Happy 50th anniversary to The Young and the Restless! I started watching the show around 1999, so it is crazy to think that I have been watching the show for nearly half the time that it is has been on the air. I have seen a lot over the years and have many fond memories, but I also love when the show features highlights and flashbacks to some of the storylines from before I started watching. It's always a treat to get a glimpse of some of the fun drama I missed during the first 25 years that Y&R was on the air.
This week of celebration in Genoa City will certainly go down in the history books. I would love to start off my column by talking about all the fantastic drama that unfolded toward the end of the week, but there is so much to discuss that I feel like it's best to just start at the beginning. So, the juiciest gossip will have to wait to be dissected until we've covered all the other juicy tidbits leading up to the chilling final moment of the week when Chance told everyone that they should "prepare for the worst."
Shall we start with a bit of happy news? Devon has called off his lawsuit against Chancellor-Winters and will no longer be trying to undo the merger of their two companies. As much as I have enjoyed all the drama surrounding their family feud of late, it was great to see Lily and Devon come together as brother and sister again and begin to put all their feuding behind them. Now that Jill has called off the IPO and the company will not be going public, Lily and Devon can run the company as a family business and build a legacy for their children (and the generations that follow). This was the outcome I was always hoping for!
It was especially touching that the story tied into the 50th anniversary episodes by having them bond over the memorial for their late father, Neil, and the new jazz club that opened in his honor. I really hope that Devon decides to stay with Chancellor-Winters now rather than taking over McCall Unlimited. But it could also be fun seeing him work with his biological father, Tucker, so I will be happy either way.
Devon certainly had a lot going on this past week, didn't he?! To my surprise, not only did he begin to heal his relationship with Lily, but he and Amanda were also able to move on from the hostility between them. It was really great to have Amanda back in town for these episodes to give us this closure that we needed. When she left town immediately after discovering Devon cheating on her with Abby all those months ago, a lot of great storyline potential left with her. It was nice to have those storyline threads finally play out -- especially since we were given a satisfying conclusion. Amanda was able to give Devon (and Abby) plenty of hell for how they hurt her and was ultimately able to find a way to move on and to even be civil toward them again. This story was satisfying, in part, because of the great character development that we saw play out for nearly every character involved.
And "the cherry on top" for these characters was the final surprise at the end of the week when Devon asked Abby to move in with him. Although we were left on a cliffhanger in this regard, I am sure that Abby will say yes to him -- and I couldn't be happier about that. I have really been enjoying these two as a couple, and I'm looking forward to seeing what is next for them. If Ashley and Tucker end up getting married, then that will make Abby and Devon stepsiblings! That could certainly end up being an interesting wrinkle in their love story. I doubt that their parents' marriage would affect their relationship much in the long run, but it will be something fun that they can laugh about, and it will certainly make for some entertaining family gatherings.
How great are Tucker and Ashley together? I gushed about them in my last column, but I have to give them a shout-out again because they just keep getting more and more cute together. Ashley did not accept his proposal yet, of course, and I am glad that she is giving him a hard time and making him work to earn her love rather than just immediately forgiving him for everything he did to her in the past. The plus side, of course, is that their banter and the "will they or won't they" of it all is part of what makes their relationship so charming and fun to watch (and the great screen chemistry between the two actors certainly lends to their charm, as well).
I definitely see Ashley giving in to Tucker eventually and taking him back -- especially now that he has pointed out how much it would irk Diane if he were to marry into the Abbott family, too. We all know how much Ashley enjoys sticking it to Diane whenever she gets a chance! I'm sure Ashley will be disappointed when she learns that she missed out on watching all the Phyllis and Diane drama unfold at the gala after they left.
But let's not dive into the Phyllis and Diane drama quite yet. There were a lot of great moments this past week that deserve some attention. How fun was it to have Nina, Christine, Gina, Danny, Jill, and Leanna around again so much?! Gina was always a "comfort character" for me when I first started watching. I liked how she would dole out advice and hard truths to her friends and customers that would frequent her restaurant. It was like seeing a favorite aunt again when she showed up for the anniversary festivities.
And I've always enjoyed the friendship between Christine and Nina, so it was fun to see them reconnect. It was also great to see Nina finally confront Abby about cheating on her son Chance! I enjoyed hearing some more about Nina's past, too, when Jill basically called her a hypocrite for chastising Abby. I wasn't watching back when Nina tried to steal Phillip away from Christine, so that was a fun callback. You can always count on Jill to say what's on her mind and call it like she sees it. I'm glad Nina was able to find the humor in what Jill said and that they were all able to have a laugh about it.
The only thing that would have made those scenes better would have been to have Phillip there to be a part of it all. It would have been great to see him back and maybe even learn that he has found love and has a husband since coming out of the closet. I was disappointed that he was not included in the 50th anniversary episodes.
Other notable absences throughout the anniversary include (but are not limited to) Paul, Kevin, Malcolm, Brittany (and her parents, Frederick and Anita, who are a part of the Genoa City elite and certainly would have been in attendance), the Rosales family, Mac, Raul, Cane, Larry Warton, Fen and his boyfriend... and where was Gloria?! I can always use more Gloria in my life. I'm sure her presence would have provided us with a lot of entertaining moments. But at least we had Leanna Love to provide us with plenty of those moments. She was cracking me up all week long! I would love to see her back on Y&R on a more full-time basis to stir up just the right amount of fun trouble around Genoa City. Her inclusion almost makes up for other legacy characters we didn't see make a comeback. Almost.
I could go on naming more people that it would have been great to see again, but I'll leave it at that somewhat short list. I'm sure many of you reading this have your own list of favorites you would have liked to have seen, too. Of course, there is only so much screen time that the show has to give to everyone (not to mention the cost of paying so many actors to come back for a few episodes), so I understand why they can't just bring everyone back. Hell, even some characters that are currently on the show were excluded from the anniversary episodes!
I'm a bit irritated that we haven't seen Tessa or Mariah in weeks. I get that they have a newborn and want to spend time at home with the child, but it's a bit of a slap in the face that their characters haven't been included in the anniversary episodes. I'm sure they would have been happy to get a babysitter and have a night out with their family and friends. And where are Noah and Allie? They haven't even been mentioned (unless I missed it)! I hope we see more of them again soon. I thought we were going to see more of the Allie/Noah/Audra love triangle play out, but I hope the writers can find a new story for the happy couple outside of Audra's orbit.
Audra certainly has her hands full these days, anyway. She's too busy trying to break up Nate and Elena to give any of her attention to breaking up Noah and Allie anymore. And I'm okay with that because I'm really enjoying her current storyline with Nate, Victoria, and Elena. I am especially intrigued by her goading Elena into using her medical podcast to lure Victoria's ex J.T. back to town. Audra is hopeful that if J.T. returns, then Victoria will stop focusing on trying to start something up with Nate. But I have a feeling that J.T.'s return may have the opposite effect and would instead push her closer to Nate as she recoils from having to remember and, in a way, relive all the trauma she suffered from J.T.'s abuse. If Audra doesn't succeed in taking Nate for herself, she may already have a backup plan -- Kyle!
Did anyone else sense the heat between Audra and Kyle when they had their brief interaction at the gala? She was definitely giving a flirty vibe when she introduced herself to him -- and he did not seem to mind the attention. He almost seemed giddy. It seems Audra may have her sights set on more than one of Genoa City's elite gentlemen. Summer better watch her back if Audra goes after Kyle next! In fact, now that I think about it, a Summer/Kyle/Audra triangle could be a great thing for all the characters (and would certainly give something more interesting for Kyle and Summer to do besides fretting over their parents). If J.T.'s return does end up pushing Audra away from Nate (and toward Kyle instead!), I'm here for it.
I have to admit, I had completely forgotten about how J.T.'s storyline had ended when his character left the show. In the back of my mind, I was thinking he was still in prison for his crimes. I had somehow blanked out the entire "my brain tumor made me do it" plot twist that redeemed him. I haven't seen any official casting news about Thad Luckinbill returning to the role, but I am very excited about all the storyline possibilities if J.T. does return.
Should J.T. return, it would be interesting to see if Billy and J.T. reconnect as "frenemies." Billy could use a good male friend in his life, and it would be a really compelling story to see him and J.T. bond, given their history. And Billy doesn't really have any friends that I can think of -- especially now that Chelsea seems to be moving out of the friend zone. I appreciate the writers' slow buildup to this Chelsea and Billy romance, and I thought their scenes together this week were very sweet. The timing felt right for their "first" kiss to happen when it did. I hope the writers have something exciting planned for them and that they don't become boring now that they are moving on from friendship to something more.
I'm also hoping that the writers have something exciting planned for Lily and Daniel. They shared some sweet scenes this week, too, and I would love to see them start to date again. I was glad that Daniel pushed back when his dad advised him not to start anything too serious with Lily right away. I know Danny's heart was in the right place, and I know that he just wants Daniel to avoid any more heartache so soon after ending a serious relationship, but Daniel is a grown man and can make his own decisions. We don't always fall in love with someone at the "right time," but if they are worth fighting for, then you've got to go for it (even if it might be inconvenient timing) or risk losing your chance altogether. Could something like Daniel losing his mother be a catalyst that pushes him closer to Lily as he grieves?
More importantly, could Phyllis really, possibly be dead? My guess is no. Instead, I'm betting that Phyllis and Jeremy have concocted a plot to fake Phyllis' death as karmic revenge against Diane. It seemed to me that their scheming this week was all about framing Diane for murdering Phyllis:
1) Jeremy pickpocketed Diane's ring from Jack so that they would have something of hers that they could plant at a crime scene (I'm sure it's no coincidence that the paramedic saw Diane take her ring back from Phyllis' hand while she was unconscious on the gurney).
2) Phyllis tricked Diane into thinking Kyle was sick so that she could lure her into a hotel room upstairs from the gala and, once there, goaded Diane into a catfight that she clearly wanted witnesses to see. And how convenient that Jack, Kyle, and Summer just happened to find them in the hotel room just as Diane was fighting back against Phyllis, strangling her, and threatening to kill her. Now, Diane's loved ones are the witnesses that might have to testify about hearing her threaten Phyllis just before Phyllis' "death" (even though they believe her when she says that Phyllis tricked her into going up there and then started the fight).
And 3) Phyllis and Jeremy were married, which is the only part of the plot I don't understand. Did they marry so that they can't be forced to testify against one another? Or is there more to it than that? I'm anxious to learn how their marriage plays into everything because, overall, it is quite a brilliant plot.
And Michelle Stafford gave quite a brilliant performance as Phyllis lost control after the catfight and crashed the party just as Jack and Diane announced their engagement. She is one of my favorite actresses on the show, and seeing her character's life spiral out of control has been both heartbreaking and exciting to watch. I was glued to my TV as she made a spectacle of herself in the middle of everyone at the gala by calling out Diane publicly and chastising Jack for falling for her. Just like everyone at the gala, I assumed Phyllis was drunk, based on her behavior as she ranted at Jack and Diane. Of course, when she passed out during her ranting and we learned that there were no signs that she had been drinking, I was thrown as to what was going on and wondered what Phyllis and Jeremy could be up to.
When Sharon pointed out to Chance that Phyllis' mask was lying on the ground and he collected it for evidence, Jeremy and Phyllis' plot started to become a little clearer. I could be wrong, but I am assuming that Phyllis's mask was laced with some sort of drug that caused her to act the way she was acting, and that could also be what ultimately knocked her unconscious. But is the drug lethal? Could Phyllis have sacrificed her own life or put her life in danger to get Diane away from her family?
Of course, the drug or illness that caused Phyllis to pass out may not be the cause of her death (if there is, indeed, a death) because, as we learned on Friday's episode, Phyllis' ambulance never made it to the hospital. As Chance was questioning Diane and Jeremy about what could have happened to Phyllis, Chance got a call informing him of a crash involving an ambulance. Is the crash part of Phyllis and Jeremy's plan, too? Or was the accident random, and Phyllis' life truly is in danger? Chance's grave warning to Phyllis' loved ones that they should "prepare for the worst" as they waited for an update about the crash at the end of Friday's episode certainly has me worried about her fate...
That's all for this week, folks! I hope you enjoyed my rundown on Y&R's golden anniversary. Don't forget to hit the Comments (here on the site and on social media throughout the week) to share your opinions, too. Did you enjoy the gala episodes? Which characters were you most excited to see back? Which characters were you wishing would have returned for the 50th anniversary? And what do you think Phyllis' fate will be? I'm looking forward to reading your comments!
Until next time,
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