By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman
The vodka martini stands alone at the bar waiting to be sipped. The well-dressed older blonde woman stands next to it, looking hard at the beguiling beverage. Her face tells us she’s fighting the fight every recovering alcoholic fights countless times. She wins this round, walking away, leaving the martini untouched.
But how much longer can The Young and the Restless’ Nikki Newman resist the siren song of alcohol? The classic Alcoholics Anonymous slogan “One Day at a Time” could have been written for her. A lifelong alcoholic, she is always vulnerable to drink, and falls off the wagon when the pressure is strong enough.
Lately, the pressure has been very strong — the public revelation that she mothered Dylan McAvoy as a young girl when she was a member of a cult led by Ian Ward. Although she was having an affair with Ian, her baby turned out to be fathered by her friend Paul Williams. Ian even sued Nikki for emotional distress for passing off Dylan as his son. Although the case was dismissed, the trauma sent Nikki to an AA meeting, where she told her story to sympathetic ears. Ian swore that getting Nikki back on the sauce would be his revenge.
As portrayed with tenderness and torment by Melody Thomas Scott, Nikki’s great vulnerability to the temptation to drink under pressure has made her a very popular character over the last 30 years. Will Nikki’s inner strength be great enough to carry her over the hurdles of temptation that keep on coming?
It’s an ongoing question that will get a powerful challenge in the upcoming fall season. A new cast member will be joining Y&R. She is primetime star Meredith Baxter, who will play Nikki’s “drinking buddy” Maureen for a few months. Is Maureen also the mother of Kelly and Stich? Can Nikki survive a major dose of this alcohol-soaked “friendship”?
General Hospital’s Chemistry Tests
You never know when two actors are going to hit it off. General Hospital has been experimenting with several interesting pairs lately.
Lisa LoCicero and Wally Kurth are being paired as Olivia and Ned to quite the charming effect. Recently after some drinks they watched TV in a hotel room, where Ned had to warn Olivia against a very bad joke — drunk-dialing an animal shelter to inquire about an adoption. Happily, when she sobered up she was mortified that she’d done something stupid.
Another attention-getting couple is Michelle Stafford and Roger Howarth, who have been given a few funny and charming scenes lately in which the unlikely couple Nina Clay and Franco build a friendship. Both Stafford and Howarth are noted for playing bad characters and their pairing is an interesting face off. Of course Franco’s girlfriend Carly doesn’t like it.
Most enjoyable, too, are Maura West as Ava and Tony Geary as Luke, seen skyping Carly’s bid for the job of evil drug-dealing Luke’s underboss. What a treat it is to watch two soap superstars at work and play. Or perhaps I should say, work they make look like play!