On the Industry
Daytime's Gold Standard, A Duo
By Tommy Garrett
Dec 7, 2008 - 9:47:42 PM

Every week, Canyon News takes a look at the strongest performance given each week in a Daytime drama. It won’t be long before ballots are going out and those actors who offer the strongest performances will be noted by their peers, firstly on their own shows and then by the Academy voters for Best of the Best.

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This week the gold standard belongs to Jess Walton of CBS’s “The Young and the Restless” and Laurence Lau of the same network’s hit show, “As the World Turns.” First up, let’s talk about Jess. She portrays the character of Jill Abbott on the number one daytime drama. But her character has been thrust into an incredible storyline. Jill’s mother Kay is presumed dead. Her arch enemy, the maid Esther Valentine, played by the unforgettable Kate Linder, has been getting under her skin since inheriting Jill’s mom’s half of the Chancellor mansion. Then Jill has just started to get over the death of her fiancé, Ji Min Kim. On top of that, her enemy’s daughter, Chloe, is pregnant with her grandchild and what else could Jill face this week?

Nikki Newman, played by the beautiful Melody Thomas Scott, showed up at the Jabot Cosmetics Board meeting to complain about a ring that Kay had left Nikki in her will. Jill hasn’t seen the ring, obviously, because her presumed dead mother is still wearing it and walking around a Merv’s Diner slinging hash. But Jill had to tell Nikki to back off, only to land in a board meeting to celebrate son Cane Ashby’s being named to the CEO position at Jabot, then to find out that her youngest son Billy Abbott had been instrumentally involved in the takeover of his mother’s company and would be ousting his own brother, Cane, and mom, Jill, from the company. Walton played each scene in this “Bette Davis-like” emotional marathon of a week. Joy that she and Cane were being joined by Billy to run her mother’s company. Only to have son Billy stab her in the back. To be bothered by perennial enemy but now multimillionaire maid Esther’s refusal to do any housework or take any further orders from Jill, to be confronted by Nikki accusing her of stealing her mother’s ring, to battle with her former lover, former son in law Jack, to be confronted by a triumphant and spoiled Gloria and her buffoon husband Jeffrey that she was losing control of the company she once controlled.

How did Walton do it? With aplomb and greatness.

Then there’s Laurence Lau, who plays Lucinda’s bisexual husband on “As the World Turns.” After he married Lucinda, who is battling breast cancer, he immediately gave his new step grandson, Luke, a sensual smooch on the lips and then has taken control of his new bride’s life. To her daughter Lilly’s dismay, Lucinda is not only in love, married to a man 20 years her junior, but Lucinda Walsh has allowed this man to run her life and business for her. This is being set up as a perfect plot to turn the handsome dashing husband into a maniac. A maniac as only uber producer Chris Goutman can create. Look out Lilly, Luke and Lucinda. Brian is sure to become one of the most sensational bad boys on the show that specializes in bad boys that we love. Take Paul Ryan for instance. Going after Dusty Donovan this week with an axe? Where did that come from? Laurence Lau is smartly playing the role very subtly. Fans and viewers of the best show on television are about to be surprised by the transformation that I can see happening. Lau plays it not as a bad guy, but as a man who is torn over what he is and what he really wants. He makes such feelings believable and makes you think they are possible, even though in our hearts we believe his actions are implausible. Goutman is the master of daytime story weaving. Now when is Tommy Garrett going to be visiting Oakdale? Whether I do or not, the show remains my favorite guilty pleasure. That’s why, this week, I give the gold standard of work to Lau and Walton respectively.



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