Harmony Refers to Phyllis as “Miss Phyllis” on Thursday’s The Young and the Restless





The New Year always brings with it a crop of fresh resolutions. "I'm going to lose weight." "I'm going to put back for a rainy day." "I'm going to spend more time on charitable causes." "I'm going to stop getting stark, raving mad about soap operas."

Not even a full week into 2012, and I've already broken one resolution by getting so angry at a television show I literally felt my blood boil. The maddening soap in question was CBS Daytime's The Young and the Restless, which on Thursday's air show had Harmony, a black female character played by soap legend Debbi Morgan, refer to her white female boss as "Miss Phyllis."
 

During the head-scratching scene, Ricky Williams asked Harmony about a job at Restless Style, the magazine the recovering drug addict was recently hired to work for. Harmony replied that the person Ricky needed to talk to was "Miss Phyllis, Phyllis Newman." I was so stunned I had to rewind it twice. I was fairly certain I hadn't set my DVR to tape a Hattie McDaniel movie from the 40's, nor an oft-recycled, racially-charged period piece like The Help or The Secret Life of The Bees. No, I was in fact watching a daytime soap opera set in 2012.

To say I became incensed on Twitter is quite the understatement, and to be quite honest, I regret that, because really, what's the point? For years we've been pointing out the passive-aggressive racism this show has exacted on its audience and stars, only to receive eyerolls from those who don't get it, or a myriad of excuses cloaking the sins of The Powers That Be.

I was too young (and there was no Twitter) to get fired up when the late Bill Bell named the Abbott's black maid Mamie; had a brother going around in white face and/or introduced Nathan Hastings as an illiterate thug called "Kong." Even at 13-years-old watching the soap in 1990, I questioned Drucilla not being able to read, when her sister grew up in the same African-American, middle class home—and managed to become a sorority sister and doctor— yet I was too caught up in Victoria Rowell's electrifying performance to focus on the negative aspects of the character.

To Bell's credit, he ended up telling popular, separate-but-equal stories for his black characters in the 90's. The writers who followed him continued that trend right up through the much lamented Lynn Marie Latham stint. Sure, the infamous LML may have destroyed the Abbotts and stripped Y&R of its glamour, but Dru and Neil (Kristoff St. John) at least had front burner stories that were equally as bad as Genoa City's white citizens during her tenure. From the moment Bill Belll's daughter-in-law Maria Arena Bell took over, however, all of that changed.

Even as we were praising MAB for restoring the Abbotts and Newmans, she did nothing for the Winters clan. After months of pressure, she finally scripted a half-baked story where Devon's (Bryton James) aunt Tyra (Eva Marcille) showed up in town with his gospel singng kid sister in tow. When a love story between Tyra and Neil failed to click with audiences, MAB revealed Tyra wasn't in fact Devon's relative and had the pair promptly screw before the character was ushered out of town.

Since that time, the black characters have been relegated to a hot plate behind the back burner, with only a botched triangle between Neil, a woefully recast Malcolm (Darius McCrary) and the monotone Sophia (Julia Pace Mitchell) to pass for diversity. Sure, it can be said that other characters like Michael Baldwin (Christian Le Blanc), Lauren Fenmore (Tracey Bregman) and Paul Williams (Doug Davidson) have been shown equal disdain by the current regime, but I don't recall any of those stars admitting they were punished for speaking out with a lack of airtime, like St. John revealed he was on Jamie Foxx's radio show.

If you ask anyone in the industry, you'll hear what a swell gal Maria Arena Bell is. "She isn't a racist," people insist. Maybe not, but she is a sadly out-of-touch, Beverly Hills socialite passing for writer. A true writer is curious about the human condition. Agnes Nixon didn't have to be black woman to write amazing tales for characters of color on Guiding Light, One Life to Live and later All My Children, where she created the iconic characters of Jesse and Angie, in creative conjunction with new Y&R hires Darnell Williams and Morgan. Nixon masterfully interwove tales featuring ALL the people on her canvases, despite their respective races. I keep hearing what a big fan of All My Children MAB was in the 80's. Did she fast-forward all of that?

Nixon has said on numerous occasions in the press she wanted to combat the racial injustices she saw in society via her writing, which is why I will defend her legacy of diversity to the time I stop writing for this blog. Maria Arena Bell on the other hand, doesn't write from a place of curiousity about those who are different from her. She writes as an afterthought to her latest big casting get.

This woman appears to love having the power of being Y&R's Executive Producer/Head Writer/Chief Craft Services Menu Decider, but she doesn't appear to want to be bothered with actually having to have passion for the job, or for storytelling. Her pisspoor treatment of black characters on this show is but one example of that.

Sure, it might not have been MAB who wrote that line for Morgan's character. She's a head writer, not a script writer, and as some have pointed out, it could have been ad-libbed by the actor. However, it was MAB who decided to bring on a daytime legend to play an ebonics-spouting crackwhore. It also was MAB who reportedly insisted on having autonomy in her contract. So in my opinion, the buck stops with her. Does she not watch the footage before it airs? Is she too busy at MOCA?

I must also ask why Morgan agreed to utter such a line? This isn't taking away any of the tremendous respect I have for this phenomenal actress, but again, unless she was starring in a period piece about "colored" maids in the 1960's, there is no way in high hell she should have agreed to refer to a white woman with a "Miss" in front of her first name in The Year of Our Lord 2012. It just ain't fittin'. Watch the offensive exhange below at the 10:00 mark.
 



127 Responses

  1. Profile photo of Proppie
    Proppie

    Dear Mr. Giddens:

    I agree with your comments.

    On Wednesday, January 4, 2012, I stopped watching “The Young and the Restless”.

    Why is superstar Debbie Morgan given such horrible dialogue? Ugh! This isn’t 1940?
    Why is there no respect for the show’s history?

    I started watching when Jill moved her family to the Chancellor estate and had Phillip buried there. I just can’t take anymore. It’s painful to watch and I give up.

    Thanks.

  2. Profile photo of Scooter Smith
    Scooter Smith

    I think you are overreacting Jamey. It is a term of respect, one that a lot of younger people don’t learn anymore. I teach my kids to call anyone that would be an authority figure to them either Miss Phyllis or Miss Newman. To me, watching that scene she saw this young kid(to her), and that’s why she called her Miss Phyllis and right after that she said her full name. This could be because I am white and it doesn’t have the same history for me, but I did not find this to be offensive at all. Now if Phyllis had told her she wanted to see the mockups and she said “Oh yes, Miss Phyllis, I’ll go get them”, THAT would have offended me.

  3. Profile photo of stoney07
    stoney07

    I see the point, but I think it was ad-libbed. And actually, I honestly don’t think it was meant to sound like “Slave jargon”. I think DM added it in just because-…well, Victoria Rowell said things like that all the time, it just came off DIFFERENTLY with Debbi Morgan. ANd I highly doubt that VR would say it in a scene where she was speaking to her WHITE boss. But I won’t give MAB too much, simply because it didn’t seem like something that was scripted. I think it if were scripted, even Debbi Morgan would’ve objected to that. But when she said it, it seemed kind of-…idk. DIFFERENT. Sure, I was offended, but even THEN, I realized that that was nothing that could’ve been written.

    I agree that MAB has treated the black characters (which had a lot to do with KEEPING Y&R number 1 for all these years) like dirt…but I highly doubt that any of these writers would go THAT far. Their feelings toward the black characters are not obvious to the naked or ignorant eye. For most, you would have to be black to “get” it…because others just say that whole “we don’t see Paul, Nina, Michael, Lauren” line in every post. But I highly doubt that the writers would slip something THAT offensive in. If they did…it’s disgusting.

    If it was an adlib by Debbi Morgan, then I wish they would’ve reshot that scene. OF course the budget it tight but geesh. Either it was an innocent thing that they figured other people wouldn’t think about because THEY didn’t htink about it….ORRRRRR it was written that way and TPTB just didn’t CARE.

    IDK. I wonder if Debbi Morgan has a twitter…I want to ask…lol. ANd resolve this. Because I don’t want my show to lose ratings over something that was an ad lib.

  4. Profile photo of soapy opie
    soapy opie

    Not defending the line at all, but is there
    any way it was meant “sarcastically”??

    You know, some sort of (misguided) put-down
    of Phyllis cause she’s such a pain-in-the ass??
    I mean, she’s a great b*tch, but I don’t think
    I’d enjoy the experience of working for her. lol

    I have enormous respect for Debbi Morgan,
    she couldn’t have missed the meaning of the phrase,
    there must have been some reason she felt
    justified in saying it.

    Sounds like a Debbi Morgan interview should
    be in the immediate future.

  5. Profile photo of Bourgeois Nerd
    Bourgeois Nerd

    First, “relegated to a hot plate behind the back burner” is a FANTASTIC line, Jamey.

    Second, I’m just a white boy, but I totally, totally get why this makes you steaming mad. I don’t think you’re overreacting, really, even if I think this is more “straw that broke the camel’s back” than anything. I actually do know of a white woman who gets called “Miss [Firstname]” by the black people of her neighborhood. But it’s a TOTALLY DIFFERENT THING! She’s an elderly woman who’s lived there for over fifty years. They love and respect her. She isn’t their employer and they aren’t her employees. They aren’t crackhos who can’t read.

  6. Profile photo of stoney07
    stoney07

    Exactly!! With an accomplished actress like DM, I don’t see her saying the line if it were scripted. And if it WAS scripted, TPTB HAD to have coached her and told her what they meant by it (even IF they didn’t mean what they said they meant lol). But I just find it hard to believe…I mean, some have said that VR and DM are good friends (which I’ve read somewhere as well)…and I’m pretty dang sure they have had conversations about Y&R and what goes on behind the scenes. So all sorts of alarms would’ve gone off in that woman’s head when she read that line. I still think it was adlibbed. But I’m sure we’ll all find out because SOMEONE is going to ask…lol

  7. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    She’s an elderly woman who’s lived there for over fifty years.
    ***
    Exactly. Had she called Kay “Ms. Katherine” I still would have winced a bit, because of the history of adult black women having to refer to white women as “Miss,” but it wouldn’t have been nearly as offensive, given Kay’s age and stature in the community.

    Anyone who works in an office setting in 2012 knows it is insane to have an employee call their superior Mr. or Miss followed by their first name. Harmony works for Phyllis at a supposedly cosmopolitan fashion magazine; she isn’t her chamber maid. I don’t recall Chloe calling her “Miss Phyllis” when she worked there.

  8. Profile photo of Restless Fan
    Restless Fan

    This woman appears to love having the power of being Y&R’s Executive Producer/Head Writer/Chief Craft Services Menu Decider, but she doesn’t appear to want to be bothered with actually having to have passion for the job, or for storytelling.

    I agree with your commentary in general but this comment really hit the nail on the head. I don’t get the sense that this show is her passion either. It’s reflected in the chaos that is now The Young and the Restless. This show used to be about something. It was a beautifully crafted, character driven dazzler.

    LML was the first guilty offender to steer this show off track. But under MAB she kept it off track and topped her predecessor by driving it into the ground. Y&R’s identity is ambiguous to me. Bell wants it to be something but I’m still unclear what that something is. One moment I’m in awe and the next I’m rolling my eyes (but I’m mostly rolling my eyes). However, one thing is very clear to me. Her idea of good taste is not translating to the masses. If she really believes this show is in good shape then we all owe it to ourselves to bow out of this relationship gracefully because I don’t see it getting better.

    I wish the Bell children along with their matriarch, Lee Philip Bell, would end this crap already! It’s gone on long enough. My loyalty spans 25 years. They owe it to the legions of fans who have kept it number one and on the air for all these decades. I want Bell, Sheffer and Hamner gone!!!!

  9. Profile photo of SlutOfSpringfield13
    SlutOfSpringfield13

    First and foremost, I don’t think Debbi Morgan would in any way, shape, or form, deliver dialogue that she thought was racist. If she did, there would be a huge interview from her. She isn’t some newbie that needs this job. She’s a daytime legend. Your never-ending hatred of Y&R is well noted.

  10. Profile photo of stefanstavros
    stefanstavros

    Jamey this is a very interesting topic. I, too, was a bit taken aback when I heard DM utter this on the show. My first reaction was that it was included due to the tremendous popularity of The Help last year and its buzz with all the upcoming awards shows. I understand completely your disdain for this considering it throws blacks right back into an insulting stereotype. BUT I think what we really need to look at is what is the closest truth based on reality in 2012. Unfortunately there are still A LOT of blacks, especially in the South, who speak this way. At my former workplace I heard it with my own ears many times. I’m sure you know this living in Atlanta(I’m in NC). So even though Y & R should always try to take the high road and try to help erradicate stereotypes, we need to try to figure out if the character of Harmony would really talk like that. I really don’t know because I don’t know if blacks in the Midwest use this. If she had been from the South it would’ve technically been feasible. Once again I’m not advocating the decision, just trying to break it down.

  11. Profile photo of Phyone
    Phyone

    My name is Phyllis Scott. I get “Miss Phyllis” all the time from both whites and Blacks. I’m Black. I never get plain Phyllis or Miss Scott; it’s always,”how you doin’, Miss Phyllis”. I used to think it was a famous character’s name and they were poking humor at me. My grandmother’s name is PHYLLIS, also. People address her as “Miss Phyllis”. Her relatives call her “Cousin Phyllis”, even her cousins of equal rank.

    Maybe the whole thing is inherent in the name itself and has no racial implications. Just my thought. When I was in grade school people use to taunt me: “You got a white girl’s name….you got a white girl’s name.” I used to run home in tears. I started calling myself Phy One (Phyllis Oneida”: shortened from both my grandmothers.)

    Nobody names their girls “Phyllis” anymore, seems like.

  12. Profile photo of josser
    josser

    Given Debbi Morgan’s own published comments about the racism that she’s experienced as a black actress, I doubt that she would have spoken a line that she felt was racist. I think “Miss Phyllis” was a flubbed line.

    However, I do agree that MAB has done a spectacularly poor jobs with non-white characters since taking over whether that was the shabby treatment of Kristoff St. John, Nia Peeples or Bryton James or the deciding the best way to usher the character of Tyra off the canvas was by having her sleep with her own nephew and leave town in shame. It’s been highly insensitive.

    Unfortunately, daytime, in general, has a poor history of handling minority storylines. Hell, Peter Bergman got fired from AMC because viewers didn’t like his and Debbi Morgan’s interracial storyline. Days has done a poor job with the Carvers. Passions, although willing to integrate its black cast, it used lots of stereotypes.

  13. Profile photo of timepass
    timepass

    Too many people first reaction was to be taken aback. I was too.

    And I did not follow up with trying to put a mental nice cap on it. My guts are right and so are yours Jamie.

    Just NOT acceptable.

  14. Profile photo of Scooter Smith
    Scooter Smith

    [quote=Jamey Giddens]I think you are overreacting Jamey.
    ***
    Of course you do, Scooter.[/quote]

    What exactly does that mean Jamey?

    Do you honestly think the rest of my post is untrue or impossible that it was the reason?

    Seriously, I don’t believe that DM would have ever said that if she thought it had any racial or stereotypical implications.

  15. Profile photo of Phyone
    Phyone

    My name is Phyllis Scott. I get “Miss Phyllis” all the time from both whites and Blacks. I’m Black. I never get plain Phyllis or Miss Scott; it’s always,”how you doin’, Miss Phyllis”. I used to think it was a famous character’s name and they were poking humor at me. My grandmother’s name is PHYLLIS, also. People address her as “Miss Phyllis”. Her relatives call her “Cousin Phyllis”, even her cousins of equal rank. Maybe “Phyllis” needs a respect prefix…a title to go with it.

    Maybe the whole thing is inherent in the name itself and has no racial implications. Just my thought. When I was in grade school people use to taunt me: “You got a white girl’s name….you got a white girl’s name.” I used to run home in tears. I started calling myself Phy One (Phyllis Oneida”: shortened from both my grandmothers.)

    Nobody names their girls “Phyllis” anymore, seems like.

  16. Profile photo of
    matealestlmo

    We also have to remember that Y&R’s writing team does have a black woman on it by the name of Susan Dansby. If she saw that in the scripts, she would have yanked that line faster than you can say jumping jack flash because I’m quite sure she would have found that line to be extremely offensive. Like Stoney7 said, there are several reasons why it may have ended up on our screens. Until we know the full scope of what really happened and who the offending party is/was, we cannot judge what happened on our very TV screens yesterday until we have the full story. But I do hope that Jamey or someone else here at DC ends up interviewing Debbi Morgan and asking her point blank about that line she used in yesterday’s episode. Until then, stop with the finger pointing. For every finger you point, you’ve got 3 more pointing back at you.

    Yes, I found the line a bit jarring myself and I am white. I may not fully understand black history (yes, I have many black friends and my first boyfriend was black) and the many things that blacks have gone through in this country, but when I hear a black person on my TV in 2012 saying a line like that, my one and only hearing ear perked up and I thought, “Did she just say that?”

    To Scooter, you’re not helping here. You’re only making Jamey all that much angrier by the minute and a very angry Jamey is not something you want to cross. Jamey as a black man has a right to his opinions and for you to tell him that he’s overreacting is a slap in the face. I sincerely believe that you owe him an apology.

    Michael

  17. Profile photo of stoney07
    stoney07

    MAB and her staff are bad WRITERS…

    They’ve got Melody Thomas Scott pissy drunk and running around town slurring and stumbling (tho I love it)

    THey’ve got Sharon Case sharing her cookies to any man who has a golden ticket…

    They’ve got Stacy Haiduk lurking around town with a veil on her face (which is not that badly bruised might I add)

    They’ve got Jess Walton, Tricia Cast, Tracey Bregman, etc….ALL white actresses doing absolutely NOTHING….

    So I don’t think it would be a stretch for them to have Susan Lucci playing a trailer trash woman. Just like I didn’t think it would be a stretch to see Debbi Morgan play Yolanda.

    I’m mixed with a few things, mainly black, white, puerto rican…but I was raised entirely by my black family. ANd regardless as to what I am, I think its pretty apparent that TPTB don’t give a good kitty (in the words of my girl Dru) about the black characters on this show. But what I DON’T see is them scripting a completely BLATANT racist shot for an actress like Debbi Morgan to say. I just don’t see it happening. And even if they had, I KNOW she wouldn’t agree to say it.

  18. Profile photo of Bob Lamm
    Bob Lamm

    Dear Jamey,

    This aging White boy is totally with you! Let me add: it is distressing to see how lots of White readers of Daytime Confidential don’t understand what you’re saying and write that you are overreacting. Same old rotten tune that is always sung by the callous majority when anyone points out an instance of sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, or any other type of bigotry. No, people, Jamey Giddens isn’t OVERreacting; you are UNDERreacting.

    I hope, Jamey, that you will continue to speak out strongly against racism and other forms of bigotry, whether on YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS or anywhere else. You have my support and respect.

  19. Profile photo of AdamDrake
    AdamDrake

    [quote=josstheguy]Peter Bergman got fired from AMC because viewers didn’t like his and Debbi Morgan’s interracial storyline. [/quote]

    Is that true? My recollection is that he landed Y&R after the dismal zero-chemistry storyline between Cliff and Angie. I recall it being a big “get” for Y&R to steal Bergman away from AMC, but I don’t recall anyone saying AMC fired him. Just asking.

  20. Profile photo of Smitty
    Smitty

    Spot on Jamey!!!

    I’ve ranted about MAB over my Melody Thomas Scott but my second offense to her is her lack of use of the “black” characters on her show. Up until Drucilla’s “death” they were featured for two decades with no problem. Now we get a dismal 4 episodes a month during a good month.

    Whether people like it or not, I know many who are NOT African-American won’t get it. They will think you are overreacting but this isn’t the first offense by MAB’s regime. You pointed them out during your piece so I won’t be redundant but the proof is in the pudding.

    I watched the clip yesterday and was taken aback as well. I was at a lost for words. This is unacceptable in 2012.

    Say what you will about Bill Bell but he wrote a lot better stories and the characters of Nate and Drucilla were played by much better actors than say Darius McCrary’s Malcolm and Julia Pace Mitchell’s Sophia.

    I don’t know anyone who is in their right mind would refer to anyone as Miss/Mister who’s their boss. It’s a shame and it’s clear how out of touch Y&R is with “black” ppl. Getting on Y&R shouldn’t be our only complaint though. B&B and the other soaps on the air don’t do a much better job.

  21. Profile photo of Llanview76
    Llanview76

    Jamie, what do you think of the Evans family on ONE LIFE?
    Stefan, I live in Wisconsin…and I have always found it amusing…how Y&R glamourizes the “dairy state”.
    Erik

  22. Profile photo of soapbaby
    soapbaby

    I agree with you 100%, Jamey. Rarely watch Y&R these days, so fortunately missed this craziness. It had become very difficult to be a Black viewer of daytime serials because of the treatment of Black actors and characters involved. Soaps have become steadily less diverse and the ‘diversity’ we see is relegated to the hyper-stereotypical-fashion, ie. Yolanda and Angelina on Y&R, Mookie on now defunct AMC (I spit nails over that one) and the few Blacks being glorified day players despite being on a show for year’s (DAYS’ Abe and Lexie.)

  23. Profile photo of stefanstavros
    stefanstavros

    LOL I read you said that recently in another post Erik and I thought it was really funny. I agree with you that’s it’s hilarious that so many leaders of industry and millionaires live in a town in Wisconsin. LOL I pretty much guessed I wouldn’t typically see a Nikki newman diva with her full-length chinchilla coat and perfect silky flippy hairdo in a Wisconsin restaurant. lol

  24. Profile photo of RealityCheck 33
    RealityCheck 33

    I don’t think DM would have delivered the line if she thought it was racially charged. I can understand how some might see that it was, but I don’t think there was any intentional or subconscious intent of racism.

    I do think that Jamey hates MAB and Y&R right now, so it’s a nice ax to grind with TPTB there.

    As far as the show going to shit, it’s obvious to any viewer that it is. I cannot fathom what these moronic writers must talk about when they are pushing these stupid s/l’s. It’s like they are truly a bunch of monkeys hurling crap against the wall. The show’s a fucking mess.

  25. Profile photo of east.west
    east.west

    I think it was an ad-lib. She, just like Genie Francis, had made such a to do about wanting to differentiate from their previous iconic characters. And if this is what she thinks of this Tyler Perry inspired character as being a “black Erica Kane”, cliches and all, that is on her.

    Yeah it is fun to place blame on MAB, but I don’t think she and her team are that stupid to script that.

  26. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    @StefanStavros “BUT I think what we really need to look at is what is the closest truth based on reality in 2012. Unfortunately there are still A LOT of blacks, especially in the South, who speak this way. At my former workplace I heard it with my own ears many times. I’m sure you know this living in Atlanta(I’m in NC).”
    ***

    Unfortunately, there are also still a LOT of whites, especially in the South, who speak like Harmony too. Don’t get it twisted. At my current workplace, I am forever having to tell Luke it is “She and I went to the movies,” not “Her and I went to the movies.” Yet if we were on Y&R, I’d be the one in a doo rag calling him “Misser Luke.”

    Just like I know a lot of blacks who speak like Harmony, I know white people who act like Dog the Bounty Hunter and his family, and that man who dives into swamps looking to fight snapping turtles. I also know white doctors, lawyers, CEO’s and (surprise surprise) black doctors, lawyers and CEO’s.

    I also know some white people who would appear to come straight out of Deliverance, as well as blacks who come straight from the hood, however, on this particular soap opera, they only go for the lowest common denominator when creating stereotypes for black actors to play out.

    How do you think it would go over if the Newmans and Abbotts were replaced with people akin to those on that reality show about Moonshiners? Contrary to popular belief, there are people of ALL races who speak with broken English and act uncouth. Blacks didn’t corner the market, yet if you believe TV and film, you’d think we’re all on crack, waiting for a nice white person to teach us to read and how to use utensils to get sugar out of a damn dish.

  27. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    @Llanview76 I enjoy the Evans family. Sure they have their ghetto moments, but the father and mother are both gainfully employed and sober. He works at the prison (though he should be fired after yesterday’s mass, coed prison break), and she’s a social worker. There kids have been included in major, interracial plotlines and even though some of their dramatic scenes feel a bit “Raisin in The Sun,” no one is on crack or illiterate. They have secrets, lies and scandals just like their Caucasian counterparts, and currently, their granddaughter is pregnant by a Buchanan. That would never happen on The Young and the Rest of Us.

  28. Profile photo of stoney07
    stoney07

    I love Jamey…and I totally see where he is coming from. If the show was balanced, I don’t think this would be such a big issue. But because the show is clearly biased to white characters, then this is what TPTB have to deal with, and it IS justified.

    However, I don’t think every black character on Y&R is stereotypical. I mean, we got Neil, a business executive who speaks as eloquently as anyone else on the show. We have Sophia (who occasionally does her neck-rolling) but also is a businesswoman. And she doesn’t really speak like an ignorant cliche black girl. We have Devon, who though he was raised as a foster kid, is now a music producer. We have Roxanne. They barely show her, but I don’t get hoodrat from her either. Olivia, who is a doctor…Nate (if they ever freakin bring him on) is a doctor, etc…

    Really, the only 2 black characters that really were cliches are Drucilla and Harmony. And it’s never been stated that Harmony can’t read. I don’t think the problem with her character is her dialogue. I think she adds a lot to the character and I actually enjoy seeing Harmony. I think the problem is that they don’t invest in Harmony enough for us to even UNDERSTAND her backstory. I’m pretty dang sure she can read, since she’s working for a magazine.

    I don’t know. I don’t want anyone to think I’m defending the show, because I’m NOT. The way they treat the black cast is obnoxious and ridiculous and it needs to change.

  29. Profile photo of goyankees
    goyankees

    I admit, I didn’t even catch it yesterday, when Debi said it. But I’m going with the side that seems to think DM ad libbed this. I HATE the way she’s playing “YO-Harmony”….. it’s just not working for me.

    But I’ll tell you what WAS offensive yesterday, was the guy that plays Ricky calls himself an actor? THAT is problematic.

    We could be OLTL fans ya know. In 2 weeks, they’d love to be discussing a scene like this on their TV’s. :-(

  30. Profile photo of RebeccaJ
    RebeccaJ

    i agree with the people who think you are overreacting too. It’s a term of RESPECT between boss and employee, who are not always on a first name basis, but not as formal as “Miss Newman”. I get “Missed” all day long and I’m a Mrs!

    Relax. Not everything is about race…

  31. Profile photo of stefanstavros
    stefanstavros

    Jamey I never said that there weren’t many whites who talked like rednecks and used improper English. Believe me, I fully recognize that! I was refering to the question at hand, which is Harmony. Like I said I was trying to place the character in the context of reality in today’s world. Please don’t try to turn my comment around in a way to paint me as in any way racist or superior. You couldn’t be further from the truth.

  32. Profile photo of Jillian Bowe
    Jillian Bowe

    Scooter, I guess what Jamey’s trying to say is you would think it was a “flub” since you are the same one that think the minorities are show all the time, when they actually aren’t.

  33. Profile photo of
    matealestlmo

    [quote=Jillian Bowe]Scooter, I guess what Jamey’s trying to say is you would think it was a “flub” since you are the same one that think the minorities are show all the time, when they actually aren’t.[/quote]

    CH-CHING! Jillian just cashed in! Well played Jillian!

  34. Profile photo of AdamDrake
    AdamDrake

    [quote=Jamey Giddens]@Llanview76 I enjoy the Evans family. Sure they have their ghetto moments, but the father and mother are both gainfully employed and sober. He works at the prison (though he should be fired after yesterday’s mass, coed prison break), and she’s a social worker. There kids have been included in major, interracial plotlines and even though some of their dramatic scenes feel a bit “Raisin in The Sun,” no one is on crack or illiterate. They have secrets, lies and scandals just like their Caucasian counterparts, and currently, their granddaughter is pregnant by a Buchanan. That would never happen on The Young and the Rest of Us.[/quote]

    AND the Evans family has something that’s a rarity on daytime these days: a NON-interracial couple (Sean and Vivian). I think tptb go too often to interracial relationships because they don’t think viewers will be interested in a couple without a white person in it. Latinos included. Hell, I’m surprised they’ve kept Vimal and Rama together from beginning to end (although they’re little more than supporting players).

  35. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    It’s a term of RESPECT between boss and employee,
    ***
    I’m just so sure Vogue employees call their boss “Miss Anna” as opposed to Ms. Wintour. I know everything isn’t about race, but a new black character played by a soap legend having to call a white woman “Miss” anything in the workplace is about race. Sorry, but it is. Had she called her Ms. Newman, that would have been appropriate. “Miss Phyllis” and she’s reciting Mammy’s lines in Gone With The Wind.

  36. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Also, if it is simply a term of “RESPECT” (all caps for emphasis), why don’t I recall Neil ever being called “Mister Neil” during his various CEO spots in and around Genoa City?

  37. Profile photo of Mike_Dubin
    Mike_Dubin

    Totally think you are overreacting. Where I work, BOTH black and white refer to our boss as Ms and Mr (insert first name)…. I’ve heard this to back and white bosses and I feel this is more of a regional thing, and being that you are familiar with Texas, I am surprised you are reacting this way.

    As far as the casting of Debbie Morgan in the role, while I am not enjoying it, I am sort of seeing her point of view. She has been on many a show (mostly playing Angie Hubbard) and this character could not be more different. So, it just could be that she wanted a change, a challenge if you will. Again, not enjoying the character, but it’s interesting to see a character that did not have such a wholesome background come out on the other side of it and rebuild her life. That’s what I see with her so far.

  38. Profile photo of Ryan-Scott
    Ryan-Scott

    I am white. I have an ex who is white who now lives in Georgia. A few years ago, I was visiting for his birthday. We were at dinner with his friends and his mother. One of his friends addressed his mother with “Miss” in front of her first name. I found out later that type of thing is common in the south in speaking to older people as a form of respect. I think that’s cool and acceptable.

    If intended here as Jamey wrote shame on all of them.
    I used to work in an office and there was a bitch who was very difficult and very demanding. I remember once or twice in talking to other people addressing her with Miss because she pissed me off and we were talking shit.

    The intention and origin here we may never find out. I hope we can though.

    And Jamey I agree 110% about everything you wrote about Agnes Nixon.

  39. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    I found out later that type of thing is common in the south in speaking to older people as a form of respect. I think that’s cool and acceptable.

    ***
    That is common in the South. I would call an elderly white OR black lady who was a friend “Ms. So and So.” However, I wouldn’t call my boss, who is younger than me, “Miss _____.” I would call them either by their first name or Mr., Ms. or Mrs. followed by their surname. It is racist for an adult black woman to call a white woman in the same age range “Miss,” and everyone here doggone well knows it.

  40. Profile photo of soapfan616
    soapfan616

    Thank you for this wonderful post. It’s a crying shame when a genre that paved the way for positive portrayals of women and people of color has disintegrated to this level.

    Soaps used to be trailblazers. In the 80’s, where else on TV could you find a couple like Jessie and Angie? Where else could you find female police commissioners and surgeons and lawyers? Not too many places.

    Unfortunately, soaps paved the way then they decided to get off the damn road and go backwards–way backwards in the hills where bath time is once per week and women birth their men’s babies and not much else. Now we have the most successful African-American actress (arguably) in the history of this genre, speaking Mamie dialogue. What the f**k?

    I applaud you for this post and more people need to take notice of these kinds of portrayals as they are reasons viewers tune out and never tune back in.

    It makes me wonder who the writers think they are writing for? They clearly do not know that a soap fan can be a thinking and breathing and passionate member of society.

    Once again, BRAVO!

  41. Profile photo of thecourt99
    thecourt99

    I didn’t watch this…thankfully. I would be surprised if it was written in the script this way…and I think this is the straw that broke the camels back.

    I don’t think that Jamey is overreacting.. Why?

    For all those that say that it is a term of respect in real life, I agree. But we are talking about Y&R here. When and how often do people regard others with that term of respect? Did Phyllis call Victor Mr. Victor when she was employed? Did Nicki call Kay Miss Kay when she worked for her? Has anyone ever heard Mr. Nick? Miss Victoria? In the context of the show that is Y&R, has this ever happened before? Hell..the kids even call adults by their first names.

    So in a world (Y&R) where this isn’t said as a form of respect at all, and in a world where the minority characters are treated like crap….what other reaction could someone have? That’s about as blatant as you can get.

  42. Profile photo of arielade
    arielade

    Jamey, I am Caucasian and Asian, put I pass as white, and I have always been treated differently than my brother and sister who identify as and look Asian. I also did African American studies in school, and I am fully aware of the privilege that my appearance brings, especially in relation to my siblings.

    That being said, I have been HORRIFIED by what DM has been doing on Y&R. From the hair (do-rags) to the “errrrrrrrrybody”, and finally to the “Miss Phyllis”, I am thoroughly EMBARRASSED for this pinnacle of daytime. To think that DM herself would ad lib such a racist line is insulting, and I refuse to believe she did that on her own accord.

    Perhaps if this was the only evidence of racism on this show, we could overlook it as a strange, awful mistake. But all you need to do is look at the pattern of treatment that AA actors have received on this show:

    AA actors slammed/punished for speaking out.
    AA actors not given nearly the amount of airtime or quality stories as their white counterparts.
    AA actors given storylines around their socioeconomic positions (poverty, illiteracy, drug use) as opposed to being seamlessly integrated into the “A” stories with the other actors.

    This is just a few of the things I have picked up on since starting to watch the show not too long ago during the Jabot face cream debacle, so I am sure this doesn’t even begin to cover all of the inequities.

    There is clearly a pattern here, so I do not buy for one second that this latest injustice happens to be a fluke, and I am very glad that Jamey brought it up. It is truly sickening.

  43. Profile photo of appleridge
    appleridge

    That was defintley Racist and as for DM not saying something racist. She is not a writer but actor. Actors say dialouge all the time they dont like. That was the case here. But Im more upset that MAB, Sheffer, Hamner wouldlet that line stay in the script

  44. Profile photo of Llanview76
    Llanview76

    [quote=stefanstavros]LOL I read you said that recently in another post Erik and I thought it was really funny. I agree with you that’s it’s hilarious that so many leaders of industry and millionaires live in a town in Wisconsin. LOL I pretty much guessed I wouldn’t typically see a Nikki newman diva with her full-length chinchilla coat and perfect silky flippy hairdo in a Wisconsin restaurant. lol[/quote]

    Maybe in Madison, but I am partial because I lived there and am going back…however, my web soap, in creation, is about the Bohemian class…I just know I am going to be criticized for how glamorous I make them though I have no intent..Stefan, I still have a part for you if you ever want it… ;)
    Erik

  45. Profile photo of aveRex
    aveRex

    Most sad of all, is that the viewer demographics of this show is predominantly Black. I haven’t had a Nielsen demo book in a few years, but I doubt much has changed. Now I ask this question: Why are we still watching if the show is perceived as so racist? What perverse pleasure do we derive from such a program? Are we okay with it? Are we so ignorant that we can’t see the subliminal messages being thrown our way? Do we just watch and don’t give a damn?

    I wonder…

  46. Profile photo of alstonboy4315
    alstonboy4315

    Jamey,

    I followed you–and Jillian’s—every words on Twitter last night when the BLEEP hit the fan. I decided to do something that I rarely do, which is give Maria Bell the benefit of the doubt and play devil’s advocate, rationalizing that perhaps Debbi had ad-libbed the lines.How foolish and short-sighted of me to even contemplate doing something like that!!! Besides, would an African American woman of Debbi’s age who was alive back in the 60s during the Civil Right’s movement, really demean herself that way, or a character she was playing?

    I don’t think so.

    This is just another reminder that Maria Bell does NOT care about African American characters. AT. ALL.

    It’s times like this that I am thankful more so than ever that my Victoria Rowell is not on this show. Cause you know she would have read Maria’s cartoon ass the business over this sort of foolishness.

    Debbi Morgan is the consumate professional, though. She plays her characters 150%……and she doesn’t deserve ONE ounce of blame for this. All of the blame lies SOLELY on Hackarena “Turn Blacks into walking stereotypes” Bell! She did the same thing with Malcolm, having him talking like he belonged in some low budget rap video half the time. Does Maria know any REAL African Americans who make less than 6 figures a year?

    Cause if she did, she’d know that most of us “poor coloreds” don’t speak like that in real life.

  47. Profile photo of soapbaby
    soapbaby

    Why is it every time someone states an injustice, specifically, racism, they are told they are “overreacting” or “oversensitive”?

    Jamey – Go ahead and thank you for calling out Y&R.

    ‘Miss Phyllis?’ Debbie Morgan went from playing a dignified, brilliant doctor as Angie Hubbard on AMC to this? Gimme a break. That’s offensive. I am not opposed to a character (of any race) being from humble beginnings but there is no need for self-deprecating, degrading portrayals, especially when the character is Black because there are so few representations of Blacks on television,

  48. Profile photo of marknsprmo
    marknsprmo

    Jamie Aunt Mamie said for you to appologize to them there Newman’s befo’ she take a switch to you. “Dem Newman’s ain’t been nothin’ but good to us folk and you should be a showin’ dem de respec’ dat dey deserved. Dem and Mr Abbott been good to us! So you be callin’ dem Mr and Miss and sho’ yoself da respec’ cause I taught ya bedder dan dat! Why Neil Winters went all da way up to the top at Newman. And Mister woulda married me too if’n it weren’t for dat witch Ms Jill. And de taught my chil’ to read and let my t’other ta be a doctor in their own hospital. Don’ be a tellin’ me bout no racist nothin’.”

    Still haven’t watched since the day after Diane died and everyone woke up with a guilty look on their face……That ended Y&R for me until Maria and company have been removed.

  49. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Jamie Aunt Mamie said for you to appologize to them there Newman’s befo’ she take a switch to you. “Dem Newman’s ain’t been nothin’ but good to us folk and you should be a showin’ dem de respec’ dat dey deserved. Dem and Mr Abbott been good to us! So you be callin’ dem Mr and Miss and sho’ yoself da respec’ cause I taught ya bedder dan dat! Why Neil Winters went all da way up to the top at Newman. And Mister woulda married me too if’n it weren’t for dat witch Ms Jill. And de taught my chil’ to read and let my t’other ta be a doctor in their own hospital. Don’ be a tellin’ me bout no racist nothin’.”

    ***
    I cannot breathe. You just summed up Mamie’s entire throughline.

  50. Profile photo of harlee490
    harlee490

    @ marknspromo LMAO…HERE HERE..good job. I saw Jamey your tweet last night when you tweeted and saw it light up with responses, you must’ve been watching the episode and tweeting and busted because I knew if just wasn’t right. I thought when I got up to see it on DC. MAB is closeted racist and doesn’t even know it reflecting in her story lines on how they come across on our TV screens and because she doesn’t consider herself a racist is what is scary. You would think someone regardless written or ad-lib the editing department should have cut it, or if the director should done another take of the scene. If it was Chris G. another white man that just doesn’t get it either, thinking it was OK. It’s the fault of MAB on down the line, to CBS, which is again made up of white fat middle age Viagra eating men. :~

  51. Profile photo of Coffee_Junkie
    Coffee_Junkie

    This isn’t the first time Y&R has done this. Ana (the singing BRAT) used to call Saint Lily “Miss Lily” all the time. As is she somehow DESERVED the distinction.

    HA!

    How come Mamie never called Smilin’ Jack “Mister Jack” or Ashley “Miss Ashley?” Because Bill Bell knew better, that’s why.

    Not only is MAB a stupid bitch but she a racist bitch, too. She can say, “oh but it’s a show of RESPECT!” Till the cows come home. Viewers with half a brain know better.

    Don’t they have a black writer on the writing team now? How come she isn’t raising her hand saying, “uh….wait a minute!?”

  52. Profile photo of akbad806
    akbad806

    When I watched yesterday’s Y&R, I wondered why DM would say “Miss Phyllis.” I found it rather odd and borderline racist. Hell, Harmony may be a low-educated former crack addict, but does she have to resort to dustin the knick knacks of the Abbotts, Newmans, and Chancellors now?

    I believe MAB’s only knowledge of the African American culture is Tyler Perry movies because she writes no depth for any of the Winters. Luckily, KSJ, DW, and DM are stellar actors because we would have a mess on our hands otherwise. One big Minstrel show on our damn hands. I can see the shot now:

    (Harmony, Neil, DW’s character, and Sofia are plowing in the fields)

    Neil: How this happen? I use to be an executive, now I’m out here pickin cotton with you all.

    DW: Those are the breaks, ol boy.

    Harmony: We betta stop runnin our mouths and get back to work. Masta say he don’t wanna hear us out here

    Sofia: Ugh! I needs rest and somethin to eat. I’m HONGRY!

    Harmony: Hush now, Sofia. Now ain’t the time to be worried bout no suppa! We got awhile out here in the fields.

    DW: Sho hope we get some pigfeets tonite.

    Sofia: Don’t get me started, child! I could eat the whole hog!

    (Harmony, DW, and Sofia chuckle)

    Neil: Pigfeet?!? Ewww…no thanks. I’ll pass.

    Harmony: What is it? Mr. Stanford too good for my soul food?

    Neil: I think I’ll get some takeout from GloWorm.

    DW: Not gonna happen.

    Neil: What do you mean?

    DW: They don’t ‘low our kind at the GloWorm or any of this fancy places in town, not since Masta took over. He own everything in Genoa City now.

    Neil: If you’re referring to Victor Newman–

    Harmony: Naw, fool! Devon is the masta!

    Neil: What? That’s impossible.

    Devon: (riding up on a horse) Oh, but it’s true. I took over Tucker’s holdings, decided I’m embracing my rightful heritage, and buying a plantation for you nigras to pick cotton. And ain’t that MR. DEVON, YoHarmony?!?

  53. Profile photo of jenlbryan1101
    jenlbryan1101

    I’ve always called my bosses whether they are black, white, purple or green, Mr. or Miss so and so. Jamey would it have been an issue if it were reversed? My children always address adults by Mr. Bob or Miss Jen and I do the same… it was the way I was raised. So, it may have something to do with the character and no the color of the characters skin. I for one don’t buy for one minute that DM would deliver that line if she felt it was racist.

  54. Profile photo of akbad806
    akbad806

    When I watched yesterday’s Y&R, I wondered why DM would say “Miss Phyllis.” I found it rather odd and borderline racist. Hell, Harmony may be a low-educated former crack addict, but does she have to resort to dustin the knick knacks of the Abbotts, Newmans, and Chancellors now?

    I believe MAB’s only knowledge of the African American culture is Tyler Perry movies because she writes no depth for any of the Winters. Luckily, KSJ, DW, and DM are stellar actors because we would have a mess on our hands otherwise. One big Minstrel show on our damn hands. I can see the shot now:

    (Harmony, Neil, DW’s character, and Sofia are plowing in the fields)

    Neil: How this happen? I use to be an executive, now I’m out here pickin cotton with you all.

    DW: Those are the breaks, ol boy.

    Harmony: We betta stop runnin our mouths and get back to work. Masta say he don’t wanna hear us out here

    Sofia: Ugh! I needs rest and somethin to eat. I’m HONGRY!

    Harmony: Hush now, Sofia. Now ain’t the time to be worried bout no suppa! We got awhile out here in the fields.

    DW: Sho hope we get some pigfeets tonite.

    Sofia: Don’t get me started, child! I could eat the whole hog!

    (Harmony, DW, and Sofia chuckle)

    Neil: Pigfeet?!? Ewww…no thanks. I’ll pass.

    Harmony: What is it? Mr. Stanford too good for my soul food?

    Neil: I think I’ll get some takeout from GloWorm.

    DW: Not gonna happen.

    Neil: What do you mean?

    DW: They don’t ‘low our kind at the GloWorm or any of this fancy places in town, not since Masta took over. He own everything in Genoa City now.

    Neil: If you’re referring to Victor Newman–

    Harmony: Naw, fool! Devon is the masta!

    Neil: What? That’s impossible.

    Devon: (riding up on a horse) Oh, but it’s true. I took over Tucker’s holdings, decided I’m embracing my rightful heritage, and buying a plantation for you nigras to pick cotton. And ain’t that MR. DEVON, YoHarmony?!?

  55. Profile photo of Scooter Smith
    Scooter Smith

    [quote=Jillian Bowe]Scooter, I guess what Jamey’s trying to say is you would think it was a “flub” since you are the same one that think the minorities are show all the time, when they actually aren’t.[/quote]

    So are you insinuating that I am racist or something? The comment about Minorities being shown all the time was from like 6 months to a year ago, and I clarified my point by saying that they were on the show each time I turned it on, and that it may have been because I don’t watch everyday.

    I really love the DC and PC podcasts, but I am finding it harder and harder to come to the website because anytime my opinions are different, I get attacked or slandered not just by anonymous forum posters(which on the internet you come to expect), but the hosts and authors themselves. I don’t get it.

    I get that race can be a sensitive subject, and I abhor racism. I guess being a white guy from the northern midwest, I just don’t see racism in everything I watch, hear, and do.

  56. Profile photo of Dariclone
    Dariclone

    I can’r believe they actually made Debbie Morgan say that! And the way the line was delievered it came off as though she calls her boss “Miss Phyllis” all the time. ><

  57. Profile photo of Angie Lucy
    Angie Lucy

    For all the people saying that calling someone “Miss So and So” is a sign of respect, did you read the part where Jamey said people don’t do this with people in their own age range? Duh. I’m Black and Southern. Yes, there are some people I call Miss Alice and Mr. John. They’re my parents age or (more likely) much older. I don’t call anyone within 10 or 15 years of me in either direction Miss Alice or Mr. John. If they’re my boss, I call them Ms. Smith, Mr. Jones, or Alice and John, depending on familiarity. Kids do call me Miss “Angie”, so Ana doing that to all of the adults really isn’t a probably, not even with boring ol’ Lily. I could see Harmony calling Katherine “Miss” because of her age, but Phyllis? Please. And note, people do not need permission to react to what they consider racist, whether intentional or unintentional (so institutionally ingrained that the writer isn’t aware how racist something is).

  58. Profile photo of Angie Lucy
    Angie Lucy

    For all the people saying that calling someone “Miss So and So” is a sign of respect, did you read the part where Jamey said people don’t do this with people in their own age range? Duh. I’m Black and Southern. Yes, there are some people I call Miss Alice and Mr. John. They’re my parents age or (more likely) much older. I don’t call anyone within 10 or 15 years of me in either direction Miss Alice or Mr. John. If they’re my boss, I call them Ms. Smith, Mr. Jones, or Alice and John, depending on familiarity. Kids do call me Miss “Angie”, so Ana doing that to all of the adults really isn’t a probably, not even with boring ol’ Lily. I could see Harmony calling Katherine “Miss” because of her age, but Phyllis? Please. And note, people do not need permission to react to what they consider racist, whether intentional or unintentional (so institutionally ingrained that the writer isn’t aware how racist something is).

  59. Profile photo of SoapArmageddon
    SoapArmageddon

    Scooter, your avatar says it all.

    “Liberal” also means having a kind and generous disposition. Even if you’re not a racist, you’re an insensitive jerk. Take your pick.

    I rarely comment in threads dealing with social injustices because I find it hard to control my level of anger; but for you, I felt the need to make an exception.

  60. Profile photo of Jillian Bowe
    Jillian Bowe

    Scooter, you go back and re-read what I said. WHERE does it say, that I CALLED YOU A RACIST!? I quoted what you said because YOU FELT the show wasn’t being racist. Dial it back. You’ve NEVER seen me type that up point blank PERIOD. If you don’t want to listen to the podcast or read the blog, that’s all on you.

  61. Profile photo of ER Writer
    ER Writer

    I really wish I could go to Cali and burn Donell’s contract.
    As a black female, I find this beyond embarrassing. Restless is awful anyway, but even if the rest of the show was stellar I couldn’t bring myself to watch a show a show with a character like this. How can it be anything but racism for Maria to see a legend like Debbie Morgan, who played an iconic character for years and go: CRACKHEAD! and uneducated to boot. As awful as Genie and Maura West’s stints have been, they didn’t have to deal with stuff like this.

  62. Profile photo of twb6yz
    twb6yz

    Well I have to admit that either I didn’t hear the “Miss Phyllis” comment or that it didn’t register at the time. I did think it was odd how much Phyllis went on and on about liking Harmony and how well they were going to get along. It was going on so long that I felt it had an undertone of how much MAB and MS liked her compared to VR.

    As far as people saying “Miss Phyllis” in the real world, I live in a rural community in the south and I do hear it to a very limited extent at work. I have a coworker who addresses a colleague as “Miss Phyllis.” I’ve heard that coworker say “I have to go talk to Miss Phyllis.” Those uses are sort of “in house.”

    I have never, ever, heard that colleague tell a complete stranger that they need to go talk to “Miss Phyllis.” They would tell the stranger they needed to talk to either “Ms. Newman” or “Phyllis Newman.”

  63. Profile photo of wintourfrost
    wintourfrost

    I would say that I was shocked when I saw the scene but than I remembered this show is written by the same woman that named Sophia’s baby Moses, has Sophia who is supposed to be the number 2 at a billion dollar company dressed in outfits that are brighter than the Sun, & givens Sophia lines like “go get your man.” MAB is a HORRIBLE EP/HW. Sony and CBS need to fire her and get someone in there that actually wants to write for the show and not walk the red carpet.

  64. Profile photo of julianka
    julianka

    I think Jamey and a lot of other people are overreacting. I think the remark in question was more because Harmony is from the south (apparently), or, it is quite possible that she was being sarcastic because Phyllis is a bitch, as someone else suggested way back in near the beginning of the thread. But the people here who have decided that this was a vile act of racial hatred are determined that they are right and anybody who doesn’t agree is either stupid, crazy,or “just doesn’t get it.”

  65. Profile photo of tedew
    tedew

    I’m not even going to comment on this topic ….

    …well, I don’t think there was any intention of anything by anyone on that line. If anything it was simply sarcasm. Don’t forget that we don’t really know Harmony all that well at this juncture, so we don’t know just where that character is headed and just what she is up to.

  66. Profile photo of Carol2
    Carol2

    [quote=AdamDrake]AND the Evans family has something that’s a rarity on daytime these days: a NON-interracial couple (Sean and Vivian). I think tptb go too often to interracial relationships because they don’t think viewers will be interested in a couple without a white person in it. Latinos included. Hell, I’m surprised they’ve kept Vimal and Rama together from beginning to end (although they’re little more than supporting players).[/quote]

    I think Vimal and Rama are only together because the show is ending. When Cris was still around, Vimal was pushed off the canvas for months while they tried, very badly, to throw Rama and Cris together.

    The Evans disappear for weeks and weeks at a time and Destiny is treated as an afterthought even when pregnant. Their real chance for a story seemed to disappear when Rachel was fired.

    All the soaps today either focus on tokens or don’t even try for tokens. It’s pathetic.

  67. Profile photo of skiman1208
    skiman1208

    Okay so I watched it. I love DM but this role is just so wrong for her IMO. As for the “issue” at hand it just seemed out of place. Do I think it was racist? I honestly don’t know. I completely understand Jamey’s POV but in this particular instance I am not sure how to take it.

  68. Profile photo of visitor101
    visitor101

    If there was a problem I think Debra Morgan would of spoke up by now. Once again, we have wannabe (at best) media hooking people into tome non issue to get the mob mentality going. In the end these are just all words that lead to phrases and you give them meaning. You, not someone else. Think for yourselves.

  69. Profile photo of soapster
    soapster

    Why all this outrage, people have for months even years stating that the soaps portrayal of black characters at times more often then not is insulting and this goes for all soaps.

    Y&R haven’t given a hoot about their AA characters or audience in years yet people didn’t seem to care, know that the soaps are done to the bare bones getting upset about it isn’t going to care anything.

    As for OLTL the Evans are used as props on that show just as the Winters are on Y&R please lets not try to make one better than the other everything Jamey stated for the Evans has been done recently on Y&R and the Evans are hardly featured on the show.

  70. Profile photo of INAHAM730
    INAHAM730

    1) You’re here, so don’t be a dick about the place you’re posting. 2)Some things are pretty cut and dry. I’m not massively offended by Harmony calling her boss “Miss Phyllis”, but not because it’s not racist. It’s because it’s so boldly racist in 2012 I had to laugh.

    TTFN :bigsmile:

  71. Profile photo of GamecockMom
    GamecockMom

    Glad it wasn’t just me that hated that line. I thought I was just being oversensitive since I watched “The Help” for the first time last week and then immediately read the book. It appalls me that human beings were treated as subhuman with no feelings back then.

    While I agree with some of you that Miss and Mr is a term of respect and I definitely teach that to my children (along with Ma’am and sir), it is reserved for people older than you. Phyllis is NOT older than Harmony. Also, it is used in reference to your boss but it is more formal. If it were just a boss thing, she would have said “Miss Newman, Phyllis Newman.” I was truly repulsed in The Help when the maids were forced to call these young girls Miss Hilly and Miss Skeeter. Give me a break! Yes “The Help” was a hit movie but we do NOT need to turn Y&R into it!

  72. Profile photo of RebeccaJ
    RebeccaJ

    Well then Jamey if you find it so insulting, answer me this: why would an intelligent woman like Debbi repeat that line? Are you saying she isn’t clever enough to know when she’s being insulted? Is she that desperate for work that she’d come on national tv and say lines that degraded her? I hardly think so.

    I too have friends from Atlanta and they use that the term “miss first name here” all the time. When I asked the one guy why they used that manner to address people he said it was out of respect and because his mother would kick his butt if he didn’t.

  73. Profile photo of Restless Vixen
    Restless Vixen

    I agree with you completely, Jamey.

    “Miss Phyllis” is completely incorrect in a professional setting. If the goal was to be reverent and showcasing etiquette, the correct title would be “Miss Summers” not fucking “Miss Phyllis”. “Miss (insert first name here)” is reserved for domestic types and children towards their elders who are within their family circle of friends. Everybody knows that [/Phaedra Parks]. Last time I checked, DM/Yoharmony is not a damned kid, nor is Phyllis her elder. And she’s not working for Phyllis as a maid. Harmony doesn’t know Phyllis enough to be using “Miss Phyllis” as a term of endearment, disdain (as some can use “Miss” in a nicety sort of way), or any other emotion.

    TIIC are trying way too hard to showcase Harmolanda’s “blackness”. Like we didn’t notice that Debbi Morgan is black. The obnoxious slang, the do-rag during the Holidays, the lack of knowledge of how to navigate sugar cubes in a gotdamned sugar bowl, and now this – complete overkill! Did no one on that set even bother to rethink “Miss Phyllis”? I think DM would know that was going to rub some people the wrong way. My pet theory is that MAB recently saw “The Help” (I’ll reserve my rant on that for another day) and thought that would be a real “doozy”. It is so obvious this character is supposed to be Drucilla version 2.0. I’m surprised they didn’t make her illiterate, too [/eyeroll]

    MAB – you are so dumb, you’re really, really dumb – for real!

  74. Profile photo of Restless Vixen
    Restless Vixen

    Why the assumption that Yolanda is Southern? There has been absolutely no backstory confirming Yolanda is from the South. Not all African Americans originate from the American South. And even if she was, not all southerners behave in the same way.

    This is just another example of MAB being completely clueless outside her little “Ladies who Lunch” bubble

  75. Profile photo of snizzle
    snizzle

    I dislike MAB as much as the next person but unless it happens again I’m going to assume it was a flubbed line. Remember Phyllis is portrayed by Michelle Stafford. Maybe DM caught herself calling the character by the actress’ name and compensated by calling her ‘Miss Phyllis’ to keep from having to reshoot the scene. Just a thought..

  76. Profile photo of pumpkin
    pumpkin

    I think between those two characters it might be misconstrued. Hopefully they will change the dialog from now on. The fact people are discussing should give them a sign. It may indicate class.

    I have a black friend who calls me Miss Irene when I see him. I never thought about it before. I think he just feels comfortable with it. I am about 15 years older. There is no other work relationship. Just see him once in awhile.

    I would still edit the dialog a little more though.

  77. Profile photo of thecourt99
    thecourt99

    I’m posting again because I am still in shock. This is Y&R, not the real world. In the real world, many people may still use these terms…but it doesn’t matter because NO ONE ELSE (except Ana) uses those terms on Y&R.

    Why assume that Yolanda is from the South to justify something that is obviously out of whack with the lines that other characters say?

    No one else on Y&R calls their boss Miss or Mr, so why is Yolanda written that way? It could have been an ad lib gone wrong, or it could have been written with very good intentions. It is not going over well because MAB’s Y&R has been treating its black characters like crap for years.

    If MAB hadn’t created this environment based upon how she treats the black characters, I don’t think it would have stung this bad. I could be wrong. It bothers me moreso because of everything else.

  78. Profile photo of david46208
    david46208

    @Jamey/Jillian: When you compare Y&R to other soaps it has generally missed the mark by casting too many African Americans as something below the gutter. The Winters/Barbara clan despite the Emmy worthy acting from Rowell, St. John and Williams had to deal with 2 siblings who were street urchins. And then everything else that was said above given the history.

    But here’s my bigger point:

    Look at say Passions. I’ll cut for the show when it comes to the fact that they had a full black family and the adults were professionals. Even when they added in characters like Chad and Liz etc. You could have them as a characters to balance out things. They were also treated as equals and given the same amount of air-time in storylines (good or bad) as their Caucasian counterparts. And they weren’t in the storyline ghetto.

    For the time that the Grants existed on GL they were fully integrated. They even established the family as one of an Upper-Middle Class background. I could identify with that, since my parents were frequently referred to as “high siditty.”

    All My Children always had some form of an Black presence on the show and for the most part they were all professionals. So a Randy here or a Jamal there was just fine. And Noah (played by the Actors Actor Keith Hamilton Cobb) was one dude from the wrong side of the tracks with a heart of gold. So any of All My Children’s down trodden African Americans were A+ compared to Maria Perry’s Why Did I Get Cast On This Soap style of writing and casting for that fact.

    And and then there was Generations who schooled the genre on how to portray Wealthy African Americans on screen. They knew how to cast a black bitch (Jonelle Allen as Doreen), The young bitch in the making (Vivica A. Fox as Maya), The heroin (Joan Pringle as Ruth), the tough patriarch (James Reynolds as Henry) etc.

    And just to add a little flavor to the punch Days did good by not casting any of the black characters they have had (while being woahfully underused over the years) as anything but high class people. Take Tanya Boyd as Celeste. Now that was a daytime first for a black actress.

    So that brings us back to Y&R. A soap about executives battling over cosmetics markets ah la in the business world. Yet Neil a 2 decade vet of the show can’t run his own company? Could not have moved into being the 3rd wheel in the battles between Jack and Victor. So they had to go cast a new Caucasian and give him all the power they won’t allow a black actor to play and their character to have on a soap watched by mostly black women.

    And with the way the storylines are written, black people can only be lifted by white people. Proof is in the pudding.

    I subscribe to Black Enterprise (http://www.blackenterprise.com) and Savoy Magazines (http://savoynetwork.com). These publications both focus on successful black people, 2/3’s of whom are running their own companies. Uptown Magazine (http://uptownmagazine.com) caters to the black upper middle class.

    And so when I tuned into Y&R it was to see buppies and the rest of the cast in the corporate world. Not Dynasty on one end and The Parker’s on the other. So what they write for black people on this show is a disgrace.

    And I’m not gonna watch as long as the Coonery and Buffoonery is still airing, along with the general bad writing.

  79. Profile photo of Winnie
    Winnie

    I am one of those parents who teaches my kids to refer to adults they know by first name (or their instructors for say, dance) or friends of mine as “Miss/Mrs./Mr.” I have also called ladies at work of various races (when speaking directly to them), Miss [insert name here]. I teach them that as a form of respect, and when I say it myself, it’s a term of endearment.

    However, when the line this thread is related to was uttered on Thursday’s Y&R, I was taken aback. I believe it was because Harmony was speaking to Ricky about who to see about a job, and I don’t feel it was appropriate there. Is Yolanda a character I know little about, yes? But do I think Jamey’s wrong in being bothered by it, absolutely not. There are some commenters here on both(?) sides that have addressed this with respect and a willingness to state their opinion and support their opinion with their experiences. I enjoy reading the different Points-of-view immensely, especially when topics like this are discussed constructively and even more so when a little levity is employed.

    Unfortunately, others have chosen to be defensive and/or rude and throw out such non-helpful, pointed (and overused, possibly carried around like Linus’ blanket {/hypocrisy ends here…or does it}) comments about ‘see[ing] racism in everything.’ I find that sad and unnecessary – Jamey’s writing above states an opinion, then offers support of said opinion, citing references to some historical and recent patterns/instances; while supposition is no doubt a part of many opinions, I also see credit given where it is due. I hardly see this, in conjunction with the vast majority of Daytime Confidential stories or as a standalone topic, as “seeing racism in everything.” I actually thought Scooter’s first comment was a well-phrased personal viewpoint and saw why subsequent replies may have put him on the defense, but I read others and see a lack of empathy and/or even a lack of support for generalizations.

  80. Profile photo of stoney07
    stoney07

    I’m sorry but I still don’t get it. I mean, I left for hours and came back and now the thing is that this was DEFINITELY not a flubbed line?

    I think we should stop insulting each other just long enough to get the truth. And if this was scripted, THENNN we could bash the show and vow to never watch the “crap” again. I just think we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves, and I’d hate to see Y&R sink to even LOWER lows based on a misconception…

    SIDENOTE: I wish everyone would stop glorifying All My Children and OLTL. Both of those soaps COMBINED don’t have the amount of African American contract roles that Y&R have. And whether we like YoHarmony or NOT, she’s featured pretty regularly now. Sooo, one soap is no better than the other in the diversity department. Give me a break….I watch them all, and I haven’t seen a prominent black family in yearss….not SINCE Passions actually…lol. And we all know how that turned out. It’s sad and disgusting, but its reality. Y&R isn’t the only bad guy here…all of them are. But I understand that this site is against Y&R in every way, which is understandable…I just don’t think EVERYTHINg on the show is as horrible as everyone makes it while everyon praises OLTL for being “diverse” and “Fresh”….no no no

  81. Profile photo of Winnie
    Winnie

    I am also curious about where the line originated, though a line I dislike is simply that, rarely amplified by who wrote or uttered it, but certainly intent (which can be hard to decipher) can be a factor.

    When I saw Jamey’s thoughts on this, I felt inspired to post because it’s one of those (as others have noted), “did I just hear that?” moments, not because there was a sale on torches and pitchforks at The Home Depot. (No, really, get ‘em while they’re hot, people!) While the Internet has its’ darker side and I’ve seen my share of people grandstanding, full-on propaganda, and/or piggybacking off of/parroting others’ statements [only] to fit in or because one isn’t capable of having their own intelligent thoughts based in truth/research/Miss Cleo/well-reasoned statements, it’s interesting when something seemed cringe-worthy or off-putting to you, and you find you’re not the only one. I’m an individual, and while agreeing with many doesn’t in itself make things true (see: the Earth is flatter than my chest at prom, circa 450 BC), it can be an opportunity to listen, learn, and even teach.

  82. Profile photo of Winnie
    Winnie

    Thanks, soapbaby! I usually read and run, taking in the glee, the anger, the (perceived?) betrayal, the jokes, the snark, and the praise. Daytime Confidential: Bringing Winnie her internet “stories” since ’08.

  83. Profile photo of sethbook
    sethbook

    I don’t think Jamey is being oversensitive or overreacting. My gut reaction to hearing it was that it was strange and racially charged. What some people forget is that when it comes to minority TV characters, or gay TV characters, the minority or gay audience watches very carefully. As a gay soap viewer, I can tell you that I have probably watched all the gay characters that have come and gone since Bianca came out on AMC much more critically than I have the other characters.

    Y&R definitely has a problem when it comes to its black cast. Jamey jokingly refers to them only appearing on the “first and the fifteenth” and he is not all that wrong. I have only been watching Y&R since 2005 or 2006, and things have not been the same since Dru went over the cliff. Dru and Neil worked at big companies and were much more integrated into storylines and they weren’t the “black characters.” They were characters who happened to be black. But since Dru went over, Neil seems to… not work anywhere, actually, and the black characters for the most part seem to be islanded in their own storylines much more than when I first started watching. In general, a good soap shouldn’t “island” any of the storylines.”

    When it comes to Harmony (formerly Yolanda), she is actually interacting with a lot of the cast. She lives with Katherine (whom she does NOT call Miss Katherine) and she works for Phyllis (who she referred to as “Miss Phyllis, Phyllis Newman.” Now, if she had said, “Miss Phyllis Newman,” it might have sounded a bit different. It did NOT sounds like a mistake or flub that she had to recover.

    Later in the episode, Harmony seems to be fawning over Phyllis a bit, and Phyllis tells her she is destined for something beyond the reception desk. Meanwhile, I must have blinked when Harmony actually got hired.

    About 30 years ago on soaps, if you watch clips on YouTube, you will note that people who were not well acquainted used Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms and a surname. And this was uniform. In fact, in “The Best of Everything,” (1959), sometimes even the bosses would refer to underlings by Miss Surname, and no first names. In that movie, it wasn’t until Hope Lang’s character was promoted to Editor that she could call her former boss by her first name. It was a different culture back then. Some of that exists in parts of the country still, but in general, we are a casual country where everyone is on a first name basis whether you like it or not. During a bad time at a bank, the manager kept calling me by my first name, and I finally erupted and said, “With lousy customer service like this, you can call me MISTER BOOKEY, thank you very much.” Another time, an underling who worked for my landlord called me for the first time and kept using my first name and ordering me around about something that was a longstanding problem the LANDLORD had not fixed for years. When she realized I was not responding, she said, “Are you there, Seth?” And I said, “Yes, but it’s MISTER BOOKEY to YOU.” I also annoyed her with faxes where I insisted on addressing her as Ms. Whatever.

    But, we have not seen Harmony doing this with anyone else but her employer. And nobody else at Restless Style seems to do this (to be fair, we almost never hear the staff there utter a sound). And as has been pointed out, Chloe never felt a need to call anyone Mr. Billy or Mr. Nicolas or Miss Phyllis.

    Meanwhile, I was thinking, “Harmony, why are you telling this total stranger at Crimson Lights about the big story RS is breaking?” That alone could get her fired.

    I would like to think that Debbi Morgan would complain about this ahead of time. But, she has been in show business a long time, and I am sure she knows which battles to pick. One time, I complained to my boss about the homophobic nature of a conference call we had with other employees who were off site. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that I was downsized nine months later (but then given tons of freelance work). This same woman criticized my glasses as being “fun for the office, but not to be worn at business calls.” Well, the real context was, “those glasses are too gay.” Meanwhile, we reported on EYEWEAR and it was from a top eyewear company, and the ONE pair of glasses that everyone complimented me on spontaneously, including strangers. I also had to complain when we did a “top 50 women” article and they were counting the lesbian couple who owned a major eyewear company as ONE entry. (We had 50 entries, but 51 honorees.) I really had to explain to my boss that the lesbians were TWO women, not one couple/entity. I am sure my ability to complain about this lead to the end of THAT career.

    So, I am sure Debbi might want to ride the soap opera gravy train for as long as she can put up with it. She must know about institutionalized racism better than anyone. Also, Debbi has played a wide variety of roles. I seem to recall she played a neglectful mother on Soul Food, I think. So, she went from sainted doctor to recovering drug addict. So what? I mean, she knew what the role would be. She’s an actress. Why would she want to play the same sort of role she just left?

    Well, I have rambled on. I think the main takeaway for me hearing that line was that it was extremely odd in 2012 to be hearing this. Also, when you don’t have that many high-caliber black actors to start with up front and center on a network program (highest rated show among soap operas), and you’re a black viewer, it just feels like a slap in the face to have Harmony using 40-year-old manners and speech.

  84. Profile photo of marknsprmo
    marknsprmo

    Thanks everyone I was just channeling Alice Walker for a minute! My that woman seeps into your soul.

    Man! I can just see next Christmas episode. Finally Maria and company put to bed A Christmas Carol for a slightly more modern American classic “Gone With The Wind”. (picturing the Carol Burnett Version) Miss Nikki Sauntering down the stairs to see the Mustache Victor Newman, wearing the drapes and the curtain rod across her shoulders. Sophia opens the door “Miss Nikki! Miss Nikki! Miss Nikki! Miss Nikki!” as Miss Phyllis walks by and slaps her in the face and spits on her….. Oh that didn’t turn out that funny…..
    Hey actually as badly as they write for minorities perhaps the entire show SHOULD go back in time to the deep south. The Nemans, The Abbotts and The Chandlers are the rich plantation owners. Daniel Romalotti could be secretly teaching Lily how to read while ravishing her body in the barn. Yoharmony the freed slave comes back to proclaim Mrs Chandlers grandson is but a humble slave in her yard being raised by her lead house slave Neil….

  85. Profile photo of marknsprmo
    marknsprmo

    [quote=The_Moustache]what happened to Mamie, that woman who was the Abbott’s maid or something??[/quote]

    Mamie moved away after her relationship with John Abbott fell through. He picked his marriage to Jill over his budding relationship with his maid.
    Mamie is also the aunt of Dru and Olivia Barber. She has popped up from time to time at weddings and funerals and such in the Barber/Winters clan.

  86. Profile photo of BrownBetty
    BrownBetty

    I just read this on one of the message boards and thought it was an interesting take:

    “It amazes me how he (Jamey) never has anything good to say about Y&R but offers nothing but praise for that campy shitfest OLTL, a show that treats its black characters like extras. No black character on that show has had a frontburner story since 2007 when Evangeline was front and center, that is before she was put in a coma after being gased by a white sumprecist group. What does JG have to say about that? Not a damn thing because he’s too busy being bitter about Y&R. SMH.”

    I would also like to ask Jamey if he were not offended by a pregnant Destiny going on a national talk show and “outing” her “no-good” baby daddy? I was certainly offended but I heard none of the bloggers complaining about that.

    I believe it is only fair to point out the racism that exists in ALL of daytime, not just a Y&R…a show that has the most black characters and at last attempts to give them story. Now I’m not excusing that “Miss Phyllis” line. I thought it was deplorable but Y&R isn’t the only soap guilty of such flubs.

  87. Profile photo of Michael
    Michael

    Jamey,

    You’re so off base. I think you may be projecting…

    A black woman calling a superior (in an employment sense not a moral sense) Ms. ___ is just a diminutive form of respect. I always thought it was a southern thing so was somewhat surprised to see Harmony say it since she’s from Chicago, but it certainly isn’t racist.

    I’m a white male and have worked in the hotel industry in SC for over twenty years. The population in SC is almost half African American and many of the housekeepers I have worked with over the years have been African American. Almost all of them would refer to older ladies or senior staff members as Ms. ___. Almost all of the older ladies or senior staff members they were referring to were African American and not white. It’s not a racial thing at all, it’s just good manners from the way they were brought up.

    You seem to be criticizing the cinema verite of the script – professing a normative reality that doesn’t exist – when really what you’re criticizing is the way the world is.

    It would be more incongruous for a character who has lived on the streets, in crack houses and half-way houses, to speak like someone who earned a liberal arts degree from the University of Chicago.

    My only question about it is that I always thought it was a Southern thing. But I’ve never lived in Chicago.

    Mike

  88. Profile photo of DenverDean
    DenverDean

    Actually when I heard it, I thought:

    1) DM slipped on her line, since she repeated the word “Phyllis” twice or
    2) that “Miss Phyllis” was more of a “pet” name – kind of like gays call each “Miss”

    OVERBLOWN.

  89. Profile photo of BrownBetty
    BrownBetty

    Oh and to the poster who applauded Sean and Vivian on OLTL…ummm, seriously? They receive worse treatment than Neil/Sophia/Malcolm on Y&R! That should tell you all you need to know.

    Also, while DC and many here may not like the character of Harmony, she has many fans on the message boards, including yours truly. I think Debbi is doing a great job. Love her!

  90. Profile photo of thecourt99
    thecourt99

    Sign of respect..sign of respect…the only person on that show that is called Ms anything is Kay Chancellor. I have heard many people on the show call her Ms Chancellor.

    I don’t watch so this is an honest question. Does Yolanda call Kay, Ms. Kay? Does she call Nick, Mr. Nick? Does she call Billy, Mr. Billy? (I don’t know who owns RS nowadays) Or is Phyllis the only one that earns that type of “respect”?

    Could it be a flubbed line? Sure….but to the previous poster, I would find it hard to believe that DM has a pet name for MS’s character. Who has a pet name for someone’s character and not the actor themselves? I couldn’t buy that one.

    People have a right to be offended, and not have their feelings shunned by others saying that it was overblown, or blown out of proportion. If you are not offended, that is also your right.

  91. Profile photo of twb6yz
    twb6yz

    Wiggum:

    I read your comment that you call people Miss Ann, Miss Sue, etc. My question is, do you tell someone who doesn’t know Ann or Sue, or people that you do not know that they have to speak to Miss Ann, Ann Smith, or Miss Smith? I’d be willing to bet that it is not the first one in that list.

  92. Profile photo of MsAgentProvocateur1
    MsAgentProvocateur1

    If the Harmony character would’ve called Phyllis by her surname, Ms. Summers, I don’t think there would be confusion. However by saying Miss Phyllis to someone who is technically her boss but younger than her, smacks of absurdity. Phyllis is not a judge or magistrate or the Queen of England, she is running a tabloid magazine! I have had people call me Miss (insert my name) as a term of endearment, starting with my Mother who uses it as a nickname and others have used it, even my elders but those people know me.

    The fact that there is confusion about the context and inflection of the phrase proves what I’ve known for years about this show–that the writing is lazy and terrible and I’m glad I no longer waste time watching this junk. My kvetch is not even so much about this one throw away line but the poor writing of characters on this show period. The last time I watched, the character had become so diminished and unlikeable that I lost interest. Sad that nothing has changed. In fact, seems like it’s worse.

  93. Profile photo of pennywise555
    pennywise555

    I felt some of the feelings expressed here BEFORE the Miss Phyllis episode. It was the day Yolanda was walking around Genoa City with Katherine Chancellor. Even though I knew the story, my first thought was, did Kay replace Ester? It wasn’t just that Yolanda had her hair wrapped in a scarf and that(faux)Mrs C was dressed to the nines & looked quite regal. It was of a combination of things & I can’t really pinpoint them, but it gave me the overwhelming feeling that Yolanda was Katherine’s “help”. I don’t have these episodes taped so I can’t analyze, but…

    Maybe part of it was staging and tone of voice???? Wasn’t Yolanda following and/or standing BEHIND Mrs C then doing her bidding when needed? Whatever it was, adding what sounds to me like a strong southern accent just adds to the “Gone w/The Wind” feeling.

    I don’t understand why Yolanda would have a southern accent, She grew up as Tyras older sister in SEATTLE. Even though we later found out they weren’t blood-they were still raised together, and Tyra didn’t have a southern accent. Later Yolanda takes off and follows Tucker and his bands. Sounded like they were in LOS ANGELES, CA quite a bit, not the south. And wasn’t Tucker in EUROPE for years before that? When Devon first contacted his Mom she was homeless person living in GC WISCONSIN. And as a recovering addict she was a waitress in a Laverne and Shirley’s diner in Milwaukee, WISCONSIN. Yolanda may have visited the south but I don’t see how she could possibly have a southern accent.

    Why I’m at at may as well add another thing that bugs me. It’s been brought up about 3 times that Tucker doesn’t remember anything about Yolanda. Not having sex w/her, or not even that she was one of the groupies who followed him around- which was supposed to have been for awhile, right? Yet he runs into Genevieve at his wedding and Tucker knows & remembers her- a woman living in Australia her whole life with a mobster husband he didn’t know. LOL

    I’m a white female who grew up in the Wisconsin…if that matters.

  94. Profile photo of used2bmrsmorgan
    used2bmrsmorgan

    Even if Harmony is from the south, that doesn’t mean that line was a form of respect. I am from Alabama. At my job, no one refers to anyone with a Miss or Mr, with the exception of one elderly black lady on the cleaning staff. It is totally accepted and expected, because she is old enough to be everyone’s mother or grandmother. That’s when it’s a form of respect. Phyllis is not old enough to be Harmony’s mother, in fact, I believe Harmony is the older of the two, so it is not that form of respect that everyone is declaring.

  95. Profile photo of Jon
    Jon

    I watched the scene again with closed captioning and it said “Ms. Phyllis. Phyllis Newman”. I really think it was a flubbed line by Ms Morgan.

  96. Profile photo of cgoff
    cgoff

    black woman here!! 60+ years old!

    My kids were taught to call anyone of authority (teacher or such) or someone older Miss so and so or Mr so and so.

    I was a school teacher in Wisonsin for 20 years, I was Miss Crystal, to white and black kids, was I insulted? no

    I have sat in the back of the bus, drank out of black only water fountains, I marched in Washington DC with Dr. King and guess what the line did not even faze me! I was not appalled or ready to do a throw down fit as some who are black and white are doing.

    If however, Harmony was walking behind Phyllis saying in my best Vicki Lawrence inpersonation “Miss Phyllis! Miss Phyllis! Miss Phyllis! I don’t know nothing about birthin no babeee!” I would be upset, but that is not what happened on my screen. Why not contact DM and ask her opinion?

    My kids and grandkids would get their asses beat if I ever heard them disrespecting someone by not using MISS or Mister!

  97. Profile photo of marybee50
    marybee50

    Being the 108 comment no one may read this,but let me add my 2 cents.I am white,62,and from Md.My Mother always taught me to respect elders and authority.Even though I’m older than most of my bosses now,I stil use sir and ma’am when answering questions from them.However,I don’t use MIss or MR when talking to or about them.Recently our younger team mates have used Miss Mary when talking to me.At first I laughed but now it means alot to me because they do use as a form of respect.We do have two older black people and everyone uses Miss Luellen and Mr Marion again out of respect.

    What bothers me is Phyllis and Harmony are about the same age.It may have been a slip by DM and she tried to recover.I too was taken aback when I first heard it,but I also have not liked how DM has sounded when talking recently.I can’t remember if the original Harmony talked like that.Also,I know DM from AMC,and the way she sounded on that show.Maybe that is why I’m uncomfortable with the way she talks.

  98. Profile photo of cgoff
    cgoff

    next thing you know we will have it posted the Michelle Stafford MADE Debbi Morgan say “Miss Phyllis” and then spit on her!

    this is just totally asinine to me, sorry just my opinion.

  99. Profile photo of Cyberologist
    Cyberologist

    As a black woman I find it offensive however, the whole tone of the show re: the black actors are a bit off for me right now. I’m expecting to see Harmony break out into a shuffle & tap dance at any time. I can’t stand the Beulahland antebellum voice it just irks me. I don’t know how the hell an ex crackhead should sound but they don’t have to sound like they just came in from picking cotton. Hell this ain’t the 1800’s

  100. Profile photo of slanoue
    slanoue

    It really just sounds like you have an ax to grind here…

    I mean, first of all, I doubt Debbi Morgan would go along with anything that she thought was racist.

    Secondly, many African American people speak this way, especially down in the south. Everyone down here says “Miz this” and “Miz that”. It’s not a racist thing. It’s just the way people talk (of all colors).

    Thirdly, complaining about the name Mamie? Have you never heard of the name Mamie? Like former first lady Mamie Eisenhower? It’s a perfectly valid name.

    Fourthly, you are wrong about Dru…she had run away from home at a young age (and she was much younger than Olivia), and their mother treated them both very differently as I recall. And being unable to read does not make you stupid, and Dru was not stupid. Lots of people go through school and can’t read. I seem to recall she dropped out and ran away, and then was living on the streets when Nathan found her. It was a huge storyline and I believe the only soap to ever really address illiteracy with one of its major characters.

    Fifthly, from everything I’ve read from years of reading the soap magazines, the story about the guy going in white face (not really) was a very interesting and innovative one, with lots of good writing for black characters of that time. He was a cop and went undercover with the mob, so he put on a makeup and other things to look white, and he talked white etc. (they made several movies like that, later, by the way, and they were comedies, starring black people, not to mention Eddie Murphy has worn make-up in his movies to look like many different people, including an old Jewish white man) I think he was even engaged to the mobster’s daughter. This was not seen by anyone as racist as far as I have ever heard. In fact, I think Y&R was lauded at the time for having some major stories revolving around black people, when other soaps were not.

    Later on, Y&R had major stories with Drucilla, Neil, Olivia, and Nathan, and Devon, for years, and now they have more. They have been really good about giving them great stories. Not all the time, sure, but then they have also not always given all their characters big stories all the time. That’s the nature of soap operas with large casts. And some writers are not really good about balancing everyone. (That’s been a problem in just about every major soap).

    And why don’t you complain about the way they write the black characters in Bold & Beautiful…um, wait, you can’t because they only have a few, and they are not exactly major characters….same with GH and Days…

    Now, I admit I don’t like the current writing regime any more than you do, but it has nothing to do with racism. We just had all that story about Neil, Malcolm and Sofia, and Devon learning he’s Tucker’s son and all that. Now we have Harmony coming in to the story. No one can reasonably say that they are neglecting the black characters even if you don’t like the way they are writing them.

    I agree they should have more African American actors, writers etc. and also, they should have more Latino, gay, Asian, and other types of people on all the soaps. That is one of MANY reasons why soaps are dying. They look and feel much like they did 30 years ago and little has changed. Not only are the stories predictable (and often retreads), they don’t deal with current issues or trends very often. Nothing is cutting edge or outside the box. All the stories are very safe and boring.

    Suzanne from The TV MegaSite, Inc.

  101. Profile photo of CSG929
    CSG929

    I’ve been reading this thread since it was originally posted and hesitated to comment because so many people are writing what I am thinking, but I realize I have to add my two cents. I am an African-American male and I have been enjoying Debbi Morgan as Harmony. It is a totally different character than Angie on AMC and some of the things that she has done (the deuces line still has me in hysterics) have been entertaining. I cringed at the sugar bowl incident, but that was a small blotch on her body of work on the show.

    Then came the “Miss Phyllis” line. I recall being perplexed and trying to figure out if I heard what I thought I heard. Once I confirmed it, I filed it away (in my brain) for later. I thought that it was a line flub, followed by a quick recovery (“Phyllis Newman”), but it just did not sound right.

    Reading Jamey’s post and the comments by like-minded individuals made me realize that I was not alone in my initial thoughts. It has been stated countless times about how this regime has treated its ethnic minority characters as second class citizens. Whether initially intentionally or unintentionally, there has been enough written and commented on that if TPTB were truly concerned at treating characters equal, they would do it. Sadly, I believe this is not a priority. Clearly TPTB believe they are doing nothing wrong, so they are staying the course. Unfortunately, they are still shedding viewers (many of them African-American from what I have read).

    I’d also like to comment to those that are not offended or think that there was nothing wrong with the Miss Phyllis line. While, that is absolutely your right, and I support you saying so, there is a fine line between disagreeing with someone and telling them they are overreacting. Race relations is still a hot button issue in our society (look at all the comments on this post), but it is very offensive when someone tells another person that they are overreacting to what they infer to be a racist incident. It is doubly offensive when it is a white person telling a black person. I do not believe that anyone meant to offend, but words like “overreacting,” “asinine,” and “overblown” is dismissive and not helpful. I urge anyone that may have used language like this to reflect and think about this the next time you enter a conversation on race.

  102. Profile photo of yojoromo4469
    yojoromo4469

    [quote=AdamDrake][quote=cgoff]Michelle Stafford MADE Debbi Morgan say “Miss Phyllis” and then spit on her![/quote]

    OH MY GOD!!! REALLY??? NOT HARDLY. JUST SOMEONE TRYING TO CREATE A BIGGER PROBLEM.

    ;-)[/quote]

  103. Profile photo of soapfan616
    soapfan616

    [quote=visitor101]If there was a problem I think Debra Morgan would of spoke up by now. Once again, we have wannabe (at best) media hooking people into tome non issue to get the mob mentality going. In the end these are just all words that lead to phrases and you give them meaning. You, not someone else. Think for yourselves.[/quote]

    How wrong you are!

    But thanks for joining the long list of people who accuse others of being trouble makers and stirring up a mob when they are simply asking for equality. And while in this case we may only be asking for equal treatment among fictional soap characters, it is important in a society that our art reflects our attitudes. In this case, the art on Y&R (if you can call it that) reflects a bias against educated African-Americans. I think this article clearly demonstrated that point so I need not invest any more wordage there.

    But if this article is storing up a mob, I say stir away. You accuse this writer of being a wannabe then you state he has the power to “get the mob mentality going”. Those statements seem very contradictory. Our history has shown that non-mainstream media outlets have always led the fight when civil rights are being violated. So your attempt at bashing the professionalism of this writer and article, is, at best. lame.

    I am proud to be a reader of this site more than ever.

  104. Profile photo of tedew
    tedew

    I really do think this whole thread is a tempest in a teapot.

    It is possible that some of the concerns expressed are legitimate. However I do doubt that the writers would have the gall to deliberately write such a line and then have their star turn performer actually recite it.

    It would be nice to have some feedback from all actually concerned.

  105. Profile photo of yojoromo4469
    yojoromo4469

    [quote=tedew]I really do think this whole thread is a tempest in a teapot.

    It is possible that some of the concerns expressed are legitimate. However I do doubt that the writers would have the gall to deliberately write such a line and then have their star turn performer actually recite it.

    It would be nice to have some feedback from all actually concerned.[/quote]

    TEDEW, that would be too much to ask for. Sure been a lot of comments on what did happen. I was wondering if perhaps Yo/Haromony accidently started to call Phyllis her given name of Michelle and when she got to the Mi part she realized it and ad libbed with Miss Phyllis. Just a thought and she saved reshooting a scene.

  106. Profile photo of Blue Skies and Palomino Ponies
    Blue Skies and Palomino Ponies

    I absolutely noticed this the second it came out of Yolanda’s mouth. I, too, thought it was that Debbi Morgan tripped on the line. I’ve thought all along that they can’t get this character’s “dialect” right — sometimes she affects the streetwise “errrrrrrrrrrrr-buddy” and sometimes she sounds like a throwback to a place we really don’t want to be thrown back to. But as immediately as I suspected that it was a flub, I was also taken aback that they did NOT choose to re-shoot this scene, for exactly the reason that this reaction by viewers was a given. I can believe it was an honest mistake, but the implications of this particular honest mistake should have been clear. It’s cost Y&R far more to keep it in than it would have to shoot another take.

  107. Profile photo of Dyllan
    Dyllan

    If it was a way to show respect, there are multiple other ways she could have expressed it. She could have either said “Ms. Phyllis Summers” or “Ms. Summers”. IMO, that was nothing but an old stereotype and racist. I hated it when Ana did and found it equally as annoying. However, is this more common in the South? Is it socially acceptable to refer to anyone in that manner regardless of ethnicity? If so, I suppose I would be less offended, but still….

  108. Profile photo of cgoff
    cgoff

    [quote=Dyllan]If it was a way to show respect, there are multiple other ways she could have expressed it. She could have either said “Ms. Phyllis Summers” or “Ms. Summers”. IMO, that was nothing but an old stereotype and racist. I hated it when Ana did and found it equally as annoying. However, is this more common in the South? Is it socially acceptable to refer to anyone in that manner regardless of ethnicity? If so, I suppose I would be less offended, but still….[/quote]

    I lived in Texas when I was young, it is VERY common, no matter what ethnicicty, school teachers are still called Miss so and so, everywhere, my neighbor was Polish and a school teacher, kids could not say her name if you paid them to! for 45 year she was Miss Sheryl, and was until the day she died!

  109. Profile photo of Punky
    Punky

    I heard this line last week and didnt even think about it because I grew up hearing this word used all the time by black and white people so color me shocked that I see a whole article about it. I dont know why people will use it these days to attack and label other people. The NYDN used this same word to attack Tina Knowles. They ran a story about Bey’s mom because she asked people on the set of her video to call her Miss Tina. The NYDN called her a diva who isnt as gracious as her superstar daughter. Its unfair to use this word to label others just because we dont like them or something. The media has been trying to get anything negative on Bey and too bad for them the girl isnt driving drunk or in scandals so they attacked her mother over something stupid. So if you are looking for something to attack Bey’s mom or MAB then yes you will label them divas or racist writing because they used this word which has nothing to do with both of those things. You asked how could Debbie agree to utter such a line and my answer is may be because like some of us she doesnt think its racist or divalish.

  110. Profile photo of Cyberologist
    Cyberologist

    Debbie may not have a problem with it but “I as a viewer am watching the show & I have a problem with it…its not a big deal to everyone but it is to me historically speaking its offensive on “many levels” I don’t make excuses for this kind of crap. I was born & raised in the civil rights era & I know how this works…oh golly gee we dinna mean that but that’s “exactly what is meant” this its not acceptable to a lot of Black people & they should not have it in their dialog for that reason. Just like I found it highly offensive to have a white woman telling her to get her fingers out of a sugar bowl.

    I give less than a rats ass if this stirs the pot if it doesn’t “it should” for me these are racials slurs a slap in the face.

  111. Profile photo of Divagalore
    Divagalore

    [quote=ER Writer]I really wish I could go to Cali and burn Donell’s contract.
    As a black female, I find this beyond embarrassing. Restless is awful anyway, but even if the rest of the show was stellar I couldn’t bring myself to watch a show a show with a character like this. How can it be anything but racism for Maria to see a legend like Debbie Morgan, who played an iconic character for years and go: CRACKHEAD! and uneducated to boot. As awful as Genie and Maura West’s stints have been, they didn’t have to deal with stuff like this.[/quote]

    I Completely agree! First of all, I found it extremely annoying that MAB decided to change the name Yolanda, and rename her Harmony because she didn’t like the name…GMAB! This is definitely not something we typically see when someone is playing an already established character. I don’t know exactly how DM is feeling these days about her time on Y&R, but in the beginning I read that she was very happy with playing a character so opposite of Angie. That’s understandable, but I’m already feeling like TPTB aren’t doing much with her. Debbi has been with the show since October, yet we’re still only seeing her once or twice a week. IMO, that’s not good way to develop a character. Considering she’s playing Devon’s mother, and Tucker’s ex, her SL really should be flowing better. Now that she’s been given a job at Restless Style…give her a little more involvement there. If conniving Phyllis’ can all of a sudden become a journalist, then lets see a little more building with Harmony moving up the latter. People that take drugs have educations too, so I hope TPTB isn’t trying to insinuate with Harmony saying “Miss Phyllis” that she’s uneducated. I wouldn’t say it if we hadn’t already seen this with several prior black characters. Anyway, It’s possible that line could’ve been an ad-lib from the actress, but it really didn’t come across well at all. Hopefully we won’t hear that one again.

  112. Profile photo of Aquadaisy
    Aquadaisy

    I think it was just an ad lib or slip of the tongue that Debbie made. I don’t think Harmony would feel she needed to call Phyllis that. She may be an employee of Phyllis’s but she is not beneath her in any way!

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