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« I Am So Easily Manipulated | Main | Night Shift Episode 1: Frayed Anatomies »

July 12, 2007

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 to GH?
  • Seriously, Sylvia f'ing Browne? 


But see, the secret to Y&R's success is the fact they tell you what's going on over and over in an episode; it's so easy to follow! Missed years at a time? No problem, only a week's passed! I see the show three times a year at my mother's; know everything that's going on.

I've seen scenes where literally one line is delivered:

Close-up on Victor. He flairs his nostrils.

Nikki tosses her hair. "Yes....Victor....?"

He puckers his lips, then sips his Scotch slowly. "You know what I want...Nikki..."

Close up on Nikki looking nonplussed.

Reverse close up on Victor cocking one eyebrow.

Cut to commercial.

First, on the credit point, they rotate the credits. Different set every day.

That being said, Lisa has it partly nailed: moves slower than a glacier.

The other thing is that the quality of the writing has tumbled considerably. The plot movement has sped up, but the quality has dropped. Witness the porn addiction.

I've never been a huge fan, but have seen a bit of the show because it was shown here after Days until very recently, plus the first time I saw it back in the 80s a black guy was pretending to be white, complete with make-up to make an impression with his girlfriend's parents, I think, and who couldn't get at least a little interested in that?

But I've certainly never understood why it's been so much more popular than other shows, because for all that it had going for it, it always had a snail's pace and Don Diamont going against it.

Nonpuddled is my new favorite word, and I shall use it at every opportunity.

In my delusional fantasyland, GH's Alexis and YR's Jack are a fabulous couple.

Nonpuddled? BWA! So true.

Y&R picked the two most boring episodes of the year for their Emmy submission. I couldn't sit through either one.

"In my delusional fantasyland, GH's Alexis and YR's Jack are a fabulous couple."

Um. Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes.

I liked the days when people called Victor "The Mustache" and Victoria was played by Heather Tom. I will never, ever get Amelia Heinle's appeal as an actress. She plays every character the same: blank-eyed, sort of mealy-mouthed, and bland.

But, Peter Bergman? Ageless. Hot. Awesome.

Only been watching semi-seriously for 6 months, since Vincent Irizarry joined, so my observations are limited. My favorite thing about Y&R is that many of the veterans have all been married to each other's current partners and/or parents, with incestual abandon! There was one really cool scene where Nick was giving a pep talk to his son Noah -- he was praising Noah's step-father (Jack) and recounting tales of his affectionate caring when he was Nick's step-father years ago. That was as about as sudsy-soapy as you can get!

Also, fwiw, I hated Sharon the first instant I saw her and thought that I was imbued with some malevolent spirit. It helps to know that she's at least slightly annoying to new watchers.

Brad definitely nonpuddles. He's the nonpuddlest of all the nonpuddlers in Genoa City.

Thanks for the laughter -- and the new vocabulary!

I just have to chime in and say that I wasn't a fan of Eileen Davidson on Days, either. As much as I think she's made up of mucho awesomeness, I pretty much hated everything about the show then.

adirenne franz is my cousin. I promise

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