The Fisher kings: Dysfunction junction
by Nel
For the Week of July 13, 2020
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How many of us really have the ideal family life that is harmonious and well balanced? Methinks not many. We have all known at least one dysfunctional family, but when it comes to soaps, do well-balanced families even exist? Y&R's Fisher/Baldwin family epitomizes dysfunctional, so it's time to dissect the family and find some of the fun in their dysfunction.

I'm going to give you a quick tour of the Fisher/Baldwin family. Some families say they put the "fun" in "dysfunction," but I think these guys put in the "dys." Let's start with Gloria Fisher and her poor choices when it came to a mate. From the first moment I saw Gloria, I had a love/hate relationship with her. Gloria led a very colorful life, and that color never faded over the years.

Gloria's first major relationship was with college scholarship dropout-turned hippie, Lowell Baldwin. They weren't married, but they lived on a commune, and this intellectual... right. He drove a school bus for a living. They are Michael's parents, and Michael was maybe the best thing that came from their relationship. Lowell was a suspect in a bank bombing that killed a man, so he opted to abandon Gloria and their son and fled to Canada. Isn't he the kind of guy you just can't wait to bring home to mom and pop?

Gloria moved on with her life and worked as a waitress. That's when she met and married Tom Fisher, a real gem of a man. Kevin was the product of that union. Tom was a drunk who abused Michael and Kevin, physically and verbally, and he would lock Kevin in a closet. He was dubbed "Terrible Tom." Gloria feared Tom and failed to stop him from abusing her boys. Michael eventually escaped from home as a teenager, so Kevin ended up getting all the abuse, because Tom never slowed down. Once Kevin was old enough to leave home, he moved in with Michael, who was a struggling law student, and Kevin became an apprentice electrician.

By the time Gloria arrived in Genoa City to join her two sons, Kevin had been arrested for theft, arson, and the electrocution of Brittany Hodges, a stripper. Gloria must have been so proud of Kevin. Michael allowed Gloria and Kevin to use his membership at the Athletic Club, where Gloria met John Abbott, who was unaware that she was the mother of both the unscrupulous attorney, Michael Baldwin, and Kevin Fisher, who had tried to murder his granddaughter Colleen by burning down Gina's restaurant. Yet, despite all that, Gloria and John eventually married.

When John discovered that Gloria was Michael and Kevin's mother, he was ready to end the union, but after John broke his hip in a fall, Gloria managed to weasel her way back into his life while he recuperated. Terrible Tom arrived in Genoa City, and, with a bit of digging, Michael discovered that Gloria's divorce from Tom had never been filed, so Michael thought it would be a good idea for Gloria to declare Tom legally dead. When Tom discovered the ad, he confronted Gloria, who was shocked and terrified to see him. Gloria wound up paying Tom blackmail money that she stole from John. Isn't love grand? In the end, John killed Tom and was sent to prison, which led to his death.

Gloria didn't like the way she was treated by Jack and Ashley, but she was okay with Tom abusing her kids? Jack and Ashley's treatment was a loving caress in comparison to the way she'd been treated by Terrible Tom. She vowed to get even with the Abbotts. She got hold of the new product Ashley had developed, and she compromised it with a cleaning solution. She asked Ashley for a sample of the skin cream, applied it to her face, and wound up with a major facial burn.

Brilliant! Nothing like disfiguring yourself to prove a point, right? She showed everyone that Ashley's cream was a hazard. What Gloria didn't realize was that samples had already been distributed, and a woman died after using the cream. To avoid a lawsuit, Jabot paid the husband of the dead woman off, and as owner of Jabot, Katherine fired Jack as a result.

On a roll, Gloria ingratiated herself to Katherine and Jill, and she landed a job at Jabot as Fashion Consultant and got Kevin hired as a Director of Internet Affairs. Another brilliant move by Gloria -- installing her criminal son as the Internet guru. She shared her schemes with Michael, and they reluctantly kept her secrets.

After John died, Gloria set her sights on Will Bardwell. He was the second decent choice she'd made, but for all the wrong reasons. Will had recently come into a vast inheritance. Determined to win him and his millions, she attended widow's grief counseling to be with Will, but she had competition. Jill was also fighting for Will's attention. Gloria was determined to gain access to Will's inheritance. That vixen used a little sexual enhancement drug to make sure that Jill and Ji Min were caught in a compromising position in the board room when she and Will arrived. Will immediately dumped Jill. Michael and Kevin certainly had quite the role model.

It didn't take long for Gloria to cajole Will into marrying her after she discovered that Will knew she'd tainted the Jabot skin cream. After Will suffered a stroke and died, Gloria discovered that Will's inheritance amounted to 50 million dollars. Rather than mourning Will, Gloria threw an elaborate memorial party at the Athletic Club. Jeffrey Bardwell, Will's twin brother, turned up for the event.

Gloria spent "her" inheritance like it was a money tree and would keep growing more cash. Jeffrey started coming on to Gloria, but she didn't trust him because she thought he was after "her" money. Well, if the shoe fits! Of course, Jeffrey was after the money. Jeffrey had discovered Gloria's face cream secret, and he blackmailed her into marrying him to keep her secret. Oh, payback is a bitch! Jeffrey really enjoyed spending "her" money.

Once it was discovered that Jack had falsified John's will, a judge awarded Gloria half of the Abbott manor. When Gloria and Jeffrey moved in, Jack and Sharon refused to move out. Jeffrey continued to blackmail Gloria, and he forced her to become his wife in every way. Gloria eventually decided to change her karma and gave the mansion back to Jack. At that point, she and Jeffrey realized they really were attracted to each other, but in the end, Jeffrey filed for divorce and asked for half of Gloria's net worth as a settlement. While trying to offset her karma, Gloria made legal arrangements to donate half of her assets to a charitable foundation. Gloria was left penniless after Jeffrey received the other half of her assets in the divorce settlement. Karma really knows how to kick someone's ass.

Gloria never changed. She continued to scheme her way through life and always looked for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow until she faded into the sunset.

Let's have a peek at sweet Michael Baldwin. I bet it made Gloria's heart go pitter-pat when she discovered that Michael had become an unscrupulous lawyer, a sexual predator, and a criminal.

Michael had been working in a very prestigious law firm when Christine Blair was hired to work in the same office. Christine was very appreciative of working with Michael until he kissed her after a victory in court. He suggested they develop a more friendly relationship that would move her up the hierarchy. Is that really a line that women would fall for? Christine didn't. She was unimpressed and proceeded to make inquiries about sexual harassment. When she discovered that Michael had done the same to other women, she filed a sexual harassment suit.

In order to provide foolproof evidence of Michael's favorite pastime, Christine and Danny staged a breakup and caught Michael's sexual advance on tape. Michael was fired, but he was immediately hired in another prestigious law firm. Christine went to the disciplinary committee at Michael's firm. Michael claimed that Christine had entrapped him, but he was found guilty, and he lost his job.

Out for revenge, Michael found a way to get into Christine's apartment, but he was shot by Paul and sent to prison for four years. I bet he looked really good in an orange suit. To add insult to injury, Christine testified against Michael at his parole hearing. However, kind of like in real life with sexual crimes, the parole board felt he'd reformed, and they freed him.

Michael couldn't get a job as a lawyer, so he became a paralegal. His first case as a paralegal was between Danny and Phyllis. Christine acted as Danny's attorney. It was at this point that Michael and Phyllis became lovers. Michael pleaded with Christine to help him get his law license back, and Christine agreed to help him after he gave Danny a kidney after Danny was almost beaten to death. Christine became his parole officer after his license was reinstated. It did my heart good when Christine whopped Michael's ass because he'd dismissed the power of a woman.

Phyllis became jealous of Michael's bond with Diane Newman when he took on her case against Victor's quickie divorce from her so he could marry Nikki on her deathbed. Phyllis, the schemer, kidnapped, bound, and gagged Michael as punishment. He eventually escaped, and in the end, he and Phyllis became best friends. Will he ever learn not to underestimate a woman?

For the most part, after that time, Michael tried to be a model citizen. Christine began to accept his advice and opinions, and eventually, she agreed to go into practice with him. Michael and Christine grew closer, and she accepted his marriage proposal.

Just before their wedding day, Michael confessed to Christine that he'd arranged to have Isabella meet Paul so that Christine and Paul would split for good and so he would have Christine. Christine broke the engagement, and Michael flew to Las Angeles to inform Paul that he and Christine had broken up.

Isabella staged her own death after she'd called Michael and told him that someone was attempting to break into her home. Michael heard Isabella scream. Isabella had staged her own death using Christine. Christine woke up in her car, in the woods. She told Michael that her only recollection was of Isabella screaming for Christine not to hurt her and blood on a boat. Michael found the boat and destroyed the evidence against Christine.

Michael's past always seemed to surface and put him on the wrong side of the law. Enter Victor Newman. Victor wasn't averse to breaking the law when it suited him. He discovered Michael's cover-up of Christine's alleged crime, and he blackmailed Michael into paying off a large retailer to give Newman's Safra cosmetics line the prime shelf space normally held by Jabot.

When the deed was done for Victor, and Christine hadn't committed the crime, Victor had no hold on him, but Michael wanted to stay on at Newman. Victor reluctantly agreed. A short time later, Michael was questioned by the federal authorities about the Newman bribes. Victor insisted that Michael make a deal and hopefully save his legal career. Victor was arrested for illegal activities. The color orange really suits Victor.

The best thing to ever happen to Michael was when he met Lauren Fenmore. They went from being lovers to a married couple. Lauren's past wasn't anything to write home about. She'd been a mean girl and she'd done her share of plotting and scheming, but in the end, she and Michael were really well suited for each other. Lauren had changed. As owner of Fenmore's, she'd become a respected and fierce businesswoman. Michael followed suit and made every effort to became a respected lawyer -- sort of.

Lauren discovered she was pregnant, and Michael was elated, until Lauren went into premature labor when she discovered that Michael had been working with Gloria in her shady dealings with Jabot. Lauren gave birth to a son, Fenmore Baldwin.

Michael met his long-lost father unexpectedly at Kevin and Jana's wedding. Lowell Baldwin was the ashram guru officiating at Kevin and Jana's hippie wedding. Lowell received quite the tongue-lashing from Gloria and Michael for abandoning them, but Lowell retorted with cosmic gibberish and asked them not to turn him over to the FBI. Hurt and in tears, Michael left, claiming he wouldn't turn Lowell in.

A short time later, Lowell turned up at Michael's, trying to explain his actions and to make amends for the past. Gloria and Michael made peace with him, but as Lowell was about to leave town, he was apprehended by the FBI. Jeffrey later admitted that he'd turned Lowell in.

Michael, for the most part, stayed on the right side of the law. His marriage to Lauren was solid, and they had a great relationship. They faced their problems with Fen together and helped Fen realize that crime and drugs weren't the way to go. The last we heard, Lauren and Michael got Fen into rehab for his drug use. Fen swore he would never go down that rabbit hole again.

As we close the door on Michael, we open the door to our darling Kevin. He'd been abused physically and mentally by Terrible Tom, and when he arrived in Genoa City, he was a very angry man. He'd been arrested for theft, arson, breaking and entering, hacking into security surveillance and computer systems, bookmaking, kidnapping, identity theft, money laundering, and attempted murder. Hello, mom and dad.

When Kevin arrived in Genoa City, he was the mousy bookkeeper at Marsino's Gentlemen's Club and was teased by the strippers and by Bobby for being socially inept. Kevin turned to a teen chat room to manipulate young, innocent girls, and that's where he met 15-year-old Lily Winters. Lily's friends Colleen and Sierra warned Lily to stay away from Kevin. When Kevin discovered that Colleen was interfering in his quest to win Lily, he became enraged and decided to get even with Colleen. He discovered where she would be meeting J.T. He met with Colleen before J.T. arrived, and he threatened Colleen. Like the coward he was, he ran off before J.T. arrived.

Lily continued to see Kevin, and she had sex with him. Colleen and Sierra discovered that Kevin used another name on the internet, "Fishing for Love," and they warned Lily. When Lily questioned him, he said that Colleen had been coming on to him. Colleen and Sierra finally told Dru and Neil Winters about Kevin. Neil confronted Kevin at his apartment while Lily escaped down the fire escape, in fear of getting caught.

Kevin discovered that Colleen had told Lily's parents about Lily seeing him. Kevin saw his opportunity when he arrived at Gina's. After the restaurant closed for the night Kevin locked Colleen in the freezer and set Gina's on fire. Kevin hightailed it back to Marsino's to give himself an alibi. When Bobby and Brittany returned from the gala they had attended, Kevin came on to Brittany, but she put him down. Kevin threatened that her singing career could go up in smoke.

After Lily confessed everything to her parents, Kevin wound up with two fathers gunning for him, Neil and Brad. Kevin endeared himself even more when he gifted Lily with a gift that kept on giving -- chlamydia.

Kevin had become friends with Mac, and she managed to get Kevin to see a psychiatrist. Kevin learned how to deal with his past, and he handled it well until he realized that Mac wasn't interested in him as anything more than a friend, but as close friends, they decided to go into business together. They convinced Nick and Sharon to sell Crimson Lights to them. Kevin used his lottery winnings for the purchase. Kevin and Mac ran the coffee shop together until Mac informed him that she would be moving to New Orleans to work with her father, Brock. She signed a power of attorney for Kevin to run the coffeehouse on his own.

Kevin hired Jana Hawkes to help. Jana became Kevin's first wife in a hippie-themed wedding at an ashram in Malibu. After Jana died from a brain aneurysm, he was forced to marry Angelina Veneziano, an alleged songbird, by Angelina's father, who was a mobster, but that marriage was annulled.

Kevin had a major delusion that he'd been put into an ambulance in a straitjacket and a chipmunk taunted him into jumping out of the ambulance while it was moving. Kevin and the chipmunk escaped and ran into the woods, where Kevin and the chipmunk had it out. Kevin suddenly remembered Jeffrey telling him to fight back. Kevin fought back, and he emerged from his delusional state. Gloria confessed that she'd convinced Kevin to help her trick Katherine. I'm sure everyone wished they could smack Gloria silly at this point. Whose mother does that?

Thankfully, after Katherine and Murphy had a chat with the governor, Kevin was granted amnesty.

Kevin met and eventually married Chloe Mitchell, who'd had a daughter, Delia, with Billy Abbott. Kevin adored Delia, but she was killed by a hit-and-run driver, allegedly Adam Newman. Grieving the loss of her child, Chloe became unstable and became obsessed about Billy and Adam. Chloe agreed to be institutionalized in California. She and Kevin divorced. Unable to let go of her anger against Adam, Chloe made several attempts to kill him. The last time she tried, she blew up a cabin with Adam inside. No one knew how or why the cabin blew up.

Kevin asked Chloe to marry him again, and she said yes. During the ceremony, when the rings were about to be exchanged, Chloe realized she was holding Adam's wedding ring. Chloe ran, and when Chelsea followed, Chloe knocked Chelsea out and bolted. Kevin and Billy received a note from Chloe telling them that one of them was Bella's father. The DNA test proved that Kevin was Bella's father and that Bella would live with him.

Nick and Chelsea tracked Chloe down, but Chelsea discovered Chloe unconscious. Dr. Harris pronounced Chloe dead. A private funeral was held, and it was officiated by Father Todd. Kevin stayed behind after everyone was gone. He was shaken when the coffin opened; Chloe sat up and told Kevin her death had been arranged by Victor. Kevin, Chloe, and Bella moved to Oregon, where Chloe changed her name.

Kevin was coerced by Victor to return to Genoa City. Victor wanted Kevin to clean out Nick's bank account. Nikki paid Kevin to do an online transfer from Victor's account to her offshore account, but the FBI seized all of the Newman assets, and Nikki warned Kevin to leave for Oregon before he was implicated. There's just no honesty among thieves.

Kevin, Chloe, and Bella returned to Genoa City after Adam had been found in Los Vegas and brought back to town. Once again, Chloe tried to kill Adam by shooting him in the stomach, but when he recovered, he kidnapped Chloe and made a deal with Kevin to help him get custody of Christian, or he would expose Chloe. Ah, Adam -- another criminal offspring.

Chloe was later arrested for arson for the cabin she'd blown up. Chloe pleaded temporary insanity due to the death of her daughter. Chloe was released, and Kevin, Chloe, and Bella moved into the Chancellor estate with Esther. Kevin had started afresh, but he was an unwilling pawn until he put an end to it. He resumed his job at the police station, and, so far, he hasn't looked back. Kevin has come a long way from the abused child and the criminal he'd been.

As strange as it might seem, this dysfunctional family, with a lot of issues, still managed to retain a close unity, in spite of everyone's criminal intent. Love comes in many different guises, and I guess that Gloria, Michael, and Kevin have shown that you don't have to be the picture-perfect family to be bound to each other.

Let me know how you feel about my opinions -- even if you think I'm completely wrong -- and that's a wrap until next time.
Nel

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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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