While all eyes have been on General Hospital's numbers for the past few weeks, the complete and utter destruction of the late Bill Bell's The Young and the Restless has pretty much gone unnoticed. A week ago, I was telling my Senior Editor, Jillian Bowe, that maybe we should lighten up on Y&R and/or simply stop watching until it begins to resemble something akin to a daytime soap opera again.
Then I tuned in to an episode where a pair of D-list couples (No offense to the amazing-when-separate Liz Hendrickson and Greg Rikaart, or even Judith Chapman and Ted Shackelford!) got married; while all the black people in town—even the one who can't hear—and Stephen Nichols talked about a reality star's song for the whole damn show. The episode in question had no Victor, no Jack, no Nikki and even the beloved, Genoa City veteran characters fans actually care about (Jill, Lauren, Michael, Victoria) were used as Under 5's.
This particular ratings cycle saw both GH and Days of Our Lives dip (Source: Soap Opera Network), but because of the mess I cited above, Y&R is the sudser I want to focus on first. Daytime's top soap dropped 272,000 total viewers and fell two-tenths of a ratings point in households for a 3.0. That is a new all-time low for this soap opera. Y&R also fell one-tenth of a point among women 18-49, yet held steady among W18-34.
In story, Jill Abbott (Jess Walton) dressed up like Mulan's grandmother to spy on Genevieve (Genie Francis) and Victor (Eric Braeden) in Japan. I've lost count at how many asinine trips to the Far East this soap opera has gone on since Maria Arena Bell took the helm. Did she get some bad Sake over in the Orient, while visiting museums or something?!
Jill, still dressed like a character from Memoirs of a Decent Soap Opera, took a cell phone pic of Genevieve and Victor in a seemingly compromising position and texted it to Jack (Peter Bergman). It's like they're all a bunch of Gossip Girl characters, as opposed to business professionals in their 50s, 60's and 70's. Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) of course saw the photo and started questioning her relationship with Victor yet again. This soap has gotten decades of mileage out of Victor and Nikki's tortured love story, but it used to take a lot longer than a commercial break for them to make up, break up, make up, then break up again.
Speaking of tired, repetitive plot points, Adam (Michael Muhney) told Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan) he can see again. This guy should have his corneas donated to science, if ever someone pushes him into a live volcano or bashes his skull in a public park. The cure for the common cold, cancer, all infectious diseases and NBC's primetime ratings can likely be found in Adam's eyeballs. This character has lost and regained his sight so many times he should be allowed to write a chapter of the New Testament of the bible. Sorry, St. Paul, you only got your vision back once on Damascus Road!
The other big story for the week was all about that blasted Angelina (Diana DeGarmo) person. This singing show-eater walked around, still sounding like the chipmunk Maria once made Greg Rikaart dress up like, because somebody obviously thinks that mess is cute. It ain't. Angelina realized Kevin still loved Chloe (Liz Hendrickson); while Lauren (Tracey Bregman) continued to live in fear of Daisy (Yvonne Zima). This is what The Young and the Restless has become.
Y&R's sister soap, The Bold and the Beautiful, dropped 167,000 total viewers the week in question. B&B fell two-tenths of a ratings point in households and one-tenth of a ratings point among W18-49 and W18-34.
In story, Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) and Taylor (Hunter Tylo) battled over their daughters; while Hope (Kimberly Matula) continued to pop pills in order to screw Liam (Scott Clifton). When Marcus (Texas Battle) proposed to Dayzee (Kristolyn Lloyd), Liam got a little carried away by the moment and kissed Hope in public, while one of her adoring, virginal fans—and said fan's mom—looked on in horror. Of course they also snapped a pic!
Hope going from like a virgin to perceived homewrecker caused a PR scandal for Forrester, which of course made her crave the dolls even more. My critique of B&B is pretty much consistent with what I said in my last column. While the Hope/Liam/Steffy saga is fun at times, it isn't quite enough to build a soap opera on — not even a 30-minute one. I am hoping the addition of a Caroline II will shake things up a bit.
GH only lost 1,000 total viewers, which really isn't worth mentioning. What is worth mentioning though, is the soap falling a tenth of a point among W18-49 to tie its all-time low. GH also hit a new low among W18-34. It's really no wonder GH is having ratings woes. For decades, the soap opera benefitted from a relatively stable—if eroding over the past 20 years—pair of soap lead-ins. With The Chew and The Revolution both doing so poorly, GH can't help but suffer a bit in the Nielsens.
Storywise, GH was on FIYA the week in question! Following Maxie's (Jen Lilley) Cat at a Hot Tin Funeral display at Robin's (Kimberly McCullough) Homegoing the previous week, Anna (Finola Hughes) learned Patrick (Jason Thompson) had cheated on the little girl who used to call her "Love." What followed was an epic, ass-chewin' the likes of which the late Beverlee McKinsey would have given her stamp of approval on. Fin is IT! Do you hear me? They need to rename this story, General Hospital With Special Guest Star Finola Hughes!
Elsewhere in Port Charles, Hurricane Carly (Laura Wright) finally blew into Jason's (Steve Burton) hospital room and told him the first girl he remembers loving (Sorry, Keesha!) had been deep fried like a Twinkie in a vat of grease, at the Texas State Fair. Jason ripped Sam (Kelly Monaco) a new one for trying to manage him—like the Q's had all those years ago—and ended up on Robin's bridge with Liz (Rebecca Herbst). Okay, haven't done this in awhile, but...LIASON-4-LIFE!!! Jason and Liz finally got to grieve Jake properly and Sam crossed paths (and had mutual, vampire eye sex) with John McBain (Michael Easton). This has the makings of one helluva quad. All four performers deserve praise for the chops they displayed the week in question.
Shout out to whoever decided to have Luke (Tony Geary) change the name of Jake's to The Floating Rib. Anyone spending a lot of time loudly squawking about how Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati are turning GH into OLTL—all because of two contract players from Llanview and two recurrings—is missing the amazing homage the new regime is paying to Port Charles' actual history. Last I checked, neither Anna Devane nor Luke Spencer hail from Pennsylvania. Both were front, center and brilliant the week in question.
Now for my gripe. I still don't really care about Kate, Connie or whoever she is. Kelly Sullivan is a solid performer, but I don't buy Kate Howard suddenly having DID. It's a neat parlor trick—and does give me the chuckles—but unlike Viki Lord from OLTL, Sharlene Frame from Another World and other soap heroines who've suffered from split personalities, Kate has always been well aware that she consciously changed her identity. It's more Norma Jean and Marilyn than Sybil.
Additionally, despite that dalliance with Lisa Niles (whom he actually cared for), Johnny (Brandon Barash) has always been a hunky, reluctant mob prince with a heart-of-gold. I DO NOT want him to sleep with a mentally ill woman just to get back at Sonny (Maurice Benard). If he does this, he will forever be branded a rapist. Seriously folks, did we not learn anything from Ford, Rapemance and/or EJ forcing Sami into sex at gunpoint on DAYS? Let's just get Connie-Kate off to a funny farm already, and bring back my Lucy Coe (Lynn Herring) and Sigmund the Duck to run Crimson and/or chase Sam around town with a stake, while yelling, "Come back here, Livvie!"
DAYS fell 168,000 total viewers the week of March 19. The NBC sudser also fell one-tenth of a point in households and among W18-49 (tying its all-time low). Among W18-34, DAYS held steady.
In story, Abigail (Kate Mansi) finally admitted Austin (Patrick Muldoon) didn't bang her. Carrie (Christie Clark), in turn, did what she does best, and knocked the taste out of the mouth of a trashy, little heffa who was after her dude. I swear that never gets old! What has unfortunately gotten old are any storylines where the Superheroes of Salem's Past go up against Stefano (Joe Mascolo). It was fun at first to see John (Drake Hogestyn) and Hope (Kristian Alfonso) back in super spy mode, but I've been watching Salemites beg Stefano not to hurt their loved ones since I was five-years-old. I'll be 35 this summer. I'm good.
With all of the messy, complicated, familial relationships between the Bradys, Blacks, DiMeras and Hortons back home in Salem, there's simply no need for these types of Alamainia stories anymore. I do like John being back in the ISA, but shouldn't the storyline be more reflective of the times? Why not have the ISA trying to take down a terrorist cell operating through Salem U., or investigating an attempt on Abe's (James Carver) life by an extremist group? Mind control and Fabergé eggs are a bit dated, to say the least.
Kate (Lauren Koslow) vs. Sami (Alison Sweeney) is still good soap, but I'd rather see Sami in more of a position of power. While I enjoy the character of Madison (Sarah Brown), I think fans would dig this arc a lot better if Sami were running a company that went head-to-head against Countess Willona, as opposed to someone we're just getting to know. This is the same woman who took down Kate so many times before and even caused Victor (John Aniston) to stroke out. There wasn't enough Will (Chandler Massey) and Marlena (Deidre Hall) for my liking the week in question. Can't have a soap without the supercouple. See you next Ratings!