Erin Byrne regularly dives into the soapy waters of daytime television and tries to make sense of it all. This week she takes on “The Young and the Restless.”
When I was a kid my neighbor Stacey watched “The Young and the Restless.” She was four years older than me and super cool. She’d teach me all kinds of important lessons like how to wrap dental floss around your boyfriend’s class ring to make it fit your finger and how much blush is too much blush. She also taught me to watch “The Young and the Restless.”
Back in the 60s Eric Braeden, who plays Victor Newman on “Y&R,” played a Nazi in the Afrika Korps on the show ‘Rat Patrol’ under his real name, Hans Gudegast. I have a theory that Victor Newman was actually a Nazi in the Afrika Korps. After the war, he escaped prosecution at Nuremberg, changed his name to Victor Newman (Victorious New Man!), and moved to Genoa City, Wisconsin. Simon Wiesenthal would never look for him there. For the viewer, knowing “Victor” was once a compatriot of Rommel imbues everything that he says with a not so thin layer of menace, and that, my friends, makes good daytime drama.
Victor and the love of his life, former-stripper Nikki, got remarried a couple of weeks ago. This was their fourth wedding, although one of them was illegal so it doesn’t officially count. This particular wedding was especially poignant because they had just moved back to the ranch house after goddam idiot Sharon burned it down.
Nikki had also just gotten out of the hospital. She was recently diagnosed with MS and, in addition to possibly never being able to play the new baby grand Victor bought her, she might not be able to walk down the aisle! So it was a big deal when she got well. Eric Forrester even came over from “The Bold and the Beautiful” to deliver Nikki’s couture, yet frumpy, wedding gown.
While they were saying their original, written just for each other vows, danger was bubbling hotter than the cheese fondue. What the happy couple didn’t know was that one of the cater waiters was actually a hitman hired from central casting by Congressman Wheeler. He’s even gone so far as to hide a bomb in the natural gas room at the ranch.
Wheeler is out to get Victor because Victor hired his prostitute/addict daughter, Stephanie Wheeler, to seduce the opiate-addicted Jack Abbott on New Year’s Eve. (Why does Victor hate Jack? There are a lot of reasons but it boils down to Jack being a smug prick and Victor’s secret Nazi past.)
Jack took the hooker bait and brought her back to the Abbott mansion. Before they could get up to no good Jack took a handful of “Oxydycone” and passed out. Not wanting to waste her New Year’s Eve Stephanie gobbled up some MDMA and promptly died on the living room rug. The day player they brought in to be Stephanie had a fantastic butt. I’m sure that’s the only reason she got the part since all she had to do was lay face down on the rug.
Jack called Adam, Victor’s prodigal son, to help him move the body. Adam was happy to oblige and promptly dumped Stephanie’s body in an alley.
Adam hates his dad Victor with the fire of 1,000 suns; hates him in a way that could only mean love. Adam has only ever wanted Victor’s approval and he falls short of the mark every single time. Never one to miss up an opportunity to humiliate Victor, Adam shows up at the wedding crowing about some big announcement. He steps up and begins to spill the beans about Victor’s involvement in the scandal with the Congressman’s daughter. Before he could utter a peep Billy hustled Adam out of the room.
Billy is Jack’s brother and he’s married to Victor’s daughter, Victoria. (Billy and Victoria are my favorite couple.) Billy wants to shut Adam up so that Jack doesn’t get pinched. Victor just wants to shut Adam up. While they’re arguing the thug waiter pulls a gun and aims it at Victor.
Everyone is screaming. The gun goes off. When the smoke clears Adam is down; Adam who not moments ago was being threatened with bodily harm threw himself in front of the bullet meant for Victor.
This is huge. Victor hates Adam because of all his children Adam is the one most like him; a ruthless son of a bitch. But the thing is they’ve hated each other for so long that it was getting old. Now Victor is all, “You must get an ambulance for my son! He is dying!” Imagine that being said in a faint German accent. This new development should move the story along nicely.
In case you were wondering about the bomb, Billy was able to get to the natural gas room in time. There he twisted the red handle and turned off what appeared to be a natural gas faucet sticking out of the wall. Then he disarmed the bomb. It was actually quite sexy, though not as sexy as the time baby Lucy had the croup. That time Billy selflessly removed his clinging t-shirt to stand in the steamy, steamy bathroom until Lucy’s li’l cough cleared up.
Meanwhile, across town, a story is developing. It has the potential to be amazing if only the writers will just let it happen. Allow me to set the stage: Jack wants to get back together with Phyllis. She knows all about the dead hooker and didn’t bat a lash when Jack told her about dumping the body. Phyllis did the exact same thing just a few months before. If anyone understood that dumping a body didn’t necessarily make you a bad person, it’s Phyllis. But now Jack wants to get all romantic with her again.
Jack and Phyllis were married before and had a few dalliances since then but they suck as a couple. Phyllis is at her best when she’s off the rails and with Jack she has to behave. Plus it’s totally unimaginative on the writers’ part. I know it’s expensive to bring on new characters but you have to suck it up. You can’t keep pairing the same people up over and over again.
Phyllis appreciates Jack’s attentions but she’s not as sold on the romance as he is. Right now she’s concerned with rebuilding her relationship with her teenage daughter, Summer. Things are going really well for those two. In fact, Phyllis was thrilled when Summer took an internship at Jabot cosmetics because she thought they could spend more time together.
Summer has other things in mind, namely Jack’s son, Kyle Abbott. Kyle is in his early twenties and barely able to conceal his boner when Phyllis is around. Summer, bless her stupid little heart, thinks that she’s got a chance with Kyle. Why else would she “accidentally” spill a pot of assumedly cold coffee down her shirt? So she could whip it off right when Kyle walked into the room, duh. Unfortunately, Phyllis came in right after him and promptly went ballistic.
Kyle swore up one side and down the other that he was not putting the moves on Summer. Phyllis talked to her daughter about making bad choices when it comes to men. Listen to your mother, girl, she is extremely qualified in this area. In the end, they hugged and Summer promised to love her mom and stay a little girl forever.
The next logical step is to have Phyllis start hooking up with Kyle. This would create maximum drama. Jack would be basemented by the dual betrayal of Phyllis and Kyle. Summer will flip her wig when she finds Kyle and her mom all nude-ish on the couch.
Phyllis will be mortified and ashamed but not enough to stop what she’s doing. Kyle’s love for Phyllis will send him over the deep end, especially when she tries to cut it off so that she can mend fences with Summer. Of course, Summer won’t hear it and she’ll begin cutting herself or go back to cyberbullying, even though she wasn’t very good at it.
Are you reading this Y&R writing team? Don’t punk out the way you did when you failed to make Jamie and Finn teenage gay-lovers and the way you’re continuing to drop the ball with this Michael/Lauren/Carmine triangle. Anyone with half an eye knows that Michael would enthusiastically embrace Lauren’s affair with Carmine, just as long as he could join in.