Okay so – there’s something that it’s very likely you don’t know about me… (deep breath)… I watch Y&R.
Now if you don’t know what Y&R is – then you probably don’t watch it! (you’re also probably male!) The Young & the Restless is a daytime soap opera that has been on the air since 1973… which means when I was a little girl my mom would often have it on. Although I didn’t “watch” it – it was around the house enough that I was familiar with the show, the characters and some of the actors growing up.
Once I had babies of my own and got to be a stay-at-home mom for a while I began to watch it. It was shocking to see mostly a familiar cast after so many years. Then the kids got bigger, life got busier and I sort of drifted away from keeping up with it at all.
Then, one fateful weekday a year or so ago we came home from a very long tour. Exhausted, I decided to give myself a ‘pajama’ day. So I just played on my iPad, read some books, caught up on some games and emails – and flipped on daytime television – something completely out of my norm.
And there it was: Y&R. So many of the same characters – played by many of the very same actors – I couldn’t believe it – especially how good they most all looked! I watched a bit, memories flooding back, and then got ready to turn the channel.
But before I could – HE – appeared. Adam. A new face to me, and a rather new character on the show. There was something about him that I had to watch. (And yes, of course he’s gorgeous – it is a soap after all – but it was more than that…) This character was a horrible human being. He was doing awful things, messing with people’s lives, manipulating, scheming, plotting and planning – and the whole time he’s doing such dastardly deeds I found myself wanting him to find a way out – to not get into trouble – to not get caught. WHY??
Being the “internal processor” that I am – I had to study it, take it apart, and find out what it was about Adam that made me root for the bad guy – a position I don’t typically find myself in.
After watching a bit, and learning his story, I think I finally discovered why I cheer for a “jerk.”
I think the answer lies here: The actor who plays Adam (Michael Muhney) does so with such skill that you actually see the conflict in Adam – you feel it.
Is Adam a jerk to his dad? YES… but. He is still feeling pain from being abandoned by his father years ago.
Is he snarky to his half siblings? YES… but he’s felt rejection by them most of his life.
Does he do mean things to the pretty girl who stood by him? YES… but she broke his heart – and he doesn’t have better skills to deal with it…
Does he enjoy being bad?? Hard to tell – but when you watch the character it makes you wonder if he is really evil – or just a man in a lot of pain doing the best he can to figure life out.
Okay – I’m sure that is WAY more than most of you ever wanted to know about Y&R, but stay with me another moment – I really am going somewhere with this J
A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to win a charity lunch with the actor who plays Adam, Michael Muhney. About 10 of us met at a local NYC restaurant. I am very happy to report that Mr. Muhney is as gregarious, funny, charming, generous and thoughtful as Adam is the opposite. (And side note: he has the most freakin’ gorgeous skin I’ve ever seen on a person! Not a pore in sight! I’ve GOT to find out what he uses!). Marcus & I had a lot of fun and enjoyed our time together greatly.
Anyone would of. You have a lovely host, perfect conversation, good humor, interesting stories, great food… what’s not to enjoy right? All the elements that make a perfect meal. Sounds like what the Holidays are! Or at least what they are supposed to be…
And now Thanksgiving is upon us. And I’m just wondering how much more fun our lives would be if our holiday meals were filled with more “Michaels” and fewer “Adams”… Oh you know what I mean. Most every family has someone that is … let’s say difficult. The Aunt who’s way to bossy, or the Mother-in-Law who smiles while dishing out underhanded comments, or the cousin who is critical of everything anyone brings up… we all have people like this in our lives on some level. And I know that it can certainly ruin an otherwise happy occasion.
This year I want to encourage you to try something different: What if a really great actor was playing the role of the annoying person at Thanksgiving dinner. Such a good actor that when the person said something snarky you caught just a glimpse of their backstory – the reason they are the way they are.
Do you really know what kind of pain that annoying person has endured? Where their scars are from? Why they are so miserable they seem to insist on passing it along?
Of course we can’t “fix” everyone. And maybe some people are jerks – well just because they are. But sometimes it’s simply because they hurt. And they believe no one cares. So maybe – just maybe – you can reach out a bit. Take a chance. Choose to engage in conversation. Listen actively. Talk about a subject they enjoy. They might just surprise you – and help you discover the real joy of the holidays.
And if not? Well, at least don’t let them steal your joy. Give them the benefit of the doubt and move about your day, knowing you did the right thing. Maybe it’ll be easier next time.
Wishing you all the joy and love of a perfect Thanksgiving – mE