Oh, Young & Restless, We Need to Have a Little Talk About This Diane Business, Mmkay?
You might wanna sit down for this.
Let’s get a few things straight upfront: I’m a Susan Walters fan and have been since her days on Loving. I liked her as Diane on The Young and the Restless, too. The part was a perfect fit — so perfect that I couldn’t figure out any reason why the soap would have recast her with Maura West except that any time you have a chance to cast Maura West, you should take it. (She proves that daily as Ava on General Hospital.)
But Walters’ return as Diane is a head-scratcher on several levels. First, why bother introducing her as “Taylor Jensen” if you’re going to tell viewers — in a promo, no less — that she’s Diane? Way to spoil your own surprise, guys!
Second, why bother reintroducing Diane at all? The character was so very dead at the end of West’s stint in the role that a murder mystery was built around her demise. By resurrecting a woman whose fate had been made so abundantly clear, you’re telling the audience, “Nah, you don’t have to worry about your favorites being killed off. We’ll undo it whenever we feel like it.”
Heck, using that logic, Dina Mergeron could be next to walk through the door! Maybe even Keemo!
Third — and this’ll look a lot like the second point — why bother reintroducing Diane? It’s like saying, “No, we can’t think up any new character to throw at Jack, so we’re gonna just go with what we’ve done before. Yes, even as we’re playing him with Phyllis. Again.” A world of possibilities, and you go with, “Whatevs, let’s just go back to the Diane/Jack/Phyllis well.”
Guess we should count our blessings that at least Peter Bergman finally has some storyline.
While we’re here, let’s talk about that promo, shall we? You can watch it above. It touts Diane as “the ultimate bad girl.” We’ll give you “bad,” sure. She’s been a troublemaker since back when Alex Donnelley played the upwardly-mobile model. But “the ultimate bad girl”? Mm, Lorie Brooks might have something to say about that. So might Jill Foster… Sheila Carter… and Phyllis, for Pete’s sake!
Diane might have set up her rival to run over her leg, but Phyllis actually tried to make roadkill of nemesis Christine. (And came pretty freakin’ close.) Diane might have stolen what she thought was Victor’s sperm sample, but Phyllis actually did manage to steal Danny Romalotti from The Bug (and pass off another man’s son as the rocker’s). And while Diane might suggest that a foe drop dead, Phyllis’ enemies have a habit of doing just that. Right, Sasha Green?
Finally, why on earth would Young & Restless demolish past story to resurrect Kyle’s mother when, even with Michael Mealor returning to his role, another problem is created: What do you do about Summer? You can hardly bring Kyle home to Genoa City without Hunter King as his bride. And we haven’t heard anything about a comeback for her. Not yet, at least. (Fingers crossed!)
Maybe the show is jumping through all these hoops to bring Diane back from the dead because it actually has something brilliant and original in mind for her. After the non-custody battle over baby Dominic, the launch of Billy’s snoozecast, the off-screen “Skyle” wedding and the missed opportunities that Keemo represented, I kinda doubt it, but hope springs eternal. Hit the comments with your thoughts on the schemer’s comeback.
Check out the below photo gallery that tells Diane’s life — lives? — story.