The TV MegaSite's Blog Post #203
Y&R 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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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Page updated 3/25/18