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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Devon Have I Been

Actor Bryton James has been speaking to my heart over the past few days in his role as Devon Hamilton on The Young and the Restless.  When it was first discovered that he was Tucker’s son, I wanted to write a piece on it, but I am glad that I waited.

Paternity (and in some cases, maternity) is a staple of daytime drama.  It can be argued that “Who’s the daddy” storylines on soaps are the reason that DNA tests are so popular on Maury to this day.  So while we may groan at the Malcolm-Sofia-Neil paternity quagmire, we secret want and need such drama in our shows.

On the other hand, Y&R has those characters who are on a constant quest of self-discovery.  I was sympathetic with Jill when she discovered that she was really a Fenmore and Jill wouldn’t acknowledge her.  All Jill ever really needed was to be loved and to know that she was loved.  Isn’t that what we all want in some way?  But when Lauren initially rejected Jill, it stung for me because of my own “other family.”

I was born out of wedlock and raised by s single mother.  My father was never there for me.  This lack of interest in my life was reaffirmed when I reached out to him as a young adult and he told me to stop attempting to contact him and “his” family.

Father of the year, right?  At least Victor Newman claimed his own…

Years after that, I discovered that my blood brother had become a member of the same fraternity as me.  Although I reached out and we made a connection in 2007, we have yet to meet face to face.

He lives in the next county over from me.

I’m not sure how much space and time I need to give my “other” family before they accept me, but I’m resigned to the fact that it may be the 32nd of Neveruary before that happens.

I’m happy for Jill.

If Jill represents the sometimes fragile and delicate side of me which can easily wilt at the thought of rejection, Devon represents the tough, “strong black man” archetype which every black man is or aspires to be at some point.  He is a protective brother, loyal son, and good friend.  His background isn’t identical to mine (though he was emotionally and physically abandoned by his father) but he still has that tough, “I can do it myself” outer shell.  He doesn’t “need” anyone, but he chooses to need Neil Winters.  He chooses to be vulnerable to Lily Winters.  He chooses to rely on Malcolm Winters.  This is his family – the one that he chose and the one that chose him.

Bryton James has been acting the hell out of this part.  So has Jeanne Cooper.

The range of emotions that each has displayed though these scenes has been phenomenal.  One can’t help but imagine what a wonderful reunion of grandmother and grandchild this could have been if Mrs. Chancellor had just gotten it together and done the right thing.

Rightfully so, Devon can’t forgive her just yet.  And he doesn’t even want to be a son to Tucker.  I’d be heated as well if the man who fired me turned out to be my father.

For those of us with these sorts of paternal issues, Devon Hamilton, expertly exemplified by Bryton James, has given a voice to those frustrations.  I will probably never be able to adequately write about the frustration and disappointment I feel because of my own father, much less will I be able to adequately explain how the absence as a father has impacted me, for the worse as well as for the better.

But if you want just a taste of how that feels, check out Bryton’s portrayal of Devon as this story unfolds.  I am digging it.

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Posted by on October 10, 2011 in Rashid's Take

 

Naw, we good: Why Y&R Doesn’t Need Drucilla Winters

In 2006, after six months of employment with many accomplishments under my belt, I resigned from a good job.  I never received the proper level of support from my immediate supervisor and the working environment was fairly toxic.  The straw which broke the camel’s back was when he wouldn’t give me two days of leave to go out of town on a speaking engagement.

So I quit.  It was a good-paying job for somebody living with family, prior to the economic downturn.

Now, ask me would I quit a job in 2011?  Heck no.  (But I’ve been laid off from one.)

When I left that organization in 2006, they were fine without me for five more years until they ceased operating this past January.  Yes, they made decisions which I didn’t agree with, and neither did my friends who I left behind.  And when my replacement didn’t work out, I did put into the universe that I would return to work there if they doubled my salary.  Of course that didn’t happen.

They moved on.  I moved on.  We’ve both had ups and downs.  But one thing I didn’t do was openly and actively campaign for my job back.  I had quit.  It was over.

***

I read with interest the tweets of the actress who portrayed Drucilla Winters.  She is indeed a talented actress and I do miss her character from time to time.  And I agree that the way her character was written out was stupid at best.  A cliff?  Really?  And somehow Sharon’s ass living out shined Drucilla’s death!  Where they do that at?

I have also heard the actresses various radio and podcast tirades against the show’s production staff and certain actors.  Basically, although this is a woman who campaigns for her job back, this doesn’t sound like a woman who wants to have a job.

But my gripe is not with the actress and her campaign.  I will attempt to describe with this post why there is no need for Drucilla in Genoa City.

First, she’s dead.  I think we’ve had way too many resurrection stories on soap operas in general.  True, the body was never found.  But I think a more compelling story will be when they do find her body and have to bury her.  Neil, Lily, Devon, and Malcolm don’t seem to have truly healed from this and I think properly burying her would be a good way to exhibit their chops.

Second, Neil has moved on many times over.  When I think of Dru and Neil, I just don’t have the automatic “spark” in my head that I have when I think of Jesse and Angie from All My Children – and I rarely ever watched AMC!  Neil and Dru have practically been estranged for longer than they were together.  if she did come back, I wouldn’t want Neil with her.

Third (and this is not a good reason, but it is among the more valid ones) I never saw the mother-daughter chemistry between Lily and Drucilla like I should have.  I am not sure if that’s in the writing or the acting.  In fact, I may have said before in these very pages that I just plain don’t like the Lily character and wished for her death when she had cancer.  Isn’t that awful?  But I was so eager to sacrifice Lily so that Neil would have something – anything – to do or talk about.  If Drucilla came back, what would the implication be for Lily?  I just don’t see it.

The rest of my reasons are a hodge podge:

  • Leslie Michaelson is a baaaaaaaaad hush your mouth and we need to see more of HER.  (I say this not because we can’t have additional black actresses, but for financial reasons, use the ones you have!)
  • There’s still some life left in Sofia’s character – she’s one of the few that has a life outside of being a Winters and I love her more when she’s devious with Tucker McCall.
  • Yolanda/Harmony is about to make ALL A Y’ALL forget about Drucilla.
That’s it….I know the Drucilla stans are about to light my ass on fire…. bring it on!
 
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Posted by on October 9, 2011 in Rashid's Take