Dear readers, I have always loved old Smilin' Jack, even before Peter Bergman took over from Terry Lester, until today. Whenever there is a showdown, I am firmly on Team Jack. But Jack sure does manage to get himself into many complicated personal and professional relationships.
This week, he wed Diane, the mother of his son Kyle. It should have been a joyous celebration; instead, it was chaotic and filled with angst. Jack may eventually wish for a do-over because this wedding was less of a celebration of love and more of a calculated business move. He staged a skit on his wedding day, designed to install Billy into Ashley and Tucker's camp as a spy.
Diane devised a hair-brained scheme to make Billy a Trojan horse by having him pretend to fight with Jack so Ashley and Tucker would see him as an ally and let him in on their secret schemes. The problem is Billy is on the fence about Diane and Tucker, and he could very well jump ship on Jack and decide he wants to side with Ashley. Or, if he plays his cards right, he could be a double agent and trick both of his siblings and end up with everything. I would enjoy seeing Billy being the winner for once and walking away as the king.
First, I must be a girl and gush about Diane's wedding dress. It was stunning and shiny, and she was a radiant bride. Susan Walters and I are about the same age, and I can tell you that I could not pull off that dress! They were married at the justice of the peace with only Traci as a witness. Kyle, Billy, and Ashley could not be supportive for even one hour. Traci tried to shame them but failed.
Will this marriage last the test of time? I don't know. With the entire Abbott family betting against them, it doesn't seem likely, and after all these months, there is still a part of me that thinks Diane is playing the long con. I'm not as convinced as Ashley, Nikki, and Phyllis, but I have some nagging doubts.
Speaking of Phyllis, I am glad she's back in Genoa City. Michelle Stafford tickles me so much. I loved the scene where she walked into the restaurant to meet Heather, and people stared at her. Phyllis leaned down to their table and stared them right in the face, daring them to say a word to her. Man, I wish I had that kind of confidence.
But confidence aside, the road before Phyllis is strewn with obstacles, and Tucker still has her under his thumb. Christine will not let Phyllis off without a fight. They have had bad blood for decades. Although Christine righteously declared that she would never allow her personal feelings to cloud her professional judgment, we see her reminiscing about her past with Phyllis, and Phyllis doing the same.
In my humble opinion, Y&R reigns supreme in using flashbacks and weaving their rich history into current storylines. Multiple times in recent weeks, we have seen characters thinking about their past and the Y&R producers digging through that vintage footage and giving us classic scenes. I loved the old Jack and Leona Love flashbacks this week!
Why can Y&R do that? Because they have also done a better job keeping their core cast intact than other soaps. Consider this list of actors who have been there for decades: Eric Braeden, Melody Thomas Scott, Eileen Davidson, Tracey E Bregman, Peter Bergman, and Michelle Stafford. Sharon Case, Michael Damian, Bryton James, Joshua Morrow, Beth Maitland, Jess Walton, Christel Khalil, Christian LeBlanc, Amelia Heinle, Camryn Grimes, and Lauralee Bell. Not to mention Doug Davidson, until his sad release, and our beloved Jeanne Cooper and Kristoff St John, until they passed from this earth. Sometimes, people come and go, like Michael Damien, Tricia Cast, and Michael Graziadei. Still, when they come back, it's not a new person. It's the original actor.
When I watch Y&R, I rarely have to say, "Who is that?" because I have known them for years. That continuity allows for deeper and more meaningful storytelling. I appreciate that and always welcome the nods to the past. As I mentioned in previous columns, I got my first glimpse of Y&R when I was a tween, and now, I'm in the AARP, so it's been a minute.
But I digress. Phyllis met with Heather, who had taken over her case from Michael. She urged Heather to put Carson into protective custody so he could not change his story or disappear before her trial. Knowing Phyllis as her former mother-in-law sets off Heather's spidey senses, and she is curious why Phyllis would assume that would happen. Under pressure, Phyllis admitted that Tucker was pulling the strings. Tucker overheard and whisked Carson away into hiding so as not to lose his control over Phyllis.
One soap trope that drives me nuts is any variation of this: "I'm going to have a highly sensitive conversation, which, if overheard, will destroy my life, in the most public place possible, where anyone can overhear me, and the person who overhears me will be my nemesis."
I always scream "Shut up!" at my TV, but they never shut up.
Across town, Sharon has dinner with Chance and asks his advice about the wisdom of working with Adam again. He is not convinced it's the best idea for her. Sharon thinks it can be a win-win-win for her, Adam, and Nick and is willing to take on the role of mediator between the two Newman brothers, both of whom she has been romantically involved with.
Adam has a plan more significant than his plan to absorb Newman Media. Did you see Sally's face when Nick waxed poetic about what a great team he and Sharon had been in the past? Adam wants Sally back, and by agreeing to work with Nick and Sharon, I think Adam intends to push those two crazy kids back together so he can clear the path to Sally. I have no facts to back this up, just suspicions.
I am disappointed that Y&R didn't let us see Sally's change of heart -- her visit to her grandma and Coco were off-screen. Sally told Adam that her family told her to go easy on Adam, which helped turn her thinking around. Still, I would have loved to have witnessed that conversation and watched Sally go from hatred to compassion over the decision Adam was forced to make. When I took writing in college, our professor had a list of ten writing rules, one of which was "Show, don't tell." Meaning not to have one character acting as a narrator explaining things; instead, write scenes where we get to witness what happens. Take us into the story as witnesses versus hearing secondhand info. This week, Y&R broke that rule.
But honestly, as things stand in Hollywood right now, between the actors' and writers' strikes, I can forgive them. I can see that hiring two extra actors and building a new set is not practical. I hope the writers and actors can come to an agreement soon, and I am rooting for them to get the money they deserve.
As a writer myself, I understand it. For instance, I was a travel agent for two decades and have written many travel articles. Let's say I write "How to renew a passport" for Magazine A. They pay me 100 bucks. But then that publication sells my article to another publication, and I get zero. They sell it to another magazine, and I get zero. Sometimes, I don't even know my writing is in another publication until someone else sees it and tells me. So, I got paid 100 bucks, but the magazine I sold it to has made 2,000 bucks on my article by licensing it out to various other outlets, and I don't even get a nickel cut. Sometimes, my name is not even on it, so I can't claim it on my résumé. That doesn't seem fair to me. I am rooting for the writers to get a fair share of the profits they generate and credit for their work.
But back to Genoa City. I am not sure what to make of Tucker. He's very confusing. He tries to persuade Ashley to let go of her vendetta with Jack and focus on the new thing they are building. Still, he's also blackmailing Phyllis to destroy Diane. So, he does or does not want to keep the war between Jack and Ashley alive? I would love to hear your take on this and see what you think Tucker is up to. All I know for sure is that I love Trevor St. John, and he and Eileen Davidson are pretty together.
Sometimes, I think he genuinely loves Ashley, but then he seems jealous when his former paramour Audra is out with another man. This all leaves me perplexed.
Audra is a character I love to hate. Her ambition knows no bounds, and she will use any means necessary to reach the top. Tucker, Noah, Adam, Kyle, or Nate -- she will seductively growl in any man's ear to get one rung up the ladder.
Nate also has his sights set on the top, but Victor tells him in no uncertain terms that no one except a Newman will ever sit at the top of his company. Nate took it all in and then went in and sat in Victoria's chair like it was the Iron Throne and he was the king. It was as if he had heard Victor but didn't believe him. Perhaps Nate thinks if he can get the princess to marry him, he will be deemed a Newman and can still become king. I don't know, but he's certainly not deterred by his heart-to-heart with Victor.
There were a lot of passionate scenes this week, but my favorite was the scene on Friday between Adam and Victor. Victor became totally exasperated with Adam's perpetual chip on his shoulder and shouted at him, trying to break through Adam's fog.
Adam's voice broke as he told Victor he was tired of crawling to Victor for approval. Victor growled at Adam that he was tired of Adam's attitude; Victor confessed that he'd hoped for years that Adam would overcome his resentment at having grown up without a father. Victor reminded Adam that it was Adam's mother's fault and not Victor's. He never wanted to be away from his son; Hope chose that. He reminded Adam of all the times Adam walked away willingly from the family and stressed that Victor had never pushed him away or disowned him; it was always Adam's own choice.
Adam asked his father whether, if he let go of everything Newman media, Victor would still allow him to let the Adustus-Kirsten merger go through with Adam in it as they had planned. Still, Victor didn't trust that Adam could let things go. So, since Adam couldn't play nice with others, he will have to have Victor acting as his Yoda and advising and mentoring him on his every move. Oh, yeah, this should be fun,
Victor was so frustrated after his talk with his stubborn son that he took to the punching bags like the old days. May I just say that Eric Braeden is a badass? He's 81 years old, and I am 100% positive he could take any of you in a fight. This remarkable man is battling cancer and still acting and beating the hell out of a punching bag. He wows me in everything he does.
Okay, readers, I have a short poll. Chance. Would you prefer to see him with Sharon or with Summer?
I vote for Summer. While I love Sharon Case and will admit that the Sharon/Chance kiss was steamy, there is something so dreamy about the scenes between Connor Floyd and Allison Lanier. I get giddy when I see them together. Summer has screwed up her life so much, and even though Chance wishes she hadn't lied about her mother, I think he feels compassion for her, too. I think he might be the man to help her put Kyle in her rearview mirror. And when Audra is done with Kyle and spits him out onto the curb, I hope Summer doesn't take him back. At least, that's how I feel today, but I am fickle on this matter because I wanted them back together two days ago.
Abby and Devon are happy, and Abby feels guilty about their bliss. Have you ever felt that way, my friends? I know I have. Sometimes, my life has been so perfect that when I look around and see the pain of others struggling, I ask God, "Why do I get to be so happy when my friend (has cancer, is going through a divorce, or lost a loved one)? I understood that scene with Abby because sometimes we feel undeserving of the good fortune we have had in life. But as I have aged, I have learned to practice gratitude and be thankful for those carefree seasons of perfection because they don't last forever.
What will happen tomorrow, dear readers? Will Sally take Victor up on his offer to set her up with her own design company with an unlimited budget and free office space? (Of course, she will!) Will Lauren and Phyllis be able to dig up dirt on Tucker that's so powerful that he will drop his blackmail plot against Phyllis? Will Connor be bratty again and then apologize after he makes his mom cry? Will Jill zoom in and tell Abby to leave Katherine's house?
Will Diane and Jack have a real honeymoon, or will he just take her to Crimson Lights for a latte with that creepy puppet? Will Billy decide he hates both of his siblings and work and go back to being an inebriated playboy? Will Adam come up with an even more terrible name for a company than Adustus? Will Phyllis stare down any more diner patrons? Will Jack's flashbacks of Diane include that year when Maura West was Diane? I'd love to see that, too.
Only tomorrow knows, dear readers, and I will tune in tomorrow as long as there are tomorrows.
What are your thoughts on The Young and the Restless? What did you think of this week's Two Scoops? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.