The way the character of Nick has been presented the last few months has been a source of increasing frustration to me. I’m not talking about Chick here, just speaking as a fan of the character of Nick by himself. I cannot think of a single good scene for him other than the scene in the hospital with the teddy bear, and that was good largely for its Chick appeal, not for Nick as an individual. I also liked the scenes in Chelsea’s bedroom at the Kiriakis mansion, when Nick was “boring” everyone with his enthusiasm for his grant project.
Since Higley took over, Nick’s scenes with Chelsea have been, on the whole, perfunctory. He has played the generic devoted boyfriend to set off her emotional drama. I am not thrilled with the direction Chelsea’s character has taken either—to me it feels like she has lost her edge—but Rachel Melvin has been given some wonderful emotional scenes. The scene with Hope after Chelsea found out she couldn’t have children was powerful stuff, and Rachel Melvin made the most of it. The same cannot be said for Nick and Blake. He has been defined almost entirely as “Chelsea’s boyfriend.”
But, you say, what about the grant proposal storyline? I have been holding off talking about this, in the interest of giving it every chance. But I think it can be summed up thusly: Max propping. Max is now a natural-born math genius, a la Good Will Hunting. I actually like what they’ve been doing with Max’s insecurity about his career and his future, but the execution for this whole “math genius” thing has been poor. The secrecy is stupid. According to Max, Nick is so proud he couldn’t handle being corrected, but then he’s supposed to be fine with finding out someone went behind his back and turned in the proposal? Plus we’re supposed to believe that Nick’s work is so riddled with errors that Max can find one every time he happens to glance inside Nick’s notebook.
Far better would have been for Max to be intrigued by Nick’s work. He could be shown stealing glances at it whenever he could, while maintaining an indifferent front. Then, with Nick’s deadline fast approaching, the work with the beer spilled on it could have given Max the opportunity to catch an error for the first time. He would doubt himself, checking and rechecking his calculations. Then, when Stephanie told him to tell Nick about it, Max could say bitterly that he’s probably wrong and anyway, Nick would never listen to an uneducated rube like him. Then when the proposal was turned in, Max’s work could be accidentally included, leading all to recognize his (snicker, snicker) genius.
But that’s still Max. The basic problem for Nick is that he has been given scant screentime, and when he is on he is supporting Max or Chelsea. He’s a Horton, for Chrissake. How about showing him with Hope, with Maggie, or the new Mickey? How about concentrating on his pain regarding the breakup with Chelsea? How about giving us Nick’s point of view on anything?
And let’s not forget about the ladies: I think he has chemistry with Shelly Hennig, but that’s probably not going to happen. Chloe, meh. Morgan is a possibility, though I like her with Phillip. My fellow Nick fan Tripp has suggested Nicole, and I am actually intrigued by the idea. She’s another bad girl, but I think the bad girl/good boy storyline is perfect for Nick (I wanted Sami for him at one time). Nicole’s flip cynicism would contrast nicely with his compassion and sincerity. Go Nickole!