The Surprising Upside to Stuntcasting
I would never have guessed that ‘The Young & The Restless’s‘ decision to stuntcast Sean Young for a few episodes would lead to an awesome storyline. When she first popped up as Meggie, a Victor worshipping barkeep surviving by her wits on the allegedly mean streets of Ottawa, (I’m sure there actually are some dangerous parts of Ottawa, but I enjoy my Canadian stereotypes) I rolled my eyes. When she turned up in Genoa City a few weeks later, I groaned. The last thing I wanted was a former movie star who had fallen on hard times taking away airtime from the characters I tune in to see. Fortunately, the opposite happened. Meggie’s stay at the Newman ranch has evolved into an umbrella story involving previously backburnered veterans that recalls the show’s fun 1990s stories about psychos slowly and methodically wreaking havoc.
At first Meggie just seemed like a down on her luck woman who decided to take a once in a lifetime shot at getting a billionaire to fall in love with her. After persuading Victor (Eric Braeden) to let her live on the ranch, she quickly got herself into a suspicious Nikki’s good graces when Patrick Swayze’s brother showed up to harass her. I assume that we will eventually learn that Meggie hired the ‘True Blood’ werewolf.
After Nikki hired her as her personal assistant — because apparently lounging around the ranch all day is too much for one person to handle — Meggie began spiking Nikki’s drinks. Melody Thomas Scott has done her best work in years as Nikki wondered why she suddenly had the urge to drink after years of sobriety then fell off the wagon for real.
Drunk Nikki has resulted in such must see scenes as Nikki making incredibly insensitive remarks about Chance’s death to Jill. Best of all, it has resulted in the most unexpectedly delicious character pairing: Nikki and Deacon (Sean Kanan). The two already hated each other due to Deacon’s role in the convoluted art fraud storyline last fall, as well as his brief fling with Victoria (Amelia Heinle). Now the two are running into each other at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, as well as at the GCAC bar where she keeps ordering drinks from him. He does not want her to keep drinking. She does not want him to tell her what to do. I am dying for them to have an affair.
Last week, we learned that Meggie shared a past with Murphy (Michael Fairman) of all people. Kay’s sweet, blue collar husband took one look at Meggie and freaked. When he vowed to tell everyone who she really was, she grabbed his heart medication and watched as he had a massive heart attack and stroke. Now Murphy is in a coma, and viewers have no idea what he knows about her. This was one of the most surprising plot developments on daytime this year. It came completely out of left field, but it was plausible. Murphy’s past is a blank slate. There’s no reason why he could not have crossed paths with Meggie. I suspect that this is what Kay and Murphy’s conversation about life support a few weeks ago was about. Meggie hurt someone Murphy loved, and Kay will decide to do whatever it takes to keep Murphy alive, as he requested. This is how to foreshadow something without anvils.
Meggie herself is the weakest part of the storyline. As Y&R psychos go, Young’s performance is not exactly going to have Kimberlin Brown or Michael Corbett quaking in their boots. She recites most of her lines with monotone delivery, and serves to show that a primetime or film pedigree is not always an asset in the 70 pages a day world of daytime. Meggie is not particularly bright. She has a photo of a young Murphy on her cellphone. If I were an evil criminal infiltrating a billionaire’s family, I would hide all evidence of my past life. The police have already figured out that Murphy met with foul play, so it is only a matter of time before Meggie was exposed. I would never have imagined that Sean Young would be responsible for getting Nikki and Katherine off the backburner. It’s almost enough to make me excited about B-listers infiltrating daytime.
Overreaction of the Weekend: Goutman Directing Y&R Episodes
Within a matter of hours people were speculating that this is the first stage of his takeover of daytime’s number one show, and that Y&R faces a future of location shoots in fields and storylines about old people in young people’s bodies. That’s one heck of a reach.
There is no indication that Y&R is anything but happy with executive producer Paul Rauch, who is doing a good job of keeping the sets luxe by daytime standards. Y&R’s budget is not going to be cut to ATWT levels, so there is not need to stage scenes in the middle of nowhere. Goutman made a lot of mistakes, but he didn’t make the show look awful for fun. It was a financial problem.
As a conspiracy theory it dos not make sense. Why would CBS want to replace someone who is keeping the show’s ratings relatively healthy with someone who just presided over the cancellation of daytime’s longest running show? Even if you believe CBS wants to cancel all of its soaps, the network needs Y&R to be at its best now to give a good lead in to it’s new show ‘The Talk.’
In daytime, directors have no say in story or production or anything other than how actors play a given scene and what camera angles are used. I would much rather see a member of the Y&R crew who really knows the show and has worked their way up within the organization be given the opportunity to fill an opening on the directing staff, but there is no reason to believe that Goutman is going to destroy ‘The Young & The Restless.’