Deep Soap: ‘Til Death Do Us Part

Tammin Sursok on The Young and the Restless (CBS)

Tammin Sursok on The Young and the Restless (CBS)

Prolonged Suffering

I am no fan of the Tammin Sursok’s portrayal of The Young & The Restless’s Colleen. I recently wished that Mary Jane would put her in a coma so that she could wake up with another actress’s face. I need to be more careful what I wish for. I wanted this version of Colleen off the show. I would have applauded her decision to study art history abroad. I did not wish her dead. I certainly did not wish her a prolonged, cruel death.

While Tammin Sursok never fit the role, Colleen was once a popular character. She was a member of a core family. She was young. Sursoks’ version of Colleen was annoying, but Colleen was a good person who was loyal to her family and friends. She spent most of the past year on the backburner due to a combination, I assume, of the miscasting and the time Sursok spent shooting a Nickelodeon movie. I thought Colleen might become interesting when she took over Brad’s seat on the Newman Enterprises board of directors. That storyline was quickly dropped. When Colleen kissed J.T. and declared she wanted him back, I hoped Y&R might have found a way to rescue Victoria and J.T. from their stable married couple doldrums. That storyline was not to be, either.

Colleen was fatally injured when her canoe improbably toppled over in the same lake where her father drowned. CBS heavily promoted Y&R’s September 17th episode in which, while floating at the bottom of the lake, she has visions of her friends and family. They had conversations in front of an obviously projected outdoor backdrop culminating in Colleen seeing Brad floating beside her in the lake, taking her to join him. CBS thinks that Y&R’s must see episode was what amounted to a snuff film.

Colleen’s death was prolonged three more episodes, increasing the suffering for both the character and the viewers. She was still breathing when Jack pulled her out of the lake. If Patty had not pointed a gun at him and ordered him to stop performing CPR, she might have survived. Once she finally reached the hospital, the doctors said she still had brain function only to declare her brain dead after further tests on Tuesday. The only point to prolonging the declaration of death seemed to be to twist the knife in the Abbott family’s side. Now Traci must make the horrible decision to take her daughter off a ventilator. I am not sure what story will be generated by killing Colleen. The Abbotts already hated both Victor and Patty. Brad’s death had little impact, and he was a far more important character in the show’s history.

These days, there is an increasing tendency in soaps to kill characters off rather than just send them out of town. It gives shows a few dramatic episodes. But, in the case of members of core families, it destroys future story possibilities. Y&R keeps bringing John Abbott back as a ghost because the Abbotts need their patriarch. If Billy Abbott had died when Scott Seymour played him, we never would have gotten to see Billy Miller in the role. I wish Y&R, which has recently killed off Brad, an unborn Abbott child, and a beloved dog, had chosen to let Colleen live.

Marriage of Convenience

I have to applaud Days of Our Lives for pulling off an unexpected twist. Stefano blackmailing Kate into marrying him is both great fun and great continuity. He had asked her to marry him back in January. The plotpoint was dropped and I assumed forgotten. Instead, after proving adept at crime scene clean up he offered Kate a most romantic proposal: marry me or go to prison. Stefano just might be the perfect man for Kate. After all, now that she has attempted to murder both Chloe and Daniel (not to mention sending Sami to death row back in the day) she no longer has the moral highground where Stefano is concerned. Being forced to marry Stefano is actually karmic justice. It has the added benefit of angering both of their families.

This has the potential of becoming the fun marriage of two enemies that I hoped Sami and EJ would be. It also ramps up the war between the Kirakises and the DiMeras, with Victor now determined to prove Kate is guilty of trying to murder Daniel. This gives DOOL the opportunity to play up one of its traditional strengths: campy melodrama. We have already gotten to watch Kate dramatically sweep Stefano chess pieces off his board while screaming, “You won!” This marriage promises numerous barbed quips and potentially hilarious blended family breakfasts. I can imagine EJ reminding Kate that she has slept with both father and son, while Nicole and Lucas snark at each other. Kate may even figure out that Nicole is raising Sami’s baby, and use it as leverage against Stefano. Stefano and Kate’s names are perfect for an internet mash-up. It may be premature, but I am ready to start shipping State.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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