Serial offender Jill Farren Phelps has struck again. A year after her executive producer credit tainted The Young and the Restless, many viewers are feeling the same anguish that was echoed by fans of the previous soaps she presided over in the past 20 years.
The Thursday, October 10, Canadian broadcast saw Billy (Billy Miller) and Chloe’s (Elizabeth Hendrickson) daughter, Cordelia “Delia” Abbott (played by Sophie Pollono), mowed down on the side of a road after chasing her new puppy. Both Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) and Adam (Michael Muhney) were shown speeding down the same stretch of road where the accident occurred. After finding his daughter and calling 911, Billy imagined all the important moments that he expected to experience with his daughter as he waited for the paramedics to arrive. We saw Delia’s go on her first date, graduate college, get married, give birth to a son and then move off to California all while Billy kept his 30-something looks, that damn bar he owns and his marriage to Victoria (Amelia Heinle).
Once at the hospital, a doctor told Billy that his baby girl was dead. Apparently her body’s weakened immune system (she battled leukemia a year or so ago) was not able to withstand the impact of a vehicle.
This contrived plot is nothing new under the reign of Phelps. Killing off a child is Phelps’ latest signature move in a poor attempt to drum up ratings. Two years ago, she pretty much oversaw this exact same storyline play out on General Hospital where Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) accidentally ran over his adoptive grandchild, Jake, in the middle of the night. Jake’s organs were then donated to save Josslyn, the young daughter of Carly (Laura Wright) and Jax (Ingo Rademacher). Y&R fans have already connected the dots that Delia’s corneas will be donated to Adam and Chelsea’s (Melissa Claire Egan) newborn son who is going blind.
While Phelps only has two dead kids under her watch, violent deaths of legacy characters, especially women, are her trademark. A bit gross considering daytime soap operas have always been considered a women’s medium.
Phelps’ body count began 20 ears ago whens he was the EP of Guiding Light and decided that Maureen Bauer (Ellen Parker) would be killed off following a car accident. Three years later at Another World, Phelps made the decision to brutally kill off fan-favourite Frankie Frame (Alice Barrett Mitchell) in a serial killer storyline. Many believed that these two characters were the heart and soul of their soap and neither show really recovered from the cruel deaths.
During her impressive and yet mind-boggling 10+ year run onGeneral Hospital, Phelps saw to it that popular young heroines were also brutally murdered under her watch: Emily Quartermaine (Natalia Livingston) and Georgie Jones (Lindze Letherman).
Outside these brutal onscreen deaths, Phelps has also been responsible for letting go popular actors, including Beverly McKinsey who played Alexandra Spaulding on Guiding Light. She decimated the list of veterans on General Hospital: from Genie Francis (Laura Webber) to Jacklyn Zeman(Bobbie Jones) to Stuart Damon (Alan Quartermaine). Her most cringe worthy firing was that of legendary actress Anna Lee, who was well into her 90s and had been promised a lifetime contract. Lee sadly passed away after her firing with her sons attesting that losing her job on GH shattered their mother’s will to live.
The death of a young child is a storyline that has already been done on Y&R. In 2005, the character of Cassie Newman (Camryn Grimes) died following complications after a car accident. The actual storyline last weeks and was felt all throughout the canvas. The ramifications of Cassie’s accident and subsequently death gave way to numerous storylines and character development that are still in place on-screen today. It was tragic, but the story was organic and made sense from a creative standpoint. There is nothing creative in the death of Delia Abbott, a character that was barely seen until a few weeks ago. It is hard to imagine the lack of creativity at this show as the they were pretty much given a death that would have changed the landscape of the entire canvas: the death of Katherine Chancellor following the real-life death of her portrayer Jeanne Cooper which hit the screen merely a month ago.
If Y&R was so intent on killing off a child and an Abbott, then why not Johnny Abbott? He’s Billy child and his corneas being donated to save the eyesight of Adam and Chelsea’s son would be far more symbolic as Chelsea is also the birth mother of this child. This would also create conflict between the Newman family with Victoria being Johnny’s adoptive mother and Adam, who would have to beg his half-sister to donate Johnny’s corneas to save his son.
To kill off another Abbott grandchild, while the show still hasn’t recovered from the loss of killing off Colleen a few years back makes no sense at all. And of course, Colleen’s heartwent to Victor. Now we’ve got another Abbott organ saving a Newman. The character of Delia Abbott was also rich in history because of her parentage: she’s Billy’s child with the daughter of the Chancellor maid. This was a legacy character belonging to two families: the Abbotts and the Chancellors.
Despite the negative attention this storyline is receiving in both the press and from fans, the one shining spot was Billy Miller’s acting. He’s a fantastic actor but could have easily led a front-burning storyline which was character-driven instead of plot-driven.
What’s also hard on fans is that while Phelps is a “producer,” it’s also hard to lay blame on the head writer. Josh Griffiths left the soap before this story could air. Cowardice? He knew what was coming up and got out before he could get blamed.
The past week was hard to watch for many longtime Y&R viewers as it was also confirmed that Nikki’s long-lost son was none other than Dylan, a newly created character for Phelps’ pet Steve Burton. This was a further attempt to prop a character and actor who has not been well received by fans of this show at all.
Could the fan outcry following this storyline finally help Sony and CBS realize the error in hiring Phelps? The Young and the Restless may remain daytime’s #1 drama in the ratings, but it feels anything but that in the hearts of its longtime fans.
How do you feel about Y&R killing off Delia? Sound off in the comments.
Raves (aka not the Y&R section):
- How fantastic was Finola Hughes’ performance as Dr. Obrecht with the Anna mask onGeneral Hospital? Crazy how GH is able to make a prosthetic mask the number prop for a second year in a row. Hey, could we get a Brenda mask next year?
- It was nice for Oliver to actually have an airdate on The Bold and the Beautiful this week when he told Wyatt about his history with Hope.
- The fallout of JJ discovering what happened between Jack, the father he idolized, and Kayla was heartbreaking.
What’s coming up:
The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS/CTV Two): Another proposal
Bill decides to turn his energy in a new direction. Caroline and Rick run into Carter and Maya. Liam fights for what is his. Rick and Eric host the viewing for the diamond. Wyatt learns the truth about Liam’s situation. Dayzee helps Maya. There’s another marriage proposal (hmm Rick and Caroline). Liam and Hope question each other’s motives while another couple make plans for the future.
Coronation Street (CBC): Ryan leaves
Nick repeats David’s name. Hayley makes a list about all the things she wants to do before she dies. David panics when Leanne sits down with Nick. Ryan decides to leave and says goodbye to Michelle. Julie thinks about adoption again. Michelle is stunned to see who has turned up at her doorstep. Julie talks to Brian about fostering a child. Steve continues his efforts to buy the pub and to surprise Michelle.
Days of our Lives (NBC/Global): JJ’s hearing
Chad is rushed to surgery after being shot by Marge. Chad’s family and friends await news on his condition. Roman warns Sami about marrying into the DiMera family. Nicole tells Brady a shocking secret about Kristen. JJ’s hearing take place and the judge delivers his final decision. Jennifer worries that she’ll lose JJ for good. Kate digs into Jordan’s past. Sami points out to Stefano that if Chad dies, it will be all his fault. Jennifer rages out at Theresa and attacks her.
General Hospital (ABC/City): Faison confirms to Anna that Robin is alive
Nikolas finally realizes that Dr. Obrecht took Ben to Cassadine Island. Soony seeks information on Ava. Franco tells Derek/Julian to leave Carly alone. Sam and Silas pick up where they left off. Morgan turns to Diane for advice. Sonny questions Duke. Sabrina attempts to connect with Patrick. Luke and Tracy begin a new chapter. Britt faces a nightmare.
The Young and the Restless (CBS/Global): News of Delia’s death
Kevin rushes to be with Chloe at the hospital following Delia’s death. Chelsea tells Adam and Jack about Delia. Victoria informs her parents of the tragic news. Nick and Sharon reach an understanding. Stitch pushes Dylan to go after Avery. Billy and Adam argue about Delia’s organs. Chloe lashes out at Kevin. Jack and Jill reunite to help Billy.