Deep Soap: Is Stacy Haiduk’s ‘Y&R’ Departure Tragic?

by | July 5, 2010 at 9:30 AM | Deep Soap

Stacy Haiduk (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Stacy Haiduk (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Why I Am Not Heartbroken Over Stacy Haiduk’s Departure From ‘The Young & The Restless’

I have read several articles decrying the departure of Stacy Haiduk (Patty/Emily) from ‘The Young & The Restless.’  I disagree.  Haiduk is an extraordinarily talented actress who made Patty into one of daytime’s most memorable psychos and managed to give the dull, two-dimensional Emily some spark.  I hope she becomes a huge star.  I am delighted that she has already landed a role on ‘Days of Our Lives.‘   But I do not think that her departure is a huge blow to Y&R.  In fact, while I will miss her performances, I am glad to see Patty and Emily go.  Both characters have been written into a corner and, for me, have ceased to be entertaining.

If I had a time machine, I would travel back to last summer and persuade the writers not to have Patty cause Summer’s brain damage by exposing her to peanuts. From that point onwards, the character went from love to hate to just plain hate for me.  Her responsibility for Colleen’s death (Tammin Sursok) further cemented Patty’s status as irredeemable.  If she had just stuck to her original plan of seducing Jack (Peter Bergman)  and helping Victor (Eric Braeden) with a plan to bring him down, she could have easily been saved.  In soap terms, those are just quirks that could have been treated with a couple therapy sessions.  Given that Patty is Paul (Doug Davidson’s) sister and Heather’s (Eden Riegel’s) aunt, she had enough connections to generate plenty of story.  She could have been a vulnerable, slightly loopy villain, a sexier, less cartoonish version of Pam (Alley Mills) on ‘The Bold and The Beautiful.’  But the writers chose to make her a calculating murderer.  One of the things that I like about Y&R is that it tends not to let violent criminals off the hook for their crimes. Watching Patty screech in the mental hospital last week as Adam (Michael Muhney) gaslighted her, I realized that the character had truly run her course.  She is no longer funny or scary, just pathetic.

Introducing the lookalike character of Emily should have been the way to keep Haiduk on the canvas, but the writers chose to make Emily a workaholic academic — always a boring choice for a character –then threw her into a rushed romance with Jack that consisted mainly of dull conversations.  Emily certainly could be salvaged.  Being locked in a mental hospital while Patty lived her life could have been a life altering experience that made her far more interesting.  If she went on a very justified quest for revenge against both Victor and Jack, she would have been a riveting villain.  Instead, she is the same dull, rational person that she has always been. She even forgave Jack for not noticing that he was married to Patty.  If this is the character that Emily is going to be, I have little interest in her.  Yes, Haiduk, like so many other talented soap actors, was not utilized to her full potential, but keeping characters on the canvas that are not working does not help the show.  I would much rather see some of the show’s underutilized veterans, like Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) with frontburner storylines.

More On The Soap State of the Union

In Friday’s column I surveyed soap stars on their take on the state of the daytime soap opera. Here are a few more opinions gleaned from last weekend’s Daytime Emmys.

Bradford Anderson (Spinelli ‘General Hospital’)
Tonight feels like it’s in a good place.  There’s a great representation of fans here.  We get to honor one of our legends, Agnes Nixon.  It feels good now.  But the reality is that who knows, in five years.  We’ve lost a couple of shows.  Hopefully we won’t lose anymore.  I’d love to say that we’ll have the same amount of shows in five years.

Arianne Zucker (Nicole ‘Days of Our Lives’)
I’m on the positive side.  I think that with all the new media we have a lot more viewers than Nielsen says.  So how do you figure it out for advertisers?  When you see all the fans that are out here supporting us, it’s pretty cool.  I still think there’s room for us in daytime.  With changing technology, there should be. It’s changed a lot since I started. Sometimes I have 1000 lines a day.  My memory is amazing.

Crystal Chappell (Carly ‘Days of Our Lives’, Ex-Olivia ‘Guiding Light’)
I think it’s going to continue to get smaller.  There will be fewer TV shows with less money to operate on.  I think eventually you will see more advertisers on the internet.  I think [web soaps like] Venice will be part of the future.

Emily O’Brien (Jana ‘The Young & The Restless’)
I think we’re in a really good place.  In five years I can only hope that we’ll be in the same place or better.  If we keep going the way we are now, it will be great.

Chrishelle Stauss (Amanda ‘All My Children’)
I think that we were in trouble, but we’re coming back. All My Children just moved to L.A.  We have bigger sets, HD.  I think we’re headed in the right direction.

Terri Colombino (Katie ‘As The World Turns’)
I hope that it will continue to flourish.  I think that all the reality shows are not going away.  People keep watching them and they’re going to keep making them.