Who Needs Characterization on The Young and the Restless?

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Although the November Sweeps ship has sailed, I am amazed at the number of Whodunits, MIA’s and Dead Men Walking on

The Young and the Restless

. Sadly, these casualties I speak of are not part of the current storylines. I’m referring to the shocking personality changes of key characters which have rendered them virtually unrecognizable to the viewers who love them. Seeing characters get hacked away is akin to watching a bad horror movie: You hear the eerie music and the revving of the chainsaws, but you hope against hope the assailant won’t be

so

savage, or that the victim will escape in a nick of time. Let’s pour some out for the characters who are no longer here with us.




Lauren Fenmore Baldwin

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La Lauren (Tracey Bregman) used to be one bad, flame-haired, Mamma Jamma. Heck, she rode poor Brad Carlton (Don Diamont) into cardiac arrest once upon a time!  Even bat-shit-crazy Sheila (Kimberlin Brown) had a fight on her hands with the couture sex kitten. So you mean to tell me the successful business owner, fashion maven, and seductress who stomped Sheila in her wedding dress, bullied Traci Abbott (Beth Maitland) and jacked many a husband, is running scared at the sight of some snot-nosed, crumb snatcher like Daisy (Yvonne Zima)? Get outta here! It is painful to watch this formerly-fearless vixen become a prisoner in her own home, sobbing and breaking mirrors for fear of a pathetic, Sheila-lite reincarnation, especially when she’s vanquished the real thing so many times before.





Neil Winters



Let's face it, Neil (Kristoff St. John) ain’t been right since Dru’s (Victoria Rowell) “death”. Anyone who watched Y&R during the Bill Bell era knows Neil has a long history of juicy, fan-favorie, front-burner storylines. In recent years, however he was downgraded, first as Victor’s peon (Eric Braeden), then basically as a barely existant talk-to for his daughter Lily (Christel Khalil) From time-to-time he's been afforded leftover women and leftover stories, that is if he and his fans are lucky. Neil should have told Victor where he could shove his mustache a long time ago, namely when TGVN gave Nick (Joshua Morrow) the reigns of Newman Enterprises to his brats while he ran off to Mexico to find himself or whatever he was doing. I saw a glimmer of hope when Neil resigned and went to work for the competition, but that only turned into him being Tucker’s (Stephen Nichols) peon as opposed to Victor's. It also forced him into contrived, backburner conflicts with his brother and future sister-in-law. The writers would have done better to really focus on making Indigo a thriving business. Doesn’t a Stanford graduate like Neil deserve his own? I’m so over seeing him bully Cane (Daniel Goddard), fawn over Lily, and pass judgment on everyone else, that is, when we see him at all. Don’t even get me started on Tyra-Gate, Karen the Kid Snatcher and the relationship that never was with Ashley (Eileen Davidson). All of Neil's romantic pairings  post-Dru have been dreadful, and I smell a Sofia (Julia Pace Mitchell) hookup like an old head smells rain in the country.





Chloe Mitchell Abbott

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Initially I hated the pint-sized minx when she first planted her stilettos in Genoa City and on Lily’s face a few years back, but lately I've come to realize how much I miss the scheming, sassy Chloe (Elizabeth Hendrickson) of old. Was I the only one who silently cheered when after stalking, playing musical baby daddies with Cane and snarking at anyone who objected, she finally nabbed Billy Abbott (Billy Miller)? The pairing with Chance (John Driscoll) killed poor Chloe dead. She, like Phyllis Newman (Michelle Stafford), is not meant to be some happy housewife, married to a boy scout. Chloe needs a sparring partner and partner-in-crime. She is way too much woman to be cheated on by someone like Chance. Having her move in with Kevin (Greg Rikaart) to spy on Chance, then sleep with Ronan (Jeff Branson) just reeked of desperation. I like her friendship with Kevin, who is more her speed in the criminally-reformed department, but I fear that she’s just a sidekick and sounding board now. Sigh…



Jack Abbott

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I love me some Smilin’ Jack (Peter Bergman) and would choose him over Mr. Mumbles all day long. What makes him such a special character is that he’s complex. Jack does bad things for good reasons and is as fiercely loyal to his loved ones as he is treacherous to his adversaries. I’m so damn tired of my boy losing all the time! Jack’s done battle with Victor and come out on top before. Case in point: Jack married Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott), to the chagrin of his arch enemy. In the 90's, he left The Mustache for dead, and years later, he took advantage of Victor’s epilepsy in attempt 1,432 to hijak Newman Enterprises. Why is it that at 823-years-old, TGVN is now spanking Jack yet again? Jack is entirely too savvy and slick to be played by a fossil. The Jack we used to know never would have surrendered his hold of Jabot to Chancellor Enterprises, he would have found another way to keep the company afloat. He certainly wouldn't be bowing down to that skeevy Tucker (Stephen Nichols). But then, the old Jack never would have been so sprung on that dizzy Sharon (Sharon Case), and begging for love either. I still can't see how the smooth, playboy, Jabot heir let his stepson steal Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) from him in the first place! Furthermore, my Jack would have definitely suspected the woman he’d married and slept with for two months was Patty Wack posing as Emily (Stacy Haiduk). Now it looks like Victor has given Jack the shaft yet again with the collapse of the Newman Fund. I sure hope Jack Abbott gets his mojo back again, and soon. Maybe having his son Kyle back in his life could be the catalyst?





Sharon Collins Newman Abbott Newman

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To quote Phyllis, where do I begin with the hot mess that is Sharon? In the 90s, Sharon was my she-ro, the ravishing beauty from the wrong side of the tracks who snagged herself a baller. She was kind-hearted, dedicated to her family and wanted to start her own trends in the Newman Empire, rather than live off the fat of the lamb. I don’t know who I’m watching right now on The Young and the Restless, but this is Not. My. Sharon! She first started to lose me when she forfeited Nick to Phyllis, but I stopped speaking to her all together when she jerked Jack around in that farce of a marriage. She was using that man for a daddy figure and a crutch (or crotch) until she could get Nick back. It was mad disrespectful to moon over her ex while married to a man who worshiped her. Having Jack believe that Faith was his was disgusting, but not nearly as gross as the circumstances in which that poor child was conceived. THREE men, Sharon?! Did you charge admission? How trashy was it to get your mugshot taken for stealing from your friends and former father-in-law, all while pregnant with a baby whose father was at the time yet-to-be determined? The cherry on the trifling cake has to be this “relationship” with Adam (Michael Muhney). To lay up with the man who separated you from your baby is just sick! I can’t.  Whatever happened to the brass's promise to "empower" Sharon? I just can’t. Can someone tell me when I wll start to recognize my favorite Young and Restless characters again?