Deep Soap: Julianne Moore Is A Blast From The Past, ‘Y&R’s Masquerade

Julianne Moore (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Julianne Moore (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Moore To Love

Julianne Moore and P&G’s publicity department may team up to trash another one of Tiger Woods’ SUVs.  Her much heralded return to As The World Turns was pre-empted in several East Coast markets by a press conference from the philandering golfer.  Come on, local affiliates.  This is the first thing that has generated any hype for ATWT since the announcement went out that the show got canceled.  It’s unfortunate that this appointment viewing was screwed up by airing something that is in no way newsworthy in its place.  Have a little respect for the longrunning show, its fans, and Julianne Moore.  If you have the misfortune to live in an affected area, we’ve got the episode in its entirety.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this episode, especially since Moore did not show up until the final scene. It was, shock of shocks, actually focused on the veteran characters Bob and Kim. As far-fetched as it is that the sort of fluke marriage paperwork problems that abound on soaps would both render their 25 year marriage invalid and cause Kim to question whether she wanted to be married to him at all, it was nice to see two older characters examining the state of their relationship.  Television rarely acknowledges that people can continue to have issues long after their kids have left the nest.  Kim’s desire for romance and attention made sense.  Since viewers rarely see Bob outside the hospital, he presumably is neglecting his personal life. The dialogue was smart.  The writers actually utilized multi-generational storytelling, with all of Bob and Kim’s children and grandchildren working to reunite them. Kathryn Hays and Don Hastings clearly relished having meaty scenes to play. It was also a great excuse for some classic flashbacks.  How hilarious were Lisa (Eileen Fulton) and Susan (Marie Masters) taking advantage of the situation to make a play for Bob after all these decades? This is exactly the sort of storytelling ATWT should be doing in its final months.  With nothing left to lose, the show sought to be appealing to its longtime fans.  There should be episodes like this every week.

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Moore’s appearance truly was a cameo.  Frannie appeared after their reconciliation to celebrate with her family.   Judging by her ear-to-ear grin, she had a blast reuniting with her former coworkers, and meeting the next generation of Hughes.  Her toast to Bob and Kim struck me as very meta: “I am so happy to be part of this special day.  You mean more to me than I could ever put into words. ”  As brief as her visit was, Moore obviously has a great deal of affection and respect for the show that launched her acting career.  She put a smile on my face and helped manage to bring back, if only for an hour, classic ‘As The World Turns.’

Semi Ballin’

Masquerade Balls are one of my favorite soap traditions.  There are several essential ingredients:  elaborate costumes that reflect the characters personalities, masks that hide characters faces, mistaken identity shenanigans and unexpected romantic encounters.  So when I found out that ‘The Young & The Restless’ was going to throw a costume party in April — apparently the Genoa City Police Department has a whimsical streak– I was excited.  I have fond memories of ‘Y&R’s 1991 ball, which featured elaborate costumes (Jill was Cleopatra complete with shirtless slaves) and  a vengeful David Kimble stirring up trouble.

In 2010, the budget only permitted the sort of masks available at neighborhood party stores.  This was not about luxury and fantasy.  It was all about the intrigue, as multiple plot-driven storylines intersected.  We finally met Ryder and Daisy’s boss, the mysterious “Mama Bear.”   She was wearing a mask, but she seemed to sound a lot like Tracey Bregman-Recht.   So perhaps Genoa City will have yet another doppleganger storyline.   She kidnapped Lauren, locking her in a cage with Jana.

The episode’s most impressive visuals were in the location sequences that were shot at L.A’s Griffith Park Zoo. The director did an outstanding job of making a storyline that not all of the audience is invested in tense and exciting, as Kevin (Greg Rikaart) struggled to find his imprisoned wife.   When Jana (Emily O’Brien) was temporarily stuffed in a box, it made me think of Lauren being buried alive back in the 1980s. If this somehow has to do with Lauren’s crazy stalker Shawn instead of Sheila, I will give ‘Y&R’ a standing ovation.  (Yes, he’s dead, but so is Sheila.)

Fugitive Adam (Michael Muhney) attended in a full mask and apparently blew up the GCAC. The body of an unidentified man appearing in the basement who was apparently murdered before the not so impressive explosion.  I suspect everyone will think it is Adam until he reappears alive and well during May sweeps.  I hope the murder victim is not poor Rafe, who was shown searching for Adam in the basement moments before the explosion.  I’d like there to be one surviving gay character in daytime, however peripheral.

Sharon once again ended up in the hospital.  At this point I expect her next storyline to be about her health insurance company canceling her policy because she is costing them too much money.  All of these events should have had me on the edge of my seat.  Yet for some reason I found myself appreciating the effort that went into producing the ball rather than caring.  I think it is because my emotional investment in Adam’s storyline waned once the baby switch was revealed.  At this point, he is just a mustache twirling villain with nothing left to lose.

For me, the highlights were the Jill (Jess Walton) and Kay (Jeanne Cooper) scenes.  Instead of high drama, they were character based and funny.  These two have the richest, most complicated relationship on the show.  By now, they know that even when they are at war, they need each other.  So it was fitting that they ended up trapped in the ladies room, resulting in this awesome exchange:

Jill: Well, as much as I’d like to see an obit that reads, “Katherine Chancellor dies in toilet,” I don’t have that kind of luck.

Kay: I should have known. In time of crisis, the only thing I can count on you is being an absolute bitch.

Jill: I like to be consistent.

Scenes like these are what make soap galas so entertaining.  It did not take any special effects, mysterious doubles, or location shoots.  Just 37 years of history, two Emmy award winning actresses, and some terrific dialogue.

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

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