Young and Restless Is Obsessed With Secrets

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

Watching The Young and the Restless this month is one big wait for the other shoe to drop. Most of the big storylines on the show revolve around a big secret that if disclosed could have dire consequences for the characters involved.  Was the confluence of so many secrets held at once a coincidence or was it all deliberately planned by the writers?

Hunter Haley King

First, Summer (Hunter Haley King) OD’d this week on “energy” pills she had secretly been taking.  She’s had some sort of “heart” episode.   As of this writing she lies in the hospital unconscious (just like her mother Phyllis!).  Of course the big secret here is that Sharon has concealed the fact that Nick is Summer’s biological father, not Jack. Sharon switched the paternity tests. This secret is almost a year old.  Will Sharon finally tell Nick the truth if the facts of her parentage are needed for Summer’s successful medical treatment?

Then there’s Billy’s secret: he slept with Kelly.  Kelly of course is his friend from the grief support group.  Both lost a child and bonded over this experience.  Should Billy’s wife Victoria find out about it, that could spell the end of Billy and Victoria’s marriage.  As a side note, Kelly is also hiding a past relationship with that handsome Dr. Stich.        

Then there’s Adam’s big secret: he is the one who hit and killed Delia.  He has been guiltily of it for months as Delia’s grieving father Billy and the Genoa City police department come closer and closer to finding out the truth.  Adam set up a memorial fund and until recently held the secret that he was the chief donor. Finally, his participation in the fund was revealed to Billy.

But right now it looks like Adam will get away with his crime.  He and Chelsea are planning to get married within a couple of days and start a new life in Paris.  Over at the Genoa City Police department,  Kevin is close to finding out the hit-and-run-driver’s identity via computer investigation.  Billy found a flower from Adam’s apartment at the site of Delia’s accident which is now a memorial.

 It seems only a matter of days (in fact it will happen this week) until Adam is finally named the hit-and-run driver both by Billy and the police.  The resulting drama should be worth the wait as there will be an explosive climax to the story.

 Secrets are fine, but what ever happened to the days when soap operas were all about romance?  Instead, Y&R seems obsessed with using the secret as a plot device.  Sure, secrets bring big suspense and keep viewers tuning in day after day.   But what ever happened to love in the afternoon?    


  1. Chere Marlena:

    I tend to agree with you that Y&R lacks any kind of compelling love story to make its audience swoon. Jessica Collins is an utterly lovely actress (who has come MILES since her days as Loving’s original Dinah Lee Mayberry), but all these years after Avery came to town, I STILL couldn’t give a flying fig about her or her gentleman caller issues (which seem to be legion). I’d bet cash money that I’m not the only “Restless” fan who feels that way, and that’s probably a problem, especially if the show’s new creative team continues to desire to appoint Avery as the canvas’ lead romantic heroine.

    The only other straight-up love story seemingly being told at the moment on the show is the burgeoning Abby/Tyler union, which breaks every rule poor Doug Marland ever thought about making up: a bland recast who has gotten NO traction (through little fault of the actress; the writing simply hasn’t been there for that character) and a new character we still know little about other than the fact that you could grate a block of sharp cheddar cheese on his abs. Together, those two characters are being shadowed and stalked by a third character — the guy’s disgruntled ex — whom we’ve never met and have zero attachment to and/or interest in. As you used to say back in the Critical Condition days, my dear: Duh!

    However, I disagree somewhat with your assessment that soaps don’t really need secrets. Soaps (and drama in general) thrive on characters withholding information from even those that they love the most, Marlena! Think of Bill Bell, who built his empire on the idea of his characters keeping secrets from each other (Mike Horton’s true parentage on Days, or the original Ridge/Caroline/Thorne triangle on Bold and Beautiful, to name just two). I often think back — wistfully — on the original Lauren/Sheila umbrella storyline on this very show, which included secrets AND romance AND hot love scenes, and which, as far as I’m concerned, remains the gold standard for the type of excruciatingly deliberate storytelling style that Ron Carlivati is employing to great effect these days on ABC, and that this show seems to want to evolve back toward.

    • You totally had me! Until you mentioned that the original Sheila/Lauren story had romance and love scenes. What romance? What love scenes?

      • Kimberlin Brown and Peter Barton had some incredibly racy (for the time) love scenes; there was even a cover story in TV Guide about how they and other soaps were pushing the envelope. And if I recall correctly, Don Diamont and Tracey Bregman shared several hot scenes as well. Also, it seemed as though Bill Bell was flirting heavily with putting Paul and Lauren back together during that time, as they were working very closely together to uncover all of Shelia’s mysteries. (As a card-carrying Paul/Lauren fan dating all the way back to the early ’80s, I for one was swooning every time they shared scenes, and still do to this day.)

  2. Secrets are fine…for a time! But when they go on for months and months (or years) the whole story/secret gets more and more ridiculous! I really appreciate when the writers find a quick resolution to secrets. A month or two is long enough to carry those burdens around.

  3. I still can not believe that the writers are going to name Nick as Summer’s father. He never should have been, never could be, and Jack should be.

  4. Chere Marlena,

    Secrets are part of what makes daytime so compelling. Secrets keep us tuning in since we know that the truth will eventually come out. I believe it was Agnes Nixon who said, “Make them laugh, make them cry and make them wait.”

    It took almost 2 years on OLTL for Jenny Vernon to learn that Karen and Marco had switched her dead baby for Katrina Karr’s. It was almost 7 years before Mike Horton’s paternity was finally revealed on Days. It took about 4 years before Steve Frame was revealed to be the father of Jamie Frame on AW.

    So, I enjoy the secrets and don’t mind the waiting, as long as the story is well told. This speedy storytelling where plots begin and end in 3 months is part of what has damaged the genre in my opinion. But the audience’s attention span has been drastically shortened in the past three decades, so people are more impatient and we get this speed plotting.

    Our sense of how time passes is different now as well. You said the secret that Sharon switched Summer’s paternity was “almost a year old.” In fact, that reveal happened in July 2013, about 7 months ago. But we are so accustomed to quick resolution of a storyline, this unusual, protracted 7 months of a secret feels significantly longer.

    Meanwhile, I think the reveal that Adam was the one who hit Delia is happening much too quickly. But since we know Michael Muhney is leaving on Jan. 30, they have to get the story wrapped up.

    As for romance, I miss it so much on the soaps. It seems like an after thought. The days of Love in the Afternoon are long gone. Nowadays, the promos don’t even play up what little romance they do have.

    None of the current romances on Y&R are working for me. The last “romance” that left me dying to see what would happen next was Lauren’s fling with Carmine. And they ended that by making him a psycho and murdering him. Such a waste of the best new talent they had.

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