The Newman merry-go-round.
We’re back with another Y&R opinion and this time, for the week of October 24-28.
Nick fires Sally
Nick was prompted to fire Sally when Victoria decided to replace her with Nate.
Is Victoria just using him for information and will then dump him?
Could this end up being at least sexual if not romantic?
I’m not sure what else he brings to the table at this point.
With Elena dropping him, if Victoria doesn’t scoop him up, he could be on the road to becoming another Billy.
Either way, it’s unclear what this means for Nick and Sally and whatever they have.
I’ll admit that I enjoyed Sally with Adam and find her pairing with Nick kind of cringey, although other people find it hot.
My lack of enthusiasm has less to do with her jumping between brothers or the brothers sharing the same sex partners (as they have repeatedly) than that it just feels lame.
Nick was fun back in the day because he was a lovable meathead.
There weren’t many of those and the people writing for him knew how to write that kind of character to be endearing and even entertaining.
Unfortunately for Nick, they let him languish in the guy-who-makes-bad-dad-jokes mode for a long time so when they decided to suddenly shift direction, he got landed in a role that usually makes him look like a teenager trying his most earnestly to seem mature.
Neither part suits him that well.
Not enough tension
Nowadays, the characters in Genoa City often seem dopier than they’ve ever been, but are portrayed as being wily and sophisticated schemers, which tends to fall flat because writing business stories really isn’t something the show does well anymore.
One current exception, and we can only hope it lasts, is Tucker, a man who not only has the grace to kick off his shoes when he’s sitting around but who behaves like he doesn’t care about anything people are saying to him.
It’s a unique talent to mouth appropriate statements while investing little in them and still seeming to have enough on your mind to be interesting.
It’s a different take on the way Victor plays half his scenes.
Most of Tucker’s scenes have been playing out this way.
Being relaxed to the point it’s almost over the top has its limits.
He recently snapped at Diane to the point that he fractured her coffee stir stick, probably the most intense thing to happen since Ashland’s head hit a hard hearth.
Might there be more?
One of the more exciting parts of the week or so was finally getting a little more of Diane’s life in LA.
They even brought in James Hyde from Passions to do it.
Aside from some impressive visual filters that sometimes did convincingly make Diane look a decade younger, it was pretty unremarkable.
Rather than drop it all in one chunk, they could have strung along little flashes and hints over the past couple of months.
The strangest thing is that what she’s been hiding has been a lot less disturbing than the things that everyone already knows she’s guilty of.
One can hope that her past comes back to haunt her as something other than flattering flashbacks.
Given that Diane admitted throwing Tucker’s plan to get Ashley back under the bus was the least dangerous thing he was up to, there is still some potential here for surprise.
Clearly, he wants Chancellor back, which can’t possibly be a more boring story for the company than what it’s been since the merger was first being kicked around.
Part of the reason these corporate plots don’t invite much investment is that they don’t go anywhere.
People hardly even re-decorate their offices.
If he takes over Chancellor, does it mean he will spend a lot of time talking about how important it is they expand their podcasting (which mostly seems to have been dropped)?
Given that these people rarely seem to do anything luxurious with their money, couldn’t they at least make money from something potentially interesting?
His accomplice Audra has the opposite quality.
There is something strained and stony to her physical presence and delivery.
Noah hasn’t been as mopey as he used to be since he conveniently got mixed up with Allie.
But he has had some odd auditory flashbacks.
Maybe listening to Audra broke something in his brain in London.
I will say this for The Glam Club — although only Noah seems willing it call it by its name — it’s nice that there is one more set where characters can get the appetizers they all seem to live on, but it doesn’t feel all that glamorous and seems pretty cramped, almost claustrophobic.
Speaking of cramped…
Billy may be planning to leave corporate life behind to do who knows what, but he seems to have shifted from his role as therapeutic podcaster to some kind of corporate therapy mediator without anyone asking him to.
He leaped into encouraging Nate to make up with Devon so the family could heal.
For a few tense moments, I was worried that they would actually kiss and make up following Nate’s apology, but Devon finally stopped Nate from pulling the plug on the drama, puffed himself up, and refused to forgive him when he wouldn’t give up the mystery CEO who has been filling the former doctor’s empty head with dreams of power.
This corporate/family conflict is a little less interesting than the hints that Devon’s libido is starting to wander.
Devon vaguely admitted to “strain” with Amanda and seemed to be getting closer to Abby, whose life was falling apart because she couldn’t dress up for Halloween.
Now that Abby spends most of her time putting our grease fires, is all the glamor gone?
Chance seems more bored than usual, despite his attempts to overcompensate.
Genoa City zombie
Chelsea continued to mope around town like Charlie Brown suffering from BPD.
Connor is being employed as the voice of reason, relentlessly pointing out everything wrong with Chelsea in ways that adults don’t seem capable of acknowledging without rationalizing it somehow.
She keeps going through the same routine, so no wonder he dressed up as a zombie.
There was even a poster for a “zombie outbreak” sitting right behind Victoria and Adam as they went on about Chelsea’s issues.
That meant it was a perfect time for Billy to swan in for some more heart-to-heart talking about Johnny rejecting her.
This didn’t help much.
While we’ve been down this road before, I think the problem is not just in how it’s being written (again).
Part of the problem is style.
Friday’s episode was a good example.
As Chelsea was having her breakdown, they were pulling out a lot of stops to try to illustrate it.
Most of this was auditory.
Basically, all the voices of people criticizing her or urging her to get help swirled in her head.
It’s a trick you can see in old Hollywood movies.
The same idea is visually conveyed in cartoons when someone gets hit in the head and little birds fly around it.
To some degree, it actually worked.
The point certainly got across, even if they might not have done enough to build up the atmosphere.
That’s also down to the way they use sound.
For the past few years at least, Y&R tends to be saturated with adult contemporary coffee shop music and the occasional cinematic “orchestral” undertone.
The former tends to do what it is designed for: create a neutral, inoffensive atmosphere.
That also tends to suck the life out of things, and this is exaggerated by the flat delivery given by most of the younger actors.
But one of the most remarkable things about older episodes of the show is how extreme the use of background sound tended to be.
This would be an example (starting around 7 minutes is).
This was true both because they often had elaborate musical motifs associated with different characters, but also because they used music in a way that almost verged on the atmospheric way it’s used in a lot of horror films.
Which is just to say that the show needs to work harder on recapturing some of the style and glamor that used to make it so great.
The best part of the week was probably Phyllis wandering around town and having bizarre, uncomfortable interactions with people, whether it was Nikki, Sally, or Chelsea.
In fact, Phyllis’ weirdly humorous scene with Chelsea in the park may have also been the most dramatically successful, unpredictable, and completely off-kilter moment.