The old saying “it takes one to know one” explains why former manipulator Phyllis Summers is on to both Sally Spectra and Tara Locke on The Young and the Restless. The latter two have made life not so easy for Phyllis’s daughter Summer. For playing a woman who is shifting into “mama bear” attack mode, Soap Hub bestows Performer of the Week for Y&R honors upon two-time Daytime Emmy-winner Michelle Stafford.
Michelle Stafford — Performer of the Week
Phyllis might not have made her ex-lover Billy Abbott (Jason Thompson) her first choice when choosing a partner to expose Tara (Elizabeth Leiner) and Sally’s (Courtney Hope) machinations. “We’re strange bedfellows,” Phyllis acknowledged to Billy, who noted there was an era when they were closer.
“There was a time…” Phyllis recalled staring deeply into Billy’s eyes. A lesser actress might have resorted to histrionics at this time as Phyllis would have been within her rights to blast Billy for bedding Summer following their breakup. However, Michelle Stafford chose to play Phyllis as a woman who was keeping her eye on the prize while still conveying she was no fan of what Billy had done.
“[T]here’s a reason things didn’t work out for us, you know?” Phyllis continued. “Other people were involved.” And speaking of eyes, viewers always pay close attention to Stafford’s. It’s clear to see that her wheels are always turning.
Phyllis calling out Tara and Sally as manipulators may sound a tad hypocritical given her own origins. The fiery redhead falsified DNA lab tests letting Danny (Michael Damian) think that he was the father of her son Daniel (Michael Graziadei). She crashed Rex Sterling’s (Quinn Redeker) memorial service announcing she was “Mrs. Danny Romalotti” and “the mother of Danny Romalotti, Jr.”
Phyllis ran Christine Blair (Lauralee Bell) and Paul Williams (Doug Davidson) down with a rental car after realizing that Danny was never going to get over his ex. “Well, let’s be honest,” Phyllis quipped to Billy as she injected some humor into the current situation. “They’re not even in my league.”
Next, Phyllis ran into Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) at Society. She reconnected with her ex, thanking him for giving her the extra love and attention he affords her given that she can be an extra handful. Phyllis was earnest in her words while at the same time buttering up her ex as she prepared to let him know she’s no fan of Tara’s.
Phyllis worked into the conversation that after talking to Tara, she (Phyllis) understood why Summer canceled her plans to marry Kyle Abbott (Michael Mealor). Jack knows Phyllis well and his inquisitive guard went up as soon as she started to shed a negative light on Tara.
Michelle Stafford reveals on Phyllis’s face that she’s thinking two steps ahead of the people in her life. Was she going to push forward with her theory that Tara’s bad news — or pull back and circle back with Jack once she had more concrete evidence? Phyllis commands attention when she has no lines as viewers wonder if she’ll charge forward or retreat. Either way, Phyllis is someone who’s never going to back down fully, even when she re-thinks her battle plan.
Realizing that she wasn’t going to win Jack over, Phyllis lied through her teeth when she told him she didn’t believe Tara was being malicious. She’s left viewers asking themselves, “What will Phyllis’s next move be?” And isn’t wondering what’s going to happen tomorrow the best way to get a viewer to tune in the next day?
The Young and the Restless (YR) airs weekdays on CBS. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Genoa City, check out all the latest that’s been posted on Y&R spoilers.