Friday, September 2, 2011

Fanfic/speculation: How I'd write the Delia-Cancer story on Y&R

Readers who have been here before know that I've not liked the lack of emotion or the lack of "playing all the beats" on Y&R these days. Having a kid with cancer is another act of emotional manipulation on Y&R's part...but I'm actually okay with that! This is the stuff of classic soaps, and dying children can really milk the emotions and bring characters together--especially a child (like Delia) who is in the middle of the Chancellor/Abbott/Baldwin/Newman orbits.

In my view, the story would have BEATS. Now, maybe Y&R intends to do it this way, but I vaguely doubt it.

It is important to remember that (a) Billy and Victoria are estranged, basically because they lost two babies (one miscarriage and one illegal adoption). Thus, "babies" will have special emotional salience for them; (b) there is clearly unfinished Billy/Chloe chemistry, driven by Elizabeth Hendrickson and Billy Miller's "go for broke" emotional styles; (c) Y&R has a long history of "Christmas miracles", which could fit the timing of this story JUST FINE if Y&R slows it down a bit.

In my version:

(1) We'd milk the suspense of Delia's illness. What is wrong? Tests and worry. Finally, the cancer diagnosis that I feel sure is imminent. (I'm not spoiled, but I just know soap conventions).

(2) Billy, currently carousing in Hong Kong, comes home to be with his sick daughter. He is filled with self-loathing and regret.

(3) The first place to check is the parents. Sadly, Billy/Chloe are NOT compatible donors of bone marrow that could save their daughter. Note, bone marrow is not always the FIRST resort, so some time could be taken in giving Delia treatment that does not seem to be working. This can increase the drama and tension as the audience YEARNS to save the suffering child.

(4) The clock ticks, and Delia gets sicker and sicker. One consequence is that Billy starts to grow up (again), and Billy and Chloe set their hostilities aside. The chemistry between them is affectionate, as co-parents, but it is still threatening to Victoria, from whom Billy is estranged. Viki ACHES to comfort Billy, but she holds back, afraid of pain. Meanwhile, Billy puts up walls with Victoria, because he thinks (about himself) that he is a disaster. He wants to spare Victoria more hurt. The audience LONGS for the couple to just put down their walls and connect.

(5) Victoria is feeling ill, and learns that she is pregnant. Viewers will recall that JUST before Billy took off for Hong Kong, he and Victoria had unprotected couch sex.

(6) Victoria is torn. After having lost a total of FOUR babies, have this baby -- Billy's baby -- is the biggest joy she could ever know. But she is estranged from Billy, and his life is a mess right now, so she says nothing. Her plan is to tell Billy eventually, but for now, she's trying to save him another complication. She knows he'll worry that Victoria will also miscarry this child, so she doesn't want to saying anything until she is sure. Also, Viki is TERRIFIED that she's going to lose this she doesn't really want to make the pregancy public...since the baby could once more disappear.

(7) Of course, preganancies reveal themselves. Viki is in the shower, and the bathroom has Billy's special "trailer park" doorknob on it. Victoria is locked in the bathroom. She starts to spot. She is terrified. She can't get out, and doesn't have a phone. When Victoria doesn't show up for several meetings, Billy hears, and heroically rushes over to the house. He gets in past the trailer-park doorknob, and sees the naked Viki. The pregnancy is revealed!! Huge Friday cliffhanger!

(8) Of course, Victoria has to admit the pregnancy AND that she is spotting. Billy rushes her to the hospital, and all is okay with the child. It was normal spotting, and it was harmless.

(9) At this time, Dr. Nate Hastings returns to Genoa City. The transplant expert has been working on a new category of research--fetal stem cell transplants. Olivia asked him if there wasn't SOMETHING he could do for Delia, who is now hovering near death. By the way, it's near Thanksgiving.

(10) Chloe learns Victoria is pregnant, and she can't hide here jealousy and resentment. Chloe says to Billy "You don't even care that you're going to lose one baby--Victoria will just give you another."

(11) When Nate learns of Victoria's pregnancy, and that Billy is the father, he reports that he has been working on FETAL stem cell transplants to achieve miracle pediatric cancer cures.

(12) It is revealed that Viki's baby IS a match for Delia, but there is GREAT RISK extracting stem cells to baby Now Viki in crisis. Does she risk the baby she SO wants -- Billy's baby!!--to save Billy's OTHER daughter?

(11) Genoa City picks sides, Abbotts saying Viki must consent, Newmans against. Chloe takes Viki to court, but loses the case (this is a one-day emergency trial). All hope seems lost for Delia.

(12) Now, as December approaches, Viki realizes that her love for Billy is so great, she has no choice but to risk the life of her unborn child so that the other daughter Billy loves -- Delia -- has a final chance. It is risky for everyone, but Victoria realizes she has no choice.

(13) As Christmas arrives, we learn that (i) Victoria's baby survives the stem cell extraction; (ii) Delia survives and thrives following treatment.

(14) Billy is speechless with gratitude. His love for Victoria is overwhelmingly stronger than ever. Billy and Victoria reunite.

(15) But the story continues with many unanswered questions. Will Victoria's baby survive? And can the once-predatory Chloe hide the fact that this crisis has reawakened her obsessive desire for Billy...and her desire to put her family back together for Delia's sake? To be continued...

(I also think, in all of this, Cane should feel some paternal stirrings for Delia--since he was once her "father"--and while this doesn't lead to anything serious, I think Lily should feel vaguely discomfited that while she is pushing Cane away, he's starting to form other ties...)

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