Deep Soap: Billion Dollar Baby

Stephen Nichols (NBC)

Stephen Nichols (NBC)

I’m With The Band

After watching Tuesday’s episode of The Young & The Restless one question springs to mind: which major British rock band of the 1970s did Tucker manage?   When Tucker told Jill his life story, mentioning that he began his business career by taking a London bar band to the big time, I was intrigued.  These are my suspects: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Who, Queen, The Sex Pistols, or, since according to Wikipedia The Muppets had a number one album in the UK in 1977, Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem.   I cannot believe that Jill did not press him for more details.  Yeah, sure she was furious that he had her sleeping in a bed of lies for months, but he has juicy rock star gossip.  Tucker’s autobiographical speech gave me insight into who the character is supposed to be: Richard Branson.

Tucker: My adoptive parents were hardworking people. We didn’t have much, but it wasn’t like I lived in a cupboard under the stairs. My father’s one big dream was that I would be the first one in my family to go to college. I couldn’t stand the thought of spending the money that they scrimped and saved…end up in this little bar in London where this band played every Friday night. I talked them into letting me be their manager. Everyone thought it was a joke till I started getting ’em gigs. And that band became one of the biggest bands of the ’70s.

Jill: And it all took off from there, didn’t it? Everything you touched turned to gold– your record company, the media, the airline.

Tucker struck me as an avuncular grandfather, not the wilder, sexier rock ‘n roll counterpart to uptight Victor Newman.   Now I’m really excited to see what Stephen Nichols does with the role. I am still unsure why he harbors the sort of anger toward Katherine that would inspire him to spend years carefully plotting to take over her company.   He was raised by parents who loved him.  He made all his dreams come true.  Sounds like a good life to me.  Is he upset that he had to work hard instead of just inheriting a company?  Brock, the son that Katherine raised, did not accomplish half as much.  Nick Newman’s entire existence is an argument against nepotism. Tucker better turn out to have more of a motivation then vague resentment.

Across town, Neil Winters proved he has the lowest sex drive of any man on earth.   Though Ashley and Neil have gotten closer over the past few months, Ashley’s kiss surprised me almost as much as it surprised him.  They had chemistry — not the chemistry that Neil had with Dru, but far more than he has in any of his subsequent pairings.  They also have enough messy personal history to create years of drama.   Neil was involved with Ashley’s best friend Olivia.  For years, Neil was Victor Newman’s loyal number two, the smart guy who was always passed over for the big promotions in favor of Victor’s less qualified children.  This was his big chance to make a move on the recent ex-wife of the man who buried him under the glass ceiling for a decade. If they got serious, he could have gotten down and dirty in Victor’s former bedroom. The guy has been dateless for months, thanks to the Tyra debacle.  Instead of going for it with a woman who would actually be his equal, he politely told Ashley he is too busy trying to save Katherine’s company to pursue a romance.  Unless this is a beginning of an educational storyline about the problems of low testosterone in fortysomething men, there is no excuse for Neil to be such an asexual wimp.   Come on, Neil.  You finally got the courage to leave Newman Enterprises.  You do not have to be afraid of Victor’s wrath anymore.  You are no longer the guy who settled for a chaste engagement with Victoria while she was pregnant with another man’s child.  Man up.

Baby Hate

Given the general soap reverence for pregnancy and childbirth I took evil pleasure in Tuesday’s twisted episodes of Days of Our Lives and One Life To Live.  Carly’s flashed back to the birth of her daughter Melanie.  Crazy Lawrence, furious at being cuckolded, forced Carly to deliver without painkillers so she would suffer more, than immediately threatened to drop the newborn baby on the ground.  Granted, Lawrence is both evil and dead, but it was a pleasure to see a character not moved by the miracle of childbirth.  Despicable and immoral characters do not always have to melt at the sight of a child.  Similarly, watching OLTL’s opportunistic strippers blithely decide that Stacy should induce labor a month early so that she can pass the child off as Rex’s.  While anyone who knows anything about childbirth cringed at the possibility of Stacy delivering an underweight baby, Kim assured her that because she’d read on the internet that it was fine to deliver at eight months because the baby was just “hanging out” for the final month.   Stacy is an appalling character whose sole goal in life is to land Rex.  Though she seems to be starting to care about her baby, I wholeheartedly believe that she cares a lot more about her scheme.  Having a baby does not always make people nicer.  No real babies are being harmed in these plot lines.  Nor are the fictional ones.  Melanie grew up to be just fine, and I’m sure Stacy will deliver a giant six month old, just like every other soap Mom.


All My Children begins taping in Los Angeles.  Two weeks later, the L.A. television stations interrupt soaps for, believe it or not, a  tornado warning.  Coincidence?

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

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