Restless Rant
Week of September 28 – October 2:

Viewers of The Young and the Restless seemed to snap this week, flooding message boards and soap-related sites with emails expressing their disillusionment with the path the show has taken in recent months, which has culminated with the unbelievable and truly twisted Adam/Ashley/Sharon baby switch, and the Victor/Colleen heart swap. My first thought about the uproar was to wonder what it will mean to those in power at the Y&R. It’s been said that creating controversy is one of the goals of writers – since viewers who are riled up will keep tuning in to see if there is a resolution in their favor. However, if everyone who is threatening to tune out, actually does, and the ratings fall – well then, that’s a different matter.

Personally, I genuinely have mixed feelings about the show these days. While I love the high drama and emotion, and the fantastic acting, the reality is that some of the storylines have dragged on beyond what is bearable and my fast forward finger has been feeling the itch. Also, I absolutely feel that the show has become predominantly negative, which honestly does not hold much appeal.

The Big Picture: My opinion is that the breakdown writers and actors have been doing a terrific job of mining the storylines for every nugget of raw emotion, and evoking feelings from the viewers. Unfortunately, the bigger picture is out of whack, with stories having been overwhelmingly focused on tragedy, mental illness, and conflict. To appreciate the dark, we need the light, and vice-versa. If the show was all hearts, flowers, love, and happiness it wouldn’t be entertaining, and by the same token, having misery, crying and arguing everyday is not entertaining either. Y&R is not tending to that balance. One tender scene between Katherine and Jill in the midst of all the misery at the hospital does not make for a great viewing week.

The Pace: Many viewers have complained about the stories dragging on too long. The Adam/Ashley story is an example, as is the recent drama in the hospital on a smaller scale. I was ready by the end of last week for a decision to be made about Colleen and Victor, so we could all move on. This past week of hospital scenes, in spite of the great acting, felt unbearable at times. Five bickering matches between Billy and his family members is four too many! In this technological age, attention spans are shorter than ever. Viewers can pick up the remote and instantly have dozens of other choices at their fingertips if they become bored. Audiences demand ‘instant gratification’ more than ever now. It’s left me wondering if the issue/problem is that long story arcs just don’t cut it anymore, or is it simply that these writers are dragging out unpopular plots?

Stupid Factor: The Y&R has always been a class act, and while it has been known to dance around the outskirts of reality, it has rarely left the vicinity altogether. The Adam storyline has been pretty ludicrous all the way through, but this week really took the cake! Ashley goes into ‘hysterical labor’ at the exact same moment as Sharon goes into real labor? Ashley believes Adam when he insists she gave birth via the birth canal – yet she was unconscious and couldn’t push the baby out – and also would have none of the very obvious bodily issues a woman would have after natural childbirth?! While this storyline might have worked on Passions, or even Days of our Lives, it’s beneath Y&R, and the viewers know it.