When I first read the spoilers that Devon (Bryton McClure) and Tyra (Eva Marcille)— whom he believed was his aunt up until just a few months ago— would be hooking up on The Young and the Restless, I decided to wait and see how the story/scenes would play out before making a judgement call. Sometimes the most taboo, illicit circumstances can lead to good, juicy drama on soaps. That wasn't the case with this ridiculous plot twist.
Devon and Tyra ripping each other's clothes off, before getting busy on the couch, was all shades of nasty, and just plain wrong on so many levels. For starters, Devon and Tyra's attraction came out of left field. Does Y&R's brass really believe the one, tired wet dream Devon had a few weeks back was enough to set up this hot plot mess? This isn't how you spin stories on a soap opera. You don't drop some dangling plot point and then pick it up weeks later, believing it was proper enough set up for an out-of-character twist.
Unless I am mistaken, we've never seen Devon so much as lose his virginity on this show. Now the character's first real love scene has McClure playing Billy Bob to Marcille's wannabe Halle Berry?
"I half expected her to start grunting I want you to make me feel good," Luke wrote to me in an email after watching the scene play out.
To make matters worse, there hasn't been a hint of romantic or erotic subtext played between these two characters, ever. Devon has been furious with Tyra ever since he learned the homewrecker wasn't his biological relation, however McClure hasn't been playing it as "I hate you because I want you." For weeks, any time Devon has been in Tyra's orbit, he has looked at her with revulsion, contempt and pity. Which brings me to what I felt for Marcille after seeing her woefull attempts to emote during the scenes.
I am sorry, but it's time to stop tip-toeing around the hair model in the room. Eva Marcille just plain cannot act and Paul Rauch and Maria Arena Bell know it. You put out a casting call for a "new Dru" and this is what you came up with? What exactly were the requirements for this "new Dru", that she be African-American, pretty and the star of a reality show? Marcille is as bad an actress as she is a breathtaking beauty—and she's quite beautiful.
I can name half a dozen strong, black and yes, beautiful actresses who could help fill the enormous void left by Victoria Rowell on Y&R. Vivica A. Fox, Nia Long, Robin Givens,Holly Robinson, Amelia Marshall, Renee Goldsberry all come to mind. No, they weren't top models, but they are actresses, and one would hope that still counts for something on a soap opera.
Even Tatyana Ali, whom Y&R has failed to utilize as Roxanne, could shine opposite fellow teen sitcom alum McClure if given half the chance and a decent storyline. Emmy-winners Kristoff St. John and McClure deserve better than to have to spend their sparse screen time trying to teach Marcille how to act. It's dragging down their performances and making fans apathetic about a family unit we once loved.
Here's a thought, put Ali on contract as Roxanne, recast Marcille with someone who can do more than furrow her eyebrows to denote feelings (Passions'Brook Kerr would do nicely), then pit Roxanne and Tyra against each other. It's not like we can take back yesterday's disgusting episode—unless Y&R borrows from Dallas and makes it all one big nightmare— so they should go balls to the wall with it!
Devon should walk through broken glass to win Roxanne back (and maybe bond with Cane, now realizing that it's easy to pass judgement on someone else's eff ups until you make a few of your own), then, just as Roxanne has forgiven him, have Tyra discover she's pregnant. Is the baby Neil's or his son's?
Tonya Lee Williams has booked a new show in Canada, so why not recast Olivia with Amelia Marshall (ex-Gilly, Guiding Light), Renee Jones (Lexie, DAYS),or Tracey Ross (ex-Eve, Passions) if Williams isn't able to juggle both gigs?
Wouldn't it be fun to watch Aunt Liv go after that trifling skank Tyra for messing with her beloved sister's family? I bet Liv would regret the day she ever pushed Tyra off on Neil, or ever even mentioned the pretender to the throne in the same breath as Dru!
Liv could also share a cup of "hot chocolate" or two with "Mr. Officer" Gil at Crimson Lights, or in a private suite at the Athletic Club. I am tired of seeing this once viable character exist only to play wet nurse for Ashley Abbott or comfort her niece Lily (Christel Khalil). Liv used to be quite the snotty bee youch back in the day. Lets see that side of the character again. Daytime needs a black Stephanie Forrester, and Dr. Olivia Barber Hastings Winters could be her! Remember how Liv treated Malcolm (Shemar Moore) during their sparring sessions over little Nate?
Speaking of Nate, can he be cast already? Lawrence St. Victor (Remy, Guiding Light)could join his fellow Peapack survivor John Driscoll in Genoa City and give Roxanne a pair of strong shoulders to cry on— much to the chagrin of his adopted cousin Devon.
What if Nate comes to Genoa City to tell his mom he's dropped out of medical school and wants to pursue a career as a fashion photographer like his stepdad Malcolm? After she and Malcolm split up, Liv's worst fear was that Malcolm would be a bad influence on her son, with this character driven plot twist, her fears could come true.
Nate's "Aunt" Ashley could offer him an internship at Jabot, royally pissing Liv off, and reigniting the "enemy" part in Liv and Ashley's frenemy-ship. Ashley could try to get Liv to see Nate's side of things, prompting her sorority sister to tell Ashley to mind her own damn business!
"You mean like you did when I wanted to keep Abby's paternity a secret from Brad and Victor?" Ashley would shoot back.
Not wanting to cause any more tension between his mom and her best friend, Nate could take a gig at Restless Style, working closely with Chloe (Elizabeth Hendrickson). Chloe and Nate could develop a flirty friendship that recalls Malcolm's bond with Phyllis (Michelle Stafford). It would drive Lily to distraction if her beloved cousin was mixed up with her arch nemesis!
Y&R could then cast a comedic actress as Roxanne's gold-digging mother, JaLeesa, who comes to town to make sure her daughter forgives Devon and stays on track to marry into the upwardly mobile Winters family.
"Girl, that boy's daddy is the president of the Chancellor Enterprises, you better suck it up and forgive him!" the flashy JaLessa would say. "You know Devon's mama was that a big time supermodel Druclla Barber who went tumbling off that cliff at a photo shoot and died— Lord rest her soul— I bet she left him plenty a' money in one of them trust funds thangs! Keep yo' eye on the prize girl!"
Liv of course would find JaLeesa appalling, but Gloria Bardwell (Judith Chapman) would find a kindred spirit in JaLeesa and a new partner-in-crime.
"JaLessa, you are the ebony to my ivory!" Gloria would chew over drinks at the Colonade Room, er Athletic Club (Are they drinking smoothies?).
Imagine Another World, 227 and Sister/Sister alum Jackee Harry in the role of JaLeesa. No? How about Comedy Central's Niecy Nash, Mo'Nique or The Game's Wendy Raquel Robinson? Of course Roxanne's mom would have to develop a crush on Neil. Just think of the uptight buppy having to deal with yet another ghetto fab woman in his life, this time as he enters middle age! The episode where Neil finally proposes to JaLeesa would have a tag where a mysterious woman in Paris is looking at a photo of Neil and JaLeesa in a recent issue of Restless Style. All you would see is the woman's chapeaux... (CUE Nadia's Theme)
Fixing Y&R's dreaded "black storyline" wouldn't take a rocket scientist, just someone willing to put forth the genuine effort, and forethought to do so. This past year the African-American characters on Y&R and their fans have gotten table scraps. Sorry, Auntie Ri Ri, but It's high time the Winters were fed as decent a meal as those afforded the Newmans, Chancellors and Abbotts, and this Devon and Tyra insanity didn't do anything but leave a bad taste in our mouths.