Saturday, October 25, 2014

Y&R Report (October 25, 2014): 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.

Of course Ian Ward is alive!  Was there really any doubt that the Slippery Snake is still with us?  Is there any question that he will outwit Clueless Paul and the Genoa City Police?  Clueless may have imprisoned the despicable cult leader, but he'll be on the loose again soon.  Ward is just too smart for the feckless police chief.  It may take the power of The Big Man, Victor Newman, to finally bring him down. That will not be an easy task, however, even for The Moustache.

Hooray!  Ashley's finally back from New York.  The Abbott family is reunited and it feels so good! Photos and graphics of Eileen Davidson are once again gracing the opening credits of the show.  Not only is A,A, back, but her secret new fragrance just happens to be a love potion.  Now you understand, fans, that it was absolutely necessary for Ashley to test that fragrance on Stitch.  After all, she had to find out if it really worked.  It was just business, she explained to her spoiled daughter, Abby.  She and Jabot Cosmetics had invested a lot in the product and, of course, Stitch was the perfect choice for the experiment.

The perfume smelled awful, but it was alluring.  Stitch, naturally, found it irresistible and couldn't control himself.  He was completely overpowered by the ingredients in the fragrance.  He just had to kiss Ashley! Well, we're not buying that, are we, fans?  Although A.A. continues to deny it, there is an attraction there for sure, and it's going to be fun watching how it plays out.  To complicate matters, daughter Abby has a thing for Stitch too. What is it about that guy?

As for Princess Victoria Newman, I wish she'd hurry up and give birth.  It seems as if her pregnancy has lasted longer than nine months.  Do viewers really care anymore if the father is Billy or Stitch? The Princess was the one who insisted on divorcing Billy Boy, so why did she appear so distraught when he told her he was planning to move into Chelsea's place?  Before making a decision on her marriage, she should have at least waited to find out the paternity of her child.

Victoria is certainly one busy woman.  When she isn't riled up about Billy and Chelsea, she spends her time eavesdropping on loverboy Stitch (a.k.a. Ben Rayburn or Russell) and his boss, Ashley Abbott. Speaking of spies, where has Adam been lately?  We haven't seen him watching Billy Boy and Chelsea, with the secret surveillance camera  he put above baby Connor's crib.  Could it be that the new Adam is soon to appear on screen?  The answer is yes.

Viewers won't have to wait much longer because Justin Hartley is scheduled to make his Y&R debut as Adam on Wednesday, November 5 on CBS (Tuesday, November 4 on Global TV in Canada). Here's the scoop concerning the long-missing son of ruthless businessman Victor Newman and the late Hope Adams, the virtuous blind farm woman who raised him.

Justin Hartley told TV Guide that Chelsea will discover the camera in her baby son's room.  Unable to spy on his family any longer, and upset about Billy moving into the penthouse, Adam will be driven out of hiding.  His face will be altered by plastic surgery.

I've been impressed with Gina Tognoni's performance as Phyllis so far.  It isn't easy to step into role vacated by an actress as popular and accomplished as Michelle Stafford.  Gina has just begun to sink her teeth into the role because her character was lying in the hospital bed in a coma for so long.  Now she's starting to show what she can do.

Phyllis is a real barracuda lady.  I'm starting to feel sorry for Sharon and Kelly because they are going to have face the wrath of the (somewhat?) redhead.  The two blondes should form an alliance because the barracuda is going to attack them..Sharon will definitely need a friend in her time of need, as will Kelly.  When her secret comes out, Sharon will become the town pariah.  Everyone will condemn her for changing the results of Summer's paternity test, and she'll also be blamed for Phyllis' fall down the stairs.

Kelly, at least, will have Jack Abbott.  I don't think Phyllis will remain with Jack once she discovers the truth about him and Kelly.  Sharon, on the other hand, will eventually need to find a new man in her life. Although Nick has sworn up and down that no secret could ever tear them apart, don't believe it for a minute.  Hey, how about Sharon and Avery's ex, Joe Clark?   It might be refreshing to see her with someone who isn't a Newman or an Abbott.  What about Avery's current flame, Dylan McAvoy?  Sharon was the first person Dylan met when he arrived in Genoa City and they seemed to get along well.  Unfortunately, however, Dylan is Nikki's son and Nick's half-brother.  He has a strong connection to the Newmans.

I must say, Geona City's resident troublemaker Mariah, sure loves to get Summer's goat.  There's nothing Cassie's evil twin likes better than to tease and upset Supergirl.  By the way, I sense that Mariah is starting to fall for Supergirl's hubby, Austin.


CC. from Etobicoke, Ontario has been thinking about Nikki's storyline.  She has come questions and comments about Mrs. Newman.

Food for thought...Do you think Nikki's involvement in Chief Clueless Paul's plot to lure out evil Ian will result in a storyline about her continuing downward spiral?
Perhaps she and Maureen (Meredith Baxter) will become the new Thelma and Louise!
Lately MTS (Melody Thomas Scott) herself has been looking like she needs a break from it all.

Well, CC., I honestly don't see that happening.  I think she will quit drinking again, although she will hit a rough patch when Ian inevitably frees himself from prison again.  Nikki is the kind of character who is always in turmoil.  She is a survivor, though.  I can see her having another stint at a rehab facility.  She will return relaxed and refreshed until her next crisis occurs.

I have also noticed that Melody Thomas Scott has looked a wee bit haggard at times.  It may be intentional because Nikki is an alcoholic who has fallen off the wagon again.  She suffers from MS and she is being traumatized by an evil criminal named Ian Ward.  No one would look as fresh as a daisy if they were going through all that.

As for Maureen Russell (Meredith Bexter), she and Nikki will most likely continue to be friends. However, I think Maureen's storyline is going to focus more on her relationship with her son, the no-longer-practising Dr. Stitch, and her daughter, Kelly, who will soon feel the wrath of Phyllis. Although Phyllis recently met Kelly,she still doesn't know about Jack's romance with the honey-voiced blonde. She regards Kelly as the "tramp" who had an affair with Billy Boy Abbott.  When she finds out the whole story, it will not be pretty,  



Another blast from the past is returning to Genoa City.  If you remember the character of Amy Wilson, then you have been watching Y&R for a long time.  The former GC resident hasn't been seen on the show for 18 years, but Julianne Morris (now Julianne Morris Polaha) will reprise the role of Amy next month - just in time for the November sweeps!  Julianne portrayed the dark-haired Amy, a troubled teen, from 1994 until 1996.  Amy was a romantic interest for Nick Newman,before he became enamoured of Sharon Collins.  So, will she still be carrying a torch for the dimpled Nicholas when she returns to town after all those years?

Although Julianne left The Young and the Restless in 1996, she continued to work in daytime television.  From 1998 to 2002, the actress played Greta von Amberg on Days of Our Lives.  On June 7, 2003, she wed actor Kristoffer Plaha, best known for his role as Jason Matthews in the Fox TV series North Shore.  They have three young children: Caleb, 10; Micah, 8; and Jude, 3.


Kevin Fisher had a great line when Stitch accused him of getting him arrested.

KEVIN:  I ain't no snitch, Stitch!

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO . . . .  BRENDA DICKSON (the first actress to play the role of Jill Foster Abbott)?

Longtime Y&R fans will remember Brenda Dickson as the original Jill Foster when the show began in 1973.  A fresh-faced 24-year-old at the time, Brenda initiated the role of the young manicurist from the wrong side of the tracks.  Jill worked diligently to help her two brothers through medical school and law school, eventually finding employment as a paid companion to well-to-do socialite Katherine Chancellor.  The fireworks began when Jill fell in love with the alcoholic Katherine's husband, wealthy industrialist Philip Chancellor.

Dickson left the The Young and the Restless in 1980, but returned in 1983.  In 1987, Dickson was fired from the show, and the situation became very ugly.  The actress launched a $10 million law suit against Columbia Pictures, claiming that she was wrongfully dismissed from Y&R, and asked to be reinstated. In the lawsuit, she alleged that Y&R creator Bill Bell, had had a clandestine affair with her and that he later blacklisted her.

. . .  Bill Bell got his hooks in me.  I was a pawn in a power chess game between the producers of the show.  I brought in ratings, they would fight over me and make it difficult to perform.

- From Brenda Dickson's website

In her 2013 memoir, My True Hollywood Hidden Story, Dickson claimed that Bell damaged her personal and professional life by hiring "Mafia cartel judges and attorneys" to "ruin" her.  She stated that the blacklisting had left her "broke and homeless" and unable to find employment.

Brenda had a reputation showing up late and for being absent due to illness.  It is no secret that there was animosity between her and other members of the Y&R cast.  However, the late Jeanne Cooper, who played Katherine Chancellor, had sympathy and affection for Brenda.

In a July 2012 interview with soap writer Michael Fairman, Jeanne related how she once reprimanded Dickson, telling her that "a professional is on time.  You don't wait around for people.  Being a professional is knowing your craft and knowing your lines!"  According to Jeanne, Dickson responded that she had never been talked to like that before.

Cooper also conformed that Brenda was the butt of jokes around the set and staunchly defended her in the interview.  "There is much more to her life than people know," she said.  "And a lot of pressure was put on Brenda from within the cast, and they will remain nameless at this point, but it was unfair and unkind.  Anybody with that kind of treatment that one would allow themselves to do to another human being . . . that is unforgivable in my book.  I may not like somebody, but I am certainly not going to treat them so horribly."

Brenda Irene Dickson was born in Long Beach, California on February 3, 1949.  She studied acting with famed acting teacher Lee Strasberg and with with Milton Katselas, the director of the Academy Award-winning film Butterflies are Free.  In 1971, she sang and danced in Bob Hope's Christmas Show.

Brenda has been twice married and divorced.  On September 30, 1976, she wed a dentist named Robert Rifkin.  They divorced in 1983.  On Christmas Day, 1997, she married attorney Jan Weinberg. They were divorced in 2006.  In 2007, the actress made headlines when she was arrested for refusing to vacate the apartment she shared with Weinberg.  Dickson contended that she wasn't given a fair divorce hearing.  She stated that the judge failed to grant her alimony and that the condo she owned with her ex-husband should be sold and the assets split between them.

When interviewed by the Honolulu  Advertiser, Brenda accused the judge of leaving her destitute. "He wants me to go on the street and be homeless.  It's utterly and completely outrageous, she told the newspaper."

That's all for now.  The November sweeps should bring plenty of excitement to the show.  Please remember that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, November 8, 2014.

- Joanne

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Nanny Quiz


The Nanny was a 1990s sitcom about an affable, big-haired, nasal-voiced Jewish woman from New York who becomes a nanny to the family of a widowed Englishman.  The series, starring, Fran Drescher and Charles Shaughnessy, ran on CBS for six seasons, from 1993 to 1999.  Why don't you test your knowledge of this popular show by doing the following quiz.

The Nanny Quiz

1.  New Yorker Fran Fine (portrayed by Fran Drescher) was fired from her job in a bridal dress shop, owned by her then-boyfriend, Danny Imperiali.  After the loss of that job, what employment did she find in Manhattan before becoming a nanny?

A.  bank teller

B.  cosmetics saleswoman

C.  factory worker

D.  flight attendant

E.  hair stylist

2,  Fran Fine was a native of what part of New York City?

A.  The Bronx

B.  Brooklyn

C.  Queens

D.  Manhattan

E.  Staten Island

3.  British actor Charles Shaughnessy portrayed Maxwell Sheffield, the wealthy widower who eventually fell in love with nanny Fran Fine.  Pior to landing his role on The Nanny, Shanughnessy was a soap opera star.  What was the name of the soap he appeared on?

A.  The Young and the Restless

B.  The Bold and the Beautiful

C.  General Hospital

D.  Days of our Lives

E.  One Life to Live

4.  How many children did the widowed Maxwell have when Fran became their nanny?

A.  three (two daughters and a son)

B.  two (one son and one daughter)

C.  four (two daughters and two sons)

D.  five  (three daughters and two sons)

E.  two (both daughters)

5.  What was the name of Max's late wife.

A.  Jane

B.  Elizabeth

C.  Donna

D.  Rebecca

E.  Sara

6.  Which of these famous composers appeared in an episode of The Nanny?

A.  Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond

B.  Henry Mancini

C.  Andrew Lloyd Webber

D.  Carole Bayer Sager and Paul Simon

E.  Marvin Hamlisch and Burt Bacharach

7.  Joan Collins of Dynasty fame was a guest star in an episode of The Nanny.  What role did she play?

A.  Maxwell's aunt

B.  Maxwell's stepmother

C.  Fran's high school teacher

D.  Fran's former employer

E.  A well-to-do socialite friend of Maxwell's family

8.   Did Fran and Maxwell ever get married?

A.  No, they never married.

B.  On the last episode of the series, they announced their engagement.

C.  Yes, they wed at the end of the show's fifth season.

D.  No, Maxwell married someone else.

E.  The final season ended with Maxwell proposing and Fran turning him down.

9.  Who was Valerie "Val" Toriello?

A.  The owner of Fran's favourite Italian restaurant.

B.  She was a Broadway actress

C.  Fran's hair stylist

D.  Fran's best friend.

E.   Maggie's teacher

10.  What were the names of Fran's parents on the show?

A.  Sylvia and Morty

B.  Ruth and Alan

C.  Barbara and David

D.  Esther and Ari

E.  Rose and Daniel

11.  What was Maxwell's occupation?

A.  He was a corporate executive.

B.  He was a theatrical producer for Broadway shows.

C.  He was a real estate tycoon.

D.  He was the owner of a department store chain.

E,  He was the owner and operator of an upscale Manhattan hotel.

12.  Who was Niles?

A.  The Sheffield family's butler

B.  Maxwell's brother

C.  Maxwell's uncle

D.  Maxwell's business partner

E.  Maxwell's lawyer friend

13. Who was C.C. Babcock?

A.  Maxwell's former girlfriend

B.  A neighbour

C.  Fran's niece

D.  Maxwell's business partner

E.  Fran's cousin

14.  What did C.C. stand for in her name?

A.  Charlotte Constance

B,  Christine Cordelia

C.  Catherine Carmella

D.  Candice Camilla

E.  Chastity Claire

15.  What was the name of C.C.'s dog?

A.  Charley

B.  Chubbs

C.  Chester

D.  Champ

E.  Chip

16.  Which well-know psychologist guest-starred in an episode of The Nanny?

A,  Dr. Phil McGraw

B.  Dr. Ruth Westheimer

C.  Dr. Joyce Brothers

D.  Dr. Laura Schlessinger

E.  All of the above

17.  Whom did Niles eventually marry?

A.  Fran Fine

B.  Maxwell's sister

C.  No one.  He remained a bachelor.

D.  C.C. Babcock

E.  Fran's sister

18.  What happened to daughter Maggie at the end of the series?

A.  She got married.

B.  She went to medical school in Chicago.

C.  She started her own business.

D.  She published a book.

E.  She and a friend opened an upscale restaurant.

19.  At the end of the series, Fran, Maxwell, Grace and the twins moved away from New York.  Where did they go?

A.  Paris, France

B.  Hollywood, California

C.  London, England

D.  Rome, Italy

E.  San Francisco, California


1,  B

 After losing her job and being dumped by her boyfriend, Fran became a cosmetics saleswoman.

2.  C

Fran Fine was a native of the Flushing area of Queens, New York.  The Nanny was greatly influenced by Fran Drescher own experiences growing up in Queens.

3.  D

London-born Charles Shaughnessy played the aristocratic Shane Donovan, a secret agent on Days of Our Lives.   He actually is a British peer, the 5th Baron Shaughnessy.   

Shaughnessy reprised his Shane Donovan role on Days of Our Lives for two brief stints in May 2012 and November 2013.

4.  A

Maxwell Sheffield was a widower with three children, two daughters and a son.  The oldest was daughter Margaret "Maggie" Sheffield, played by Nicholle Tom.  The middle child was a son named Brighton Sheffield, was portrayed by Benjamin Salisbury and Madeline Zima was brainy Grace "Gracie" Sheffield, the baby of the family.

Nicholle Tom as Maggie Sheffield

5.  E

Max's late wife was named Sara.  She passed away some years before the start of the series.

6.  E

Marvin Hamlisch appeared in an episode of The Nanny called "Val's Boyfriend" (Season 3, Episode 18, Air Date: February 5, 1996).  He played Alan Neider, Fran's former high school teacher, a Marvin Hamlisch look-alike.  Burt Bacharach appeared as himself in a 1996 episode entitled "The Cantor." (Season 3, Episode 24, Air Date: April 29, 1996).

7.  B

Fran Dresher (left) with Joan Collins

Joan Collins portrayed Maxwell's stepmother, Joan Sheffield in a 1996 episode of The Nanny entitled "Me and Mrs. Joan" (Season 4, Episode 6, Air Date: October 30, 1996).  In the episode Fran attempts to play peacemaker by inviting Maxwell's father's former secretary (Joan), who caused the breakup of his parent's marriage, to dinner.

8.  C

Yes, Fran and Maxwell wed at the end of the show's fifth season in an episode entitled "The Wedding" (Season 5, Episode 22, Air Date: May 13, 1998).  Although Maxwell's family tells them that the marriage will never work, they get married anyway and fall off their honeymoon yacht.  On the last episode of the season, Fran gives birth to fraternal twins, a boy, Jonah Samuel and a girl, Eve Catherine.  They were named after their great grandparents  (Trivia note: In 1999, Rachel Chagall, the actress who played Fran Fine's best friend, gave birth to twins named Jonah Samuel and Eve Catherine.)

9.  D

Val, played by Rachel Chagall, was Fran's best friend since elementary school in Flushing, Queens, New York.

10.  A

Fran's parents on the show were named Sylvia and Morty, as were Fran Drescher's real life parents

Bronx-born Renée Taylor played the role of Sylvia Fine, (née Rosenberg), Fran's outspoken mother. Steve Lawrence portrayed Fran's father, Morty Fine.

11.  B

Maxwell was a theatrical producer for Broadway shows.  He passed on Cats and his main rival was Andrew Lloyd Webber

12.  A

Niles was the butler and caretaker for the Sheffield family home.  His father had been the Sheffield butler previously.  Niles' last name was never revealed on the show.  Although the character was an Englishman, he was portrayed by Daniel Davis, a native of Little Rock, Arkansa.

13. D

C.C. Babcock, played by Lauren Lane, was Maxwell's longtime business partner. The egotistical C.C. had romantic designs on Maxwell, making her Fran's rival for his affections.  

14.  E.

C.C. Babcock's full name was Chastity Claire Babcock.

15.  C

Fran with Chester Drescher

C.C. Babcock had a dog called Chester. The performing dog, who died in 2000, was actually Fran Drescher's Pomeranian, and his full name was Chester Drescher.  Perhaps that's why he seemed to prefer Fran Fine over his fictional TV owner, C.C.

16. C

Dr. Joyce Brothers guest-starred on a 1997 episode of The Nanny entitled "The Ex-Niles" (Season 5, Episode 5, Air Date: October 29, 1997)  In the episode, Fran and C.C. visit Dr. Brothers to determine which woman is more suitable for Maxwell.

17.  D

Niles eventually married C.C. Babcock, although they initially disliked each other intensely.

18.  A.

In one of the last episodes of the final season, Maggie Sheffield marries Michael, an underwear model, played by Andrew Levitas.  The episode is entitled "Maggie's Wedding" (Season 6, Episode 19, Air Date: May 5, 1999.  Fran is delighted to learn that Michael is a cousin of James Brolin, husband of her idol, Barbra Streisand.

19.  B

At the end of the series, Fran, Max, Grace and the twins move to Los Angeles, where Maxwell is scheduled to produce a television show.  Maggie and her husband move to Europe.  However, Maggie stays in Paris with her brother, Brighton, while Michael heads to Venice for a modelling assignment.

- Joanne

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Y&R Report (October 11, 2014): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

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

Well fans, the much-anticipated almost-wedding of Nick and Sharon is over.  It was fun to watch, but it did not, in my opinion, live up to its potential.  The setting in the church was great, and I always enjoy seeing everyone dressed in his or her best. Unfortunately, something was lacking.  It was the element of surprise or some kind of twist in the plot.  Everyone expected the wedding to be interrupted, and it was. Most viewers expected Phyllis to do the interrupting, and she certainly did. She made a grand entrance. Unfortunately, it was all too predictable.  Just as the minister was about to pronounce Nick and Sharon man and wife, Phyllis appeared on the scene and collapsed, causing Sharon to panic and walk out of the church.

Earlier in the ceremony, at the point when the minister asked whether anyone had just cause to stop the marriage, everyone in the church turned around, expecting someone to make an objection.  When that didn't happen, it was obvious that Phyllis would be the one to put a stop to the doomed nuptials. Even the minister spoke slowly and deliberately, as if he knew what was coming, as if he were expecting Phyllis' arrival.

Nicholas Newman now has the dubious distinction of being left at the altar twice in succession, first by Avery and now by Sharon.   It is obvious that the wealthy Newman heir and his erratic college sweetheart will not legalize their marriage any time soon.  Sharon's dream of reuniting her family will remain just a dream because, as I have pointed out before, couples can not be happy on a soap.  There is not enough conflict for happy couples.  That is why, for example, Michael Baldwin is about to be diagnosed with a terrible disease, probably cancer.  He and Lauren are much too happy.

I hope the writers do not kill Michael off because Christian LeBlanc is such a fine actor. However, I fear they will make him die, for lack of storyline.  I have to ask:  Is it that difficult for professional writers to come up with a storyline for Michael?  I'm sure you readers must have some ideas.  Send me your comments, if you do, and I will publish them.

At least Michael was front and centre during the classic bachelor/bachelorette party episode.  I really enjoyed that episode.  It was fast-paced.  It was hilarious. Neil acted as if he were some kind of cool party dude.  I think he's going through a phase - middle age crazy, trying to retain his youth.  Too bad Lauren was not with the female contingent.

Avery's ex-husband, Joe Clark (Canadian viewers have to smile at that character's name because it is the name of our former prime minister), is a welcome addition to the show.  I hope he stays on because he's made an impact so far.  He's still a man of mystery because we don't really know much about him other than that he's a real estate dealer.  It appears that he hasn't gotten over Avery and would probably like to lure her away from Dylan.  That's why he's hanging around Genoa City and it's also the reason why he was so interested to learn that Dylan had been arrested for the supposed murder of Ian Ward.

Joe is beginning to become acquainted with other Genoa City residents and it seems that he's already met Sugar Cane Ashby before . . . Hey, what if Joe became involved with Phyllis?  That's just a possibility, but wouldn't it just drive Avery crazy? We don't know if Phyllis has ever met her former brother-in-law.  It's doubtful because Avery and her sister hadn't kept in touch for years.

. . . And what of Ian Ward?  Will Clueless Paul's plan to entice him to return to Genoa City work? Given the inept police chief's woeful record, it's not likely.  Victor's investigators, as usual, will find the slithery Ward first.  I'm willing to bet the Snake in the Grass is still alive.

As for the Great and Powerful Victor Newman, he's going to come out smelling like roses again. When Sharon's secret is revealed, he'll just crow, "I told you so.  I told you Sharon was devious and that she would hurt my boy, Nicholas.  As his father, I had to protest him from that dragon lady.  By the way, Summer, I also helped your mother come out of her coma . . ."

Poor Jack Abbott! He just can't win at the game of love. He's in a terrible dilemma. He never thought Phyllis would return  As he said himself, he never saw it coming.  I wouldn't be surprised if he lost both Kelly and Phyllis, much to Victor's delight. Where's the ghost of John Abbott when we need him?  John should make an appearance to give his son Jack some advice at this difficult time.  I just hope Jack manages to stay sober.  With Nikki hitting the bottle again and the prospect of Neil doing the same when he discovers wife Hilary's treachery, I don't relish the thought of a third character falling off the wagon.


Regular contributor CC from Etobicoke, Ontario writes

My comment is really a question.
Is it just me or has Christel Khalil (Lily Winters Ashby) had her nose re-shaped (aka nose job)?

If not, I didn't know that contouring with makeup could be so effective.

Speaking of cosmetic surgery and facial alteration, CC, another Y&R viewer, Fifi from Collingwood, Ontario, has noticed that Sharon Case (Sharon Newman) has had a lot of Botox injections.  Thanks CC and Fifi, for your observations.

By the way, readers, a little bird told me that CC from Etobicoke has become a grandmother for the first time and is absolutely delighted with the birth of her new granddaughter.  Congratulations to CC and her family!

Patsy from Sarasota, Florida commented on the pool area at the Genoa City Athletic Club. 

What pool area has huge glass vases all around the seating area?
Pretty blue colour but glass anything is not allowed near a pool deck. Just a slight design
flaw. I think I am too picky about details but this is not a pool deck design.

That's right, Patsy.  It would be a safety hazard if the glass broke or someone slipped.  Hey, maybe that could be incorporated into the storyline when Ian Ward is someday captured.  Victor could chase him on the pool deck and he could slip and knock over a glass vase.

Helen from Scarborough, Ontario did not like Summer's poetry reading at Nick and Sharon's almost-wedding.  I guess Supergirl is not such a super poetry reader.

Here's some great news for Y&R fans in the Ottawa region.  Carly from Barrhaven, Ontario has informed me that Melody Thomas Scott, a.k.a. Nikki Newman will be appearing on the Main Stage at the fall National Women's Show on October 26 in Ottawa.(at the Ernst and Young Centre).

Cover Photo
National Women's Show - Ottawa

National Women's Show - Ottawa

Melody Thomas Scott

Melody Thomas Scott

Melody Thomas Scott, who stars as Nikki Newman on “THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS,” celebrated 34 years in the role, having joined the cast in February, 1979. Scott’s character has matured from the girl from the wrong side of the tracks to the serial’s luminous and resourceful heroine.
After garnering a Daytime Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Lead Actress” in 1999, she went on to win in the same category for the Digest Award in 2001. She also received four Update Awards for “Outstanding Lead Actress” (1992, 1993, 1995 and 1996) for her portrayal of Nikki, the ultimate survivor.


Supergirl Summer's marriage may survive a bit longer than expected, although we all know it can't last.  Matthew Atikinson, who plays her husband, Austin Travers, has been given a contract with Y&R, Therefore, he will be sticking around Genoa City.  He's not one of my favourites, but he must have some fans out there. Otherwise, the show wouldn't be upgrading his status.

This is Atkinson's first role on daytime television.  However, the actor did have a regular role as Nick Fadden on the ABC Family drama Jane By Design.  He has also appeared in guest roles CSIDrop Dead Diva, and One Tree Hill.  In the 2009 film The Blind Side, he portrayed a valet parker.

Matthew Atkinson

Oscar nominee Sally Kellerman, who played Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan in the 1970 film version of M*A*S*H, is set to play a mysterious new character on The Young and the Restless.  Her character, Constance Bingham - will appear onscreen just in time for the November sweeps.


Do you think Jack belongs with Phyllis or with Kelly?
Type your answers here
Definitely with Phyllis. They have better chemistry and a long history.
He's happy with Kelly now. They should stay together.
Neither. He should find somebody new.
Don't know.
Poll Maker


That's all for now.  Please remember that the next Y&R Report will be posted on Saturday, October 25, 2014.

- Joanne

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Whatever happened to Louise Lasser?

Remember those pigtails and bangs?  That spaced-out Orphan Annie stare?  That doll-like dress with the puffed sleeves?  Now, concentrate for a moment!  Close your eyes and harken back to the year 1976 . . . The United States is celebrating it's Bicentennial, and Rocky, starring Sylvester Stallone, is lighting up the silver screen. One of the hottest shows on American television is a late-night soap opera parody about a neurotic housewife named Mary Hartman, played by Louise Lasser.

Louise Lasser was born on April 11, 1939 in New York City, the only child of S. Jay Lasser, a tax specialist, and his wife, Paula.  She was raised Jewish.  In a December 20, 2013 interview, she told freelance writer Claire Barliant that she was "one of those Jews who sort of denied her heritage because I didn’t look it, no one thought I was Jewish, and only really recently in the last year or so have I found myself incorporating, feeling lucky I had that background."

Louise attended Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts (near Boston), where she studied political science.  After three years, she took a "psychological leave of absence," as she told People magazine.  She asked her father to come and bring her home.  After returning to New York, she studied acting with well known instructor Sanford Meisner whose approach is known as the Meisner technique.

Louise's parents eventually divorced and her mother later committed suicide.  Of her parents, she told Claire Barliant the following:

I was brought up by a woman who was incredibly interesting and had very profound depression. It was kind of what I knew. I didn’t know other people’s parents. When I’d get to see them, I thought, they’re so different. But I didn’t want those. I actually liked mine. I thought mine were more interesting

Louise herself has battled depression for years. Here's how she described first encounter with her own mental problems in her interview with Barliant.

I was twenty-one. I’d just taken my leave of absence from school. In those last few years of college I’d started to fill up with the dark side. I’d wake up in the morning and I didn’t know what was wrong, I didn’t know what the word depression was, I knew the word depression, and I knew I could say that my mother was really depressed, but I didn’t know that’s what I was feeling. I didn’t make that connection.

In the early 1960s, Louise sang in Greenwich Village coffee shops and bars.  The aspiring actress performed in improvisational revues and eventually on Broadway. In fact, she was Barbra Streisand's understudy as Miss Marmelstein in the musical I Can Get it for You Wholesale.

Prior to achieving stardom with Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Louise appeared in a string of guest roles on television during the early and mid-1970s.  She turned up on such comedies as Love American Style (1971), The Bob Newhart Show (1972) and Mary Tyler Moore (1973).  Lasser's acting range, however, was not limited to comedies.  Her credits also include dramas such as McCloud (1974) and Medical Center (1975).

Louise's Mary Tyler Moore episode is entitled "Mary Richards and the Incredible Plant Lady" (Season 3, Episode 24, Air Date: March 3, 1973).  In the episode, Mary lends her friend Rhoda money to open a plant store.  The shop does well, but Rhoda takes her time in repaying Mary.  Louise Lasser plays a character named Anne Adams.

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, was created by Norman Lear of All in the Family fame. It was a syndicated series and it ran for only two seasons, ending in 1977. Yet, it took the television world by storm.  Louise Lasser soon became a household name, appearing on the covers of magazines such as Rolling Stone, People and TV Guide.  The series was described as a "kitchen-sink theater of the absurd" in People.

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was somewhat surreal, very offbeat, and a biting satire of American consumer society.  In essence, it was an attack on commercial television itself.  Its heroine, Mary, constantly chattered about certain cleaning products or different types of coffee.  That is why Joan Darling, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman's director, contends that show's fundamental thesis is that "television would make us a nation of empty dead people" - Mary Hartman-type zombies.

When Lear started the project in 1975, according to Mary Hartman head writer Ann Marcus, Louise was reluctant to do a soap.  However, the part of Mary had been written with one person in mind - Louise Lasser.

Louise Lasser was Mary Hartman i.e. Mary Hartman filtered through Louise's brilliant, fractured psyche. And Louise had more to do with creating the character than any of us. It was Louise who gave Mary that blank stare; that slow, earnest, deliberate way of speaking. She even invented her wardrobe: the puffy-sleeved little girl/housewife mini dress; the braided hairdo and bangs. And no, that wasn't her real hair. She kept her brown hair tightly bobby-pinned underneath a reddish blond wig.

- Ann Marcus

In addition to Louise, the cast of Mary Hartman, Marty Hartman consisted of the following:

Greg Mullavey who played Tom Hartman, Mary's beer-drinking, blue-collar husband.  Tom was an auto worker who was usually dressed in his Fernwood High varsity jacket and baseball cap.

Claudia Lamb who played the adolescent Heather Hartman, Mary and Tom's resentful, pigtailed daughter.

Dodie Goodman and Philip Bruns who played Mary's parents, Martha and George Shumway. Every episode began with sound of Martha's voice screeching "Marty Hartman, Mary Hartman."

Debralee Scott who played Mary's younger sister, Cathy Shumway.

Mary Kay Place who played Mary's best friend, aspiring country singer Loretta Haggers and Graham Jarvis who played Loretta's balding, bespectacled, husband, Charlie Haggers.  On their way to Nashville to kickstart Loretta's career, the Haggers were involved in a car accident in which they hit a station wagon full of nuns.

Dabney Coleman who played Merle Jeeter, the mayor of Fernwood, Ohio.

Bruce Solomon who played Sgt. Dennis Foley, a Fernwood police officer who was enamoured of Mary.  She eventually ran off with him.  After Mary's departure, Tom fell for a woman named Eleanor Major, played by Shelley Fabares.

Although the series was set in the fictional town of Fernwood, Ohio, Mary Hartman spoke with a New York accent.  The show was satiric and filled with dark humour. Mary, for example, was deeply troubled by the waxy yellow build-up on her floor, and Leroy Fedders, Tom's basketball coach, drowsy from cold medicine, nodded off and accidentally drowned in her chicken soup.

The first season ended with Mary Hartman having a nervous breakdown, a total meltdown.  The breakdown was sparked by an incident involving a dollhouse in which Mary refuses to leave a shop until the owners allow her to purchase a dollhouse for her daughter, Heather.

The crack-up was Louise's idea and she presented it to Norman Lear.  She once stated that she wrote "a twelve-page paper on how Mary's nervous breakdown was really America's breakdown."  "Mary," she proclaimed, "personified America." Perhaps there is some truth to that.  Maybe Mary's breakdown was a reflection of a post-Watergate meltdown in the United States.

In the spring of 1976, Louise was arrested in a Beverly Hills cocaine bust.  As a result of the charges, she was placed on a six-month probation program, which she satisfied by continuing treatment with her therapist.  On July 24, 1976, just weeks after being booked for possession of cocaine, a troubled Louise hosted NBC's Saturday Night Live.  It was the final episode of SNL's first season and it turned out to be disaster for producer Lorne Michaels.  Louise's behaviour was erratic during rehearsal week, and she was very difficult to work with.  Her performance throughout the broadcast was uneven and almost incoherent.  Michaels was so upset that he banned her from ever hosting Saturday Night Live again.

In 1977, after two seasons and 325 episodes, Louise Lasser chose to leave Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.. She was unhappy with the direction the show had taken during the second year, and filming five episodes a week was very tiring and grinding.  After she left, the series was renamed Forever Fernwood and continued for 28 more weeks.

Of her character, Mary Hartman, Lasser has remarked: "Mary is me - I mean, she's who I would be if I had grown up in a small town and married my high school sweetheart and become a housewife instead of growing up in the big city and becoming an actress and marrying a genius."  That "genius" is none other than famed actor and filmmaker Woody Allen.

Louise was Allen's second wife and they were wed on February 2, 1966.  After almost four years of marriage, they split amicably, divorcing in January of 1970.  Woody cast her in three of his films - most memorably as Nancy in Bananas (1971),   She also appeared as Kay Lewis in Allen's Take the Money and Run (1969) and as Gina in his Everything you Always Wanted to Know About Sex *But Were Afraid to Ask (1972)  In addition, she had a brief cameo in Stardust Memories (1980).

Lasser has never remarried.  She and Allen did not have any children.

Louise with Woody Allen

After Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Louise was cast as Maggie McBurney on It's a Living, a comedy about five waitresses working at an upscale Los Angeles restaurant.  For 14 episodes, from 1981 to 1982, she portrayed Maggie McBurney on the series.  During the 1980s, she also made guest appearances on Taxi (three episodes between 1980 and 1982), Laverne and Shirley (1982) and St. Elsewhere (two episodes in 1984).

Louise Lasser was absent from television for most of the 1990s, although she did portray Louise Polsky in a 1992 episode of the sitcom Empty Nest.  The episode is entitled "Good Neighbor Harry" (Episode 4, Season 22, Air Date: March 22, 1992). In 2009, she had an uncredited cameo role as an attendee at a science fiction convention in an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation ("Space Oddity," Season 9, Episode 20, Air Date: April 16, 2009).

In March of this year, Louise appeared in two episodes of HBO's comedy/drama Girls. about a group of 20-something women.  She played the role of Beadie, a disabled artist in a wheelchair.

Now 75 years old, Louise lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  She is an acting instructor at HB Studio.

- Joanne