Paul guides Michael through a look at what might have been.

On Friday, Dec. 26, CBS' The Young and the Restless affords a despondent Michael a magical look at how life in Genoa City would have been different had he never been born. In this daytime riff on It's a Wonderful Life, Paul serves as Michael's guide.

"He has had a bad, bad week," Christian LeBlanc says, assessing his alter ego's sad state of mind. "We've seen this building for a long time — ever since Kevin (played by Greg Rikaart) came on the scene — but the big, big [catalyst] was Lowell [Michael's father] being such a disappointment."

Adds LeBlanc, "If it weren't for Lauren, Michael would have been off the deep end long before this."

As such, it is Lauren (Tracey Bregman) who is living the most shockingly different life minus Michael's existence.

"What's great about Lauren and Michael," says LeBlanc, "is that these are people who are not saints, who were adults when they met and have pasts they are not proud of. And they found each other. So it's a shock for him to see Lauren as she would be, having ...." We'll cut Le Blanc off there, lest he spoil a major surprise. But to tease it differently, he says, "There is a point where Michael finds out just how much life would have been different" without him in the mix.

After the special episode airs on CBS, an alternate edit featuring commentary by LeBlanc will surface on cbs.com. Having had to watch the episode anew before recording his audio track, the actor says, "Even though I'm in all the scenes, I never got to see it [put together], and it's tough stuff. I had to step up my game. Michelle Stafford, Greg Rikaart, Judith Chapman ... these people threw down. The audience will get some really amazing acting. You've got to see it."

Sounds like a Y&R fan's perfect gift!