Report Card: Young and The Restless
Hello February sweeps, when The Young and the Restless shines brightest! If you have been fluent in Y&R as long as I have (about 30 breathtaking years), then being with our friends in Genoa City this month is like a special thank you gift of love from the writers for our loyalty and devotion.
So many layers, such clever mining long character history for gold. Diane Jenkins anyone? Yes, looking as sculpted and smooth as she was before high tailing it out of GC years back, the former Jabot model – and, more importantly, a key ingredient as to why Patti shot Jack decades ago – has returned.
As if Patti didn’t have enough on her hands, what with bottle-blonde Emily waking up from her coma, all Glenn-Close-in-the-bathtub-Fatal-Attraction style. Boo!
The complexities of this storyline make it perfect soap opera. We get to see Emily’s hospital bed battle against doctors, drugs, Paul, Patti, and that awful blonde hair, trying to convince people of who she really is. (“I know what you’re going through!” we half expect Katherine to pop by and say.)
Then we get to see Patti, nutty enough to try and smother her shrink with a pillow, then dash back to the Abbott mansion to deal with Jack and Diane. That, friends, is a desperate housewife. No wonder she spends all her private time freaking out on that doppelganger oil painting hanging in the Abbott great room.
Oh, and did I mention Jack’s ex, Phyllis – top name on Patti’s Hate List and Diane Jenkins’ bitter enemy – also dropped in on this hot mess reunion, making it even more layered?
Every actor in this story is en pointe, especially Stacy Haiduk in her dual Emily / Patti role, flawless. Extra kudos to Doug Davidson, who as Paul hasn’t been this good in years. He’s such a good brother, and it’s heartbreaking to see Patti-as-Emily try not to crack as she witnesses her brother’s true protective love over and over.
And yay Jana! (While we’re praising, because there will be some complaints.) Finally something interesting for Mrs. Fisher other than wiping up coffee spills (sorry about the cold cage). Doublemint twins Ryder and Daisy, creepy like the kids from those V.C. Andrews novels, have Kevin’s Brit bride locked up in what appears to be an abandoned zoo, on behalf of their boss / mother “Mama Bear”.
Are we feeling confident that Jana telling her twin captors she knows “who your mother is” pretty much spells S-h-e-i-l-a? Yum. The catch is, the mini versions aren’t nearly as intimidating as Lauren’s archenemy herself, so we’re getting a little impatient. It’s always fun to watch Kevin disintegrate, though, so as he searches for his wife, he’s at his best. Plus, Gloria (remember Gloria?) gets to come out of the woodwork, and do fun things in this crisis like console her son at Crimson Lights and tape him for his ‘Find Jana’ campaign on ViewClick.com.
Hey, just speaking of coffee, when we see scenes where characters are carrying to-go coffee, would it be possible for them to pretend there’s hot coffee in them? Instead they get waved around in scenes like magic wands. If this were really the case, everyone in GC should be walking around town with first-degree burns on their faces.
Grade: D (is for details.)
Bigger fish to fry, though. The Lily has cancer storyline. Insulting to anyone who has had cancer. Or even a sore throat.
Seriously, when I think of the brave people I know who have dealt with cancer, and then watch this pampered, manicured, glowing, whiny, complaining princess be completely negative all the time, in designer duds, looking and acting nothing like anyone I know who has had cancer, it hurts my head. And when Lily is then praised like she’s some kind of cancer warrior, it hurts worse. Worse than those toques that made her look like the cancer was a huge head tumour she was trying to cover. Worse than the Raquel Welch wigs she’s now wearing since that patronizing photo shoot with Malcolm to document her hardships, even. Ugh, this storyline, ugh.
And I dare add that a couple of the actors kinda look like they want to stab their eyes out with a fork and go “Ugh” too?
Grade: F. Fail.
Up next: Good news / bad news. The good news is that the idea of Victor’s black sheep son Adam and Katherine’s black sheep son Tucker even living in the same town is tasty. And it has to be stressed that Stephen Nichols’ Tucker is a huge relief, after that other guy who had played him (a man best saved for Lucky Charms or Irish Spring ads).
It would be nice if Tucker wasn’t quite as nervous or intimidated by Victor (I mean, we’ve had to watch everyone in GC fawn over Tucker, so we assume he’s at least equal caliber).
However, it’s fun to watch the heavy scenes we’ve seen between Tucker and Katherine, and I love how such a seasoned and senior character such as The Duchess still gets a meaty story year after year.
But there is one issue, the aforementioned Bad News: The idea of Katherine spotting the same painting in two different backgrounds of two photos in two different publications and then in one scene piecing together a payola scam theory from decades ago – then, being right! - and then holding that over her son’s head as a way to bring him down is nuts. Patti Williams nuts.
With all the years that have gone by, with all the power and money Tucker is meant to have, such a threat would be a non-issue for a million different reasons. Anyone with the business experience of having bought a loaf of bread knows that. It’s irksome, and is one of those times where we have to haul out our Y&R mantra (everybody all together): "We believe … we believe …"
Grade: B –
Speaking of Victor’s black sheep son, wow: Adam. Unlike the quick detective work Katherine managed to do to stop Tucker, watch as Phyllis, Neil, Nick, and Ashley oh-so slowly put the pieces of the I Know What You Did Last Summer puzzle together to at long last send a breeze towards Adam’s house of cards.
I love that it’s taken them a while to figure it out, going only on the idea of how Adam knew Dr. Taylor was scum before he referred pregnant Ashley as their lead. You’re still all so far from the awful truth! This is also excellent soap opera that is bringing out the best in nearly all the players. I know a lot of people like their soaps to move along at a quicker pace, but Y&R has always bucked that trend, and the end result has always been deliciously worth it. I’m along for the ride on this one.
Lastly, a couple of random notes. I really have to stop thinking: "Oh, I’m so glad they’re not using that stupid Trundles bookstore set any more." Because as soon as I do, here they haul out the Trundles bookstore set again. It’s just not a good idea, that set. Firstly, no one in Genoa City reads; they just don’t have time. Secondly, when they do, everyone knows it’s got to be leather bound, gold leaf pages, no exceptions.
Grade: C -
I also don’t like the movie theatre that plays old black and white movies; everyone’s at Avatar. Although when Nina took Paul there and tossed chocolate covered raisins onto her buttered popcorn, I did think it was the best recipe I’d seen in ages.
Ashley’s new hair cut. Harsh. I actually love that kind of sharp-edged look on a woman, but Eileen Davidson’s beautiful strong angles fight against the new hair so much I feel like I wanna pay her a $200 / hr. dominatrix fee.
Overall Grade: A. Television worth watching
- Shaun Proulx