Deep Soap: David Hasselhoff Returns to ‘Young and the Restless’

Then and Now: David Hasselhoff as Snapper on 'Young & the Restless' (Photo: CBS)

Then and Now: David Hasselhoff as Snapper on 'Young & the Restless' (Photo: CBS)

Happy Hasselhoff Tuesday!  Yes, David Hasselhoff made his much anticipated return appearance to the role that launched his career, Dr. Snapper Foster on ‘The Young and the Restless‘ June 15 — anticipated that is, by everybody who does not watch ‘Y&R.’

A surprising number of people I know who have never seen an episode of a soap have asked me about it, imagining that Hasselhoff deigning to appear on daytime is a big event. There have been dozens of articles in non-soap publications about the Hoff returning to his roots.  The soap press has shrugged its shoulders, realizing that one week’s worth of appearances by an actor who, at this point is known more as a personality than a thespian, and whose work as Snapper was never seen by most current viewers of the show, means little to most fans. 

But his appearance is important for ‘Y&R’ fans for story reasons.  Jill (Jess Walton) will finally learn the identity of her biological mother.  The premise is that Jill’s adoptive mother Liz has fallen ill and her doctor son Snapper has returned to town to treat her.

So what were my first impressions of David Hasselhoff as Snapper?  Wow, Julianna McCarthy is a great actress. I wish there were a reason to bring her character of Liz back full time, and fervently hope that Liz survives this health scare.  Facing the acting challenge of performing while lying in a hospital bed and being unable to speak without difficulty, McCarthy knocked it out of the park. I felt her pain, fear and frustration, as perhaps at the end of her life, she struggled to reveal a secret she had been hiding for decades.  If Liz makes a full recovery and ends up falling for Murphy (Michael Fairman), straining her decades long friendship with Katherine (Jeanne Cooper), that would be a must-see storyline for me.

Did David Hasselhoff Snap Right Back into Snapper’s Shoes?

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Walton and Cooper were equally outstanding, as Katherine tore into Jill for what she deemed her narcissistic focus on previous ways she wronged Liz rather than Liz’s immediate needs.  Jill gave it right back to her, suggesting that she was using Liz’s illness as an opportunity to denigrate her.  It was a great scene, because both women were right.  I was reminded why both of these powerhouses have won Emmys.

Oh, yeah, the Hoff was there, too. I am sure it must be incredibly difficult to return to working at a daytime pace after so many years in prime time and syndication.  Although … Julianne Moore did not miss a beat when she made a cameo on ‘As The World Turns.’  So I regret to say that Hasslehoff was definitely the weak link in the Foster family. The scenario of a doctor doing his best to hide his emotions as he treats his ill, elderly mother is a gift to any actor. Hasselhoff played Snapper as though he were mildly annoyed that the hospital vending machine was out of his favorite candy bar. This was my first time watching Hasselhoff as Snapper so I will assume one of Snapper’s defining characteristics was not slurred speech. I hope that Hasselhoff, whose IMDB page indicates that he has done little acting work in the past couple years, gets more comfortable in his subsequent shows.

Sad Days

The build-up to Alice’s funeral has started on ‘Days of Our Lives.’  As characters who have not been seen in years appear to bid their final respects to the Horton family matriarch, including fan favorite Jennifer (Melissa Reeves), viewers have been treated to a treasure trove of classic flashbacks.  It all feels so real.  When older characters die, particularly if the actor who played them has died, the convention is for them to have died peacefully in their sleep.  That’s convenient and comforting, but it is often not the way things happen in real life.  I imagine nearly every ‘DOOL’ viewer has watched a loved one die slowly, appreciative of the chance to say goodbye, yet dreading saying it, knowing that the person is ready to let go, yet not wanting it to happen.  The scenes of the family sitting together, sharing favorite memories, vacillating between laughing and crying, are among the show’s most realistic in recent memory.  I applaud ‘DOOL’ for getting back to its family roots and taking the more emotional, less dramatic route to honor its matriarch.

The David Vickers Conundrum

It comes as no surprise that the line of the day on ‘One Life To Live’ came from the mouth of David Vickers (Tuc Watkins.)  He told Rex, “I never did like you, but you at least used to be fun.” That sums up everything that has gone wrong with Rex since he and Gigi were declared a supercouple.

I laughed my head off at David’s attempts to be a supportive older brother to the heartbroken Matthew (Eddie Alderson) by taking him out for a night on the town with a couple of hookers.  Then I realized that a few weeks ago I was appalled that ‘General Hospital’s’ Max (Derk Cheetwood) contemplated doing the same thing for Michael (Chad Duell).  Somehow it was sweet when David did it, while sickening when Max was involved.  What accounted for the disconnect?  Was I a hypocrite who sees sexism behind every corner on ‘GH’ and cuts ‘OLTL’ slack?  After further consideration, the difference was that Matthew had zero interest in having sex with an adult hooker.  He didn’t even realize they were hookers.  All the poor kid wants to do is kiss the girl he loves.  In contrast, Michael wanted to have sex with a stranger just because he was worried the other boys in his class were more sexually experienced.  I wish I could set Matthew up with Kristina (Lexi Ainsworth) on ‘GH’ so she could learn that nice guys do exist. Plus, they are the perfect height for each other. ‘What If’ series, please make this happen.

In addition, in his own weird way, David has tremendous respect for women.  That’s why he is so enamored of the Cramers and Vicki.  He likes to be around women who are stronger than he is. If he calls someone a bitch, it’s a compliment.  As a con artist who has used sex to obtain money on numerous occasions, he sees the working girls as his equals.  In Llanview, sex workers are empowered and respected, as evidenced by ex-madam Renee’s status as a pillar of the community and stripper Kim’s (Amanda Setton) characterization as someone smart enough to hold her own with Clint (Jerry Ver Dorn). We are also meant to think of David as the court jester, not the hero of the story.  We are never meant to think that any of his actions are moral. His plans inevitably backfire.  So I have no shame in loving a guy who thinks that handing a 16-year-old boy a condom and telling him to get it on with a twentysomething escort is a great idea.

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

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