Deconstructing Y&R: Colin and Jill’s drama drives slow February Sweeps

February 13 - 17:


While I love what the writing team has done with the show overall, curiously, February Sweeps continued to be a bit of a letdown, as was Valentine’s Day. The stuff with Jill and Colin certainly captured viewers’ attention, however, with powerhouse performances all around, and another big plus was Ashley and Victoria both taking such strong stances in business. Thoughts:

Too much like work.
“Y&R’s” troubles with forced couples persisted. From Jill to Reed to Nikki, and now Phyllis, everyone has it written into their dialogue to convince us that Victoria and Billy belong together. Everything that happens with them, right down to Victoria’s wardrobe feels like a manipulation – presumably she is dressing like an uptight spinster so that we are super bowled over when Billy finally brings out her passionate side again. All of their arguments, including the rebuff on Valentine’s Day, are probably designed to come across as sexual tension, but it’s not working out that way. Contrarily, there was loads of chemistry when Billy silently locked eyes with Phyllis across The Underground. The same problem exists with Nick and Chelsea; another lukewarm pairing. He has chemistry out the wazoo with both Sharon and Phyllis, but as mentioned in the last Deconstructing Y&R, it seems Nick is being paired with Chelsea by default since Adam is out of the picture.

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Not-so-happy heart day.
Valentine’s Day featured a host of curiously mood-dampening scenarios including Billy still being written as a dolt who doesn’t know what he wants, offering to drive both Victoria and Phyllis home and getting rejected, Ashley raining on Ravi’s parade, and Lily and Cane arguing over a romantic anniversary dinner. Chelsea stepping in to tend bar was a bit of fun, although her lighthearted reminiscing about her former bartending days was a tad suspect considering she was a con who drugged customers, including Billy, back then. As for Phyllis doing online dating, it’s a timely theme, but doesn’t feel appropriate for a character that has historically had more men than she can shake a stick at and who has never been so, well, tame. In related commentary, we saw Phyllis confront Victoria after her odd Valentine’s Day dinner meeting with Jack, and in the next episode Victoria was elsewhere and we never saw their conversation. Also, Jack went upstairs to meet someone he was texting, but we’ve no idea who (could it have been Gloria?) – very odd! Getting back to Valentine’s Day, Ashley’s flashbacks of John were amazing as was her sharing the chocolates with Ravi and diffusing the awkwardness between them.

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Speaking of characters being too tame, how about that Victor Newman? He’s actually been a bit dull. The Mustache sorely needs some of his bite back.

Under pressure.
Although Cane started the week with the irritating complaining and even ruined his anniversary dinner, dealing with the reality of Jill and Colin’s situation seemed to bring him back down to earth a bit. It’s worth repeating that Cane’s business troubles have never made sense – Jill owns Chancellor Industries – are we to believe there isn’t a subsidiary or division she could give him to run and call his own? As for Jordan, his easy charisma, along with his history and chemistry with Lily, could also become an issue in the Lane marriage. Some viewers would be there for it:

Diagnosis – murder.
Wow, Jill’s reaction to Colin cleaning out her accounts was jaw-dropping…and classic for this volatile pair. Pushing Colin outside while tearing off his robe, leaving him naked on the front stoop was vintage Jill. Thankfully, ‘lurking’ Esther intervened and called Billy as it turned out Jill was in dire straits health-wise. Giving Jill heart disease was a perfect opportunity to inform women of the signs of a heart attack, and made for some emotional hospital scenes – Billy in particular had me choked up – but I’m not convinced it’s a great move to have a character like Jill have to stay calm from here on out – sounds like as much of a bummer as Victor hanging out on his living room sofa listening to classical music.

Friday notes.
While the interaction among the Newman family members was entertaining, I don’t really feel up to round 549 of Faith trying to manipulate her parents’ love lives, and the bit with Reed saying his mother doesn’t know him at all was sad. It doesn’t ring true that the Newmans had nothing to do with him for years, and Victoria’s attitude toward her son since he arrived at her door has been out-of-character and plot-driven. I did enjoy Victor stirring up the tension between Victoria and Abby inadvertently…or was it? Elsewhere, Lily taking charge of the melee at the hospital was satisfying, and Billy’s appeal to Jill was emotional.

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Photo credit: Howard Wise/JPI

– Candace Young


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