Continental promo

Stepping in and Playing It Straight?

Y&R’s soap newbie Michael Muhney steps into the shoes Chris Engen notoriously vacated, seduces a gay man, and stirs up trouble as Adam 2.0.
An exclusive posted July 9, 2009
Stepping in and Playing It Straight?

Try this one on for size: You are about to step into the role of one of the most devious characters on daytime, you've never done a soap, you are in the middle of a heavy story with no time to learn the ropes, and you are about to play one of the most controversial and shocking plot points ever in the genre -- seducing a gay man as a way to divert him from finding out the truth behind your skullduggery.

And, oh yes, you are straight.

That is the amazing and exciting predicament Michael Muhney found himself in when he landed the role of Adam Wilson in what some would call an “emergency recast.” As many know, Chris Engen walked out on the most scandalous role in daytime, and created more controversy when many speculated he did it because of the gay plotline.

Enter Muhney, a Veronica Mars alum, who is relishing the chance to portray the different layers of Adam. Homophobia is not in Muhney's neighborhood, and he can’t wait for more of the twists and turns that are sure to make Adam’s diabolical seductions and machinations riveting to daytime television viewers.

In this interview, Muhney weighs in on the delicate way The Young and the Restless has handled one man’s sexual advances toward another as a master puppeteer playing with someone’s emotions and body to get what he wants. How has it been for you stepping into the role of Adam at such a pivotal point in the story? You came into this when Chris Engen abruptly left the show. Would you say you were an emergency recast?
Michael Muhney: Well, being I am not familiar with the vernacular of daytime, and the “emergency” aspect; it was certainly an expedited casting process and closing the deal process. I think it was more that we were all inclined to get it done sooner than later and move forward. To be honest, if I had the choice of being thrust into the middle of a huge story line like this or put on the periphery, I would prefer to be thrown in the deep end. That way you are really sink or swim, and your instincts kick in and you have to go with your visceral gut instinct.

I had spoken with Eileen Davidson [Ashley] who told me she had talked to you on your first day on the set. She was checking in on how you were handling the pressure of your new gig. You said something like, “Bring it on.” It seemed all OK with you.
I am not the kind of person who gets nervous or gets rattled. If you want to make a sport analogy… if you want to hand me the ball with a few seconds left, at least I can control that, and I can do something about it.

How did you feel about Adam using Rafe for his cover-up? It’s never been done in daytime before quite like this, which has been very interesting.
For me, what it did was not only did it expand CBS’s horizon and The Young and the Restless's horizon, but Adam’s horizon. What it did was move a character who represents a person who lives in Genoa City and moved him outside of a box that you can neatly check off. “He is straight, he is this, or he is that,” and the fact that some lines are blurred makes him more real. How many of us in real life want to feel like we fit into a box? You like to feel that you are an individual who is not quite definable. When they did that with this character, I loved the opportunity to play into a different realm which is usually not touched upon on television. Maria Arena Bell [co-exec producer and head writer] was willing to go there, and go there with style. 

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Fairman runs and is creator and host of Soap Break on XM Satellite Radio channel 24, the Pink Channel.

Reader Comments

These comments are reproduced as written by visitors to this Web site. They have not been edited for content, grammar, or spelling. The viewpoints appearing here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or views of, The Advocate, or its affiliates.

  • Name: Jeff
    Date posted: 2009-07-14 5:01 PM
    Hometown: Voorhees, NJ


    Comment for JR: Adam is the son of Hope (the blind woman) with Victor. As a South Jersey neighbor I had to share that. As a longtime Y&R addict (yes I'm coming 'out of the closet' on this one!), I'm glad that there are finally gay storyline(s). This particular one with Adam is certainly not fulfilling as the gay character (Rafe) is portrayed as a lamb being brought to slaughter by the conniving Adam. Though it must be send that Adam treats women in the same manner. However, as the character of Phillip II has come out as the actual actor did years ago, there is a potential for true gay storylines now.

  • Name: billy
    Date posted: 2009-07-12 11:35 AM
    Hometown: DECATUR


    have to start taping show now , wow loose that straigtness and move forward can't wait to see them go further and further and further wish more tv shows showed it as it is

  • Name: Mark
    Date posted: 2009-07-10 10:34 PM
    Hometown: Wappingers Falls


    It's a good storyline with nice actors, but when they've done storylines like this with women manipulating men, the audience saw them kissing and saw them making love in bed. It seems like there's a double-standard here by never showing the two men kiss or make love. I hope Y&R treats this storyline in the future in the same manner as a straight storyline, and shows all sides of the relationship, including the physical side.

  • Name: J R Costello
    Date posted: 2009-07-10 12:15 PM
    Hometown: deptford NJ


    not really into Y & R or any soap these days (for yrs now) - used to watch Y & R when HOPE (the blind woman) was on it,bk in mid 90's....after she left I stopped watching...but I know the characters over-all........but just in case- Nicki is judging the Gay guys - she Started out being a stripper on Y & she shouldnt be judging anyone!

  • Name: Michele
    Date posted: 2009-07-09 9:38 PM
    Hometown: Rochester, NY


    Really great piece Michael. I hadn't given any thought to the eye contact for actors thing and found that aspect of his take on Adam and playing him very interesting. Daytime is certainly where complicated same-sex stories are these days huh? The universe knows it's not anywhere else.

Back to top

Submit a comment for this story:

*Type your comment here (Required, 1000 characters max. HTML formatting and hyperlinks are NOT permitted.):

Characters Left

*Name (Required): 

*Hometown (Required): 

*E-mail address: (Required, but will not be displayed)

Is this comment for publication? 
Yes   No

Daytime phone number: (Required for print publication only and will not be displayed)

Please enter the words you see in the box, in order and separated by a space. Doing so helps prevent automated programs from abusing this service.


If you would like to submit a comment for posting, please fill out the form above. 

All comments submitted via this form are subject to posting or publication. (To send a private letter to an Advocate editor or writer, please use the e-mail button at the top of the page, or use snail mail.) If you would like your comment considered for publication in The Advocate magazine, please include your full name, your city of residence, and a phone number where you can be reached during business hours so that we can confirm your identity. Your e-mail address and telephone number are strictly confidential and will not be shared or used for any purpose other than to contact you about your comment.

See the Contact page for sending comments for reasons other than responding to Advocate editorial and news stories.

Please note that comments sent by fax or snail mail are unlikely to be posted, although they will be considered for publication along with all letters received via e-mail or via this Web page. Comments that chiefly concern content will be considered for posting only on the Web site. The Advocate reserves the right to edit submitted comments for grammar, spelling, obscenities, or libel; we will, however, do our best to preserve the original comment's style and intent. Comments considered for publication in The Advocate magazine may also be edited for length.

More Exclusives
  • Just a Case of "Lawyerly Ego"?
    Last week, political strategist Chad Griffin said a move by three LGBT groups to intervene in his group's efforts to overturn Prop. 8 at the federal level would "undermine" the case. Now the leader of one of those groups says the accusation is "baffling."
  • Miami Vice
    What's a gay celebrity journalist turned Huffington Post blogger to do when he's looking for love and a way to plug his new business venture? Join the cast of a new reality show on Bravo, of course.
  • Third Time's the Charm
    After seducing Kelly Preston in Citizen Ruth and attempting to do the same to Teri Hatcher on Desperate Housewives, Swoosie Kurtz goes lesbian again with BFF Blythe Danner on Nurse Jackie.
  • The Queen's New Court
    How you doin’? Closeted stars may never be safe, but radio shock jock Wendy Williams is doin’ just fine as she brings her “messy” talk show to daytime TV.
  • Brüno and His Discontents
    Sacha Baron Cohen's latest satire on Americans and their beliefs holds a mirror to society while making the handfuls of gays squirm in their seats.
  • Outfest Kicks Off at Orpheum
    Chaz Bono, Benjamin Bratt, Lisa Kudrow, Diane Lane, and others help Outfest kick off its 27th festival in Los Angeles.
  • View From the Hill: Legislatively Speaking
    LGBT legislation is finally on the move, with new developments on DOMA and DADT repeal, immigration reform, and more. Now the race is on to capitalize before the 2010 election.
  • The Hot Sheet
    Harry Potter is officially all grown up, gay actor Dan Butler falls in love with Karl Rove, and the Gay Men's Chorus of San Francisco pays tribute to Joan Baez.
  • Queen Margaret
    What happens when you drop foulmouthed comedian Margaret Cho in Peachtree City, Ga.? Suffice it to say Focus on the Family had better watch out.