My motto in daytime has always been make every day a Friday, so that our audience has to watch each and every day. That means more twists, cliffhangers and that prime time feel of 'What the heck are they going to do next?' If you stay within character, and keep the stories coming from character, and throw everything but the kitchen sink at them, an audience will start to identify with them and relate to them both as friends, and as people they want to see succeed or find love or survive unthinkable tragedies.
- Charles "Chuck" Pratt
Co-Executive Producer and Head Writer of The Young and the Restless
Wow!!!! What a wild roller coaster ride Y&R has been on lately and it's more than just the February sweeps. It's undoubtedly the influence of new head writer Charles Pratt. No one can accuse him of dishing up dull plots with nothing happening. In fact (I never thought I'd say this), there are times when too much seems to be happening at once. On Valentine's Day, it appeared as if the Apocalypse had hit Genoa City. There was one catastrophe after another. It was almost surreal. I wanted to say, WHOA! SLOW DOWN! WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? Some viewers told me they suspected it was all some kind of dream. It wasn't a dream, though, and it wasn't an alternate universe. Genoa City's Valentine's Day 0f Disaster was so bizarre that it captured the attention of fans and it got people talking, which is undoubtedly what Mr. Pratt intended to do - but at what cost?
Here's my concern about the direction Chuck Pratt is taking the show. I believe that he is willing to make characters behave in a way that is too far out of character in order to create cliffhangers and plot twists. Soap star Susan Lucci, who is renowned for her portrayal of Erica Kane on All My Children, was highly critical of Pratt in her 2011 memoir. She wrote: "It was during one of our first meetings together that Chuck told the entire cast that he didn't believe in character-driven story lines, and he didn't care about characters. He said he was there to shake things up."
Cliffhangers and plot twists are definitely exciting for viewers, but the storylines have to ring true. They have to have some sense of authenticity. Shock value for the sake of shock value doesn't work in the long run. At some point, viewers become immune to shocks if the plot is too convoluted and unbelievable. Unfortunately, some of the Valentine Day disasters didn't pass the test, especially the Austin storyline.
It just seems that the Austin story thrown together haphazardly, especially his cheating with Abby. There was no indication of any connection or relationship between Abby and Austin in the past. Also, Austin began to displaying a dark side without reason or explanation. He didn't tell Nick about the building inspector's phone call and he became mean and impatient toward Supergirl Summer.
What do you think of the new Kyle? I'm going to reserve judgment. I need to see more of him. He sure looks young with that baby face of his. I wonder, though, how he could be considered a suspect in Austin's murder. He may be in love with Supergirl, but he's not a murderous maniac. Just because Summer married someone else, a man Kyle never even knew, does not mean that he would suddenly go off the deep end and kill his romantic rival.
It was really quite hilarious to see Jack Abbott and Victor Newman share the same hospital room. The two bitter rivals have reached an understanding. They are not going bury the hatchet. Oh no! They are going to be "friendly enemies." I smiled when Victor declared, "Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated - again." As usual, Jack will end up being duped by The Black Knight again.
Christine's rantings against Phyllis have become terribly tiresome. The Bug has a one-track mind. All she seems to think about is punishing her redheaded nemesis. It's become a total obsession and I don't know if her husband, the clueless police chief, can stand it much longer. Put a lid on it, Cricket, before you become such a pest (pun intended) that you drive poor Paul to drink along with Nikki and Neil. I wonder if anyone has some Raid.
Here are some comments from regular commentator CC from Etobicoke, Ontario:
If you saw today's Y&R, you are probably still wondering if Hilary were seeking revenge or not. At the beginning she was so nasty that I felt she was playing with them to wreak her vengeance. Then I got caught up in the whole romanticism of the moment. And now we are back to square one. Is it revenge or just her way of sparing them from heartache and offsetting possible estrangement?
I was totally bored by the Victor/Jack roommate nonsense. Nurse said they were swamped by the storm patients and didn't have any private rooms available. Now Jack and Victor will be on the same side working to get Phyllis off.
Should be interesting.
I wonder who spiked Jack's drink? . . . Kelly, Victor, both of them, Phyllis or someone unknown?
I suspected Austin had ulterior motives for marrying Summer from the beginning. Is it a whodunnit or a deliberate disappearance?
Well, CC, from the expression on Hilary's face in that last scene, it certainly appears that she's faking after all. Her claim that she was determined to get revenge on the Winters family is most likely an act to, as you put it, spare both Neil and Devon heartache and to offset possible estrangement. She looked sad and wistful as she recalled the moment Devon gave her a ring to keep until they could be together.
It had better be an act or Y&R will lose credibility. Hilary's insistence that she was after revenge did not ring true. It seemed contrived for shock value. This supposed wrinkle in the Hilary storyline did not seem authentic because it was far too late for her to suddenly deny her feelings for Devon. I don't think viewers would have bought into it. Although Hilary came to Genoa City as a vengeful "bad girl," she truly reformed when Jack and Neil took a chance on her and forgave her transgressions. There was no indication to believe otherwise. Y&R viewer Fifi from Collingwood, Ontario pointed out to me how jealous Hilary was of Devon and Gwen. Why would she be hurt and jealous if she didn't have feelings for Devon? Just before Christmas, I attended a Young and Restless fundraiser in aid of the March of Dimes. The actress who plays Hilary, Mishael Morgan, was there. She looked at castmate Bryton James (Devon) and stated that Devon was Hilary's true love.
I have to admit, given head writer Pratt's penchant for shocks and plot twists (even at the expense of a character's integrity), I believed that Hilary was really out for revenge. If, as I strongly suspect, that is not the cast, I will be most pleased.
I was not bored by Jack and Victor sharing a hospital room. I thought it was quite funny. As for the deal between Jack and Victor to help Phyllis, Jackie Boy is going to regret it. Victor is untrustworthy. He is already double dealing with Kelly to make sure that Jack and Phyllis are kept apart. If were Kelly, I wouldn't make any deals with someone as devious as Victor. He is far too ruthless to give away favours without demanding something in return. You can be certain that he is going to ask for his pound of flesh from Kelly. Kelly is not naive. She know this but she is so lovestruck that she is willing to pay almost any price to win Jack over.
As for who spiked Kelly's drink, I suspect it was Kelly herself. I still think she's the unbalanced one. Although she claims that no man is worth poisoning herself for, she is morbidly desperate for Jack's love. Speaking of Jack, his behaviour has been quite weird too. What was that little escapade with with Kelly all about if he is as loyal to Phyllis as he professes to be? Kelly did not make that up. Jack admitted it himself. I keep scratching my head over that one.
I think that the Austin storyline is intended to be a whodunnit. For all we know, he may not even be dead. His body hasn't been identified yet. However, he most likely did die. I once predicted that Summer would be divorced by the time she was 20. Ironically, it now appears that she is a 20-year-old widow. Will there now be a triangle between Summer, Kyle and Fen?
Another regular contributor, Fifi from Collingwood, Ontario, wrote:
Not sure what this new writer is doing. I guess he is operating on "shock value" and in doing so, making things up as they go along.
The "great" Victor Newman has the power and money over the years to bring in the best "doctors" from around the world whenever someone needs medical attention but he doesn't have the power or money to get a private room at the hospital. Albeit, the scenes with Jack were humorous, this made no sense at all!
This whole Austin thing is so unrealistic! Not that Soaps are meant to be real, but the dialogue is so unnatural.There is no absolutely no reason why the great and powerful Victor Newman couldn't secure a private room. The nurses may have said there were no private rooms available due to the storm, but I'm sure Mr. Moneybags could have pulled some strings. Even if Victor couldn't get a private room, what are the odds that he'd end up being Jack's roommate? However, as we both pointed out, Fifi, the scenes with Victor and Jack in the hospital room were quite amusing. It seems that the writers opted for humour over realism.
Y&R REPORT READER'S POLL
That's all for now. Don't forget to check out the next edition of Y&R Report on Saturday, March 14, 2015.