50th Anniversary episode Pictured: Barbara Crampton, Tricia Cast, Patty Weaver and Michael Damian
Credit: CBS via Getty Images

There’s still so much left to do and see.

In one form or another, soap operas have been around for a long time, first debuting back before television even existed. In all that time, though, few have had the staying power of The Young and the Restless and had the privilege of celebrating 50 years on the air.

In honor of that milestone, the show’s been bringing back a slew of actors and characters to help celebrate.

Michael Damian’s Danny has been back and forth since before Christmas, while Michael Graziadei’s brought Daniel back to stay. And with Genoa City’s bicentennial celebration, Patty Weaver has finally brought Gina back to complete the Romalotti family in a way we haven’t seen in years.

TV Insider recently sat down with Weaver to chat about her return, the nature of soap operas and why Young and Restless is so special.

For one thing, she couldn’t help but marvel over “How many people’s lives have been affected by soaps. When I was back at the show, I was thinking about [late co-creators] Bill and Lee Bell. They created this whole environment. People have had jobs and careers because of them.”

Michael Damian, Patty Weaver Y&R

Family is a huge part of daytime’s success.

Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

But at the same time, it goes deeper than that. The folks who have worked on and continue to work on The Young and the Restless aren’t just co-workers coming in to do their jobs. They’re so much more.

That’s how Weaver put it. She hasn’t been on contract since 2005 and it’s been a decade since Gina’s last appearance in Genoa City. In other words, as the actress told TV Insider, “It’d been a while.” But there are some things that time doesn’t blunt.

The show, she continued, “was such a huge part of my life. To see everyone and meet the new people as well. I’m naturally a shy person but it was so easy to go up to people and say hello. It was great seeing Michael again. It’s like seeing family.”

And that sense of family that runs through the very DNA of soap operas extends outwards and radiates to the audience as well. It’s something everyone who’s welcomed a soap into their home on a daily basis understands.

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“I think the people who watch our shows almost do it as a form of family,” she noted to TV Insider. “Viewers know the characters. Soaps provide consistency in people’s lives, and we have such little consistency. There’s a sense of family.”

It’s why, in the end, “I hope networks stick with soaps.”

Kimberlin Brown, Patty Weaver"The Young and the Restless" SetCBS Television City8/15/05©Aaron Montgomery/jpistudios.com310-657-9661Episode #8221

Gina’s even gone up against Sheila and lived to tell the tale!

Credit: ©Aaron Montgomery/jpistudios.com

Half a century is an incredible run, but there’s still so much story left to tell and so much life left in soap operas. It should come as no surprise that we agree: Soap operas should stick around for many, many years to come!

To find out more about Weaver’s return, her future with the show and working with such legends as Quinn Redeker (who played Gina and Danny’s dad, Rex) and Barbara Crampton (Leanna), visit TV Insider for the full interview.

Check out gorgeous photos of Weaver and the rest of the cast celebrating Genoa City’s bicentennial in our photo gallery here