Soap I Don't Watch #3: The Young and the Restless
My uneducated peek at the "best" daytime has to offer continues with the third show from SoapNet's Daytime Emmy Dramarama marathon, The Young and the Restless. I knew almost nothing about this show until I met Promising Ingénue, other than that it had been at the top of the ratings for eons. PI had such a low opinion of the writing that I thought either 1) millions of Americans must be wrong to watch it so faithfully, or 2) she might be a bit soft in the head. I think you can guess towards which option I was leaning. But after watching this episode, I think she might be right! She was definitely right about Peter Bergman, who is downright dreamy. Also dreamy, and super intellectual (always what we strive for around here), is the pro and con format I used for the Guiding Light and The Bold and the Beautiful reviews. Shall we see how Y&R fares using it?
Actually, I'll spare you the suspense. This is the first of the Soaps I Don't Watch so far that I am totally perplexed as to how it got nominated for Best Drama (at least based on this episode). And it won?! (Well, tied?) Bizarre. Maybe all the naysayers are right and the genre really is circling the drain. On that happy note, on to my hypercritical look at daytime's best and most popular, a show about the youthful and/or energetic among us (if we were all better looking and more dramatic)...
(Apologies in advance for the lack of screencaps; technical difficulties abounded.)
The Young and the Restless Pros:
- Peter Bergman's frequently aforementioned dreaminess.
- Like B&B, this show lists the actors' names in the credits. I
dig it. Except, I assume there are more than six people on the show?
How do they decide who is in the opener? Ooooh, do the actors have to
do dares at the whim of the producers, lest they get cut from the
credits? That would so explain Victoria Rowell's hats.
- Eileen Davidson, at least according to the credits, is on the show. She's fab. Though, and I think this is an offense worthy of stoning among Days fans, I actually wasn't a fan of her character(s) on Days. I stopped watching around that time; it was when the show went waaaay over the campy/intentionally silly line. Anyway, she's since been fired from Y&R, right? Which is more of a con than a pro...
- Nick is a character I like solely because he was on the cover of Soap Opera Digest for both
our first and second columns. Entertainingly, the headlines were "Nick
Dies in Fatal Crash!" -- as opposed to all those non-fatal crashes in
which people die, and then "Nick's Alive!" He clearly had a busy month.
- Jack and Phyllis banter amusingly. I love me some good banter.
"Oh darn, and I left my bottle of instant scintillate at home." Peter
Bergman's dreaminess knows no bounds.
The Young and the Restless Cons:
- The show opens with Peter Bergman (good!) and
Michelle Stafford (good, I think; all I know is she is always well-dressed at the Emmys), in
one of the top five most contrived soap plots ever, "pregnant woman
trapped in an elevator is experiencing contractions" (very bad). What will
happen?! You can never tell how these things will end!
- The next scene is with that guy Brad, who I know from PI is lame. He and this blonde woman (who is dressed in a plaid jumper, which I didn't even know they made in grown up sizes and am unconvinced they should) are having cell phone conversations with other people and then relaying what the other people are saying to each other, in the clunkiest bit of exposition I've seen in a very long time. Apparently there's a storm that has caused a power outage and the usual attendant dangers and strandings. Two scenes in and we have two of the most overused soap clichés. Viva originality!
- Brad (Don Diamont) has the oddest perma-expression; it's all at once nonplussed and befuddled (nonpuddled?) yet also blank. Like he has no idea what's going on, but he's totally okay with that. I'm both fascinated and bored senseless by it.
- Judith Chapman isn't in this episode, but she's in the credits, so I am taking the opportunity to discuss the fact that she freaked me out during her tenure as Anjelica on Days. She had this look of perennial surprise/hate that, combined with her weird on-again, off-again accent and this strange thing she did with her eyes, was very Faye-Dunaway-in-Mommie-Dearest-ish. They easily could have based a character in Soapdish on her. I'm sure she's great here, though. And I assume she's not following in Jane Elliott's footsteps this time, which is fortunate for her. (Totally unrelated, but thinking about Anjelica reminds me of how traumatized I was when I started watching GH and Jane Elliott and Wally Kurth, whose characters were [insert Will Farrell voice here] lovahs [/voice] on Days, were mother and son! It was so wrong!)
- Some annoying woman is trapped in a car after an accident with a guy named Daniel (who I learned from our Emmys live-blogging is the porn addict). She seems peeved at him for being injured. I don't think that's the angle the actress was going for. Or maybe she's actually upset about the porn? There are just so many layers. She also chooses to attempt to convey fear/injury with loud heavy breathing, causing one of my relatives to think I was taking the opportunity of vacation to watch porn on my laptop.
- Most obvious double entendre ever: Lame Brad: ...white or red? Slightly annoying blonde whom I now know thanks to IMDB is Sharon (recently put on notice here at SD): Oh I don't know, I'll let you choose. I'm easy. I mean, I'm easy about the kind of wine I drink! Brad nonpuddles in response that he wasn't confused by what she meant by "I'm easy," but 1) I think he probably was since he strikes me as someone who would be confused by tic tac toe, and 2) uh, way to totally lack a sense of humor, dude. Not too bright and humorless, but thinks he's really cute. Oh man, I have so dated this guy.
- Why is Jeanne Cooper's maid dressed like she is cleaning Daddy Warbucks' mansion in a stage production of Annie?
- OH MY GOD, PSYCHIC SYLVIA BROWNE? Are you kidding me?! I used to watch her on Montel when I was in college. She is the worst psychic ever. And also always sounds like she just returned from the world championships of fire-swallowing. What in the name of good stunt-casting is this snake oil saleswoman doing on this show?! It's not Passions!
- Adrianne Leon's Colleen making out with her professor wasn't even
interesting. How can inappropriate faculty/student romance be made
boring? That is a pretty spectacular feat of poor soapsmanship.
- So this is Adrienne Franz, huh?
- Phyllis said her baby was in the breach position seriously like 17 times during this one episode alone. It's like the writers think that viewers can't retain information from one scene to the next. I didn't realize James E. Reilly had a side gig with Y&R.
- Brad nonpuddles about being committed to his marriage (to Victoria, I think?) while stroking Sharon's arm and face and telling her he will love her until the day he dies. I find this creepy and not at all romantic, and also sort of wish the day Brad dies comes soon. Is he really the main romantic lead?
- Cast members who were not in this episode which received not only a
best show nomination but tied for the win: Eileen Davidson, Victoria
Rowell, Kristoff St. John, Eric Braeden, Judith Chapman, Melody Thomas Scott, and
Christian LeBlanc (who is also not in the credits, right?). When did
not showcasing your stars become a trend, and when will it make its way
- Seriously, Sylvia f'ing Browne?