Who Needs Characterization on The Young and the Restless?

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

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.

28 Responses

  1. Profile photo of bishbay

    Tbh, since I’ve never cared for Sharon (only started watching in 2007 or so, so I missed the good days you write so eloquently of, Nekeeta), I thought she was at her most amusing and delightful when she was crazy and slutty: Blacking out and stealing tchotchkes from the ranch? Throwing popcorn at Jack before leading him to bed hours after she’d gotten down with his brother? Blaming that drip Eden for stealing (and Lauren’s subsequent threat to press charges if she messed up again, which was an AWESOME moment for Tracy Bregman?)?! Running out on being Chloe’s maid of honor at her marriage to Billy because she couldn’t deal with her hot mess self? That was good stuff! Hilarious! And that was back when Phyllis was awesome, too, in her scheming against Sharon. (Phyllis writing “I hate myself” in red lipstick on Sharon’s mirror in her room at the club…so good.)

    But of course I agree that the characterization of Sharon is just offensive now. There’s not even that element of crazy fun (for the viewer) anymore. This re-coupling with Adam is about eight bridges too far. It can’t be said frequently enough: he stole her kid! And made Ashley miscarry, then let Ashley walk around talking to her non-baby for seven months! And on and on! Make it stop!

  2. Profile photo of timepass

    Great assessment of the Y&R characters killed by this writing regime Nekeeta!
    This is me giving you a standing ovation.

    It is sickening to see a beloved character being twisted like a pretzel to fit a half bake boring plot.

    If twisting these characters were in any way helpful to tell good stories, we would not be so dishearten.

    But no, not only is the stories improbable and boring, but they need to killed the characters in it to do so.

    What is most awful is seeing a woman head writer approving the dumbing dumb of all the female character on her show. So sad.

  3. Profile photo of Smitty

    NeKeeta I knows there was a good and I think he took over your typing hand cause all I can say is AMEN AND HALLEUJAH!!!!!!!!


  4. Profile photo of met

    What a travesty this show has become. Maybe they are catering to the new generation of viewers. Its time to start doing a comparison with the present scribes with the previous scribes.
    All I can say is thank god for Netflix, and the online availability of shows that I can’t get to watch because of time constraints. Because I dont have to waste an hour of life watching this ridiculously contrived piece of turd.

  5. Profile photo of Restless Vixen
    Restless Vixen

    Girl, testify. Some of the truly wonderful (warts and all) characters haven been destroyed on Y&R. But I think the worst example is Sharon Collins Newman Abbott Newman. Sharon is my favorite character, and I have watched her be ruined first by Jack Smith, then Lynn Marie Latham, and now by Maria and Sheffer. My Sharon used to be such a rootable character.

    All of these characters are prime examples of great soapy characters just all jacked up by crappy writing. The only ones you missed are Nikki and Jill.

  6. Profile photo of dqh257

    I am going to slightly disagree with the Sharon character destruction, slightly, because I feel her devolution has occurred over the last few years. When she was married to Jack, she was fighting her feelings to Brad (MEMBA HIM?), who kept ingratiating himself in her life, snarking with Jack, and trying to take her away (in much the same way Adam is trying to take her away from Nick).She had Brad so sprung, that he sacrificed his life for Noah and Eden.

    As defined now, Sharon has become one of those women who can’t stand to be without a man and she, by extension, has become a less interesting or compelling character. I am a recent regular viewer, but I do see that Sharon is unhappy and rather than take the time to get her life together, she bounces from man to man, with the “who’s the daddy?” tale being the most egregious plot point ever.

    Before Noah went to Paris, he told Sharon that she needed to get her life together and since that time, has not heeded that advice. Until she does, nothing she really does will be that surprising because it will always be as a response to her feelings for a man.

    Is it me, but isn’t Sharon always going to some non-Genoa City location to deal with her feelings for some man?

  7. Profile photo of akbad806

    Great read. You hit the nail on the head and I totally agree with everything you said. Y&R is in sad shape because they write one-note characters, go for stunts, and no longer care to give us a chance to wrap our heads around anything anymore. If Sharon went to New Orleans on Nov. 24, Bill Bell wouldn’t even had Nick and Michae arrive there until at least Dec. 15. He gave viewers time and took his. Where are we getting the abridged version???

    Also, Ryan-Scott, Jill is my girl too! I wish you would do a special just focusing on the greatness of Jill, Nekeeta, because she really could have alot of action centered around her if they knew how to write for Jess Walton. First of all, stop dressing her so frumpy and give Jill back her style. Remember when this chick use to swing down the Abbott staircase??? Those are my first memories of Y&R. I’m too young and never saw Brenda Dickson, but I’ve seen the YouTube clips. Jill Abbott (I REFUSE to call her Fenmore ugh) is the show’s original bitch, they should put her front and center.

    Another one is Michael Baldwin. Oh, lawd, why did they water this once-edgy attorney down? This guy needs to snap and go on a rampage or have an affair in order to make him viable again. Michael sleepwalks through Genoa City! I love Christian but he deserves better. He usually knocks it out of the park.

  8. Profile photo of Nekeeta Borden
    Nekeeta Borden

    Other characters who aren’t quite dead, but MIA like a big dog include:  Jill, Nikki, Katherine, Michael, Malcolm, and Ashley.  Kay’s been reduced to the old lady that everyone vents to.  WHY is Nikki sleeping with the guy who drove her daughter to divorce?  Besides, sexing the same man as your kid is just NASTY!  I really loved Jill during the Bobby Marsino/Brittany era.  JW is excellent at portraying a bitch with vulnerability; lubs her.  Michael is such a do-boy.  If he’d drop the Newman family jewels, he’d have a story.  Lauren’s hawt – knock the dust off that and make her say, "Sheila, who?"!  Ashley is letting Tucker totally play her.  I KNOW she knows deep down that Tucker gave it to Dirty Diane.  What can I say about Malcolm?  He’s obviously miscast, and even so, the character’s not the being written like the Malcolm of yore.  Mal was sexy, confident, smooth, with just a taste of rugged.  Now, he’s kinda crass and unrefined. 

  9. Profile photo of Restless Vixen
    Restless Vixen

    While I agree the worst of Sharon has been recently, I think the devolution precedes Brad by many years. Sharon became a mess when she went away after kissing Victor. First off, I will never, ever believe Sharon would have the hots for Victor. I think he’s the closest thing to a father figure to her, and their relationship should never been written as romantic for either character. What’s worse is the Sharon I knew and loved at that point would have never abandoned her kids for months like that. Up until that point, Sharon has always been written as an actively involved and loving parent to Cassie and Noah. From what I heard, Jack Smith did not like the Sharon character and that story line was part of writing Sharon out the show when Case’s contract re-up was in negotitations. That’s when they started writing Sharon as a slut. She had a one night stand with that Cameron guy that turned psycho on her (per Grace Turner). Then she slept with Victoria’s beau, Diego. Then she wanted to be a stripper at Bobby Marsino’s strip joint. Then Cassie died. Then she feel into Brad’ arms, then Jack’s, then Nick’s, then Billy’s (1 or 2 times), then Adam, etc, etc. It’s like as soon as Bill Bell retired, each writing regime took turns messing up the Sharon character.

  10. Profile photo of tedew

    Wow Nekeeta!

    This post is just so completely accurate and I am in total agreement with everything you brought up. In light of the “big” news of the day I hope this is the first in a continuing series.


  11. Profile photo of RockiDreams

    I wanted to barf the other day with the scenes of Sharon and the grotesque Adam. I mean really, I could and cannot buy that some woman would bed down with scum that took her baby not to mention did Ashley’s baby in. Why they want to slam that creep down the viewer’s throat is beyond me. Is the actor related to a Bell or something? I used to love Lauren but the sniveling whine bucket on there now hardly resembles the Lauren I am familiar with as the article states. The scene with her getting all screamy over a blown fuse was stupid. I love Jill and would love to see more of her. Frankly, I pretty much fast forward through the entire show -anthing with Adam, anything with Daisy in it, anything with Deacon in it. Sigh. Hard to give up what was once a favorite soap. I keep hoping for a miracle.

  12. Profile photo of cocobean13bh

    My issue with Sharon is that ok she’s written as needy but when the writer’s do make her more independent eg. telling Nick she needs space and Adam she’s with Nick, what do they do? They follow her and harass he. She cant get a break the men are always chasing her and don’t take her seriously when she says she needs to be alone. I think most of her lack independence is the writing of the men in her life.
    ps. the new lawyer that works for Vance, love her

  13. Profile photo of marknsprmo

    Overall, I think that the degredation of the characters is due to the current mode of story telling on Y&R. It is what I refer to the big reveal story. They start a story simply to have a big shocking reveal and then the story is over. There is no what comes next there is just the next new reveal set up. I think recently I compared it to making a leggo building just to knock it down to start in again. (I see alot of Hogan Sheffer in this.) The problem for our beloved characters is that there is no previously needed personality traits needed. The story will supply that persons personality for them. If Sharon needs to be codependent and needy then she is, if it needs her to be crazy then she is…. etc(plug in whoever you want and whatever adjective you desire).
    Some things I can overlook or read deeper into. Ever since Cassie’s death, Sharons personality has deconstructed. She is NOT the same as she was before and understandably. A childs death can take toll on one. I have personally witnessed this with other people I know who have lost a child.
    My biggest problem with the cast is that most of them are sleepwalking their way through the stories. Whether they are confused by what they are supposed to be playing, or just not into it, their job is to take sh*t and make sugar. Even if the script has them doing things they don’t agree with, it is still their job to play it and to hold onto to the integrity of the character. Make it work. And right now, MOSt of the cast is laying down on the job.
    I think Phyllis is doing wonders with the work. Michelle Stafford’s love of the character and her perfessionalism shines through.
    Tricia Cast never phones in an episode no matter what the scene is. She is front and center even when she is not the subject of the story.
    Gloria always pushes forward with the crumbs that are given her.
    Daniel is doing a great job being unlikable and sour.
    Kevin is always front and center and ready with a million reasons why his character is like he is in that moment. You can see him thinking every minute.
    The people listed above don’t let the storyline destroy their character. They simply allow the story to unfold another side to their already complex identities.

  14. Profile photo of dqh257

    @ Truthtakestime, I miss CE also, because I feel he had the vision of what Adam was supposed to be (pre-Ashley gaslighting). Now that the Rafe plot point has played out and we see that was all it was, I can understand why he felt it was pointless and stupid. Now, the character of Adam went from being a viable Newman to being a plot-device villain. Not only that, but it seems to me that Y&R tried ripping off GL’s excellently creepy “Brent Lawrence” character from the mid-90’s.

    @Marksprmo, I am not a fan of Sharon, but I have little respect in life for people in general who bounce from relationship to relationship without learning or growing from each one. Sharon’s wake-up call should have been the fact that she had her Maury Povich moment with Nick, Jack, and Billy, but she never learned. I do feel, however, that her character is weak and her actions are always through the prism of some man’s reaction. I think this constant devolution of the Sharon character makes her a less viable character to be paired in any relationship. This is a woman who needs to be single and get herself into therapy.

  15. Profile photo of Pure_Diva

    “Shocking Personality Changes” of long-time soap characters is a staple and a hallmark of Hogan Sheffer’s influence. He is one of the biggest reasons why soaps have been on the decline. I can’t blame him for single-handedly destroying the soaps genre, but he’s on the list of top 4 soap-killers.

  16. Profile photo of alstonboy4315


    You’ve done it again!! Magical…………………

    You’ve said EVERYTHING that I wanted to say, and it was as eloquently FIERCE as usual!!!

    I won’t even try to top what you’ve written. I don’t think I could if I tried………….

    ;) ;)

  17. Profile photo of tedew

    I’ve been thinking that maybe Lauren really isn’t off the mark that much. Maybe she really is finally worn down by all of her trauma. Maybe it will be Jill who will bring her back down to earth (courtesy of Kay’s “motherly” advise). That would be a nice change of events.

  18. Profile photo of allcarlyhere

    Sharon has been twisting in the wind for YEARS. The truth is the writers haven’t had it right since she kissed Victor. More to the point, since Sharon has been NOTHING BUT A PROP for Nicholas Newman, the character has had very little growth or personality. She was just Nick’s wife with a slight interest in a career. She became a family woman and nurturing mother. Sharon is absolutely still my favorite character on Y&R and along with Dru has been for years. What the problem for her character is not evolving her OUTSIDE of the Newmans. Nick is getting much deserved karma after cheating on both Sharon and Phyllis. I refuse to feel sorry for him. In general, I’ve been crying for Sharon to have her OWN story that focuses on her issues for what feels like hundreds of years. The only identity they’ve given this woman is wrapped up in Nicholas Newman, not in herself. NOW, she is finally thriving outside of that. I prefer Sharon to be alone right now but since that isn’t going to happen, I like what Shadam offers to the character of Sharon, a chance to change, to stumble and then grow. My .02

  19. Profile photo of Carol2

    I don’t see how Sharon is thriving when she wanders around like a zombie and makes her decisions on who to bed down with based on angel statues and carousels.

  20. Profile photo of allcarlyhere

    Well thriving is subjective. For me, it means she is living outside of Nick Newman, not for him, not making decisions based on him. She is taking control of her life and doing what she wants to do without Nick’s ahem permission.

  21. Profile photo of Carol2

    It’s not that I’m sad she’s living away from Nick, as I hate Nick and I can’t stand what has become of his relationship with Sharon, but I feel like Sharon just goes from one man to another, with no real motivation or brain.

  22. Profile photo of Dyllan

    -I would not say Lauren has been ruined, but she has been annoying as hell recently. All she does is yell and get moody. Don’t care for it.

    -Sharon HAS been ruined. I have not been able to stand her for years. She is selfish and dumb now. She is never held accountable for her actions and she always has the ability to string all the men along. They have completely changed her character.

    -Chloe has been completely water-down. She has been changed and not for the better. She needs to be bitchy and sassy again. She used to be so funny and opinionated. Same with Jill. She has been de-clawed into a boring snark.

    -Neil just needs a feisty woman. Jack needs to get his edge back too. Sharon ruined him.

    Overall, I can’t stand how MAB writes for the women. They are all so unlikable and I can’t root for any of them.

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