Monday, December 1, 2008

Don Diamont. An Appreciation.

Okay, so I suspect few will join me in my regret that Don Diamont is leaving Y&R. Especially after Lynn Latham made him a closet-Jew with a Nazi-hiding past...and he killed men with his thighs...well, the character has been at loose ends ever since.

There will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth that Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn are leaving Days...but honestly, it its' own way, the dismissal of Diamont is almost a serious a bellweather of how deep the daytime funding cuts are going.

This appreciation is in several parts.

1. The prurient part

Soapy, at http://www.soaphunks.net, has delivered the ultimate tribute to Diamont in this dimension. So I'll let his pictures tell 1000 words.

His video repository is here.

His photo repository is here. That's got everything from Playgirl and Speedo shots to the more recent stuff.

Soapy has archived the classic Brad In A Cage tale, which I am embedding here.



Soapy has said that Diamont was a very important part of his coming-of-age. In general, it is always sad when someone we have shared the last 2+ decades with leaves.

2. The beginning of the end

I suspect Diamont was undone by a story written for him by Lynn Latham. A precis of this story can be found at soapcentral.com and is appended to the end of this post. It is a horribly convoluted tale that played havoc with Diamont's character, and is considered the worst example of Latham's Y&R. Because it called into question Brad's character, he was never really a viable lead again.

3. Why Diamont will be missed (by me):

This raises many questions:

1. With Abby getting mentions (and Ashley in Europe to get her now), one would think her daddy would stay in town. I wonder if Abby will stay in Europe, and whether Brad will go be with her? It seems totally odd if Abby returns and Brad leaves at the same time.

2. With Brad in a hot front burner story right now (Phyllis' scheme) it seems like his story should be building (not declining). So, this is odd.

3. Colleen is titularly an Abbott...but with her daddy leaving too, Colleen has nary a genuine tie in Genoa City. Her relationship with her best friend Lily was harmed when she went after Daniel. She has never had meaningful interaction with the other Abbotts...not in ages. She is in no relationship, and has no meaningful job. I feel the writing is on the wall for this character.

4. It suggests, contrary to my hopes, that Sharon-Nick-Phyllis is moving to the front burner. I want Sharon and Nick to be kept apart for many years yet...but it seems like that won't happen.

5. It raises the question of whether the Brad character was soooooooo ruined by what Latham did to him (i.e., the initially intriguing backstory that degenerated into Nazi silliness), that MAB could not find a way to rescue him at this time.

6. Diamont was one of the most publically supportive of Lynn Latham. For example, in an interview with the 7/16/2006 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, this report featured a glowing interview with Diamont:
Latham, who took over at "Y&R" in the past six months, said she didn't do a full-scale housecleaning as some new daytime executive producers do.

"I have leaned very heavily on the actors, too, to help me fill in on the story," she said.

Actor Don Diamont, who plays Brad Carlton, said that's rare.

"To Lynn's credit, by the way, that's not something you'll come across? with every head writer," Diamont said. "Lynn said, 'Can we have lunch? I want to meet each and every one of you and hear what you have to say about the character you've been playing for 20 years. Who is he?'And that's a rarity."

I wonder if he is being punished at some level for disloyalty?

7. I hope this is a "temporary" exit (as in jail time, or going to see his ailing mother, or returning to Italy because he can't get over losing Sharon...something like that). I am fine if he is gone for years...but I don't want this legacy character totally gone.

8. Most importantly: This is a sign that cost-cutting has returned to Genoa City! Back in the day, Brad would have been kept around...even without strong story potential (see Doug Davidson). Now, apparently, that won't happen.

Why do I call him a legacy character? Why do I think his absence will leave a void in the canvas?

Twenty years makes you a legacy character. (23, if you don't count his time off).

His deep ties to just about all of the core families on canvas (fiance of Nikki, husband of Victoria, potentially the father of Reed...if Victor tampered with the results, legal father of two of the scions of the Abbotts--Colleen and Abby, lover of Sharon, rival of Victor, rival of Nick, rival of Phyllis, rival/ally of Jack, ex-husband (maybe some embers still glowing?) of Ashley, ex-lover of Olivia).

I'm not totally lamenting the absence...it is okay to rest the character. But it is a sign that even Y&R needs to trim costs. And is a sign that a once-important character was seriously damaged by the past regime.

--The Grugeon Reliquary story from soapcentral.com:

I end this post with a brief quotation from that soapcentral.com character summary. It summarizes the Grugeon Reliquary tale that did Brad in.

Victor hired Paul Williams Investigations to check on new son-in-law Brad's past...They discovered in Cleveland, from a high school annual photo, that this person was not the real Brad Carlton

Clues uncovered showed that the Kaplan family, including their 15 year old daughter Stephanie had been murdered in Parma Ohio, and 18 year old son George was sought for questioning. Three months later George's body was found presumed the victim of a hit and run, the police thought they had the murderer, and at the same time Brad Carlton joined the Navy Seals.

Brad later revealed his side of the story: His mother Rebecca Montalcini was born in Rome to a wealthy Jewish family. Rebecca was a child when Mussolini invaded Italy, her family lost everything and was sent to a concentration camp, where Rebecca survived because she spoke German and had the knowledge to catalog the fine art which was confiscated from all Jews. Once they were free, Rebecca testified at war crimes trials against the commandant who was put to death. She made it her mission to remember where the millions of dollars worth of art ended up and get it returned to its rightful owners.

Avoiding death threats, Rebecca and her sister Isabel immigrated to the US where Rebecca met Arturo (who had Americanized his name to Arthur) Kaplan. They were married, lived in Parma, Ohio, and had children George and then Stephanie. Somehow the Nazis tracked them down and Isabel was mistaken as Rebecca and murdered along with Arthur and Stephanie. George and Rebecca hid out from the Nazis and police in George's friend Brad Carlton's basement until his father threw them all out.

They were living in an abandoned farmhouse when George and Brad were out hunting food, and Brad was hit by a car and killed. George then switched ID's with Brad and Rebecca took the last name of Carlton too. Once Brad's decomposed body was found, the police ID'd him as George and stopped the investigation, thinking they had the killer.

George got his mother connected with the underground and joined the Navy as Brad.

Eventually he ended up in Genoa City with Rebecca still in hiding....Later, Brad's daughter Colleen confronted him with what she knew about his mysterious past, and accused him of kidnapping JT.

Brad explained his past to Colleen, then hustled her and Abby off to the private jet where they met his mother Rebecca, and were jetted to safety in Hawaii. Meanwhile Sharon arrived at Brad's to find the door ajar, and being mistaken for Brad's wife, was kidnapped and held captive with JT in Cleveland. Brad received a call from the kidnapper telling him they had Sharon.

Victoria and Brad went back to Newman, and brought Nick and Paul in on the case. Nikki volunteered to take Noah away on a mini-vacation to see her sister Casey to keep him safe and oblivious to the fact that his mother was missing. Brad had to explain to all his past as George Kaplan and that the kidnappers wanted an artifact called the Grudgeon Reliquary. Then JT was dumped on Brad's doorstep as a warning.

After they wasted days trying to track down the Reliquary on the Internet and through art dealers, Victoria decided to create a fake using two other similar Grudgeon pieces. They took the fake to Cleveland and Nick met the kidnapper and his henchman for the exchange at a church.

Meanwhile, misled by the kidnappers, Brad, Paul and JT were converging on the shipping crate where Sharon had been held which was booby-trapped with explosives. They disarmed it in time, then arrived just in time to rescue Nick & Sharon as explosives attached to Sharon were about to detonate.

Brad ended up fighting with the bad guys, and killed them both (with his thighs, in a headlock) after the head guy admitted he was Oscar Volkmann, son of the Commandant who was executed after Brad's mother Rebecca's testimony. All arrived safely back in GC and vowed to never tell what went on for everyone's safety. Then Brad and Victoria told Victor and Nikki, and Nick told Phyllis.

Victor became determined to find the Grudgeon Reliquary. He and Brad posed as art connoisseurs searching for the reliquary. After some tense moments they managed to fool some art thieves and purchased it.

They brought it home to Rebecca who found an inscription which was in code. Thanks to Colleen confiding in her art history professor and lover, Adrian Korbel, he solved the puzzle which revealed a treasure worth billions that was concealed in the catacombs in the Czech Republic.

6 comments:

Joselyn said...

Thank you so much for posting those videos! I'm so sad about Don's exit news :(

Anonymous said...

I'm also sad Brad is leaving, if anyone should go its the obnoxious teenagers they've added to the show. They are sooo boring. Especially Eden - her voice grates on my nerves. Fortunately I tape the show, so fastwarding is really needed when they're on.

Anonymous said...

I will miss Brad, I am not longer
interested in watching Y&R. The
teens are just silly. Loved Brad
the best with Tracy Abbott. The
Y&R should have reunited Tracy
and Brad and not Ash and Victor.

CC

Anonymous said...

I think it's terrible that they killed off Brad's character. He was one of my favorites - if not the favorite. I've watched the show since it originally aired. All companies do anymore are cut people when times get tough. They're not creative enough to try to find another solution. Bring Brad back and not as another character!

Anonymous said...

y & r just not the same anymore, after the way brad died. show has lost its spark

Anonymous said...

bring brad back