Longtime fans of CBS' The Young and the Restless remember when Lauralee Bell's character Christine Blair — aka Cricket — was the abstinence-promoting saint of Genoa City. But since she left home to become a hotshot Beltway lawyer, Cricket has been scandalously nutty in her occasional returns to town, drunkenly making out with Nick (Joshua Morrow) and hitting the sack with her ex-husband Danny (Michael Damian). Now this! On Nov. 16, Cricket shares a kiss with her other ex-hubby Paul (Doug Davidson), who is currently in love with her best friend Nina (Tricia Cast). What the hell is our girl thinking? TV Guide Magazine spoke with Bell about this jaw-dropper development and what it's like to remain at Y&R after her sister-in-law, Maria Bell, was ousted as exec producer.
TV Guide Magazine: This thing with Paul is wild! Is Saint Cricket on crack?
Bell: I don't know what craziness is going on with my character but I love it! To be fair, Paul initiates the kiss but she totally goes along with it. [Laughs] Now that he's not going to be behind bars, it's safe for her to make a move!
TV Guide Magazine: What triggers this?
Bell: Christine has basically thrown Paul a lifeline by finding the evidence that saves him from going to jail. She's freed him from this horrific chapter in his life and that's what provokes the kiss. This isn't some meaningless thing, though. Paul says, "I'm falling back in love with you." And Christine says, "I'm falling back in love with you, too. I want to give this a shot." Danny was the love of Cricket's young life. But Paul is her adult love. It's a serious, emotional reconnection. It could be a second chance for both of them.
TV Guide Magazine: Meaning she'll dump Danny, even though they just got back together? And Paul will dump Nina?
Bell: They make the decision that she'll go back to Danny, who's in New York being a rock star, and tell him she wants to try to make things work with Paul. She owes Danny that much. I don't yet have scripts after that so I don't know how that all works out. I hate that this would be the cause of heartbreak for Nina, but it certainly keeps things more interesting.
TV Guide Magazine: Won't Christine look like the villain here?
Bell: I think the audience understands that Paul has been through a long period of hell with his sister and his son and he's just spent. Being with Chris helps center him. He can relax around her. A new relationship is work. As great as things may seem with Nina, there isn't that same comfort level. Paul needs calm and Chris represents it. Even though he and Nina are technically together, Doug and I have always chosen to play it like there's something heavily emotional whenever our characters are in the same room. I think maybe [exec producer] Jill Phelps and [head writer] Josh Griffith looked at those scenes we had at the police station where Paul and Chris would cry and hug and they picked up on their really deep relationship. Doug's so good at exploring his emotional side.
TV Guide Magazine: Somebody needs to give that man an Emmy, already!
Bell: I know. It makes me nuts! Hopefully this year.
TV Guide Magazine: Speaking of Jill and Josh, what did you think of the way they wrapped up Christine's case against Phyllis?
Bell: I don't know exactly how Maria was going to end it but I do know she planned to have Christine and Danny leave town together. I wasn't supposed to remain on the show. Josh and Jill stopped me in the hall and said, "We're thinking about not having you leave. Is that okay with you?" I thought that was so nice! A really lovely gesture. I am torn about the way [the trial] played out. No one wants to see Phyllis in an orange jumpsuit for months. They want to see her out raising hell. But I feel like Christine would have investigated the case so well that she'd never have lost. It made her seem so unqualified in her research.
TV Guide Magazine: It also made her seem like a sickly obsessed fruitcake!
Bell: Totally! Christine was completely, weirdly obsessed with busting Phyllis and making sure she was punished. And I thought that was great — just one more thing that makes my character seem like a real human being. [Laughs] Or maybe like a wacky nutjob! Either way, after so many years of "Please save the Earth!" and "Don't have sex!" I really welcome that. This is a far cry from the old Cricket so I would never put the kibosh on this stuff. It may seem out of character but, to tell the truth, I hope this is my new character!
TV Guide Magazine: Funny how Christine won't let go of her Phyllis issues but she had no problem forgiving Michael Baldwin, who once terrorized her as a psycho-stalker.
Bell: I know, right? But I'm sure she's laughing now that he's the D.A. She has the power to call Washington, D.C., and get him removed with one phone call.
TV Guide Magazine: Wouldn't that be a great story! So Maria was going to write you out and you were prepared to never be seen on Y&R again?
Bell: I didn't try to push it. I figured I'd just let the cards fall, wherever, however.
TV Guide Magazine: Any weirdness for you on the set now that Maria's gone?
Bell: It's only been wonderful at work. Totally cool, no weirdness. I think some people may have perceived it as some sort of hostile takeover and it wasn't. The transition was really smooth. Jill and Josh are fantastic people and I really respect them both. It's all good.
TV Guide Magazine: Let's get back to your poor, lovelorn character. She seems so desperate to get it on with the boys of GC. Do you get the feeling Chris' life back in our nation's capital really sucks?
Bell: I think she's a different person back there. I imagine she's in business meetings with martinis all the time and probably has her one-night stands, but nothing that's meaningful. Obviously, she's more comfortable in the safety of Genoa City. [Laughs] I have a feeling she would never fornicate with her co-workers.
TV Guide Magazine: Fornicate, huh? How biblical. And so '80s Cricket! So your character won't fornicate with co-workers but she's okay fornicating with her best friend's beau?
Bell: Apparently! The worst part of the whole thing was that Tricia Cast was staying at my house the week we were shooting those shows. As Trish's friend, I felt so guilty! I was, like, "I'll dump him tomorrow! I'll get hit by a car!"
TV Guide Magazine: Is Chris prepared to give up her career in D.C.?
Bell: Well, that's the other part of this story. Both Paul and Christine seem to be having a real midlife crisis. They talk a lot about how there's more in life than busting their butts for the law. Paul's father was a cop and he was expected to grow up and do the same. And Chris has always felt like she needed to defend the world because of all the trauma she's experienced. She's never been truly happy, never done what she's really wanted to do. Life is going by so fast and, suddenly, they're waking up to that. My character says she's so tired of buying clothes for the courtroom and just wants to do something fun — which is so un-Christine — and Paul says, "I'm right there with you. I don't know that I want to be a P.I. anymore." Cut to them at some nude retreat sipping cocktails.
TV Guide Magazine: Seriously?
Bell: [Laughs] No, but it could be crazy what the show could do with us!
TV Guide Magazine: Well, maybe, but if I were an actor I'd be freaking out if my character suddenly started talking about giving it all up. I'd be checking my contract.
Bell: Hell, yeah! Plus, Chris is very turned on by a man who has drive. So if Paul's going to be a bum for a while, this relationship might not work. What are we gonna do, paint his apartment? But, right now, they are 100 percent committed to giving it a try. [Laughs] And, if that doesn't work, she can always get drunk and make out with Nick Newman!