Young & Restless Needs High Stakes and Drama in 2022 – Plus, Everyone Is Too Damn Nice
December 27 - 31
This week’s column focuses on wishes for The Young and the Restless moving forward into the new year rather than on the happenings in the current week’s episodes, as I’m on a break for the holidays and writing this ahead. My take in a nutshell – big soap drama has gone missing, no high stakes, tone-deaf issues, and everyone is too damn nice.
Young & Restless has flirted with some very promising rivalries, but they never seem to run as deep or be as, well, committed as the iconic rivalries we remember from years past. One of my biggest wishes going into the new year is for the writers to stop shying away from getting down and dirty when it comes to writing adversarial relationships. Let them be dangerous, even deadly, lasting and substantial. No more arm-wrestling scenes à la Theo and Kyle – this is Young & Restless, not a sitcom. Let there be villains and soap bitches bearing grudges. Let them truly hit each other where it hurts, repeatedly and unapologetically. No more of the Kumbaya, bygones are bygones stuff. And make the rivalries we do have clever and no-holds-barred. Billy scheming to pass himself off as a drunk so Adam will write a mean story about him is dumb.
While many of the scenes for the love stories this year were beautifully written, and there was a concerted effort to provide the audience with romance, bedroom montages and the like, there’s too often a missing element that should be present when a soap couple gets together – tension, roadblocks, meddling/interference from others and competition. Pairings should never feel too settled.
Plus, it’s the anticipation that makes a couple worth rooting for, so if there’s nothing much for them to overcome to be together, or if the “getting together” comes too easily, it’s kinda ‘meh’ – and we’ve had a lot of ‘meh’. No one is fighting to be with anyone else on this show; love rivals should not be just shrugging their shoulders and walking away. There is also no one torn about who they want to be with or scheming to get the partner they want, therefore there’s no drama or high stakes to make the love stories exciting.
There also needs to be follow-through. Summer and Kyle’s wedding taking place offscreen, and dancing around “Shadam” but not going there, were major missteps. Also, why finally write a cheating scandal only to have everyone involved making nice again in six months with no ‘Who’s the Daddy?’ storyline?
Read the Room
There were too many tone-deaf moves made on Young & Restless this year, particularly in the writing for their Black and LGBTQ+ characters. Despite overwhelming feedback, they’ve continued down that same path with the story they appear to be doing with Noah/Tessa/Mariah. Here’s hoping they’ll see the light and move Noah in a different direction. Meanwhile, Christmas brought the umpteenth standalone episode for a Newman, right when Devon was agonizing over the unexpectedly painful choice to have to watch his friends raise the biological child he couldn’t help but become attached to; this after losing the child he was meant to have with Hilary. Why weren’t we exploring that emotional drama and kicking off a custody battle – it at least would have driven story. That said, we could use a break from man pain altogether. We’ve seen it with Jack, Adam, Nick, Billy, Noah, Rey, Ashland, and Chance in 2021, and it’s overused with this writing regime.
Old and Young
Young & Restless needs to make better use of its veteran characters and develop it’s younger generations simultaneously in 2022. Jack has had no love life for eons. It’s clear they’re now going to plunk him back with Phyllis, but he could have and should have had both a scheming wife and a younger woman pursuing him at the office all this time. Nikki should be more than a peacemaker. The Fisher-Baldwins should have story. Faith and Moses shouldn’t be the only teens, and the Kyle and Summer generation needs to be beefed up again after all the exits. Plus, they need to spread the love around. It should never feel like The Billy Show or The Abby Show, which it very much has at times.
This is just my opinion. Feel free to join the conversation below, but first, Check out Y&R’s 2021 year in review in the photo gallery below.