Deconstructing Y&R: Mal Young Gives Soap Energy, Intensity, and Depth

October 23 - 27


This week gets ‘raves’, few ‘rants’. Even though Mal Young’s first official Y&R script aired Wednesday, the transition obviously had begun prior to that. From the end of last week, the storytelling started to become engaging again, with increasing energy, intensity, depth, and more contrast among the scenes, which have distinct ambiance. The music and background noises verge on being a distraction here and there, but for the most part they enhance the production. Young came in like a lion with his first episode as headwriter, which featured the dramatic and macabre ending with Victoria collapsing live on air and Scott waking up in a bloody murder scene after being drugged, set rather eerily to that tune Dina used to sing to Jack playing on the scratchy old record. Yum. Thoughts:

Lily discovered that Cane had moved Juliet into the Chancellor mansion, and instead of politely excusing herself and wishing them well, she got pissed off, then later, after leaving him to clean up his own ‘mess’ with the twins, went out for a stiff drink and nearly knocked ol’ Nick Newman off his barstool with her suggestion that she was contemplating some revenge sex with a hot guy like him. Amazing. Some noted Lily shouldn’t be upset since she initiated the divorce, but emotions are complicated and many would have reacted that way. It felt real.

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She’s back!
Phyllis was back to her old self just in time to unleash her fury on Billy for using her and lying to her face and it was a thing of beauty. Entertainingly, Billy tried unsuccessfully to turn the tables on her, then to make amends, and as she coolly dropped the other shoe, letting him know he’d been set up by Jack. The comedic aspects were a scream as Phyllis physically leapt over furniture and shoved Billy out the door, hollering about priorities, as the dumbass picked the worst possible time to phone Victoria to warn her. The bit with Billy’s legs dangling behind Phyllis as she made coffee the next morning was hilarious too. These two are gold, and it’s a breath of fresh air to see them written to their potential:

More mystery.
As mentioned in the last Deconstructing Y&R, interest dipped in Dina’s story after Graham seemed to become dispensable, but Jack’s genuine emotion and Ashley’s conflicted thoughts surrounding Dina’s kidnapping was able to re-engage me to an extent. The surprise of finding her not in peril, but laughing gaily while tossing back martinis in a swanky hotel, was both amusing and curious. But wait, then Dina had also seemingly undergone some sort of brainwashing as she expressed hatred toward Jack and even smacked his hand away, leaving us all wondering what the heck was going on with her! Consider my interest piqued, or re-piqued. Good stuff.

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The saga of Victoria’s ‘sporadic ear/head buzzing accompanied by odd behavior’ was finally resolved, yet the toxicity diagnosis also left us with more questions. Specifically, ‘Will Brash & Sassy survive?’ and ‘Who poisoned the face masks?’ This plot was instantly reminiscent of Gloria tainting the Jabot cream in the past, and consequently the finger pointing began at Jabot. Notably, the gathering when Victoria was hospitalized felt ‘right’ as per how the characters were interacting, particularly Victor and Billy. Though it was obviously ridiculous for the Mustache to barrel in accusing Billy of ‘doing something’ to his daughter, it was more realistic than him asking Billy for help getting her back into his life. I’m on the fence about them working together against Jack. The scene that led up to Victoria’s collapse was also well done, as she kept zoning out on air while the others tried to continue on normally. Lily and Hilary’s sniping can be quite entertaining, but sours when the subject of the bickering is Jordan. With all of the other ‘resets’ happening, here’s hoping that will be addressed.

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Deep trouble.
Another stunner this week was Scott waking up covered in the blood of a dead prostitute after Zach slipped a drug into his beer. Utterly shocking; not because we haven’t seen this before (hello, Jack), but because we’d become so used to this sex ring storyline being boring and superficial that it was genuinely and heart-stoppingly unexpected for something that dramatic to occur. Just like that, the storyline got some grit, darkness, and lo and behold I felt some things – concern for Scott (they have to believe he was framed!), along with a desire for that schmoozy sociopath Zach to be exposed. A notable small twist was that Victor didn’t offer up the family-style loyalty Scott seemed to be expecting and called the police. At least he showed up later to grunt that he didn’t believe he was capable of murder. Having Paul and Michael involved has been an added bonus, though Christine should have been there since she’d worked with Scott, and the Lauren and Sharon scene in Crimson Lights was entertaining, but also felt a tad over-the-top. Back-tracking, it wasn’t believable that Scott would have blabbed to Zach about his investigation in the first place, but we’ll buy it as a means to an end….hopefully the end of this storyline, which appears to be approaching quickly what with Scott making the connection to the dating app. I loved how Scott and Sharon made that discovery just as they cut to Zach having sex with Abby with a self-satisfied look on his face. The sleaze!

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Photo credit: Howard Wise/JPI

– Candace Young


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