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B&B’s Scott Clifton & Annika Noelle Chat On Liam and Hope’s Long and Winding Road To Their Reunion With Baby Beth

Photo: JPI

“The wait is over” were four of the happiest words for fans of CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful when they learned, and then watched, after agonizing months, how beleaguered parents, Liam (Scott Clifton) and Hope (Annika Noelle) finally were reunited with the baby girl they believed had died at birth, when they were victims of a heinous baby switch plot.  To make their journey all the more agonizing, Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) had ‘adopted’ baby Beth along the way and was also duped in the process.

In this story arc, several characters learned of the secret, but for one reason or the other chose to keep mum about it, thus not letting long-suffering Hope and Liam know the truth! Chief among them was now bad boy, Thomas (Matthew Atkinson), who is still legally-married to Hope and in wanting her all to himself, blackmailed others along the way to keep quiet, and even ran poor Emma (Nia Sioux) off the road because of what she might spill!

However, Liam, with a major assist from little Douglas, was able to figure out how he and Hope had been lied to and manipulated this whole time.  To think, this string of events all started on that fateful night in Catalina when Hope delivered Beth into the corrupt hands of Dr. Buckingham (Wayne Brady), who needed cash to pay off a gambling debt.

Fast-forward to just a few weeks ago, and viewers witnessed the emotional reunion between Liam and Beth, and then Hope and Beth, in a sweeping epic soap opera tale that delivered in so many ways.  But is there more trouble ahead?  From the looks of it, and with Thomas going over a cliff, we would say so! For now, B&B set a ratings record for the show during the big reveal, while Scott Clifton and Annika Noelle delivered gut-wrenching performances that will be remembered for some time to come.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Scott and Annika, who were at the epicenter of this exhausting, twisted, frustrating tale to get their thoughts on: playing out the key scenes, how they got through it month after month, what they think might happen next, and some behind- the-scenes insight on how several of those major moments came to life on-screen.

Photo: JPI

When you both went into play the scenes where Liam puts two and two together and is reunited with his daughter, and then Hope finding out that Beth was alive, did you feel added pressure that you had to get the performance, and the payoff just right, because the audience had been waiting so long for this?

SCOTT:  Annika had a bigger job to do there than I did.  I have been doing this long enough to know that to get in my head about it having to be just right, it’s not going to be, and so, I was pretty good about that.  It turned out pretty well, but I think Annika had a lot of pressure on her as well.

ANNIKA: I think the payoff was even bigger with Scott, because Liam was the one who figured it out and had that revelation.  It unfolds a little more slowly in regard to Hope finding out the news.  When she initially finds out she is not with the baby.  I was more nervous about the baby in the key scenes. They are not actors, and they’re teething right now, and they’ve been working so much lately, that sometimes by the end of it, they are kind of cranky.  The main thing I was concerned about in my head was, “I hope the baby really likes me today, so we can have that magical moment.”

Photo: JPI

The Bold and the Beautiful  is known for delivering the culmination of an emotional storyline on a large scale, but not before having plot point after plot point where none of the characters are quite figuring out what transpired, and thus the story drags out for a time, and thus can frustrate the audience.  For you as actors where you like, “When will this end?” or “Please end this! Now!” (Laughs)

SCOTT:  Oh, pretty early on. (Laughs)  It takes about a week of crying before any actor is like, “Let’s move on,” and I think Annika was crying for – what was it?  7 months?  8 months?

ANNIKA:  I think it might have been 8 total.  (Laughs)

SCOTT:  That is a sort of interesting kind of philosophical question you posed that I have been asking myself lately.  We have gotten so much pain and grief from fans on the story – not personally at us.  They understand and are very complimentary of our acting, but I get people coming up to me in grocery stores going, “When is this going to end?  My God, I can’t take it.  It’s just been months of this.  It’s the same thing over and over again.”  For a long time, we had no answer for them, and it was just, “Yeah, I know.  I hear you, but it’s going to pay off.  Trust me.  Brad Bell (EP and head writer, B&B) knows what he is doing,” and he did know what he was doing, and he did pay it off.  It makes me wonder if we hadn’t made our fans suffer right along with the character for 8 months, would the exact same payoff that we got had been as profound?  I don’t know.  I wonder if… it needed to be that long.  It needed to drag, I think, for this moment, and here we are with the highest ratings we’ve had in forever!

Photo: JPI

Yes, and that is a fantastic news!  In fact, looking at the ratings on the strength of the ‘Phoebe is Beth’ reveal, B&B finished #1 of all daytime shows (that includes soaps, talk and game shows) in the 25-49 womens demo for the week of August 5-9, which was a first in the 32-year history of the series.  In addition, B&B finished #1 in the key womens 18-49 demo (ahead of all the other network soaps) for the weeks of July 29-August 2nd, and August 12-16th.  A big “congrats” to everybody at B&B, and of course, the two of you, who were instrumental in playing out the story on-air. That’s pretty amazing. 

ANNIKA: It is wonderful and amazing.   When fans would ask me, “When will the truth come out?”  I’d answer, “Trust me!  Nobody wants that more than me.”  They would tell me, “Oh, my God!  I’m going crazy, and I’m just so depressed watching this happen,” and I’m like, “I’ve had to live it.”  (Laughs)  I agree with Scott, though.  I do wonder, as well, if the reaction would have been as strong if it the reveal had been sooner.

I don’t think so, because I remember watching it, and I wrote about this.  It was such a heart-tugging moment when Liam realizes that Phoebe is Beth, and they have that first moment together as biological father and daughter. The payoff was so big with the slow motion of the scene, accompanied by the music underscore.  I think, you had to have the story drag out to get to that moment where it was so emotional and touching.

SCOTT:  I think that is probably true.

Photo: JPI

When you saw the scripts that contained within them that the truth was going to come out … did you call each other up, and go, “OMG! I think this is finally coming to a conclusion!?”

SCOTT:  It was kind of a slow burn.  There wasn’t any particular announcement or memo to the cast or anything like that, and it is not like it all comes out in one script, either.  At first, there were kind of whispers.  There were kind of rumors like:  “Sounds like Brad might be wrapping it up soon.”, “Really?  You think Brad might be wrapping it up?  Is this the light at the end of the tunnel?”  “I don’t know.  Maybe it is.  Maybe, it isn’t.”  Then at the wedding, when Liam overhears Flo and Thomas kind of arguing about it, to me, that was when I started to think, “This might actually be close to the end now.”  It still could have easily not been the end, but that was a qualitative change in tone and pace for the story that kind of tipped me off, but even then, it was still another month before the actual truth came out.  It just had to start somewhere.

Photo Credit: JPI

Annika, were you just done crying? (Laughs) I can’t recall such a long stretch for a character, or an actress, having to cry month after month, scene after scene!  And to top it off, you have this epic moment on the rooftop where Hope and Liam connect, and in a way, celebrate that Beth is alive against all odds.

ANNIKA: The cinematography of that episode on the roof was beautiful, and I was so happy we got a drone up there to capture it, and the timing of when we got up to the roof … the sun was setting … and it was just a beautiful moment.  To get all of those shots, Scott and I had to do that scene – I don’t even know how many times, and there was lots of crying there!

SCOTT:  It was probably like twenty times that we had to do that wide shot with the drone, and we are used to doing one.  So, it took a lot out of us, but it was so worth it!

Photo: JPI

It was worth it, because it was that kind of spectacular, sweeping moment that The Bold and the Beautiful executes so well when they get to a climactic point their storytelling.  So, let’s talk about Matthew Atkinson who comes in and plays Thomas, and his character becomes unglued, and obsessed.  What has it been like working with Matthew in this story, and how Thomas’ character flipped from when the character was previously on the canvas?

ANNIKA: I was saying that we needed it, because he was a catalyst for all of the actions to unfold and all of these domino pieces to start toppling.  It’s been nice having a bad guy on the show again.  I’m just kind of curious now about what is going to happen to Thomas.  I’m also curious, and we will have to wait and see how this is going to unfold with Thomas, because Hope is still married to him, technically.

Scott, you had to have that fight scene with Matthew, as Liam was trying to tell Hope that Beth was alive!  How was that to pull off?

SCOTT:  That was really, really fun.  I think Matthew and I both really enjoyed that.  The show was really nice in giving us a lot of creative input in that.  I went into it having this idea that I really, really didn’t want it to be glamorous.  I really wanted it to be raw, and kind of dirty, and asymmetrical.  I wanted them to be on the ground, and tired, and sluggish; I didn’t want them to be Kungfu fighters.  I didn’t want it to look like a beautiful dance, like a lot of fight choreography does look.  We are not martial artists.  We are two guys, who don’t really know how to fight, just beating the shit out of each other, and that was my pitch.  I got a little bit of pushback on that.  They were like, “Well, it’s still a soap opera, Scott.  It has to look kind of sexy, you know.”  I was like, “Aw, man,” but Matthew and I got to kind of choreograph it along with our stunt doubles, who helped us and were amazing!

Photo: JPI

Scott, weren’t you glad that they didn’t make Liam a doofus and that he was the one that did put everything together and figure out the baby switch?  Sometimes, the guys on soaps are made to be not-the-brightest-bulbs in order to facilitate story for the female characters. 

SCOTT:  Well, (laughs)… I think a person in real life would have figured that out sooner.  I’m really glad Liam figured it out.  There were a couple of episodes where Liam was doing detective work and shining flashlights on old documents, and making phone calls, and asking questions.  All of that was really, really fun.  There was a period before that happened where, just the way the pieces were falling together, when I thought, “What if Wyatt (Darin Brooks) figures it out?  Wouldn’t that be cool?  Oh, my God! Maybe Wyatt is going to figure it out.”  I thought this because Wyatt and Thomas really hate each other.  Wyatt stole Ivy from Thomas.  So, I just thought that would have been kind of interesting.  Kind of the analogue to that is Arya killing the Night King instead of Jon Snow in Game of Thrones.  You’re like of like, “Woah, I didn’t think she’d be the one.”   But I get it though, it had to be Liam.

ANNIKA:  In a way though, it was Douglas (Henry Joseph Simiri), which I love that they did from the mouth of the baby.

SCOTT:  Well one of our writers, Michael Minnis, said he really wanted it to be out of the mouth of the babes.

Photo: JPI

I got blasted on Twitter because I said, “Liam figured it out! He is the hero!” Fans pushed back and said, “No, he didn’t!  It was Douglas who figured it out!  You are wrong!”  I get it.  Douglas was key.  I was just trying to publicly give props to Scott for his outstanding work in those scenes.  (Laughs)

ANNIKA: Henry has been doing such a good job.  I loved the scenes, Scott, with you and him together when Liam was figuring it out.

SCOTT:  You know, I still haven’t watched those scenes. There is no self-consciousness or anything like that.  That’s never been an issue for me.  When we lost the baby, or when we thought we lost the baby in the delivery room, I never watched those scenes, and then I realized, I didn’t want to.  I don’t know if this is that situation where I will just never go back and watch it.  I don’t know what it is.

Courtesy: CBS

You should watch it, and I would certainly suggest that if you do submit yourself for the Daytime Emmys next year, that this is a great scene for you to choose for your reel.

SCOTT:  Thank you!

ANNIKA:  It’s hard.  I did watch it, though.  I remember watching the baby episode, I had to mentally prepare myself for it, and watching it, I was almost reliving it again.  I was crying right along with the episode because I had forgotten.  That episode came together beautifully as well.  There was something cinematic about it.  It almost felt like film, the way that they shot it.  I have to give credit to Cindy Popp, who directed that episode.  I get it.  It’s the same thing, watching yourself.  I’m my biggest critic.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  I learn from it, but at the same time, I can’t stand watching myself.

Photo: JPI

What’s interesting now is that we are seeing Hope taking control of the situation after learning of everyone’s part in the cover-up of baby Beth.  Last week, she even bitch-slapped Flo (Katrina Bowden).  Is Hope going to want payback and retribution on everyone who wronged her?  What is she thinking at this point? 

ANNIKA: I think the main thing was that she had to be so lost in her grief that she was making these decisions that were completely illogical and had to be in a place, where she felt so out of control in her life that this is now the moment where she is seizing that control back.  Hope has the strength to do that, and she has the renewed confidence to make the choices she needs to make.  So, it’s kind of like the phoenix rising from the ashes.  I really do hope this is a true moment of growth for her and she isn’t as naïve anymore; that she isn’t as prone to being gas lighted in a way.

SCOTT:  Now, she will just be completely distrustful of everybody.

ANNIKA:  No babysitters.  Nobody is babysitting my kid!

SCOTT:  Never again.  “Can I hold your baby?”  “Nope.  No, you can’t.  Nope.  Sorry.” (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

What can you say about working with your ‘Best Supporting Actresses’, who play baby Beth?  They are pretty cute, and the timing and the facial expressions they make works in the scenes so well!  

ANNIKA: I was saying that we have set baby goals.  We have set child actor goals.  What we have been getting, and the fact that we have captured them (because there are two of them, there is Madeline Valdez, and then, there is River Davidson) saying “Mama”, saying “Dada”, or clapping, and crawling over to my wedding dress, or pulling on my wedding dress, what we have gotten is so lucky for us.  I know for me, the scene where I was watching Scott as Liam finding out for the first time it really hit home, because Scott was crying, and she says “Dada” when he comes into the room.  Then, Scott is like bawling holding her, and she just reached up and touched his face at one point.  I have to give the parents credit, and the babies, who don’t even know that they are acting.

SCOTT:  Those kids are amazing.  The one you see the most is Madeline.  She was the one in the scene with me and in the scene where Hope is reunited with her as well, but we also have River, who is a little sweetheart too.  She also does some very interesting things.  They both just do something interesting in every single scene, and it’s an actor’s dream because it forces us to be present.  You know, we have to react in real time to whatever it is they are doing, and we were just very, very lucky to find them.

Photo: JPI

What do you think all of these revelations means for the future of Liam and Hope, and Liam and Steffy? 

SCOTT:  I don’t know.  I think we have got to be back-burnered at some point.  People have got to be getting sick of us (laughs) because it’s been Hope and Liam, and baby Beth all the time.    Brad knows that, so I’m guessing that there has got to be some break for Liam and Hope.  After that, there is no way they are going to live happily ever after.  We don’t want that.  We want more drama.  We want something to go wrong.  I don’t know what it could be, but if I value my soap career, I want something else to go wrong for Liam.

Annika, how were those scenes to tape with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood where Hope has to tell Steffy that Phoebe is Beth … and that she is taking her biological child and leaving with her, knowing how that would affect Steffy?

ANNIKA: Getting to play scenes with Jacqui is always such fun.  There is a beautiful give and take that happens, and in that moment, Hope is still very empathetic.  She understands what it is like to lose a child, but at the same time, there is no way that she is walking out of there without her daughter.  Also, it’s just a moment where you have to step back and go, “Aww,” and just watch Jacqui do some amazing work, and to let her have her moment to shine, because she did such a beautiful job.  Those were pretty stressful days because the babies were in every single scene, which means we have a certain amount of time to get those takes.  So, those were actually really difficult scene to shoot.  We had a lot of pressure to get them done, and also, having to hold a baby who is now, I think almost 20 pounds.  My arms just started going and I am thinking, “Wow! I need to go to the gym to work on my upper arm strength.”  At one point, I literally was like, “I can’t hold this baby right now.”  They wanted me holding her so that Steffy sees another woman holding “her” child.  You’re about to see Steffy go on a bit of a vengeance with all of this soon.  I hope they tie-up the loose ends before they move on with everyone’s story.

Photo: JPI

Hope is this long-suffering heroine, and last Friday, Thomas came to try to talk to her to explain why he did the things he did, and then he went over a cliff!  Is there any happiness ahead for Hope, really?

ANNIKA:  Hopefully, if she gets that annulment!

SCOTT:  When Hope is standing over Dr. Buckingham’s (Wayne Brady) dead body, then she will find her happiness.

ANNIKA: If we could just bring Wayne Brady back just for a scene, please! (Laughs) We can only hope for Hope. (Laughs)  I know Thomas certainly isn’t going to make it easy to get an annulment, and I hope that we solidify that Beth is legally Hope’s, and that the marriage is annulled and never happened.  Maybe she and the baby can get a few moments of happiness and joy, but I’m sure that a wrench will be thrown in.

Photo: JPI

What would you want to say to the viewers who were put through the wringer with this storyline, and yet stayed glued to the story?  What could you tease is yet to come?

SCOTT:  We put our viewers through hell.  We tortured them.  We tortured them for 8 months, and the fact that the ratings are what they are shows that our viewers are the exact gluttons for punishment they we hoped they would be. (Laughs)  They’ve stuck with us, and I hope they feel rewarded.  They certainly tuned in for their reward, but the payoff is not over yet, and we hope to keep making it up to them.

Photo Credit: JPI

Annika, you get the final word.  What would you like to say to the B&B audience?

ANNIKA: Thank you for joining on this emotional rollercoaster ride with me, and thank you for all of the support.  I’ve gotten a lot of very positive feedback, and I think a few new fans from it along the way.  I’m just very grateful that they stuck with us and the story, and echoing what Scott said, hopefully now there will be a lot of beautiful, fun, juicy, awesome moments for the fans to enjoy after the fallout.  With a soap opera, the ride never stops.  Now there is a corkscrew instead of a loop de loop.

SCOTT:  That’s a good metaphor.

ANNIKA:  We’ll see what happens with crazy Thomas, and Flo, and now that Sally is back in town, what is Wyatt going to do, etc,  So there’s lots of fun stuff coming the audiences way, for sure.

So, what were your thoughts on the climatic episodes where Liam and Hope are finally reunited with their daughter, Beth? What did you think of the performances of Annika and Scott?  What do you think will happen next with Thomas, and with Steffy?  Can Hope, Liam and Beth have a respite from all the drama? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Iakovos
Guest
Iakovos

Anyone up for a game of tennis? Let’s watch Liam bounce back and forth between Hope and Steffy. Just as Ridge endlessly bounced between Brooke and Taylor. I dolt mind a triangle but the emotional stakes are minimized for viewers when there is no resolution in place long enough to raise the tension or suspense or longing. Look how quickly the outsider in the triangle runs into the arms of another. Hope loved Liam but within weeks was married to Thomas. How long before Steffy goes back to her brother-in-law Wyatt or father-in-law Bill? Sigh.

Lolly
Guest
Lolly

Believe Steffy will move on with a new man.

Iakavos
Guest
Iakavos

I hope to God so. Am tired of everyone in their mopey stupor. Steffy should be strong, vivacious, and confident.

Sam
Guest
Sam

I think it would be a good storyline if Steffy is pregnant with Liam’s baby from the one night stand…. thus getting her a new sibling (prob another girl) for Kelly. Who would Liam pick?

Robin Pinto
Guest
Robin Pinto

I believe Steffy will be
pregnant from her one more with liam.

Rettie
Guest
Rettie

I thought Steffy was heading to the looney hospital after beth went home with Hope and so did Liam!!!

Lisa Holst
Guest
Lisa Holst

Love these actors! My entire family watches this soap every evening after school and work. My husband, my teens and so enjoy it so much!! The family that watches Bold together, stays together!

Ann
Guest
Ann

No Thomas can never be redeemed. He drugged some one,killed, blackmailed and last child abuse. He is sick!!!!

Del
Guest
Del

It’s obvious that there’s something wrong with him an illness. I hope their marriage last this ordeal.

Violet Lemm2
Guest
Violet Lemm2

Del
You are kidding, right? You really think Hope should stay married to Thomas, after everything he’s done to her, Liam, actually the whole family, including his little boy? Just because he’s mentally ill, doesn’t give him the right to have everything he tried to take away from everyone.

Evelyn Jabbia
Guest
Evelyn Jabbia

This story touched my heart in so many ways. The day she was holding her deceased baby I cried and I do mean cried my eyes out. I’ve been there and her acting was superb. Like some viewers I got tired of the truth not coming out but it was so worth the wait. When Liam was holding Beth when he knew for sure it was her was amazing. When Hope finally finds out I was screaming “yes, yes, yes” so loud I know the neighbors were wondering what the hell was going on. Then Steffy, I felt so sorry… Read more »

soapqueenforever
Guest
soapqueenforever

I agree with you about the hospital scene. I was crying right along with her. When she first stated as Hope, it took me awhile to get used to her and I finally did. But between the hospital scene, the fight with Flo, and standing up for herself with Steffie, I thought to myself this women is no slouch. She played those scenes to the hilt. Not to mention when Steffie collapsed in her fathers arms, I actually felt her pain. Now I am wondering if mama Taylor is going rush back to her baby cub. I am maybe thinking… Read more »

Kay
Guest
Kay

To say people are sick of Liam Hope and Steffy understatement of the year ugh!

brendapower1970@gmail.com
Guest
brendapower1970@gmail.com

Please leave hope alone and Liam let them together with out steff and Thomas i really hate Thomas and Steff but Bradley Bell is in love with Steff and Thomas hope and Liam should been together with there daughter Beth like it should been a long time ago thats my opinion i hate that steff and Thomas that’s my opinion period

Margreet
Guest
Margreet

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, let Hope and Liam stay toghether with Beth. Don’t ever seperate them anymore! And Steffy a man of her own! And PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let Brooke and Ridge stay toghether. Don’t ever seperate them too!!

Antincia foster
Guest
Antincia foster

Amen

Jen
Guest
Jen

Beyond bored with Lope and hoping something, anything gives us a long break from them. Where in the world is Steffy? So sick of the whole show revolving around Hope all year long. I think Thomas and Hope have way better chemistry than Lope do so I’d much rather see them have a real romance once Thomas is “cured.” And Liam is a million times better with Steffy. I hope (no pun intended) we’re getting anything but months and months more of Lope…

Pat
Guest
Pat

has everyone forgotten that
hope slept with Steffy’s husband Liam?? Hope always wanted him and did’nt care how she got him…as for Brooke encouraging her daughter to fight for Liam, she is hardly a role model. Is there anyone she hasn’t slept with or married regardless of who got got hurt. I’m waiting for her to go back to Bill Spencer unless he goes after Steffy. I think Liam should leave town for a time of reflection…and maybe to hook up with Sally

Lolly
Guest
Lolly

The show revolved not only around Hope, but Steffy and Liam, before it was Steffy, Liam, Hope, and Wyatt. Steffy had equal amount of blame. She is not a saint.But, yes, they need to desperately end the Saga of the Forester, Logans, and Spencers. It has ran it COURSE

Kathy
Guest
Kathy

Great article and of course i am loving the payoff whew

Diane
Guest
Diane

Just please let them be happy. We have waited years and years for this.

Antincia foster
Guest
Antincia foster

Amen

Nora
Guest
Nora

I am so damn sick of Liam and Hope that I stopped watching.

Need I say more?

Sharon Williams
Guest
Sharon Williams

Im tired of Liam bouncing between Steffy and Hope, just let him be with boring Hope. I would like for you to find a man that’s exciting and only has eyes for Steffy. Dont like when they bring the same storyline back from the past.

McKane
Guest
McKane

Get rid of Thomas!

McKane
Guest
McKane

Dump Thomas!

Lolly
Guest
Lolly

Ridge have double standards, Thomas is his son, but he and Bill have tried to kill one another, Ridge blackmail a judge, and now he is accusing Brook of intentionally trying to kill Thomas. She saved him from jail twice. This show is Bold and the Beautiful aka Saints and Sinners. Nearly all the adults have committed some type of crime. The story will lose it ratings again, because they are going to drag it another year. This time it will be Liam, Hope, Thomas Saga. Thomas either will pretend to be paralyze so Hope can have pitty and stay,… Read more »

Juanita M. Jaramillo
Guest
Juanita M. Jaramillo

It’s about time that we had the big reveal! It was dragging on too long. What happened to Steffys mom? There should be something on the show about her and the Dr. Shes suppose to be so smart and she bought a baby from this man.

Dianne
Guest
Dianne

I will stop watching for good if something drags out like that again.Tired of the split ups

Marge
Guest
Marge

The baby should be with steffy. Hope is annoying. She should be written out of the story.

Momo
Guest
Momo

I didn’t mind the length of time it took for the reveal. It could have gone on for longer. The scene where Hope confronted Flo-Annika was amazing. That was a great scene.

Kay
Guest
Kay

The fact that Brad Bell did not involve Hunter Tylo in the end of this crap fest is exactly why I am disgusted ! Taylor sacrificed her life to have the twins then Brooke kept Ridge from knowing Thomas was his son ! He has crapped all over his dads soap he makes me vomit I read about it and I just shake my head then we have the Logan girls and Bill and Liam and everybody on the canvas that have done horrible things also to recast Thomas with that awful wormy actor ! Disgusting

SLO48
Guest
SLO48

Liam will leave Hope for Steff again.

Interviews

Y&R’s Brytni Sarpy Talks On Her Emotional Week of Scenes & The Fallout From Elena and Devon’s Break-Up

Talk about self-sabotage! Over the last few weeks, fans of CBS’ The Young and the Restless have seen how one decision, or moment in time, can have an effect on several residents of Genoa City, such as the case with Elena Dawson (Brytni Sarpy), after she had sex with her colleague Dr. Nate Hastings (Sean Dominic) … at the clinic they work at!

It all starts unraveling for Elena when her fears get the best of her thinking that the current-love-of-her-life, Devon (Bryton James) will fall for the sister of his late wife, Hilary, in the form of Amanda Sinclair (Mishael Morgan).  And thus sets the stage for a potential quadrangle, and perhaps … some baby drama?

Since coming to Y&R from General Hospital, actress Brytni Sarpy has been developing the character of Elena and playing her for all she is worth and then some in recent heavy-duty heart-tugging scenes where viewers saw Elena confess to Devon that she cheated on him with his cousin, Nate! Then later, she gets kicked to the curb by the man she loves, leaving her wondering, “What did I just do … and why?”

 

Well, Michael Fairman TV has some of the answers as we chatted with Brytni to get the lowdown and the insight on these pivotal moments in Elevon’s love story, and if there is even a future for them, or is it on ice for good? Plus, Brytni opens up about falling for her co-star and recent Daytime Emmy winner, Bryton James, and taping what would normally look like a red-hot passionate sex scene on the soaps with Sean Dominic, but having to do it under strict CDC Covid-19 protocols. Here’s what Ms. Sarpy had to say about it all!

Courtesy/CBS

You’ve got this big storyline unfolding now on Y&R.  Did you know when they brought on Sean Dominic that they were going to bust up  Elena and Devon?

BRYTNI:  Yes and no.  When Sean was first brought in, there had been another actor playing his role, so technically his character has already been on-screen.  So, I didn’t necessarily think it was going to cause any type of conflict, or a love triangle, or anything like that.  However, I think that there were little hints about it along the way in the writing, and our characters similarities in both being doctors.  The writers are pretty tight-lipped, so I only know things two or three weeks in advance.

Were you playing that Elena had this attraction to Nate for a while now?

BRYTNI:  There was a point where I decided to play it, and that is when I felt that it was in the material. It was when things got a little crazier with Amanda coming around and Elena being at the height of her insecurity about that, and her really choosing to only confide in Nate.  I think that kind of relationship and comfortability that she was finding and that dynamic of being at the clinic with Nate, and establishing that with him, she was not having with Devon.

Courtesy/CBS

Right, and so do you think once Elena knew Amanda was interested in Nate, she subconsciously stepped up her own interest in him?

BRYTNI:  No, I think around this time she was hoping for Amanda to date Nate, and she was asking a lot of questions and things to egg on that whole relationship.  I think in her subconscious she really felt like, “Oh good, if I can put these two together, then my fears about this woman who looks exactly like my boyfriend’s dead wife… that resolves that.”  I think for Elena it was just kind of putting them together.  It wasn’t about Nate.  It was about someone to occupy Amanda so that Elena’s insecurities didn’t have to come out and she didn’t have to worry about Devon, or anything with those two being together.

But didn’t Elena have a nightmare/dream about Amanda and Devon having sex?  Wasn’t she freaked out about Amanda being Hilary’s sister?

BRYTNI:  This was when she had already jumped down the rabbit hole of being insecure about what was going on about Amanda and Devon and how much time they were spending together and hoping that he didn’t fall back into those feelings he had for Hilary that he had just gotten through.  For Elena, I think it was a lot of PTSD; for her.  She felt the first half of their relationship was trying to get over Hilary.  Once it finally turned to a point where Amanda was spending a lot of time with Devon. and she had started only confiding in Nate and not Devon about how she felt, that’s when I think those insecure feelings came up, and her talking about it so much manifested into her dreams, and she set herself up for her own trauma.

Courtesy/CBS

So, you have to do this sex scene amidst Covid-19 protocols with Sean Dominic.  How was filming that scene with Sean because Nate looks at Elena, she looks at him, signaling they want to have sex right now, right there at the clinic, and then it cuts out.  Was it awkward filming it?

BRYTNI:  Yes, it was certainly awkward because his double was Bryton, so it’s hard to play that you’re cheating on a character with the actor who plays the character that you’re cheating on. (Laughs)

We are going to give you the Emmy right there for that!  (Laughs)

BRYTNI:  Right! (Laughs) Then in some of the scenes we are looking into each other’s eyes, and we appear to be close, but of course we are not that way.  So, I am staring up at a mannequin that it is at Sean’s eye-level, and he is staring down at a mannequin that is at mine.  It is not easy to try to sell that energy that is between two people in such an electric, heated moment, so it was definitely challenging.

Do you buy Elena’s rationale that they were on a euphoric high from saving Jared’s life at the clinic, as the impetus that leads her and Nate to have sex?

BRYTNI:  I don’t think she really understands what happened.  I think she is trying to put it together.  Right after it happens, she goes into that whole monologue about how, “I’m not blaming you, but this happened, and we were just coming down from a high.”  I think it’s just her trying to figure out why her emotions brought her to this place because I think this is one of the few times in someone like Elena’s life when she has acted without thinking or without forethought to the consequences.  I think she has just been exhausted with trying to battle her emotions, trying to be a doctor with a residency in a hospital, and then also trying to do as much work as she is doing at a clinic.  Then, coming off of an emotionally-charged partnership with Devon after seeing what he was going through with the ghost of Hilary for so long, and going back into this after finally having a calm and peaceful few months, it rocked the whole boat again.

Courtesy/CBS

Viewers have seen what played out over the last week and half, a lot of scenes were you as Elena are called upon to do a lot of breaking down, and crying.  So, how are those scenes to perform? Do you like those types of scenes, or are you like, “Oh, God! These are so soapy!”

BRYTNI:  For me, personally playing that, I think with all the tears and all of that, it’s been exhausting, because there are certainly levels of reality to this where I have to go for it to not be me just trying to emote on-screen, but actually feel the depths of what my character would be going through.  It’s a lot.  I’ve had a few migraines after work sometimes, but I do enjoy it.  I enjoy getting those emotions out.  I think that because of what I’ve established with her character for a little over a year, I’ve been building up Elena, and more importantly, building up her relationship with Devon.  I think to understand her actions, it had to come from a really solid place.  I don’t think she is ill-intended in any of her emotions.  I think she really cares about and wants to protect her partner, Devon throughout all of this, and then she finds herself unprotected and vulnerable in making decisions that inevitably do the complete opposite.  So, I think at the end of it, she really is disappointed in herself and also, she has just created this entire disruption of her life in the matter of a moment, and I think there is a lot of mourning, and there is a lot of guilt.  I just don’t think that it is intentional of her character to do something like what she did.  I think that for me to make it what it was… something that my character would do or did … it had to come from a real place that didn’t sit well with her, and it just happened, and she feels guilt-ridden.  It’s as serious as a character attempting to murder someone, or any other kind of character who would go to the extremes of who they are in their characteristics.

Courtesy/CBS

For you, since you are romantically-involved with Bryton James in real life, does that make it harder or easier to play?

BRYTNI:  I’d say both.  It makes it harder because it’s more real, but it also makes it easier because it’s more real.  These are situations that could at some point come up or have come up, and to put yourself in those positions, and to have him look at me the way that he does and to jeopardize something that real, to go to that place, is a dark place to have to portray.

… And then Devon throws her out! 

BRYTNI:  He does.

Devon tells her to leave the penthouse and he tells her to pack her stuff and go.

BRYTNI:  Rightfully so.

Courtesy/CBS

Doesn’t Elena deserve that reaction for her actions?

BRYTNI:  I think so.  She made a mistake, and she has to learn from it.  I think if there is any potential for these two to ever reconcile, there has to be space given, and there has to be understanding.  You can’t just pretend like everything is normal even though she is sorry.  Sorry isn’t a reason why and sorry isn’t proactive.  She has to fix the issue.

They brought Jared (Michael Maclane) back to be the catalyst that was ended up being the spark that ignited Nate and Elena’s passionate moment together at the clinic. What did you think of that plot point?

BRYTNI:  The point was actually, that it was a patient who they had invested in and cared about, and she was able to do something for this kid and save his life with someone who she has been leaning on, someone who she has had a shared connection with, someone who shares her perspective, and helped her through situations with Devon, and who has seen her ugly side and her insecure side, and it was a bonding moment, I guess, that they were able to save a kid’s life who they both knew added another layer to their relationship that caused things to go grey.

Coming up, it appears that Amanda is going to be instigating a lot of stuff, and Nate is going to still have feelings for Elena.

BRYTNI:  Yeah, I mean, it’s not over.  Now that the cat has been let out of the bag, they still have residual feelings.  I think Nate is starting to make it very clear why he went the direction he went.  I think he has more of an understanding of where his feelings lie and that they are with Elena.  I think with Amanda, maybe a part of her ego just got bruised, and maybe she wants to unearth the truth of all of this because she was kind of caught in the middle of it.

When you and Bryton are together in real life, are you rehearsing all of these scenes and playing all of the other characters in them?

BRYTNI:  Typically, we run lines together.  I have voices for everyone.  I have a Nate voice.  (Laughs)  I have an Amanda voice; I have a Lily (Christel Khalil) voice.

Photo: Sonja Fleming/CBS

You are in one of those interesting situations where you are with the person in real-life and in story.  I have talked to Bryton about this, but what was the moment when you knew it clicked with him? 

BRYTNI:  We certainly liked each other since day one just as people.  He was a great scene partner to do a screen-test with, very giving, just really professional, but just a down-to-earth nice guy. Then, just moving forward from that and working with him as my scene partner on Y&R, I think it was during our first group scene, it was the opening of Society, and we did a tribute to Neil Winters (Kristoff St. John), and that was the first time I had spent long hours on a Y&R set.  You’re with the whole group all day because you’re doing group scenes.  We just discovered and learned that we are both really goofy, and we were just laughing and talking about stories.  I think we found that we had a lot more in common than we would have realized… very similar pop-cultural references, and upbringings, and all of that.  From there, we’ve just gotten along really well, and it progressed.

Photo: Sonja Fleming/CBS

Back in late June,  there was this viral video of you jumping up and down when Bryon’s name was called as the winner of the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series during the 47th annual Daytime Emmys telecast.  What do you remember of that night with him?  You seemed more excited than he was!

BRYTNI:  Yeah!  I was really excited for him.  The year before – well, I didn’t know that it was our first date –  but,  I guess it was our first date at the 46th Daytime Emmys, because I honestly thought that Matt Kane (publicist, Y&R) had asked me if I wanted to go along, and apparently, Bryton had asked if he could invite me.  So, we spent that time together, and he was nominated that year as well and lost.  Cut to this year where Bryton is a person who I have actually worked with and have seen how he works, and after Kristoff’s passing, and just seeing the amount of work that Y&R put into it, and the time that they spent on those episodes, and how beautiful they came out, everyone deserved an Emmy for that.  It was really beautiful work, and it was really touching, and it was really true and honest.  I really thought Bryton deserved it.  I think he was just as happy.  He’s just more reserved than I am.

What do you want to see happen for Elena moving-forward?  Do you want to see more of her extended family pop up so she is a character who has more ties to Genoa City?

BRYTNI:  I do, I do.  A lot of the characters never know who their father is.  I’d love to know who that is. (Laughs)  Like when I played Valerie on General Hospital, she didn’t know who her father was either.  Things like that are interesting to play.  I’d love to start closing those little holes about her because that helps me.  It helps me to create more dimensions in her character and to make firmer choices, and give her somewhere to go, and it gives more richness in her story.  I would love to also cement her to the Y&R canvas if she has any relation to anyone else there.

Courtesy/CBS

There have been rumors that Elena will become pregnant.  What would you say to that?

BRYTNI:  What do I think of that?  I don’t know.  It could happen.  Crazier things have happened on soaps.  Will it be the classic, “Whodunit?”

You mean, who could be the baby daddy?

BRYTNI:  (Laughs) Yes, that would be interesting, and yes, I’ve seen those rumors, too.

Do you think Elena will fight and claw her way back to Devon, or do you think she is going to let it be? 

BRYTNI:  I think even from the scenes that aired this past week, you can see the extent of how sorry she is.  She is laying it all out there, in a puddle of tears, exactly how she feels even though she is not able to really understand why she did what she did, her sorrow is there.  I don’t think there is really much more for her to do as far as pleading to get him back until he is ready, if he ever is ready.  I think her respecting his wishes in the situation is probably the best thing that she can do at this point.

Photo: IG

Meanwhile, if you have any more romantic scenes with Sean Dominic, Bryton will step in, so you will still be in scenes with him, even if Elena and Devon aren’t together. 

BRYTNI:  (Laughs) Yes, that’s true!

So, are you rooting for Devon and Elena to get back together quickly?  Do you think she may end up in a relationship with Nate? What have you thought of Brytni’s performances in this storyline? Comment below, but first watch Devon tell Elena to move out!

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Interviews

Y&R’s Peter Bergman Talks On Dina’s Death & How It Will Impact Jack, His Final Scenes With Marla Adams & Taping During COVID-19

The Abbott family is reeling from the death of their mother, Dina Mergeron, who passed away from complications from Alzheimer’s disease at the end of last Friday’s episode; signaling the end of an era for Dina’s portrayer, Marla Adams.  In a pivotal and heart-breaking scene, Dina shares one last goodbye with her children: Traci (Beth Maitland), Ashley (Eileen Davidson) and of course, Jack (Peter Bergman).

Today, the drama continues as the Abbott’s grieve Dina’s death and its aftermath while they remember the life of their flawed mother. This puts Jack at the epicenter of the family, and like it, or not, the new head of the clan.  What does the future hold for him now?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Peter Bergman, who has embodied Jack for over 30 years on the top-rated CBS Daytime drama, to get his thoughts on: how Y&R needed to handle Dina’s death within the confines of the coronavirus pandemic and its safety protocols, what he felt about playing those final scenes with Marla Adams and the significance of the ‘teardrop of love’, and a preview of what fans can expect in the coming days as the impact of Dina’s death will be felt by the Abbott children and extended family.

 

An actor’s actor, you can always expect a conversation with Peter to be forthright, candid and enlightening, and this one was no different.  Here’s what one of the genre’s absolute best had to share about the significance of this story and more.

How has it been returning to Y&R during the pandemic?  I bet you never thought in all of your years in daytime, that you would be doing your scenes socially-distanced, sitting or standing, so far apart from your castmates.

Courtesy/CBD

PETER:  Just getting back to work felt great, loved that.  I wasn’t involved really in romantic scenes at this point, so that I didn’t have to do.  So, all in all, I was very happy to be back, and socially-distancing didn’t really bother me at all, and then Dina died.  Doing that from six feet away was just awful.  You saw the limits at a time where not any of us could be within six feet of each other; where you would usually hold a hand, stroke a brow, and talk softly.  So, I think the writers did what they needed to do to make it work for Dina’s exit.  We are in the middle of COVID, in case anybody forgot, and so you have to ask, ‘Does America really want to watch an elderly woman die in the middle of the Abbott living room or anywhere else?’  So, we had to have Dina’s exit without looking at a dead body, out of respect for the times we are living in.  We had to do a strong, powerful, pivotal scene with our hands tied behind our backs.

Courtesy/CBS

It’s so interesting that you say that because that’s how I felt watching it, knowing what it would have been like, if Jack, Ashley and Traci would have been with Dina at her bedside, up till the end, for instance.  But all of that said, Peter, I got so choked up in your last moments with Marla.  Jack is just sitting there and Dina is telling him how much she loved him and you’re doing the thing that only Peter Bergman can do as the tears well-up in your eyes.  As we have talked about previously, my mom died from complications from Alzheimer’s, so these are always tough types of scenes for me to watch.  I am sure it was also for those in the audience, who have lost a loved one to this disease, many of whom reached out to me on social media following its airing.

PETER:  It’s got to be tough for you to watch.  I get that.

Photo: Ed McGowan/Plain Joe Studios

Yes, so I felt for Jack and Dina in the moment as a son and his mother.  But what did you think about how the scene was written, and what Dina was saying to Jack and his sisters as her final goodbyes to her children and their reactions to it?

PETER:  As written, something in this necklace triggers something in Dina that brings her out of a stupor, brings her out of the murk, the fog for a brief instant to tell the people who she cares the most about that she loves them in slightly different ways.  I have, with everything in me, a struggle to always add in there, “I have a complicated relationship with my mother.”  I’ve added that line in there so many times over the years, you have no idea.  It was a complicated relationship because by the time she dies, there is no kind of straightening that out, there is no kind of Jack looking for answers. The depth of what Ashley is feeling, what Traci is feeling, what Jack is feeling, were kind of lost because of the way we had to do it. The writers had to do it, so I’m not blaming anyone, but because of the way we had to do it, there was no, “Wow, why isn’t Ashley crying?  Why is she just so stoic that this isn’t touching her at all?” because she can’t go there. Traci feeling like she found her place in the family simply by Dina saying, “You’re the beating heart of this family,” and Jack, who is doing the right thing, “She should leave peacefully, she should leave feeling loved, we should all be here, we should give her nothing but love,” damn, this is complicated.  You couldn’t have any of those things.  .  Hopefully, some of that slid in there and we wedged some of those complexities into it, but it was hard to write a complex scene with the situation as it was.  We needed to get it done it one day.  We did not need to drag this out.  Again, were it not COVID time, sure, let’s drag it out.  Let’s spend some time on this.  People die.  Let’s watch the family process a death.

Photo: CBS

I just think of what it all means for Jack moving forward.  Dina basically tells him, “You’re in charge of the family. Look after the family.” That’s kind of where it’s been going for Jack this whole time.  I don’t know if that’s what Jack wanted, but that’s where he is ending up.

PETER:  Right!  That’s where he ends up, and you know, this has been a long time coming.  Dad dies, and it is pretty clear that he’s got to step up, and his mom comes into town, and she’s not just his mother.  She’s Ashley’s mother; she’s Traci’s mother, we’ve got to look out for her and give her the dignity and things like that.  Now, there is just no getting around it.  Jack is the head of the family.  That’s the way it fell.  Twenty-five years ago, was Jack ready to be head of anything?  Absolutely not, but I think enough has happened to Jack now: enough heartache, enough growth, enough introspection, enough losing people, that Jack might just be ready for this job.

Courtesy/CBS

When Marla Adams came back to Y&R 2017, and they started telling the Alzheimer’s storyline, it brought up such abandonment issues for Jack and rightfully so, about how a mother could just leave her family and children,  Throughout all that,  you did such poignant work.

PETER:  I wanted that to be in there at the very end.  One of the powerful parts in this whole thing is that Jack wanted to scream at Dina every bit as much as he wanted to hug her.  That was there for quite a while, and Jack had to kind of come to terms with, “Hey, you’ve been leaning on this excuse for quite a time.  She’s here.  She can’t do you any harm.  She feels bad about what happened.  What do you want, Jack?”

Photo: CBS

One of the highlights of this storyline was when Y&R explored the history and relationship between the siblings, Jack, Ashley and Traci.  We saw their younger versions as the show flash-backed to when Dina left John and the Abbott family.

PETER:  Between the writers and Peter Bergman, we built this story that the night that Dina left, Dad was upstairs with the girls, they were weeping inconsolably, there was no fixing it, there was no telling them that everything was going to be all right.  He didn’t want to lie to them and say she will be right back, he told them, “She’s not coming back,” and he comes downstairs, and Jack is fourteen-years-old, and a little confused, but decided to say to his dad, “Hey, can I help?”  He looks across the room, and his dad is weeping, first time he had ever seen that.  His father is weeping, and he said, “Jack, you’re going to have to help me with the girls.  I can’t do all of this,” and it changed Jack’s life forever.  Jack was a parent to Ashley for a good part of their relationship.  So, all of this stuff with Jack’s identity, all of the fighting with Ashley, all of the Jabot madness is Ashley finally getting to say, “I don’t need a father!  You’re not my father.  Stop talking to me like you’re going to fix things for me!  I’m sick of it.”  All done by Dina … all truly caused by Dina.

Courtesy/CBD

In my interview with Marla, she told me that at the end of her last scene, you and many others came back to the set to pay tribute to her.

PETER:  We did.  The show had arranged it, and Tony Morina, the executive producer, stepped out on the soundstage with a microphone, and Marla sat on the sofa in the Abbott living room. Tony began telling a lovely, lovely story about how far back his relationship with her goes because Marla and Tony wife’s, Sally Sussman (Ex- head writer, Y&R), also had a long-standing relationship.  Tony was just so grand and gracious in saying that there are some people who, if they weren’t an actor, they’d be this or that or the other thing, but that Marla was born to be an actress.  That’s what she is, and it was so generous.  I think she got three and a half years that she didn’t expect to get out of this.  It was supposed to be a six-month storyline, and four years later, she was still there, and it was a good thing for her, and a unique story turn for the rest of us.  It really was.  It was a powerful thing, and now the Abbott family has a new shape.  There are three adults there: Ashley has established her independence, she is not around as much, she is back and forth between Paris, and Genoa City, Traci is trying to be as supportive and kind as she can be, but essentially, Jack is in the big house by himself.

Yep!  Well, now we’ve got to find Jack a good woman.

PETER:  Yes, or a bad woman.

… Or a bad woman!  I’ll take him in a relationship with someone to stir things up.  I also hear coming up, there will be the reading of Dina’s will.  Is there anything you can tease about that?

PETER:  There is a will read, yes.  No one knows what to expect, and Dina … in the end… comes through for almost everybody…

Courtesy/CBS

Well … that ought to be good.

PETER:  Yep… really comes through for almost everybody, and you know, the Abbott children are wealthier, and all three of them are alone, and in no small thanks to Dina for that.  These are three adults who have been very unlucky in love.  Of course, this is the next challenge.  I don’t mean to assume that I have any idea of what you went through in losing your mom, but there is a point at which you also have to let go and say, “Okay, now it is just me, and what do I want to do with this life?  I’ve used this as a reason not to move forward for a good while.  What am I going to do now?”  I think the next turn in the Jack Abbott story comes pretty organically.  Dina’s death frees Jack to be just as alone as he has ever been.

No matter what Jack does, including the bad things, you always see the inner-pain that is very palpable within him, as you have portrayed him.

PETER:  Yes, but he really has grown in the last 30 years.  Jack is hungry for more right now, and he couldn’t really be that way with Mom in the house.  He didn’t have time for that.  Now he has all of the time in the world.  So, we’ll see what he does with that.

Courtesy/CBD

I understand there is a funeral for Dina, but it will be off-camera?  I guess, because of COVID, it is better that way.

PETER:  That’s true and it’s off camera, that’s correct.  What’s important at most of these things isn’t what happens at the gravesite, it is what happens at the reception afterwards, and that is also a fun turn.  So, they all agree as a family they are going to do it at Society, and they kind of close the joint and make it their own little party, and someone shows up who isn’t expected, and it throws a really, really different vibe into the whole thing, and everybody has to adapt.  It’s actually fun, what it turns into.  It turns into a memory fest with crazy stories of Dina.

Courtesy/CBS

Do you have a favorite moment, or memory, of a scene you played with Marla?

PETER:  I think I had a day where Jack tried to get through to her and tell her, “Do you realize the damage you did?  Do you realize?” and she wasn’t able to take it in, and he went to Traci, and he said, “I want to shake her.  I want to yell at her… and I want to protect her.”  I thought there was something just so rich about that.  That was my favorite moment, my favorite part of it, when Jack finally said, “She’s going, man.  We’ve got to get this conversation done now.  We’ve got to talk this through,” and he was too late.   She was too far along with Alzheimer’s.  She wasn’t up to it.  She couldn’t do it.

Photo: JPI

And now here is Jack; and his parents are both gone.  There is no Jerry Douglas or Marla Adams on the show as both John and Dina have passed on within the history of The Young and the Restless.

PETER:  Again, you were generous enough to share your own personal experience, but isn’t it amazing?  Wow, you’re the grownup now.  Isn’t it amazing?  That’s what the Abbott’s are going through: just what you went through.  There is no older generation to turn to for anything.  We are the older generation.  It’s powerful stuff, and I’m really, really grateful for anytime that Ashley, Jack, and Traci are together talking about those things, talking about, “Wow, okay, that just happened… where do we go from here?”  It’s going to be really interesting.  If you asked me, “Over the last 30 years that you’ve played Jack Abbott, have there been many times where you’ve thought, ‘I’ve got no idea where this is going!’”  I would say, “Yeah, right now.”  I’ve got no idea where we are going with this.

Courtesy/CBS

There has been much speculation that the “teardrop of love” necklace will lead Jack to a new romance, or some new adventure in his life.  They spent a lot of time mentioning it in short order, that it would seem it’s not just to bring Dina some closure.  What are your thoughts on it?

PETER:  I think it has legs.  I think you’re going to hear about it again. There is something in there, and I don’t know if it’s the teardrop’s magic charm or that its history is not what it was, or it gets stolen.  I don’t know, but I think we have spent enough time saying ‘teardrop of love’, that there could be a story there.

In Dina’s final moments where Jack brings her the ‘teardrop of love’, wasn’t it symbolic to her because it was her acknowledgement of having her family back together and with her at all times? There is a back-story to that piece of jewelry as well.

PETER:  The point of the necklace is, “This was when I was truly happy, when I had this necklace, when it is all back together,” and maybe we are to know something more about the teardrop…?  I don’t know.  So, this was a gift to her before Jack was born.  She wore it home from the hospital when she brought him home, but we don’t know exactly what year she got it, and we don’t know exactly what year she lost it.  It was stolen, and it was on the black market for a while, and Victor (Eric Braeden) was looking into it.  It was clear that it was very important to Dina.  So, Jack, against his own wishes, said, “No, I’ve got to do the right thing.  I’ve got to try to trace this thing down.  It clearly means something to her.  Maybe she is trying to tell us something.  God only knows.”  So, he did the right thing, not because, “I want to make Mommy happy,” but because he forced himself to do the right thing, to find the damn necklace, and to see what this is about.  Then, we saw the affect it had when he gave it to her.

Photo: CBS

It’s always good to chat and check-in with you during these key and historical moments in the life of the character of Jack Abbott.  There have been many throughout your time on Y&R, and it will be interesting to see where this goes from here.

PETER:  It will be, and I’m telling you, this is a real moment.  Normally, we just go from one story into the next, into the next, and this one has been hanging for so long that, “Okay, now that it is over, wow, what is going to happen to Jack?”  I’m just as curious as everybody else.

So, what do you think will happen next for Jack?  Did you reach for the hankies in Peter’s final scenes with Marla Adams?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Marla Adams Talks Her Final Scenes As Dina Mergeron, The Alzheimer’s Storyline, and Her Touching Farewell

Today on The Young and the Restless marks the end of the enduring run of Marla Adams in the role of Dina Mergeron. In story, Dina passes away from complications from Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a storyline that started four years ago when the CBS Daytime drama brought back the character and Adams; and one that has deeply affected many in the viewing audience who have also had their own personal experience of losing a loved one to this dreadful disease.

If you have not seen today’s episode yet, you may not want to read any further, but needless to say, make sure you have the hankies ready for Dina’s final moments with her children and how she leaves this earth, which will be remembered for quite some time to come.

Marla originated the role of the rich and spoiled Abbott matriarch back in 1983 and portrayed the role on and off for what amounts to five decades. Her classic scenes with Jerry Douglas (Ex-John), Eileen Davidson (Ashley) and so many more from the iconic soap, always made for great and complex stories.

 

With this her final airdate on Y&R, it also puts an exclamation point for Marla on an incredible daytime career having also appeared on: The Bold and the Beautiful. Capitol, Days of our Lives, Generations and The Secret Storm

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Adams in this very special conversation where she shared with us how it was to play these heartbreaking last scenes, the importance of the ‘teardrop of love’ necklace to the story, how Y&R gave her the most overwhelming and beautiful send-off, and her ‘thank you’s’ to all of you, who have been her extended family and are sad to see her go. She is one-of-a-kind …and now, here’s Marla.

Photo: Getty

Marla, I am so glad we have the opportunity to chat in this full-circle moment as you have brought the character of Dina to a close.

MARLA:  It’s such a joy to talk to you.  It seems like yesterday and an eternity as well.   I thought of you so much, and I remember talking to you specifically with all of the different interviews over the years, when I was at the studio.  But I will always remember the interview you did with me and Beth Maitland (Traci), my darling soul sister, and you talked to me about your mother who has since passed on from Alzheimer’s.  I’ll never forget what you had to say all those months ago

Photo: HallmarkChannel

Yes, and when as audience members we watch these stories unfold with characters we have loved, or watched on our screens for years, and there is a death, we feel connected to them as well.  And in this case, as a child who has lost a parent to Alzheimer’s, like many in the audience, you ask yourself first, “Can I watch this?” It hits very close to home, but I’m sure when people watch today’s episode of Y&R and see Dina pass away, they will be extraordinarily moved.

MARLA:  Oh, my gosh.  Wait until you people see Friday’s show.  I know they will be moved.  They should be!  I’ve got friends who I’ve already said to, “Get your Kleenex box out.”  It’s so beautiful what happens at the end of the episode.

Courtesy/CBD

How did you feel about playing Dina’s final scenes?

MARLA:  It was wonderful because it showed her lifetime of sorrow and regret, and what was so wonderful was the fact that the hero of the whole thing is the kindness and respect that she really did have for her whole family.  They had the most beautiful sendoff for me.  They sent me a limo!  I went to the studio, and dear Patti Denney (Make-up artist, Y&R) was there, of course with all kinds of makeup and everything else, and she looked like she was entering the ER room for Covid-19, because of all the safety protocols we must have.  It was unbelievable, the kindness that was served to me.  After we finished taping my final scenes, I came back to the soundstage and they totally surprised me.  Dear Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R) and Sally Sussman (Ex-head writer, Y&R) were there, and Tony spoke about me, and so did my Y&R extended family and on-screen children: Peter Bergman (Jack), and Beth Maitland, and Eileen Davidson, and much of it was put on tape (see excerpts in video below).  Afterwards, Tony gave me beautiful flowers.  I was driven back home after this, and I felt really special, and it was just amazing to me. I had written Josh Griffith (Current head-writer and co-executive producer, Y&R) a ‘thank you’ for writing the show with his wonderful people, but I never heard back, but when I walked in my apartment, the phone was ringing.  Guess who?  It’s Josh!  He said, “I waited until I knew you would be home to thank you,” and I felt so lovey-doved up, I couldn’t believe it.  I want to read something to you that I received in the wonderful flowers that came the next day from CBS Daytime executive Margot Wain and others.  The flowers were so big that they didn’t fit on the bar!  The card read: “Thank you for bringing the amazing force that is Abbott matriarch, Dina Mergeron to countless fans of The Young and the Restless.  Your vast contribution to Y&R and CBS for more than five decades is unparalleled.  We are forever grateful for all you’ve brought to Y&R as both a consummate professional and a cherished co-worker.  All our best wishes.”  I was just so touched by the sentiments.

Photo: CBS

I also want to share something with you.  When it was revealed in the promo that came out last week that this would be your last show, I received so many notifications on social media, saying, “Oh, my God!  We love Marla!  You have to interview her!”  You are loved by the Y&R fans.  I hope you know that!  They’re sad to see you go, because you’re a legacy character to them, and soap fans have deep connections to characters that have been on their favorite soaps for decades.

MARLA:  Five decades!  My God!  I’m eighty-freaking-two.  I can’t believe it.

Courtesy/CBS

In story, Jack was on a mission to get the ‘teardrop of love’ necklace back to Dina before she died, hoping that she would have one last moment of lucidity and would recall it and it would hopefully make her happy.   He moves heaven on earth to get it, and does, and brings it to her and viewers saw her reaction. 

MARLA:  The necklace had never been anywhere before in story except recently, but I said to myself that I would play it ‘quietly and graciously’, because it made for such a beautiful moment for Dina with her children.

Courtesy/CBS

For Dina, the necklace was a symbol of remaining connected to her family and her children, even when she was not with them all of those years.  In your final scenes, Dina had these moments to say goodbye to each of your children.  Do you remember looking at Eileen, Traci, and Peter taping those highly emotional beats?

MARLA:  Yes, they were so there for me.  They are an extended family that is so precious to me, and playing this iconic character has been, too.  I remember when Sally Sussman told me a few years ago, “ I’m going to bring you back on The Young and the Restless, but you’ve got Alzheimer’s,” and I said, ‘What!?  You’re bringing me back so you can kill me off?’ and she said, “Oh no, it’ll be about a year.”  That dissolved into four years, and now five decades had passed and I was still on Y&R.  I am beyond grateful.

Courtesy/CBD

As an actress, was it hard to play Dina’s final moments when she goes to the light to join her beloved, John?

MARLA:  It was heart-wrenching for me.  In the story, Dina died when she went outside and to the front door of the Abbott home.  They did not tell me before-hand, and that’s why it was so wonderful.  I hope they came in for a closeup of that because I had no makeup on, it was beautiful, and then, Dina said, “Oh, John.”  I’ve done everything from movies, to daytime, to nighttime, to Broadway, but that was the iconic moment for me, to do this gig with wonderful, wonderful actors and friends, and to do this particular storyline.

Photo: CBS

It was 1983 when you first appeared on Y&R.  And through the years, Dina did not do such great things! She had an affair with Brent Davis who was the biological father of Ashley that caused such a rift between mother and daughter for years.  She abandoned the Abbott children and walked out on them and her marriage to John, and that’s just for starters! Dina was a complicated character. Did you love the fact that she could be very selfish at times?

MARLA:  You think?  That’s why I loved her.  Of course!  I can be very selfish, too.  You have to be selfish if you’re an actor, good God. (Laughs).

Courtesy/CBS

It was great that The Young and the Restless brought you back four years ago so that through the telling of the Alzheimer’s storyline that Dina was able to somewhat repair her relationships with her children.  Obviously, over the last many months the audience could not witness the more day to day progression and toll the disease took on Dina and her family in its final stages, but unfortunately with the way COVID-19 has affected shooting daytime soap operas, and all of our lives, including safety protocols, I am sure plans had to be altered,

MARLA:  Of course.  As an actress, this was the most important role of my life, and to have her final moments spread out in one day really is because of all of the fans who have been writing in and wanting to see Dina again,

Photo: CBS

People were rooting for you to win the Daytime Emmy back in 2018 when you were nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. That must be a nice moment to carry with you from playing Dina’s final storyline.

MARLA:  Yes, and I should have won!  Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) was furious. (Laughs)  He said, “What do you mean, darling, you should have won!  Goddammit!” He’s a wonderful man and a good friend.  He came to pick me up several times to go to the studio for my last few shows, and that’s the kind of mensch he is. So, I feel just so blessed and I feel great love and loss.  I would like Dina to come back as a ghost, but I have no idea, if that will happen or not. But if the fans would be interested in seeing Dina as a ghost … make sure to write in to the show and tell them!

Courtesy/CBS

Speaking of the fans that have followed you for decades on Y&R, what would you want to say to them now that Dina has passed on?

MARLA:  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for all of the love, the support, and the chance to play Dina out… and I’m thankful that you cared, and loved her, up till the end.

So what did you think about Dina’s final moments on today’s Y&R? Will you miss Marla Adams?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.  But first check out the special behind the scenes tribute for Marla, followed by The Michael Fairman Channel’s interview with Marla and Beth Maitland from Y&R’s 45th anniversary celebration referred to during the above conversation.

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