Masquerade -- paper faces on parade

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Ball gowns and arbitrations, masks, blasts from the past, and hidden agendas. Genoa City's Bicentennial Gala is filled with intrigue. Let's discuss in this week's Two Scoops

Dear readers, if you are a theatre lover like me, you will recognize today's title from Phantom of the Opera, and that song will live in your head for the rest of the day. You're welcome. And judge me if you will, but I think the Phantom is sexy. I said what I said.

The masquerade gala for Genoa City's bicentennial has begun, and Genoa City's wannabe phantom is not sexy at all. Jeremy is masked up to do dark and dangerous things in his quest to take down Diane. Phyllis' mask is fractured into a kaleidoscope of crazy, which I fear is a metaphor for a woman who is about to shatter.

In my last column, I expressed doubt about Diane. However, she is beginning to convince me that she is sincere in her desire to do right by Jack and Kyle. I am almost ready to concede that she may be trying to be a better person. But I'm not 100% convinced because a good con artist is convincing, so my guard is still up. I want her to be sincere because I want Jack to be happy, but I'm reserving final judgment. Tracy joyously celebrated Jack and Diane's engagement. Still, I doubt they will get that reception from the chilly partygoers at the gala.

As I mentioned in my last column, I am almost always Team Phyllis, but her shenanigans this week have made me waver on that stance. Truthfully, I am so wholeheartedly Team Phyllis because I adore Michelle Stafford. I loved her on General Hospital as Nina, too.

A story. One night during the pandemic, I was just losing it, depressed and scared and lost, like...all of us. I tweeted something about feeling hopeless, and Ms. Stafford messaged me with encouraging words and tried to lift me up, and I appreciated that so much. She doesn't know me, we are total strangers, but she saw I was hurting and reached out to speak life into my weary soul. I'll never forget that.

However, her counterpart Phyllis is on a course for disaster, and I'm finding it increasingly hard to defend her. I believe her motives are sincere. She loves Jack, she loves Summer and Kyle, and she doesn't trust Diane. Phyllis feels she has to act to protect the people she loves, even if she is going about it by partnering with a thug like Jeremy Stark. I do not think this will end well. I fear Phyllis will become even more isolated and estranged from her family and friends.

Phyllis' behavior at the gala today was very unlike her. She was not fierce and defiant. She seemed to be crumbling. I feel like she's on the verge of a mental breakdown. She is pushing ahead with the plot she and Jeremy have cooked up, but I won't be shocked if she collapses before it comes to fruition. I honestly don't believe this is a cheap ploy for sympathy. When Phyllis is alone, she seems lost and vulnerable. Despite her terrible, self-destructive choices, I am concerned for Phyllis' well-being.

On The Talk this week, they said that Michelle Stafford has some unbelievable scenes coming up. I get the impression that we may witness a breakdown and rebuilding of Phyllis. I'm riveted and anxious to see how it all plays out.

Meanwhile, across town, Victor convinced Jill that an IPO was a horrible idea and convinced her to keep her company in the family's hands. Jill interrupted the arbitration with Devon and Lily to deliver what she hoped would be good news. Seeing Jess Walton in person and not just her head on a Zoom screen was terrific. I was rooting for this news to end the war between Devon and Lily. Still, it didn't magically put all their animosity to rest. Devon can't shake the lengths to which Lily will go to win, including involving his ex.

After the dedication of Neil Winters' Jazz Lounge, Lily and Devon sat face to face, and Lily pleaded with him to find a way to make things right between them. I hope on Monday, he says yes and throws his arm around her. I hate seeing them at odds. I have enough people in my family who aren't speaking to one another.

Since this is the Y&R 50th anniversary, I hope we will see some old clips from both Katherine and Neil as the two siblings, Devon and Lily, sort out their feelings. Heck, throw a Drucilla clip in, too. The rich history of these two characters makes me believe that, ultimately, they will reunite -- and hopefully sooner rather than later. Seeing Lily walk into the gala with Daniel on her arm was also beautiful.

But no nod to history made me as misty as when Jack opened the door to find Mamie on the other side. I cried real tears just seeing her face. Veronica Redd is still stunning. Her gorgeous silver hair showed the years, but truthfully, she hadn't aged a bit other than her hair color! Seeing clips of a younger Jack and Mamie made me more emotional than one should get over a TV show. Still, I think all long-time soap viewers will understand that these characters we watch daily feel like family. A Genoa City family reunion is a homecoming for us, too.

Amanda coming back to town to take Lily's side in the arbitration was a very rough reunion. Amanda swears there is nothing personal in her decision to represent Lily, but we all know she's lying. Amanda told Devon that having a front row seat to watching him lose is a perk of her taking the case. That doesn't sound like someone who isn't in it for personal reasons. It's lovely to see Mishael Morgan again, even when her eyes throw daggers at Devon and spew fire at Abby like a magnificent dragon.

Mishael is such a force. They should have offered to lasso the moon to make her stay. Will she hang around awhile, or is this just 50th-anniversary stunt casting? She is working on other projects, but I am glad she squeezed in Y&R, even if only for a brief stint.

Readers, here is a brief sidetrack on fashion choices. Abby offered to go to arbitration with Lily and Devon, wearing jeans and a glitter vest that looked best suited for a New Year's Eve party. Had he said yes, would she have changed into something more demure? Or maybe she'd have ridden on a horse like the Naked Heiress. You just never know.

The dance between Nate and Victoria is getting very old for me. People keep saying, "Victoria always gets what she wants, so if she wants him, she will get him." It takes away the suspense for me because the writers have already decided to pair these two. I am not feeling a lot of sizzle between them, to be honest. In fact, how Victoria has pursued him in the office as his boss could be considered sexual harassment. I would love to see a "Me, too" storyline with a guy as the complainant. Men do get sexually harassed, too.

Nate could sue, Victoria would be removed as CEO of Newman, Adam could take her job, and for once, she would not get what she wanted. Audra told Elena that she was sure there was more than a professional relationship between Nate and Victoria. She urged Elena to bring J.T. back to town to talk on her podcast about his brain tumor and the awful things it made him do. Audra believed J.T. might be the guy to get Victoria away from Nate.

Suppose the writers take my suggestion and have Nate sue Victoria for harassment. In that case, J.T. could coach her on recovering from being considered a pariah and possibly rekindle their romance.

But mostly, I want Victoria to lose. I want Adam to win control of McCall. I want Victoria to fail. I want Victor to side with Adam over his daughter and kick her to the curb. For a while, I want her to find some humility and grace instead of being such an insufferable witch.

Speaking of rekindling a romance, did you see Sally's face when Adam arrived at the gala with Sharon on his arm? Meow! It seems that Adam's baby mama isn't as over Adam as she claims. Sure, she was over him when she thought he was sitting around pining for her. Still, when Sally thinks Adam is moving on, suddenly, she's interested again.

I went to college with a girl who was never interested in a guy until someone else was dating them. Then she made it her mission to steal the guy away. My BFF and I used to watch this happen like a bad reality TV show. As soon as one of the girls in our friend group said they were dating someone, we would place bets on how quickly Lorie would start hitting on said guy. Not that that is Sally's MO, but am I wrong about how she looked at Adam and Sharon? Yikes.

Billy accepted Jack's offer to return to Jabot and said that spending time with Chelsea after she attempted suicide had changed him. Billy felt confident he could step into a leadership role at Jabot with a new perspective and determination. Jack was thrilled by his decision. I suppose the writers may finally let Billy grow up and not be the younger screw-up brother anymore. Imagine how effective a stable Billy could be! I would love to see the writers make a bipolar diagnosis with Billy and explain that all his screw-ups in the past stemmed from manic episodes. The undiagnosed bipolar disorder could explain so many of his disastrous chapters.

The fashion at the Genoa City Masquerade Ball is impeccable. Nikki is stunning in her vibrant red gown, and 81-year-old Eric Braeden looks wildly dashing in his tuxedo. They are timeless. Lauren looked like a living, breathing Oscar statuette in her gorgeous golden gown. Billy's maroon tuxedo is very dapper, though he may never see the inside of the ballroom. Billy has spent the duration of the gala thus far trying to gently coax Chelsea into going with him instead of watching videos in her apartment. By the time she decides, the gala will be over. If she was hesitant to go, she might have mentioned that to Billy before the gala started.

Victor is annoyed that Ashley is attending the gala with Tucker, but he suspects Ashley has a plan for Tucker. In my humble opinion, Ashley's goal for Tucker is to get him all champagned up and into bed, and I am sure that's not what Victor thinks is happening.

What will happen tomorrow, dear readers? Will Mamie take her ten million dollars, buy out Chancellor, and become Jill's boss? Will she hire Esther as a co-CEO in Revenge of the Maids? Will Leanna Love overhear things she can exploit? (Of course.) Will the new Neil Winters' Jazz Lounge get people to go someplace other than the Grand Phoenix and Crimson Lights? Will people start having picnics in Chancellor Park again now that spring has sprung?

Will we see Mariah and Tessa again before their baby is in kindergarten? Will Elena go throw a martini in Victoria's face? (Fingers crossed.) Will Sheila Carter escape Bill Spencer's place on The Bold and the Beautiful to attend the Genoa City Gala? Will Danny and Gina do a little number for us? Will Nikki get seduced by Jeremy, since he's appealing to her former "wrong side of the tracks" side? Will Jeremy's evil plot play out at the gala before his partner melts down?

Be sure to share your thoughts on what's happening in Genoa City in the Comments section below this column. Your comments might even appear in a future column. If you want to check out past columns -- they go back two decades -- be sure to continue reading here.

Only tomorrow knows, dear readers, and I will tune in tomorrow as long as there are tomorrows.

The Bold and the Beautiful | Days of our Lives | General Hospital |

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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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