By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman
If you are a soap opera watcher who loves the soap opera behind the soap opera (as I think most Thinking Fans are), this was a tremendous week for watching The Young and the Restless. The show’s new head writer Josh Griffith and new new executive producer Jill Farren Phelps made the fastest changes I’ve ever seen in Week One of a new regime. The thing is: do you admire how efficient they were at making storyline fixes? Or as a fan who watches soaps just for the on-screen entertainment, were you confused or a bit annoyed by the sudden radical changes? To wit:
— In the presto chango department, the instant dismissal — in one episode — of the long anticipated trial of Phyllis for attempting to run over The Bug and Paul 20 years ago by a new judge (the old one had suddenly taken sick) was the craftiest (in a good way) soap opera writing trick I have ever seem. Loved the new judge’s comment, “I have shirts in my drawer older than this case.” And Nick announced he is divorcing slutty lying Phyllis. It’s about time!
— In the aftermath of an instant auto crash in which Summer hit Adam and Chelsea, poor Chelsea had a miscarriage and was home from the hospital all in one episode! Nonsense! Or did the miscarriage (and Adam’s secret rescuing Sharon from the fire she set in the Newman Ranch) set up much needed trouble for Adam and Chelsea, who have been too happily married for the larger part of last year? Certainly, the show can now make better use of the great acting skills of Melissa Claire Egan and Michael Muhney if Adam and Chelsea are in conflict.
— Marlena has never been a fan of all the corporate intrigue on Y&R although she knows this is a traditional show motif. I find the endless machinations over Newman Enterprises a big bore. In only one week, the pendulum swung again and Jack took over Newman, firing Nick and Victoria and giving Victor a serious heart episode which rendered him unconscious on the floor. I’m glad Smilin’ Jack has finally been given the power he’s craved for so long. Jackie is a lot more entertaining than dour Victor.
— Sharon’s insanity was brought to a crucial turning point when she set fire to the Newman ranch. It’s about time her crazy actions of the last year are explained by a medical diagnosis of her obvious personality disorder, as this bizarre act of arson demands.— Virtually in a week, the newer generation in Genoa City young ones was brought more into focus. I like the new Summer, played by Hunter Hayley King. As demonstrated in the fact that she blamed her car crash on her mother Phyllis, Summer has finally become every parent’s nightmare, a teen terror. I also like the new Noah (Robert Adamson) and the increased use of Fenn (Max Ehrich.)
— The dialogue grew sharper, and the pace of the show picked up. The music has finally become more specific to character and story action and greatly enhances the drama, as it is supposed to do. No more soapy violins!
So what do you think? As a veteran backstage observer of soap production, Marlena greatly admires Griffith’s and Phelps’ audacity and efficiency in making so many needed changes to the show so fast. This week’s changes point the way to a better future for Y&R, which was an unexciting show for too long. Or as a Y&R watcher did you think they changed too much in too little time? Share, please.