So a little backstory on me:
I am a rabid Days of Our Lives fan and have been since the mid to late 1980s (Specific episode: When Max fell off the pier and Patch jumping in after him). I kept up with Y&R in passing through my grandmother (as many black men do), but I didn’t start watching on my own until 2003. I don’t know why — I just did.
I was proud of myself for discovering Days on my own, though. I found a group of college buddies to watch it with during freshman year, and that was cool. When I was pledgemaster for my community service fraternity, I think I may have even made one of the pledges watch Days with me. (Specific episode: the Coronation Massacre)
But enough of the context — this is about how the character Tucker McCall has saved Y&R, specifically as portrayed by Stephen Nichols.
Y&R has always been strongest when the storylines had the big business backdrop — corporate espionage, SEC investigations, hostile takeovers, etc. Sure, we all love the daytime staples of adultery, romance, evil twins, and angst, but Y&R was always different because it was smart. Savvy, even.
Genoa City needed another businessman who wasn’t related to the Newmans or Abbotts. Although I considered the hiring of William Russ to be stunt casting (really? the dad from Boy Meets World?) I very quickly came to like the character. He was different from the stodgy, old-money families which were so filthy rich it wasn’t even exciting anymore. Here is a man, a swashbuckler, a cowboy, a cad, who was shaking things up.
But he wasn’t young, either! He was a handsome, middle-aged man with wonderful curly blond hair who was smart, cunning…. and yes, filthy rich. In no time, he bedded Jill (not that it’s a hard thing to do) — hell, I don’t think Jill got any peen since Ji-Min died a few years ago.
As we all know, since then Tucker was revealed to be Katherine’s son. I know, die-hard Y&R fans might hate all this retconning (retroactive continuity) of the storylines, but it made me like the character even more. He’s not cunning because he’s a shred businessman — he’s cunning because he’s a dick. And he’s a dick because he never had his mother’s love. And now it’s too late to give a shit.
I enjoyed the scenes when Tucker’s heart softened as he got to know Katherine. And I loved how Jill ruined all of that. Jill just can’t get right, and I love her for it.
Sidenote: I also like how Jill and Katherine embrace each other as mother/daughter anyway. Love any scenes in which they reconcile. (Mind you, I started watching in 2003, around the time that the Jill/Kay feud started winding down and becoming the mother daughter shit, so I’m not exactly loyal to the notion of them being mortal enemies)
Anyway, I was surprised when William Russ was let go and they hired Stephen Nichols. I LOVE STEPHEN NICHOLS. I used to have a small poster of him up in my room when I was a child. (It was a picture of him as Jesse James from a movie he was in.) But I wasn’t sure that Stephen Nichols was the right person.
Well, he clearly took the part and made it his own. He’s a little colder, more calculating, and fits the mold of self-made billionaire just a little better than William Russ. There’s less swashbuckling, and more savvy.
The vulnerability isn’t there with him and Kay, but it was with him and Ashley. I liked their scenes when Ashley was giving up Faith.
Sidenote: As much as I love Tucker, I don’t like how he punks Neil DAILY. But that’s Neil’s fault.
So how has Tucker saved Y&R?
- He shows that Victor Newman isn’t the only asshole billionaire in the game.
- He provides a better sex symbol than Victor and Jack.
- He gives spice to the Chancellors, and more vitriol between Kay and Jill.
- He has inserted himself in interesting and meaningful ways into other stories: the Malcolm/Neil feud, the JT/Victoria custody battle, and Ashley/Faith saga, to name a few.
In short, very few characters can come along brand new to a show and have such an impact. Tucker McCall was the right character at the right time, and both William Russ and Stephen Nichols were the right actors. I’m looking forward to seeing how much more trouble he can cause.