The Young and the Restless showrunner Maria Arena Bell admitted in this week's CBS Soaps In Depth that what she sees written about her stint atop Y&R on message boards can be upsetting.
"I know there was a Facebook page dedicated to firing me. I don't live in a bubble. I know all of that's there, and it can be upsetting."
Arena Bell went on to say she follows the advice her late father-in-law, Y&R's creator William J. Bell, gave her about sticking to one's own vision.
"Bill was so focused and so believed in his vision...I think even he would have been rocked by the message boards."
Sigh. Where do I even start with this? First off, yes, the late Bill Bell was reportedly very focused at all of the soaps he wrote for. His daytime dramas were his driving passion. His energies weren't divided between his stories and his work for MOCA or some other charitable cause.
Second, if MAB is going to keep comparing herself to her late father-in-law, she is really gonna have to write at least one story a quarter resembling anything he ever would have put on the air. Thirdly, if it was just the Internet giving MAB a beating over the state of Y&R, it would be one thing. It isn't. The soap magazines and revered, longtime daytime columnists have also taken the show to task.
Personally, I derive no real pleasure in going so hard against MAB here on Daytime Confidential, or on our companion podcast, but she and her co-head writers, Hogan Sheffer and Scott Hamner, have made Y&R a schizophrenic, plot-driven, unwatchable mess. I'd much rather be chanting, "Auntie Ri Ri has turned Y&R around again!" but she has to actually do so for that to happen.
It isn't impossible. We praised MAB during her first year at the soap, because she did things like rebuild the Abbotts, bring back old, familiar faces like Beth Maitland (Tracy) and Tricia Cast (Nina) for visits, etc. But, as I've said ad nauseum, from the moment she was done cleaning up after former showrunner Lynn Marie Latham, and had to begin writing storylines of her own, we've gotten psychotic chipmunks; "So-Long, Sister Killer"; Daisy (Yvonne Zima) wreaking havoc; Sharon (Sharon Case) altered from a classic heroine into an unrootable, pathetic mess; Jack (Peter Bergman) turned into a simpleton; deaths by volcano, and so on and so forth.
We get that MAB believes in her "vision," but if she is truly such a student of the late, great WJB, can she seriously say she believes any of the storylines I just cited were worthy of his legend? Seriously?
For more of SID's Q&A with MAB, pick up their March 12-26 issue.