered wasting her time, inviting both men to Santa's Village to embrace the Christmas spirit. She should have known that having the two together would only give them another reason to spar. Of course, Jack gave in and let Victor have the tree so that he could get a larger, fluffier one. Come on, Jack, bigger is not always better. Besides, the whole point was not who had the bigger tree, it was all about who could get the better of whom, and I'm not sure who won in this case. In Nikki's eyes, no one did.

But Victor isn't quite done with Jack yet, since he also put a spy into Jabot's midst. Man, how on earth did dear Tobias -- or "Toby," as a drunken Stitch referred to him -- fool anyone into making them believe that he was a loyal, faithful, hard-working employee of Jabot? His facial expressions and body language inferred that he had been caught red-handed, and his remarks to Ashley should have made her very suspicious. She's supposed to be a savvy businesswoman. But that just goes to show how much Victor cared about Ashley because, since he was targeting Jabot's new product to conquer Jack in yet another battle, he was also going after Ashley's own pet project. Victor was intent on taking Jack down again, and if Ashley wound up also being collateral damage, oh well.

Victor did try to bribe Ashley with a compensation package to leave Jabot and join Newman/Chancellor, so I guess now he can say that he tried to rescue her. Good for her for turning it down. By the way, I loved it when Ashley referred to Victor's sneaky tactics as "silly, little games." If Ashley winds up getting the repercussions of what Victor thinks are Jack's just deserts, I sure hope she uses her shrewd business sense to go after Victor in a professional way, where he would never see it coming and where she would hurt him the most.

I want to see the smart, successful lady that Ashley is, not a female version of Jack, who always loses to Victor because he lets his personal perceptions get in the way. I doubt if Ashley would do that, which would make for a much more interesting corporate battle. Honestly, watching Victor beat Jack at just about everything has grown a little tiresome. While I love the skirmishes, they become a little boring when the same person wins all the time. Victor needs some new blood to duke it out with, and if the blood is related to Jack, all the better.

I actually am digging "the kinder, gentler" Phyllis, but I know this fašade won't last long. Phyllis can only be on her best behavior for so long, and she has a tendency to be her own worst enemy, especially when it involves affairs of the heart. Look at all the past mistakes she has already made with Jack, involving Nick. I mean, she left Jack and their marriage so she could play with her boy toy. That devastated Jack at the time, and she was just lucky he was willing to give her another chance.

But Kelly is still on the prowl, and she certainly won't be as tame as Phyllis would like her to be. Every time Kelly saw the two lovebirds together, her heart was on her sleeve, and it was just a matter of time before her claws would come out. Indeed, both ladies were seeing "red," and it wasn't because that's the color of love or of the two felines' hair. Let the catfight begin!

In an attempt to clear the air (right!), Phyllis pointed out that Kelly had scurried quickly from Billy to Jack, which had made her look like a hormonal teenager. Meow! After Kelly hissed that it bothered Phyllis that Kelly and Jack had slept in Phyllis' own bed, Phyllis growled that Jack had rescued a damaged Kelly out of the gutter, like a little animal. Hey, that's pretty appropriate for this analogy. And then...smack! Kelly really slapped Phyllis hard and then howled that Jack's visit to Georgia had actually been to say goodbye to Phyllis. Yikes! Unfortunately, Jack overheard that, but it was time he faced the music anyway. That's been a long time coming. Neil was certainly right when he said that the truth would set him free. Jack had put it off for way too long.

And Phyllis was finally able to talk to Jack about his feelings for Kelly...and also for Phyllis. I actually sympathized with Phyllis because she had honestly believed she was returning to the life she'd once had, as unrealistic as that was. I don't know how Phyllis thought the world would stand still while she was in her coma, but I guess Jack could have waited a little longer before he decided to move on. Shucks, in soap time, Jack's wait of close to a year was an eternity. Characters on one other soap seem to switch partners at the drop of a hat. (Hint: the initials buzz.)

I believed Jack when he said that he still wanted to marry the passionate, alluring, vindictive, infuriating, and so incredibly beautiful Phyllis. The love and regret showed in his eyes, and Phyllis' every gesture and word revealed the sorrow she felt for everything she had lost during the year. (Some potentially award-winning moments, I should point out.) I have always loved Jack and Phyllis as a couple, and I believe they can work through it. They have both waited so long, and their determination and love for each other should carry them through. Phyllis can finally have the family with Jack that she has craved. And Summer's love for Jack as a dad would complete the family photo.

Didn't Hilary also look like her fur was standing on end when she spied Devon and Gwen getting all huggy-faced at the Underground? Those two were really smooching it up, and Hilary didn't like it one bit. Ha, what did you expect, Hilary, when you came up with such a ridiculous plan? How could you not see the flaw in this so-called brilliant scheme? Well, guess who's in the catbird's seat now? It's not you, Hilary dear.

Ironically, Devon probably just found the way to push Hilary into leaving Neil, but it didn't look like he cared about that anymore. Once Gwen broke out of her workplace cocoon and emerged into a beautiful butterfly, Devon only had eyes for her. It just seems to me that Hilary only wants what she can't have, and now that she may not be able to have Devon, she will only want him that much more. Neil who?

Hilary was almost downright rude to Neil when he asked to join them, and still he didn't catch on. What will it take, Neil? Hilary wasn't even pretending anymore that she had no feelings for Devon, and it was a good thing that Neil couldn't see it. But still, he should be able to see -- that Hilary never had any real feelings of love for him, that is. I think that desperation is blinding Neil more than his lack of sight. Neil had better hope his doctor with the new cutting-edge technique to restore his eyesight will also bring back Neil's dignity and reason when it comes to Hilary.

Victoria was the one in danger of being left out in the cold, since Billy had moved on with Chelsea, and Ben, in his "smashed" stupor, decided to get all showered-up with Ashley. And Victoria seemed to still be waffling between the two men. But when she reflected on her baby's namesake, she knew that it was time to finally make a decision, which was to try it again with Ben. Of course. Because Billy had already moved on with Chelsea and let's "face" it, this storyline is just waiting for the newly faced Adam to enter the picture.

So, while Stitch was thrilled to be given another chance with Victoria, I noticed that he wasn't horribly forthcoming about his very recent romp with Ashley in the shower. He had his chance to come clean (sorry, I couldn't help myself!) when Victoria exclaimed that they could start fresh with no more secrets between them. But what's a soap without a little secret or two. Or a hundred.

Victoria keeps preaching about no more secrets and the importance of truth, but I didn't see her disclosing to Ben that she was jumping on Victor's bandwagon to shoot down Ashley's special project either. Since Stitch has been working in the Jabot lab for this very project, shouldn't she reveal this little tidbit to him? This is a secret, too, even if it isn't about a fling in the shower. It's still a betrayal, and, as usual with anything Newman, her father is involved. Billy had the exact same problem with Victoria -- her father and his business. Dear Ben was sure getting broken in the right way. Trust works both ways. Victoria needs to remember that.

But still, it was just as well she picked Stitch over Billy. If Victoria had wanted her family with Billy back, she might have had an adversary in Sage, which would have made this storyline rather cluttered. Sage prevented Adam from going to Chelsea, but that seemed to be more for selfish reasons. Does Sage have an interest in Adam other than as his savior? Why did Sage save Adam at the accident site anyway? But if Adam had Gabriel's face and Gabriel was related to Sage, wouldn't it be a little creepy if she was interested in Adam? Wow, that would be confusing! But thankfully, Sage does not appear to be Gabriel's relative.

So, if Sage was just Constance's caretaker, maybe she was in love with Gabriel, which was why she agreed to Adam's plastic surgery to keep his identity hidden. Could it be that this was her way of keeping Gabriel alive? If that's the case, Sage would want Billy and Chelsea to stay together. Maybe Sage should become buddy-buddy with Victoria and constantly remind Vicky of why she shouldn't take Billy back.

Hey, we could have an Adam/Sage/Nick triangle brewing. It would be rather funny if Nick were unknowingly competing with his own brother for the lady's heart. Wouldn't that be intriguing? However, if Sage carried feelings for Adam, they sure didn't seem to be reciprocated. Adam appears to have tunnel vision when it comes to Chelsea, who only looked forward to her first Christmas with Billy. While Chelsea can't forget her love for Adam, Billy will never get over his hatred of him.

And everything Billy and Chelsea said about Adam has set it up perfectly for his return...and Adam was gung-ho ready to do just that. So much so that he wanted Sage to teach him everything Gabriel so he could return to Genoa City to reclaim his life. However, no matter how much Adam learns about Gabriel, he will never be able to capture the essence of Gabriel's soul. Deep down, Adam will still be Adam, and plastic surgery cannot mask his unique personality and traits. But could Sage be what it takes to get Adam past his obsession for Chelsea? Again, I would love to see the two brothers duel at sundown in the future over a certain lady's heart.

Alas, that appears to be just wishful thinking on my part because as much as Sage admired and cherished Gabriel, she can't seem to stand Adam. However, we know that Sage will most likely be the next in line for Nick's heart, since he met Sage so soon after he pretty much declared himself off-limits for any other future romances and because he even tried to track down the "angel of mercy" at the neighboring cottage. Nick has become more like his father, especially regarding Sharon, and he truly needed to learn a lesson from his drunken adventure at the cabin about his past failures in love. But will anything with Nick change, since he won't admit his own part in these failures? (Even if he said that he did, he really didn't.) It's just going to be "the same old, same old." How can Nick expect a different result in a future relationship if his behavior remains the same going forward?

But actually, the brothers' duel may involve a different damsel in distress -- the same damsel that it always seems to be. That's right...Sharon. Please, can't we move on to something else -- something new and exciting? I really do not want to see Nick/Sharon/Adam Part II or III or X or whatever. I would prefer the brothers "pistoling" it out over Sage instead. At least it would be fresh and engaging. We can only replay the Adam/Sharon/Nick triangle so many times. It doesn't matter if Nick is the attacker this time and Adam the protector. It's old and tiring, and it reminds me of the line in the song, "Henry the VIII, I Am" by the Herman's Hermits, "second verse, same as the first." Oh I have that song playing in my head. I guess it's a good thing I like it.

Now I hope Sage does prove to be a distraction to Nick. Maybe then he would give up this ridiculous custody battle over Faith. I mean, when his own daughter is saying that her daddy can't make her punish her mommy too, Nick should be listening. Faith will be the one who ends up paying the biggest price if Nick is successful in his quest. Now that his "angel of mercy" has found him, do we dare hope that Sage can eventually make Nick see reason? Someone really needs to be on Faith's side, so maybe it can be Sage.

I am most surprised that Victoria thought Nick was doing the right thing. As a mother herself, how could she possibly think it would be good to have Faith taken away from her mother? How would Victoria feel if Billy pulled a stunt like that? She even noted that she and Billy worked out custody in a rational way, so shouldn't she be giving this same advice to Nick?

Anyway, back to Nick's love life -- if his next step in love is identical to ones taken in prior relationships, how will Nick avoid the pitfalls in love that he has made in the past? If he had talked to Noah more about what he did wrong the last time he was with Sharon, I would have been more impressed. If he had acknowledged that he could have tried to help Sharon with her illness by educating himself more on its symptoms and effects, he would have accepted responsibility. At this point, if he would just recognize that Sharon's poor judgment and bad actions were as a result of her bipolar disorder, that would be a step in trying to change his future conduct in love.

The couple with a better chance at love were Dylan and Avery, who were aware of their past mistakes and have tried to take steps to avoid them. So, at a reserved bench in Santa's Village, Dylan proposed. It's a Christmas miracle! Gosh, even the park's patrons could see the proposal coming a mile away. Well, I guess a tip-off could have been when Dylan went on his knee. That's normally a sure sign that a proposal is headed your way...though not always. I guess he could have had a sudden knee cramp or something.

But luckily, that was not the case and Avery received her proposal. I would think that she will make a special effort this time to get to the altar on time. She might actually want to marry Dylan. I really have no strong feelings either way about this couple. I can't say that I love, love, love them, yet I won't say that I absolutely hate them with all my heart either. They are a cute couple, and let's see if we can have a real wedding that won't become a non-wedding. Wouldn't that be a nice change of pace?

Well, Kevin finally forced Michael to tell Lauren the truth, not another woman but about his cancer, and it's about time! To me, this was rather anticlimactic because there was never any reason not to tell Lauren. She has always been a strong, independent woman, and there has never been any indication that she could not handle the facts. You know that Lauren would offer Michael nothing but love and support, so maybe Michael doesn't know his wife all that well.

Wouldn't having Michael rebel against the injustice of having cancer at a time in his life when he has taken the world by storm and has everything he wants be a more shocking twist for this popular couple? Sure, he could still have hidden the truth from Lauren, but it might have been more entertaining if he had started acting out in a way so untypical of Michael. And Kevin could have been the one trying to get his brother back on track. But at least Michael got to vent his frustration about the unfairness of it all, and his screams of despair could very well be Christian LeBlanc's next submission for a Daytime Emmy nomination.

Now, we come to my favorite couple, Kevin and Mariah. It has been so much fun watching Mariah try to learn the meaning of friendship. One thing she did learn was that friendship was a two-way street and that Kevin should share his feelings with her, as she had with him. They kissed, and Kevin and I both don't want that to ruin their friendship. I love seeing Kevin and Mariah together, and I want to see them evolve and grow closer, though not necessarily in a romantic way. Kevin recalled to Mariah that his last serious relationship hadn't worked out so well when Chloe had literally lost her mind. If and when Chloe returns to town (with baby in tow), the three of them could be a pretty explosive triangle, which would be all right with me as long as Chloe doesn't win Kevin back. That story could be riveting and delicious!

Other notable (or humorous) items that happened during the week

I appreciated the exchange between Phyllis and Neil. She admitted that she felt she was trying to find her way through familiar territory with blinders on, and Neil stated that he was just working on not bumping into things and bruising himself. With their unfortunate medicals issues, it's great that these two could relate to one another.

When Victoria saw how good Billy was with the baby, she observed, "You're so good with her. I don't know why that would surprise me. You've always had a way with the ladies." Billy replied, "Yeah, a way of making them hate me. Look at you." I don't know. They did look pretty cozy together. I can't believe that it's already been a year since they split up. My, how time flies!

Chelsea announced to Billy that she would be making some Christmas treats. "You know what they say. If you can read a recipe, you can cook." Billy remarked, "Well, just because you can read a recipe, doesn't mean you have to cook. It's not an obligation." Maybe Chelsea should take pointers from Avery.

Poor Kelly! After she saw Jack and Phyllis kiss and then stood by their tree, the tree attendant said, "That one's taken." Kelly sadly replied, "I know." I sure remember how that feels.

I can't believe that Jack wanted to fire Stitch, without warning, for supposedly sleeping off his drunken state rather than attempting to drive home and risking his life and the lives of other innocent drivers on the road. As far as Jack knew, Stitch hadn't passed along any secret information to Jack's most formidable enemy (Victor!) and hadn't invited everyone he knew to party in Jabot's lab. A warning would have been the appropriate call for this offense, which Jack corrected. Good for him.

I absolutely agree with all of the adjectives Victoria used to describe Katherine Chancellor -- and Jeanne Cooper: sassy, kind, strong, vulnerable, opinionated, but very open-minded, principled but lived her life on the edge, not afraid to make a choice and would not shy away from making a difficult decision. Those fit Mrs. C to a tee.

Abby declared after her holiday celebration that, after pouring some guy into a cab, maybe she was too old to have fun. Oh, Abby dear, you are never too old to have fun. Shoot, I remember when I was 18 and most of my friends were married, I believed then that I was going to be an old maid. Silly me! When you are young, you still have your whole life ahead of you. No matter what your age, find your own kind of fun to make your life meaningful and pleasurable. It's never too late.

When Gloria was trying to talk to Kevin, she finally had to grab his phone away to get his attention. While it's true that Gloria also wanted to see what Kevin was up to by looking at his phone and that Kevin was using his phone to ignore his mother, it's still sad that, in this world with all of the excellent technical methods of communication, good face-to-face contact is practically becoming a thing of the past. Let's just hope that it doesn't become extinct.

If Summer and Austin really want to prove to Phyllis that they are adults, they should start acting like it. Actions speak louder than words. Yes, I know that Phyllis was in a coma at the time, but using the money from the sale of the penthouse to get a large, "shiny" apartment just didn't cut it. The "louder" act would have been to get a nice, smaller and cheaper place and put the rest of the money in the bank for the future. That would have spoken volumes.

I appreciated it when Billy stressed that Katie was not a warped opportunity to replace the child that he lost, which is pretty much the opposite of what Chloe had hoped to achieve. What will happen if the father of Chloe's baby turns out to be Billy? I'm on pins and needles, waiting for her to return. I can't believe I just said that!

Kelly demanded that Summer not apologize for "her self-righteous, narcissistic mother who wouldn't know an apology if it bit her in the butt." Phyllis always makes such a good first impression.

I am so looking forward to the exchange between Adam and Victor in the elevator. While I know it won't happen immediately, how long will it take for Victor to realize that "Gabriel" is actually his believed-to-be-deceased son?

At this time, I wish to offer my most humble and sincerest apology to Victor and Nikki Newman (and thanks to fans Wanda and Donna for pointing it out). I misspoke in my last column when I said that the proud Newman grandparents did not visit Victoria and child in the hospital. When they were at Victoria's, they acted like that was the first time they had seen the baby, which chased the hospital visit right out of my head. Truly, I am genuinely sorry, and I can only say, "Please, Victor, forgive me!" I sure don't want to be the next target on his hit list!

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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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