Farewell, Kristoff St. John
There are weeks when I wish I was writing, and I'm not. There are weeks I'm glad I'm writing. Then, there are weeks like this one, where nothing that happened on the screen matched what happened off the screen, and I wish I didn't have to write about it. I was at work at the day job when a friend sent me the news about Kristoff St. John. It didn't make sense then. It doesn't make sense now. There are no words that I can write that will make it okay or make it better. But it is my week to write, so I will try to do my best to honor this man who shared his talent and passion with us for 27 years. Twenty. Seven. Years.
I was glad the tribute to Kristoff was him in his own words, with scenes of him throughout his time on The Young and the Restless. It was appropriate and it was nice, for lack of a better word. I had forgotten how much he changed over the years because we all changed with him, but his smile and the warmth it conveyed were present through all the moments that aired. He was charming and handsome. I didn't always like the character's behaviors, but that was the way he was written, and I liked him more often than I didn't (no soap character would be interesting if they were all Pollyanna all the time). Kristoff St. John gave his all to a role that defined him, and the connection he had to his fellow actors showed through in their scenes together. Reading all the tributes to him is impossible because he was so loved and there are so many.
Kristoff had been off the screen more than he'd been on recently, and I know he was dealing with some of the pain of losing his son. His son's suicide hit him hard, and he never got over that, but what parent does? He had found joy recently with his new fiancée, and they seemed very much in love, so I thought the romance and the engagement were other reasons he wasn't on the screen as much. I never thought he was being punished. I thought he was working through some things and would be back when he was ready. And I think he would have been had he not passed away this week.
The tribute was nice, but it is not all that The Young and the Restless will do to honor him. With the way shows tape, unfortunately, anything that was filmed this week will not air for about six weeks, and the writing takes even longer. Y&R has been clear that there will be more of a tribute to Kristoff St. John, despite rumors that have been circulating. It just can't happen this week. Whatever the show chooses to do, I know I'll need a box of Kleenex to watch it.
My deepest condolences to Kristoff St. John's children, family, fiancée, loved ones, friends, coworkers -- to all the people who loved and knew him. As viewers, we feel a sense of loss because his work touched us, and he was a part of our lives for so many years. But our loss is nothing compared to what those who knew him feel, and I am deeply sorry for their pain. And I'm sorry that he died, as Sheryl Underwood said on The Talk, of a broken heart. Thank you, Kristoff, for all the years of loving work.
And now, on to other things Y&R, although, in all honesty, when I watched this week, the shadow of Kristoff's death loomed large over everything I saw, so I took fewer notes than I've ever taken before.
Victor Didn't Do It
I know I'm stating the obvious, but Victor did not kill J.T. When Friday's show ended, he was being led out in handcuffs for the trial, but Nikki couldn't take it and was poised for a confession. The doo-doo is about to hit the fan, folks! And a lot of people could get splattered with it. But I have one giant problem with the case being pushed up so fast this week. First, the background (briefly).
Someone's been living in the walls. I don't know who. Victor and Nick speculated it was J.T., which (on a soap) usually means it isn't. Still, there's the issue of his blood being on the shirt he hadn't been wearing when he died, and that amount of blood would take some work to retrieve. If he's really dead and someone unburied him and harvested blood from his corpse (clearly, we're dealing with a twisted individual), then someone is going to go way out of his or her way to frame Victor.
I'm still not ruling out Phyllis, who hates him and told her television she wasn't the only one who wanted to see him go down for his crime. But Phyllis wasn't acting alone if she's involved. So, who could be working with her. Clearly J.T. is an option if he's not dead. But there's also a casting call for a very handsome man (I will not complain about having to look at a handsome man), and that has led to speculation that perhaps an undead Adam is going to return. That could be very interesting, for a lot of reasons. It could also lead to some confusion around Christian, whose paternity could become a factor, even though Adam wanted Nick to have the child and faked the results to make that happen.
Here is my top, biggest, number one problem with the murder trial being rushed: the recording. There are so many problems with this recording!
The first problem is that it came as an anonymous email audio file. In all honesty, you could record me and my boyfriend, chop it up, and convict us. Half of what I say is bad when taken out of context (not murder bad, necessarily, but it could sound perverted, at the very least)! There is absolutely no way that this recording can be verified as being a valid conversation. Technology makes it very easy to piece recordings and photographs together so it's difficult or nearly impossible to tell what's real and what's not. We can't even tell from an anonymous recording if it's the real person or a really good vocal impersonator. Sometimes when I hear President Trump speak, I feel like I'm hearing an impersonator because some of them are so good!
The next big problem is that Michael told them it was damaging. How is this anonymously emailed random audio file damaging? Aside from the obvious above problems with not even knowing for sure it's one continuous conversation (which Nick and Victor seem to think it wasn't, and I didn't go back and review to see if it was or if it was hobbled together), this conversation is inadmissible in court.
I was at a meeting, "taking notes" on my computer (researching on Google University), and I found numerous sources citing federal and state law, including documents from Wisconsin's official government pages, which clearly state that when a conversation is recorded, such as via wiretap or in person, one party has to consent (Wisconsin is a one party consent state; there are only a handful where both parties need to consent). A wiretap would require a warrant, and this isn't a wiretap and there isn't a warrant. Eavesdropping recordings are illegal (and again, there is no way to verify this recording due to the manner in which it arrived). In fact, it is a felony in Wisconsin to record people without one party's consent. And the breaking and entering, setting up surveillance equipment in the walls of a house you don't own? Outright illegal. Unless it's Victor who did it, which I don't believe, although that would be a crazy plot twist!
How is this awesome lawyer Michael not challenging this? How could he tell Victor and family that it was damaging? How could Christine use this to prosecute? How could Rey feel it was the missing link? At best, a random recording like this sent to police would give them a potential perpetrator to look at. There is no way in the real world this bit of evidence could be a real threat. I doubt it could even be played in the courtroom because it would taint the jury, but it would not be legal. So, Nikki does not need to confess. But I fear she will because of poor legal representation.
I told Luke, who I was watching with me on Friday, that the funniest thing would be if everyone confessed. There have been cases thrown out because there was no way to tell who did it because too many people with plausible stories have confessed. That would be great soapy drama. J.T. could still be dead, but without the smoking gun (or smoking fireplace poker with proper DNA and fingerprints), there would be no way to prosecute. There isn't a cause of death, and I bet there's no gunpowder residue on the bloody shirt (I wonder if there are even skin cells on the inside, such as on the collar). You can't put everyone in jail for a murder when only one person did it. Anyway, I don't think that's going to happen. So, I'll continue to be bothered that this inadmissible evidence has been used as such a major plot device (I originally typed that as "blot device," which it may be -- a blot on the plot).
With a Little Help from My Friends
I know I've mentioned this before when there are hints that someone might be making a friend or acting like a friend: Y&R needs more friendships to feel more real. I like that Mariah and Kyle are kind of friends; that works. People need fuller, richer, deeper connections and purposes, and friendship help us find that. Now, it seems they're trying to tie Mia to anyone else on canvas (and since she and Rey are happily reunited, and they talked about their past and their problems, and he said if she cheats again, they're done, it's only a matter of time for them).
Last week, Mia did Phyllis' makeup, and they got to chatting, ending with a hug. But Phyllis giving relationship advice reminded me of psychiatrists who are brilliant at saving other people and families but oblivious to their own. Now, before people get mad at me and say I hate Phyllis (let me admit that I still wonder what Michelle Stafford would be doing with this material), this is not an anti-Phyllis rant. It just seems Phyllis is all emotional reaction in her own life, whereas when she looks at other people's lives, she isn't emotionally invested and has good insight. It is hard to turn that insight around on yourself. Some of us never get it right.
But her advice to Mia last week was astute. And maybe she'll get more insight for herself, too -- and realize that while the chemistry with Nick is hot, she really isn't his first choice. And she deserves to be somebody's first choice. Is there a new man headed to the screen? I'd like her to not be with one of her exes. A character this driven deserves better than yo-yo relationships. How would she thrive in a healthy relationship? Or would her experience make her think it wouldn't last, and she might perhaps undermine it? There is so much that could be done with Phyllis. And it's being wasted on Nick. Plus, I had expected the Abbots to make a move against her sooner to oust her as CEO, but everyone's playing nice.
Would it improve or damage both characters if Mia and Phyllis became friends? They're alike in that they're driven, which could sometimes cause people to butt heads, but their goals are different, which could lead to more supportive and less conflictual connections. I'm not sure. Mia has not been a very sympathetic character so far, but a touch of humanity, a solid and supportive friendship, could make a world of difference for her. And making her tied to a friend instead of longing for brothers, would also help her character. Not being petty with Abby would help. Phyllis could give her some good guidance that way. And maybe they could both explore how insecurity led them to make bad choices, and they could show signs of growth.
There was also the "attempt" for Mia and Abby to be friends, and while the concept has merit, I don't think it can ever happen because Mia still wants Arturo, and Abby knows it. Their pettiness is getting old. I commend Abby for making the effort initially, but Mia isn't going to be able to do it, and with the kitteny comments (milder than their former catty comments?), it's clearly going to be a very territorial family connection.
When Rey pushed Mia to be supportive and she forced the hug on Abby, Abby's sneer was a little priceless, as far as soap facial expressions go. The hug was a little too much. Then Mia being jealous that Arturo would get his picture taken with Abby was back to more of the same ridiculousness. Get over it. You weren't the love of his life. You're with the supposed love of your life. Anyway, it's not the friendship pairing I'd choose. Minimizing the Mia/Abby time would help the show a lot.
Is there a way to give Mia more of a connection on the show than Rey? Phyllis was the closest I saw, but I don't see that being a regular thing. Without ties, Mia is going to be hard to root for. I get that we need new blood, but we need to know why we care about them, too, and finding something likeable about her would help.
Lola and Abby seem to have a real friendship, beyond their family near relationships. I'd like this to continue. Two businesswomen working together to try to be successful is a good thing. Getting Abby involved in Lola's breakup mess? On the fence with that. But I'd trust Abby's advice before I'd trust Mia's (which was to just have sex, it's no big deal).
Trouble in Paradise
Summer is a problem. She truly is. But Lola is also... off. I can't put my finger on it, but there's something about her virginity that is awkward for me. I'm totally on board with someone being a virgin if she (or he) wants to save herself for marriage or if she wants to have only one partner in her life. God knows a lot of people would probably have liked that. If she wants to just feel safe, that's fine, too. But I don't know what her motivation is. Kyle wasn't wrong when he said he wasn't sure when or if Lola would be ready. I'm not sure she'll ever be ready, either.
Mia's disbelief that Lola hadn't been with a guy suddenly made me wonder if maybe she had and regretted it? I don't know. I know Kyle has been good and patient and is waiting for her because he loves her, but she finds petty reasons to push him away and is insecure because she won't sleep with him. It confuses me and makes my head hurt sometimes. Would Summer be a problem if you didn't make her so much of a problem?
The fight in Crimson Lights that was overheard by the group of people at the table only added fuel to the fire. Was Summer out of line for draping herself all over Kyle while showing Lola the pictures? Of course! I wouldn't want my boyfriend's ex draped all over him while showing me pictures. That would look like she wants a little something-something, and clearly Summer does -- and is willing to use Fen to make it happen. As an aside, Summer should not have jumped in with relationship "advice" right after the embarrassing moment. Even if she's not wrong, the timing was. But she's not the right one for Kyle.
Speaking of Fen, he really has not been putting much into becoming a star. He wants it to happen and to bask in the glory, but he seems quite okay with letting Ana do the work. I was glad Neil, in his last appearance, talked her into performing for her brother. I did not like the song, but that wasn't her fault. The song itslef just seemed empty. But when Fen walked in late at the end of it, I thought it was appropriate. You don't earn the right to be a star if you're not showing up for your big debuts because you're using your new stardom to win a girl who still doesn't think much of you, even with a hit single.
I don't know where all these relationships will go. I don't want Kyle with Summer, though. I hope they don't meet for drinks. I definitely don't want them to end up in bed together. I don't care if Kyle and Lola reconnect. He's tried really hard, but he's not going to be able to get it right. She's too busy with her restaurant, too unsure of what she wants, too insecure of his connection with Summer. It's too much to invest my energy into right now. She can have her successful restaurant, and they can maybe go their separate ways. Although as I write this, I hope they get past the Summer storm.
Arturo's attitude toward receiving gifts from a rich romantic partner is nothing like Lola's!
Good on Sharon for doing the right thing and showing Rey the recording, even though, as I said way above, it's inadmissible. She really didn't have a choice.
When Summer admitted to ruining everything between Phyllis and Billy and said there was "no way you can completely forgive me," Phyllis wasn't showing that Summer was wrong. Even if she said it wasn't so later.
When Abby said she was going to change the narrative pre-trial, I was concerned she was going to rush a marriage and have Victor walk her down the aisle.
Victor's gut is telling him Arturo isn't trustworthy and asking Nick to watch out for Abby. Is it Victor's gut or the fact that Arturo slept with Nikki? I'd like Abby to be happy, but I don't know if Arturo is the right guy. I'm getting more doubts now, just from little things he does and some of his reactions.
I loved that Victor changed into the tie Nikki had picked.
I don't know when the new material, post-Mal Young, will air, but I'm ready for some of the current storylines to wrap up and for new, exciting stories to begin. Until that happens, I'll be right here watching with you!
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