The Young and the Restless: Three Goods and a Brilliant

By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman

The last time I wrote about The Young and the Restless (Y&R’s Missing Links, January 14) I confessed I wasn’t terribly excited about watching the show, save for one storyline which held my interest:  Jack’s pill addiction   Over the last two months, the show has been playing several storylines that are so intriguing   I really do want to tune in.   On the whole, Y&R is on the upswing, principally because of its much improved writing: three storylines that earn “goods” and one additional feature that is absolutely “brilliant.”

Steve Burton

1. Those pesky on-line Steve Burton haters aside, I think Y&R has done a very nice job of introducing General Hospital’s former superstar as Dylan McAvoy, war veteran and a very, very nice guy.  Burton, who is surprisingly good in this role, seems to have chemistry with all the ladies — Avery (Dylan’s ex), Sharon and Chelsea. Did you see the scene this week in which Dylan, in grief over his father’s death, took off his shirt and jumped into bed with near stranger Chelsea (who is pregnant with Adam’ baby)?  OMG, that chest!!  Marlena is not usually turned on by them, but Burton’s is certainly the Washington Monument of daytime soap opera!

2. In a complex, absorbing story that includes the superb Grant Harrison-esque villainy of Mark Pinter (as Congressman Marcus Wheeler), Leslie (the excellent Angell Conwell) and Tyler have changed their names to protect their witnessing their father’s long-ago (supposed) murder of their mother.  Now attorney   Avery is trying to free their father from prison via the Innocence Project, which mirrors the real-life organization of the same name.  Suddenly, there have been “mysterious” attempts on Avery’s life. This story is being cogently written, and so far most of the acting has been quite good.

3. The same old same old couples are suddenly back together all at once, but interestingly with none of the situations seeming very forced or overly contrived.  Each couple’s respective chemistry is shining through anew. Jack is back with Phyllis, Adam with Sharon, Michael with Lauren (although she slept with Carmine) and of course, Victor with Nikki.  We saw the writers’ sly humor this week when Victor staged three wedding ceremonies with the hospital bound-Nikki (she has MS).  As you know the two have been married about a million times!  The formal wedding ceremony scheduled for Monday and a shot is supposed to ring out.

Finally, I must give Y&R a “brilliant” for the classy, beautifully produced and most intelligent way it has celebrated its 40th anniversary. At the start of the show every day this week, a veteran actor (such as Peter Bergman, Michelle Stafford, Kristoff St. John, et al.)  insightfully reminisced about his or her character and that character’s relationships with other characters. The segments were all accompanied by classic clips, some of which brought tears to the eyes of this longtime viewer of the show.

Comments

  1. tess says:

    I agree that Y&R has done a superb job of fleshing out Dylan and making him a highly likable character. He is fixing Sharon’s roof and he ingratiated himself to little Faith, who is experiencing her first crush. He showed love for his father. I was disappointed that his dad died. I was hoping the older man became a regular character.

    I didn’t care too much for Dylan’s X-rated romp with Chelsea. The whole thing made Chelsea look tawdry and seedy, not to mention, conniving. After all, she is pregnant by her ex husband, but she wants to keep that information from him. She wants him out of her life and if she had his child, that wouldn’t be the case. So she gets it on with Dylan, a stranger. Her plan is to tell Dylan that he is her baby’s father.

    Chelsea did not know this man and she had unprotected sex with him? Geez! How dumb is she? This guy could have had HIV. Sure, he’s handsome and appears hale and hearty, but that doesn’t mean he is healthy. Soaps should have characters who would have mentioned the aforesaid, someone like the gone but not forgotten, Phoebe Tyler.

    And by the by, Dylan is just as reckless as she was, having sex with a strange woman. He didn’t even know Chelsea’s middle name, date of birth, favorite fruit or color. LOL!

    Next topic. I agree that the writing on Y&R has improved immeasurably since Josh Griffith took over. I find most of the writing to be leisurely, which makes it easy to get into. Absorbing. GENERAL HOSPITAL seems rushed with all those mini scenes and before the logo, GH has kicked off three stories. It can be overwhelming.

    Josh Griffith is the best thing to happen to Y&R in a long time. I find the Marcus Wheeler story intriguing. I theorize that Marcus had an affair with Mrs. Wheeler and Tyler is his son. Maybe Mrs. Wheeler threatened to reveal it and to keep her quiet, the Congressman either murdered her or had her murdered and set up Leslie’s father to take the rap. I like the actor who is playing Leslie’s dad.

    Marlena says: I think you are supposed to be upset about Dylan and Chelsea’s little sex romp. Dylan has flaws after all Obviously it leads to plot in the future. I too think Griffith is doing an increasingly better job.

    • SZima says:

      Marcus Wheeler had an affair with Mrs. Wheeler? Wouldn’t that be his wife? ;)
      I’m assuming you mean the affair was with Gus’ wife, Belinda. I’m sure that’s where the story is going, but I hadn’t thought that Tyler might be Wheeler’s son. Good theory and would be an interesting twist.

  2. DS0816 says:

    I’ve been struggling to find “The Young and the Restless” worth tuning in.

    Steve Burton’s character has handled, thus far, fairly well. And I’m glad for that, because I’m one who appreciates positive things for the character of Avery played by Jessica Collins. (That’s … in terms of airtime and story.) On the other hand, it’s been wretched watching Sharon and Adam and Chelsea in a dumb love triangle, especially given how Adam allowed for Sharon to be wrongly imprisioned (c. 2010/2011) because of his psychotic issues. But I know it’s just another way of stretching out the romantic saga of Adam and Chelsea. (Actors Michael Muhney and Melissa Claire Egan have awesome chemistry as a couple. The soap needs to realize that. I question if it does, because Sharon and Adam are an atrocious alternative. That idea should never have been revived.)

    I’m in agreement that Peter Bergman’s Jack has had the best material in recent months. (I stick with my earlier assertion that the show’s best performance of 2012 was delivered by Doug Davidson as Paul.) But I am moe than ready for Jack to recover and on to some overdue business success. (Those who think “Y&R” gives Victor more props than Jack are correct: Jack has had more embarrassing moments of business incompetence it makes me harken back to the 1990s and 2000s with what “As the World Turns” used to do, time to time, with Lucinda Walsh played Elizabeth Hubbard. Convenient moments of foolishness. Come on!)

    On other “Y&R” fronts: I’m not into Nikki’s Illness. I’m disappointed there is a lack of story for Katherine. And some of the newer characters, particularly those in the life of Neil, just don’t interest me. I see today’s “Y&R,” now exec-produced by veteran honcho Jill Farren Phelps, as a work in progress. And, to me, it’s vying with sister soap “The Bold and the Beautiful” to be the least worthy of my time.

    Marlena says: In precious months, is was a struggle to watch Y&R simply because it not have the excitement of General Hospital But Y&R is not GH, especially stylistically. It’s a show with its own heritage—a classic soap opera which centers on characters, relationships and love. And I think that the current writing/production regime is beginning to get there with the stories I cited in this column.

    DSO, I am an Adam and Sharon fan because I love to see to very damaged people can relate to and love one another. Superficial conniver Chelsea doesn’t do anything for me nor does a Sharon/Adam/Chelsea triangle. I too would like to see Jack have some bona fide long-lasting career success and are rooting for Jack and Phyllis. As I’ve written, I’ve never enjoyed business stories, but that too is traditionally sewn up into the fabric of Y&R. The Nikki MS story is hardly off the ground, but Melody Thomas Scott can do anything, and I look forward to her performances. I’m not happy about Alzheimer’s for Mrs. C as it is an irreversible disease and will put the character in a permanent corner.

  3. janet says:

    Me I have NEVER been a Y&R watcher. I have watched,I did like Jack,and when they allow him to win against I may watch again. I loved Doug D back in the day, until just recently from what I have read he had been so far on the back burner he was in another state. Victor always wins. I cannot stand Victor and as long as he pulls dirty tricks no thanks. I liked Vicki, and Billy but he has no brains where Vic is concerned., enough ! .I cannot bring myself to watch this wash, rinse and repeat.
    I do watch GH. Now that one of the unholy three went to Y&R, and so did Kill Farren Phelps. I will not be watching.
    I am enjoying GH. Sometimes but it has its days. bad and Good.
    I don’t know why Ron goes on twitter and when he gets feedback he doesn’t like he blocks those people. I read it but I don’t reply. Someone needs to tell him , he can learn to take some constructive criticism,. meant to help, not that they think he is wrong.
    I don’t dislike Sabrina, but I am glad she finally stuck up for herself. We know she dances and sings so we know what’s coming. good. I for one am looking forward to the nurses ball, Lucy’s underwear, Sabrina’s makeover, and Robins return. And Robert and Anna finding her. No one else.
    One thing at least more people are watching, For how long I do not know.

  4. redontop4 says:

    I am frustrated sometimes with Griffith’s writing, but he very often surprises me by picking up threads I thought he had dropped and zigging when I expected the story to zag. This was especially true in the Fen/Jamie bullying story, which gathered steam until it became must-see soap, then was quickly and neatly wrapped up–or so it appears. Who knows? I don’t, and that’s a big part of why I enjoy Y&R these days.

    Meantime, JFP is doing her usual fine job producing the show, especially with the limited time and money she has. I can’t help imagine, though, how off-the-charts incredible Y&R would be if the show still worked an episode-a-day schedule and JFP was allow to work her full magic (a la “Santa Barbara” and especially GL). Alas, we will never know.

    Marlena says: I am also a fan of Jill’s great production skills, but never thought about the financial restrictions on her before. I wrote at the beginning of the bullying story that the subject was almost overdone in soaps and other mediums already, but I did end up liking the writing and loving the acting. The sudden end was a big surprise–what’s up with that? IMHO, Fen wasn’t adequately punished, and I was shocked when it came out that Jamie lied when he said Fen pushed him off the roof.

  5. Adam says:

    Based on these comments, it seems JFP and Griffith have melded in much the same way they did when they were working together at Santa Barbara, and if Y&R is about to enter an SB “88-90″ style era, then watch out, soap world. It seems Phelps has regained her mojo. Lovely to hear about the way the show is honoring its past. Too many shows made the wrong sort of fuss when it came to these benchmarks. This is what you get when you hire real pros. Hats off, from a distance.

  6. William says:

    Jill Farren Phelps deserves no acclaim for “Santa Barbara.” She didn’t become the executive producer of that show until 1987 and die hard SB fans know that that show was at it’s best around 1985/86. She can however take the blame for the debacle it became in the early 1990′s. God can only imagine how the show killer will run this one into the ground. SONY will more than likely have to step in the same way ABC did when they ran her out of town in Port Charles after severely crippling “General Hospital” for ten years.

  7. Adam says:

    My recollection of SB is that it was pretty awesome from about 85-90, really bad for a year and then just average during the Rauch regime. I believe her time at Guiding Light was one of that show’s golden periods. I think that JFP works best as somebody who can come up, whip a show into physical shape, do a few good or even great stories, but then should leave after two or three years. It seems to be around her 3rd or 4th that things start to go sour (OLTL/GH) but I have nothing except fond memories of her time at SB and GL.

  8. William says:

    Marlena, you seem to have left out the adjective most soap fans have been using to describe “Young and the Restless” for the past six months: BORING.

    And to me, that is the worst crime a soap opera can commit.

    Victor and Nikki’s 25th wedding episode was nice. But it was simply a clone — I mean it was based on a template of their previous wedding episodes so it doesn’t count as anything ground breaking. Perhaps it could be the fact that neither Adam nor Dull as Dirt Dylan weren’t on the episode that made it “nice.”

    I would rather have a half ass-backwards written soap (like those under Maria Arena Bell’s leadership) or a soap featuring ridiculous story lines (like Lynn Marie Latham would give her approval to) than having a boring show. In this day and age of cable TV channels in the thousands, the internet, DVRs, OnDemand and now streaming internet to the TV via HuluPlus (I just bought my first Roku and am HOOKED), a show can NOT afford to become boring. Or it gets cancelled. And rightly so.

  9. Lisa says:

    i wish Lauren would change her hairstyle…it has looked the same for so long and she definitely needs a new look!!!!

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