Opinions

Y&R’s Maura West: When Is A Two-Time Emmy Winner Not Enough?

When Maura West landed in The Young and the Restless’ Genoa City last fall, her fans expected more of the world discover her brilliance, regardless of the character she would inhabit. To the surprise of many long-time fans, that didn’t happen. Now six months into her recast portrayal of Diane Jenkins, it still hasn’t happened.

When Is A Two-Time Emmy Winner Not Enough?

For close to 15 years, Maura West’s tour de force characterization of Carly Tenney ruled As The World Turn’s Oakdale.  Rarely without a front-burner storyline (unless West was on maternity leave), full credit for the undiminished presence of Carly goes to the brilliant acting ability of Ms. West.

In fact, her consistent excellence earned Ms. West seven Best Actress Emmy nominations and won her the coveted award not once, but twice, with the most recent win coming just last year. So there’s no doubt Maura West is at the top of her creative game and is almost universally acknowledged as one of the most talented and charismatic actresses on the daytime landscape.

It also bears mentioning that the character of Carly Tenney was most definitely not a classic soap heroine. She was, in fact, almost an anti-heroine; conniving, impetuous and sometimes, in Carly’s own words, “not always nice.”  It is indeed a testament to the skill of Ms. West that Carly became one of the most beloved characters in ATWT’s long history. So when Maura West landed in The Young and the Restless’ Genoa City last fall (after the cancellation of ATWT) her fans expected even more of the world to soon discover her brilliance, regardless of the character she would inhabit.  But to many long-time fans’ shocked surprise, that didn’t happen. And now, six months into her re-casted portrayal of Diane Jenkins, it still hasn’t happened.

Let me be perfectly clear: Ms. West has done the very best she can and I daresay has accomplished even more than most anyone else could have, given the very limited screen time and minimal character development she has been shabbily handed .

And as not only a fan of Maura’s, but also of exceptional acting talent in general, I’m at a complete loss to understand how utterly under-used she has been since landing at YR.  Granted, the YR cast is just too darned big, and it must get cumbersome for TPTB to carry around so many storylines and characters.  But it’s half-a-year in and we still know next to nothing about this new version of Diane.  I have sometimes suspected Diane is harboring a secret, or a worry, but she’s seen so infrequently, it’s impossible to tell if that’s a real plot point of an imagined implication on my part.

Moreover, the only written character development Diane has ‘enjoyed’ since her return to Genoa City has been to sleep with numerous men; i.e. Tucker, and both father and son, Victor and Nicholas Newman (and yuk to having her sleep with both. Just yuk.). While there were glimpses of real passion between Nick and Diane, none of these romps in the hay have seemed like any true romantic beginnings. And that’s a true shame, as Ms. West has demonstrated, in legendary fashion, how superb at soap opera romance she is. After all,  she is one-half of the famed ATWT SuperCouple, CarJack (along with fellow Emmy winner Michael Park). Moreover, she has proven time and again she can find chemistry with almost any other actor, given the chance. She showed it time and again on ATWT , even with some truly stupid storylines. But she’s not been given that opportunity yet on YR.

I’m also scratching my head as to why TPTB haven’t capitalized on the chemistry demonstrated in the few too-brief scenes between Diane and Phyllis (Emmy winner Michelle Stafford).  These two are powerhouse performers and I cannot be alone in wishing this adversarial relationship was more deeply explored. If it was, it would surely spark an epic, soon to be the stuff of legends soap opera rivalry between two exceptionally capable actresses.

Why are the Meggies, Daisy’s, and Ryder’s, et al, given second and even third go-rounds on this show when someone of Ms. West’s stature, recognition, and flat-out talent is not? So while some secondary characters enjoy ridiculous curtain calls , I will be pining for the undeniably talented Maura West to emerge from the shadows and finally be allowed to show a new audience just how good she is.

To that end, there is a Facebook group aiming to show TPTB how much Maura West is wanted.  To get more information, or to join, please go to: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/home.php?sk=group_151011524957963&ap=1 or email: teamwestftw@groups.facebook.com


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