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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. 

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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: Jean Smith
    Date posted: 2009-07-16 1:50 AM
    Hometown: San Diego, CA


    Please bring This soap BACK to the days of old! Maria get rid of the gay storylines, my family has watched for years however will not continue to if this storyline is not completed by sending Adam to prison. I completely understand why the old Adam quit this soap, it is becoming ammoral and notl engaging. For anyone who has a religious backgroung, this is terrifying to watch. Maria, please revisit the days of old! I will cease watching this, as will my husband, my mother (a viewer for over 40 years. Please bring back the days of old!

  • 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.

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