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« Well, This Mystery Is Just Un-Solvable | Main | General Hospital Week in Review »

July 11, 2009

What Is More Awesome Than Awesome?

Q: What is more awesome than awesome?

A: Tricia Cast is more awesome than awesome.

If I were the poetic sort of person, I would write a sonnet about the myriad ways in which The Young and the Restless makes me happy: the soapy storytelling! The shrewd decision to cast Michael Muhney as Adam! The Peter Bergman! It's the stuff long, tortured poems are made of.

However, I am not a poetic person. When I had to take a poetry writing class during as an undergraduate, we were urged to hand our poems in to be workshopped by the class; even on days that I did hand one in to be workshopped, my professor never handed it out to the rest of the class, no doubt wanting to shield me from the peals of derisive laughter that would soon follow. So rather than humiliate myself on the world wide web, I will settle for saying: this show is awesome and it makes me happy.

If I had to pick one part of a great show that stands out as the greatest, it would have to be Tricia Cast as Nina. She is reliably fantastic, and always has been, but she's been so completely stellar in this latest return that it makes me wonder how we ever lasted so long without her. Like, I always thought that having her back in Genoa City would be an added bonus, but it turns out that she actually completes me. She delights me so much that I won't even make a comment about her completely dull, unflattering, Mom jeans and a tucked in top-laden (Y&R? Seriously? You're better than that) wardrobe. 

The "PSYCH! Cane isn't really Phillip and Phillip isn't really dead!" story is filled with plotholes and if you pause to think about it for a few minutes, it takes a while for sense to be made.

Phillip: Yeah. I-it seemed like a good idea at the time, you know? I met the guy, and he was the Phillip Chancellor that I thought everybody wanted. I-I thought he would make everybody happy. I thought it was--it-- I thought it was great. And he didn't have anybody in Australia.

Really? The Phillip Chancellor everyone wanted was ten years younger than you and dumber than a stump? That's an interesting way of planning an identity switch.

But I don't even care. I know it makes me a hypocrite to denounce every factual error on All My Children and General Hospital and then go all mushy and turn a blind eye to Y&R's faults, but when I watch Y&R, I don't look at the clock; I don't swear under my breath/loudly to an empty room in irritation; and I get upset at having to wait 24 hours for a new episode. This show could have a character call me out by name and insult me, and I'd be all, "He's right, I totally deserved that." Sue me!!!

Where was I? Oh, right, Tricia Cast kicking ass. This show has a whole group of actors who are amazing even when they are in the background of a scene, but she really stands out. She just seems so natural. Like, all of her reactions are reactions you would have if you had an insane life where random Australians pretended to be your dead husband who actually isn't dead. She was shocked.

Ninajill

She was angry. She was confused. She was angry again, some more.

Nina lashing out at Phillip was--here's that word again!--awesome.

Confrontphilip

Nina: (Sighs) You grew up without a father because he died in a horrible car crash. How could you turn around and-- and do that to your own child? You know, when Phillip was growing up, I told him again and again the story about how his father-- the last day that he spent on this earth-- the last thing he did was reach out to his son and take his hand because that's how much he loved his little boy. I told him that you were in heaven with the angels watching over him. You've made a liar out of me because you wanted to be dead rather than be a part of your son's life. How could you do that? How could you do that to your son?!

Seriously, Phillip! I don't know if this is how Thom Bierdz always is (can any longtime Y&R viewers provide some insight?), but Phillip was unbearably aloof in his first episode with Nina, Katherine and Jill. Like, great, you have secret pain and your life is terrible, but you faked your death and hid out for twenty years, hurting people in the process. Dial back the smug a notch or six. 

He kept whining and being a sad panda, and Nina continued not to have any of it.

Phillip: No. No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm just saying I'm just a little overwhelmed, okay? I don't feel like getting into this right now.

Nina: Why? You've had 20 years to prepare. You just pop up out of the grave. We're gonna have questions. And, what, you can't handle that? Just like you couldn't handle having a wife and a child? So we could all just go to hell? You know, maybe you're the one who hasn't changed.

But TB was much better when he told Nina his big secret.

Phillip: No, no. The drinking-- that was just a symptom. That wasn't the cause of it.

Nina: Well, then what? You said that you felt like you were letting us down, but you weren’t.

Phillip: Oh, I-I knew what was expected of me. I did what was expected. I was acting a part.

Nina: And you felt trapped.

Phillip: Yeah.

Nina: In the marriage?

Phillip: In my own skin. That's what you guys have to understand before anything else. This is not about you. It's not about Mom. It's not about Katherine. This is about me. It's about the truth that I've been hiding all this time.

Nina: What truth?

Phillip: I'm gay. I've always been gay.

Shock

I'm really excited about this twist. If this were any other soap, I'd be horrified at the many ways it could be screwed up, but I trust these writers to do it justice.

Is it Monday yet? How about now?

Comments

I so agree with everything you said. Tricia Cast has just been awesome in this story and most of the stories on the show are just written very well. And when you combine the acting with good writing you get a great soap - and that is what Y&R is. I cringe when I watch GH because they play fast and loose with history, they don't honor their viewers by thinking we are all idiots and by not caring anyway. On Y&R I trust those writers because as a viewer they always give you payoff in the end.

I am just loving that show right now.

Tricia is not only awesome as Nina, but in reality as well. I'd share the story that made me love her to pieces, but it is a long very emotional tale. E-mail me if you want details.

I think the reason Y&R's SORASING and such is not anywhere near as annoying as it is on GH and AMC due to the excellence of the writing and storytelling. The history isn't ignored even when adapted to make room for new stories years later. The audience is willing to suspend disbelief if it's all done really well.

And Y&R is doing it right lately, so we can forgive Cane's age etc.... We can forgive a lot actually as long as the product is good and we aren't made fun of and insulted all the time! But Guza and Pratt don't understand that. Which is why their ratings suck toxic balls and Y&R is doing great!!!

Nanananboobooo Guza, Nina could kick Sonny's ass ;-)

If I call you a hypocrite, I'd have to call myself one too. I really can forgive some plot-holes and messing about with character's pasts if the writing is compelling enough. It also helps if people react in ways that make logical & emotional sense. The reactions from Nina, Jill, and Katherine all made sense to me...and they were able to have a variety of emotions. And the writers trusted us to be able to understand that when someone you love comes back from the dead, your feelings aren't simple. Thank you Y&R writers for not treating us like total morons.

Tricia Cast has so been kicking ass but I've also been truly impressed by Jess Walton. I go back & forth on Jill but I've been very forth since the reveal.

It's a bizarre but pleasant feeling to enjoy a soap again.

Amen to what Sarah said. I LOVE Nina! I am thrilled that she is back. It's also wonderful to have Phillip back!
Let's send Nina to kick Pratt's ass!

Mallory, You read my mind. I watched those scenes of Nina yelling at Phillip at least 3 times. She hit him! And not one of those fakeout acting tricks but she physically pushed on him! I loved it. It was all so genuine and I have been loving Nina going after Kane even though everyone was determined to protect him. It made me root for her more. Loving Y&R. Leaving GH (even though Scrubs karaoke made me doubt my decision....for a minute!) I hope Y&R continues to rock because it is becoming the only soap that I can watch from start to finish and actually feel good about.

I'm with you 100% about Tricia Cast and have been singing her praises for weeks now. I'm chalking Thom Beirdz's aloofness up to a combination of "I'm back to work with the greats for the first time in 20 years" and "Phillip is kind of a dick."

And while I agree that Y&R is the best soap on right now, it would be teetering heavily towards epic greatness if they would get rid of Daniel, Amber, anything regarding art, and bring back Drusilla.

Yay!!!!!! You took all my thoughts and put them on your blog you thief! I want a 10% cut of your google adword profits!

Tricia Cast is like soap-mother earth and so real. She slayed Cane like Buffy slays vampires, and when she found out the truth - she was devastating and made of electricity.

Brava Y&R - the show that has kept my summer DVR box full and satisfied!

just not liking it...TB has been out of it too long...dont like him nor is he trying.

Thom Bierdz was always aloof, so much so that, all those many years ago, I wondered about his intelligence, with his mouth agape and a duh face to rival any you might see now on GH.

Tricia Cast did nothing for me on Santa Barbara, but I really liked her as Nina, although I gave on up Y&R in about 1988. God, what a trip down '80s lane. I haven't seen Tricia Cast since she wore a V-neck fisherman's sweater, tapered jeans and gym shoes.

Soaps have always, ALWAYS involved storytelling that involved viewers buying certain implausibilities wholesale. Two-year-olds transforming into six-year-olds, going away to boarding school a year later, returning as teenagers and then staying in the "under 40" category for, say, 30 years is a classic example. Steve Johnson shouldn't be alive on DOOL, and Sami Brady shouldn't be as old as Alison Sweeney. Do we care? NO. Because we enjoy seeing Patch (or did) and Sami on our screens too much to complain, and because we enjoyed the stories that hinged on them being, respectively, alive and adult.

Which is why, I think, the recent tendency of soap writing to be TERRIBLE has pulled the genre down so rapidly. Soaps need awesome characters, believable character development, well-crafted plots and well-backed plot twists. Take some or all of those away, and the mechanics get way too exposed. Suddenly, we're wondering why we should try to pretend that the lame actors standing on an obviously fake dock are really mobsters plotting to kill someone by throwing him into the water for some inane reason. Pull back the curtain, and you see the Wizard exposed for what he really is.

If AMC brought Daisy back to life tomorrow with the explanation that seven dwarves had put her not-quite-dead-but-apparently-dead body in a glass coffin until Prince Charming Tad came along to kiss her back to life, our brains would be coming up with ways to make the scenario make sense. Phillip III's resurrection is only slightly more believable than that, but we want to see Tricia Cast, Jeanne Cooper and Jess Walton LOSE THEIR MINDS over the fact that this guy they all adored faked his death because he was ashamed of being gay, so we're willing to ignore nitpicky little details such as, oh, Cane.

Are we allowed to talk about Phillip IV here, or would that be considered too spoilery?

I've always loved Nina, and Tricia Cast has been wonderful in her return, I hope they keep her around for a long time (and possibly eventually tie up the Nina's stolen child story...please!)

I am still really lost on something, though....Katherine started having nightmares about switching the babies, giving one baby away to that woman, etc.
So HOW INVOLVED was this "plot" supposed to have been? Did Phillip arrange for tapes of crying babies to haunt Kay at night (ala Adam/Ashley?) and hire the old lady to pretend there was a switch??
Was Cane supposedly involved in the DNA test switch that made Jill and Kay believe they were mother and daughter? And didn't Jill's mother come to town at one point and confirm some stuff related to Jill's birth? Was she in on this too?
Are these some of the plot holes you mentioned?

I have to agree with the plot holes discussion. How in the world is TB going to take credit for inducing baby swapping dreams in Katherine at the exact moment in time he felt they needed Cane? Puhleeze. He'll probably explain it with the same lameness that he did when he talked about how he stashed huge amounts of money away before the crash. Really? Where would he get it without anyone noticing? And where would he put it? In the Caymen's with Mommy's $? UGH.
I think Nina is FABULOUS as is Katherine by not cutting TB's Phillip any slack. But TB DOES need some serious acting lessons. He acts about as bored as Eric Braeden.

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