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Y&R: Week of September 15, 2008

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I remember catching Elizabeth Hendricksen in an episode of Cold Case once. She did not wow me. I mean, she wasn't bad, she just didn't stand out. I remember changing the channel after a while.

Well, I just saw Monday's US episde and EH brought it. It's more than just the camp, waspish wit and her total command of the character of Chloe (which she has exhibited up until now). It's the fact that this girl is at the top of her game. She was in a scene with five other people including Jeanne Cooper and Jess Walton and she completely dominated.

Chloe has done a really awful thing -- I felt bad for Cane because she has completely destroyed his happiness, his future. She has chained him to her for the next 18 years! And yet I felt completely sorry for her as she struggled to assert herself as a human being in the eyes of all these people who hate her guts. I believed her sudden tears of hurt when Lily pointed out that Chloe's actions made people wonder if she was fit to raise a child. And it's not because of CK. EH owned those scenes and made me root for her.

I don't like to bring on superlatives unless I really mean them. But watching EH was sort of like watching Maura West when she first appeared on ATWT in a way. We were meant to hate her, but MW blew a lot of people away. Well, I cannot hate Chloe and it is entirely due to EH's performance (and not any residual meh-ness about Lane).

P.S.: Rocco was pretty funny. And unexpectedly gentlemanly!

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My favorite Jill was Deborah Adair, even though she was not a good fit to the history. (She was classy, sexy....one didn't have that "ex low income manicurist" vibe about her).

But it was plausible, after Jill's many years in the Chancellor shadow, that when she just started working at Jabot she'd class up. But Deborah won me with her (appropriate for the era), bitchy face, sultry voice, beauty. I could understand how John Abbott would fall for her. Like Gloria, she showed an attempt at sophistication...despite her noble upbringing.

When Brenda Dickson returned (though I had enjoyed her Jill) I had a hard time buying it. But they tried to class up Jill (Dickson, in an interview at the time, said Jill had become a "streetfighter in silk"), and I knew it was Adair's choice to leave. So, I just "re-processed" Jill as having won John on the basis of sexual wiles.

Anyway, Dickson's return and sexuality fueled one of the best arcs ever on the show (snowbound Jill has sex with Jack in a cabin; Lindsey Wells happens by and takes photos...the photos change hands several times over the ensuing years, but Jack and Jill play a chronic (and delicious) state of panic). So, the story carried me.

Walton was introduced at a time of great transition for Jill. Phillip (aged) was back, and there was the Nina story. Also, Walton was introduced when Jill was transforming homeless bum Romalotti into "Rex Sterling" to occupy Kay. So, the transition to an 'aged' and 'maternal' and 'single' Jill coincided with the re-cast, which made the change easier for me to take.

So, what you refer to "masculine voice" (she has been a heavy smoker and ex substance abuser) is part of a whole package of changes that took most of the sensuality and vulnereability and softness away from Jill. There was less of the feminine sophistication of Adair. There was none of the hip thrust "do me" moves of Dickson. And it worked!

The Jill we had now was the outcome of 20+ years of bitterness and loss and anger and rivalry. Her sensuality and youth were gone. She was frustrated. Guile had become normal for her (such contrast to her early, soft days in the early-mid seventies). Walton embodied a character who was nearly pure vinegar...whose defensive hardness was erected to protect her heart...and in the process, made her barrenly alone.

Under Walton, even a reunion with John didn't have much romance or passion. Jill soon was bearing John a child he did not want, and screwing the architect (Josh Taylor) who was coming to remodel. She had forgotten how to love or give herself.

I picture Walton's Jill as a woman who, in a different life, would be perched at the end of a bar, smoking wildly, who would quickly launch into all the bad hands life has dealt her. I don't find her "wooden/stiff", but "brittle/defended/hard/harsh/angry". I find her voice to be a growl that beautifully fits the anger that has now become her primary and core emotion.

For me, the fascinating arc for Jill would be to find love and trust...maybe not with a man, but with a friend or a grandchild. I'd love to see if Walton could soften up Jill.

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I love this post! I can totally buy this opinion and fully accept it. But too me she is wooden and stiff, almost acidic, there is absolutely no subtlety in anything. And that has little to do — for me — with the way the character was transformed over the years. It just isn't good acting — or maybe it is? Maybe they just want her that way, I wouldn't know. I find it hard to believe in the amouns of unconditional love she receives from fans.

So... Contrary to you (of course; have we ever agreed on something? :D), I would like her to be a strong woman, a powerful female executive, someone with a dash of charm and sophistication. All that is badly missing in here.

BTW, what's Deborah doing these days?

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^^I have a few Deborah Adair scenes from 1982 but I have no idea how to transfer DVD to comp and then to YouTube :(

My biggest problem with Dickson's Jill was that, after Dickson got ultra-glammed up, I sometimes found it hard to see what John ever saw in her.

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