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Deconstructing Y&R: Abby Clears Ashley, and Sticks It to Victoria

March 5 - 9

Y&R could stand to lighten up a bit as everyone seems to have negative stuff going on and it’s feeling a tad heavy. Additionally, some of the writing has skewed toward plot-driven, which never does the characters involved any favors. Thoughts:

Peach pie alert.
The week kicked off with Phyllis and Nikki up in arms about Nick moving in with Sharon. Some questioned Phyllis being all up in Nick’s business, but my feeling is that, Phyllis being Phyllis, she should have been there all along. When the writing previously all but ignored Nick and Phyllis’ history, and removed them from one another’s orbits, that felt wrong. As for Nikki, her feelings on Sharon are well-known, and the scenes between them were entertaining as always. Watching Sharon reconnect with Christian was equal parts sweet and scary, as she could become attached only to lose him again. Viewers reacted to the Nikki/Sharon scenes:

In related commentary, Billy got to feeling bad for Nick and had a ‘serious talk’ with Phyllis about her impulsiveness and tendency not to listen. It’s nice to see Billy exhibiting some growth, and his concerns may have had some validity, but what struck me most is that I found myself scrutinizing his tone – probably thanks to JT’s storyline which has viewers finely-tuned to any hint of male dominant condescension. I’m all for helping your partner be the best version of themselves, as long as it doesn’t extend to someone apologizing for who they are. The scene at the bar with Billy admitting he almost succumbed to his darker side to help Ashley put them back on equal footing – love how these two ‘get’ one another.

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Disturbing drama.
The situation with JT and Victoria is distinctly unsettling. As mentioned in the last Deconstructing Y&R, JT’s abusive behavior has escalated, becoming more targeted toward damaging Vikki’s self-esteem and isolating her. It’s uncomfortable to watch any abusive storyline develop and play out, but it’s particularly distressing with JT and Victoria. While telling the story with two well-known characters boosts the impact, it also runs the risk of maximizing viewers’ outrage. JT seems an unlikely choice for an abuser, despite having been a ‘hard ass’ in taking custody of Reed, and Victoria is possibly more implausible as his victim. Not that ‘strong’ women can’t find themselves in this situation – they absolutely can and do – however Victoria, historically, has had no problem kicking men to the curb when they’ve rubbed her the wrong way, and she has never lacked confidence as an executive, especially at Newman Enterprises, so the writing for her, both personally and professionally, seems exceedingly plot-driven recently. That said, the depiction of the highs and lows common in abusive situations has been spot on, and the actors are doing a fabulous job, as everyone is ‘feeling’ this situation regardless of their take.

Resigned.
The idea that Victor’s ‘master of puppets’ routine with Victoria and Ashley drove Victoria to collude with Jack was acceptable, but the amateurish frame-up was bit of an insult to the characters. I’d have loved to see Ashley and Victoria turn the tables on Victor somehow instead, but that was never going to happen. Anyway, Lily, who was caught between the warring factions, ended up resigning, which felt pretty obviously geared toward moving her to another workplace and storyline, and that is exactly what happened. As for Abby clearing her mother’s name, the twist of her getting her revenge on Victoria in the process was a good one, as it’s been a long time coming, but asking us to believe Abby out-investigated Victor and his team? Come on.

A thaw in relations.
Devon started to see Hilary in a different light after learning she was mentoring Shauna and that storyline further developed as Devon ‘caught Hilary doing something nice’ as she worked to convince Shauna to stay in school at Crimson Lights. The chemistry between Devon and Hilary is off the charts, so the thawing of relations is gratifying in the sense that they’re finally being drawn back together. I’m still resistant to the implied concept that her ‘redemption’ involves regaining his love/approval, however. With that said, the idea of Hilary and Devon mentoring Shauna together is appealing (if he stops condescending), and Charlie taking an interest in the girl may create some drama with Lily and Cane, who Devon was already at odds with while defending Hilary. He made a good point, if Cane is worthy of receiving the benefit of the doubt, why not others as well? The fact that Lily is now working at Hamilton-Winters signals a return to her clashing with Hilary on the regular, so the set-up here is pretty clear.

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Abbott family heartbreak.
Dina returned from Paris displaying more erratic behavior and while some were feeling over it, I’m willing to give Mal Young a bit more room. The emotion of the Abbotts as they deal with Dina’s rapidly deteriorating condition is just as heartbreaking as when they received the diagnosis.

The blog reflects the author’s opinion. Share your views in the comment section below.

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Photo credit: Howard Wise/JPI

– Candace Young

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