Saturday, May 11, 2019

Y&R Report:(May 11, 2019): 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, we are in the midst of the May sweeps and there's  plenty of change in Genoa City.  Adam is back and we've caught our first glimpse of Mark Grossman, the actor who has taken over the role.  His return will shake up Genoa City to the core and probably spark a custody battle over Christian, who is Adam's biological son.  Victor, of course, is up to his usual shenanigans as are Summer and Phyllis.  The Rosales family will not play as prominent a role on Y&R as both Arturo and Mia are exiting.  Will they go off into the sunset together with a baby on the way?  Will it be Papa Arturo or Uncle Arturo?

There appears to be an attraction between Abby and Dr. Nate.  I wonder what will come of that.  I've wondered when there would be a love interest for Nate.  I thought he might become interested in Elena, especially since they both have medical backgrounds.  However, he seems to be gravitating in Abby's direction.  I haven't ruled out Elena yet, though.

Sharon is playing with fire by trying to help Adam Newman regain his memory and urging him to return to Genoa City.  It's bound to cause trouble for her and Rey,  Speaking of Adam, how did he suddenly become a poker shark named Spider?  He was never shown an interest gambling before.  You can't become a top-notch poker player over night.  I also don't think Adam's story about waking up on a freight train and panhandling is very plausible.

It seems that Paul Williams is not as clueless anymore.  Ever since Doug Davidson resumed his role on Y&R, the Genoa City Police Chief has seemed much more clever.  He even managed to get Mia to admit that she was the one who attacked Lola.  Rey seems to be the one who's clueless now.  Perhaps he's not very smart or maybe he's just so smitten with Sharon that he can't concentrate.  It could be a little of both.

Phyllis is really a piece of work, isn't she?  She urged Summer, her own daughter, to spy on Jabot for her.  She asked Snowflake to put her job at risk  She was willing to throw Summer under a bus if it would help her establish her new business.  Phyllis is just plain selfish.  She puts herself above all others.

Now that Greg Rikaart is returning to Y&R as Kevin, can Judith Chapma, who plays his mother, Gloria, be far behind?  Judith has left General Hospital, so I wouldn't be surprised at all if she comes back to Y&R.  Gloria's former position as Jack's assistant is open again because Ted has been lured away by Ashley and will be working for her in Paris.  Was the timing of Ted' departure coincidental or did it happen so that there would be an opening for Judith Chapman to return.

I wonder if Tessa Porter's going to go along with Ana's idea to give her a new image.  Can you picture Tessa with a different hair colour and more flamboyant clothes?  I also wonder who is sending threatening messages to her and Mariah.  Mariah wasn't very wise to reply to the threatening text message by suggesting they discuss what's bothering him or her.


The return of Melissa Claire Egan as Chelsea

It's not in the least surprising that Melissa Claire Egan is returning as Chelsea Lawson.  Regular readers will recall what I wrote in the March 30, 2019 edition of Y&R Report:

"It will be fun to see how Y&R's writers explain how Adam survived being trapped in a cabin that Chloe exploded in flames.  They'll find a way, just as they did with J.T.  However, there are still a lot of loose ends.  What about Chelsea, Adam's wife?  She a fugitive on the run with their child, Connor.  Victor Newman certainly hasn't forgotten about his grandson.  Perhaps Melissa Claire Egan will return as Chelsea."

Entertainment Weekly
(EW) has reported that Melissa will begin taping new episodes this month and will be back on screen in the early summer.

New character on Y&R

Tyler Johnson

Theo Vanderway, played by Tyler Johnson has arrived in Genona City soon  Theo is Kyle Abbott's friend, from his days in New York.  He's social media savvy and will be working with Kyle and Summer on social media matters for Jabot.  That means he is likely to become involved in the lives of Lola and Summer.  Theo has already learned that Kyle and Snowflake are not together.  The Kyle/Summer/Lola love triangle could become a quadrangle.  Summer is very much Phyllis' daughter.  She's very manipulative and headstrong .  She'll use Theo to her own advantage.  Lola's dreaming if she thinks the Snowflake is going to just melt away and leave her alone.  As Victor would say, "It ain't gonna happen!"

Tyler Johnson is known for his TV appearances on 30 Rock, What Goes On and Gossip Girl and his film roles in The Haunting of Sharon Tate and The Matchmaker's Playbook.  He has also modelled for Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie and Fitch.

2019 Daytime Emmys

Not a single actor on Y&R won an Emmy.  Nevertheless, the show won the award for Outstanding Daytime Drama.  I enjoyed Shemar Moore's heartfelt tribute to Kristoff St. John and I was pleased that Shemar was the one to present the Outstanding Daytime Drama trophy.  Since Mal Young was Y&R's head writer until recently, he accepted the award.  The situation was very awkward since Mal was let go (although he claims that he chose to leave).  Kelly Joyner wrote in Soap Dirt that "judging by his speech, the former writer producer took total credit for win."

Daniel Goddard (Cane Ashby) was not pleased with his ex-boss taking so much credit.  He was very critical of  Mal's behaviour at the Daytime Emmys. Daniel tweeted the following: "A weak & insecure man will always try & make u believe that a team's victory was because of him . . . but a great & honorable man will never be afraid to acknowledge that he was just another . . if not the smallest cog in the wheel!"  Ouch!"


Melissa Ordway
Abby Newman (Melissa Ordway) has not had much luck in the romance department. That's because she's shown poor judgement and has always picked the wrong men.  Now that Arturo and Abby are done, Abby will eventually need an new man in her life. Maybe she'll get it right this time.  I've considered several possibilities for Abby.  I've even thought about that new character, Theo, getting together with her.  What do you think, fans?  Whom should Abby get involved with?  Respond to the poll below and let me know.

Who would make a good romantic partner for Abby?

Dr. Nate Hastings
Theo Vanderway
Devon Hamilton
Fen Baldwin
Cane Ashby
I don't know.
Please Specify:

Readers, I would appreciate your feedback

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:

That's all for now.  Please remember that next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, May 25, 2019.  Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers and grandmothers out there.

- Joanne

Monday, May 6, 2019

Brady Bunch episode sparks vaccine controversy

Who would have thought that  a 1969 episode of The Brady Bunch would be at the centre of a vaccine controversy in 2019?  It's happening, though.  The episode in question is entitled "Is There a Doctor in the House?" (Season 1, Episode 13, Air Date: December 26, 1969).  According to National Public Radio NPR), the anti-vaccine movement has been using the episode as an argument against inoculations.   

In the episode, all six Brady children have the measles at the same time.  While sick, they are shown having a great old time staying home from school and colouring each other's spots, while their parents and housekeeper Alice (Ann B. Davis) wait on them hand and foot.  As the siblings happily play a game of Monopoly, the eldest daughter, Marcia (Maureen McCormick). declares, "If you have to get sick, sure can't beat the measles."  Almost half a century later, anti-vaxxers have publicized Marcia's image in order to promote their anti-inoculation agenda, much to McCormick's consternation.  She is understandably upset that her Marcia Brady character has become an accidental spokesperson for the ant-vaccine movement.

Maureen is perturbed  that her childhood role is being used to spread false information.  She stated the following to NPR: "I think it's really wrong when people use people's images today to promote whatever they want to promote and the person's image they're promoting they haven't asked or they have no idea where they stand on the issue."  She added, "As a mother, my daughter was vaccinated"  She emphasized the The Brady Bunch depiction of the measles was not an accurate portrayal of what it's really like to suffer from the illness."

Lloyd J. Schwartz, the son of the late Brady Bunch creator Sherwood Schwartz (1916-2011) is also dismayed that his father's show is being used to promote their anti-vaccination cause.  The younger Schwartz said, "Dad would be sorry, because he believed in vaccination, had all his kids vaccinated"

I heartily concur with McCormick and Schwartz. Despite what the anti-vaccine movement wants you to believe, childhood diseases are a big deal.  As a child, I contracted red measles and I can assure you that it was no picnic.  Also, cousin of mine was left with a hearing loss after a childhood bout of the mumps.

This is no trivial matter and should not be taken lightly, given the recent rise in cases of measles.  This disease should be eradicated from the face of the earth.  The fact that the disease has reared its ugly head again is testimony to the damage caused by the anti-vaccine movement.  Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, put it this way: "We're dealing with a disease that should have been taken off the table in the 1960, and now in 2019, when we're planning a mission to Mars, we're dealing with it because we're allowing it to be here"

Hare is some evidence about the increase in measles that should be of grave concern:

* There was a notable rise in the number of measles cases in Europe in 2017.  The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that there were 21,315 measles cases across the continent.  Of these cases, 35 of them resulted in death.  According to WHO, the outbreaks were sparked by low rates of vaccination and interference of vaccine supplies to low income and marginalized groups.  WHO also reported a "dramatic rise" in the number of measles cases in Europe in the first half of 2018, with the situation most disturbing in Ukraine.  Between January and June, 2018, according to the United Nations health agency, 41,000 children and adults were infected with the highly contagious disease in Europe.  This is far above the number of total cases reported in any other year during the past decade. There were at least 37 European fatalities during those six months.

* According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention, there have been 704 cases of measles reported in the United States so far this year (as of April 25, 2019), the highest number of yearly outbreaks since 1994 - 25 years ago - and the largest number since measles were considered eliminated in the U.S. in 2000.  More than 500 of those 704 infected had not been vaccinated.  This year, cases have been reported in 22 American states.

Sadly measles outbreaks are on the rise again.  For the anti-vaccine movement to use an almost fifty-year-old episode of a fictional  TV series to advance its cause is absolutely unconscionable.  It is shameful.  By the way, that Brady Bunch episode is so outdated that the two doctors made house calls for the Brady kids.  Their mother, Carol Brady (Florence Henderson), called in a female pediatrician for the girls, while their father, Mike Brady (Robert Reed), summoned a male pediatrician for the boys.  Furthermore, it is extremely unlikely that the Brady kids could have been enjoying themselves when the symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, watery, red eyes and a red rash.

SOURCES, Wikipedia

- Joanne 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Whatever happened to Sally Struthers of All in the Family?

"If all I had ever done was All in the Family, it would have been enough.  To be part of that series is to be part of television history.  It was the series that meant the growing up of television - and it kept us laughing at the same time."

- Sally Struthers
Quoted in The Virginian-Pilot, March 19, 2009 profile by Mal Vincent

"Cute as a button with a petite, porcelain prettiness and vulnerability that endeared her her to the American public."  That's how Gary Brumburgh describes Sally Struthers in an IMDb biography.  Although Sally has been acting for decades, she will always be best known for her portrayal of  Archie Bunker's little girl, Gloria, on All in the Family.  She played Gloria Bunker Stivic on the groundbreaking sitcom from 1971 until 1979 and won two supporting Emmy Awards for her role.

Sally Anne Struthers was born on July 28, 1947 (some sources say 1948) in Portland, Oregon, USA.  She is the daughter of Margaret Caroline (née Jernes) and Dr. Robert Alden Struthers, a surgeon.  Her maternal grandparents were Norwegian immigrants. When Sally was a about about seven or eight years old, her father left the family.  After his departure, Margaret Struthers became depressed.  Still, she went back to work and raised Sally and her older sister, Sue, as a single mother.

Sally graduated from President Ulysses S. Grant High School (known colloquially as Grant High School), a public high school in Portland's Grant Park neighbourhood.  During her four years there, Sally participated in many activities.  She was a cheerleader and she became involved in Grant's theatre program.

Sally's senior class photo, 1965

After high school, Sally moved to Pasadena, California, where she attended Pasadena Playhouse, a college for the theatre arts. She left Pasadena Playhouse in 1967 and began working on commercial acting roles for several years.

In 1967, Sally began appearing on the popular The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.  However, in 1969 CBS abruptly cancelled the Smother Brothers show amid censorship issues.  In 1970, Sally appeared as the only chorus girl on The Tim Conway Comedy Hour.  Although she was let go from Conway's show after just six weeks, All in the Family creator Norman Lear had already noticed her on the Smothers Brothers' program.  TRIVIA NOTE: Rob Reiner, who portrayed Gloria's husband, Mike "Meathead" Stivic, was a member of the The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour's writing staff.

While working on The Tim Conway Comedy Hour, Sally landed a small but meaningful role Betty in Five Easy Pieces, the Oscar-nominated 1970 film which starred Jack Nicholson.  She also played the part of Fran Clinton in another movie classic, 1972's The Getaway, starring Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw.

Soon after her dismissal from Tim Conway's program, Sally Struthers auditioned for a part on a new sitcom called All in the Family.  She was chosen for the part, despite the fact that petite, blue-eyed, blonde Sally did not really resemble her TV parents, Archie and Edith Bunker (Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton).

With her role on All in the Family, Sally skyrocketed to fame.  It changed the face of American television by tackling issues that hadn't been dealt with before on U.S. sitcoms.  The working-class Bunker family, consisted of the conservative, bigoted Archie, his wife, Edith, and their liberal-minded daughter, Gloria and son, Mike.  The family was continually at odds over social values and politics.  As Sally put it, "They were trying to make the point.  And it was to shine a light on racism and bigotry and shine a light on the fact that someone doesn't necessarily have to be wearing a KKK sheet over their head to be a racist, that we can all hate.  It can be a lovable father or husband type."

Mike and Gloria lived with Archie and Edith because Mike was a college student and the couple needed to save money.  Gloria, who worked in a department store, was a 1970s feminist, although the term "women's lib" was used back then.  The show was phenomenally successful and it won numerous awards.  It made the cover of Time magazine and its cast got to meet then-President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn at the White House

In 1975, Sally Struthers almost walked walked off All in the Family due to a much-publicized contract dispute.  She left the show in 1978 when her contract was up.  Rob Reiner left at the same time.  Their characters were written out when Mike and Gloria moved to California with son Joey because Mike obtained a teaching position there.

Sally returned briefly to appear in an episode entitled "California, Here We Are" (Season 9, Episode 1), Air Date: December 17, 1978), in which Mike and Gloria hide the fact that they have separated when Archie and Edith visit them. 

Below is a 1976 promotional photo of the All in the Family cast.  Standing are Sally Struthers (Gloria), Rob Reiner (Mike), seated are Carroll O'Connor (Archie Bunker) and Jean Stapleton (Edith Bunker), who is holding child who played the Bunkers' grandson Joey.

From 1982 to 1983, Sally starred in her own TV series on CBS, a short-lived spin-off of All in the Family called Gloria.  She portrayed Gloria Stivic as a single mother raising son Joey, played by Christian Jacobs (husband Mike had left her for one of his students and moved to a commune).  Trying to pick up the pieces of her life, Gloria moves Fox Ridge, New York to be closer to her now-widowed father.  She works as an assistant to two veterinarians, played by Burgess Meredith and Jo De Winter.  Rob Reiner never appeared on the show.

On December 18, 1977, Sally married Dr. William C. Rader (born 1938) in a private ceremony with only close friends, family and relatives in attendance. Bill Rader, a psychiatrist, was very ambitious.  He operated two alcoholic rehabilitation clinic, treated eating disorders, prepared "Medpsych" reports for a local ABC station and published Dr. Rader's No Diet Program for Permanent Weight Loss (1981).  He later founded clinics which administered injections of human stem cells to treat a variety of diseases.  He and Sally had one child together, a daughter named Samantha, born May 18, 1979.  Their marriage ended in divorce in 1983.

Dr. William C. Rader

When Samantha was still a baby, Sally stated, "Before I met Bill, I never wanted a baby.  I was always the first one to say that it wasn't going to make me fulfilled, that I didn't need a carbon copy of myself.  Then you fall in love with someone and you want to be the mother of a child that is part of that man, the result of your loving each other."

Sally and daughter Samantha

From 1986 until 1988, Sally starred as clumsy divorcee Marsha McMurray Shrimpton on the sitcom Nine to Five. which was based on the 1980 film of the same name.  She appeared in a 1989 episode of Charles in Charge and 1990 episodes of Murder, She Wrote and Sister Kate.  From 2000 to 2007, Sally had a recurring role on the highly acclaimed Gilmore Girls.  She portrayed Babette Dell, Lorelai's (Lauren Graham) gossipy neighbour.  From 2003 to 2006, Sally also had a recurring role as Louise Miller on the comedy Still Standing.

In the fall of 2016, Sally Netflix's limited revival of Gilmore Girls, entitled Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.  She reprised her role as Babette Dell in the four-episode mini-series, set a decade after the finale of the original series.

Sally as Babette


* Sally's father, Dr. Robert Struthers, died in a car accident circa 1967.  Her mother, Margaret, passed away in 1996.  Margaret was 79 years old at the time of her death and had suffered from Alzheimer's Disease.

* Sally Struthers has been the spokesperson for The Christian Children's Fund (renamed ChildFund), a charity whose donors sponsor needy children in developing countries.  She has visited those countries to film public service announcements.  Sally has also been the spokesperson for International Correspondence Schools in television ads.  Her activism has been parodied and satirized on such TV shows as Grey's Anatomy, South Park and In Living Color.

* Sally was a guest on a 1974 episode of The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour (Season 4, Episode 19).  The episode aired on February 6, 1974 and also featured the Jackson 5 singing "Dancing Machine" and Tennessee Ernie Ford.

* Sally has done a great deal of voice over work.  She used her distinctive pipes to voice Pebbles Flintstones on the animated Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show (CBS, 1971-72).  From 1990 to 1991, she provided the voice of Rebecca Cunningham on the animated adventure series TaleSpin. From 1991 to 1994 voiced Charlene Sinclair on the animated family comedy Dinosaurs.

* Through the years, Sally has appeared in a number of television movies.  Her credits include Hey, I'm Alive (1975), Intimate Strangers (1977), My Husband is Missing (1978) , . . .And Your Name is Jonah (1979), A Gun in the House (1981), A Deadly Silence (1989), In the Best Interest of the Children (1992), Becoming Glen (2002) and What I Did for Love (2006)

* Sally's daughter, Dr. Samantha Rader, is a Los Angeles-based psychologist.  In 2001, Samantha graduated with a degree in Cognitive Science from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.  She then earned a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Alliant International University.

Dr. Samantha Rader

* In 2002, Sally played the role of Jennifer Smith on the daytime soap opera General Hospital.

* On September 12, 2012, Sally Struthers was arrested for drunk driving in Ogunquit, Maine, where she was appearing in a production of the musical 9 to 5. Sally, a first time offender, denied driving drunk and seemed ready to fight the charge. In fact, she requested a jury trial and a court date was set for September 23, 2013.  However, she decided to  guilty to the lesser charge of driving to endanger.and Maine prosecutors dropped the DUI charge.  She was ordered to pay fines and fees and had her driver's licence suspended for a month.

* Complaints about the effectiveness of Dr. William Rader's stem cell injections led to the revocation of his medical licence in California.  On November 5, 2014, the Medical Board of California formerly revoked Rader's licence on the basis of "negligence, professional misconduct and false or misleading advertising.

More recent photo of Rader


Grant Magazine, "All in the Acting,"  by Toli Tate, April 24, 2017; Fandango, Sally Struthers biography; Married Wicki, 1.55 m. tall American Actress Sally Struthers Was in a Relationship with William C. Rader; Shared A Daughter, September 17,, 2018; The Virginian-Pilot, "Actress Sally Struthers values 'All in the Family' expeirence," by Mal Vincent, March 19, 2009; USA Today, "Sally Struthers makes DUI plea deal in Maine," by Ann Oldenburg, September 6, 2018;  IMDb; Wikipedia

- Joanne

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Y&R Report (April 27, 2019): 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. 

This past week's episodes about Neil Winters' death were very poignant. The Young and the Restless should be commended for its heartfelt farewell to actor Kristoff St. John, who had played the role of  Neil since 1991.  The acting was especially realistic because cast members were definitely grieving over the premature death of the 52-year-old actor.  It was all very moving, especially the way Neil's passing affected Victor and Ashley and Jack.  Even The Great and Arrogant Victor Newman reacted to Neil's death in a very human way.  He actually admitted to Nikki that he had few friends like Neil.  As for Ashley Abbot, she expressed guilt and remorse that she didn't keep in contact with Neil more often.  I was surprised that she didn't visit him in person to tell him of her plans to move to Paris.  She just gave him a quick phone before catching a plane.  Jack spoke of how Neil helped him when he was on the brink of swallowing pills and lauded Neil for always being there for him.  Ashley and Jack were so heartbroken over Neil's passing that they called  a truce to end their sibling rivalry.

I was pleased to see the return of Shemar Moore as Neil's wayward brother, Malcolm Winters.  Malcolm, a globetrotting photographer, has never really put down roots.  He has always been very different from Neil and had some very strong feelings about his elder sibling.  The eulogies delivered at Neil's funeral were very touching and they expressed how Neil influenced people's lives in positive ways.  The same actors who spoke at the funeral later reminisced about Kristoff St. John and how he affected them the same way in real life  It was a treat to view all the flashbacks of Kristoff through the years.  It was a trip down memory lane.  It was wonderful to see Victoria Rowell (Drucilla) again.  She and Kristoff had such magic onscreen chemistry.  It was also a bonus that Eileen Davidson (Ashley) stuck around for a while.

The scenes showing the opening of Devon and Abby's new restaurant were great.  The restuarant was named Society" and it should be the location of a lot of Genoa City drama in the future.  There should be some fantastic parties there and let's hope they have some good singers.

Well, the Snowflake had a meltdown over Kyle and Lola.  Kyle wants the freedom to be with Lola, but Summer isn't going to make it easy for him.  There wouldn't be any conflict if she did.  Besides, Snowflake is Phyllis' daughter and she can be a real chip off the old block.  Summer is a woman scorned, and you know what they say about a woman scorned.  Why doesn't Lola just move on and forget about Kyle.  She should find someone else because he'll always be connected to Summer.

Lola won't move on, though, because there wouldn't we any conflict if she did.  What's with the knife Summer gave Lola as a gift when the restaurant opened?  Will the knife be used in an attack sparked by the Kyle/Lola/Summer love triangle?  That's possible or maybe it has no future significance at all.

Victor Newman has nothing but disdain for Billy Boy Abbott, although he's never really liked any of the men in Princess Victoria's life.  He got along with J.T. for a brief time when J.T.was head of security at Newman Enterprises.  As soon as J.T. left Newman Enterprises, he was back in Victor's bad books because he was not under Victor's control anymore.  Billy is right.  It's about time Princess Victoria got out from under Victor's thumb and took control of her own life.  Otherwise, her father will continue to ruin her relationships with men.

It seems as if her daddy is up to his old tricks again.  As soon as Neil's funeral ended, Victor informed Nikki that he had to leave again and refused to give her an explanation.  He just shut her out.  The man is incorrigible.  This time his behaviour is probably related to his son, Adam, whom we know is returning to Genoa City.  Why couldn't he share the secret with Nikki?


I am not a fan of Cait Fairbanks's (Tessa Porter's) singing.  It's okay, but it just doesn't do anything for me.  What do you think, fans?  Do you like Cait's music?  Respond to the poll below and let me know.

Do you enjoy Tessa's music?

Yes, she is a talented singer.
Her voice is just okay, nothing special.
No, I do not like her voice at all.
I don't know.
Please Specify:

Readers, I would appreciate your feedback.  Please let me know what you think about the show.

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:

That's all for now.  Please remember that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, May 11, 2019.

- Joanne

Friday, April 19, 2019

Farewell Georgia Engel. We'll miss you, Georgette!

Sad news indeed!  Georgia Engel, best known for her portrayal of Georgette Franklin Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. has passed away.  She died on April 12, 2019 in Princeton, New Jersey at the age of 70.  Georgia was a wonderful comedic actress and during her career, she garnered five Primetime Emmy nominations.  Her most distinctive characteristic was her soft, gentle, childlike voice, which retired Toronto Star theatre critic Richard Ouzounian likened to that of an angel who has "just sniffed some helium."  Her voice was her trademark and when she became angry, it was difficult not to laugh.

Georgia Bright Engel was born in Washington, D.C. on July 28, 1948, the daughter of Ruth Caroline (née Hendron) and Benjamin Franklin Engel, a Coast Guard Admiral.  In 1966, Georgia graduated from high school at the Academy of Washington Ballet in Washington, D.C.  She intended to become a ballerina.before deciding on a career as an actress.  In her profile, Georgia is quoted as saying the following: : "As a young teenager when I was attending ballet school, my teacher told me I'd never be a ballerina. and I was never much of a singer, but I get leading roles in musical theater because of the comedy.  I consider comedy a special gift to me.  So many people ask if I hate doing similar roles but I try to explain that even within the specialized areas of light comedy and ditzy blondes, there are wonderful nuances that are infinitely interesting to me."

 After high school, Georgia performed in summer stock and then joined her family in Honolulu, Hawaii.  She earned a degree in drama from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1969 and then  returned to Washington, D.C. where she performed in musical productions with the American Light Opera Company.  She later appeared off-Broadway in Lend an Ear and at the age of 22, made her Broadway debut as Minnie Fay in the original Broadway production of Hello Dolly!.

In 1971, Mary Tyler Moore and her then-husband, producer Grant Tinker saw Georgia perform when the off-Broadway production of The House of Blue Leaves played in Los Angeles.  They were impressed by how funny she was and a few months later, she was summoned to the MTM Studios and asked to play a role created especially for her.  She made her mark as the seemingly naive Georgette Franklin, girlfriend and eventual wife of pompous anchorman Ted Baxter (Ted Knight) on Mary's TV show.  However, Georgette was not your garden variety stereotypical "dumb blonde."  Although often underestimated, she possessed a certain wisdom.  "The writers had fun with that," Engel told the San Francisco Examiner in 2017.  "She looked like the dumbest one of the group and sometimes they'd have her say the wisest thing."

The Mary Tyler Moor Show ran from 1970 until 1977, but Georgia Engel,did not join the cast until the sitcom's third season in 1972.  Her "Georgette" character first appeared in an episode entitled "Rhoda Morgestern:  Minneapolis to New York" (Season 3, Episode 14, Air Date: December 16, 1972).  In the episode, Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) plans a farewell party for her friend Rhoda (Valerie Harper) who has decided to accept a job at Bloomingdale's in New York.  Georgette, Rhoda's co-worker, shows up at the party as Ted's new girlfriend.  Her interaction with Mary's gruff boss, Lou Grant (Edward Asner) is hilarious.

Georgia Engel's role as Georgette was originally intended to be for a single episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  In a 2007 interview with the Toronto Star, Georgia provided the following explanation for how she became a regular cast member:  "It was only going to be one episode and I was just supposed to have a few lines in a party scene, but they kept giving me more an more to do."  The following Monday, she received a potted plant with a note welcoming her to the Mary Tyler Moore family.

Georgette had a heart of gold and she made the blustery, buffoonish Ted a better person.  My favourite Georgette quote occurred in a scene when Mary asks Georgette if she knows what she is doing by marrying Ted.  She replies, "Yes.  Somebody has to love him."  In other words, Georgette was not so naive that she was unaware of Ted's many flaws, but she was willing to accept him for what he was.  She also recognized his better qualities.

Of co-star Ted Knight, who passed away in 1986, Georgia told the Toronto Star that she "liked him very much, but to tell the honest truth, the writers took a kernel of truth from all of us and then magnified it in our characters.  Ted never recovered from (series co-creator) Allan Burns asking him, 'How does it feel to be the country's biggest schmuck?"

Wedding of Ted and Georgette
After The Mary Tyler Moore Show ended in 1977, Georgia Engel had roles in three short-lived series: The Betty White Show (1977-78) along with Betty played who Sue Ann Nivens on The MTM Show, Goodtime Girls (1980) and Jennifer Slept Here (1993-1994).  From 1991 until 1997, Georgia portrayed Shirley Burleigh on the hit football-themed comedy Coach.

Georgia reprised her role as Georgette for a 1992 episode of the sitcom Hi Honey, I'm Home.  In the episode, entitled "Elaine Takes a Wife" (Season 2, Episode 7, Air Date: July 19, 1992), Georgette teaches a motivational course.

In 2000, Georgia'mother died and she took a break from acting.  She trained to be a careguver in the mission facility part of her church, but found that "my gift was more for changing laughter than bedpans."

In 2001, Georgia returned to the stage and toured with I Dream of Jeannie's Barbara Eden in the female version of The Odd Couple.  From 2003 to 2005, Georgia played Pat MacDougal, mother-in-law of Robert Barone (Brad Garrett), on Everybody Loves Raymond.  Upon learning of Georgia's death, her Raymond co-star Patricia Heaton tweeted "I am in shock.  Georgia was an absolute angel - so dear, so sweet, so talented."

In more recent years, Georgia Engel worked largely in theatre and lived in New York City.  In 2007, however, she appeared as  Ezmerialda in six episodes of the soap opera Passions. She also portrayed  Irene in three 2012 episodes of The Office.  From 2012 to 2016, she had a recurring role on the sitcom Hot in Cleveland, where she was reunited with her Mary Tyler Moore Show co-star Betty White. In fact, she played Mamie Sue Johnson, the best friend of Betty's character, Elka.  After Georgia's death, the 97-year-old White posted this tribute to her on Instagram: "Friends forever says it all."  The two women were animal lovers and Betty's tribute to Georgia was accompanied by a photo of the pair snuggling against a bear.

Georgia final television credit was a 2018 appearance as Sister Barbara on a an episode of the remake of One Day at a Time entitled "Homecoming" (Season 2, Episode 11, Air Date: January 26, 2018).

Georgia Engel never married and did not have any children.  She is survived by her two older sisters, Robin Engel (Miss Hawaii of 1967) of Canyon Lake, Texas and Penny Lusk of Cheriton, Virginia,  numerous nieces and nephews and two aunts.

Georgia was an adherent of Christian Science.  Her friend, John Quilty, informed The New York Times that the cause of her death was unknown since, due to her religious beliefs, she did not seek advice from doctors.  Her funeral home obituary states that she died of "natural causes."

In an Archive of American Television interview, Ed Asner had this to say about Georgia Engel: "She doesn't belong on this Earth.  She's too good for this Earth.  And in a way, she shows how angels can defy desecration by mankind.


Closer Weekly, "Remembering the Late Georgia Engel from 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' and 'Everybody Loves Raymond'' by Ed Gross, April 16, 2019; San Francisco Examiner, "Georgia Engel explores sounds of silences in 'John" by Robert Sokol, March 2, 2017; Toronto Star, "Drowsy woke Engel's career" by Richard Ouzounian, October 10, 2007, Wickipedia;; Yahoo News

- Joanne

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Y&R Report (April 13, 2019): 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. 

Wow!  There have been big changes on the  since Josh Griffith replaced Mal Young as head writer.  Summer has transformed herself into the patient and devoted wife of Kyle.  Billy Boy Abbott is about to propose to Princess Victoria and Jack is back in the driver's seat at Jabot. Lily is going to be released from prison and she wants to start a new life without husband Cane. There is a new Dr. Nate Hastings.  Two members of the Rosales family are leaving - Arturo and Mia.  I won't miss Arturo much, but I will miss Mia's antics.  Although she's a pain, she can also be funny and feisty,  Deep down, she's vulnerable and insecure.  By the way, in a previous edition of Y&R Report, I predicted that Mia would actually be having a baby and that Arturo would be the papa.  I wonder if those two will go off into the sunset together.

Although it seems as if  The Young and the Restless is raiding the cast of General Hospital, Y&R is taking back two actors who left the show for GH - Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) and Greg Rikkart (Kevin) - see "Casting News" below.  There is also a rumour that Billy Miller (ex-Billy Abbott) will also return to Y&R.  It's just speculation, although and I doubt it will happen.  Most viewers have gotten used to Jason Thompson in the role of Billy by now.

The show has gotten raunchier since Griffith took over the reins., especially where Nick Newman is concerned.  Nick has become downright sleazy.  He has all that money and the treasured "Newman" name.  Yet, he is very unhappy and empty.  His life is shallow.  As for his sister, Princess Victoria, she dipped into the sleaze in Las Vegas with  rocker Brandon Rose of the up-and-coming band Bloody Thorns (Where did they ever get those names?).

What's going on with Victor Newman?  Why was he in Las Vegas and why did he pay for the services of a psychiatrist?  He urged Nikki to be patient and told her that everything would be revealed in due time.  Victor has a history of pulling disappearing acts.  This one must be related to Adam.  Victor has probably tracked Adam down.  That makes sense since Y&R has cast Mark Grossman as the new Adam.  Could it be that it's the younger Newman who requires psychiatric help?  Has Adam had more facial surgery?  He couldn't have escaped the explosion unscathed.

Thanks to Traci, we finally know what's wrong with Candy Cane Ashby.  The Australian keeps messing up because he has low self-esteem.  He doesn't feel he's worthy of Lily, partly because he's the son of a criminal - Colin Atkinson.

I'm looking forward to the opening of Devon and Abby's new restaurant. It should be fun.  Speaking of Devon, his storyline is becoming more interesting.  I can see him in a love triangle with Jett's niece, Elena, and Dr. Nate.

Just as Gina Tognoni is leaving the role of Phyllis, her character has reached a low point.  Her relationships with Billy and Nick fell apart.  She's was ousted as CEO of Jabot by the Abbots.  Her attempt to blackmail Jack into letting Lauren take back Fenmore's failed miserably.


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:

I spoke to regular Y&R viewer, Helen from Scarborough, Ontario.  Helen is astounded at how quickly Victoria Newman became a poker shark.  

Shocker!  Gina Tognoni is out and Michelle Stafford is back as Phyllis

Gina Tognoni

In a surprising casting change, Michelle Stafford will be returning to the role of Phyllis Summers on The Young and the Restless.  According to Daytime Confidential, Michelle could not reach a contractual agree with General Hospital, where she played the role of Nina Clay.  Y&R reportedly jumped at the chance to get her, which left the current "Phyllis." Gina Tognoni out in the cold.

Gina Tognoni took over the role of Phyllis from Michelle in 2014. She received an Outstanding Lead Actress Daytime Emmy in 2017.  On her Instagram post, Gina graciously thanked Y&R viewers for their love and support.  She wrote that she is "beyond grateful for the creative experience  that The Young and the Restless has given" her.  Gina will surely get other acting roles, but she will be missed by Y&R fans.

Greg Rikaart is returning as Kevin Fisher

Y&R has confirmed that Greg Rikaart is returning to the role of troubled Kevin Fisher.  Greg originated the role of Kevin back in 2003.  He received the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in 2005.  In 2017, however, he was taken off contract.  After his departure from Y&R, Greg played Leo Stark on General Hospital for about a year.

So, how will Kevin's return to Genoa City affect Y&R's storyline?  Well, the details have not been revealed yet, but I expect that his reappearance will be linked to Adam's imminent return.  When we last saw Kevin, he had moved to Portland, Oregon with the presumed-dead Chloe Mitchel (Elizabeth Hendrickson) and their daughter, Bella.  There is no indication that Elizabeth will also be returning  as Chloe.  She is currently portraying Margaux Dawson on General Hospital; but with the way Y&R has been snatching actors away from GH, one never knows.


Michelle Stafford

Fans, how do feel about the return of Michelle Stafford as Phyllis?  I feel ambivalent.  I am delighted that Michelle is returning, but I'm sad that her return has necessitated the departure of Gina Tognoni.  Gina has been terrific in the role.  Let me know what you think by responding to the poll below.

Are you pleased that Michelle Stafford is back as Phyllis?

Yes, I am please Michelle Stafford is returning, although I will miss Gina Tognoni.
It doesn't make much difference to me because I think Michelle and Gina are both good in the role.
No, I am not pleased because I prefer Gina Tognoni.
I don't know.
Please Specify:

That's all for now.  Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on April 27, 2019.  I'm looking forward to the week of tribute to Kristoff St. John  (Neil Winters), beginning on Thursday, April 25 on CBS and Wednesday, April 24 on Global TV in Canada.  Thankfully, a new actor will not be taking over the role of Neil.  Neil's death will be revealed and a funeral will be held for him on April 25 on CBS and April 24 on Global TV.  Kristoff's longtime real life friend, Stan Shaw, will play the pastor presides over Neil's funeral.  In 1979, the two starred together in the TV miniseries Roots.  The non-scripted tribute episode to Kristoff will take place on Monday, April 29th with Shemar Moore (Malcolm Winters), Victoria Rowell (Drucilla Winters, Mishael Morgan (Hilary Curtis Hamilton, Christel Khalil (Lily Winters Ashby) and Eileen Davidson (Ashley Abbott).

To all who celebrate, I wish you a Happy Easter and a Happy Passover.  

- Joanne

Monday, April 1, 2019

The BBC's 1957 April Fools' Day Joke

Since it's April Fools' Day, it would be appropriate to remember what CNN has described as "the biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled."  On April 1, 1957, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) broadcast a 3-minute report on its flagship current affairs show, Panorama, narrated by distinguished broadcaster Richard Dimbleby.  It featured farmers from the canton of Ticino in southern Switzerland as they harvested spaghetti from a "spaghetti tree."  Women were shown picking strands of spaghetti from a tree and laying them in the sun to dry.

In 1957, about 44 per cent of the homes in Britain had televisions.  Many Britons actually believed the "spaghetti tree" story to be true and Richard Dimbleby's participation in the caper served to add credibility to the  hoax.  After all, Dimbleby was a respected journalist.  He was the BBC's first war correspondent at the outbreak of World War II and its leading news commentator.  He was trusted.  Keep in mind also that in the 1950s, spaghetti not really a widely-eaten food in the United Kingdom.  It was considered an exotic delicacy and many were unaware that it was made from wheat flour and water.  That is why so so many Panorama viewers contacted the BBC for advice on growing their own "spaghetti trees."  Some inquired as to where they could purchase their own "spaghetti bush."

Richard Dimbleby of the BBC

Not everyone was amused by the BBC's April Fools' Day prank.  Many criticized the BBC for airing such an item on a factual public affairs show.  According to the BBC's report at the time, the "spaghetti tree" stunt was believed to be "one of the first times the medium of television had been used to stage an April Fools' Day hoax.

Click on the link below to watch  a video of the 1957 BBC April Fools Day hoax.

- Joanne