Deep Soap: In Praise of Y&R’s Sean Young (No, Seriously!)

Sean Young (CMT)

Sean Young (CMT)

When I heard Sean Young’s appearance as Meggie on ‘The Young & The Restless’ was being extended, I was less than enthusiastic.  It seemed like more of daytime being unduly excited about an actor with film credentials and Meggie did not seem like more than a standard issue dayplayer.

To my surprise, now that she has left the wilds of Ottawa for Genoa City, I rather like Meggie for one simple reason: she gives Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) someone to hate.  Nikki is at her best when she has a female enemy.  Nobody is better at being superficially nice while making her disdain apparent with every role of her eyes than Scott.  When Meggie showed up at the ranch doing her best damsel in distress impression complete with fainting spells, the battle was on.

Nikki has been largely invisible for the past few months.  She has had little to do other than wring her hands at her children’s misfortune.  A happy Nikki and Victor (Eric Braeden) are a boring Nikki and Victor.

So far everyone involved is being written as smart.  Nikki and Victor were immediately suspicious of Meggie’s claims that she had to come to the U.S. because her bar had turned into the O.K.  Corral.  Meggie knew she was stirring up a hornet’s nest when she told Nikki she hit on Victor in Canada. A woman who is honest about her intentions to go after a man is hard to fight, because she has laid all her cards on the table.  Nikki can’t accuse her of something she has already admitted.  Nikki has Meggie’s number because she used to be her.  She also has Victor’s number, having watched him jump into bed with every woman who makes him feel like king of the world for five minutes.  Victor was wise enough to realize that when you invite another woman to move in to your home, the wise thing to do is give the love of your life a big diamond and ask her to marry you for the three hundreth time.

There are two ways that this storyline could go: Meggie is a good person who needs to be rescued, or Meggie is a scheming bitch who needs to be taken down.

I hope that the show goes the latter route. Nikki has not had a worthy adversary in years, since she more or less made her peace with Sharon.  Veronica Landers is the last one I can remember.  Ramona and Sabrina were too young and innocuous to be threats.  Ashley was entirely sympathetic during her last stint with Victor.   Nikki needs a reason to get out her claws and reestablish herself as the flower arranging, piano playing, lady of the Newman manor. If Meggie ends up going the route of so many other recent Y&R characters and going insane, something tells me Young will be up to the task.

Will Advertisers Ride to the Rescue of Soap Operas?

According to entertainment news site The Wrap, advertisers share fans angst over CBS’s cancellation of ‘As The World Turns’ and ‘Guiding Light.’

Apparently, they consider soap operas a better place to advertise their products than game shows, cable or even talk shows.  I wish that the article, which unfortunately only features anonymous sources, explained why advertisers prefer soap operas.

Is it that they have a higher concentration of demographically desirable viewers than older skewing game shows? Do they just like all the ATWT shout outs on the series that chronicles their business, ‘Mad Men’? Is it that soap viewers are more engaged with the programming and therefore pay more attention to the commercials?

The buyers quoted acknowledged soap opera ratings were declining, but nonetheless thought they were a terrific way to reach female viewers without spending a great deal of money.

I wish these advertisers had spoken up before CBS lowered the boom on its two longest running soaps.  Their opinions could actually have swayed network executives, since they keep the bills paid.

Of course, from CBS’s perspective, the money it is saving by airing the significantly cheaper to produce  ‘Let’s Make A Deal’ in place of  ‘Guiding Light’ makes it worthwhile.   The article does not say that CBS is earning significantly less money by airing a game show, only that it is not able to charge any more money for the additional 200,000 total viewers ‘Let’s Make A Deal’ is averaging—though I would assume that is as much of a demographic issue as a genre issue.  In terms of ‘As The World Turns’ replacement, the advertisers expressed a clear preference for a talk show to a game show.

So perhaps the “View for Moms” series in development featuring Julie Chen and Sara Gilbert has an edge.  (I am still not sure how this would differ from the actual ‘The View.’  Are they going to get into vicious debates about Pampers versus Huggies?)  But if advertisers express a preference for soap operas, it could give networks an incentive to keep the six remaining soaps on the air.

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

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