The Soaps: Tune In Tomorrow

Unnecessary Death on 'YATR'

It is always risky when a soap opera kills off a child. Yet in the past decade, "The Young and The Restless" has killed off three youngsters: Cassie, Colleen, and now the youngest, Delia, has died in a hit-and-run car accident. It was not so many years ago that Cassie also died in a car accident. We still feel the loss of this character. The actress who plays Cassie has been brought back in one form or another many times since then to fill the gap left by her death. The character was an integral part of the show.

Delia was not a major character, but she was the daughter of Billy Abbott, who is from a core family. It appears that Delia's corneas will be donated to baby Conner, who is a Newman. When Colleen died a few years ago, her heart was transplanted into Victor. Now, another Newman will benefit from a tragic loss.

The show has also built in the mystery of whether it was Adam who was driving the car. If so, he is responsible for the accident that will have enabled his son to have Delia's corneas. Is it worth it for a story twist? The show is still reeling from the death of Katherine, due to the death of the actress who played her. At Katherine's funeral, it was Delia's artwork that graced the cover of the program. It is just too much to bear.

Michael Muhney will get an incredible storyline out of this, and he is truly a wonderful actor. His character, Adam, is trying to reform so that his son Conner will be proud of him. Being a good man has always been a tough road for Adam, as well as for Delia's father, Billy.

We will grant you that Billy Miller will probably win another much-deserved Emmy for his work as his character Billy reacted to this tragedy. Elizabeth Hendrickson also acted her socks off in the wake of learning of her child's death. But acting is not reason enough to take such a drastic step.

To the show's credit, they have built in some storylines tied to this that enhance the drama. We think that the major after-effect of this development will be Adam's journey. There will be others: For example, Billy left his daughter in a car alone. His guilt is overwhelming. Billy has not always been the most responsible character, but he has been an excellent father, even risking life and limb so he could donate his bone marrow to cure Delia of leukemia. It just does not fit in with his character that he would leave his daughter alone in a car, even for a moment. Will the repercussions from Delia's death be enough to justify this drastic step?

Many years ago, "General Hospital" killed off the character of B.J., also a child. We learned this was going to happen in advance when talking with one of the show's writers. We were appalled and told him that no good would come of it. What we left out of the equation was that the sublime Clare Labine wrote that story. The way that story played out was extraordinary. The scene where B.J.'s father bent and listened to his daughter's heart beating in Maxie's chest after a heart transplant remains one of the most exquisite scenes in daytime history.

That tragedy ended up affecting the stories of most of the characters on the show at that time. Maxie's heart transplant is still playing out today. We would like to hope that the same would be true of Delia's tragedy, but we suspect that it will just be another forgotten story point within a year.

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