Deep Soap: ‘Y&R’s’ Cult Baby and ‘General Hospital’s’ Sexy New Mobsters

Melody Thomas Scott of "The Young and the Restless" (Photo: CBS)

Is Y&R’s Dylan Nikki’s Long-Lost Cult Baby?

One of the funniest soap conventions is women who have been on the show for decades suddenly turning out to have a long-lost child. It strains all credulity; the audience was there. They weren’t pregnant. In the ensuing decades, they never mentioned this child to anyone or had any lingering emotions surrounding the child that they were forced to give up. Yet, one day, completely out of the blue, the woman starts having flashbacks and angst. A few weeks later and a long-lost adult child pops out of the woodwork. Several great soap characters, including “All My Children’s” Kendall and “General Hospital’s” Carly, began their existence as reconnected long-lost children.

So I am thrilled that “The Young & the Restless’s” Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) has joined the Forgotten Pregnancy Club. The writers actually came up with a fairly plausible backstory. In the late 1970s, Nikki and Paul (Doug Davidson) briefly joined a cult, which we saw in a glorious vintage flashback. It was a short-lived storyline because apparently it hit too close to home for parents of that tumultuous era who tuned out in droves. The show’s creator Bill Bell has stated in interviews that he regretted writing the story because it took a long time to rebuild the show’s ratings. We have now learned that Nikki was coerced into repeatedly having sex with one of the cult leaders and got pregnant. She managed to hide the pregnancy from everyone, gave birth in a church and handed the baby over to a nun. So far so good.

In my fantasy Y&R, the cult leader (who I cannot picture as played by anyone but Roscoe Born even though he already played Kevin’s evil Dad) acquired the baby and raised him with whatever weird beliefs the cult has and has sent him to Genoa City to wreak cult havoc. I’m talking about the sort of weirdness that Joe Carroll’s cult on “The Following” engaged in, minus the murder. (If you didn’t watch, there was bizarre sex, creepy fealty to a serial killer and a giant compound.)

However, the foreshadowing that Dylan (Steve Burton) is going to turn out to be Nikki’s long-lost son is so heavy-handed that it seems hard to believe that the show is going in any other direction. Dylan is the right age. He looks like he could be related to Nikki. The character is in desperate need of a more ties to the canvas; being Avery’s ex is not enough to keep him in town, much less front-and-center. My big objection to this twist is, what’s the actual story? We have spent months learning every single thing about this character who probably would not exist if Y&R hadn’t jumped at the chance to poach Burton from GH. And there isn’t that much to know. He’s a nice blue-collar guy with PTSD. So if he and Nikki found out they were mother and son, they would be, I would think, happy. Dylan would get a mother to replace his father that passed away. Nikki would get a child who can use his carpentry skills to build her a nice bookcase. That’s sweet, but it’s a situation, not a plot. There really aren’t any consequences. Nick would be angry that the guy he’s convinced Avery still loves is his half-brother, but he already has one half-brother he despises. Another one really isn’t a big deal.

Catch-up on Full Episodes of “The Young and the Restless” Here on xfinityTV:

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If it turns out that Paul is the father due to a barely remembered drug-infused cult hook-up (Nikkie and Paul were platonic friends at that time), then there is slightly more of a story. Paul would see Dylan as his second chance at fatherhood, his chance to make up for everything that went wrong with his psycho son Ricky. But that’s still more character dynamics than an actual storyline. Kendall and Carly were fascinating because they did everything they could to wreck their mothers’ lives, then gradually grew to love them. Dylan has no beef with Nikki. Nikki isn’t even wealthy in her own right, so she can’t make him a millionaire. So I am really hoping that there is some shocking twist (Nikki’s son is newly evil Mason, who is older than he looks! Dylan is actually Jason Morgan!) because otherwise these are scenes in search of a story.

Watch Full Episodes of “General Hospital” Here on xfinityTV

How I Stopped Worrying And Learned to Love the Mob

General Hospital” is doing what I thought was impossible: making the mob interesting. No, I haven’t suddenly become a Sonny (Maurice Benard) fan. But Sonny’s new adversaries are amazing. The Jeromes are fierce, fun and out to destroy Sonny. They are also rooted in the history of the show. Julian  William DeVry) has a longstanding feud with Anna (Finola Hughes) and Duke (Ian Buchanan), and, we now know, is Sam’s (Kelly Monaco) father. Newcomer Ava (Maura West) is the true villainess that I didn’t realize the show needed. She shot Olivia, though she was aiming for Franco. She probably framed A.J. for Connie’s murder. She persuaded Sonny to stop taking his lithium. She isn’t whining about how she has to be a mobster because she was abused as a child. She’s bad and proud of it.

Thursday, the show truly surprised me with the revelation that, back in Puerto Rico, milquetoast Sabrina (Teresa Castillo) was apparently dating Carlos Rivera (Jeffrey Vincent Parise) — Rivera as in Lily’s mobster father. We don’t know anything about Carlos yet, other than that he is hot. But I suspect that he is working with the Jeromes in an epic plot to destroy Sonny. I have no idea why, if Sabrina was dating a seemingly sophisticated older guy before she came to Port Charles, she spent a year unable to work up the nerve to tell Patrick (Jason Thompson) she was attracted to him, but I’m willing to go with the rewrite because it’s interesting. This is a giant umbrella story that works equally well if you’re a Sonny fan (he finally has a meaty storyline) or you’re a Sonny hater (someone’s finally going to take him down!). This time, the mobsters are not being portrayed as misunderstood heroes. They are the bad guys. There is a competent police force made up of equally interesting characters prepared to fight them. If the mob is going to be a part of Port Charles, this is how to do it.

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

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