Saturday, September 12, 2020

Y&R Report (September 12, 2020): 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. 

Hi fans,

Well, Sharon continues to run to Adam at every opportunity.  How much can poor Rey (Jordi Vilasuso) take?  He's stood by her during her battle with cancer.  He's really good to her and she doesn't appreciate him enough.  Why does she have to be deceitful?.  It's obvious that she'd rather be with Adam.  Why doesn't she just level with Rey and tell him the truth.  Sharon herself admitted that she doesn't deserve him, and I can't argue with that.

By the way, have you noticed that Sharon (Sharon Case) and Adam (Mark Grossman) have not been social distancing lately in their scene?  You know what that means.  It also means that Sharon and Adam will be able to hug and kiss, just like Devon and Elena.

So, Chelsea and Adam are finished, as are Rey and Sharon.  A storyline remains for Chelaea, but what will happen to Rey once he breaks up with Sharon?  There have been persistent rumours that Jordi Vilasuso is leaving the show.  Last month, he said he isn't going anywhere, but it's a cutthroat business.  I wonder if the writers have already set the stage for Rey's departure by having Chance replace him as Genoa City's prime police detective.  Unfortunately for Jordi, all the writers have to do is send Rey back to Miami.  

No one's in the kitchen with Lola ....No  one's in the kitchen I know, I know . . . Why is Lola always
cooking alone at the Society restaurant?  Why aren't there other cooks or chefs working with her?
Of course, no one else is there whenever Kyle or Theo come to see her?  Just asking, although we're not supposed to ask questions like that.

Speaking of master chef, Lola, her not-so-hot "romance" with Theo never even got off the ground.  There's just no spark between the two of them, no real warmth..  I'm not quite sure why.  Maybe it's the way the two actors relate to each other.  Maybe it's hard not overlook the fact that Theo used Lola to get back at Kyle.  He even admitted doing so to Lola

I think Y&R has treated Doug Davidson (Paul Williams) shabbily.  He's been a staple of the show for years and he is truly a fan favourite.  Why don't they give him some screen time?  Is it because he's over 60?  Is it ageism?  Do they feel that there are enough characters on the show in his age group?  When Chance applied for a job with the Genoa City Police, we were told that Paul interviewed him.  The writers had the perfect opportunity to give Doug some scenes, but they didn't.  That speaks volumes.  It's really unfortunate because Doug deserves far better after more than forty years on Y&R.  He is a great guy with a great sense of humour, and he is well-respected.


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:

l received an email from longtime viewer CC in Etobicoke.  CC had this to say:

Totally agreed with your analysis of the state of  Y&R plots, roles and relationships on its post COVID debut, Joanne.  Sluggish is a good descriptor of it at this point.

Finally they have introduced the path to explore the connection between Hilary and her clone, Amanda.  That one has been wallowing in the background for almost a year now.  Perhaps, as her full identity is revealed they will have many of the eligible gentlemen yipping at her heels....Billy, Nick, Theo (a little on the young side), and of course, Devon.  Don't you think she and Jack could take a long, enchanting spin around the dance floor of romance?

Bosses and writers have left a gaping hole on Y&R by overlooking a whole generation of couples between the Nikki/Victor era couples, the Victoria, Billy, Nick, Sharon generation which keeps recycling it members from one to the other meaninglessly, and the up and coming.  None of them seem to have lasting values and just don't stick.

Yes, CC, I really think the show's episodes since the shutdown have been sluggish.  The plots need to move faster.  Right now, Y&R is moving at a snail's pace.  The same scenes and conversations seem to be repeated over and over again.

The current romances on the show are third-rate.  Enough of third-rate romances like Kyle and Summer and Lola and Theo!  Do viewers really feel that those two couples really care about each other?  Will viewers be disappointed when Kyle and Snowflake break up or when Lola and Theo call it quits?  I, for one, will be quite pleased when that inevitably happens.  It's hard to believe that Summer is Kyle's true love when he is so fickle,  He dumped Summer and married Lola, vowing eternal love to her.  Then he turned around and dumped Lola for Summer again.  He claims he was really in love with Summer all along, but it's very hard to believe that.  It's also hard to believe that the spoiled Kyle really cares about anyone but himself.  He is the poster child for young, rich men with a sense of entitlement.

It's time for a first-rate romance on the show, an epic romance, with characters fans care about.  That's one thing the show really lacks right now.  How about a new super couple. 

Yes, CC, they've finally decided to  explore the connection between Hilary and her look-alike, Amanda.  Actually, Amanda is more than Hilary's look-alike.  She's a dead ringer.  The writers should have addressed this a long time ago, before the pandemic hit, but it's better late than never.  According to online spoilers. Amanda will turn out to be Hilary's twin sister.  Wow,, what a surprise!  Haven't the writers gone down that road before with Cassie and Mariah?  

Once Amanda's identity is established,, she will "have many of the eligible gentlemen yipping at her heels," as you put it.  However, I don't foresee her taking a long, enchanting spin around the dance floor of romance with Jack Abbott.  I predict that Devon will be drawn to Amanda when he learns she is Hilary's twin.  This will cause Elena to cry on Dr. Nate's shoulder and they will connect.

Jack is certainly headed for romance, but I don't think he'll hook up with Amanda.  He may become involved with a new redhead who will soon arrive in town, played by Courtney Hope from The Bold and the Beautiful.  He'll most likely have rivals for her affection.

I also received an email from Carly from Barrhaven, Ontario.  Carly made the following comments:

As for Y&R,  I realize because of the pandemic the story lines will have to be altered but honestly am not enjoying it.  Lots of fast forwarding.  I cannot stand the Adam-Sharon storyline.  Frankly, Mark Grossman (Adam Newman) is getting on my nerves.  I still think the best Adam was Michael Muhney.    The Lola/Theo/Summer/Kyle storyline is really dumb.  Glad to hear they are bringing in someone new.

Maybe a healthy post pandemic will inspire them to get back to it.

Just some thoughts.

Well, Carly, I've been disappointed in the storyline's lately too.  They are not moving fast enough and the scenes are too repetitious.  The show needs an infusion of excitement and real romance.  This  will come, I hope. 

I have to say that Mark Grossman isn't getting on my nerves.  You didn't say why he bothers you.  I wish you had elaborated.  Yes, Michael Muhney played the part of Adam well and I enjoyed his acting.  He's not coming back, though.  I agree with you that the Lola, Theo, Summer, Kyle storyline is really dumb. 

I am also glad they are bringing in Courtney Hope, who played Sally Spectra on The Bold and the Beautiful.  She should shake things up when she arrives in Genoa City.


Eileen Davidson (Ashley Abbott) is not returning to Y&R full-time

Sorry, Eileen Davidson fans, but the rumours are false.  Eileen is not returning to Y&R full-time.  Last Sunday, she clarified her status with the show in a post on social media.  She wrote that her return is only short-term.  She tweeted, "I am happy to be coming back to Y and R to do a few shows but I am not coming back full-time."  So, expect her to appear in only a handful of episodes, but at least she'll make an appearance once in a while.  One thing we know is that when Dina passes away, Ashley will have to be around for her death and funeral.  She could continue to appear in a few episodes here and there for years to come.  I hope so.

Eileen originally joined the cast of Y&R back in 1982 and has been portraying Ashley on and off since then.

Tracey Bregman and Christian LeBlanc appear on Let's Make A Deal

Tracey E. Bregman

Tracey E. Bregman (:Lauren Fenmore) and Christian LeBlanc (Michael Baldwin) recently appeared on CBSs' Let's Make A Deal.  According to Soap Dish. com, fans were very vocal with their thoughts about the writers giving more work to the onscreen couple.  Several criticized the writers for ignoring their characters, justifiably in my view.


Lauren and Michael have not been virtually ignored since the show began to air new episodes.  Fans, what do you think about that?  Would you like more screen time for them?  Respond to the poll below and let me know.

What do you think about Lauren and Michael not having much screen time?
It's a shame. Christian LeBlanc and Tracey Bregman are good actors and their talents are being wasted.
It doesn't bother me. I don't really miss them.
I don't think the writers are at fault. There probably isn't enough storyline for Lauren and Michael.
I don't know.
Please Specify:
Created with Poll Maker

That's all for now.  Please remember that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, September 26, 2020.

That's all for now.  Take care and stay safe.

- Joanne

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Hands off our CBC, Erin O'Toole!

Erin O'Toole, the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, wants to gut the CBC,  If he becomes prime minister, he says he will do it.  He has not hidden his intentions.  His agenda is clear to anyone who has knowledge of his polices.

Erin O'Toole

The following appears on O'Toole's website.

"As Conservative leader and Canada’s next Prime Minister, I’ll defund CBC television and save taxpayers billions. Here’s how I’ll get it done:

  • End all funding to CBC Digital;
  • Cut funding for CBC English TV and News Network by 50%, with the goal to fully privatize CBC by the end of my first mandate;
  • Maintain funding for CBC Radio and Radio-Canada

It’s 2020. Canadians have hundreds of channels to choose from, thousands of online options, and lots of Canadian content.

We don’t need CBC Television. When I’m Prime Minister, they will lose their funding."

I believe that Erin O'Toole and the Conservatives wish to kill CBC Television cut by cut, piece by piece, until it is unrecognizable, until its quality is so diminished that people will say it it is not worth saving.  If they succeed in killing CBC Television, what's next?  They could easily proclaim that taxpayers can't afford CBC Radio either, or CBC French-language programming.  

Right-wing conservatives have an aversion to most things that are government-funded.  It has been a very long time now since The Conservative Party of Canada,has been the party of Joe Clark and Robert Stanfield.  It has configured itself into a party that more resembles the Republican Party in the United States.  That is why it no longer even maintains the pretense of calling itself "The Progressive Conservative Party." and it no longer concerns itself with environmental issues.  It opposes sensible gun control measures.  Red Tories are an endangered species.  There are very few Red Tories left, and they won't be accepted by the current leadership of "The Conservative Party."  Just ask Jean Charest.

This is a passionate  defence of the CBC and public broadcasting.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation was established on November 2, 1936, following the worst years of the Great Depression.  It has served Canadians well and it will continue to serve Canadians well, as long as right-wing Conservatives don't get their hands on it.

I watch the CBC.  It is not perfect, of course, but I enjoy it.  I and many other Canadians do not feel our tax dollars are being wasted in funding a public broadcaster.  The CBC connects Canadians from coast to coast.  This is a huge country with a small population and the CBC is worth every penny.  In fact, if it weren't underfunded, its quality would improve even more, and there would be fewer commercials.

Private networks such as CTV and Global TV show limited Canadian programming and they simulcast many American sitcoms and talk shows.  CBC Television, on the other hand, has Canadian programming that I can't watch anywhere else.  I enjoy shows such as Kim's Convenience, Heartland and 22 Minutes.  I have also enjoyed such former CBC series such as Little Mosque on the Prairie and Anne with a "E."  Those shows reflect the Canadian experience.

CBC's The National provides high quality news coverage from a Canadian perspective, as does CBC News Network.   The CBC News Network is so much more neutral than one-sided "conservative" cable channels in the U.S. such as Fox News or unabashed "liberal" channels such as MSNBC.  

The CBC  mirrors our people and our country.  It belongs to us.  It belongs to all Canadians.  Sooner of later, the Tories will regain power.  That's why friends of the CBC must be vigilant.  They must let their voices be heard.

- Joanne

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Y&R Report (August 29, 2020): 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. 

Hi fans,

During the COVID-19 shutdown, Y&R's writers had plenty of time to prepare for an exciting return.  That's why I was disappointed by the first week back.  To be quite honest, it was rather sluggish.  It has picked up somewhat, though.  I especially enjoyed the episode in which Phyllis treated some Genoa City women to a special evening at the Grand Phoenix.  It was light and funny and it showed another side of the volatile redhead.  Deep down, Phyllis is insecure.  She needed reassurance that her hotel escape evening was a success and that the GC women enjoyed it.

According to fall preview spoilers, Kyle and Summer's romance will fizzle out, as will Lola's and Theo's.  That does not surprise me at all.  Theo Vanderway and Lola Rosales just don't have any spark as a couple, maybe because of Lola's character.  She's wishy-washy.  Actually, Theo is rather wishy-washy too.  It's difficult to find much sincerity about him.  Also, Lola and Theo  never really struggled to be together, so there was no reason to hope for them to find each other.  As for Kyle and Summer, it's hard to find any magic about their romance either.  Kyle isn't exactly credible  He professed his undying love for Lola and then he'suddenly discovered that he was in love with Snowflake again.  The guy is a serial heartbreaker.  He's spoiled and he has a sense of entitlement.

After breaking up with Kyle, Summer is going to go back to being a brat again.  Who knows what she'll do, but it won't be pretty.

Can somebody tell me how Sharon is qualified to be a professional therapist?  She has a degree in psychology, but that isn't enough.  The truth is she just wants to be around Adam.  She can't stay away from him, and he can't seem to stay away from her either.  Sharon is at Adam's beck and call.  She'll drop everything and go running to him, even though she is battling cancer.  Rey is so good to Sharon.  He treats her so well, but how long is he willing to play second fiddle to Adam?  She will eventually dump him for Adam anyway.  It's inevitable.

I think Y&R lacks a real super couple.  It lacks a really strong, solid romance.

Well well well, smiling Jack Abbott is looking to find love again.  However, there isn't anyone in the cast to match him up with right now, unless he reunites with Phyllis. 


Courtney Hope is coming to Y&R

Courtney Hope

There will be a new addition to the Y&R cast.  Courtney Hope, who played Sally Spectra on The Bold and the Beautiful, will be joining the B&B's sister soap, The Young and the Restless.  At this point, we don't know the name of Courtney's character and we don't know anything about her storyline or her future romantic interests.  All we know is that a new character, played by Courtney Hope, will be coming to Genoa City

I think it would be interesting if the newcomer to Geona City had a position at Chancellor media.  Billy Abbott has just hired Theo Vanderway and it would be fun if she took an interest in him.  That would really shake things up between him and Lola.  Lola is determined not to let anyone hurt her again the way Kyle did.  She would be furious and heartbroken if Theo did the same thing.

It is possible, however, that she could continue to play her B&B character, Sally Spectra, and just cross over to Y&R.  The two shows are closely related and crossovers have been done before.  I hope she plays a brand new character, though.

Courtney Hope was born on August 15, 1989 in Dallas, Texas.  She was raised in Plano, Tesas and danced competitively at a young age.  She graduated from a performing arts school when she was 15 and moved to Los Angeles.  On her 16th birthday, she started college and earned her Associates Degree, with a major in psychology, by the time she was 18.

Soon after her arrival in L.A., Courtney began appearing in commercials and guest starring on hit TV shows such as Joan of Acadia, CSI: Miami and Grey's Anatomy.

Hunter King (Summer Newman) calls off engagement

Hunter King, who plays the one and only Snowflake, has called off her engagement to cameraman Nico Svoboda.  At one point, she told Soap Dish that they were looking into a destination wedding.  The pair met on the set of Y&R and Svoboda proposed in August of 2018.  Hunter was seen without her engagement ring on several Instagram posts and a source informed US Weekly that they "called off their engagement a few months ago.  It was an amicable split.  They still follow earch other on social media and care about one another,"

Hunter, 26, has not posted anything about Svoboda since the anniversary of their engagement, a year ago.

Questions:  Where are Lauren and Michael?  Where is Paul Williams?

Noah Newman returning to Genoa City

Robert Adamson will be reprising his role as Noah Newman for several episodes, beginning on Thursday, September 3rd (CBS) and Wednesday, September 2nd on Global TV.  It will be interesting to see what he thinks about his mother Sharon's relationship with Adam. and her new job as Adam's private therapist.

Maybe Robert Adamson will stick around and Noah will return to Genoa City on a permanent basis.  Then who will he get involved with?  Lola?  I can't think of anyone else who isn't a Newman.


Jack Abbot (Petert Bergman) would like to find romance again.  He's been alone for a long time now and he really wants to meet somebody.  Given Jack's charm, that shouldn't be difficult.  However, there doesn't seem to be many suitable women for him among the current cast of Y&R characters.  Fans, do you think the writers should introduce a new love interest for Jack or should he return to Phyllis.  Respond to the question below and let me know.

Jack Abbott is looking for romance. What should he do?

He should reunite with Phyllis.
Y&R should introduce a new love interest for him.
He should try online dating.
His family or friends should set him up on a blind date.
I don't know.
Please Specify:
Created with PollMaker


Due to the pandemic, the annual Y&R tea in support of March of Dimes will not take place at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto this December.  Instead it will be held virtually on Sunday, October 4, 2020.  Online guests will include many of your favourite Y&R stars.  Here is the link for more information.


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, September 12, 2020.

Take care and stay safe

- Joanne

The Life and Times of John Astin

"My work is to reach people with ideas, hopes, dreams, encouragement, insight, and revelation.  That's what an actor wants to do."

- John Astin
Wolverton Mountain Interview with E. Allen Campbell

"What The Addams Family says is that it doesn't matter what you're like outside, it's inside that counts.  That's why people who are disowned by society like the show so much.  Real values are there underneath.  During the run of the show, psychiatrists wrote articles about how it was the healthiest show on the air.  It was an affirmation of life."

- John Astin
American Television Foundation, Archive of American Television interview, with Jenni Matz, December 20, 2015

John Astin is known as a comedic actor with dark hair and a trade mark mustache.  Although he has appeared in many films and television series, he'll always be be remembered for his role as Gomez Addams in The Addams Family.  John celebrated his 90th birthday in March of this year and he remains active.

John Allen Astin was born in Baltimore, Maryland on March 30, 1930.  His parents were Margaret Linnie (née Mackenzie) and Dr. Allen Varley Astin.  Dr. Astin, was a physicist.and the director of the National Bureau of Standards (now known as the National Institute of Standards and Technology).  John had a younger brother, Alexander W. Astin, born on May 30, 1932.  The Astin family lived in Bethesda, Maryland.

John studied mathematics at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania and he initially gave no thought to a professional career as an actor.  However after seeing a performance of Thornton W.ilder's Our Town, the theatre began to capture his imagination, and he gained a new respect for the medium.  At that time, there was no theatre program at Washington & Jefferson, so,  he transferred to Johns Hopkiins University in Baltimore, where he graduated with a B.A. in drama in 1952

John launched his acting career on the stage and made his first Broadway appearance as an understudy in George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara..  He also did voice-overwork in commercials and he had a small uncredited role as a chaperone at a dance in the 1961 film West Side Story in which he played Gladhand, a well-meaning, but inept social worker.  The hit musical garnered 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

At this time, John Astin caught the eye of actor Tony Randall, who noticed his talent for comedy.  As a result, he was cast in guest-starring roles in such television sitcoms as  Hazel (1962), starring Shirley Booth, Dennis the Menace, starring Jay North (1962), The Donna Reed Show (1961) and Harrigan and Son, starring Pat O'Brien (1961).  He also appeared in a 1962 episode of Ben Casey, a 1961 episode of The Twilight Zone, "One Hundred Yards Over the Rim" (Season 2, Episode 23, Air Date: April 7, 1961) and a 1960 episode of the Western series Maverick.

From 1964 to 1966, John Addams starred in The Addams Family, a television comedy about a macabre family.   The show  was based on Charles Addams' cartoons in  in The New Yorker magazine.  John portrayed Gomez Addams, the patriarch of the weird clan.  Gomez was a crazy millionaire who enjoyed losing money in the stock market.  Carolyn Jones played his raven-haired wife, Morticia, who nurtured a man-eating plant named Cleopatra.  Their daughter, Wednesday, played with a headless doll called Marie Antoinette and their son Pugsley Addams blew up dynamite caps.

In his 2018 interview with American Television Archives, John said he thought the romance between Gomez and Morticia should be "on a grand scale."  He wanted them to "have a relationship of great passion."

John with Carolyn Jones as Gomez and m Morticia

Of his role as Gomez Addams and his association with The Addams Family, John made the following remarks in his Wolverton Mountain Review interview: "The feedback I get from my association with Gomez is heartwarming.  It is very difficult for me to take anything but a positive view of the Gomez phenomenon.  Probably, it has kept me out of roles that I might otherwise have played because of the extreme identification with that character.  But, there is no way I can diminish my indebtedness to that program."  He added that he wouldn't trade his association with The Addams Family for any role he might have missed.

The Addams Family was initially a hit, but its popularity waned after two years.  After the show was cancelled, John continued to appear in guest roles in episodes of many popular television series.  In 1967, he played The Riddler in two episodes during the second season of Batman, replacing Frank Gorshin, who was unavailable at the time due to a contract dispute.  Gorshin was upset about being replaced as the villainous Riddler, but agreed to return to the role the following season.

Carolyn Jones also portrayed a villain on the 1960s Batman series.  She played Marsha, Queen of Diamonds in five episodes.

John Astin as The Riddler on Batman

In the 1970s, John made guest appearances on The Partridge Family (1973),  McMillan & Wife (1972,1973), Police Woman (1975), Marcus Welby, M.D. (1975), and Welcome Back, Kotter  (1976).  He reprised his role as Gomez Addams in 1977 TV movie entitled Halloween with the New Addams Family.

From 1977 to 1978, John played the role of Lieutenant Commander Matthew Sherman in 23 episodes of the high seas comedy, Operation Petticoat, about a U.S. submarine that has to take on a group of female nurses.

Below is a 1977 publicity photo of John Astin for Operation Petticoat.

In the 1980s, John Astin guest-starred on The Facts of Life (1984), Diff'rent Strokes (1984) and St. Elsewhere (1987).  In 1984, John guest-starred as Ross Hayley in an episode of Murder, She Wrote (Season 1, Episode 3, Air Date: October 28, 1984). In 1995, he appeared in four more episodes of the seriesportraying scheming real estate developer Harry Pierce in three of those episodes.  From 1986 to 1990, he had a recurring role on Night Court. as Buddy Ryan, Judge Harry Stone's biological father, a former mental patient.

In the 1990s, John appeared in episodes of  Burke's Law,(1994), Mad About You (1994), Step by Step (1994, 1995) , The Nanny (1996) and The Hughleys (1999).  In 2000, he appeared in an episode of Becker and in 2005, he played Norman Warner in the television movie School of Life, a comedy-drama about a new teacher who competes for a teacher of the year award.  In 2018, he provided the voice of Uncle Dudley in an episode of the Justice League Action animated series.

John Astin has been married three times and has five sons. 

He married his first wife, actress Suzanne Hahn on March 26, 1956. They had three children: David Astin,, Allen J. Astin (born March 23, 1961) and Thomas E. Astin (born March 19, 1965).  The couple divorced on June 14, 1972.
John with Suzanne Hahn in 1969
John's second wife was the late actress Patty Duke (1946-2016), who had had a troubled life and was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  The couple wed on August 5, 1972.  They had a son, Mackenzie Alexander Astin (born May 12, 1973).  John adopted Patty's son, Sean (born February 25, 1971) and raised him as his own.

Sean's  paternity was questioned (Although Patty claimed that John, who was married to Suzanne Hahn at the time, was her son's biological father,).  There had been media speculation that Desi Arnaz Jr. might be Sean's father, as the result of Patty's scandalous relationship with the then-17 year old Araaz.).  Of his son Sean's birth, John told People magazine in 2001 that there was "a a bit of stuff in the press early on. (Sean) basically grew up without any real  knowledge of all that stuff."

When Sean was 14, Patty told him that Desi Arnaz Jr. was his biological father,  Sean then developed a relationship with Arnaz .  When Sean was almost 26, a relative of Michael Tell, Patty's former husband, suggested that they were related.   Patty had impulsively married Tell, a virtual stranger, who had been subletting her apartment.  The two were only together for 13 days and their marriage was annulled a year later.

Determined to uncover the truth, Sean underwent DNA testing.  In 2001, he revealed to People that Michael Tell was his biological father.  Despite maintaining relationships with all three men, Sean regards John as his father.  John stated that his "spiritual connection" with his son is more important than DNA.

After 13 turbulent years of marriage, John Astin and Patty Duke divorced in 1985

John Astin and Patty Duke

On March 19, 1989, John wed Valerie Ann Sandobal.  They reside in Baltimore. 


* From  1992 to 1993, John Astin provided the voice of Gomez Addams in the animated version of The Addams Family.  He also portrayed Grandpapa Addams in two episodes of a revival of the series called The New Addams Family. The episodes are "Grandpapa Addams Comes to Visit, (Season 1, Episode 6, Air Date: October 26, 1998) and "Fester and Granny vs. Grandpapa Addams" (Season 1, Episode 40, Air Date: March 10, 1999).

* John's Addams Family co-star, Carolyn Jones, died of colon cancer on August 3, 1983.  She was 53 years old at the time of her passing.  Of John's seven castmates on the series, the only other survivors are Lisa Loring  (born February 16, 1958), who played daughter Wednesday Addams, and Felix Silla (born January 11, 1937), the Italian-born American stuntman, who played the costumed Cousin Itt, a diminutive being, composed entirely of floor-length hair, a bowler hat and sunglasses.

Blossom Rock, who played Grandmama, died in 1978, at the age of 82.  Ted Cassidy, who played Lurch, the giant-sized, deep-voiced butler, died after complications from open heart surgery in 1979.  He was only 46.  Former child actor, Jackie Coogan, who played Uncle Fester, died of a heart attack in 1984, at age 69.  Ken Weatherwax, who played son Pugsley Addams, died of a heart attack at his home on December 7, 2014.  He was 59.

* John's brother, Alexander Astin, is an educator, researcher and author.  He is the  Alan M. Cartter Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Higher Education and Organizational Change at the University of California, Los Angeles.  He is a founding director of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA.

* John received an Academy Award nomination for Prelude, a 1968 short film he wrote, produced and directed. It's about a TV repairman (Astin) who meets his dream girl, but fails to win her over.  He eventually appreciates the reality of his situation.  

* John is a longtime devotee of writer-poet Edgar Allan Poe.  He has portrayed Poe in a one-man play entitled Edgar Allan Poe: Once Upon a Midnight.

* John  practises Nichiren Buddhism.  He is a member of the Soka Gakkai International, a worldwide Buddhist association.  

* John's sons, Sean and Mackenzie, are both actors.  Sean Astin is known for his roles in The Goonies, Rudy and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, whole Mackenzie Astin appeared on the TV sitcom The Facts of Life and in the films Love and War and Iron Will.

Mackenzie Astin
During filming of The Evening Star, a 1996 comedy-drama, Mackenzie Astin was injured in a car accident.  He lost the edge of his right ear. and he was fitted with  a prosthetic attachment in order to match the scenes already filmed.  It was attached to his right ear for the duration of the production.

*  In 2001, John Astin began teaching drama at Johns Hopkins University, his alma mater.

John Astin then and now

SOURCES: American Television Foundation, Archive of American Television interview, with Jenni Matz, December 20, 2015; Wolverton Mountain, interview with E. Allen Campbell; Entertainment Weekly "Original Cast of  the 'Addams Family',"by Benjamin Svetkey, November 15, 1991;  People, " How Patty Duke's Son Seam Astin Learned Who His Biological Father Is.,by Jodi Guglielmi, March 30, 2016, Wikipedia; Internet Movie Database (IMDb)    

- Joanne

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Y&R Report (August 15, 2020): 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. 

Hi fans,

The wait is over.  Y&R is back with new episodes.  The physical distancing is obvious, but it doesn't really bother me.  They are ausing camera angles to make it seem that the actors are not so far apart.  That doesn't bother me either.  There's simply no choice.  The actors, the camera crew and other workers on the set have to be protected.  That's what's most important.  In an interview with Page Six, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) compared going to work during the pandemic to "kind of like stepping into The Twilight Zone."   There are people hovering to make sure no physical contact occurs and Melody said "It's kind of like we're in kindergarten."

There will be few smooching scenes for a while on Y&R.  That won't be the case, however, with Bryton James (Devon Hamilton) and Elena Dawson (Brytni Sarpy).  They are a couple in real life, so they have not been adhering to social distancing rules during their scenes on the show.  That's why they can be shown hugging and kissing and siting close together.  For that reason alone, I don't expect Devon and Elena to break up any time soon.

Head writer Josh Griffith has previewed what viewers can expect in the weeks ahead.  He said that there will be two major love triangles.  One triangle will consist of Adam (Mark Grossman), Sharon (Sharon Case) and Chesea (Melissa Claire Egan).  The other will iinclude Amanda (Mishael Morgan), Billy (Jason Thompson) and Nate (Sean Dominic).  Hmmm . . . Where does that leave Nick Newman (Joshua Morrow) and Lily (Christel Khalil)?  Does that mean that Billy and Lily are not going to get together?

According to an online spoiler, Amanda is going to learn some shocking news from her past.  It must be bad news because the spoiler says that she will need a shoulder to cry on.  It also says that Amanda decides to slow down her budding romance with Dr. Nate.  Could this have something to do with the revelation from the past?  Is Amanda gong to discover why she resembles Hilary so much?  Are they related?  It's about the Y&R writers provided an explanation as to why the two women are dead ringers, aside from the fact that they are both played by Mishael Morgan.

Princess Victoria Newman needs a new love interest, since it appears that she's finished with Billy Boy, at least for the foreseeable future.  Someday, maybe in a couple of year, the two might find themselves in the same orbit again.  For now, the writers should introduce a brand new character to romance her.

I'm pleased that Eileen Davidson (Ashley Abbott) is back in Genoa City again, at least for now.  Her character plays an integral role in the Abbott family dynamics.

It's obvious that Adam Newman is going to hook up with Sharon.  In the last few  episodes, all he's been doing is running to her.  Now he knows she's had cancer surgery.  As expected, Chelsea is not at all thrilled about his re-connection to Sharon.  Adam claims that he needs Sharon's help in unlocking memories of the past.  He has apparently blocked out any recollection of his 11-year-old self killing a man to protect his mother, Hope.

I don't blame Chelsea for being upset, especially since Sharon and Adam have had a romantic relationship.  Furthermore, what makes Sharon qualified to be Adam's therapist?  She has a psychology degree, but that sure doesn't make her a doctor.  Also, she and Adam had a relationship, so it's not really appropriate or ethical for her to be his therapist.  She should never have accepted, but then there wouldn't have been any conflict.  Sharon and Adam are just looking for an excuse to spend time together.  It looks like Chelsea is the odd woman out and I don't blame her for being furious.  After all, she is supposedly engaged to Adam and they have a son together.

I don't expect Chelsea and Adam to remarry.  As I've said before, I think she'll go back to Nick, once he breaks up with Nick, once he breaks up with Phyllis.

As for Rey Rosales, he seems to be  the odd man out.  I won't be surprised if the rumours are right and that he's leaving the show.  I also think Kevin and Chloe will probably ride off into the sunset once their baby is born.


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:

l received an email from longtime viewer CC in Etobicoke, Ontario. According to an article CC sent me, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman) has had recent chin tuck surgery.

Here is a comment from CC about Melody's hairstyle.  She wondered if Melody was wearing a wig.

Perhaps she (Melody) changed her hairstyle during the pandemic and needs to grow it out before showing it on her role.

To be honest, CC, I don't like Melody's latest hairstyle, but she changes it often.  It won't be long until she has a new style.  I found previous photos of her wearing a wig, so I wouldn't be surprised if she's been wearing one recently.  It is definitely possible that it is the result of the pandemic.


Michelle Stafford (Phyllis Summers) will be disappearing from social media for a while

On August 13, Michelle Stafford posted an emotional message on Instagram.  She wrote that she will be "disappearing for a while" because "I post something, I get attacked for wearing a mask.  I get attacked for not wearing it or wearing it wrong . . . or whatever."  I don't post enough and get attacked.  I don't use the right hashtag and get attacked.  I don't respond to someone in a timely manner, I get attacked."

Michelle is really upset with Instagram, but she also facing "an incredibly challenging time."  and she feels "a bit vulnerable at the moment."  After reading her post, friends and castmates, such as Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea), Doug Davidson (Paul Williams), Christian LeBlanc (Michael Baldwin), and Kristen Alfonso and Melissa Reeves of Days of our Lives, sent her messages of support.

Melissa Ordway's daughter had emergency surgery

Olivia, the four-year-old daughter of Melissa Ordway (Abby Newman) had to have emergency surgery to repair her arm.  The child had been wearing a cast but, as Melissa put it, "her arm wasn't healing the way doctors wanted . . ."  Fortunately, everything went well.  Melissa thanked the doctors and nurses who took care of her daughter and she praised "Olivia's spirit, bravery and strength."


Well, we've watched a week of new Y&R episodes.  How do you feel about the social distancing among the actors?  Has it affected your enjoyment of the show?  What do you think, fans?  Respond to the poll below and let me know.

Do the changes on Y&R, due to the pandemic, affect your enjoyment of the show?

Yes, absolutely. It's weird to see everyone so far apart and I miss the kissing and hugging. It doesn't seem natural.
No, not really. It doesn't bother me much and it's necessary.
Yes, but maybe I will get used to the changes.
I don't know.
Please Specify:
Created with PollMaker

That's all for now.  Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, August 29, 2020.

Take care and stay safe.

- Joanne

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Y&R Report (August 1, 2020): 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. 

Hi fans,

The Young and the Restless is the only daytime soap that has not begun to air new episodes yet.  Filming has resumed but, as of this writing, there is no set date for a return to new episodes, although fresh material is expected to hit the screen sometime this month.  In the meantime, we've finished watching a week of episodes devoted to the Newman family, including the heart-wrenching episode of Cassie's death.  Years later, it still has an impact.  After all, she was only 14 years old, and how often do children die on soaps?  There was a double dose of child death on Y&R when Delia Abbott died, especially since she was half Cassie's age.  She was seven years old when she was struck down by Adam's car in October of 2013, more than seven years after Cassie's passing in May of 2005.

I think the death of Cassie was written to create a rift between Nick and Sharon.  They had been married for 10 years, which is very rare for a soap couple.  The writers thought it was time to break them up and create conflict.  So, Nick shut Sharon out when Cassie passed away and he became involved with Phyllis.

The Newman week also included the episode in which Victor and Nick Newman visit Victor's father, Albert Miller, in Toronto.  The late George Kennedy delivered an  unforgettable performance as Victor's miserable father, who wants no part of his family.  He has no part of a reconciliation with his son and grandson, which brings the powerful Victor Newman to tears after he leaves the room.

This week's throwback episodes will focus on surprises and secrets.  I've watched the first episode on Global-TV.  It was introduced by Tracey Bregman, the only actor who has portrayed the character.of Laauren Fenmore.  In this episode, from December 6, 1996, Lauren enters a nude photo of then-husband Paul Williams (Doug Davidson) tin a magazine contest, not expecting it to win.  Much to the embarrassment of Paul's parents, Mary and Carl William, the photo wins and is published.  Also, Ashley reveals a secret to Victor's ex-wife, Julia.  This is followed by a 1992 episode in which Paul tries to stop a revenge plot against Lauren by her nemesis, the psychotic nurse, Sheila Carter (Kimberlin Brown), and Neil (Kristoff St. John) helps Olivia keep a secret.  Next is a 2004 episode in which Sharon and Nikki's search for the truth gets messy and Christine (a.k.a.Cricket) lock horns, as usual.  After that is a 2005 episode in which Lily confronts Drucilla (Victoria Rowell) and Malcolm (Shemar Moore) about her paternity.  Finally, there will be a 2016 episode in which Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan) and Adam (then played by Justin Hartley), plan an escape, and Neil has a poignant reunion with his estranged mother before her death.


Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman) to appear on The Talk 

Great news for Melody Thomas Scott fans!  The actress, who portrays Nikki Newman, Genoa City's First Lady of the Manor, is scheduled to appear on The Talk on Monday, August 3, 2020.  She will discuss the happenings on Y&R with The Talk's panel and she will promote her upcoming book, Always Young and Restless: My Life On and Off America's #1 Daytime Drama.

Melody has returned to the set of Y&R amid the pandemic, so she can be expected to provide some insight as to how filming has changed to protect the actors and crews from contracting the actors and crew from contracting COVID-19.

I am eager to get a copy of Melody's book and I am sure it will be a fantastic read for Y&R fans.  The hardcover is available on Amazon and with Kindle.  At some time, you may even want to purchase it at a good old-fashioned book store.

Victoria Rowell (Drucilla Winters) strongly hints that she open to returning to Y&R


In an interview with, Victoria Rowell spoke.out about returning to The Young and the Restless as Drucilla.  She said that she "looks forward to more calls from CBS."  Many fans will remember that Dru fell off a cliff into the water while tussling with her arch-rival Phyllis during a photo shoot.  Her body was never found, but she has been presumed dead for many years now.  If Y&R wanted to bring Drucilla back, her presumed death would be no barrier, especially since her body was never found.  The writers could easily concoct some story as to how she survived and where she's been all these years.

When asked directly if she would be "interested in raising Drucilla from the grave," Victoria made the following reply:."She never died.  The (character's) fate was left nebulous.  There was an attempt to replace the character in a variety of ways, to the outrage of the audience.  It's largely (senior executive vice-president; progamming, Sony Pictures Television) Steven Kent's call, because Sony owns 51 percent of the show.  And he doesn't see it as a creative direction he wants to go, as he's said."

Although it doesn't seem likely, I would be pleased if Victoria returned to the show.  Her character was feisty and fun.  Dru and Neil Kristoff St. John) had great chemistry and made a fabulous couple. Sadly, Kristoff passed away in 2019 and his death was written into the show's script.  If Dru ever returned, she could not be paired with Neil, which is very unfortunate.  She could, however, become involved in Devon and Lily's storyline.  It would be interesting to see how she would react to Neil's death.

Victoria Rowell  left Y&R in 2007 and is well known for her portrayal of Dr. Amanda Bentley in the CBS medical crime drama Diagnosis: Murder, which starred Dick Van Dyke.


Sharon Case
Online spoilers predict that Sharon Newman (Sharon Case) and Adam (Mark Grossman) will reunite when Y&R returns with new episodes.  It is expected that Adam will go running to her when he learns that she has breast cancer.  That seems like a good bet, given that there must be a reason why Adam doesn't know about Sharon's illness yet.  What about their current significant others, though?  Adam is with Chelsea and they have a son, Connor.  As for Sharon, she's with Rey Rosales (Jordi Vilasuso) right now, and he's been very supportive during this terrible time for her.  However, there is much online speculation that Jordi is leaving Y&R.  He and his family contracted COVID-19 and it is uncertain what impact that will have on his status with the show.  As for Chelsea, she can always go back to Nick (once he's broken things off with Phyllis).  So, it's a good bet that Sharon and Adam will get together; but is it a good idea?  Fans, respond to the poll below and let me know what you think.

Should Sharon and Adam reunite?

Yes, they make a great couple.
No, Rey has been good to Sharon and he doesn't deserve to get dumped.
No, I think Sharon should go back to Nick, once he's done with Phyllis.
No, I like Adam and Chelsea together, and they have a son.
I don't know.
Please Specify:


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, August 15, 2020.

Take care and stay safe.

- Joanne

EDITOR'S UPDATE: (August 3, 2020}: There are reports that Y&R will return with new episodes on CBS on Monday, August 10, 2020.