Young & Restless Review: What’s Working, What’s Not, Who’s Missing and the One Thing Genoa City Desperately Needs

Young restless mashup devon nate nick diane

Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

You’ve probably noticed by now that Candace Young, who regularly recaps The Young and the Restless, is on vacation this week. In her absence, I took a closer look at the show — which was actually the very first soap I ever watched way back when — as it heads into its 50th year on the air. 

Welcome to the Family

A few weeks ago, Peter Bergman (Jack) told me that there was a major effort underway to refocus and, in essence, rebuild Young & Restless. (You can read everything he had to say, especially with regards to the Abbott family, here.) Of course, we hear that kind of talk all the time. Every few years, Days of Our Lives’ executive producer, Ken Corday, talks about how everything in Salem is going to change. Sometimes that proves true, sometimes… it doesn’t.

Tucker Diane Jack Y&R

I will say this about Young & Restless: I found this week’s episodes to be a marked improvement over what was airing only a few short weeks, let alone six months, ago. There seemed to be a renewed focus on family… and not just, as has sometimes been the case, the Newman clan. In fact, the canvas felt far more integrated than it has in the past, from that perspective. The connective tissue between the Newman, Abbott and Winters clans felt fully explored.

The Ties That Bind

Need proof? Look at Tucker McCall. He’s Ashley’s ex, Devon’s dad and Victoria’s secret business rival. Or the really lovely drama surrounding young Connor, who is struggling to deal with the fact that mom Chelsea also gave birth to his good pal-turned-half-sibling, Johnny, which in turn is causing friction between Billy and Lily. In both of these storylines, the Abbott, Winters and Newman clans are involved, giving the feeling of a cohesive canvas.

devon confronts nate about betrayal yr

I’m also sort of surprised that recent episodes have managed to take stories I was not at all interested in and make them compelling. For a while, the show has been so business-heavy that it seemed the only plots involved who was going to be given a CEO position next. But I’ll be damned if the Chancellor-Winters IPO didn’t get real interesting real quick once Nate when to the dark side.

Did Nate’s actions make sense? Not really, especially when Elena was warning him at every turn of what he stood to lose. But the fallout — particularly this week’s scenes between Nate and Devon — was spectacular, and it didn’t hurt that late Winters patriarch Neil’s presence was deeply felt every step of the way.

A Changed Woman

I’ll confess that I’ve had a lot of issues with the character of Sally, dating back to the way she was written on Bold & Beautiful. It has nothing to do with portrayer Courtney Hope, who is wildly appealing, but rather the character just never really seeming all that well-defined to me. Was she a good girl who makes mistakes? A bad girl trying to do better?

Adam Sally bar Y&R

But man, did the show strike gold with the Adam/Sally pairing. This week’s scenes, with Adam pouring out his heart and Sally obviously wanting to give him a second chance but terrified to do so, were fantastic soap. I’m not sure we really need the Nick/Adam angle, but it’s working pretty well.

Works In Progress

The writers wisely moved Noah out sadsack mode by getting him away from Tessa and into a relationship with Allie. I can’t say that I’m heavily invested in that particular relationship, but the arrival of troublemaker Audra has certainly gotten my attention.

Elena encouraging to Tessa Mariah Y&R

Speaking of Tessa, she and wife Mariah have been ridiculously backburnered for ages. Remember that awful period when characters like Devon only showed up once a week, and fans started referring to it as “Winters Wednesday?” Well, it’s starting to feel that way with Teriah. Hopefully, this baby story will given them something to do… without becoming the awful mess that we got with Abby’s baby.

Missing In Action

While the core families have been well represented of late, other much-loved characters have been completely sidelined. Sharon has nothing to do but serve coffee and offer people advice. What was the point of killing Rey — a twist with no dramatic payoff — if it wasn’t to throw her back into the Adam/Nick mix?

Lauren Michael suite Y&R

I also really miss Lauren and Michael. For a while, it seemed that his working for Victor again might lead to a bit of marital discord for the attorney and his wife, but no. Sure, we got a bit of her gossiping with Ashley on Friday, but I’m greedy… I want more. At this point, I’m ready for the show to “loan” Lauren to Bold & Beautiful for a while so she can get involved in the Sheila story.

What We Need Next

There are two big elements missing from Young & Restless right now, and both are vitally important to any soap. The first is romance. Yes, as I mentioned earlier, we’re getting some nice stuff with the Adam/Sally/Nick situation. But otherwise, there’s not really all that much in the way of romance on the show. Why is Jack single? What do we have to do to play a wonderful romance with Traci, someone the audience loves and can relate to?

Allie Traci Y&R

The other missing element? A villain. Tucker is definitely a pot-stirrer, and I’m interested to see how his agenda plays out. But it’s been a while since a good, old-fashioned bad guy (or gal) really rocked Genoa City. Ashland had the potential to be that character, but was miswritten from the start. Like Valentin Cassadine on General Hospital, we were told a big bad was coming only to wind up with something completely different.

That said, Friday’s episode may have clued us in to not only who the next big bad will be, but how he’ll show up in Genoa City. Something tells me Nikki, Phyllis and Ashley’s attempt to expose Diane’s secret may backfire big time if they wind up bringing Jeremy Stark to town!

Random Thoughts

noah audra club yr

• Can we just admit that Noah’s nightclub is a bust? It’s basically a corner at the Grand Phoenix. A corner does not a club make.

• Traci reading a book written by a fellow author who was looking for a cover blurb may have been a throwaway line, but it was also very real. Look at the back of any romance novel, and you’ll find quotes from other writers in the genre praising the book.

Ever wonder who the stars of Grey’s Anatomy are dating in real life? Well, wonder no more, cause the picture-packed gallery below will answer that burning question! 


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