Most of the mail that I've received during the last two weeks, the posts that I've read, and the comments from friends like Bessie and Anne have all been very negative about the current "twin/murder" storyline. You all think it is just too fanciful and not the down-to-earth, family-oriented drama that has been the hallmark of The Young and the Restless since its first broadcast more than 40 years ago. I agree that it is not the show I expected when I started watching again, about the time that Steve Burton signed on as Dullen -- oops, I meant Dylan -- a few years back.
Bessie and Anne have not yet threatened to quit watching, but lots of you have -- threatened, that is. Whether or not you've actually quit is hard to say because the ratings are still up. B&B is gaining, especially in the coveted 18-49-year-old demographic. Incidentally, they also seem to have the most adventurous writing, something Y&R ought to be paying attention to -- because bad writing is the number one complaint that I hear from fans about Y&R.
I do have to point out that after 40 years, there is literally nothing new under the sun, but it still seems to me that the writers and planners at Y&R could do a much better job of working with what they have. I think that those of you who have been loyal to Y&R since its debut have reason to be upset, but face it, maybe the show has done everything it can with this set of characters -- but I doubt it!
The Jack/Marco story, which is almost universally hated, has been done several times already and will be done several more times because it's a staple of soap opera. A variation is happening on GH -- which is over the top, but GH is expected to be that way -- and there is a twist to the story! It's the twists and surprises that are lacking on Y&R. The only time we are surprised is when the writers make big leaps, don't give closure, and don't explain how they got from point A to point B.
While I understand all the reasons that many of you hate the Jack/Marco story, I'm enjoying a lot of it, especially now that it appears that Marco is going to put the screws to the Victator. For all of you who have been wanting to see Victor get bit in the butt by his lying and scheming, I think he has finally met his match in Marco, who might be more evil than Victor -- and we had better enjoy it while we can, because Darth Victor will eventually weasel out from under and regain the upper hand, but for now, he's teetering on the plank, not only in business, but in his marriage as well. We may not like the twin story, but there is no doubt that we are going to enjoy seeing Victor as the one who's left behind when the family and friendship boat sails away and Darth Victor finally gets his well-deserved comeuppance.
While I liked Marco and Victor's sparring, I was getting very tired of Jack the bobble-head -- yes, I know he's been drugged and he's befuddled, but I been also been that way in my distant past, and I am absolutely sure that I was much quicker on the uptake than Jack has been. It's no wonder he never beats Victor, because he hasn't acted like he has a brain in his head. It makes one wonder just exactly how Jack was able to build a billion-dollar cosmetics company. That said, Jack seems to be snapping out of it now that Marisa is chained up with him. I don't doubt that Marisa, Jack, and the captain will all be making Genoa City their next port of call. I don't know exactly how they are going to get there, perhaps push that ocean-going vessel up the Mississippi, then use bearers -- like on safaris -- to carry the ship overland and deposit it in the body of water nearest to Genoa City -- even if that's Schitt's Creek and they don't have a paddle (LOL).
Jack will probably fall for Marisa, and she for Jack, maybe because Jack will be mad at Phyllis for not being able to tell the difference between him and Marco. Jack may even blame Phyllis, not Victor, for his woes. Let me digress and say that I was going to do the Star Trek evil twin analogy here, but I read Teddi's last column and discovered that she had already used it! I agree with her 100%! Phyllis should be able to tell the difference between the two men. It is impossible to believe that Marco could know so much about Jack that he could fool Jack's nearest and dearest so easily. It should be easier for Jack to fake Marco than for Marco to fake Jack. Telling the captain that his cash is stashed in Genoa City is the smartest and quickest way for Jack to get home, so why has it taken so long for Jack to get a clue? Repeat after me, loyal fans! "It's only a soap!"
I do think this story will drag on through the summer, and I think we can expect more reruns -- you know, where two people have the same conversation over and over again, only in different words. They never move forward. Just look at the Scooby gang. First they are relieved that the murderer has been caught, then Kevin says it's a frame then they all scurry around again until the murderer is caught again and then... well, you get the idea.
Same thing happens with Michael and Lauren. He keeps saying that he wants a divorce, and she keeps saying that she doesn't. And where did that kiss come from on Friday between Cane and Lauren? Did Lily's jealousy push them together, or was she insightful enough to see what was coming? Maybe it's a little of both. Lauren does seem to be a bit of a mantrap, and Cane didn't offer much resistance. Is the message here that an adult man and an adult woman can't be friends without it leading to more?
Frankly, I find that ridiculous. And it has certainly not been my experience. I have a male friend that I used to vacation with every year. We played grudge Scrabble for the entire time. We each had our own room and never considered sleeping together, despite being great friends. As far as I can see, this is just a tired writing device that is being used to break up two happy couples because the writers have no more stories to tell. Breaking couples up, creating new couples, and then putting the original couples back together is another way to rerun history while appearing to create something new. This is what some of you are probably calling "lazy writing" -- at least that's what I'm calling it!
Bessie, Anne, and I were all shocked to hear that Avery is leaving the show. She wasn't my favorite character, but there were others that I would have let go before I did Avery, even if I did consider her a sanctimonious hypocrite. Now that Avery has romanced both of Nikki's sons and is unable to bear progeny, her soap usefulness is at an end. (Ever notice how difficult it is for women in soap operas to conceive and how easy it is in real life? If it had been that difficult to conceive in the cave age, we might not even be here to complain!)
Not only is the "infertile woman gets pregnant because she and her partner didn't use protection" story being recycled with Nick and Sage, but the hackneyed, "Who's the baby daddy?" is running right alongside. I do hope that Nick finds out the truth sooner rather than later. Adam needs to fess up to Chelsea about sleeping with Sage and get a paternity test ASAP. Nick needs to know what Sage is up to, and he needs to stop making Sharon the villain. Sharon is not the only person who has lied to or betrayed him. Sharon had the excuse that she was off her meds. The same cannot be said for Sage, who is just off her head.
When Y&R started its summer couple shuffle, nothing could have prepared me for the complete lack of attraction between Sharon and Dylan. I was shocked. I didn't think there was any actor who would not have chemistry with Sharon. Sharon and Dylan seem more like brother and sister than lovers. Bessie says that pairing Dylan with Sharon is just another way of trying to get viewers to like a character that isn't working. I don't know if I would go that far, but I will say that, in the battle for soap opera actors, GH has done much better than Y&R, at least in my opinion. Emme Rylan (former Abby), Michelle Stafford (former Phyllis), and Billy Miller (former Billy) are all doing terrific jobs at GH. Steve Burton (Dylan), Tristan Rogers (Colin), and Kelly Sullivan (Sage), all formerly of GH, are not nearly so well regarded. In my opinion, GH traded up, and Y&R traded down.
Neither Bessie nor I can explain what is in the minds of the show runners that makes them think that keeping a supercouple like Nick and Sharon apart is a good idea. Once again, as I preach to the choir, I rant that last summer, Y&R had the perfect opportunity to tell a story about family, true love, and forgiveness that would have had us bawling our eyes out. Instead, the writers chose the same old, same old. It makes me wonder if the real problem is that the people writing and running this show have never actually experienced true love or family -- something the Bells supposedly had in abundance, which may account for their ability to tell great dramatic stories of functional families instead of falling back on the dysfunctional or divisive solution for the dramatic element like the current writers.
It looks like that pain in the neck that Ashley is experiencing is more than just her upset with Jack and what he has done with Jabot. It appears that Ashley has a serious health crisis coming up. I do know that Eileen Davison is on her way back to DAYS, so we'll just have to see if Ashley survives. Despite better ratings, all the soaps were ordered to cut their casts and budgets, so I wouldn't be surprised to see other characters sail away, even if they aren't killed off like Austin -- and Courtney, who showed up recently in a small part on The Big Bang Theory.
Another pairing that seems like it might be in the works is Neil and Nikki. Again, I don't feel any chemistry between these two except as friends, but since the writers have destroyed -- at least temporarily -- the longstanding relationship between Paul and Nikki, the only guy left for Nikki is Neil until she reunites with Victor.
Personally, I think Nikki needs to get her head back into the game and take responsibility for her own actions. It may be that Victor is toxic for her and she needs to leave him, but running into the arms of yet another man is not the answer. Nikki has depended on the "kindness of strangers" and her looks for a long time. Nikki needs to face the reality of her aging. She needs to ask herself some hard questions about how her actions or inactions could have influenced her situation. If Victor is to blame for Nikki's drinking, then it's because Nikki put herself in a position to be victimized.
Nikki needs to address the reasons that she always lies to Victor. We saw it happen when she went looking for Dylan with Paul. She lied to Victor about it for no good reason. Nikki lied again when Ian Ward came back to town. She lied about the accident with Neil. Nikki always has a reason for her lies, but I know from personal experience that before one can make any gains, one must at least stop lying to one's self. When Nikki stops lying to herself, then she might actually start living. During the course of my life, I have found that being alone and being lonely are not the same things. Sometimes it is lonelier to be with someone than it is to be alone.
Neil is another one who needs to stop lying to himself. He pushed at Hilary, a girl young enough to be his daughter, when she was friendless and alone. Neil was like a life preserver to her. Surely, he must see that, or at least acknowledge his part in the debacle that became his marriage. From the beginning, Neil could tell that Hilary wasn't happy, but he ignored the signs after rushing her into something that really gave her no choice. Hilary either had to accept Neil's proposal and marry him immediately or face being completely alone. Hmm. I wonder which course most of us would have chosen in Hilary's place? Personally, I would have married him and gone for the divorce settlement ASAP!
Earlier, I alluded to the battle of the recasts, though more accurately, if soaps were sports teams, it would have been player trades. In that area, I gave the edge to GH. I do think that Y&R successfully recast Adam, but, just like Phyllis should be able to tell the difference between Jack and Yack, Chelsea should spot the similarities between Adam and Gabriel. I'm okay with recast Phyllis and recast Billy, also, though both Billy and Phyllis are not the characters that they were. In some ways, Billy and Phyllis are new characters with old names and family connections. This is not a complaint; it's just one of the ways that shows refresh themselves without aging out characters or killing them off when actors leave for parts unknown (LOL)!
I can tell by that bad pun that it's time to end this week's meeting of Soapaholics Not-So-Anonymous. Next time, we will be discussing the correct etiquette to use when trying to discover if one of your imaginary friends has been replaced by an even more imaginary doppelgänger. We will also discuss the top ten reasons that soap babies are never born in hospitals unless they are several months premature and need a ventilator. Until then, live well, live large, and live imaginatively.
What are your thoughts on The Young and the Restless? What did you think of this week's Two Scoops? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.