Theo, Kyle, Jack plot-driven storyline Y&R
Credit: CBS screenshot

The botched storyline has damaged characters in an effort to enable Theo’s exit, which shouldn’t be happening in the first place.

After being a shell of his former self for more than a year, The Young and the Restless’ Jack finally showed some signs of life when he exploded at Theo this week. Happy as we were to see Jack roar back to life, we were sad to see him do so at the expense of Theo, a character who has been the show’s punching bag pretty much since his introduction.

Young & Restless fans were bewildered by the choice to shove out Theo, a character who had loads of potential — a bad boy with a heart and connections to one of the show’s core families. After taking pains to make sure viewers understood and came to care about him, the writers abruptly changed their tune and decided to let him go. The cutting of ties between him and Lola saw her behaving uncharacteristically, well, mean, and it turns out that was just the beginning.

Kyle, whom we were told had been best friends with Theo when both lived in New York, suddenly came to hate him with a passion, first through a contrived secret storyline that was a bust, and then through an ongoing rivalry that left viewers feeling ambivalent-at-best (and downright hostile at times) toward both characters. The young men reached a truce of sorts… at least until Dina’s death.

Despite everyone in the family save for Kyle having at least made an effort to welcome Theo into the fold, none of them saw fit to have him present during Dina’s final hours. This despite the fact that during a rare lucid moment, she’d been thrilled to connect with her grandson. The clan’s behavior was borderline atrocious, with Kyle behaving so immaturely toward Theo we wondered if he was being written this way because we were supposed to hate him.

Yet again, we found ourselves sympathizing with Theo, who’d wanted nothing more than to get to know the family he’d only recently become a part of. The latest attempt to make Theo the bad guy found him deciding to sue the Abbotts for Dina’s fortune after receiving a pen in her will (and being mocked by Kyle about it to boot). Again, thanks to the way he was treated, viewers were more likely to hate on Kyle and his family than Theo.

The meeting between Theo, the Abbotts, and their attorneys added insult to injury, and no one, not even Traci, came out unscathed in the plot-driven fiasco. At this point, Kyle was a lost cause where compassion toward Theo was concerned, and Ashley hardly knew him since she’s not always around, so those two getting their backs up could be somewhat understood. But the onslaught of biting comments only made us feel worse for Theo.

Having Traci and Theo snarking at each other was a letdown. If anyone could recognize someone who’s hurting and find compassion toward them, it’s Traci. It’s why she’s known for being the heart of the Abbotts and even the show — heck, even Mariah could see Theo’s pain was prompting his actions.

Jack convinced the others to make Theo an offer, but then exploded when the younger man said it wasn’t enough. There’s no question Jack had reason to feel frustrated with Theo, but for Jack not to recognize what Theo was really looking for — hint, it’s not money — was just another disappointment. They’d written in numerous scenes that made a point of illustrating that Jack was able to see beneath the surface where Theo was concerned, so having him suddenly turn on Dina’s grandson seemed completely out of character.

Think about it: Even after Theo cheated while competing against Kyle for the position at Jabot, it was Jack who assured his nephew that he would always be family. So Jack freezing Theo out where Dina’s final days were concerned and then not understanding his true motives for filing the lawsuit are inconsistent with what we’d already seen on screen. In other words, everything about the lawsuit and its fallout were written in such a way to make the audience turn on Theo in order to justify the show’s decision to write the character off.

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It’s never a good idea to compromise characters to enable a plot. But what’s worse is that the back and forth between these parties could have played out over months, even years, and gone any number of directions. Potential = squandered.

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