December 14, 2005
I think I’ve finally got him figured out. Jacob Young, that is. Lately, as I’m sure you are aware, every time he hits my TV screen, I actually watch. Some might say I’m interested in what he’s doing and even worse; some might say I’m almost riveted. Almost.
I’m a big GH fan and have always liked the character of Lucky Spencer. Except when played by Jacob Young. It really wasn’t his fault. The story was a bit too off the wall for me and I had a hard time with the loss of Jonathan Jackson. I had grown attached to him and might have even considered marrying him if the situation ever presented itself. After all, in Georgia it’s perfectly legal to marry under-age as long as one person involved is pregnant. Needless to say, I was attached to the former Lucky and wasn’t interested in what the nu-Lucky had to offer.
Being somewhat of an open-minded person, I finally decided it was time to give the nu-Lucky a chance. So I did. And I still didn’t like him. He was bitter and angry and yelled every time he opened his mouth. He was standoffish and cold. Okay, I know he’d been kidnapped and brainwashed but it didn’t matter. He wasn’t Lucky to me. Lucky was Elizabeth’s one true love and this guy barely gave her the time of day. Eventually he acknowledged her presence, faked loving her and let her get all the way to the alter before she figured out it wasn’t right. Lucky was the kid who forgave his father for his sins and became a better person because of them. He wasn’t a kid who did things to purposely set his father off or flat out treat him as though he didn’t exist.
Typically a recast finds his or her way into the character and makes it his own. Some later rather than sooner, but it usually happens. In my minds eye, Jacob Young was never Lucky Spencer. I don’t think he was ever really given the chance either. Like I said, the storyline was terrible and the characters whole persona became something unfamiliar and foreign to the viewers. To me. Soon enough he was gone and nu-Lucky became nu-JR on All My Children.
Being JR instead of Lucky would, I thought be a better match for Jacob Young. Primarily because the character had been tossed from actor to actor and really had never been defined. In my opinion this gave Jacob Young the opportunity to make the character his own, develop a real JR.
So what do we get from All My Children? We get a man who at his first opportunity, decides to stick it to his father. Sound familiar to you? It did to me. JR came on the screen angry and bitter and out to hurt anyone and anything in his path. We barely got any Babe and JR because Babe was too busy spending all of the Chandler money, shopping in stores that didn’t sell pre-worn items. She flitted in and out of the mansion, leaving us with little to no interaction with JR. No romance in sight.
With that being said, we really didn’t get to see JR’s softer side. We saw him angry, just like Lucky. We saw him yell. Just like Lucky. We saw his angry face. The kind my son makes when he’s pretending he’s mad at me. His eyes narrowed, forehead lines bunched and mouth scrunched into an “O”. Just like Lucky.
This has continued. JR’s an angry, mean and ruthless character who’s out to hurt whomever hurts him first. Yes, we started to see a bit of humanity when Di was Dixie but we know how that ended up. I’d like to say he’s a good father and is kind to his son, but I can’t. All I see is him using his son as a power tool in his relationship with both Babe and his father. When I see him with his son, that is.
But lately, something’s happened. Yes, JR yells. He’s s till got his angry face. He’s still resentful and bitter. But he’s got a few new faces too. And these faces have shown me that it’s not the actor that’s been lacking, it’s the character. Jacob Young can actually act.
His storyline with Babe has thrown me for a loop. He wants to scam her, wants to keep her son away from her yet he can barely stay away from her himself. He’s torn between both loving and hating his ex-wife and it’s eating away at him. I can see this in Jacob Young.
Do you remember the movie “About Last Night”? At the end, Demi Moore’s character shows up at Rob Lowe’s baseball game. She walks down to him and they begin to have an awkward conversation. He asks her to dinner. Mentions where they could go. She says she’d rather go to an ‘old joint’, which is the type of restaurant he’s always wanted to own and now does. The look on Rob Lowe’s face is captivating. You can see the love and hope in his eyes. I think every woman that saw that scene wanted to jump into the screen so he could look at her that way. This is how JR’s been looking at Babe.
He expresses hope, insecurity, passion, frustration and fear. He’s not just yelling. He speaks in a softer voice, smiles. Who is this character? Apparently the writers decided it would be a nice change to have a tortured JR to counter balance the angry JR. And it’s working.
JR has emotions. Feelings. Today while looking through stacks of paper at Fusion with Babe, he got the Rob Lowe look in his eyes and softly asked Babe, “What do you want?” It was impressive. I like this JR. I like this Jacob Young. Sure, a few minutes later he’s showing Babe a ring and throwing it in her face as revenge. The point being, he was ‘faking’ the intimacy from a few minutes before but we all know he truly is falling for Babe again and is struggling with it. We saw it the other day when he went to take a drink, stood at his ‘bar’, where Adam surprised him. While expressing his anger at Babe, it was clear his thoughts were at her lying on her bed in the trashy room where she now lives. He’s torn and it’s a joy to watch.
Finally, Jacob Young has found the character of JR. Not because it took him this long, but because the writers took so long to give the character depth. Perhaps if they’d have done this with Lucky, I might have liked Jacob Young from the start, but as the saying goes, better late than never.
Kudos to the writers for giving Jacob Young the opportunity to show us he can truly act. I know there were a few of us out there who were wondering.
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