Yes, another week has flashed right by us!
And this was quite a big week for soaps, since the Emmys played out on Sunday evening.
Here’s a quick temperature check of what’s happening on screen.
The Lazarus of Oakdale: OK, I admit it. I was prepared to hate the James Stenbeck Redux, Take 243 story. I love Anthony Herrera, and love James when he’s being gothic and manipulative, but ATWT has stretched this story up, down and sideways and it was hard for me to believe any of it or care last time.
Yet, this time, his return has energized Oakdale. Paul has become a much, much more watchable character since he was taken out of the soul-draining story with Meg. His new, slightly more lighthearted temperament is fun, and Paul and Emily reuniting has been a blast.
Bringing Barbara back into the mix is another stroke of genius; Barbara’s struggles with Emily have been hysterical. And even better, Henry has been thrown into the mix as Paul’s newly-discovered half brother. The icing on the cake: the fabulous Lynn Herring as Audrey, Henry’s mom.
Instead of the dour, funeral-home darkness we were used to seeing from Paul/Meg/Dusty, this plays as a sparkling James Bond-esque thriller. Nicely done, ATWT.
History repeating itself: I also liked the scenes between Nina and Chloe this week. Nina’s been displeased about Chance seeing Chloe, but this week she actually arched her back at Chloe, hissed, and let her claws show a bit.
I didn’t catch the exact turn of phrase, but there was a great scene where Chloe was feigning innocence, and Nina chuckled and said something to the effect of, “I know you. I **was** you.”
Oh snap! I’d been waiting for those scenes for a while. It threads such a nice throughline through Y&R’s history, and the days when bitter enemies Jill and Katherine were reluctantly teaming up to break Phillip away from devious Nina.
It can’t be said enough – Tricia Cast’s return is perhaps the best thing to happen to Y&R this year. And I don’t think it’s just a familiarity thing, or nostalgia.
I’ve been thinking about some of the classic “tentpole” characters, ones that we really, REALLY loved. Charita Bauer playing Bert. Erika Slezak playing Viki. And, most clearly in my mind, Mary Stuart playing Jo. We loved these characters because we recognized that they could have been a friend, or next door neighbor. And we particularly responded to THESE characters because of their genuine warmth.
Watch Mary Stuart for 30 seconds and you’ll totally understand what I mean.
I don’t want to be predictable and say Tricia Cast is the “new” Mary Stuart, or Charita Bauer. But I think she shares some characteristics with those characters, and she is, if not quite as warm and unguarded, a funny, sarcastic, dependable friend.
Doris Wolfe, for the win. Enough said.
Oh, show. Why you didn’t use Orlagh Cassidy every day, I don’t know. She’s a gem, and Doris has become one of my favorite characters. (I still wonder if the rumor about who Ashlee’s father is will come true.)
WTF: NEGATIVE NOTES
Off-key: Sorry, ATWT. It seems as soon as I say one nice thing, I’ve got to follow up with a complaint. This week’s complaint is about Luke and Noah.
The Nukies will undoubtedly come after me with flaming torches and Taser guns, but I have to say it unequivocally: After watching the last several weeks of wishy-washy back and forth, I really, REALLY wish that Luke and Noah would break up.
They were an ideal couple when they met for where they both were in their lives at that time. I just don’t think that’s the case anymore. To be more specific, Luke has changed a great deal and grown (some positive changes, some negative ones). Noah, on the other hand, seems to be stuck in a rut. Despite his burgeoning film career, Noah still seems to be timid and unemotional in many ways.
Is Noah’s lack of engagement a writing choice? An acting choice? I don’t know. But even when I watched the illogical scenes where Noah burned Daddy’s Purple Heart medals, his responses seem to only be surface deep.
Assuming it’s a creative choice, it’s a valid character trait – there are certainly young men like Noah who struggle with their sexuality and aren’t as open or comfortable about it. I just think that’s making Noah incompatible with Luke. I think it would be a great thing for the boys to be mature enough to acknowledge their differences, affirm their love, and go off in separate directions. I’d like to see Luke with a boyfriend who can challenge him more and take him to a different stage in his life.
UPDATE: Ow! It burns! Nuke fans did, indeed, respond to these comments; here’s my response to their response.
As the sun sets: I am enjoying most of the stories on Guiding Light as it comes to an end, but I’m still pissed and annoyed that there’s been such a big focus on a few stories that should have been jettisoned months ago.
The three most irksome stories? The Jeffrey/Deadmund saga, Mallet and Marina, and the Cyrus Foley follies.
I actually like Cyrus, despite his association with the dreadful airtime leech Grady, and his out-of-character romance with Harley. The revelation that he was Jenna’s son would have been a nice touch – if it had played out a year ago, when his brother Coop was on canvas. And Cyrus and Mel share great chemistry. But frankly, we should have seen the last of him a few months ago. A scene with Cyrus and Mel is in the final episode, and I have to say, “Whatever for?”
I’m OK with the drama that baby Henry has stirred up, and have enjoyed the scenes over the past week with Shayne stepping up as his dad. But why did we have to watch months of Mallet and Marina, quite possibly the most boring couple in the history of ever, work together to adopt and raise Henry if this was where it was ending up? It makes no sense.
I’ve struggled to enjoy Jeffrey and Edmund since their respective introductions; San Cristobel was not a favorite story of mine. Edmund (and David Andrew McDonald) has won me over with his wit and sarcasm, but I still can’t embrace Jeffrey O’Neill. And this story is aggravating; it makes Jeffrey look like an ass for not trusting Reva, and it ultimately is a chase-your-own-tail story where everyone will end up where they started. That makes no sense whatsoever.