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.


Comments

Member since:
18 August 2008
Last activity:
5 years 3 weeks

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.

Member since:
2 January 2008
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1 year 12 weeks

Jamey nmaybe im in the minority but i love the neil and karen pairing

Member since:
8 May 2008
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1 day 17 hours

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.

siomonstuart2003

Darren Lomas's picture
Member since:
27 June 2008
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43 weeks 2 days

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.

Member since:
15 October 2008
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37 weeks 3 days

Fantastic post Jamey.

Hopefully some person at Y&R will read this.

Member since:
13 February 2008
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4 years 24 weeks

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."

Member since:
23 November 2008
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30 weeks 8 hours

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.

Member since:
15 May 2008
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17 hours 18 min

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.

Member since:
23 November 2008
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5 years 21 weeks

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.

Member since:
22 January 2008
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47 min 8 sec

Lily's appeal transcends race and age
***
Then the Soapocolypse is coming sooner than I thought.

Member since:
13 February 2008
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4 years 24 weeks

EttaKIt-
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.

Member since:
22 January 2008
Last activity:
47 min 8 sec

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.

season1217's picture
Member since:
23 July 2008
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31 weeks 17 hours

Lily is boring, bland and stale. Plain and simple. It's not a black or white thing. It's a I find her boring regardless of her race thing.

Member since:
20 February 2008
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3 years 27 weeks

Lily is the greatest soap character that has ever been created. Bar none.

Member since:
15 May 2008
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17 hours 18 min

****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.

Luke Kerr's picture
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16 August 2007
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21 hours 46 min

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.

Member since:
8 May 2008
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1 day 17 hours

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.

siomonstuart2003

Member since:
22 January 2008
Last activity:
47 min 8 sec

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?

season1217's picture
Member since:
23 July 2008
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31 weeks 17 hours

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.

Member since:
22 January 2008
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47 min 8 sec

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.

Member since:
15 October 2008
Last activity:
37 weeks 3 days

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.

Member since:
13 February 2008
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4 years 24 weeks

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)

Member since:
22 January 2008
Last activity:
47 min 8 sec

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.

Member since:
15 May 2008
Last activity:
17 hours 18 min

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.

season1217's picture
Member since:
23 July 2008
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31 weeks 17 hours

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!

Member since:
20 February 2008
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3 years 27 weeks

I would turn straight for Lily. THAT's HOW UNFORGETTABLE SHE IS.

season1217's picture
Member since:
23 July 2008
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31 weeks 17 hours

You would turn straight for Lily? Turn straight where? Straight to porn?

Member since:
11 December 2007
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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.

Member since:
22 January 2008
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47 min 8 sec

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?

Member since:
22 January 2008
Last activity:
47 min 8 sec

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.