Inspired by Babs and Chris Goutman's recent casting coup, I got to thinking about what the next ultimate casting power move should be for the best soap not currently airing on television —As The Executives Turn. Since I don't see Eric Braeden leaving The Young and the Restless to play a new German mob boss, or Mikkos Cassadine on General Hospital anytime soon, I came up with the next best thing. What if Babs, Auntie Ri Ri and Uncle Paul convinced Bob Guza's muse herself, Vanessa Marcil (ex-Brenda) to join daytime's hottest show in the role of Victoria Newman McNeil Howard Carlton Hellstrom?
I'm sorry, licensing fees be damned, I can count six people right off the top of my head who could be shown the door in order for Ms. Marcil to make her way to Genoa City. When she last returned to GH, 800,000 viewers returned with her. Name another soap star who can spike numbers like that? Y&R should get Marcil's people on the horn ASAP!
Just imagine Marcil playing Victor Newman's daughter the way God and the late Bill Bell intended—as a chip off the old billionaire block. She definitely looks the part, with her dark, sexy features, Marcil could easily pass as Braeden's daughter and Joshua Morrow's sister.
Victoria, as played by Heather Tom, was a snobby, businesswoman/occasional Lolita (after she got over that pesky teenage frigidity problem of course!) who wore her heart on her designer sleeves one minute, then froze up, refusing to show weakness the next. Victoria gave as good as she got ,and along with Katherine Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper), was one of the few people Victor would allow to give him a good dressing down when he needed it.
I still get chills when I think of Victoria's final scenes before leaving town a few years ago, as she told her father through gritted teeth, and with twin streams of tears running down her face, how ashamed she was of him for damaging the Newman brand by allowing himself to be caught up in a product placement scandal. Victoria left town shortly after that scene, and in my opinion, she hasn't been seen or heard from since.
No offense to the lovely and just above adequate in the part Amelia Heinle, but this iconic role deserves an iconic actress, and that actress is Vanessa Marcil.Fans of General Hospital, the original Beverly Hills, 90210 and Las Vegas know all-to-well Marcil's penchant for creating love-to-hate antiheroines who have you rooting for them one minute and wishing someone would bitch slap the tar out of them the next! That's what Y&R needs in terms of a viable Victoria Newman, not a wilting, little flower, complete with half smiles and a perennial deer-in-headlights look.
A lot of Y&R fans have been speaking out about the lack of strong, viable female characters—a couple of them on my Facebook page— and while I am admittedly and unashamedly loving this show right now, I have to concede the detractors are beginning to make a strong case. With Phyllis (Michelle Stafford), Sharon (Sharon Case), Chloe (Elizabeth Hendrickson) and Ashley (Eileen Davidson) all existing as some form of victim or another, Y&R needs a strong, rootable female lead who actually drives story and makes things happen, as opposed to standing back and letting men torment them by a.) by proving to be more fickle than Archie Andrews in trying to pick between Betty and Veronica or b.) dressing up in drag and scaring the bejesus out of them while preggars.
Again, don't misunderstand me, I am literally RIVETED by the aforementioned stories, but I understand why the lack of in-control women in Genoa City bothers some fans. Soaps definitely need tragic, tormented heroines and borderline psychotic vixens (although one or two per capita is generally quite enough!), but they also need strong, determined women to balance things out. Right now the only woman in Genoa City fitting that bill is Katherine Chancellor.
I am not saying recasting Victoria Newman with Vanessa Marcil will magically solve Y&R's lack of a Ms. Magazine quality heroine, of course it won't, but if written well (and let's face it, this is Y&R so it would be written well) it could be the biggest thing daytime's seen, since, well, the last big thing Y&R did!
As for the rest of what could be done with the women of my favorite soap town— i.e. Phyllis telling Nick to kick rocks and meaning it, before taking him to court for custody of Summer and his half of the magazine in a "I am Woman" fit of rage; Sharon finding a modicum of self esteem (perhaps at the bottom of a Forrester clutch she steals from Fenmore's?) and deciding to raise her tot on her own, instead of depending one man, or the other to rescue her; Chloe hooking up with Adam or JT or Raul, or all of the above, to show Billy (Billy Miller) two can play his game; Lily (Christel Khalil) ho checking that tramp Tyra (Eva Marcille) for tearing up her family, and starting to catch a clue about her man lying to her; Ashley beginning to slowly sense what is happening to her and turning the tables on Adam (Chris Engen), as opposed to Victor predictably playing the eventual hero thus securing Eric Braeden his 18,000th SOD cover—those are all discussions for another blog post.