Why do we find ourselves rooting for the “bad guys”? Check out what Digest columnist Carolyn Hinsey has to say about what’s happening across the daytime dial.
How do you give baddies rooting value? It’s tricky.
Y&R’s Audra has potential. She slithered into Genoa City as Noah’s cold-hearted ex who was secretly bedding Tucker — not a red-letter entrance unless it was a Scarlet A. She quickly manipulated her way into Newman Media and the married Kyle’s bed, raising eyebrows all over town.
Diane: “You seem like the kind of person who puts herself first.”
Indeed. Nikki’s also got her number (“I don’t like to be played”) while the other Newmans are watching their backs. Audra’s a good foil for our faves — and her brazen ambition is jaw-dropping — but she’s going to need an Achilles’ heel to make us invest if they keep playing her frontburner, because sex and scheming with Kyle ain’t it.
Besting Adam was a step in the right direction, though, after he thought he had her blackmailed, er, backed against the wall.
Audra: “I’m strong and smart.” Adam: “And humble, too.”
She sure humbled him.
The hated Diane is making strides because she has strong roots in GC. She’ll never be forgiven for faking her death, but marrying Jack makes her harder to dismiss because he loves her and we love him. See how that works?
Nikki: “I have resigned myself to the fact that Diane is now a part of the fabric of Genoa City.”
She’s come a long way since stealing Jack’s sperm to conceive Kyle.
Dr. Hamilton Finn has come a long way too, but not far enough. He began GH life as a weird disease specialist with a service lizard (!) but we let him live because he cured Tracy. However, years of being a controlling mansplainer to Hayden, Sam, Alexis, Elizabeth etc. has cost him. I don’t see what Elizabeth sees in Finn since his current efforts to court her feel more like a teen romance. He writes secret notes and asks her out with less confidence than an 11th grader making a promposal.
Liz: “What is this? Two friends having dinner?” Finn: “Let’s get into this. I dated your sister. I’m an addict. I’m a loner. This scares me so much, I looked into transferring to another hospital.”
A romance between two middle-aged medical professionals with six marriages and four kids between them shouldn’t “scare” either one. Austin’s another one who needs work. He came on to deliver Maxie’s baby (good) and turned out to be a long-lost Quartermaine (great) but those stories were dropped. Now he’s in cahoots with his vile cousin Mason to hurt Sonny which is turning the affable doc into a bad guy.
The good news is we liked Finn and Austin once, so we can like them again. Team the docs up to medically help someone we love (Curtis, Ned, Sasha, the “late” Nikolas) while sending them on entertaining double dates with Liz and Ava. The ladies can compare notes on having kids with mobsters while the men reminisce about Llanview. (Hey, a girl can dream…)
My jury’s out on Gladys and “amnesiac” Esme, but look at the cool reset Ned is getting now that he thinks he’s Eddie Maine.
Ned (to Carly): “I was living with Sonny Corinthos. Do you know him?”
That’s gold, Jerry.
B&B’s Sheila will never have rooting value no matter how many toddlers she pulls out of the ocean, so leave her as resident psycho. Deacon’s love for daughter Hope brought him back from the brink but his sex romps with Sheila will eventually drag him right back there. Quinn was the rare baddie successfully integrated into the show by the love of two good men (Eric and Carter) but she crawled out of bed one day and vanished.
Which brings us to Liam, who has catapulted to the top of Jerk Mountain.
Liam (to Steffy): “This isn’t some knee-jerk reaction to the end of my marriage.” That’s exactly what it is. Okay, continue.
Liam: “I look at you now, without my Hope goggles, and I see the same strong, smart, beautiful woman I used to see. Why the hell did I let you go?”
Because you decided you loved Hope, who represents a hell of a lot more than “Hope goggles” after you married her three times and had a baby with her (Beth).
Liam: “I’ve only got one life to live and I want to live it with Steffy and my daughter [Kelly].”
Sorry Beth! Looks like we’ll be loving to hate Liam for awhile.
That’s the trick. DAYS made us love to hate Stefano, Vivian, Sami, EJ, you name it over the years. They botched Gwen by having her ruin our beloved Deveraux family but that’s an easy fix if/when Jack and Jennifer return and she gets properly punished. I’m not a fan of nutbag Kristen but she’s a core DiMera who brings out the humor in others which helps us invest.
Kristen: “My precious daughter is coming home to live with me for good!” EJ: “What did you do, blackmail the judge?”
For a roadmap on how to spin an evil entrance into gold, see Victor Kiriakis. He was brought on as part of a drug and porn ring having shared a past with Caroline that produced Bo, a valuable Achilles heel. For the next 38 years he loved Salem’s most fiery women (Vivian, Kate, Nicole, Maggie) and treated us to as many crimes as classic lines (“Did anybody order a hooker?”), making him the perfect model of an A-list villain. Until…
Justin: “It appears Victor’s plane went down in the Mediterranean.” Brady: “The guy is nothing if not a survivor. He probably paddled his way to the nearest island and is sitting there with a drink.” I was so rooting for that. Weren’t you?