In many ways, 2016 was a bumpy ride for The Young and the Restless, which had some significant changes, chief among them the showrunner, Jill Farren Phelps, who was replaced by Mal Young. While the jury is still out on Mr. Young, there has been improvement in some areas. Unfortunately, there has been little advance in the area of original storytelling, so we are still settling for rehashed storylines, albeit with terrific acting as a mitigating factor.
During one of the lead-ins to the 11,000th episode, Eileen Davison remarked that the Bells' vision was to write honest and meaningful stories. I do not think that vision is being fulfilled, and I am doubtful that it ever will be again. At least not as long as the powers that be keep hiring writers that have been fired from other shows. What we seem to have is a revolving door that keeps writers moving from soap to soap, repeating the same stories they already told, using other characters on a different show. Apparently, inventive, creative writers are no longer available to write for soaps, so we are left with the unsuccessful dregs -- The Bold and the Beautiful being the exception.
On the plus side, the acting and dialogue are stellar and almost make up for the plodding and predictable storytelling. Y&R has an outstanding cast, maybe the best in daytime, but they are woefully underutilized in stories that are banal and predictably pedestrian and often leave unresolved issues that defy logic.
The story that comes instantly to mind is Adam's death. First off, is he really dead? If he isn't, why did the writers yet again have Adam appear to die in a fiery conflagration? If he is dead, how long is Chloe going to get away with murder? As far as I'm concerned, getting away with murder for even one day is wrong. I suspect that somewhere down the line, when enough time has passed, even the dimmest of the dim bulbs on the writing staff will finally realize that it was Adam who added the zest. Removing the Adam character from the cast is like removing a support beam from a skyscraper, so, yet again, Adam will have to be resurrected from the dead -- a trend I don't mind so much on General Hospital, but hate on Y&R.
The problem for Y&R is finding someone who can take Justin Hartley's place. For me, he was the definitive Adam and the worst loss of 2016, but I think that in a year or two, I could accept someone else, and if I had a wish for Adam's return, I would wish that Chloe had used the explosion to cover up the fact that she had Adam stashed in a prison somewhere. That way, Adam isn't dead, and Chloe isn't a murderer.
Other hanging story chads include Bella's paternity and Christian's paternity. I'd like to see those resolved quickly and get on with stories that don't include the baby daddy curse for all the children of Genoa City. Enough of paternity issues and children separated from their biological parents! Time to tell some real stories about the difficulties that occur between parents and children as they mature -- too many nannies, not enough parenting in Genoa City -- in my opinion.
I do think that the story about Max adjusting to family life with Ben and Abby started out with real potential but deteriorated rapidly once Max was written into a corner as a cold-blooded, premeditated murderer. I think that the story would have been so much better if Ben and Abby's baby had been born, instead of killed off, and if Max had adjusted and become part of a loving blended family. That didn't happen. Max was given an unrealistic brain tumor, and less than a year after their elaborate wedding and vows of eternal love, Ben and Abby got divorced.
I'm guessing that Ben will not have another storyline, and he will quietly disappear except when somebody needs a doctor. Now that Dylan is going undercover and leaving the canvas, it's likely that Stitch/Ben will suffer a similar fate to make room for new love interests for the Newman and Abbott women. I would have like it if Michael E. Knight had been able to stick around as a love interest for Ashley. My wish for Ashley and Abby for 2017 is that each finds a man to love who loves them back, just hopefully not the same man as was the case with Ben/Stitch!
The writers have another chance to tell that family story with Victoria's SORASed son, Reed, who showed up on her doorstep in trouble and accompanied by a policewoman. It's about time. Victoria has been an ingénue for 20 years now. Instead of running after men who lie to her, maybe it's time for her to invest that energy in her children. I do expect that she will reunite with Billy. Both Amelie Heinle and Jason Thompson are excellent actors and have the layers necessary to take these characters to even greater depths. They also have the potential and staying power to become "Ma and Pa" should Melody Thomas Scott and Eric Braeden ever retire. My hope for 2017 is that the powers that be not squander the talent and opportunity to use the development of this family for many more meaty stories. The actors who play Billy and Victoria are in their 40s, so SORAS Johnny and Katie and let the sibling bickering begin!
I thought that there were a lot of characters that didn't work out, and I was not sorry to see them go. Travis just never seemed to fit with Victoria. What could have been a story about an honorable man turned into a rerun of Victoria's three other doomed relationships. Natalie had potential, but it was never realized. Marisa, Luca, and the Santori family fizzled, again leaving all kinds of loose ends and unexplained events.
The characters I do miss are Adam and Sage, or at least the actors who played those roles. I thought the Dr. Anderson story was interesting until the devious doc got killed off just when the story was hitting its stride -- I assume it was expedited to facilitate Kelly Sullivan's exit as Sage -- but I still would have liked to know what caused Dr. Anderson to wait so long for her revenge and what her end game was. Adam's exit story was even more preposterous. There is no way that either Chloe or Victor could have perpetrated such a ruse because there is no such thing as a perfect forgery -- once forgery is suspected, it can be detected, not to mention that it would be impossible to dig up and poison the blood stream of a dead body. I think a much more creditable story could have been written that would have come to the same end: a very spectacular pyrotechnic display that sent Adam out in a well-deserved blaze of glory.
Strangely enough, one of the stories I've liked best is the revamping of Brash & Sassy. Throwing Cane, Victoria, and Billy together gives ample opportunity for verbal squabbling, which, fortunately is a good example of where the writers seem to excel and the acting talent shines. Billy and Cane reminded me of less juvenile versions of Will Farrell and John C. O'Reilly in Stepbrothers. Add Jill to the mix, throw in competition from Newman and Jabot, stir in some corporate intrigue, and voila! You can cook up stories for days and days. My wish for 2017 is that the workplace continues to provide interesting and unique stories.
The Passkey story was also in the workplace vein, and I thought that the "passkey concept" was interesting. I thought that kidnapping Adam and some of those shenanigans were unnecessary, but the idea of corporate intrigue over such a valuable project was probably more true to life than I wanted to believe, so I enjoyed it because it made me think!
I did not like the repeat story of "Sharon the lying liar" or of "Nick the all-about-me guy," a guy who is more concerned about his hurt feelings than those of his newfound son or his equally duped brother. Nick, the conclusion jumper, does not rate high on my list, despite the warm smile and lovely dimples. I do admit that when Nick finally calms down and uses his big brain, he does the fair thing for everyone. I just don't like waiting for him to figure it out! My wish for Nick in 2017 is that when he finds out that Christian is Adam's son, he remembers how he treated Dylan. Repeat after me, Nick, "Karma is a b*%˘# -- rhymes with witch!
Two characters that I will be very happy to see return in 2017 are Mariah and Hilary. Both have brittle shells because both have suffered some hard knocks. I hope that somehow, despite my fear that Hilary will take over while Devon is in a coma, hovering between life and death after that car crash -- QUICK QUESTION: Does anyone ever get in a car on a soap without having an accident, causing an accident, or arriving on the scene of an accident? -- anyway, as I was saying, I hope Mariah continues at GC Buzz. She's terrific there, and I like that she and Hilary spar. They could eventually be friends, if Hilary lets some of her better self out. For me, Hilary is the Jill of her generation. I love her and hate her at the same time -- hate the sin, love the sinner!
If Hilary does not change her evil ways and loses Devon as a result, then I hope that Mariah and Devon get a shot together. Mariah is smart, funny, and personable, and she deserves some happiness as well as a storyline. As an added bonus, I'd like to see Mariah be an on-camera star also.
Another best of 2016 is that Chloe came back to town. I've always loved Chloe and Kevin as comic relief, but this Chloe is a little darker, and I don't think she should get away with murder. My repeat wish is that Chloe did not kill Adam but has him imprisoned somewhere.
Sadly, one place that Y&R is lacking is in talented younger actors with interesting storylines. Without younger characters, Y&R will age out and die. My 2017 wish is that Y&R bring in some talented younger actors with appropriate storylines.
Another good thing about 2016 in Genoa City was that they finally had an event -- the charity auction -- that didn't get ruined by a fire, violent storm, or other natural disaster. (I'm ignoring Devon's car crash.)
Guest appearances during the year by Erika Girardi and Nichelle Nichols were fantastic. I do wish that Nichols, as Neil's mother, had not been killed off so quickly and that her story with Neil had lasted for several more episodes. Also, instead of killing her off, I would have preferred that Nichols appear on family occasions, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Erika can sell me real estate any time!
Recently, I read that 2016 has not been considered a good year in fashion, and I was relieved. I did not have a lot of nice things to say about the show's wardrobe last year, though I have always considered Y&R to be in the forefront of fashion. I thought I was losing touch because I found so many of the tops, pants, and dresses to be ugly and unflattering, even on very attractive people. Now I know why. I wish that 2017 brings beautiful, flattering clothes to all the gorgeous players on Y&R -- as well as the rest of us!
My wish for you, dear friends, is health, happiness, and harmony in the New Year and beyond! And may all of your resolutions come true.
With tongue firmly planted in cheek, I invite you to meet in two weeks at Crimson Lights when we addicted Soapaholics will gather together to chat with our imaginary friends, drink imaginary coffee, and munch on no-calorie cookies. (I wish!!!)
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