As a fan of “The Young and the Restless” (Y & R), I’m certain you hear this question on occasion: “What makes that soap so compelling?” My immediate answer could be “it’s good,” but that would not even begin to describe why “Y & R” is an evergreen series, with a longevity threatening to rival that of the cedar.
The cast is professional, and each character adapts to new and unusual changes of lifestyle. Jeanne Cooper is Katherine Chancellor. Katherine recently went through an entire life change: from wealthy to homeless, without a memory with which to balance her existence. Yet, she prevailed, showing the world the companionship of the homeless, without fantasizing their sad situation. Fortunately, her memory returned and Katherine was able to reestablish her rightful place. Again, this portrayed the struggle of one who has been lost proving the doubtful wrong, when they challenge her claim.
Focal characters are strong. Eric Braeden is Victor Newman, a billionaire with a penchant for beautiful, smart, strong-willed women. Thankfully, he believes in matrimony. His family is extensive. Victor tends to get a “Father Knows Best” attitude, but he usually is correct with his warnings and guidance. He did not get to be rich by being ignorant. His stubbornness causes the usual hackle-raising with his children, giving even more credibility to his character. It invokes the same kind of “you don’t understand” response we had as teens and young adults, and now receive from our own children. Victor can get into situations, the most recent a scam by Meggie, played by Sean Young.
That mishap leads into the next reason that “Y & R” still thrives. The writers for the show are adept at creating a scenario, adding a healthy dose of reality and a pinch or two of sensationalism and wonder; next mixing it all with occasional scenes from the past. When told that one or two incidents will be winding down to an end, they create new twists for different characters, write in a new resident to Genoa City, or bring back a loved or hated favorite from the past. With thirty-seven years of actual filming, viewers can be reminded of where they last saw a past character, or learn the history of the new person about to pounce on the residents of Genoa City. Blending memories with the present takes a special kind of writer – the kind that “Y & R” has been smart enough to hire and keep.
Consistency in life: that is the magic that makes “The Young and the Restless” a keeper. Catch it Monday through Friday at 12:30 pm ET on CBS.
“The Young and the Restless”
Personal knowledge and opinions of the author