Saturday, October 15, 2016

Y&R Report (October 15, 2016): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

The autumn leaves are falling in Genoa City and Sharon is in crisis, as usual.  Patty Williams is spooking her and she is living in fear that her big secret about Sully will be revealed to Dylan and Nick.  I'm glad that Patty is back and I enjoyed the scene between Pattycake and her brother, Paulie. Sharon's secret will probably be revealed in time for the November sweeps.  That means that Sharon and Dylan will not be together much longer.

As for Nick, I wish the writers hadn't started pairing him with Chelsea so soon.  It seems so contrived.  Their scenes in the park with Connor appear awkward.  I haven't been able to detect much chemistry between Nick and Chelsea either.  They are obviously being brought together for storyline purposes.  It could be because Adam is still alive somewhere out there.  It could also add to the problems when Sharon's secret is revealed. Don't forget that Chelsea and Victor are the only ones who know that Adam is/was Christian/Sully's biological father.  Will Chelsea tell Nick he is isn't Sully/Christian's father?

Travis Crawford made a huge mistake when he agreed to work for Victor Newman.  He will come to regret that decision and it will eventually cost him his relationship with Princess Victoria.  I don't think Travis is aware of how controlling "The Moustache" can be, especially with the men in Victoria's life.  If he had any idea, I doubt he would have agreed to work for Newman Enterprises.  It won't be long, however, before he finds out.  It won't be a pleasant experience.

It turns out that Travis isn't so squeaky clean either.  He has a skeleton in his past.  It seems he was involved with a woman named Michelle, who just happened to be his boss's wife/  When his boss caught wind of the affair, Travis was fired and blacklisted on Wall Street.  Nobody's perfect, of course, and Travis did come clean to Victoria.  However, he did so after being cornered by Ashley Abbott.  Ashley was acquainted with Travis in New York and she knew about his past.

Is Travis just a gigolo?  Did he use Michelle and Victoria to advance in the business world?  Not surprisingly, Victoria was initially upset and suspicious when Travis revealed the truth to her. He quickly defended himself by claiming that he really did love Michelle  He also pointed out that Victoria came into his bar and that he did not seek her out.  She has forgiven him, but who can blame her for having trust issues after Billy's shenanigans?  Travis isn't out of the woods yet, though.  Don't be surprised if Michelle eventually turns up in Genoa City to cause trouble.  

It's obvious that Billy Boy Abbott and Travis are competing for the affections of the fair Victoria.  I enjoyed the scene where they were both thrown in jail.  It provided dome comic relief.  Although Victoria pretended that she was disinterested in their childish antics, I think the opposite is true.  I think she's flattered by the attention she is receiving from the two men.  She'd never admit it, but I think she's enjoying the competition.

On the anniversary of Delia's death, Chloe introduced Billy Boy to Bella, who is presumably his daughter - although he doesn't know it yet.  When Billy finds out, he will have to deal with a lot of complications (as if Billy needs any more complications in his mixed up life!).  For example, will he seek custody of Bella if Chloe is returned to the psychiatric hospital?  Billy won't be the only one affected when the truth about Bella's paternity is revealed .  What if Kevin Fisher marries Chloe again?  Kevin has grown quite attached to Bella and he really wants to be a father to her.  Will he someday fight Billy for custody of Bella?

Surprise!  Surprise!  Hilary's good behaviour won't last much longer.  She'll veer off the high road and drive right into the gutter.    According to an Internet spoiler, she'll go too far while chasing a hot scoop.

Phyllis want to help Jack in his quest to bring Victor down.  What a waste of time!  When will they ever learn?  The writers have made Victor invincible.  He may spend time in prison.  He may be reprimanded by his family and by his friends and foes.  Yet he always rises up like a phoenix.  He always returns to his office and his desk.  As for that infernal portrait of him, it will always hang on that wall.  It may be taken down sometimes, but it will always be returned.  So, good luck, Jack and Phyllis.  You'll need it because you're embarking on a voyage of futility.  It may be of benefit to Phyllis, though.  It may bring her closer to Jack. The redhead is very attracted to men who are out for revenge.


Steve Burton (Dylan McAvoy) to leave Y&R

There is some sad  news for fans of Steve Burton.  The actor has announced that he will be leaving his role as Dylan McAvoy on Y&R.  After three years of playing Dylan, Burton has decided to exit the show when his contract ends in December.  He feels it's time for new pursuits.  Here's what he wrote on Twitter:  "I've had an amazing time, but it feels right to move on to new adventures in my life.  I can't say enough about the AWESOME cast and crew.  Much respect!"  

The announcement comes as a surprise to disappointed fans of Steve Burton.  Remember, though, that his wife Sheree and their three children live in Nashville, Tennessee.  That's a lot of commuting from Los Angeles and I'm sure it's difficult for Steve and his family.

As of this writing, it's unclear if a new actor will play the part or whether the character will be written off.  Dylan may leave town when he discovers Sharon's secrets and lies.  He may also be killed off.  In fact, he may dihie heroically saving someone's life.  Another option would be to have him leave Genoa City for a while and then return with another actor playing the role.

Mara McCaffray to return as Natalie for a brief stint

Mara McCaffray will be back in her role as super computer hacker Natalie Soderberg during the week of October 17th.  I am not a big fan of the Natalie character, but she's obviously returning for storyline purposes.  McCaffray last appeared on Y&R in early August, 2016.


I enjoyed Billy's reaction when Victoria informed him that it was Travis' first day on the job at Newman Enterprises.  Billy said it was Travis' first day as an MIT - Moustache-In-Training.


Would you like to see a new Dylan after Steve Burton leaves

Yes, I really like the character of Dylan and he's an important part of the storyline.
Yes, but not until some time has passed. He should leave town for a while.
No, I can do without the character. He should leave town permanetly or be killed off.
No. I really like Steve Burton and I don't want another actor to play Dylan. If the character dies, he should die a hero.
Maybe. It depends on how important Dylan is to the storyline.
I don't know.
It doesn't matter to me.
Please Specify:

That's all for now.  Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, October 29, 2016.

- Joanne

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Y&R Report (October 1, 2016): The Latest on the Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

Well fans, Jack Abbott has declared that the old Jack is back!  He's bitter and cynical and very unhappy.  I don't mind if he stays that way for a while, but I hope it doesn't last too long.  It can get tiresome.  Eventually, "Smiling Jack" should return.  I don't have much sympathy for Phyllis, though.  She is the author of her own misfortune.  Jack may take her back someday, but I can't see it happening anytime soon.  

Even though Justin Hartley has left Y&R and Adam Newman is presumed dead, that doesn't mean we've seen the last of the Adam character.  He could easily turn up alive (this is a soap after all). That's why rumours abound online that Michael Muhney will eventually return to the show as Adam.  As of this writing, the rumours have not been confirmed or denied by Muhney or anyone at Y&R.  
If Adam does turn up alive, it may not be for a while.  I really don't want a new actor playing the role.  It would only work for me if Michael Muhney came back or Justin Harltley returned.  

Muhney recently underwent a skin biopsy.  Fortunately, he does not have skin caner.  However, after the surgery, he was left with 10 stitches and a bandage on his head.  He tweeted the following: “Wear your sunscreen kids. #noskincancer Had surgery today. Ten stitches. Yikes.”

We all know that soaps distort time and that some characters age quickly.  However, Chelsea has just lost Adam, the love of her life.  It's too soon to be matching her up with Nick or anyone else.  I don't even think she and Nick have much chemistry.  It seems so contrived, as if they had to match Chelsea up with Adam's brother to cause future conflict. Sharon and Dylan will break up when Dylan finds out about Sharon's secrets and lies. The needy Sharon will seek a male shoulder to cry on.  She will turn to Nick in her moment of despair.  That means that Sharon will do everything in her power to come between her ex and Chelsea.

I really enjoyed Faith's birthday scenes.  I particularly enjoyed Victor Newman's rendition of "Happy Birthday."  I think that's the first I've heard him sing.  Of course, he also gifted his granddaughter. with a stock certificate and her own pony.  She's not very spoiled, is she?  Her dress was even a Chelsea.2 original. Wow!  Actually, Faith is a sweet and intelligent little girl.  Unfortunately, with Victor Newman for a grandfather and her mixed-up family life, I predict that she will be a very troubled teen.

Now that Sally Sussman is back as head writer, here's further evidence that The Young and the Restless is trying to return to its erstwhile glory.  The CBS daytime drama has rehired former top scribe Kay Alden as well.  Alden began as a script writer back in 1973 and she became head writer in 1998 when co-creator Bill Bell retired.  Alden last wrote for Y&R in 2006.  This time she is returning as a story consultant.  

Sussman is trying to focus on Y&R's core characters and core storylines and her return couldn't come at a more opportune time.  The show really  needs a shake-up.  The departure of the popular Justin Hartley has hurt the show immensely and the show had dismal ratings for the week of September 5 through September 9 with a loss of 136,000 viewers.  It also tied its all-time low with younger viewers in the 18-49 age range.


If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name.  
My email address:

Fifi from Collingwood, Ontario writes:  

Are the writers of Y&R toying with the idea that it's better to tear Billy away from Phyllis to cause trouble between Victoria and Travis.  It would also enrage his ex father-in-law Victor Newman.  Although Victor is being cordial with Travis, he really believes no one is "good enough" for his princess daughter Victoria.

On another note, my friends and I are really enjoying watching Justin Hartley on the new drama This Is Us.  His departure was a huge loss to Y&R.  It appears that things will develop between Chelsea and Nick and then Sully's true paternity will be revealed sending Dylan, Sharon, Chelsea and Nick into a tailspin.

Yes, Fifi, I also think Victor Newman is going to come between Victoria and Travis.  He has already offered Travis a job at Newman Enterprises,  Although, Travis initially turned down Victor's offer, the Black Knight, as usual, couldn't let the matter rest.  He is relentless when it comes to getting what he wants.  He eventually persuaded Travis to take a position at Newman and you can be sure that he will continue to interfere in Travis' relationship with Victoria.  "The Moustache" has meddled in every relationship that Victoria has ever had.  He has also caused every breakup she has ever had.  He may not want Victoria with that "useless Billy Boy Abbott," but he doesn't really want her with Travis either.  The day will come when he will call Travis a "punk" too.  Oh yes, Victor has already established the pattern with his granddaughter Summer, his junior princess.  He made sure that "The Snowflake" broke up with Luca Santori.
It is evident that Billy is becoming more and more jealous of Travis.  It also seems that Travis is not as perfect as he appears.  Billy Boy may be right.  "The Blond One" may have a skeleton or two in his closet.  After all, he didn't have enough will power to resist Victor's job offer.  There is a lot we still don't know about his past.  It will all be revealed in due time.  For example, Travis told Victoria that he had been in love once before.  Will more come of that?  Will the woman from Travis' past make an appearance in Genoa City?  I also wonder if there is more to the story of why he suddenly decided to leave his position as a hotshot Wall Street mogul in New York.  He claims he wanted to try something new and that he was tired of that rat race.  So, he moved to Genoa City and bought a bar.  I wonder if that's all there is to it.

When Sully's true paternity is revealed, Dylan, Sharon, Nick and Chelsea will definitely go into a tailspin.  Don't forget Faith, too. She'll freak out when the truth comes out.  I think that Dylan will be the most upset.  Of course, Nick will be upset too.  He'll also be pleased that Sully is still alive. He won't be too happy to find out that Adam is Sully's father, though.  However, I don't think he'll discover that secret until later, possibly much later.

Here are some comments from CC in Etobicoke:

After watching a couple of episodes of This Is Us,  Justin Hartley's new prime time show, I am hoping to see the return of Adam on Y&R.  I don't think the show is the vehicle to success as predicted.

Maybe Adam's return will happen in time for the November sweeps.  Before that can happen it looks like the writers will have to get us through the sparks between Nick and Chelsea to set up a rivalry between brothers Adam and Nick for Chelsea's affections.

It's time to out Sharon about Sully, and Chloe about her role of revenge on Adam.

I have to admit, CC, that I have not watched an episode of This Is Us yet.  I've been busy and just haven't gotten around to it.  However, I do intend to catch up with it as soon as possible.  All I can say is that as long as the ratings for This Is Us remain high, Justin Hartley will not be returning to Y&R.  So far, the show is doing well.  In fact, it has been given a full 18-episode order.  I doubt he'll be returning to daytime even if the show is not the success it's expected to be. Hartley's  a good actor an he's in high demand.  He would have no trouble finding other prime time roles.  He may even try to launch a film career.

I think that the Adam character may return at some point, most likely with another actor replacing Justin Hartley .  It may happen, as you suggest, in time for the November sweeps.  The reason I think Adam may come back is that a relationship between Nick and Chelsea appears to be brewing.  As you point out, this sets up a rivalry between Adam and Nick over Chelsea.  On the other hand, that seems like such an obvious plotline.  A rivalry between two brothers is a very common storyline on soaps.  I hope they come up with something more original than that, or at least put a different twist on it.

By the way, Melissa Claire Egan, who portrays Chelsea, has weighed in with her opinion. She doubts the role of Adam will be recast.  "I really don't think they'll [do another story in which Adam returns with a new face] and I'm not just saying that.  I truly don't think there's going to be another Adam... but who knows? As of now, I don't think there is a plan to [recast him]."  Hmmm.

I completely agree with you that Sharon's secret about Sully should be exposed soon.  It's dragged on too long.  Fortunately, you can expect the truth to come out really soon.  All the previews and Internet spoilers point in that direction.  As for Chloe, I think it's going to take longer for her actions to be revealed.  I'm amazed how she's been able to take on Victor for so long.


Patty Williams (Stacy Haiduk) is back

Stacy Haiduk is back for another stint as Patty Williams.  That means big trouble for Sharon.  Patty Cakes knows Sharon's dirty little secret.  You can be sure that the cat is finally going to be out of the bag soon.  You can also be sure that it will mean the end for Dylan and Sharon.

Casting call for a new female character

According to Soap Central, Y&R has put out a casting call for a new character named "Marnie."  "Marnie" will be a recurring characcter.  She is described as "a beautiful, lively, easy-going woman in her later 20s /early 30s."  I wonder if she could be the woman from Travis' past.  


What do you think, fans, about a Nick and Chelsea romance, assuming Nick is done with Sharon forever? 

How do you feel about Nick and Chelsea being together?

Yes, they would make a good couple.
No, they don't have good chemistry.
It's too soon after Adam's death. Maybe in time.
I'm not sure.
Please Specify:
Poll Maker

That's all for now.  Please remember that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, October 15, 2016.

- Joanne

Monday, September 26, 2016

Trivia about the 1960 Nixon-Kennedy television debates

It's now common knowledge that without the nation's first televised debate — fifty years ago Sunday — Kennedy would never have been president. But beyond securing his presidential career, the 60-minute duel between the handsome Irish-American senator and Vice President Richard Nixon fundamentally altered political campaigns, television media and America's political history.

- Kayla Webley
Time magazine, September 23, 2010

On September 26, 1960, the first televised presidential debate in American history took place.  Tonight, 56 years later, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will face-off in their first debate of the 2016 presidential campaign.  As we all know, the world has changed enormously since then.  For one thing, there were no 24 hour cable news networks back then.  There was no CNN.  There were no cell phones and there was no Internet.  The U.S. was engaged in a fierce Cold War with the Soviet Union.  Fidel Castro had taken power in Cuba, fuelling fears of the spread of Communism in the Western Hemisphere.

The September 26th debate was the first of four debates between the Democrat, Kennedy and the Republican, Nixon.  It focused primarily on domestic policy.  Here is some trivia about that historic debate.

* According to the website of the Museum of Broadcasting, 70 million U.S. viewers watched the first Kennedy-Nixon debate.

* On September 26, 1960, the CBS network preempted The Andy Griffith Show in order to present the first of the four televised debates.

* The debate was broadcast live (in black and white, of course) from a studio in Chicago, Illinois.

* The physical appearance of the two men differed.  Kennedy appeared rested and fit.  He looked calm, cool and collected on camera.  Nixon, on the other hand, seemed nervous, tired and somewhat haggard.  He sweated.  He also had five o'clock shadow which gave him a sinister appearance, especially on a black and white television set.  On the way to the studio, Nixon had exacerbated a sore knee by hitting it against a car door.  He declined to wear makeup and one observer reported that he went "all white and pasty." In addition, he had recently suffered a bout of flu and had a low fever. After the debate, his mother, Hannah Milhous Nixon, called him and inquired about his health.

Kennedy was relaxed while Nixon perspired.

* It was obvious that John F. Kennedy was more comfortable on television than Richard Nixon.  He was more attuned to television as a medium,  Kennedy appealed directly to television viewers, while Nixon used a more traditional debating style and addressed Kennedy directly.  After the event, radio listeners polled thought Nixon won the debate, while a majority of TV viewers believed Kennedy was the victor.

* Nixon fared better in the other debates.  Unfortunately for him, however, the TV audience was smaller.

The Clinton-Trump debate tonight is expected to attract a record audience.  However, it was that first Kennedy-Nixon debate that had such a tremendous impact.   "It's one of those unusual points on the timeline of history where you can say things changed very dramatically - in this case, in a single night," Alan Schroeder, a media historian and author of the book Presidential Debates: Forty Years of High-Risk TV, was quoted by Time magazine (September 23, 2010) as saying of that groundbreaking 1960 debate,

- Joanne

Friday, September 23, 2016

Jewish characters on American television sticoms: From The Goldbergs to Seinfeld

Jewish writers, producers and actors have made an enormous contribution to television.  It is intriguing, therefore, to examine how Jewish characters and Jewish life have been depicted on TV sitcoms.  I have decided to focus on some of the most interesting and prominent shows.  One thing they all have in common is that they all take place in New York.  Has there ever been an American sitcom with Jewish characters that takes place outside of the Big Apple?  Let's see now . . . Well, Rhoda lived in Minneapolis for a long time, although she eventually returned to New York. Oh yes, there was Miles Silverberg (Grant Shaud) on Murphy Brown, an executive at a Washington, D.C. TV news magnazine show . . .

The 1950s


. . . for all the Yiddish humour, we don’t initially see the Goldbergs observe Jewish holidays, go to temple, or show any signs of living Jewishly - aside from an almost concealed menorah on the sideboard. At least that’s how it seems in the earliest episodes here, but hold the phone. As we get deeper into the series, we go deeper into real Jewish tradition.

 Michael Barrett
From "The Goldbergs: The Most Jewish Show on Television"
PopMatters, April 27, 2010

The Goldbergs was one of the earliest sitcoms on U.S. network television. It originated on NBC radio in 1929 as a 15-minute comedy/drama about the domestic life of a Jewish family in New York City.  It was initially called The Rise of the Goldbergs and was created by writer/actress Gertrude Berg.  The show moved to CBS radio in 1939 with its title shortened to The Goldbergs.  According to the website of the Museum of Broadcast Communication, some critical Jewish issues were raised on the radio program.    In an April 3, 1939 episode, the ominous situation in Nazi Germany was invoked when the Golderg family's Passover Seder was disturbed by a rock was thrown at their dining room window.

After a near 20-year run on radio, Gertrude Berg transformed her material into a 1948 Broadway hit entitled Me and Molly.  The next step was TV.  Berg was able able to persuade CBS to develop a television version.  The TV adaptation, which ran on network television from 1949 until 1954, chronicled the everyday life of  a middle-class Jewish family.  The Goldbergs lived in the Bronx and their home was supposedly located at 1030 East Tremont Avenue, Apartment 3B.  The family consisted of matriarch Molly Goldberg, played by Gertrude Berg herself, Molly's husband Jake Goldberg, played by Philip Loeb, and their two teenage children, son Sammy (Larry Robinson) and daughter Rosalie (Arlene McQuade). Eli Mintz  portrayed the erudite and philosophical Uncle David.
Every episode began and ended with Molly at her apartment window, delivering a Yiddish-accented monologue and pitching the sponsor's product.

Jake Goldberg was in the clothing business, a stereotypical Jewish occupation, while Molly was a kind-hearted but gossipy Jewish housewife.  She was prone to chattering with her neighbours across the courtyard of the apartment building.  In that sense, she was alo a stereotype.  Yet, at the same, as Michael Barrett points out in his April 27, 2010 article on PopMatters (The Goldbergs: The Most Jewish Show on Television), "Molly is always shown exploring new outlets, pushing Rosie to practice the piano and go to college, and attending night school herself. Indeed, she seems to have more activities than humanly possible, including Girl Scouts and nurses’ aide work."  By no mans, can she be dismissed as just a one-dimensional caricature, a cartoonish stereotype.

Berg and Loeb as Jake and Molly Goldberg

In 1951, The Goldbergs ended its run on CBS in a flurry of controversy surrounding actor Philip Loeb.  Loeb found himself blackmailed for alleged left-wing sympathies and he was forced to swear under oath that he was not a member of the Communist Party.  Although the charges against him were never proven, CBS executives and General Foods, the show's sponsor, were nervous about maintaining Loeb.  Even though Gertrude Berg strongly supported her co-star, it was not enough to persuade the network brass and General Foods to change their minds.  According to The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows 1946 - Preseent, they were adamant that Loeb had to go or the series would not not continue on CBS.

In 1952, The Goldbergs resurfaced on NBC but without Philip Loeb.  The role of Jake Goldberg was taken over by Robert H. Harris.  In the spring of 1954, The Goldbergs moved to yet another network - the long-defunct DuMont network.  Tom Taylor replaced Larry Robinson in the role of Sammy Goldberg and the family moved to the suburban community of Haverville

The following year, a devastated Philip Loeb, besieged with personal problems, his career in tatters, committed suicide by ingesting a fatal overdose of sleeping pills.  Tragically, on September 1, 1955, the 64-year-old was found dead in a New York City hotel room.

From 1955 until 1956, there was a syndicated version of The Goldbergs

The 1960s


Morey Amsterdam played a Jewish character on the popular 1960s comedy The Dick Van Dyke Show. Amsterdam was born Moritz Amsterdam in Chicago on December 14, 1908, the youngest of the three sons of Jewish immigrants from Austria-Hungary.  On The Dick Van Dyke Show, he portrayed wise-cracking Buddy Sorrell, Rob Petrie's (Dick Van Dyke) co-worker and fellow comedy writer for fictional The Alan Brady Show.

In one memorable 1966 episode, entitled "Buddy Sorrell - Man and Boy" (Season 5, Episode 22, Air Date: March 2, 1966), Buddy decides to have a Bar Mitzvah ceremony since he had never had one as a boy of 13.  Thirty years later, at the age of 43, he secretly takes Torah lessons..  However, his nervous behaviour leads his friends to suspect that he is seeing a psychiatrist or cheating on his wife (who is nicknamed "Pickles)".  The episode ends with a touching scene showing Buddy's Bar Mitzvah ceremony and his call to the Torah.

Morey Amsterdam, as Buddy Sorrrell, has his Bar Mitzvah 

The 1970s


Publicity photo of David Birney and Meredith Baxter

Bridget Loves Bernie was a 1970s sitcom about an affluent Irish-American Catholic woman (Meredith Baxter) who marries an aspiring Jewish playwright named Bernie Steinberg.  Bernie (David Birney) drives a taxi for a living and his family owns and operates a New York City delicatessen.  Meanwhile, Bridget's wealthy parents have servants and her brother, Michael, is a priest.  Thus, Bridget and Bernie not only come from different religious background, they come from different social and economic classes.  In the opening sequence of the series, when the couple introduce themselves, Bridget reveals that her full name is Bridget Theresa Mary Colleen Fitzgerald.  They then declare in unison, "We have a problem!"

Bridget Loves Bernie was loosely based on the 1940s radio show Abie's Irish Rose and the series was somewhat controversial for its time.  It ran for just one full season, from 1972 to 1973.  Only 24 episodes were ever produced.  Although Bridget Loves Bernie didn't have poor ratings (it had a prime time slot between All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show), CBS executives decided to cancel the show due to some negative response to its portrayal of inter-faith marriage.  The Rabbinical Assembly of America, for example, described the series as "an insult to the most sacred values of both the Jewish and Catholic religions."  Rabbi Abraham Gross, president of the Rabbinical Alliance of Orthodox Rabbis and Educators, stated that the show was a "flagrant insult" to Jews.  He protested that intermarriage was strongly prohibited under Jewish law.

In 1974, after co-starring in Bridget Loves Bernie, Meredith Baxter and David Birney wed in real life. The couple had three children together and divorced in 1989.  During their marriage, Meredith was known as Meredith Baxter-Birney.  In 2011, she published a memoir called Untitled in which she accused Birney of abusing her and claimed that he had hit her.  She stated that she dealt with the marital violence by drinking heavily.  Apparently, according to an NBC interview, Birney denied the allegations.

David Brirney was born in Washington, D.C. to non-Jewish parents. California-born Meredith Baxter is the daughter of the late Whitney Blake, who starred in the 1960s sitcom Hazel.  


Although Valerie Harper is not Jewish, she is best known for her portrayal of Rhoda Morgenstern, a Jewish woman from the Bronx.  The character of Rhoda first appeared on The Mary Tyler Moore Show back in 1970.  After relocating to Minneapolis, Minnesota, Rhoda became best friends with Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore), the associate producer of a TV news show.  A former art student, Rhoda resided in Mary's apartment building,and made her living as a window dresser/costume designer.

Even though Rhoda Morgenstern was a very likeable character, she was also very insecure.  She was obsessed with her weight and her attitude toward men was neurotic. She didn't hide the fact that she was desperate to end her single status.  Yet, despite her negative stereotypical traits,, Rhoda struck a chord with audiences. Women identified with her problems.  She was so popular that she CBS developed a spin-off series about her.  So, after four seasons,in Minneapolis, Rhoda Morgenstern returned to her hometown of New York,  The first episode of Rhoda, on September 9, 1974, set a ratings record.  It had a larger audience than ABC'S Monday Night Football.

As the series progressed, Rhoda  married Joe Girard, played by the late David Grogh, to whom she had been introduced while visiting her family and friends back in New York.  Joe ran a wrecking company, and was the divorced father of a ten-year-old boy named Donny. The show's hour-long wedding special was highly publicized and it broke television ratings records, garnering over 52 million American viewers.  Unlike Bridget Loves Bernie,, just two years earlier, the fact that that Joe was not Jewish was not really an issue, not even with Rhoda's family.

Nancy Walker had the role of Rhoda's meddling mother.  Walker, who died on March 25, 1992, first played Ida Morgenstern in an episode of the Mary Tyler Moore entitled "Support Your Mother."  Her character was so well-received that she became part of the cast of the Rhoda spinoff series.  Although Walker was convincing as a stereotypical Jewish mother, the diminutive Philadelphia-born actress was not Jewish.

Nancy Walker (right) with Valerie Harper in Rhoda

In her article "A History of Jewish Mothers on Television: Decoding the Tenacious Stereotype" (Journal of Interdisciplinary Feminist Thought, Volume 5, Issue 1, July 1, 2011), Myrna Hunt points out that although Ida Morgenstern was a loving mother, she was not such a benevolent presence in Rhoda's life:

Molly Goldberg, the "gold standard," for the Jewish mother, is originally portrayed as the buxom and benevolent meddler who can solve all problems by mixing common sense, a considerable dab of compassion, and predictable wisdom. Although a hovering mother, she is lovable and respected.  This portrait of the Jewish mother dramatically changes in the situation comedies of the 1970s when she becomes a devouringly negative, albeit loving presence, in her daughter's or son's life, well represented by Ida in Rhoda . . .

Julie Kavner, who played Rhoda's insecure younger sister, Brenda, was born in Los Angeles and is Jewish in real life.  Kavner now provides the voice of Marge Simpson on the popular animated series The Simpsons.  Harold Gould, who portrayed Rhoda's long--suffering father, Martin Morgenstern, passed away on September 11, 2010 at the age of 86.  Gould, born to a Jewish family in Schenectady, New York, was known for playing older Jewish characters and grandfatherly types.

The 1990s


Paul Reiser, a comedian from New York City, created and starred in Mad About You, a highly successful television series about a married couple in the Big Apple.  Reiser comes from a Jewish family and he attended East Side Hebrew Institute, a traditional Jewish day school in Manhattan.  In Mad About You, he portrayed a documentary filmmaker named Paul Buchman.  Buchman's non-Jewish wife, Jamie, played by Helen Hunt, worked as a public relations consultant.  The series ran from 1992 to 1999.on NBC.

Although Mad About You featured an inter-faith couple, religion was never mentioned on the show.  According to Vincent Brook in his book Something Ain't Kosher Here: The Rise of the "Jewish" Sitcom,  the show's producer, Barnet Kellman once stated: "Resiser never wants religion and religious differences specifically mentioned on that show.  I don't think he's afraid of it, by the way, and I certainly don't think he wants to pretend that he's anything but Jewish.  I just think he doesn't want it to be the issue, and he doesn't like the contentiousness of the exclusiveness of it."

Paul Buchman didn't talk much about being Jewish, but his family's Jewishness was clearly evident. Much like Ida Morgenstern, Paul's mother, Sylvia, played by Cynthia Harris,was an overbearing, stereotypical Jewish mother. His Uncle Phil, portrayed by comedian Mel Brooks, came from a Polish immigrant background and knew German.


Seinfeld, the so-called "comedy about nothing," was a landmark American sitcom. It was phenomenally popular.  The series ran for nine seasons on NBC, from 1989 to 1998.  It featured four neurotic New Yorkers who were not really very nice people.  In the final episode of the series, they all end up in prison for breaking the Good Samaritan Law and mocking the victim of a mugging.

Most of the show's producers, writers and actors were Jewish.  It's co-creators, Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld are both stand-up comedians and they were both born to Jewish families in Brooklyn, New York. Seinfeld is the son of an immigrant Jewish father from southern Ukraine and a mother of Syrian Jewish descent. When he was a teenager. he volunteered at a kibbutz in Israel.

Jerry Seinfeld played a version of himself on the series.  Not surprisingly, his TV character, also named Jerry Seinfeld, made his living as a stand-up comedian.  Jerry's TV mother, Helen Seinfeld, was portrayed by Liz Sheridan.  Helen was an interfering Jewish mother, but she was not known for making chicken soup or home-cooked meals for her son.  Jerry was usually seen eating cereal or dining out at a restaurant.

Elaine Benes, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, was the only female member of the quartet of friends.  Elaine was not Jewish.  This was made clear in an episode of Seinfeld entitled "The Serenity" (Season 9, Episode 3, Air Date: October 9, 1997).  In the episode, Elaine discovers her "shiksa appeal" ("shiksa is a Yiddish term for a non-Jewish woman).  As a result, several Jewish men in New York City, including her former boss, become attracted to her.

Elaine Benes was most likely raised a Catholic.  She celebrated Christmas and in some episodes she is seen wearing a crucifix.  However, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the actress who portrayed Elaine, was born in New York City to a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother.  Her parents divorced when Julia was a toddler and the youngster was relocated to Washington, D.C. when her mother remarried.  During Julia's childhood, she sometimes attended Unitarian church services with her mother.

Michael Richards, the actor who played Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld, was born in Culver City, California on July 24, 1949.  His father was killed in a car crash and his mother never remarried.  Michael's parents were not Jewish.  His ethnic background is Italian on his mother's side (her maiden name was "Nardozzi") and English on his father's side. Michael was raised by Jewish mentors who influenced him greatly.  Kramer, however, was Jewish.  The character was loosely based on an ex-neighbour of Larry David, the show's co-creator and its head writer and executive producer from 1989 until 1996.

Jason Alexander (birth name: Jay Scott Greenspan), the man who portrayed George Costanza, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Jewish parents.  Despite his Italian last name, George exhibited stereotypical Jewish behaviour.  In his book Something Ain't Kosher Here: The Rise of the Jewish Sitcom, author Vincent Brook describes George's characteristics:

Beyond dispute is the fact that George Louis Costanza, Italian surname withstanding, both looks (short, pudgy,balding) and acts (whiny, tight-fisted, nebisher) stereotypically Jewish.  George has been described as "one of the most Jewish characters in TV history'. by The Jewish Journal, as "a man weaned on the milk of Jewish neurosis" by Entertainment Weekly.

George's mother, Estelle (Estelle Harris), although not specified as being Jewish, displayed all the stereotypical characteristics of a Jewish mother  Harris, now 88 years old, was born in Manhattan to Polish Jewish immigrants.

George's father, Frank Costanza, had an Italian Catholic background.  In the episode "The Doll," Frank travels to Tuscany to meet a supposed long-lost cousin.  In the episode "The Fatigues," it is implied that Frank is a member of the Knights of Columbus, a male Catholic organization.  Nevertheless, the  the role of Frank was played by two Jewish actors.

The original Frank Cosstanza was John Randolph, who passed away in 2004 at the age of 88. Randolph, born Emanuel Hirsch Cohen in New York City, was the son of Jewish immigrants. In 1993, he made his only appearance as Frank in an episode of Seinfeld entitled "The Handicap Spot" (Episode 4, Season 22, Air Date: May 13, 1993).  He was later replaced by comedian Jerry Stiller, another Jewish New Yorker.  It's interesting to note that Randolph's scenes in "The Handicap Spot" were reshot for syndication with Stiller as Frank.

Jerry Stiller as Frank Costanza

- Joanne

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Y&R Report:(September 17, 2016): The Latest on the Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

It's about time Jack found out the truth about Phyllis and Billy, isn't it fans?  He's been played for a fool for far too long.  Everyone knows what's been going on now, including Ashley and Victoria.  The dirty laundry is finally out in the open.  There's a chance that Phyllis could lose both Jack and Billy.  If that happens, she'll have no trouble finding someone else.

As for Billy Boy, will he set his sights on Victoria again if he finds himself without Phyllis? He's certainly going to be an impediment to Victoria's relationship with Travis.  In the long run, will Travis be able to accept the fact that Billy will always be a part of Victoria's life, especially because they share a history and children together.

How will the revelation about Phyllis and Billy affect the Abbot family?  Well, obviously there will be a terrible rift between Jack and Billy for quite a while.  Perhaps that's why the ghost of John Abbott is due to make another appearance on Y&R on Monday, September 26, 2016 on CBS (Friday, September 23 on Global TV in Canada).  Now that Billy and Phyllis have been exposed, the Abbots will be in dire need of some wise fatherly advice.

As for Phyllis, I don't think Jack will ever take her back.  Although she hopes he will eventually forgive her, I don't think that's going to happen.  She has cheated on him twice (with Nick and now with Billy) and made a fool of him.  I can't see Jack getting past that.  If he ever does, I'll be surprised.

That Colin Atkinson is really a scoundrel.  The rascally Aussie offered to inform Jack Abbott of some vital information about his wife, the fiery Phyllis.  Of course, wily Colin had no intention of providing the information to Jack for free.  Oh no!  He demanded a cool one million dollars in return for his revelation.  However, wasn't able to follow through due to his great love for Jill.  Somehow, though, I didn't think that rang true.  It's hard to believe that money-loving Colin would be able to turn his back on one million smackeroos, even for Jill's sake.

The writers seem to be softening Victor Newman up.  For a long time, he has been terribly wicked and cruel.  Now he's being very kind and supportive of the newly-widowed Chelsea.  He even returned his share of her fashion company, Chelsea 2,1.  Actually, I'm glad they've softened him up a bit.  He was becoming too evil.  Until recently, Victor has been a complicated mixture of good and bad tendencies.  Viewers have always enjoyed his complex personality.

Chloe seems to be getting away with everything right now.  It can't last, though.  Victor is too smart not to figure out the truth.  Sooner or later, Chloe's  web of deception will become unravelled.  Here's what I wonder, though.  How did she become such a psychopath with no conscience.  She's always been off the wall, but she was never murderous before Delia died.

The writers have left the door open for a future return of Adam.  Justin Hartley will probably not return to the roll, unless his new primetime show fails, which is unlikely. However, someday the role of Adam might very well be recast.  I wouldn't be too sure that he actually perished in that cabin explosion.  Perhaps Chelsea will have a romance with Nick before Adam returns home.  Wouldn't that create some complications!

Jill Farren Phelps was recently dismissed as executive producer of The Young and the Restless.  Now, there's been another shakeup up at Y&R.  This time Charles "Chuck" Pratt has exited as the show's head writer and executive producer to pursue a new project on primetime telecvision,  Pratt, who has been Y&R's head writer for a a year and a half, has been named executive producer of a new Fox series called Star.

Charles Pratt

Pratt has been replaced as head writer by Sally Sussman, a woman who is no stranger to The Young and the Restless.  She also possess a wealth of experience.  Her career in daytime television began in 1983 when she became a storyline consultant at Y&R, working with the show's creator, William J. Bell.  In 1989, she developed, produced and wrote the daytime drama Generations.  She continued in that capacity for the entire run of the series.

Sussman moved on to become a script writer for Days of Our Lives, taking over sole head writing duties at Days in January of 1998.  From 2005 to 2006, she was back at Y&R as a member of the writing staff.

Sussman is married to Young and Restless supervising producer Anthony Morina.  Since she is very knowledgeable about the show's history, my hope is that she will return the show to its roots and restore it to its glory years.

Sally Sussman


If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name.  
My email address:

Regular Y&R viewer, Fifi in Colingwood, Ontario, has pointed out a faux pas on the show.  Right after Jack had confronted Phyllis about Billy, the redhead pranced into the Genoa City Athletic Club in a fancy black hat, dressed to the nines.  Her life had just been torn apart, but she was able to pull herself together right away, get impeccably dressed and throw herself into a social situation.  I know Phyllis is quite a firebrand and that she is a tough woman . . .but really?


Tristan Rogers (Colin Atkinson) to leave Y&R again

Just as his Colin character was getting mixed up in a big storyline, Tristan Rogers suddenly announced his departure from Y&R.   "Well today's show is the last for me," he wrote. "For how long I don't know. But I sure had fun."

Tristan seems to really enjoy portraying a con artist and I wouldn't be surprised if Colin Atkinson is back in Genoa City sooner rather than later.


Now that he knows about Phyllis and Billy, do you think that Jack will take Phyllis back?

Yes, I do. He always forgives her.
No, this time Phyllis has gone too far, even for Jack.
Maybe. However, it will take him a long time to get over what she's done.
I don't know. It depends on the storyline.
I don't care.
Please Specify:
Survey Maker

That's all for now.  Please remember that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, October 1, 2016.  

- Joanne

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Y&R Report (September 3, 2016): The Latest on the Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.


Justin Hartley has left Y&R 

There is sad news today for Young and Restless fans.  Justin Hartley, the third actor to play the role of Adam Newman, has announced on Facebook that he has left Y&R to concentrate on his new NBC primetime show This is Us, which is premiering on September 20th.  Justin thanked Y&R fans profusely.  He said he didn't wan't to make his announcement earlier because he didn't want to spoil the storylines.

Hartley's departure was not unexpected, given his new NBC show, which is expected to be a big hit.  Yes, we can still watch him on This is Us.  However, for Y&R fans, it won't be the same as seeing him portray Adam Newman.  He will be greatly missed, but Y&R must go on without him. Remember also that his leaving does not necessarily mean that the character of Adam is dead.  The residents of Genoa City believe that Adam has perished in that cabin explosion, but this is a soap folks. so he could easily turn up alive again with a new actor in the role.  Perhaps Michael Muhney (the second Adam Newman) will return.

It seems as if Chelsea will eventually become involved with Nick.  They seem to have brought those two together since Nick promised Adam he would be a father figure to young Connor.  Don't forget, though, that Nick will have other complications in his life when he discovers that Sully is really Christian and that Adam is Christian's father.  I can't see Sharon and Dylan lasting as a couple when Dylan finds out the truth.  If Dylan leaves Sharon, you can be sure that she will turn to Nick again.

Did you enjoy the celebration of Y&R's 11.000th episode?  I certainly did.  It was great seeing all those flashbacks and listening to the actors reminisce about their favourite moments on the show.  I'm also glad that Daniel Romalotti returned to Genoa City for a visit . . . but that moustache!  He looked like General George Custer,  Maybe he's playing the role of Custer in a movie.

Daniel's reaction to Mariah was interesting, although I expected a much stronger and more emotional response.  Cassie's death was very traumatic for him and I thought he'd really be upset when he saw her identical twin.  He was a little bit stunned, but he took it in stride.

Chloe sure has a lot of people fooled, including best friend Chelsea and her ex-husband Kevin. They both think they know her so well and they sincerely believe she has stopped trying to seek revenge on Adam.  However, when the clueless Genoa City police finally discover that she caused the explosion at the cabin, she will sent be returned to a mental health facility.  Who will take of little Bella then?  The child will most likely be delivered into the hands of her grandmother, Esther, or Kevin will take responsibility for her.  What about Billy?  Will he want Bella when he learns that he is her father?

Luca Santori showed his true colours and broke Snowflake's itsy bitsy little heart.  He may stick around for a while longer, but Miles Gaston Villenueva, the actor who portrays him, has tweeted that he is leaving Y&R.  According to Internet spoilers, Summer will visit Luca in prison.  Oh well, I wonder if she will have better luck with her next love interest.  That Supergirl certainly knows how to pick them.  First Austin, then Kyle and now Luca.  Kyle was never my favourite character, but at least he wasn't a criminal. Still, I hope she never goes back to him.  The writers should abandon any thought they may have of bringing him back to Genoa City.  He should remain in New York.

To be fair to the The Snowflake, she hasn't had much of an example from her mother, Phyllis.  Just look at Phyllis' disastrous track record with men.  She finally married a guy who treats her really well - Jack Abbott - and she is cheating on him with his own brother, Billy.  Summer, on the other hand, is so much more naive than Phyllis, and she hasn't inherited her mother's devious nature.

Kudos to Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters) for some good acting in his recent storyline with his long-lost mother.  The look on his face when when she informed him that she was a reformed alcoholic was really believable.  When he told her that he was also an alcoholic, the moment was poignant and bittersweet.


If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name.  
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Here are some comments from regular contributor CC in Etobicoke, Ontario.  CC expresses her opinion about Miles Gaston Villenueva's (Luca Santori) departure from the show.

I hope this means we will see less and hear little from Summer!  I hope her new show is a great success so that she is replaced at Y&R.  In the meantime, maybe she will end up in Fairview with a breakdown caused by being conned by Luca or even go off to to stay with Daniel when he leaves to get away from it all.  She is really too whiney and needy!

I have to say, CC, that Hunter King (Summer) doesn't bother me as much as she bothers you.  I agree that she's whiney and needy.  I also think that she is unbelievably naive where her dear Grandpa Victor is concerned.  However, I think she makes a great foil for Mariah.  It's always great fun to see them in scenes together.

You may get your wish, though.  In June, Hunter was promoted to a regular role for the second season of the CBS primetime comedy series Life in Pieces.  She plays a character called Clementine on that show.. Due to her promotion on Life in Pieces, her role on The Young and Restless has been scaled back to recurring status. We will see less of her in the coming months. She may eventually leave Y&R if her workload is too heavy.  On the other hand, primetime shows come and go.  As you know, if the ratings go down, Life in Pieces will be cancelled without hesitation.  Therefore, Hunter may hold on to her Y&R role as insurance.  If she leaves the role of Summer, I think she will be replaced with another actress.  I don't think that Y&R will completely do away with the role of Summer.

Here is some reaction to the departure of Justin Hartley from Carly in Barrhaven, Ontario.

I just read in Facebook that Justin Hartley has left Y&R.  So sorry to see him go.  I was hoping that Adam was in fact on that plane.  Guess we will now see Nick and Chelsea together.  Boy, I will miss him!


The Ghost of John Abbott (Jerry Douglas) returning 

John Abbott died in 2006, but his his ghost still appears on The Young and the Restless. In times of trouble, the Abbott children seek his wise guidance and steady hand.  Jerry Douglas, who played John Abbott, returns from time to time as John's spirit, offering sage paternal advice to his offspring, especially Jack.  The apparition serves as Jack's conscience, a sounding board for him to wrestle with his emotions and work out his problems.  Jerry will return again on September 26, 2016 on CBS (September 23 on Global TV in Canada).


Mariah had a great line at Summer and Luca's engagement party.  When she didn't see the couple at the event, she asked, "Where are Snowflake and soon-to-be Mr. Snowflake?"


Adam has certainly cheated death before.  He once took a bullet in order to protect Victor. He has survived a car explosion by undergoing cosmetic surgery.  Not too long ago, Chloe tried to run him over as he was leaving a courthouse.  This guy is the ultimate soap survivor, but has he finally run out of lives?  Is he really dead this time?  What do you think, fans?  Will a new actor play the role of Adam Newman?

Do you think Adam died in the cabin explosion?

Yes. Justin Hartley has left Y&R because of his new primetime show, "This is Us."
No, Adam is too important a character to kill off. Besides, he has more lives than a cat.  Justin Hartley will be replaced with a new Adam.
No, everybody will think he's dead, but he'll be alive somewhere.
It doesn't matter to me.
I don't know
Please Specify:
Quiz Maker

That's all for now.  Remember that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, September 17, 2016.

- Joanne