Deep Soap: Is Y&R’s Chance Really Dead?

John Driscoll on Y&R (CBS)

John Driscoll on Y&R (CBS)

Another Legacy Character Bites The Dust — Or Does He?

The Young & The Restless‘ appeared to kill off another young member of a core family Thursday.  As his mother Nina, (Tricia Cast)  and the two women who love him, Chloe (Elizabeth Hendrickson) and Heather (Eden Riegel) looked on, Chance (John Driscoll) was pronounced dead by a paramedic.

The show has announced that Driscoll was leaving, but that does not mean that Chance, the character, is really gone.  Watching the episode, it seemed clear that this was the latest instance of a show’s attempt to persuade the audience that a character is dead in an attempt to preserve suspense.  It is an odd coincidence that this is the third time this has happened in two weeks.  Last week, it was ‘One Life To Live’s‘ Tea and ‘All My Children’s‘ David — who may actually be dead depending on the results of Vincent Irizarry’s contract negotiations.

While the so-called death may not be surprising, and the story leading up to it has been boring and convoluted, the show has succeeded at reinventing a dull core character.   Chance’s position as the sole Chancellor heir of his generation makes him important to the show’s history.

Unfortunately, when they introduced the character, the writers did Chance no favors.  Making him a veteran of the Iraq war who turned down the opportunity to work in the family business because he wanted to be a police officer was great.  Daytime needs more genuine heroes with personal integrity.

However, writing Chance as a virgin despite lacking strong religious convictions and giving him an overall goody two shoes persona sapped all of his sex appeal right out of him.  Driscoll is a competent actor, but did not play beyond what was written on the page, and give Chance more depth.

The arrival of his long lost half brother Ronan (Jeff Branson) made Chance interesting.  Chance’s decision to falsely claim that he was a dirty cop and go undercover to clear his name gave him an edge.  Cheating on Chloe with Heather tarnished his halo.  The relationship between Chance, Ronan and Nina has the potential to provide years of story.  Chance and Ronan should journey from mutual hatred to love, with Chance grappling with mixed emotions as Nina struggled to make up for decades of lost time by smothering Ronan with affection. It could be a classic Y&R character based storyline where nobody was all good or all evil.   Or it could be a lame love quadrangle between two brothers with Nina shunted off to the sidelines.   I can only hope for the best.

The death’s lack of permanence was heavily foreshadowed.  Chance had just told Ronan that he knew they were brothers.  Milquetoast villain Owen ordered undercover FBI agent Ronan to kill him.  There was plenty of opportunity for the two brothers to set up the scenario off camera.  Neither would have anticipated the arrival of Nina, Heather and Chloe.   There was an epic wailfest and Nina, Heather and Chloe simultaneously broke down.  It will be interesting to see which of the women learns that Chance is alive and in hiding first.

Whether the show decides to bring back Driscoll or recast the role, I hope that Chance does not remain “dead” for too long, because the good part of the story will come from the fall out.

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Pretty Little Llanviewers

ABC corporate synergy is going too far.  Suddenly, characters on ‘One Life To Live‘ are being tormented by text messages, in a rip off of ABC Family’s summer hit ‘Pretty Little Liars.’   Unfortunately, in this case the characters horrified reactions make absolutely no sense.  For the uninitiated, ‘Pretty Little Liars’ is about four teenaged girls who may be involved in the death of their friend Allison.  They start receiving text messages from someone named A that reveal the sender knows their deepest, darkest secrets. Their fear makes sense because the secrets would ruin their lives if they came out, and they are teenaged girls who lack the life experience to handle threats.

On OLTL, the device is as illogical as every other aspect of the Eli storyline.  Greg (Terrell Tilford), allegedly a world renowned surgeon, was about to unburden himself to psychiatrist Marty (Susan Haskell) about his mysterious connection to Eli and his role in keeping Todd and Dani away from Tea’s “deathbed” when he received a text message from an unidentified number warning him to keep his mouth shut.  He immediately clammed up, instead of, say, calling the police.  Dani then received a text message saying, “I’m coming for you.”  Even though she has absolutely no reason to fear Eli or be anything but confused by the sentiment, she opted not to tell Todd about it.  These are strange but innocuous texts that could have come from anyone, unlike those on ‘Pretty Little Liars’.   Eli is not Satan. He is not omnipotent. Everyone is on to him now, so there is no reason to fear him.  This terror by text is beneath OLTL.  I cannot wait until this story ends.

It’s Always Sonny in Rome

Congratulations, ‘General Hospital.’  You managed to kill my enthusiasm for the Sonny-Brenda reunion in one episode.   Brenda (Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo), who was always conflicted about dating a criminal, is for some reason now Sonny’s (Maurice Benard) biggest cheerleader.

He spent Wednesday telling her about the morally repugnant person he has become over the past five years.  He listed all his recent sins: jumping bail and betraying his long lost son in the process, nearly killing his daughter Kristina with a car bomb, and generally losing the integrity and humanity that made him a fascinating, flawed character when he was dating Brenda.

In a rare moment of introspection, he equated his sleeping with the then teenaged Karen with Johnny and Kristina’s relationship.   Yes, they were similar– except that Kristina and Johnny were only pretending to date while Sonny persuaded Karen to become a stripper, got her hooked on drugs and seduced her.  He even pointed out that Brenda was way too young for him when they started dating. (Brenda’s defense: she was a college freshman at 18.  Yeah, Brenda, that’s when most people go to college.)

In a moment of unintentional hilarity, Sonny sighed that, “The only one of my kids who has not been in the hospital is Morgan.”   Brenda’s response was not to point out how weird it is that Kristina is 17 when she was not even conceived until long after Sonny and Brenda broke up (Brenda’s return creates all sorts of SORASing timeline problems.)  It was to let Sonny off the hook for everything, including shooting Dante in the chest.  She even said that it was understandable that he would plant a car bomb because he was feeling “desperate.”

Not only is her making excuses for Sonny out tedious, it’s bad drama.  Their conversation would have been so much more interesting if Brenda had been repulsed by what Sonny had become.   She could have told him that he is no longer the man that she loved and that she now realizes how lucky she is to have a sweet, bland movie star in her life.  As a kicker she could have said that she is a spokesperson for an organization that is dedicated to stopping men like him.  That could have spurred Sonny to do the right thing, return to Port Charles, and set about becoming a good enough person to win her back.  That is a storyline I would like to see.  Instead, GH continues to grant Sonny papal infallibility.  Port Charles is already full of Sonny apologists.  Why go through all the trouble of bringing back Brenda if she’s just going to add her voice to the chorus?

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

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