Melody Thomas Scott, Eric Braeden"The Young and the Restless" Set CBS television CityLos Angeles07/23/21© Howard Wise/jpistudios.com310-657-9661

Howard Wise/JPI

Did you ever imagine there would come a day when they would be reduced to talk-to characters?

Regular readers of Soaps.com know that The Young and the Restless confounds us on the regular. (See also: our latest Soapbox column.) But every once in a while, it not only confounds, it infuriates us. Case in point: what the CBS soap is doing with Victor and Nikki.

victor and a piano Eric Braeden"The Young and the Restless" Set CBS television CityLos Angeles09/10/21© Howard Wise/jpistudios.com310-657-9661

Above: A substantive storyline for Victor? No piano required — that would be music to our ears.

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The Newmans are two of most complicated and combustable characters in the history of daytime — and not for nothing, played by the legendary-for-a-reason Eric Braeden and Melody Thomas Scott. But instead of front and center, the show has moved them… well, left of center. Victor no longer drives story, he’s at best a passenger in other characters’ stories, a mere problem-solver. Has your grandpa killed your dad? Call Victor. Has your surrogate been kidnapped? Call Victor. Has your husband gone missing? Call Victor.

He’s become, in essence, the local handyman but for issues more byzantine than a leaky faucet. Where is the Black Knight who used to squash his enemies like they were bugs? Actually, that’s a rhetorical question. We know where he is — he’s alternating between huffing and puffing like the power player he once was and sitting around plotting with son Adam to ruin, of all people, Billy Boy Abbott. How is that any kind of challenge for Victor? It shouldn’t even qualify as an amusing diversion.

nikki nick Joshua Morrow, Melody Thomas Scott"The Young and the Restless" Set CBS television CityLos Angeles09/09/21© Howard Wise/jpistudios.com310-657-9661Episode # 12221U.S. Airdate 10/20/21

More: There’s the fire that we like to see in Nikki’s eyes! Now point it at an actual plotline.

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Meanwhile, Nikki, despite being an alcoholic ex-stripper with a recurring yen for younger men, has been reduced to playing the thankless role of her family’s peacekeeper. That can be a full-time job, we’ll grant you. But is it a rewarding one? Not for viewers accustomed to seeing her stir the pot rather than remove it from the stove.

She’s not (and never should be) Alice Horton, for Pete’s sake!

What do you think, Young & Restless fans? Shouldn’t Victor and Nikki be playing more active parts in their lives — and shouldn’t they actually have lives? On your way to the comments, stop off at the photo gallery below, which revisits highlights of Nikki’s checkered past.