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The TV MegaSite's Blog Post #203

Y&R 45th Anniversary!

Y&R Cast 45th anniversary

This Monday is the 45th anniversary of "The Young & The Restless," which has also been the top-rated daytime soap for the past 30 years!  Of course, back when the show started, there were 17 daytime soaps on the air. When it went to number 1 in 1988, there were 13 soaps on the air. Now there are only 4, unfortunately. :(

Y&R cast 1986

I started watching Y&R in 1986. I had already been watching the ABC soaps, and Santa Barbara. I could only watch the soaps on the TV at school (I didn't have a VCR yet). I was in college, and we had moved to El Paso, where my husband got his first job out of grad school. I was finishing up my B.A. there at UTEP. I used to watch my soaps at the student union in my old school; so, when I went to UTEP, I did the same. They showed half of Y&R, and then changed the channel to watch half of AMC, before going to the rest of the ABC soaps.  I had a friend in choir that watched Y&R, so we watched it together, and she filled me in on who was who and what was what.  I was hooked after that!

The show has had its ups and down. It was a very slow program back then. Stories dragged on for a long time.  Sometimes that could be very irritating. Eventually, they sped things up, and fans were so grateful. 

One of the things I used to like best about the show was that they rarely re-cast the main characters.  When they did re-cast, they did a very good job of it. They seemed to take their time finding the right person.  The other soaps seemed to change their actors a lot, with mixed results, and I hated that. 

Jack and Jill

My favorite character when I first started watching Y&R was Jack Abbott. He was played by handsome Terry Lester at that point. He ended up leaving the show in 88, but they replaced him with Peter Bergman, whom I had liked as Cliff on AMC. It was quite a jarring change because Lester played Jack as a kind of charming jerk (he slept with his step-mother, Jill, among other dastardly deeds).  Bergman's Jack was a much kinder person, although flawed.  They also changed the actress who played Jill, but they did a good job there, too. The old Jill was over-the-top, kind of a cartoon, but the new Jill was a much better actress.  Later on, when they re-cast Ashley, they did so with a woman who looked like she could be her younger sister. She wasn't as good of an actress, but she did an okay job.

Danny, Cricket and Phillip

I also liked the teens on the show: Phillip (Thom Bierdz), Danny (Michael Damian), Cricket (Lauralee Bell) and Nina (Tricia Cast).  Danny was a rock star, and the actor sang on the show often. He also had his own hit song, a remake of "Rock On."  Phillip was gorgeous, even though the actor was not a very good actor.  He slurred his words a lot when he spoke, like he was drunk, so I guess that's one reason why they decided to give Phillip a drinking problem later on.  Danny and Cricket were in love, but Phillip loved Cricket, and Nina was crazy about Phillip, so it was a fun love quadrangle for a while.

Phillip got Nina pregnant and married her, even though he was in love with Cricket. Then he got a drinking problem and crashed his car. Many years later, they resurrected him, saying that he had faked his death and escaped to Australia because he was gay and couldn't face his family.  This was a stupid rewrite of history to those of us who watched that quadrangle back in the 80's.  The actor, Thom, is gay in real life.  That's fine, and I have no problem with that, but the character of Phillip was definitely not written or acted as gay back then. He loved Cricket! I hate when soaps rewrite history that I saw.

Nina, Phillip IV and Phillip III

It wasn't even a very good story, and Phillip didn't stay on the show for long the second time around. It might have been worth it to have him back as a gay man if they'd actually written it well and had a gay main character on Y&R. He still looks great.  Y&R still hasn't had a main gay male character, even now in 2018.

The other soaps that I watched at that time had some really fantastical storylines involving spies, murder mysteries, fantasies and exotic locations.  Y&R was a "normal" soap involving people in the business world.  Their stories of romance and corporate intrigue were written very well, so they didn't need any gimmicks or bizarre stories.  They just had very interesting characters, great stories and good acting.  Bill Bell, who created the show, was also the head writer until 1998.  This kept the show very consistent, which I liked.

Nikki, Victor and Ashley

I'm not saying that the show was always perfect. One of the worst stories back in the 80's involved the Nikki-Victor-Ashley triangle.  Victor was cheating on his wife, Nikki, with Ashley.  Ashley got pregnant, and, thinking that Victor didn't love her, had an abortion.  I remember that they had a horrifying, tragic conversation in a gazebo, in the rain. Victor had gone back to Nikki only because she had cancer.  Ashley ran off and, due to the horror of her situation, went crazy for a little while, and she ended up in an asylum.  To me, the message seemed to be saying, "If you get an abortion, you'll go crazy."  I wasn't too fond of that idea.  Not to mention the fact that Ashley always seemed like a very strong person, not someone who would suddenly go crazy.

Other than that, though, I liked most of their stories.  The show suffered after Bell retired, so it had its ups and downs. They liked to break up Victor and Nikki over and over (and still do). The stories are not as interesting or original as they used to be. I didn't like when they killed off patriarch John, or Nick and Sharon's daughter Cassie, and then later Brad, and Colleen. I didn't like when Jana became crazy and then died, either. I loved her and Kevin.  They shouldn't kill off so many characters.

new actors

They had a lot of new characters coming in all the time in the early- to-mid-2000's, and then they started recasting a lot. It's hard to get used to so many recast characters. That's probably why I started losing interest. Also, I just don't have as much time to watch the soaps daily as I used to.

I have the last 2 years of Y&R on my DVR, so I'm very behind on watching it, but I do plan to catch up.   I mostly watch "The Bold & Beautiful" and then sometimes "General Hospital," which I'm also way behind on.

Congratulations to Y&R!

Clapping Congrats

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Page updated 3/25/18


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