Unfinished business, side chicks, and family feuds

For the Week of September 18, 2023
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Sometimes soaps create a sort of fuzzy logic, and viewers aren't quite sure what's going on. That's not always a bad thing. Audra and Tucker's maybe-partnership falls under the good heading. Lucy's potential parent trapping? Well, that's more complicated.

I will admit that I always suspected that something was going on between Audra and Tucker. I wasn't positively, absolutely certain. When the pair ended up in bed together, I had to pause the show and TiVo back to make sure that I hadn't missed something. Can something be obvious and come out of nowhere all at the same time?

Even now that we know that Audra and Tucker are... friends with benefits?... I am still not entirely sure what's going on between them. Are they working together together or just together? Is Audra a protégée, a partner, or a side chick that gets an occasional tip (not like that!) about how to succeed at business without even trying?

Audra seemed genuinely concerned about whatever happened between Tucker and Ashley. So, if she and Tucker are undercover lovers, I don't think she'd have that level of concern about Tucker's "one true love and destiny."

As Tucker talked about Audra's relationship with Kyle, it was tough to tell if he was acknowledging that something true was forming between Audra and Kyle or if he was musing that the relationship was just something Audra concocted as part of her plan to get ahead.

Then there is Tucker's talk about all that he and Audra have been through and how they always seem to find their way back to each other. It's all twisty and slightly confusing, and I am loving every minute of it. It's been a long time since two schemers have been this entertaining.

I also find myself wondering if Diane might somehow be involved in whatever Tucker is up to. One minute Diane is pushing Jack to fire Billy because she wanted Kyle as co-CEO -- and the next, Diane is urging Jack to let Billy try to figure out what Tucker is up to. Is she setting Billy up for something that will create a chasm between Jack and Billy?

I also wonder if Kyle will either wittingly or unwittingly cause trouble for Jabot. I didn't like his reaction when Billy asked him to see if Audra knew what Tucker was up to. Kyle is a little too Team Audra for my liking and not enough Team Abbott. I don't know how it will go down, but I suspect Kyle will end up doing something that will give Tucker and/or Audra the opportunity to swoop in and cause all sorts of drama at Jabot.

Pacing can often be a soap opera's worst friend. If a story moves too slowly, fans will grumble and moan that that story is taking forever to play out. Reliquary, anyone? Sorry of that word sets off some soap opera PTSD. If a story isn't working and it's dragging on, it takes an amazing payoff to make it all worthwhile.

Believe it or not, some fans don't like speedy storylines. I'm actually fine with some things going fast, but for other things, I do enjoy something of a tease. I feel like the "Where is Ashley?" reveal could maybe have waited a bit longer. When Tucker returned alone, I conjured up all sorts of horrible things that might have happened to Ashley. Admittedly, we knew that the ultimate horrible thing would never happen, but can you imagine if Y&R had? That would definitely have gotten the entire Internet world talking.

That said, I would rather have had Ashley's call come in at the very end of Friday's episode. I think having fans wait the entire weekend to find out where she was and if she was okay would have been a better reveal. I'm thinking maybe Jack looks down and sees "Ashley" on his caller ID, picks up, says hello, and then the show ends. Or maybe Ashley calls, and Jack is squabbling with Billy or someone else and misses the call. Or how about Jack answers the call and someone other than Ashley is on the other end?

For the longest time, I've disliked soap opera kids. The characters usually end up being written too cutesy for my liking, and it sends my blood sugar through the roof. Occasionally, the writers just let the kids be normal, and that's fine by me. On even rarer occasions, the kids turn out to be live-action Chuckie dolls and spew forth pint-sized hell upon those around them. I actually like the little hellions, but that's only because it's fun to watch.

So, let's talk about Lucy. Back when Y&R first announced that the character was returning, I wasn't particularly thrilled. I have to say, Lily Brooks O'Briant is really a joy to watch. Her acting is effortless, so it doesn't seem jarring when she appears in scenes with more seasoned performers.

It is not all smooth sailing. That said, my concern with Lucy returning to Genoa City is that she'll have just one thing to do: plot to reunite her parents. There really are no other kids in Genoa City, so teen storylines are pretty much out of the question unless the show wants to commit to adding some additional young actors. And let's be honest, Y&R's recent track record with teens hasn't been so great. The Ashby twins were wholly wasted, and, more recently, Faith and Moses were snoozy.

All had this great fanfare -- and then story just sort of fizzled. Maybe CBS did some audience surveys and learned that Y&R viewers don't want to see kids on-screen en masse. One teen might be just enough.

There is part of me that kind of likes the idea of Lucy plotting to bring Daniel and Heather -- the two people she views as her parents -- together. There is another part that absolutely hates it. It's not like parent trapping is anything new. It's been the plot line of oodles of dramas and comedies over the years. If something is to come between Daniel and Lily, I suppose a well-written story of a kid aching for her parents to get back together would be an okay way to do it.

I find myself trying to figure out what that "well-written story of a kid aching for her parents to get back together" looks like. It can't be Lucy putting frogs in Lily's shower. That would be eye-rolly. I don't think having Lucy fake a physical or mental health crisis would be a good look, either. Does Lucy send gifts to her mom to make it look like Daniel sent them? Does she push Lily's buttons in an effort to make Lily say or do something that pushes Daniel away? I haven't fully decided, but I'd certainly be interested in hearing any ideas that you might have.

Side bar: Daniel telling Lily that Heather might be moving back to Genoa City... in bed... after they had had sex? Yuck.

Another thing I'm torn about is Phyllis meddling in Daniel's love life. Sure, she swore up and down that she'd learned her lesson and would never interfere in Daniel's love life... but this is Phyllis. Phyllis Summers. The temptation to meddle must be absolutely killing her. I get it. There is a chocolate chip cookie on my desk at the very moment I am writing this column, and I can hear it taunting me with, "C'mon Dan! Just a taste! Betcha bite a chip!" But there is another voice in my head telling me that the cookie will taste even better if I wait until after I am done with this column to eat it.

Please note: if this column seems to get crankier as it progresses, it's obviously me being annoyed that I haven't yet eaten the cookie.

So, Phyllis is a jerk! Just kidding. Hangryness hasn't hit yet. Where I am torn on Phyllis meddling is that I feel like the character is so much better than being involved as a meddling mom. However, I get great joy from watching Phyllis do all of her Phyllising. I think it's mostly because we know that things are going to go terribly wrong for Phyllis -- we just don't know how. Waiting to see exactly what explodes or implodes is part of the fun. I hope I am not the only one that finds pleasure in that. You might call it Schadenfreude, but I call it... okay, I also call it Schadenfreude, but that's not really the point.

I was checking out the Soap Central message boards and social media feeds, and it seems a lot of viewers were taking pleasure in seeing Victoria "get taken down a few notches," as one person said on the platform that used to be known as Twitter. In Tamilu's column last week, she confessed that she doesn't care much for Victoria. I haven't asked her if there is anything that could change that. I know that in the 80s and 90s, the writers often had terrible things happen to characters that were not well received in an attempt to turn the tide of public opinion. I feel like Y&R tried that back in 2017 when Victoria was poisoned by the Sassy Mask.

I don't like or dislike Victoria. I feel about her the way that I feel about the other Newman offspring: they need to either pee or get off the pot when it comes to dealing with their dad. Their battle over who will be Victor's favorite might have worked when the characters were in their teens and 20s, but it no longer seems cute when the characters are no longer in their teens and 20s. I was always the favorite child, probably because I was the only child.

Victoria and Adam will never truly be happy, and I don't think they will ever find satisfaction as long as they do Cirque du Soleil-style contortions to win daddy's approval. How long will the softer side of Adam last? Probably until Victor does something that Adam perceives as a slight. Meanwhile, Victoria is now the angry child who wants to prove herself. Nick seems to be the best as distancing himself from the madness, but even he can get sucked back in. No matter what happens, the business story has been front and center for way too long. Y&R used to do business stories better than anyone, but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. Maybe the Newman drama got super-sized because the show thought it would be interesting to have both the Newmans and the Abbotts having business trouble at the same time. We'll just have to see if that ends up being the case.

It's now time for a little speculation based on news items that we've posted here on Soap Central. There is nothing that screams spoiler alert, but if you haven't been keeping up with the soap news that we've been posting -- for shame! -- it is possible that you might learn some things that you didn't already know.

Michael Damian will be back as Danny Romalotti, and he, too, will be sticking around for a while. The fall preview in The Scoop section hints that Danny will find himself in the middle of Christine and Phyllis. Looks like Phyllis won't be meddling in her kids' affairs because she'll have her own love life to sort out.

As for Christine, it's... unfortunate that the dissolution of Christine and Paul's marriage has happened off-screen. It's not like this is the first time something like this has happened, but it doesn't look like Doug Davidson will ever be returning to Y&R, so that leaves something of a loose end, as far as I am concerned. I suppose that the show could recast the role, but I don't know how that would go over with fans. I suppose the easiest way to dispose of all of that is to have Danny and Christine reunite and then head off to travel the world together. That gets the seldom-used Christine off the canvas, it wraps up Danny's extended stay, and we'll never again have to wonder what's going on with Paul. Still, something about that seems unfinished.

Speaking of unfinished... Veronica Redd is coming back as Mamie Johnson, and my understanding is that this visit will be much more substantive. In those same fall previews that we have posted in The Scoop section, it says that Mamie and Jill have some "unfinished business." I am wondering what they could possibly have left that is unfinished. If you have any thoughts, I'd also like to hear those.

Since people are coming back into the fold, this also would be a nice time to find a way to resurrect Drucilla.

In two weeks, Vance will be back into our fold when he resumes writing his Y&R Two Scoops column. Tamilu will be here next week for her regularly scheduled biweekly column. It's been fun hanging out with you, and I hope you've enjoyed reading from me over the past few weeks. As always, please share your thoughts on the column, the questions I posed, and your wishes and wants from Y&R. You can do that in the Comments section below this column or on the Soap Central message boards, or you can track Soap Central down on social media: @soapcentral on Twitter/X or @thesoapcentral on Instagram and Threads, and click here for our Soap Central Facebook page.

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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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