In the 23 years that I've owned and operated soapcentral.com, I have never had the pleasure of writing the Two Scoops commentary for The Young and the Restless. I do, however, live tweet the show nearly every weekday on the @soapcentral Twitter account -- but it's a lot more fun to share my thoughts on the show in more than 140 characters.
Fear not, I will go back to live tweeting after this column. Teddi is still trying to regroup after the devastation inflicted on Texas by Hurricane Harvey, and I wanted to give Maggie a much-deserved week of rest, since she has been covering for Teddi over the past few weeks. I certainly want to extend my thoughts and prayers to all of those that have had their lives turned upside down by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria -- as well as the earthquake in Mexico.
It's often a surreal experience to have to carry on with the not-so-real drama of the world of daytime when there is so much real-life drama going on around us. But if nothing else, the Newmans, the Abbotts, and the rest of the Genoa City gang will keep us entertained.
The Two Scoops is designed to take a look back at the previous week of shows. Teddi and Maggie have an advantage in having written for so long that you already know how they feel about past stories. That's not so much the case with me, since I'm just doing a little drive-by here this week. I may need to do a bit of a throwback at times, just so you'll know where I'm coming from.
One of the biggest complaints I get from fans during my live tweets or in the Soap Central email bag is that the show is "boring." Now, that means different things to different people. Some fans are disgruntled because their favorite couples aren't together. Others are miffed that their favorites are backburnered -- or worse: written off the show.
I've seen boring on other soaps. Oh, have I seen boring. I don't think that Y&R is boring, but there are definitely some areas that could use a little tszujing up.
MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS
I appreciate that there appeared to be a concerted effort to diversify storylines under head writer Sally Sussman. The show brought back some of its storied business rivalries and even gussied up a few new ones by mixing up the generations involved. Most, though, have fallen flat because the storylines just aren't riveting enough. Some have been ramped up a bit… but even then…
I have to say that I am not remotely interested in Nick and Noah's attempts to franchise the business. It seems that the only reason this was unearthed was as a way to allow Victor to stick it to his son Nicholas. If you're reading this column, you more than likely know that Nick is Victor's son. So I am puzzled why Victor has been trotting around town with a need to qualify what relationship he has to Nick. When Victor told Kevin, "I will give my son Nicholas what he claims he wants most." Kevin has only been out of Genoa City for a bunch of weeks. I don't think that he's forgotten that Victor is Nick's father. Or maybe he has. Amnesia has been known to run rampant on the soaps.
I liked the effort to make some of the stories contemporary. The earlier bits about developing apps that will allow customers to virtually try on Fenmore's fashions works. But not that it becomes its own story. That's just a cybersnooze.
I feel the same way about Billy and his repeated hacking into the Jabot servers. As much as I may want that to be over, I hold my breath every. single. time. he sends Phyllis off to shower so that he can hack into Jabot. I just know he is going to get caught. Unless, of course, Phyllis loofahs herself to death. She sure does stay in the shower an awfully long time. Maybe she is just trying to wash away Billy's germs. Did you see the way that he removed his boxing glove with his mouth? HIS MOUTH! Those boxing gloves probably haven't been washed since Billy was a small child.
I do like that Victoria and Jack are business rivals. The whole Victor/Jack thing is one big been there, done that to me. I cannot, though, for the life of me make any sense out of Brash & Sassy continuing to operate out of the same building as Jabot. It doesn't even appear that they have any kind of privacy or security. Phyllis waltzes in and out, and while she may be Billy's lady at the moment, she works for the competition! Hello?
While I am on that subject, here is something else that I… just don't get. Jack disowned (de-siblinged?) Billy because Billy had an affair with Phyllis who, at the time, was married to Jack. Now Phyllis and Jack are working together… to put Brash & Sassy out of business… so that Billy can spend more time with… Phyllis. Jack now wants his brother and former wife to be together? Maybe there's something I am missing here, or maybe business trumps love? I dunno. It's just odd to me.
A COUPLE OF COUPLE IDEAS
I get called all sorts of names on Twitter by fans of different couples. I've been called a racist because I've said that I think Christel Khalil has been turning in some amazing work in this Cane/Lily/Juliet storyline -- and didn't say that she is always amazing. I've been called homophobic because I am not really a fan of Tessa -- and since Tessa could be lesbian, bisexual, or sexually fluid, that means I somehow am anti-LGTBQ. Ah, the magic of social media. Anyone can say anything they want with no basis in fact and suffer no repercussions. Perhaps I can scare up some publicity by threatening to rain fire and fury upon Soap Opera Digest. Nah, I'll save that for my
nemesis pal Richard Simms and Soaps In Depth.
I'll preface all of this by saying that I am not someone who watches any show strictly for a couple. I didn't stop watching Grey's Anatomy when Derek was killed off, and I won't stop watching Y&R because Lily and Cane break up. If you're only watching an ensemble show for one actor or one couple… that's kinda odd to me. But to each their own.
I like that Lily and Cane are having issues. If, as the "Lane" fans say, Lily and Cane are the be-all and end-all of Y&R, then they should be enjoying their current strife. Huh? If Lily and Cane are a supercouple, and if they are supposed to be together, then there ain't no mountain high, no valley low, and no river wide enough to keep them apart. The Juliet situation should be a minor detour on their road to happiness. If they truly love each other, then nothing will keep them apart.
It's a bit more convoluted, since Lily cheated on Cane, and Cane eventually forgave Lily for that. There has been Twitter bickering over whether or not the affairs are equal. Cane got someone pregnant -- Lily did not get pregnant. Of course, Lily could not get pregnant. Yes, a child would be a constant reminder of the affair. But wouldn't it also be hard to shake the image of another man sexing your woman when you are sexing her yourself? I mean, I'm just saying.
The therapy session gets high marks from me. It was as close to a real-life therapy session as I have seen in quite some time on a soap. The show even played around with the camera angles. Visually, it was perfect. The acting from Daniel Goddard and Christel Khalil was stellar. There were no over-the-top hysterics. It was reserved and measured. Both have been gold star perfect throughout this story, and both should show up on Emmy ballots next year.
Laur Allen has also been really good as Juliet. You don't have to like a character's actions to appreciate the actor.
I was fuming -- there were flames, flames… on the side of my head… burning… heaving -- in the scenes where Hilary was indifferent to Juliet's cramps/contractions/pain. Hilary may be the resident bitch on the canvas, but there is a difference between being bitchy and being diabolical. There is no way that I will believe that Hilary would walk away from a pregnant woman who might be having a miscarriage. Nope. Not happening. So much of the past year has been Hilary being bitchy for no real reason. I love a good soap villainess. I think Mishael Morgan is wonderful. I want mean girl Hilary to be my friend. Of course, I know that if I ticked her off, she'd then play footage of me eating cupcakes in my underwear while chasing a possum on The Hilary Hour. And that is, um, purely a fictional idea. I would never do anything like that. So, yeah… um…
I'm indifferent to "Hevon" (Hilary + Devon's smooshed name). I get savaged on the Twitter machine for not being a supporter. The chemistry between Morgan and Bryton James is fantastic, but Hilary and Devon haven't had that much in the way of being together to make me want to root for them. They are not a supercouple. They're not. Could they be? Sure. They could. But I need some sort of build. I like that there have been some moments in recent weeks where they get to be together and act sort of goofy around each other. Hilary and Jordan do not work for me. Jordan and Lily do not work for me. So unless you are bringing other characters into the mix, the end game is Lily and Cane, and Devon and Hilary. I think everyone sort of knows that. But again -- that doesn't mean it has to happen overnight. I want to believe that true love can overcome anything. I want to believe that hurdles can be overcome for the one you love. It doesn't have to be easy. Enjoy the slow burn. We can, however, torch this Jack and Nikki "thing." I don't like them together. But I don't want to see Nikki and Victor back together at this point because Victor has just been a "butt chapeau" lately. I think Victor falls into the same category as Hilary on some level. I don't mind Hilary or Victor wanting to be bad… wanting to get revenge… or anything of that nature. But it needs to make sense. Hilary has been made to be mean just because. Victor has always been dastardly, but lately it's been supercharged. He's playing mind games with Faith. He's asking Kevin to steal Nick's money. At this point, Victor is wholly unredeemable, and that's not what you want from your show's premiere bad guy.
This is also the point where I question how Kevin is going to hack into financial institutions to fiddle with Nick's money. Unless Nick keeps his money in the Bank of Equifax, I am pretty sure that Kevin is not capable of that kind of computer trickery. And it will be Kevin that goes down for all of this -- not Victor.
ASHLEY AND JACK: A PAIR OF GRAHAM CRACKERS
Graham has been on the canvas since May. That's just about five months now. I know about as much about who the heck he is now as I did then -- and that is not a bad thing. Soaps nowadays seem to want to rush everything. From the moment that Tessa, Zack, and Crystal showed up on the canvas... I sort of expected that they would all be tied to one another. But more on that later.
I don't need Graham's true identity to be revealed immediately. I am fine with a mystery. There have been secrets on soaps that have taken years to be revealed. I can wait. I'm mostly patient. As an aside, I really like Max Shippee. As Graham, he's likeable… but he is also sneaky as hell. At first, I was completely convinced that he was trying to take advantage of Dina, who might have been in the early throes of dementia. Then I thought maybe he was Dina's caretaker. Here everyone is badmouthing him, and he's actually helping her. Then I went back to Graham being a predator. Now… I don't know. I feel like there are too many red herrings that are swimming through this storyline with the sole purpose of confusing me.
My latest theory is that Graham is Brent Davis' son, and he has ingratiated himself into Dina's life so that he can make her suffer for killing his dad. Or something like that. The thing that makes me think that isn't right is that Graham has not done anything overtly or evenly minimally mean to Dina. Except maybe for sending those Jack/Nikki photos with Dina's name as the sender. And I also haven't figured out why ruining Jack, Nikki, and Victor's lives would factor in if Graham wants to destroy Dina.
When Graham's mother popped up last week in an $8,000-a-month swanky senior citizen center, I mused on Twitter that perhaps Dina and Mrs. Bloodworth were lovers -- and Dina knew that Mrs. Bloodworth was living it up. That went over like a lead balloon. Of course, I was only kidding.
Let me toss in another side here. I said earlier that I want Hilary to be my friend because I love her bitchiness. Well, I also want Marla Adams (Dina) to drop by Kroll Manor for tea and cookies -- or whatever drinks and snacks she likes. She has been incredible during her return. I don't believe she was originally expected to be on the canvas this long. I could be wrong, but my recollection is that the Dina storyline was expected to be brief. I'll try to get someone behind-the-scenes to get me an answer on that, but that might not be something that anyone wants to talk about on the record. Either way, I am so glad that Marla has been on-screen as long as she has. She makes me smile.
SEX, LIES, AND NEWMAN
I want to like the sex trafficking storyline. That doesn't sound right, but hopefully you understand what I mean. It's just that… daytime is limited in the way that it can tell stories. Things cannot be too gritty because there are certain standards that must be adhered to. Because of that, a sex trafficking story is always going to come off slightly cartoonish.
A few years back, when All My Children was briefly rebooted on the Internet, the show didn't have to follow "decency" standards. As a result, when they told a story of sex trafficking… it was one of the darkest and most deeply disturbing storylines that I've ever seen. There wasn't some Rocky and Bullwinkle-style bodyguard/villain who lorded over "the girls." There were Russian mobsters that had no problems being abusive and downright nasty.
I in no way condone violence, but my point is that if you are going to tell a story, you have to make sure that you can do it justice. On top of that, it needs to involve characters that people care about. On AMC, the character was new to viewers, but she was the daughter of two of the show's most popular characters. Tessa doesn't rank very high in the most beloved Y&R characters list. She's too new to have that kind of pull with viewers. I do, however, think Cait Fairbanks' (Tessa) vocal skills are pretty awesome. I've even downloaded some of her music.
Why not have had Summer Newman involved in the story. She has been off the canvas -- I can't even remember where she is supposed to have gone. Y&R could have done a Taken story, where Summer was targeted and being held against her will by these creeps. It would have given fans a reason to be invested in the story. It would have been a character they know and (presumably) love -- or at least care about.
While I love seeing Sharon Case's Sharon involved in a storyline where she is not stealing a baby, where is Paul? Doug Davidson has been nowhere in this story. That makes no sense. First, the man is a long-time fan favorite. Two, the fella has an Emmy. Three, he is the flippin' chief of police!
There are things that work in this storyline. I like that so many different characters are involved in the story. Poor Abby. She just wanted to find a couple of startups to foster and maybe turn one into the next big thing. Well, she did… but she is now tethered to an app that is being used by a sex trafficking ring. So now Newman is at risk of being decimated by this.
I also think it was rather brave to have Wayne Knight's Irv be a customer of the prostitution ring. The show made a big deal about the former Seinfeld actor's cameo on the show. I figured it would be just a flashy guest stint to get some additional viewers to tune in to see a "Newman" that is not a Newman. It may have been, but they had this big-name star roped into a controversial story. I did not see that coming, and it was really kind of awesome. Now I want to know if Irv is involved on a deeper level or if that's the end of the character.
I also like that Tamara Clatterbuck was brought back for the story. I don't know that I understand the how and why of Alice getting involved. My first take was that Alice was so distraught over Cassie's death that she… became a madam? That makes zero sense. Is this all some sort of trickery, and Alice is covertly trying to save the girls somehow? That would make more sense -- I guess -- but I am still missing a piece or two to the puzzle.
While on the topic of Alice, we do have an exclusive interview with Tamara Clatterbuck running here on soapcentral.com, and we asked her about her return to Y&R, her current storyline, and a bunch of other interesting things. After you've finished up this Two Scoops column, you can click here to read the interview.
I think I've hit on all of the things that I wanted to talk about, but the column has sort of reached that length where readers will start to get restless. And we all know that we're not getting any younger. And you can also always follow my ramblings daily during my Y&R live tweets weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Eastern. So, like an unwanted neighbor showing up at your front door, thanks for humoring me and letting me share my thoughts on all the goings-on in Genoa City. Hopefully you enjoyed them even if you did, perhaps, initially greet me with a snarly, "Hello, new man."
What are your thoughts on The Young and the Restless? What did you think of this week's Two Scoops? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts. You can leave your comments below in the comments section, you can click here to submit Feedback, or you can call our 24/7 caller feedback hotline at 267.341.7627 and voice your thoughts.