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Looking Back on Young & Restless’ Best and Worst of 2020 — and Forward to a Messy Phyllis and Kevin Caper

December 28 - 31

Kevin, Phyllis caper Y&R

Howard Wise/JPI

As we put the crazy dumpster fire of a year that was 2020 behind us, it’s time to reflect on the best and worst Young & Restless had to offer and check in on current plots.

Best of the Year

Scandalous Indiscretions
Mariah cheating on Tessa with Lindsay and Elena cheating on Devon with Nate were by far the soapiest scenarios that played out on Young & Restless in 2020. Both had jaws dropping and people talking. Sadly, the expectations for fallout after the fact weren’t realized in either case.

Worst of the Year

Pointless Show-Eating Plots
We’ve gone over the excess of Billy and Adam’s man pain and how it negatively impacted the show ad nauseam, but adding insult to injury is that it was essentially all for nothing. It didn’t create change, or even deliver soaptastic dramatic payoffs. Nothing came of Adam and Chance’s big secret in Vegas, Adam and the Newmans are in the same place they’ve always been after the whole revelation of what happened in his childhood, and the change in Adam’s love life was hardly more than a blip. Billy kept screwing up and will continue to screw up despite two special episodes involving epiphanies. I’ll take Billy and Lily while they last, but I’m tired. For more on how the Adam and Billy storylines embody everything wrong with Young & Restless right now read Richard’s rant.

Questionable Front-Burner Fodder
Abby and Chance add a great bit of romance for those so inclined, but are garden-variety soap characters being written as leads. Chelsea was at her best when she showed up in town stirring the pot as a con and a grifter, but they’re also pushing her as a romantic lead. Shey have all the excitement of a long winter’s nap compared to Shick or Shadam, and yet here we are. Pushing ahead with such choices while other characters/couples are sidelined just isn’t resonating based on the overall viewer dissatisfaction with the show.

Current Stories

* Why does being a strong woman on a soap almost always become synonymous with being humorless, cold, and bitchy? I’d have loved to have seen empowered Victoria make the most of her CEO position while also having a good time. Instead, it looks as though we’re going right back down Rehash Road again with her pining for Billy.

* Phyllis being thrown for a loop by owing Nick money and stumbling onto a way to get back at Victoria through Kevin is a big, “Yes please!” I’ve enjoyed the latest take on Phick, with them working harder at their relationship, but one of my favorite things about Phyllis is that she owns her propensity for scheming, so when her rivalry with Victoria fizzled I was disappointed. It goes without saying it’s a plus to have her (and Kevin) getting into some kind of mess together. Let’s hope Gloria’s actually back on screen for the story as well. In related commentary, Phyllis needling Adam ahead of Sharon’s wedding was one of the best authentic scenes in a while. Loved it.

* I’m no longer sure what is going on with Elena and Nate, but their story has become Nate and Abby level boring. I was so sure there would be big dramatic fallout from the cheating and it’s just been a snooze with ill-defined direction. While Amanda’s storyline is definitely making me feel for her, particularly the gut-punch of seeing her birth mother with the daughter she raised and loves. I’m leery that it’s another arc that won’t amount to much, but it looks as though some emotional scenes are ahead, which is promising. Oh, and what was that intense look between Amanda and Devon on New Year’s. Are we going there?

* No one really believes Chelsea and Adam will leave town or that Chelsea will die from her aneurysm so it’s tough to really feel the supposed stakes here. Likewise, there was never any real hope that Adam would bust up Sharon’s wedding. It’s tough to find soapy things to get excited about knowing they aren’t likely to go down. With that said, Mark Grossman’s teary scene at home alone after the hospital got me in the feels.

* I was glad a little of Sally’s background story came out as it helps her to be a more well-rounded character, but please for the love of all that is soapy don’t pair Sally and Jack! Check out Sally’s defining moments in photos.

* It was nice to see Tessa surface, but she sure got the bum’s rush! I hope Teriah has some kind of story in 2021.

* Sharon and Rey’s wedding was beautiful, and Sharon was glowing. I enjoyed seeing Arturo again, Lola looked amazing (I wish they’d style her this way more often), and Faith was up to no good. All in all it was a feelgood way to end the year, but wow, the lack of drama in this soap wedding… Totally expected, yet still disappointing. If you missed it, take a look through Sharon and Rey’s wedding album. And remember this…

This is just my opinion. Feel free to join the conversation below.

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