The transformation of Phyllis (Gina Tognoni) continues on ‘The Young and the Restless’. Michelle Stafford’s version of this character would be highly unlikely to ask someone like Ravi (Abhi Sinha) his opinion of anything, let alone whether or not she was needy (meaning weak). But that bit of dialogue further confirms Phyllis’ transformation from viper to vulnerable.
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Soap operas recast many roles. That’s understandable due to the nature of this genre and the gristle mill that requires enough scripts to fill a weekday schedule year-round.
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The opportunity to change actors for a particular part happens for varying reasons, in this instance Stafford opted to voluntarily leave the cast and then to join General Hospital (as Nina).
After breaking up Nick (Joshua Morrow) and Sharon’s (Sharon Case) intended nuptials in 2014, Phyllis quickly turned into a much more vulnerable character. She wasn’t nearly as vindictive or bizarre. That noticeable adjustment signaled that Phyllis was changed by her extended comatose state.
This scribe believes that Stafford ranked among the best Y&R actors during her reign on the show. So the transformation Tognoni’s version of the character has undergone is not meant in any way to chide Stafford’s great work, or to compare today’s Phyllis to the original.
An enduring soap character needs to be shown in different ways in order to remain interesting. That’s why this recast offered the opportunity to adjust who Phyllis is in modern times.
The recent pullback from Phyllis’ burgeoning relationship, if it can be called that, with Billy (Jason Thompson) was wise. The last writing regime made a mistake in choosing that plot direction because that choice went against both character’s deep histories and therefore, believability.
Sally Sussman’s team, which took over late last year, has refocused Phyllis and has continued to write toward her softer side. Tognoni’s presence fits that goal. She’s doing a solid job in creating a likeable person who is trying to learn from her mistakes and is far less self-centered as of 2017.
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