Y&R Raises The Dead

Genie Francis on Y&R (CBS)

Genie Francis on Y&R (CBS)

The Joys of Retroactive Continuity

Well, that was fast. In the first week of Genie Francis’s arrival on “The Young & the Restless,” we learned that her character, Genevieve, is working with her son Cane (Daniel Goddard), to bring down her ex-husband Colin (Tristan Rogers).  Yes, Cane is alive and well and impersonating his dead evil twin, Caleb to fool Colin. He is also impersonating a ghost when he visits his wife, Lily (Christel Khalil), as part of Colin’s scheme to drive Lily crazy and gain custody of her twins. So why hasn’t Cane just come clean with Lily and let her help with the plan? Well, subterfuge is not exactly the guileless Lily’s strongsuit. Cane’s never had any qualms about lying to Lily in the past, even though it cost him their relationship. But the real reason is that Cane is now under the thumb of his big. bad Mama.

Francis obviously relishes playing the vengeful former wife of a mob kingpin. She touches Cane with a little too much affection. She uses her domesticity as a weapon; she always seems to be in the kitchen. It’s unclear whether he loves her, or fears her, or both. According to Francis, the role is her big chance to set aside her wholesome Laura Spencer image, which she dismisses as childish.

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Between that anti-Laura sentiment , and her surprise that the Y&R cast, particularly Jess Walton, welcomed her with open arms, which she deems unusual, I find myself hoping that Francis will be the next soap star to write her memoirs. She obviously has some dirt to spill.

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Yes, the whole storyline is a massive ret-con. A jumble of flashbacks last week revealed that Caleb was always the bad seed, and that he killed their sister Samantha in an attempt to murder Cane. (I think the writers missed a great opportunity for an obvious joke by not naming Cane’s twin brother Abel.) There is no real reason why Caleb would tie Cane up so he could attend Colin and Jill’s wedding in his place. (His motivation was given as simply wanting to see his Dad get married.) It makes absolutely no sense why a man who wants to kill his own twin brother would push Lily and the twins, who he never met before, to safety at the cost of his own life. Perhaps there will be some further flashback that reveals Colin ordered Caleb to protect the twins. Perhaps we’re just not supposed to spend too much time thinking about it. But I am willing to suspend my disbelief  because Cane alive and well and hating that he’s driven the woman he loves into a mental hospital is a lot more interesting than an evil twin wreaking havoc. Y&R went overboard on the lookalikes last year so I am glad that Caleb is definitively dead and will be seen only in flashbacks.

Fans of Cane and Lily, AKA Lane, are delighted at this turn of events. I have read some complaints on message boards from people who dislike this very polarizing couple complaining that the show is pandering to a small fanbase. This is where I dissent. You can’t complain that soap writers never listen to viewers than get upset because they responded to a fan campaign that does not fit your personal preferences. Something about Lane struck such a chord among a portion of Y&R viewers that they were inspired to bombard the show with letters and phone calls, make sure Lane wins soap magazine “favorite couple” polls, and even spend money hiring a plane to fly over the studio with a Cane banner. At a time when soaps are struggling to get people to keep watching, why would you ignore that passion? This is, in my opinion, no different than “General Hospital” giving Becky Herbst her job back after viewers banded together to protest her firing.

Yes, Goddard is an incredibly savvy social networker who maintains a close relationship with his fans and never expresses negative opinions about Y&R. He may have stoked the fires of the campaign. So what? Other soap actors should learn from him. It’s no different than what stars in other genres, from Nathan Fillion to Kim Kardashian do to promote themselves.

Another Character Lives, Thanks to Ret-conning

Speaking of ret-conned storylines, could Patrick Thornheart be alive? That was the curveball that “One Life to Live” threw at its viewers last Friday. After a couple weeks of watching the person that the promos dub “the original Todd” say he didn’t know where “it” is and shout “I have a daughter! Her name is Starr!” it is a relief to see Roger Howarth’s storyline get started. I was so happy to see him bust out of the government torture chamber where he was being held so I didn’t have to see him treading in place while the writers figured out what his storyline was going to be in light of the show’s cancellation anymore, that I almost did not care what else happened. The revelation that long presumed dead Patrick, love of Marty’s (Susan Haskell) life, was actually being held down the hall was an actual, “Oh my God,” moment. (By the way, linking this Todd and Marty makes Todd 2.0’s decision to kidnap and brainwash Marty baffling. Oh, retroactive continuity, you create as many problems as you solve.) I like it when a show surprises me. I guess Todd and Patrick are being held in a Gitmo for people who were victims of Irish terrorists. That seems rather unjust.

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Given that Patrick’s portrayer Thorsten Kaye, who is Haskell’s real-life husband, allegedly has declined to return to the show, I am not entirely confident that he is really, and truly alive. I suppose they could reunite off-camera, which would make for unsatisfying viewing. If the show has managed to keep a Kaye cameo secret, then kudos. Nor can I get behind Marty enjoying a romantic reunion with Patrick given that she attempted to murder both Natalie (Melissa Archer) and Kelly (Gina Tognoni) and murdered that poor psychiatrist. She needs to be locked up.  Patrick is the not the cure for a psychotic break, though I realize asking for realistic portrayals of mental illness on a show that treats Dissociative Identity Disorder as the set up for a love triangle is futile.

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

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