The Young and the Restless Recaps: The week of December 2, 1996 on Y&R
Katherine recognized Ashley's mystery man as Kurt. Ryan continued to try to make his reconciliation with Nina work, and Nina agreed to a Christmas vacation for Phillip's sake. Cole received a poignant letter from Nina. A nude centerfold sparked controversy.
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Sharon was told she needed a biopsy, but hid her medical concerns from her loved ones
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November 25, 1996
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December 9, 1996
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At Lauren and Paul's apartment, Lauren was taken aback when a talent agent phoned her about booking Paul to appear nude in a movie. After Lauren hung up the phone, she paced around her living room. Realizing the situation had gotten out of hand, Lauren talked out loud to herself as she considered the few options she had to wrest control of the situation. Lauren cried, "I can't go on like this. I mean, it's only a matter of time before this whole centerfold thing blows up in my face. Oh, Andy, you were my last hope. My last hope to come out of this thing alive."

At Williams and Richards Private Investigations, Amy Lewis asked Andy Richards what had been happening around the office. Andy said that nothing was going on at the moment and that the phones had been quiet. Amy said she assumed there had been no more calls about Paul. Andy opened a to-go container, took out a sandwich, and replied, "Fortunately, no." As Andy bit into his sandwich, Amy recalled the look on Paul's face when the mayor had appointed him to the anti-pornography commission. Andy said Paul had reacted as if he'd won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Andy was eating his sandwich when Amy became quite animated, threw up her hands, and cried, "Peace is the last thing we're going to have around here when he finds out he's this month's centerfold for Contemporary Woman Magazine ." Amy expressed concern that she and Andy would be unable to keep the centerfold a secret from Paul much longer. Andy told Amy that Lauren had phoned and asked him to "drop the bomb" on Paul because it might be easier if he was the one to break the news before he found out from a stranger. Amy scoffed and replied, "Well, I wish you good luck, Andy. I'm glad I'm not in your shoes."

When Andy realized that Amy intended to leave the office, he begged her to stick around for moral support. Amy cried, "Oh, are you kidding me? I don't want to be within a mile of this place when you break the news to him. Shoot, I'm out of here." Andy teasingly told Amy she was a betrayer. She retorted, "I may be cute, but I ain't crazy. Good luck!"

At Mary Williams' home, Margaret O'Neil, a busybody friend and prudish fellow church member slowly revealed a nude centerfold photo of Paul in a reclined position, facing the camera. Paul's face, shoulders, and upper chest were more visible than the remainder of his body, somewhat shrouded in low-light shadows. Paul's name was printed in white letters along the left-hand side of the page. Mary gasped, covered her eyes momentarily, and then cried, "Oh, my God! What is that?" The church lady sternly replied, "It's a naked picture of your son." Mary, noting that her question had been a rhetorical one, said she knew who was in the photo and wondered aloud how it had gotten printed in magazine centerfold.

Margaret, her eyes widened as if she'd been personally assaulted, spoke in a reproachful tone and asked Mary how she intended to explain what she termed as disgusting filth to their church group. Mary snatched the magazine from Margaret's hands and said, "Let me see that." Mary read a caption and learned that Paul had entered a contest and had won $10,000. Margaret, refusing to back down from her judgmental approach, replied, "If you're going to excuse this with the money, it won't wash with me. For a young man to display himself like that for any amount of money -- well, it's appalling. It's simply appalling." Mary said she couldn't imagine Paul doing it.

Margaret continued to berate her friend and told Mary she apparently didn't know her son very well. Mary gathered her composure and finally pushed back, stating emphatically, "I know my son very, very well." Mary explained that there had to be some kind of an explanation. Margaret continued to beat a dead horse and said, "I am simply mortified that a member of our church is at any way connected with a thing like this. How can you expect to show your face at church group ever again?" Mary replied, "Margaret, isn't that a bit extreme? I'm not the guilty party here." Not exhibiting an iota of Christian-like compassion, Margaret replied, "What's in that magazine is extreme, and if a moral, God-fearing woman can't influence her children to use better judgment, perhaps she should look to herself and pray very hard for some answers."

Amy stopped by Paul and Lauren's apartment. Lauren, a bundle of nerves, was glad to see her friend. Lauren had hoped that Andy had already filled Paul in about the picture in the magazine. Amy said Paul didn't yet know because he was having lunch with the mayor. Lauren cried that she was living a nightmare. Lauren told Amy about the call from the movie producer. Amy admitted that she'd also fielded a few calls at the office from a male strip joint, an escort service, and a few personal proposals too indecent to repeat.

Amy asked Lauren if she was certain she wanted Andy to tell Paul. Lauren berated herself for sending the negative of Paul's photo and admitted they wouldn't be able to keep a lid on it much longer. Lauren cried that she'd never thought that Paul would win. Amy tried to console Lauren by assuring her that Andy might help Paul make sense of things. After Amy left, Lauren vacillated between assurance that Andy could help defuse the situation and excessive worry that Paul might lash out at her.

At the police station, someone had pinned Paul's centerfold to a bulletin board. Though Paul's hand was positioned across his groin area, someone had affixed a small bandage below his torso. Carl Williams saw the centerfold and said he couldn't believe his eyes. Carl asked an officer named Joe where the photo had come from. Joe pointed to a fellow office named Cheryl.

Carl questioned Cheryl, who explained that she subscribed to the magazine that had published the photo, though she'd had no idea that Paul was Carl's son. Detective Salena Wylie told Carl she felt there was a logical explanation. Carl became livid and said the whole thing was outrageous given that Paul had been appointed by the mayor to a commission investigating pornography. Salena urged Carl to talk to Paul before jumping to conclusions.

During lunch with the mayor at a crowded restaurant, Paul discussed his appointment to the commission investigating pornography and explained that he hadn't yet worked out a formal plan. The mayor noted that cleaning up the filth in town was one of his administration's top priorities. Paul promised to do everything in his authority to help. When asked about his personal life, Paul said that his father was on the police force, and he spoke fondly of his mother. Paul's face lit up when he talked about his wife, Lauren Fenmore, a professional singer. The mayor recalled that Lauren had performed at a concert with Danny Romalotti, during which concert organizers had brought attention to teen pregnancy. The mayor noted to his assistant, Miles McCauley, that both Paul and his wife were dedicated to worthwhile causes.

At a nearby table, a young woman caught sight of Paul and leered at him. After the mayor asked Paul if he and Lauren had children, he noticed that Paul seemed distracted. Paul quietly told the mayor that a woman was staring. The mayor laughed and said, "She probably recognizes me." The mayor turned around and asked the woman if she was enjoying her lunch. The woman seemed not to recognize the mayor and smiled at Paul. As Paul, the mayor, and Miles were leaving, a reporter with a camera approached. The men posed, and the mayor introduced Paul as the newest member of the anti-pornography commission. The mayor told Paul that with publication of the photograph, he'd soon be recognized all over town.

Andy was still at the office when his phone rang. It was Carl asking to talk to Paul. Carl mentioned the magazine, which he said had embarrassed him. Andy offered to stop by the police station to explain. Carl demanded he hear about it from his son. Andy insisted he stop by. After Andy hung up, he talked aloud to himself, stating that Paul would have to wait while he ran interference with Carl.

Andy arrived at the police station and saw Cheryl and a fellow female officer giggling about Paul's photo tacked to the bulletin board. Salena approached Andy and warned that Carl was acting like a caged tiger. Salena asked Andy how Paul had let it happen. Andy said he should first talk to Carl. Salena advised Andy to not defend Paul and to be honest. Andy nodded and appeared apprehensive as he approached Carl's office.

In Carl's office, Andy listened as Carl ranted and said, "What the hell was he thinking?" Andy explained that Paul didn't know anything about the centerfold and hadn't posed for a picture to be published. Carl thought for a second and said, "Lauren?" Andy replied, "It was a contest. She did it as a joke, and I don't think she ever thought in a million years that picture would be chosen to win."

Andy defended Lauren, explaining that she'd tried to stop it and had spent half the prize money buying every magazine copy in town. Andy said he feared Paul might never forgive Lauren, though it had just been innocent fun to take the pictures in private. Carl said his worst fear was Mary finding out.

Paul returned to his office. He picked up a letter from a stack of mail and turned to close the door. Mary rushed in. Paul was surprised to see her. Mary said, "Paul, what's going on with you?" Paul mentioned the commission appointment and added that things couldn't be more terrific. Paul talked about his lunch with the mayor and gloated that his picture would soon appear in the newspaper.

Mary, a stern look on her face, told Paul she'd had a visit from Margaret O'Neil, the head of her church group. Mary said the visit had involved him. Paul was clueless and asked his mom what she was talking about. Mary realized that Paul was in the dark. Mary handed Paul a copy of the magazine Margaret had given her. Paul said, "Well, this is pretty racy stuff for a church lady, don't you think?"

Mary told Paul to look at the centerfold. Paul unfolded the pages and exclaimed, "Oh, my God!" Mary realized that Paul hadn't seen it and told him she thought there had to be a mistake. Paul cried, "Oh, there's a mistake, all right." Paul said he didn't understand it, but he intended to talk to the one person who would. Paul apologized to his mom and assured her he'd had nothing to do with the photo being published. After Paul left, angrily slamming the door behind him, Mary rolled her eyes.

At the Newman tack house, Victor, sporting his boxing gloves, punched a bag suspended from the rafters. Victor's brother, Matt Miller, entered and said, "Are you in training, or what?" Victor apologized and said he hadn't intended to invade Matt's quarters. Matt replied, "Hey, brother, it's your ranch." Victor said he and Nikki had been wondering where Matt had been. Matt reminded Victor that they'd each agreed not to discuss their personal lives.

Matt asked how Victoria was feeling. Victor said she was better, though still running a fever. After Matt said he was sorry Nikki and Victor had canceled a trip to care for Victoria, Victor explained that his child was his first priority. Victor assured Matt he'd take Victoria and Nikki on a trip later. Matt seemed to choose his words carefully and said it seemed as if Victor had become more focused on Nikki ever since he'd learned about Ashley. Victor replied, "Nikki is my wife." Victor added that he would never hurt her again.

Matt observed that Victor had the ability to turn off his emotions quite easily. Victor, taken aback, said he hadn't turned off his emotions and asked his brother if he had suggestions about how to react. Matt said that after learning what had happened between Victor and Ashley, it appeared as if he'd written her off. Victor replied, "What makes you so self-righteous all of a sudden? It's none of your business." Matt expressed concern for Ashley and asked Victor if he thought she was a superhuman able to cope with anything. Victor grew frustrated and asked Matt if he was trying to push him back into Ashley's arms. Frustrated, Victor told his brother he was getting bored with Matt's sermons, and he abruptly stormed out.

At Ashley's office, Julia Newman stopped by, explaining that she was in Genoa City and thought Ashley might be needing her. Ashley seemed clueless as to why Julia thought Ashley needed her. Ashley insisted that she was perfectly fine. Ashley's hair was noticeably mussed, and she had dark circles under her eyes. Julia noted that Ashley looked like someone under a lot of stress.

Ashley plopped down in her desk chair and said she'd been working too hard, as usual. Ashley claimed she was too busy and needed time to be alone. Julia wasn't fooled and said, "I think it's something more. I'm not going to leave until you talk to me. I want to know what's going on." Ashley grew frustrated and told Julia not to ask so many questions.

Julia agreed to back off the questions and told Ashley she would be ready when Ashley needed someone to talk to. Julia jotted down the phone number of the hotel where she was staying. Ashley asked Julia if she'd brought Jamie along. Julia explained she hadn't thought it was practical to bring young Jamie on such a long trip.

Ashley's demeanor changed markedly after she mentioned Jamie. Ashley said she'd really wanted a little girl. Ashley asked to see a photo of Jamie. Julia looked in her purse and found a photo of her daughter to show to Ashley. Ashley admired the photo and cooed that Jamie was getting prettier and prettier and was likely old enough to be talking. Ashley said she wished she could spend more time with the little girl. Julia suggested Ashley plan a visit.

Ashley seemed lost in another world as she told Julia that Julia was fortunate, knowing Jamie was all hers. Julia acknowledged that fixating on Jamie had to be upsetting to Ashley. Ashley became defensive and didn't let on when she imagined hearing a baby crying. Ashley became visibly shaken and frustrated when Julia pressed her to talk about her feelings. Ashley, distraught, explained that she'd become numb. Ashley cried, "There's nothing you can do. Nothing's going to bring my baby back."

At Gina Roma's apartment, Jack was folding and packing his clothes when Gina entered and asked him if he was running away from something. Jack announced that he was returning to his family home. Gina, confused, said she'd thought Jack had vowed not to return home. Jack said he'd changed his mind and muttered, "The nerve of that punk. Who does he think he is?" Gina said she assumed Jack was referring to his brother-in-law. Jack ranted that it was one thing for Brad to strut around the office like he owned the place. Jack expressed his disdain about a former pool boy moving into the Abbott family home.

Gina asked Jack what he intended to do. Jack explained that he'd bide his time until Brad fell on his face. Gina said she was concerned, given the shape Jack was in. Jack thanked Gina for being supportive and said he never would have made it without her help. Jack explained that being back at Jabot wasn't enough, so he'd decided to return home. Gina became teary and told Jack she'd miss him.

Jack entered the Abbott mansion and threw off his shoes. Traci greeted Jack. After Traci noticed Jack's suitcase, he told her he was about to settle back in at home. Traci was elated and embraced her brother. Traci told Jack that Ashley would be thrilled when she found out, as would Mamie. Jack said it was good to be home. Traci told Jack that she and Brad had moved into his old room. Jack calmly said he'd take another bedroom for the time being.

After Jack went upstairs, Brad walked through the front door. Traci greeted her husband and sensed he wasn't in the best mood. Brad explained that Jack was gunning for him again and had been throwing out accusations and innuendoes. Brad complained that Jack had no intention of working with him and had even hindered a business meeting between him and John. Brad told Traci he'd worked hard to earn his position and would defend himself against Jack.

Brad was surprised when he heard Jack call out to Traci. Jack walked downstairs and told Brad he'd moved back home. Jack said, "We're all going to be one happy family, right, Brad?"

Recaps for the week of December 9, 1996 (Following Week)
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