September 16, 2010By Marc Wilkofsky Posted: Sep 16, 2010
In soaps, lying and crying are easy; comedy is hard. This is why one of several reasons I unabashedly love YOUNG AND RESTLESS' Billy and Victoria.
With all the depressing storylines these days (from the breakups and horrible dilemmas to the devastating deaths), it's both a joy and a relief to see soaps bring out their sense of humor. It's sometimes risky, of course, because it's a challenge to make soap viewers chuckle, let alone guffaw, but it's a risk worth taking, just to give the dedicated viewers a break. Y&R's scribes seem to realize this, and know an occasional tongue-in-cheek line can ease the tension a little, while full scenes of mirth can bring the delight the viewers need. The recent Billy/Victoria tattoo scenes were a blast, and one of many indications of how entertaining the couple can be. The dark humor of Billy valiantly trying to save Snake's life in order to finish his tattoo was light years more fun than some recent scenes that have been, for various reasons, difficult to watch. Billy being stuck with a "I love Victor" tattoo was one of the year's most priceless moments, and his awkward encounter with Victor regarding the tattoo was another winner; how long has it been since we've seen Victor laugh? Then Snake, who survived his heart failure, returned this week to create the married (Congrats!) couple's rings; he's practically a member of their family now.
Along with Billy Miller and Amelia Heinle's charming chemistry and their characters' honest, mutual devotion, what makes Billy and Victoria work is their innovative (Ring tattoos!), and impulsive, qualities. You wonder what they'll do next, and know that it doesn't have to be a major adventure, a battle with a malevolent enemy or another bed romp. It can be as simple as visiting a video game arcade or house-hunting. They can be a happy couple for a while — even (gasp) a week or two — and then deal with intriguing obstacles.
We apparently can't have completely happy couples for too long, but we can have funny ones. DAYS OF OUR LIVES' Vivian and Victor could be officially labeled as daytime's funniest pair...or unofficially (since they're no longer together, thanks to Clint), it might be ONE LIFE TO LIVE's Dorian and David. It's very telling that both Victor and David publicly and hilariously asked a pregnant woman — Chloe and Jessica, respectively — who her baby's father is. With Vivian and David both, well, indisposed now, we need a few more couples who love to joke around, even in the middle of their struggles, like Billy and Victoria. OLTL's Bo and Nora fit the bill (and need to hit a Llanview dance floor again), as do Y&R's Abby and Daniel. In her ridiculous antics and irreverent comments, Abby is regularly amusing, which has to be one reason why Daniel puts up with her.
Maintaining the humor is not necessarily going to bring in new viewers, but it can help to let the current, loyal ones breathe now and then. Viewers watch in large part for the drama — many live for a touching death scene and love an explosively "bad" romance — but we welcome an occasional rest from the sadness, from the funerals and wakes, and from so many painful decisions, when often the choice that is made proves just as disastrous as the one that isn't. So daytime's choice is clear: A walk down the laugh path is the way to go.