Daddy issues and deathly dialogue.
There was once a British sitcom called One Foot in the Grave. It was about a retired man whose daily life was filled with convoluted misadventures. Whenever a new misfortune befell him and left him humiliated, he would yell out, “I don’t believe it!” This only got funnier as it happened more and more, year after year.
What’s so hard to believe?
With the truth about Ashland Locke’s phony cancer finally coming out, a lot of characters on Young and the Restless were gasping that they couldn’t believe things this week. I lost track of how many times the word “believe” was bandied about on Wednesday’s Y&R episode, where Ashland threatened Nate, who turned to the Newmans to expose the man.
Nate couldn’t believe that a supposedly brilliant doctor like himself couldn’t tell a cancer patient from a fake. Super nurse Elena couldn’t believe that anyone would lie about being sick. Adam couldn’t believe how cool and collected Victor was with the family supposedly under threat. Victoria couldn’t make up her mind about what to believe.
Meanwhile, Nick seemed to believe that he was a character in a mob movie as he went around talking about “the family” and what happens to people who cross it. This, even though he knows better than anyone that the Newmans are a group of people who barely communicate and have done each other more damage than anyone else.
Which way Ashland Locke?
Most unbelievable of all this was that Ashland seemed to scheme this so badly and didn’t have much of a backup plan in case he got caught. This leads me to worry there might not be much of a backup plot either. What happens when Ashland isn’t dying but his marriage is dead? That’s where it looks like this is going.
At least Ashland has only been faking his suffering, unlike a significant amount of the other male characters on the show. In this situation, that’s ended up a lot more interesting to watch.
However, I can’t help but think this would play out differently if Richard Burgi still played the role because he would have given his scenes a different kind of dangerous desperation.
Robert Newman seems suitably lost and his appearance, welcome though it is, at this stage in Locke’s character arc, gives it a surreal quality it might otherwise have lacked. A new actor coming it at the point where everyone realized that his character had been faking who he was seems a bit on the nose.
Of course Locke was always potentially a fake, but now that it has been dramatized in such an overt way, not exploiting the difference between the two actors more than they have feels like a wasted opportunity. Given Robert Newman’s iconic soap history, the question is will the writers drive him to be a sociopath or a guy so sappy he will try cloning Victoria?
It’s easy to see why Victoria would think that the mustache was trying to hornswoggle her by telling horrible lies about her husband. He has a pretty long history of that. This also makes it rather unsurprising. As more than a couple of characters pointed out, Victor and Ashland are increasingly blurred, making Locke’s daddy dynamic with Victoria that much more obvious.
Perhaps the most compelling thing, even more than the evidence he got Michael to find, was how much Victor sailed on it. At least when he didn’t have to be in the same room as Locke, Victor just kept treating everything with Zen calm like it would pass with destiny unfolding.
At least he didn’t succumb to uttering the kind of positive-thinking-affirmative-speak that seems to pop out of the mouths of so many Genoa City residents, who tend to talk like they read self-help books rather than the expensive picture books they have on their shelves.
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We need to talk.
This is also part of a broader problem with the show, maybe the biggest problem, namely the way the dialogue is written. If there are occasional good lines, these stick out because they are rare. Most of the time, the characters tend to speak like they are making PowerPoint presentations that start with a leading argument and then break down to a set of points that get repeated.
I understand that almost all of the characters work in corporations so they may be used to speaking this way, and to repeating things within the same conversation like they are going over the minutes for a meeting, but scintillating it isn’t. It allows for very little breathing room. Although this could potentially be exploited if it was shaded better, rather like in the formality of Regency romances, it hasn’t been.
Lauren admitted that Michael’s ability to twist convoluted arguments to his advantage could make her feel guilty for eating imaginary cake. A little more silver tongue action would go a long way.
Maybe this is why Victor’s presence keeps verging on the drowsy whenever he doesn’t have the fortune of being given sarcastic lines or the opportunity to yell.
As so often happens, Adam’s hair was telling more of the story than his dialogue would allow.
Daddy dynamics again.
Eavesdropping queen Sally went to caffeine therapist Sharon for advice about Newman family dynamics. Surprisingly, Sharon was actually pretty cagey about it. Usually, she takes people to her little booth at the back of Crimson Lights, the one with the giant floating eye and the ventriloquist’s dummy, and tries to get people to open up.
Thanks to all the bad vibes that have soaked into the cushions, anyone else who sits there seems to wind up in a brutal dispute, like Victoria and Nikki last week.
But Sally drank the strongest coffee in the house and plowed through questions she kept answering for herself. At least she did figure out that Adam probably has even more daddy issues than his sister.
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