The Young and the Rest of Us

America’s Next Top Model diva-turned-Young and Restless star Eva Marcille has definitely come along way since she premiered as Tyra, the never-before-mentioned bio aunt of Devon (Bryton McClure), however Y&R’s black storyline as a whole is the only weak link in an otherwise miraculous recovery for the CBS sudser. 

Daytime’s Answer to The Huxtables

What made Y&R’s black characters so refreshing and popular for the better part of two decades was that they always seemed real. Before the Barber sisters and the Winters brothers arrived in the 90’s, blacks on soaps were typically written as either saintly and heroic or dangerous and menacing. Characters like Drucilla (Victoria Rowell), Liv (Tonya Lee Williams), Neil (Kristoff St. John) and Malcolm (Shemar Moore) proved that (gasp!) black people came in all shapes, forms and yes, colors. 

Dru was a complicated, mischievous woman who basically went up and down on a scale from bitch-goddess to strong-willed heroine, resonating immensely with fans along the way. Even as Dru rose to the top of upper middle class society, she always kept her ability to go from zero to ghetto in 30 seconds flat.

Dru’s big sister Liv represented a new generation of educated, modern black women. From day one, Liv was written and portrayed as a talented, well-spoken doctor and sorority sister, fully equal to the soap’s signature heiress and her best friend Ashley Abbott (Eileen Davidson).

Buppie corporate executive Neil Winters (Kristoff St. John) proved that a black man didn’t have to start his soap life on the streets, or having to be taught how to read by a white man like Y&R’s Nathan before him. Neil was an Ivy-league-educated brothah who wanted to be the next Victor Newman. For a generation of young, black men who grew up watching the affluent lifestyle of the Huxtables on the Number One rated NBC sitcom The Cosby Show, Neil was someone they could look up to and aspire to be like. 

Neil’s troubled half brother Malcolm (Shemar Moore) put a wild, sexy new spin of the typical soap-guy-from-the hood schtick. Like his sister-in-law/Baby Mama Dru, Malcolm definitely knew how to take it to the hood, but the character was also central to the action taking place at Genoa City’s rival cosmetics firms, as the most sought after fashion photograher in the Midwest. The fact that Moore flashed a sneaky "I’ll Screw You All Night " grin and a six, eight, ten-pack didn’t hurt. 

 As Malcolm, Moore became integral to the show, forming a strong friendship with fellow trouble maker Phyllis (MIchelle Stafford) and a sexy fliration with the richest girl in town, Victoria Newman (then-Heather Tom), while having front burner, sensual, yet-at-times volatile portrayals of black love with Williams, Rowell and others. Anyone needing further proof of the impact this character and its portrayer had on the show, need only look to the Nielsens and the near one million viewers that left the show with him. 

Guess Who’s Coming to Bore Us?

Okay, I’m sure you’re waiting for it, another demand, plea,  or announcement of a prayer vigile outside the CBS studios, in order  to convince the producers of The Young and the Restless to do whatever it takes to bring back Rowell and/or Moore in some form or fashion. That isn’t what this is. I think we here at DC have all made it clear how much we would love to see that transpire, but in an effort to "work with what we got" I would like to point out  what needs fixing with Y&R’s current black cast and storylines. 

We’ll start with the aforementioned Marcille. The problem with the Karen/Neil/Tyra snore-angle is that everyone is too doggone nice! There is absolutely nothing soapy or intriguing about two, overly-polite women occasionally looking at each other with slight fear, before smiling and making polite conversatons or being interrupted by the most annoying child to hit television since Cousin Oliver on The Brady Bunch. I’m sorry, the little girl is precious, but like Erin Sanders. She has got to GO! Okay, sigh, I’m gonna burn in hell for that one.

 Viewers of America’s Top Model loved-to-hate Marcille’s determined, fierce "they hate me ’cause they wanna be me" persona on that show.  My question to the writers at Y&R is, why aren’t they writing to Marcille’s strengths?
With her striking good looks and natural diva inclinations, I predict Marcille would make one helluvah good scheming soap bitch. Especially if Rowell came back to face off with her over Neil. I am sorry, I loved Nia Peebles on Walker Texas Ranger and that one dancing show in the 80’s, but she sticks out like a sore thumb on this show.

60 Responses

  1. Profile photo of siomonstuart2003

    Thank you, Jamey, for speaking about the lack of viable AA characters on the show and the rest of daytime. I like Christel Khalil, but I hate this lily white sainthood and I like what VR said that Davetta Sherwood was Lily for her. I do agree that the show is close to perfect except with the AA characters not being portraying to their full potential. I think the absence of Victoria Rowell’s Dru is hurting the Winters family because Dru was who she was and did not apologize for who she is. Dru spice up the Winters family and kept them on their toes. I hope that they do something with the characters or the rest of the AA viewership falls more than it already is.


  2. Profile photo of DramaFanatic

    Sadly, this isn’t just a Y&R problem, all of daytime has no idea how to write for any minority character. I’ll give Y&R credit for at least trying and giving substantial airtime to these character. However, maybe they should hire some African-American story consultants to help pitch ideas regarding these characters.

    I think they’re slowly developing the Tyra character. We’re slowly seeing what appears to be a more devious side of her. Let’s see where this goes.

  3. Profile photo of Darren Lomas
    Darren Lomas

    Fantastic post! The writers are really missing a beat with the Karen/Neil/Tyra story. Both Kristoff and Nia have the acting chops for a meaty storyline, why do we get the singing brat and a snoozeworthy love-triangle? You’re so right, there needs to be some spice in there.

    Otherwise, Y&R is virtually flawless. I’ve been loving it… the reliquary is a distant memory.

  4. Profile photo of miajere

    This part of the cast is the only thing missing from the fine vintage Y&R of today.Until these questions are answered, I can’t say it’s as good as it was “back in the day.”

  5. Profile photo of EttaKit

    Jamey, I find your take on Lily/CK to be quite myopic and stale. Lily’s appeal transcends race and age so just because she doesn’t fit your stereotype doesn’t mean there’s a Lily problem. Good girl, middle class Lily as played by Christel is a classic soap heroine in the making. All the guys always fell for Christine Blair so why not Lily?

    And Lily does represent the black experience, it’s just not the one you think it should be. Furthermore I imagine Bill Bell’s intent for Y&R’s black characters goes beyond a lure for African-American viewers.

    Y&R would definitely benefit from having diversity within its writing staff. I don’t think they need to worry about Lily. Despite what you may think of the character, I and many other viewers appreciate Lily and enjoy Christel’s portrayal. Writing is another story and that goes for the entire show.

  6. Profile photo of Jillian Bowe
    Jillian Bowe

    Jamey for the love of God please… GET THE HELL OUT OF MY HEAD! *LOL* I am so glad you posted something about this. This is the only problem I have with Y&R at the moment, their storytelling of the black characters they have currently.Why are they just mingling with themselves and not others on the canvas? The only ones that seem to do that is Neil and Lily along with Olivia this coming week… We (Blacks) do speak with the Caucasian masses. I don’t get why they think everything Lily will get black viewers to turn back in…. It won’t.. This black viewer’s always scratching her head when Lily opens her mouth or looks pained whenever she sees Cane. If I were Lily I’d fight for my man like I was fighting for air. As for Eva, I don’t get why Y&R has her playing goodness and light, I’d love to see her be a vixen and go hard for Neil until our beloved Drucilla comes back and slaps that hoe down. I’d like to see Tyra and Brad, or hell Tyra and JT swap some spit instead of just have her relegated to speak about her child prodigy and her great sacrifice. Karen doesn’t fit on the show, she’s a bore (sorry Nia Peebles fans nothing against her), Lily should’ve never been re-re-cast with CK (nothing against her either)because she doesn’t convey anything Dru-esque at all considering that is her role model. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with portraying Blacks as educated and intelligent instead of the typical mock ups that Hollyweird has of us. However, I’m just speaking to the fact that we do get in touch with our genetic markup, meaning we do take after our parents in some faction and Lily doesn’t seem to be doing so at the moment. Yes Neil is her father but DNA-wise so is Malcolm and Dru and that should be radiating from her right now. The same goes for Tyra, she  knows what its like to fight for something and she should be fighting for Neil with every fiber of her being instead she’s just making cow-faces at him. I love Y&R and I love the fact that they can portray Blacks in a positive light however, they aren’t doing us any service by just keeping the Black characters on screen among themselves.

  7. Profile photo of marcowife05

    I was going to say never have I read such NONSENSE but I have!!! You and NB have a lot in common. What I don’t understand is why you think that the two hottest Character’s on the show should be fighting over a Lying Stalking Manipulating Unattractive Mediocre character when they could and should be fighting over Lily. Christel Khalil is a very good actress in my opinion and your rant about the actress is comical if anything!! The funny thing to me is, No matter what anybody says or writes or how many articles are done or how many interviews she does, No one is going to think the Chloe charcter deserves anyone fighting over her. The best she can do is have a nervous breakdown and be committed to a mental institution!! TPTB should just admit that they put all their pennies in the wrong basket with the Chloe character and they lost!!! I like you wish that she would go back NY or LA or wherever it is she came from and stop helping in the ruin of my favorite show. Because I will admit she’s not alone, The writer’s have ruined alot all on their own.

  8. Profile photo of miajere

    there are plenty of young talented actors out there who could play this role- but they casted this girl as the child of a legacy character from a legacy family. Forget the black experience, I can’t see this girl having anything to do with Dru or the Winters- valley girl or not. Look at Olivia- she was never rough and tumble, but she was perfect as Dru’s sister. I’ve always imagined the writers are playing to the CK’s strengths- understated and uncomplicated. If they needed to recast Billy ten million times to search for the right actor- they need to do the same for Lily. and I actually like CK, but even I can admit, she could be anyone but Dru’s daughter.

  9. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Look at Olivia- she was never rough and tumble, but she was perfect as Dru’s sister. ***
    Exactly, that’s why I pointed out the contrasts between Dru and Liv and Malcolm and Neil, because anytime anyone points out that Christel Khalil, who allegedly asked producers NOT to pair her with black actors, is not an authentic portrayal of a black woman people say you are being stereotypical. I am sorry, you can define yourself however you choose, but if you are playing the child of two of the most popular characters in daytime, who just happen to be black, you some in some way, shape or form exemplify that.

  10. Profile photo of Jillian Bowe
    Jillian Bowe

    ****Exactly, that’s why I pointed out the contrasts between Dru and Liv and Malcolm and Neil, because anytime anyone points out that Christel Khalil, who allegedly asked producers NOT to pair her with black actors, is not an authentic portrayal of a black woman people say you are being stereotypical. I am sorry, you can define yourself however you choose, but if you are playing the child of two of the most popular characters in daytime, who just happen to be black, you some in some way, shape or form exemplify that.**** That’s exactly my point as well. I’m not saying and I can also say Jamey’s not saying that Lily should be the typical stereotype of a black person but when she has the genetic makeup of Malcolm and Dru she SHOULD exemplify some of their characteristics.

  11. Profile photo of Luke Kerr
    Luke Kerr

    I LOVED the Lily (CK) and Daniel (MG) on the run storyline. LOVED it! But since CK’s return whatever chemistry those two actors might have had disappeared with that awful porn s/l and the character of Lily hasn’t had a dynamic pairing since IMO. Lily is a terribly written character and it bothers me to no end that they would take such a dynamic Billy Abbott character and make him fall for such an uninteresting character as Lily has become.

  12. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    What always amuses me is if anyone says anything about Christel, they are accused of being “stereotypical” or “myopic.” I said the little girl, should go too. Is that stereoypical? Neil and Liv aren’t stereotypical, as I pointed out, but again that was missed, and they have never bored me. but yes, Christel bores me to tears. She turned Lily into a naggy, boring, harpy who drove Daniel to porn and as her reward she now has the hottest guys on the show fighting for her? Who does she think she is Cricket Blair?

  13. Profile photo of siomonstuart2003

    I agree with all the statements. I know a black woman won’t take no crap from anyone so I just feel that CK she have some bitchy in her character or so take-no-prisoners attitude with her, but I and the viewers don’t see it. That why when Davatta was in the role, I think that she was ok, but now I do see her as a product of Mal and Dru and won’t take any crap from anyone. I not seeing it with CK.


  14. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Same for me, too, Luke. I liked Christel’s Lily a lot in the beginning but when she returned to the role something happened. It wasn’t the same.
    I liked her too during that stint. Shemar and Victoria were around though to balance her out. And Dru could slap the taste out of her mouth when she pulled that mouthy, getting sassy with your mama stuff that does NOT happen in ANY black house in America, I am sorry, it is what it is.

  15. Profile photo of east.west

    The whole thing about CK Lily is that they never should’ve brought her back in the role. I mean CK is a good actress, but the writing for Lily went down so many notches after LML fired Davetta. The scenes that I will always remember Davetta in was when Neil found out that Lily wasn’t his daughter.

    And if they want to capture Lily as the daughter of Dru and Malcom they need to recast.

    My suggestion is either get Kyla Pratt or Tessa Thompson in the role.

  16. Profile photo of miajere

    It’s not about black women not taking any crap- but we have boundaries just like everybody else. Characters like Dru just happen to define their boundaries a little more clearly. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need to see Lily casted from the Real Housewives of Atlanta, but she’s not even a suitable non-black character.

    Hell, I’m starting to think Heather was Dru’s daughter. Can Young and the Rest of Us get the actress that plays Heather to be Lily??? (looking a my cyanide pill)

  17. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    My suggestion is either get Kyla Pratt
    PREACH! Do you know I wanted to do a Wishful Casting with her and the guy who played her boyfriend on her little sitcom as Lil Nate?! They would be AMAZING! It is a sad day when the only time a black soap nut like me wanted to fast forward Y&R last week was when the black folks came on. That NEVER happened when Shemar and Victoria were there. Even during the dreadful LML years. There is a reason this show used to be REPORTED on all the major black radio morning shows and magazines just like the top stars in film, primetime and music. Ain’t nobody trying to talk about Christel in the black press. Not that she is even having herself pitched to them.

  18. Profile photo of Jillian Bowe
    Jillian Bowe

    See that’s the thing. The writing for Lily has vanished ever since CK took over the role again. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the pairing of Daniel and Lily, I thought it was a great teen angst stories that was told in a while. Then it was ruined for some unforeseen reason and Lily hasn’t been the same since. The magic was lost once CK returned to the role.

  19. Profile photo of season1217

    See, I’m over the black women don’t take no mess stereotype. Every woman of every race is different. I know plenty of black women who take a heck of a lot of crap. Unfaithful men. Abusive relationships. Does that only happen to white women? I don’t think so. I don’t need Lily to have her hand on her hip doing two snaps in a circle. I want to see a fleshed out character. Not the stick of wood I see before me. She doesn’t have to be like Dru or Malcolm. Look at Bianca on AMC. She would never do the things her mother has done. I find it every interesting when children become the polar opposites of their parents but their needs to be some fire in the character of Lily. A spark of life. Quick somebody get some flints!

  20. Profile photo of

    Is this the same Lily that was causing Dru so much havoc in Paris that she brought her to GC to Neil so he could help calm her down? The character has no back bone. Frankly I don’t care who they pair her up with black or white, she doesn’t have the oomph to make it work. Billy Miller is working for that paycheck with the scenes with her.

    I think the focus should be more on Neil. As much as I love Nia Peeples (Street of Dreams hot track!)It ain’t working. They writers made the proverbial mistake of pairing a blandish character with another. We all know Neil was spicy with Dru. He’s always needed a stronger partner to make people pay attention. If they followed Jamey’s advice, which I would strongly recommend, bitch up Eva the diva and let the story begin. And if it will get more Olivia on the screen get that cop Tyra’s been seeing in to her orbit! Then bring Nate back! I already smell the conflict with that story.

  21. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Here’s another glaring point I left out. It is definitely possible and actually normal for a child to be totally different than her parents. But on this show, they go to great lengths to tell us how much Lily is like Dru…they had her go to see Dru’s Madam. They had her become an model. And Devon and Neil are constantly telling her how much she reminds them of Dru. How in the world are fans supposed to buy that, when it is so untrue it isn’t even funny?

  22. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Billy Miller is working for that paycheck with the scenes with her.
    As did Daniel Goddard, Michael Graziadei and Greg Rikaart before them. They all deserved time and a half pay.

  23. Profile photo of miajere

    She couldn’t even carry off the glaring rivalry between Lily and Phylis… Phylis would eat her alive and bring shame to those who loved watching Dru vs. Phylis.

  24. Profile photo of east.west

    PREACH! Do you know I wanted to do a Wishful Casting with her and the guy who played her boyfriend on her little sitcom as Lil Nate?! They would be AMAZING!

    See that could work.

    Maria & Paul make it happen.

  25. Profile photo of season1217

    It’s very true that the show continually tries to hammer home the point that Lily is just like mommy and I, also, completely forgot about Dru’s problems w/ Lily while they lived in Paris.

    Let’s, also, not forget the fact that bug chasin’ Lily is yet again meeting w/ strange men she met on-line.

  26. Profile photo of angie2000

    Although I agree with the lack luster storylines for the black actors on Y&R. However, I don’t agree with you statement of Lily needing to be a mini Dru. I love that the writers are making Lily as a heroine, who is loving, caring, classy and sweet. You see these characteristics portrayal of non black actresses-qll the time– why not a black actress. I don’t see enough of black actresses portraying the Lily type of role. I see the other types portrayed ….sometimes stereotypical portrayal of black women. It is so refreshing to see a heroine type of role for our black actress. However, I’m not always happy with how the Y&R writers write for the Lily character. Christel Khali (aka Lily) has the acting range- that allows viewers to feel her Lily character’s emotions. No doubt about that. I wish the Y&R writers allow Lily to have more substance in her storylines and character development. The writers need to do a SL where she FINALLY finds herself and learn how powerful she really can be. I want the writers to show Lily controlling her own puppet strings of her life instead of the “unbelievable” angst that are currently portraying in her storylines. I love the romance in her storyline (regardless if it’s a black or white actor as her suitor)- I liked how Y&R are connecting her character with the major Y&R family (Chanclors (Sp?) and Abbotts. However, I also want writers to give Lily a career, stop portraying her of a sacrifice martyr , I want her still being portray as having the biggest heart and the sweetest soul and classy, their enough of evil B on the show. Don’t’ get me wrong – I think soaps needs evil B (you have to have soaps characters you love to hate) but they also have to balance out with heroine’s type of characters like Lily. But you don’t want your heroines to be constant victims that continually to be walked on. The writers need to truly to work on that—But I am happy that Y&R are putting a black actress in a top storyline and not a backburner SL like we usually see for our black actors (can you name another black soap actress on any soap having a top storyline at this time. I didn’t think so. SO let’s all try to praise on that and be more supportive. What a concept to be supportive for our black actresses…..

  27. Profile photo of missannkimba

    Jamey, you hit the nail on the head. In fact if they really start to write a compelling romance for Neil (Karen ain’t it), Y&R would be damn near a perfect soap. There needs to a Lily recast, end of story. Still, all in all Y&R is head and shoulders above One White Life To Live, which is a perversion of Agnes Nixon’s vision.

  28. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    I love that the writers are making Lily as a heroine, who is loving, caring, classy and sweet. You see these characteristics portrayal of non black actresses-qll the time– why not a black actress. I don’t see enough of black actresses portraying the Lily type of role.
    :O AMC’s Angie is a heroine, Livia Frye was a heroine, Evangeline was a heroine, Tamara Tunie on ATWT.

  29. Profile photo of marcowife05

    I think regardless of what anyone says, CK is an amazing actress!! The s/l that’s being written for her now is ridiculous and unrealistic. But every scence she’s in you can feel her emotions. She’s doing a very good job with what she’s given. Whether you Love or Like the Lily character, CK cannot control how she’s being written. The only thing she can control is how she comes across on my screen and I think she does a wonderful Job.

  30. Profile photo of marcowife05

    I think regardless of what anyone says, CK is an amazing actress!! The s/l that’s being written for her now is ridiculous and unrealistic. But every scence she’s in you can feel her emotions. She’s doing a very good job with what she’s given. Whether you Love or Like the Lily character, CK cannot control how she’s being written. The only thing she can control is how she comes across on my screen and I think she does a wonderful Job.

  31. Profile photo of AniMate

    For the most part I agree with this post, but there is one GLARING omission.


    While she was the stereotypical black maid, she was also John Abbot’s closest confidant and bitch could go toe to toe with Jill and not even blink.

    As for Lily… She the legacy of a long line of really strong, confident black characters. When she first came on, you could absolutely see that. When she was recast, it absolutely showed. These days… yawn. No Winters or Barber would ever act the way they have this milquetoast little twit behaving these days. A stronger actress is needed, and better writing for her is a necessity.

  32. Profile photo of shale

    Lily sucks. I am a black woamn and let me say this it has nothing to do with me about her not acting black( I hate it when people say that), but all to do with the actress.

    Sure children do not always have their parents traits and actions, but Lily has no traits and actions. Why they got rid of the other girl playing Lily I will never know. CK portrays Lily as if she is a dull and bland young woman.

    Lily should have fire and spunk and not because Dru had it, but because she is a young woman who has been through alot and should not act that way.

    CK may be a good actress, but Lily has never been a good role for her even in the start she was just too flat.

    Lily needs to be replaced soon or taken off all together.

  33. Profile photo of siomonstuart2003

    I agree with you that the character of Lily is dull and boring and something needs to help to spice the character up or recast and just get rid of the character altogether. I beginning to see why the fans thinking that the character of Lily is being portray as a saint but get a backbone and start being a bitch already.


  34. Profile photo of ashang

    OMG comparing EH to VR is this person of his rocker or what. Actors can only play out what is written for them. I too am sick of people saying I have nothing against interacial pairing on soaps when we all know that is exactly what it is.

    As far as the Lily character, if the writers would take some time and develope the character,she would not seen as boring to some people. I don’t find her boring. I think the problem is some viewers want her to act like Dru, , but she is not being wriiten that way.

    A year or so ago Lily was being written with a lot of spunk/spitfire( not neccessarily like Dru), so what happened to that. I say blame the writers for what is being seen on the screen.

  35. Profile photo of neist

    First, I disagree that the young and the restless has been restored to its former glory. I find the past few weeks painful. The Paris story lines did nothing for me…there was no lead up to the Nick and Sharon kiss in Paris…(it felt more like a plot point) and don’t get me started on the Victor and Ashley reunion.

    The Y&R is just recycling storyline after storyline …(Kevin finding money again, Cane again being duped by a woman) …sometime the young and the restless feels like the movie “Groundhog Day.” Also with the Katherine storyline, good writing would have been having the audience believe that Katherine started drinking again and had died in the accident and the big reveal later…good writing would have been Cane refusing to marry Chloe and Chloe scheming to make it happen and months later when Cane finally agrees to marry her the big reveal at the wedding. Seeing the characters from the past was nice, but where is the drama, tension and romance that makes a soap opera interesting.

    Also, I would never put the character of Chloe in the same category as thee character of Dru. Chloe character has been a one-note character since the beginning.I find her not a character I love to hate but just a character that I don’t enjoy seeing on my screen.

    I don’t have a problem with Lily played by Christel Khalil. I am tired of people complaining that she is not like Dru. I have a friend who is as a bigger than life character but her son is quiet and shy. Sometime a child is the totally opposite of their parents. I feel that sometime we have this preconceive notion that all black women should be like Dru.

    The problem with the character of Lily is not the actress…it is the writing for this character. They have written her as this person who is not an equal adversary for Chloe. However, this is a character that defied her parents in order to see Daniel, who ran away with Daniel and who confronted Daniel and Amber during the porn storyline. The reason why the storyline with Chloe doesn’t work is that good drama comes from having two equal forces against each other…not one character being written like a doormat with the other character rolling over them.

    However you have hit upon one of my biggest complain about the young and the restless …it is how one-dimensional the AA characters are being written. You can interchange each of these characters and it wouldn’t make a difference. I agree…they are all too nice. Also recently it seem like I am watching a show from the 50’s with a segregated GC. Except for Lily, the Winters don’t interacting with the other white characters and their story lines. I did notice that Ashley and Olivia are going to have a scene together this upcoming week and I was surprised.

  36. Profile photo of AniMate

    They need more time to develop the character of Lily? The character’s been on the show for YEARS! She went from a feisty heroine to duller than paint drying sad sack when Christel Kahlil resumed the role. Could the writing be better? Yes. Could the acting be better? Oh sweet Jesus yes it could be.

    Let’s be honest about Christel. She’s very pretty. However, her range is extremely limited. She’s created a really soft, uninteresting character. She’s stunning, but she’s not a powerhouse actress by any stretch.

    Kristoff St. John is a really capable and talented actor. However, they’ve surrounded him with really dull actresses. He popped whenever he was on screen with Victoria Rowell and Tonya Lee Williams, despite Neil being a pretty boring character. Now, he’s the most interesting black character on the show, and that ain’t right.

    Some changes definitely need to be made in the story direction and casting of Y&R’s black characters.

    Possible stories:
    Tyra and Ana form a band and leave to tour eastern Europe indefinitely. Olivia and Neil can get together, turning Karen into a complete psycho who’s eventually hauled off by Paul to the same loony bin that Isabella’s hanging out in. Then when everything looks sunny for the new couple, Dru returns. Devon could start dating Colleen, leading Roxanne to question why both of Neil’s kids have ended up with white people. It could open a really open up a dialogue about race relations and provide some food for thought. Lily takes everything she learned as Jabot’s “fresh face” and moves behind the camera. As the Newman/Jabot feud intensifies, it will give her and Chloe a chance to go toe to toe.

  37. Profile photo of Bangel Angle
    Bangel Angle

    Can I put my negro hat on for a sec?

    As a sista who remembers the stories way back, I have to give Y&R props for their black families. ATWT had Ben and Jessica, but they made both of them disappear as well as their relatives. And GL dust off their AA’s every now and then but they’re not really a center family.

    With Y&R you have a black family that everyone can love and black people can respect.

    But I agree that Lily just don’t do it.

    First, this child doesn’t even look like she’s the child of my girl, Dru and Neil or Malcolm or whoever her daddy is.

    Dru is the one of the best soap characters in the history of soaps, black or white. I just don’t believe that Dru wouldn’t slap the spit from this girl.

    Cause the mamas I know were known for going fishin’ when their children started acting ign’ant. Child started talking crazy or acting crazy, and Mama would reeled back and catch her one by the neck. After that, the child was too busy having a little talk with Jesus to keep up the craziness.

    I can’t believe that Dru wasn’t like that. I can’t believe that this is a child of Dru’s.

    But other than that, I love Y&R black families.

    Thank you for allowing me to put on my negro hat.

    I got to go to work so I’m going to take it back off now, because I forgot to once and people started calling me “the angry black woman.”

  38. Profile photo of syreeta

    As a black female, in my opinion, I like CK’s Lily.
    I’ve been watching Y&R for about 10 yrs. now and I liked Lily and Daniel the 1st time around. I also like the Lily/Cane pairing and they are one of my favorite couples in soaps. I don’t see race when I watch them.

    I blame the writers for this disappointing storyline involving Cane/Lily/Chloe/Billy. I think CK is a good actress and deserves to have writing that has her not acting as a doormat. She was never this weak. Give a girl a break writers.

    Sorry Jamey. But please don’t compare EH to VR. Chloe is no Dru. I actually liked Dru and rooted for her unlike Chloe.

  39. Profile photo of J Bernard Jones
    J Bernard Jones

    Jamey, with all respect to your great commentary, I would venture that the real problem with Lily’s character is rooted more in a missed opportunity or a failure of imagination, if you will, of storytelling than it is the issue of whether Lily is just-like-Dru:

    Y&R could tell the story of an African-American child who ACTIVELY rejects the culture and ethnicity of her African-American parents and the tensions inherent within that choice.

    Blacks folks know this real life story all too well of the brother, sister, cousin, aunt, uncle or — maybe someone even MUCH closer to home — who only dates white folk, who makes no attempt and sometimes rejects any semblance of Black culture or heritage in a concerted effort to “be different.” Those folk are often ostracized within their own families or called “toms” or “sellouts” by other Black folk.

    Y&R has never played Lily’s relationship with her family (especially Dru & Neil) like that, but it is still fertile territory to be explored in any variety of ways that could bring it up to an unsuspecting Neil and Drucilla should the character ever resurface. It is the kind of deeply character based story that could cause major repercussions for the Neil and Devon, the women currently in Neil’s life and the men in Lily’s life, past and present.

    Is it an explosive, controversial idea in this “enlightened” day and age? Certainly, but not an invalid one especially in our so-called “post-racial” America, a concept that this story could be used to poke around a bit as well. It is also not without precedent in daytime:

    One LIfe to Live’s earliest and most well-regarded story lines involved Carla Gray “passing” as white, mainly because she was ashamed of her dark skinned mother Sadie.

    On Santa Barbara, Jane Wilson ( a while character) was rocked to the core of her identity when she learned that her father was a black man, former boxer Gus Jackson.

    Finally, As the World Turns told an incendiary story of the triangle between Ben, Camille, and Denise where one of the central conflicts between the two women was the the fact that Denise was a dark-skinned woman and Camille was light-skinned. Judging form message board reaction at the time, most white viewers didn’t “get it” right off the bat, but it was good drama nonetheless. In my opinion it was one of the most realistically told stories of Black life I’ve ever seen on daytime.

    I think Lily (and the Winters family) is ripe for that kind of story, retold for today. Sometimes the best way to acknowledge the elephant in the room is to actually point out the the fact there is an elephant in the room.

    Call it “Imitation of Life 2008.”

  40. Profile photo of timepass

    Jamey, I agree with most of what you are saying. I miss Drue so much!

    My only problem is the fact that we don’t see eye to eye on Tyra at all, for me she is NOT an actress. I don’t know what she was before Y&R, but from what I see on my screen she could not act herself out of a paper bag. And btw, what kind of Manager cannot make her numbers adding up? Seriously!

    I like Karen, she makes Neil bearable.

  41. Profile photo of siomonstuart2003

    I like Karen, too, and why ain’t tptb having Karen and Nikki having a talking to. I think that Karen was Nikki campaign adviser and friend, so why explore the Nikki and Karen friendship more.


  42. Profile photo of Chocolate-Mama

    Jillian was kind enough to tell me about this post. Jamey…THAAAAAANNNKKKK YOOUUU!!! I was JUST talking about this with a fellow soap fan where in which we both used to be fans of the defunct show ‘Passions’. And whatever you thought of that program, Black characters, while having some really odd/sick storylines, were on every dayumned day!!! And they weren’t boring to watch. At least not to me.

    I have nothing against the actress that plays Lily. But Lily SHOULD be what Heather Tom’s Victoria USED to be when she was playing the role. Meaning Nikki came from a hard background, married well, had children and they were raised in a well to do society. And yet Victoria had much snippy attitude that was interesting to watch. Lily is Dru’s child raised in that same set of circumstances. And yet there is nothing even remotely interesting about this particular actress’s portrayal of this role. You wouldn’t even know Dru is her mother. I don’t know if that’s the writer or actress’s fault, but she bores the heck out of me.

    Neil’s storyline is not worth airing. And if there are money issues, as there always seems to be on daytime, honestly, I would rather see Lily, Devon, Karen Tatyana Ali’s character, that woman from ‘America’s Top Model’ and that child, fired, in exchange for one, good actress to play opposite of Neil. And I’m specifically talking about the lovely Renee Goldsberry from OLTL fame. I can’t see why no one has grabbed her up yet. I think Renee and Kristoff would look great together.

    I don’t think there is anything they can do with the Black characters they have, unless someone in the current, boring storylines, suddenly becomes interesting. I don’t see that that happening anytime soon.

  43. Profile photo of Chocolate-Mama

    Oh and another thing: someone tried to compare Lily to Christine’s character. Lauralee Bell had presence. She held her own and you could see why men flocked to her. Then again, Christine was a character that the writers actually took time and care to write for.

    But to jump back to another actress ‘cough’ ‘cough’ Renee Goldsberry, I never doubted why half of the men in Llandview wanted the character of ‘Evangeline’. I guess I would say that the actress that plays Lily now is missing stage presence. It kind of makes you wonder about all of the actresses that had to have tried out for the role of Lily Winters, when TPTB first cast it, and if they possibly turned away some good prospects that could’ve done better in this role.

  44. Profile photo of suave

    While I agree the writing needs to be stepped up. I’m just glad the Winters are still on the show. As for CK’s Lily she is a the heroine. Which I guess is a step up from being the best friend with no love life, or the sassy black sidekick, or the stuck on the backburner black couple so that you can be written off the show. I have no complaints. It is rare to have a person of color be in a triangle or fought over, or the damsel in distress. I would prefer she have more power, but the show is being written to give EH’s character a story. Which includes dumbing down half the cast.

  45. Profile photo of season1217

    He who is faithful w/ little will be faithful w/ much. If Christel can’t handle the little that she has been given, how can she handle a better story w/ better writing? She could get the mother of all s/l’s but I still think she’d be boring.

  46. Profile photo of syrus

    As much as I detested the way James Reilly victimized the women on Passions and Days, he is the only head writer who wrote black people as regular people. Passions had the most diverse cast of characters in all of daytime, even besting Y&R.

  47. Profile photo of suave

    The funniest thing is that a post about “boring” Lily has the most posts. 50+ for a boring character? If I find something boring I usually don’t post about it.

  48. Profile photo of siomonstuart2003

    Jamey and Luke, you should do a podcast about the lack of diversity in daytime and is they using an excuse to say that because minorities not marketable or they don’t want to cast AAs in leading roles.


  49. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Simon, I am actually working on a piece on that and we will no doubt do a companion podcast. It is a sad an shameful how lacking television is in terms of diversity, behind the camera and in front of it.

    NBC has jumped on the “brown is cool bandwagon by greenlightin a “black Friends” thanks in part to Barack Obama being in the White House. They actually said this in the press for the show. It’s like, wow, a black man is elected president, so now you think we rate a sitcom?

    You would think the fact that Bill Cosby saved the sitcom and made NBC’s Thursday night lineup Must See TV long before Friends or Frasier were even thought of would be enough for them to realize African Americans are marketable, but no. People say Saturday night is a dead night for the networks. It wasn’t on NBC in the 80s when 227 and Amen were Top 20 shows. But all that went out the window with the 90’s and the white urban sitcom craze. Black sitcoms were banished to the then-strugglign Fox, which gladly uses Martin and Living Single to steady its numbers, until it could become a viable network, then they basically tossed their black programming.

    The other netlets employed the same strategy, they used black shows to build their core audience before tossing them aside for teen fare featuring no black leads. UPN and The WB did it and now The CW is doing the same thing. It’s cool to use shows like Moesha, The Parkers or Everybody Loves Chris to drive up your numbers, while spending all your promotional dollars on lower rated shows that have more “buzz” factor, i.e. the Gossip Girls and the like. Who determines “buzz” factor? Madison Avenue is really, really stupid. If you don’t think black folks spend money, take a look at our cars, our Louis Vutton luggage, etc. Rappers hae figured this out and so have fashion designers, but Madison Avenue would still rather cater to young white girls alone.

    I love Gossip Girl and I loved Buffy, but shows like Girlfriends, Moesha and others which were generally bigger ratings successes for the Netlets got no play in terms of promotion and magazine covers and were then tossed aside without so much as a season finale. But now that Barack is in the Whitehouse, Oprah, Tyler, Tyra and Will are atop the Forbes list of celeb entertainers and Beyonce, Rihanna and Chris are actually being paid attention to by the celeb rags, Hollywood may finally be starting to take notice.

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