By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman
I just finished watching Friday’s episode of The Young and the Restless. Paul discovered Ricky holding Eden in his bathroom, his son’s bloody knife held firmly to her throat. She had passed out due to hitting her head on the bathtub. When Ricky wouldn’t drop the knife, a shocked P.I. Paul tearfully aimed his gun at his son, as Ricky
Y&R has been rudderless and boring since Paul Rauch left as co-executive producer. It’s been stuck with an uncreative writing team that should have been sent packing long ago. Does the perpetual number one soap really have to be so bad, especially now that the death of soaps is in the air?
confessed also to the recent murder of Daisy. Rotten Ricky carried on that Paul was never there for him when he was growing up. The episode ended as a conflicted-to- the-core Paul was ready to fire.
Pretty good suspense and not bad for a Friday cliffhanger, no? Will the guilt-ridden perpetual good guy Paul really shoot his own son?
But, I know already Paul is going to blow Ricky away, as a cautionary shot to his shoulder accidentally sends Ricky tumbling out the window to his death. You see, last night I read the detailed spoiler for this story online. Why should I tune in Monday when I already know what’s going to happen? Marlena doesn’t get off on luridness, especially watching a father shooting a son, no matter how much Y&R needs a shocking over-the-top story to hype the ratings, and the always vastly underrated Doug Davidson needs a story. I really am disgusted by this story.
But darlings, don’t you think it should be illegal in all 50 states for a critic to review a story in advance? I do! Excuse moi. The older Marlena has grown, the more I hate spoilers. Now I know you’re wondering whether this is going to be a rant against spoilers, or a long review of Y&R which says what has been said times, many times before: that it has been a bad soap opera for a while now. For today, let’s try a soupcon of both. I happen to remember soaps before spoilers (and even as a novice, worked for the soap journalist, who started them in the late 70s) and of course I liked soaps much better then. The suspense — especially Friday cliffhangers — kept me tuning in tomorrow and every day for years as a young viewer. I’ve been watching General Hospital spoiler-free lately and it really does add to my day to day soap watching experience to be again surprised by plot turns I have no advance knowledge of. But I confess, I find avoiding spoilers when doing my daily soap column and site reading is even harder than erasing lines from my face without Estee Lauder.
Now back to Y&R, a soap that has been rudderless and boring since Paul Rauch left as co-executive producer. It’s been stuck with an uncreative writing team (that also includes continuing its executive producer Maria Arena Bell) that should have been sent packing long ago. Does the perpetual number one soap really have to be so bad, especially now that the death of soaps is in the air? I’m extra sad because I’m reliving the decades of the glorious, character-driven (not plot-driven) Y&R of old through Bill Bell’s new biography, The Young and Restless Life of William J. Bell, Creator of The Young and the Restless and the Bold and the Beautiful by Michael Maloney and Lee Philip Bell ( Source Books) which I am reviewing for my next column. There’s no comparison between Mr. Bell’s always engrossing master accomplishment and the drone of a show we see today.
Of course, one column is not enough to review all of Y&R, but now let me say at least, I keep Y&R tuned in the background every day because I still very much appreciate its rich, rich, excellent veteran cast. That actors like Peter Bergman (Jack) and Jeanne Cooper (Katherine) and on and on are almost washed into the sea by dull, dull scripts is a soap opera crime. A few weeks ago, I even watched in horror as Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott, without whom there is no show) and Sharon (Sharon Case) even had a barn-based catfight over Victor. Veteran Marlena readers know that the cat fight has always been my least favorite soap device. To me, cat fights have always been sickeningly anti-woman. Roughly it means, at least to me, that a show can’t go much lower.
Oh well, cheery, aren’t I? I want all soaps to live, but a perpetually number one show like Y&R should at least make itself – and us viewers — live well. Instead of cheering at the show, we viewers find ourselves cheering that villains Ricky and Daisy (roles played by two of the weakest young soap actors I’ve ever seen as soap leads) are goners. We deserve a vastly better show that at the very least can hold our full interest. A good Friday cliffhanger isn’t enough.