Another year, another The Young and the Restless regime change. As daytime's top soap readies itself for Executive producer and head writer Mal Young's new vision, I'd like to humbly point out a few quick fixes.
1.) Tell Compelling Stories For The Next Generation of Abbotts, Newmans, Winters, ETC.
I firmly believe Y&R has managed to stay on top of the ratings heap by keeping its veteran players front and center. For decades fans have been able to tune in and watch Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott) suffer one crisis after another, while her ruthless husband Victor (Eric Braeden) plots against his rivals, namely Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman). That being said, the show used to do a much better job balancing its stories featuring the vets with developing its younger characters.
Victor and Nikki's children Victoria (Amelia Heinle) and Nicholas (Joshua Morrow) have led consistently intriguing lives since they came back from boarding school as teenagers. The same can't be said about the current crop of Genoa City teens and 20-somethings. Cane (Daniel Goddard) and Lily's (Christel Khalil) recently SORASed twins don't even talk like real kids today, let alone lead interesting lives. Charlie's (Noah Alexander Gerry) vapid squabbles with Reed Hellstrom (Tristan Lake Leabu) sound like something out of an ABC After School Special, complete with tons of "bros" and "whatever mans". Meanwhile, shows like The CW's Riverdale and Netflix's 13 Reasons Why are telling edgy, character-driven tales featuring the YA crowd.
When Reed's mother was his age she was bedding social climbing junior corporate exec Ryan McNeil (Scott Reeves). Charlie's mom was having sex with STD-carrying internet psychos (Sorry, Kevin Fisher!) when she was his age. Are arguments around a makeshift country club pool really the best Y&R can do for its teens in 2017?
Things aren't much better for the 20-something set. Noah (Robert Adamson) and Abby Newman (Melissa Ordway) remain aimless and cliche. The one bright spot is the burgeoning lesbian romance between Mariah (Camryn Grimes) and Tessa (Cait Fairbanks). Hopefully Young can finally do something to make a show called The Young and the Restless feel, ya know, young and restless again.
2.) Raise The Stakes
Y&R has long been a soap centered on epic rivalries and high stakes power plays. When nubile Jill Foster (Brenda Dickson, Jess Walton, et al.) stole the late Katherine Chancellor's (Jeanne Cooper) husband it set off a decades-long war between these two titanesses. Kay invalidated Jill's marriage to Philip and made her son a bastard! Jill married Kay's childhood pal and reclaimed her place in high society! Kay used Jill's affair with John's son to destroy her rival! Jill walked away with 20 percent of Jabot! Kay turned Jill's son against her! And on and on it went.
Today's Y&R rivalries leave much to be desired. Mariah and Hilary (Mishael Morgan) bicker at one another over Devon (Bryton James) and a cable access show. Phyllis Summers (Gina Tognoni) sits around making sardonic, sitcom-style wisecracks about Victoria, instead of running her over with a car like she did Cricket Blair (Lauralee Bell). Jack and Victor's latest feud is about the fallout from a concert in the park. Seriously?
Former head writer Sally Sussman should be commended for taking the veteran characters back to their cores following the over-the-top mess that was Chuck Pratt's Y&R. However, where she failed was figuring out how to tell juicy stories that took the Newmans, Abbotts, Chancellors and Winters into the future.
There have been bright spots to be sure. Hilary remains a great bitch-goddess with tons of potential. She used Juliet (Laur Allen) as a weapon to torpedo Cane and Lily's marriage, while advancing her own television career. Goddard has been a revelation as Cane embraces his inner A-hole. I still hate that Brash & Sassy feels like a Mom-and-Pop makeup company, as opposed to the Loreal-esque brand Bill Bell and Kay Alden gave us so many years ago. Even still, it has provided some fun moments as Victoria, Billy (Jason Thompson) and Cane all jockey for power and position. Good thing too, because Jabot is pretty much an afterthought. Ashley Abbott — played by one of the most popular stars in daytime Eileen Davidson — has absolutely nothing to do besides spy on her senior citizen mother. That's a problem.
3.) Cut Characters and Stories That Aren't Working
I begged for Scotty Grainger (Daniel Hall) to return for years. Be careful what you wish for! Lauren's (Tracey Bregman) beloved son returned home an insufferable bore. What's even more egregious is he took all of his mama's airtime. Oh hell no!
Scott has served his purpose. He helped Sharon (Sharon Case) get her sea legs again following years of character assassination. For that we'll be forever grateful. Now he can head back to the Middle East until Young can figure out how to both recast the role and write Scotty as someone who doesn't make everyone he meets groan.
Abby's creepy dating site pal — who's obvi connected to the insta-sex trafficking ring — can also go. Speaking of the sex trafficking ring/tech incubator/dating app/Partridge in a pair tree arc. This story is so disjointed and confusing! Cricket Blair mentioned wanting her nephew Scotty to investigate a sex ring months ago, then we didn't hear anything else about it until Sharon went down to volunteer at the Help Center with Helen and Weezy on The Jeffersons and started taking calls from day player teen hookers. No. Just no. Stories need a solid beginning, middle and end for me to care.
Jordan (Darnell Kirkwood) is really cute but he lacks the gravitas to be at the center of a love triangle featuring Hilary and Lily. Morgan vs. Khalil could be epic but they need someone with more bad-assery to fight over. I'd also kill off Juliet while pregnant with Cane's baby, leading to a nasty, Gone Girl-style whodunnit.
4.) Explode The Remaining Pratt-falls
Y&R could get an instant boost by blowing up the remaining Pratt era secrets and shenanigans. Bring Kevin (Greg Rikaart) and Chloe (Elisabeth Hendrickson) back to Genoa City for the entire town to learn Victor sprung her to go after Adam. This would enrage Paul (Doug Davidson). Victor did use the Chief's sister Patty's (Stacy Haiduk) mental illness as a weapon too after all. Paul would vow to throw the book at The Mustache once and for all, much to the dismay of Nikki.
Chloe is remanded to a psych ward (hopefully with the aforementioned Patty). Victor is arrested again and Kevin gets community service for helping Chloe flee, just in time to go to the local LGBT bar with Mariah.
Mariah: "Dude! We're both gay as picnic baskets! That's why the sex sucked!"
Kevin: "And not in a good way."
Newman shares begin to tank, leaving an ill-equipped Abby trying to keep the company afloat. Victoria takes a temporary leave of absence from B&S (putting Billy in charge), to try to help her sister save the family firm.
Jack takes out a loan against his Jabot stock to buy up Newman shares. Ash finds out and goes postal. She plots to oust him as CEO. He threatens to reveal she isn't a bio-Abbott. She tells him to do his worst. Ash ultimately succeeds in removing Jack as CEO. She teams with Jill to sell dozens of brick-and-mortal Fenmore's department store locations, drawing the wrath of Lauren.
Ahead of Victor being outed as Chloe's co-conspirator, Nick decides to sell his Newman shares to Jack. When the shares plummet, this leads to an SEC investigation. Heather Stevens (Vail Bloom) returns to town, now working for the SEC, and goes after Nick. She makes him a deal: if he testifies against his daddy he gets immunity.
Victor goes on trial for conspiracy to commit murder. Chelsea is livid to learn Nick knew all along that Victor was working with Chloe. She doesn't have long to be righteously indignant, however, because Sharon learns Christian isn't Nick's son and that Chelsea knew! Chick has a gnarly bust up.
Victor bribes the judge and walks scot-free (Hey, he is TGVN!). Chelsea decides to pay all the Newmans back for everything they've taken from her. She files and wins a wrongful death civil suit against Victor to the tune of $5 billion dollars. She also goes after custody of both Johnny and Christian!
Victor loses everything. Chelsea gets Newman Enterprises, the mansion and custody of Adam's son Christian. Villy reunites to retain custody of Johnny, but Chelsea's maternal rights are restored and she gets visitation following an ugly custody battle.
Chelsea sells her silly fashion house to The Bold and The Beautiful's Thomas Forrester (Pierson Fode), who merges it with Spectra. She then takes the helm at Newman, with Jack's help, and fires Victoria and Abby.
Victoria returns to B&S determined to use it as a platform to take on Chelsea and Jack. Abby joins her mom at Jabot. A bitter Phyllis goes to work for Newman. She has a score to settle with Villy and wants to help Chelsea and Jack tank their cosmetics firm.
Nikki falls off the wagon. Moves in with Victoria. Victor vows to reclaim everything he's lost. However, he's felled by a heart attack! Colleen's heart valves are faulty, due to all the tremendous stress Victor's been under. Is it curtains for TGVN?
Chelsea moves into the ranch where she is watched by a mysterious stranger. She senses a familiar presence. It unnerves her. The stranger reveals himself to Connor — it's Adam (Michael Muhney)! Bada Bing. Bada Boom.
5.) Fix the Aesthetic
One big problem with Y&R has long been Young's to fix. The show has lost its once luxurious look and feel. This is as big a problem as any wonky storyline. Y&R was the glamour soap. That has to return. I don't want to hear about budget woes either! Frank Valentini makes General Hospital look great and Y&R has higher ratings. Something is wrong when Nurse Elizabeth Webber has a nicer crib in Port Charles, New York than a bunch of Wisconsin area cosmetics moguls. Call up Steve Kent and tell him to cough up some stacks so this show can stop looking so cheap!
Okay, that's enough ranting from me for one day. What changes would you like to see made at Y&R? Sound off in the comments!