The Young and the Restless storylines

The storylines of the soap opera "The Young and the Restless (Y&R)" have changed over the years since the show debuted in 1973. Originally examining the lives of the wealthy Brooks and the poor Fosters, a series of recasts and departures in the early 1980s turned the focus of "Y&R" to the Abbotts and the Newmans, including the corporate rivalry between their two respective companies. However, one basic plot that has run throughout almost all of the program's history is the rivalry between Jill Foster Abbott and Katherine Chancellor.

The Brooks and the Fosters

"Y&R" co-creator William J. Bell originally conceived the show to center around the class conflict between two core families: the wealthy Brooks and the poor Fosters.cite episode | title=The Young and the Restless | series=E! True Hollywood Story | network=E! | airdate=2001-05-20] . Newspaper publisher Stuart Brooks (played by Robert Colbert) and his socialite wife Jennifer (Dorothy Green) had four daughters: Leslie (Victoria Mallory), a pianist; Lauralee "Lorie" (Jaime Lyn Bauer), an author; Christabel "Chris" (Trish Stewart), a journalist; and Peggy (Pamela Peters Solow), a college student. Meanwhile, Elizabeth "Liz" Foster (Julianna McCarthy) was a factory worker and single parent who, after being abandoned by her husband William "Bill" Sr. (Charles H. Gray), was struggling to make ends meet while trying to raise three children: William "Snapper" Jr. (William Grey Espy), a medical student; Greg (James Houghton), a law student; and Jill (Brenda Dickson; later Deborah Adair and currently Jess Walton), a beautician and aspiring model.

Leslie and Lorie fought over first Brad Eliot (Tom Hallick) and then Lance Prentiss (John McCook). This love triangle stretched into four after Lance's sea captain brother Lucas (Tom Ligon) arrived in town. Although Lorie initially was little more than the bad girl who tormented pure sister Leslie, she became a lead in her own right as she battled her sister over custody of Leslie's son Brooks (Andre Gower), and then battled her psychotic mother-in-law Vanessa (K.T. Stevens) (who even killed herself just to frame Lorie for the crime).

Another love triangle formed between Chris, Snapper, and waitress Sally McGuire (Lee Crawford). Desperate to gain an upper hand, Sally threw away her birth control pills and got pregnant by Snapper. Not knowing that he was the father, Snapper proposed to Chris. When they found out he was the father of Sally's child, Chris suffered a miscarriage. Eventually, Sally moved out of town, and Chris and Snapper reconciled.

Other stories included Bill returning to town and remarrying Liz before dying of cancer; Jennifer planning to divorce Stuart and marry her former lover and Liz Fosters brother Dr. Bruce Henderson (Paul Clarke), who was revealed to be Lorie's biological father; and Stuart and Liz marrying after Jennifer died of cancer.

Jill vs. Kay

One of "Y&R"'s first and longest-lasting storylines is the rivalry between Jill and socialite Katherine "Kay" Chancellor. By the end of the show's first season, "Y&R" was the least watched American television soap opera, so Bell hired veteran actress Jeanne Cooper in the fall 1973 to spark the ratings. Cooper's character, Kay, became popular, and so Bell decided to exploit this popularity by crafting a storyline putting her against Jill.

Jill went to work as Kay's manicurist and assistant to help her struggling family pay the bills. Kay was a boozy matron trapped in a loveless marriage to Phillip Chancellor II (John Considine later Donnelly Rhodes). Jill and Phillip fell in love, but in 1976, after he returned from obtaining a divorce in the Dominican Republic, Katherine picked him up at the airport, and in an attempt to kill both Phillip and herself, drove the car off a cliff. On his deathbed, Phillip married Jill and bequeathed her and their love child his fortune. At first, Kay offered Jill $1 million for the baby, but ended up getting a judge to declare that Jill and Phillip's marriage was illegal since Kay was drunk when signing her divorce papers. Since Jill nor her son had any rights to an inheritance, the baby was legally given the name "Phillip Foster" instead of "Phillip Chancellor III". As a result of the ruling, an embittered Jill became a vixen and the two ladies began an intense rivalry, blaming each other for the death of Phillip II.

First, they fought over beautician Derek Thurston (Joe LaDue) in the late 1970s. Then in 1982, Jill married tycoon John Abbott (Jerry Douglas), but within a few years later, Kay seized the opportunity to break them up after obtaining photos of Jill's one-night-affair with John's son Jack (Terry Lester; currently Peter Bergman); John suffered a stroke after seeing those images and divorced Jill. The two ladies also fought for custody of Phillip Foster (Thom Bierdz) in the late 1980s, with Kay being awarded temporary custody without the right to adopt. Eventually, Kay arranged for his name to be legally changed to Phillip Chancellor III.

In the 1990s, after Phillip III died from a car crash, and after Jill's second marriage to John ended, the two ladies went back to court when some of Phillip II's documents were found in the Chancellor mansion attic; the judge declared that Jill owned half of the Chancellor estate. Jill and Kay fought over this new arrangement as well as Jill's son Billy (David Tom/Ryan Brown/Scott Seymour) dating Kay's granddaughter Mackenzie "Mac" Browning (Ashley Bashioum/Kelly Kruger/Rachel Kimsey).

The Abbotts and the Newmans

By the early 1980s, most of the Brooks and Foster families had been recast again and again, and when "Y&R" expanded to an hour in 1980, many lead actors said they could not sustain themselves on an hour show. Show creator William J. Bell told himself he would wait for one more major departure before making big changes.Fact|date=May 2007 When Jaime Lyn Bauer, who played Lorie, quit in 1982 due to exhaustion, Bell took the opportunity to write out all of the Brooks and Fosters, save Jill. Gradually, the focus shifted from the Brooks and Foster families to the Williams, Abbott, and the Newman families.

The Williams family was introduced in 1978. Police Detective Carl Williams (Brett Hadley) and his wife Mary (Carolyn Conwell) had their hands full with their promiscuous teenage son Paul (Doug Davidson). Paul had a fling with Nikki Reed (Melody Thomas Scott) and gave her a sexually transmitted disease. He then went on to romance prostitute Cindy Lake, as well as April Stevens (Cynthia Eilbacher), who mothered his daughter, Heather, before marrying Lauren Fenmore (Tracey E. Bregman) and opening a private investigations agency with Andy Richards (Steven Ford). Paul's older brother Steven (David Winn) was a reporter who married Peggy and eventually moved to Washington D.C. Meanwhile, Carl and Mary's daughter Patty (Lilibet Stern/Andrea Evans) married Jack, but due to his frequent infidelities, she eventually lost control and shot Jack in the back three times. After being cleared of any charges, Patty divorced Jack and left town. The Williams' oldest son Todd was an unseen character who served as a priest (he eventually made an on-screen appearance in 2004 with Corbin Bernsen playing the role in a cameo appearance).

By the late 1980s, most members of the Williams family were phased out, but the Abbott and the Newman families remain. "Y&R" is one of the few shows in the history of daytime to eliminate their original core families and benefit from the result.Fact|date=May 2007

Eric Braeden joined the cast in 1980 as sinister tycoon Victor Newman, in what was originally a short-term role but soon became a permanent fixture. Victor was so menacing to his wife Julia (Meg Bennett) that he locked her boyfriend Michael Scott (Nicholas Benedict) in a bomb shelter constructed in the basement and forced him to watch Victor and Julia's bedroom via closed-circuit camera. Bell saw something in Braeden's performance and since the show had few strong male characters, elevated him to star status. Soon after, Victor went to a strip club and met Nikki, who at the time was working as a stripper. She married Victor in a lavish 1984 wedding and their love-hate relationship has gone through the birth of two children, Victoria (Heather Tom/Sarah Aldrich/Amelia Heinle) and Nicholas (Joshua Morrow), as well as many divorces, affairs, and remarriages since then.

Bell also expanded the role of the Abbott family. In addition to John and his son Jack, daughters Ashley (Eileen Davidson) and Traci (Beth Maitland) were introduced. Stories were phased in regarding the corporate rivalry between the Abbott's Jabot Cosmetics and the Newman's Newman Enterprises. The personal lives of both the Abbotts and the Newmans also became a major focus. A four-way quadrangle became a major storyline in the 1980s-90s with Victor marrying Ashley and Jack marrying Nikki. Meanwhile, the insecure Traci became involved in a love triangle with her rival Lauren and rock star Danny Romalotti (Michael Damian), before marrying gardener-turned-business executive Brad Carlton (Don Diamont).

Lauralee Bell

A relatively controversial fixture on the show for several decades was Bell's daughter, Lauralee. Lauralee debuted in 1983 in a bit part as Christine "Cricket" Blair. As Lauralee grew up, her character became more and more prominent, to the point where in 1988 storylines had four different men in love with her. Longtime fan favorite Terry Lester, who played Jack Abbott, left the show in 1989 and blamed her partly, claiming that the excessive airtime given to Cricket drowned out the other performers. [cite news | title=Soaps: "Young and Restless"' Lauralee Bell Confronts Actor's Silver Spoon Charge | publisher=Daily News of Los Angeles |date=1989-10-22]

Christine would later marry Danny and then Paul before becoming an attorney and asking people to refer to her as "Chris". However, she remained a somewhat saccharine central heroine. At one point in 1996, the show hinted at a romance between Christine and the much older Victor Newman, but negative viewer reaction killed the story. Later, Christine became involved with Michael Baldwin (Christian LeBlanc) who had stalked her years earlier. This led to a controversial storyline where Paul, angry at his ex-wife's new love, raped Christine. Many fans could not believe heroic Paul would ever do such a thing, and were upset by scenes which said that the two had simply had "rough sex" that Christine could not admit she wanted.Fact|date=May 2007 Christine and Paul reunited but eventually split for good. By 2004 or so, Lauralee Bell's marriage and children, as well as a successful clothing store, diminished her on-screen airtime and paved the way for other characters. In early 2005 she announced her move from contract to recurring status. In May 2007, it was announced that Bell would reprise her character on Y&R's sister soap, "The Bold And The Beautiful".

The Barbers and the Winters

"The Young and the Restless" is also one of the few soaps to have successfully integrated a number of African American actors into its cast. In the mid-1980s "Y&R" created a storyline which revolved around Tyrone Jackson (Phil Morris), a young black man, being made up in whiteface to bring down a mafia kingpin, but most of the characters were written out within a few years. In 1989, the program "Generations" earned critical acclaim for casting an entire African American family from the show's inception. Established hits like "Y&R" were criticized as the show had a low number of minorities.Fact|date=May 2007

As a response, Tonya Lee Williams and Victoria Rowell joined "Y&R" in the early 1990s as the Barber sisters, Olivia and Drucilla, nieces of the Abbott's maid Mamie Johnson (Veronica Redd). They proved to be very successful and they interacted fairly well with the established characters. Nathan Hastings (Nathan Purdee/Randy Brooks/Adam Lazarre-White), the only other black character on the show before 1990, was married off to Olivia, before dying in a hit and run car accident in 1996. Two more black characters, Neil Winters, played by former "Generations" alum Kristoff St. John and his brother Malcolm played by Shemar Moore, would be introduced in 1991 and 1994 respectively.

However, the core black characters largely interacted with themselves only; they would most often act as bit parts in scenes with the other characters. In the case of the Winters brother and the Barber sisters, they were shown to usually just swap each other's partners when a "shake-up" was needed in the romantic scheme of the story. This led to a seemingly never-ending love quadrangle between the four characters. Later actions have proven that this choice was due to the supposition that it was ostensibly "too controversial" to have an interracial pairing.Fact|date=May 2007 Indeed, a pairing in the late 1990s between Neil Winters and Victoria Newman was axed by CBS executives, who were rumored to have received many angry phone calls and letters by viewers in the South.Fact|date=May 2007 In 2004, a love affair between Phyllis Summers (Michelle Stafford) and chemist Damon Porter (Keith Hamilton Cobb) was prominently featured, despite concerns that the interracial pairing would be scrapped just like the one that was written before. While the romance between Phyllis and Damon did eventually come to an end, the writers followed up by having Phyllis' son Daniel (Michael Graziadei) become involved with Drucilla and Malcolm's daughter Lily (Christel Khalil). Daniel and Lily married in 2006.

Other minority characters

From 1999 to 2004, David Lago played Raul Guittierez, a member of a Cuban family who became part of a circle of friends that included Billy, Mackenzie, J. T. Hellstrom (Thad Luckinbill), Rianna Miner (Rianna Loving/Alexis Thorpe) and Brittany Hodges (Vanessa Lee Evigan/Lauren Woodland). Raul's brother Diego (Diego Serrano/Greg Vaughan) arrived in town in 2001 after running away from the family several years prior. After helping his younger brother during a difficult time, Diego had flings with Nicholas' wife Sharon (Sharon Case) and Victoria.

The show has been less successful with incorporating Asian American characters. In 1994, the Vietnamese Volien family was introduced to the show, consisting of Luan (Elizabeth Sung) and her two children, Keemo (Philip Moon) and Mai (Marianne Rees). Luan married Jack Abbott (who was the father of her son Keemo), but was killed off in 1996 and her two children were written out soon afterward. At present, the only Asian in the cast is Eric Steinberg, who plays business executive Ji Min Kim, but he was recently killed off.

Recasting

While heavy recasting is considered to have doomed some series such as "Ryan's Hope" and "Love is a Many Splendored Thing", "Y&R"' has been successful at replacing some of its lead characters with other actors. Most often, major characters are played by the same actor for decades; if they left the show, the characters left with them. But in the case of "Y&R", their replacements were often popular and remade the character in their own image. When William Grey Espy left the show in 1975, the role of Snapper Foster was given to then-unknown actor David Hasselhoff. Peter Bergman has won three Emmy Awards after replacing Lester as Jack Abbott. And Jess Walton, who took over the role of Jill Foster Abbott after original cast member Brenda Dickson was fired in 1987 after a fallout with producers, has earned two Emmys.

When "Y&R" did make the occasional recasting blunder, such as Sarah Aldrich's Victoria Newman, Scott Seymour's Billy Abbott or Davetta Sherwood's Lily Winters, the mistake was soon rectified, with the characters either being written out or their former portrayers returning. The 2005 recast of Mackenzie Browning from Ashley Bashioum to Rachel Kimsey met a so-so reception from fans, yet ratings stayed flat. Kimsey was released from her contract in May 2006 and the role will not be recast in the near future. In 2004, Joan Van Ark joined the cast as Gloria Fisher, Michael Baldwin's hardscrabble mother, remaining until early 2005. She was replaced by Judith Chapman, and fans quickly accepted Chapman in the role. Davetta Sherwood's portrayal of Lily Winters was seen as a success by a majority of Y&R fans and when Sherwood was let go and replaced with the former actress many fans surprisingly lashed out at the firing of Sherwood.

The role of Colleen Carlton, Brad and Traci's daughter, who had been played by Lyndsy Fonseca for several years was recast in January 2006 with Adrianne Leon; this recast also generated mixed reviews but later fans warmed up to her which led to have a very large fans base. When Leon was let go in mid-2007, she was replaced with popular former "Home and Away" actress Tammin Sursok, who received a Daytime Emmy nomination for the role in 2008 and currently remains with the show. The majority of Colleen fans haven't accepted Surosk's role of Colleen Carlton well and many still hope that the Leon will reprise her role as Colleen.

In late 2006, "Y&R" recast the role of popular daytime villainess, Sheila Carter. Originally played by Kimberlin Brown on both "Y&R" and "The Bold and the Beautiful", the character was recently handed over to Michelle Stafford, who also plays Phyllis. Although this recast was mainly storyline-directed, since Sheila had plastic surgery to look like Phyllis, fans of Sheila have expressed mixed opinions regarding Brown's absence in the role. [ [http://community.tvguide.com/blog-entry/TVGuide-Editors-Blog/Soaps-News/New-Soaps-Q38a/700016863 New Soaps Q&A: Michelle Stafford (Phyllis/Sheila, Y&R) - Soaps News | TVGuide.com ] ]

ocial issues

Unlike other soaps in the 1980s or 1990s, "Y&R" avoided preachy social issues. When they did touch on such issues as abortion or the homeless crisis or AIDS, it was only as a plot device with a few facts and statistics thrown in for effect. For example, when Ashley aborted Victor's child in the 1980s, any viewers or scholars who may have looked for a serious story on the pros and cons of abortion would have been disappointed. Ashley only aborted her baby because Victor's wife Nikki was then presumed to be terminally ill, and Ashley did not want to cause her pain. After learning of her abortion, Victor ripped her to shreds, causing a devastated Ashley to lose her mind and wind up in an insane asylum.

One social issue which was too hot for the "Y&R" audience of the mid-'70s was homosexuality. In the mid-1970s, Kay befriended an overweight, unhappy housewife named Joann Curtis. Kay moved Joann into her home and helped her get a better self-image. Soon, Kay's son Brock wondered about all the time the ladies were spending together, as Kay planned a special vacation to Hawaii for herself and Joann. The ratings dropped and outraged fan letters poured in.Fact|date=May 2007 Bell quickly dropped the relationship, wrote out Joann, and the show stabilized.

2000s ratings erosion

Along with every other daytime soap, "Y&R" has suffered audience erosion, with particularly noticeable losses from 2000 to the present day. The show, in response to the bleeding, took some power away from longtime producer Edward J. Scott and head writer Kay Alden, and started to instead rely on head writer John F. Smith and later (in 2006) head writer/executive producer Lynn Marie Latham.

Another highly publicized move was the 2004 rehiring of Shemar Moore to reprise his role as Malcolm for a limited run. Moore was extremely popular with African-American viewers, and the show lost a healthy chunk of that demographic upon his 2002 departure.Fact|date=January 2008 Although fans were happy to see him return, Malcolm's new storyline garnered mixed reviews at best, and the ratings barely nudged.Fact|date=May 2007 In another high-profile storyline, Nicholas and Sharon's teenage daughter Cassie was killed off. In spite of rave reviews from the soap press, the ratings remained consistent.Fact|date=May 2007 In August 2006, the show killed off patriarch John Abbott. These episodes nudged "Y&R" to some of its highest ratings (6.4 million viewers in August 2006) in some time.Fact|date=May 2007

The writers also created a number of retcon storylines during the 2000s. In 2003, it was revealed that Jill was adopted, and Kay was actually her birth mother; Billy and Mac were told about this moments before they consummated their relationship. In 2004, Jill's birth father Arthur Hendricks (David Hedison) briefly visited, and mother and daughter fought over him while Kay again battled her drinking problem. Another controversial storyline involving Brad Carlton and his true identity as George Kaplan has been playing out since July 2006. Fans are reported to have mixed emotions over the introduction of Nazis to the storyline.Fact|date=May 2007 Also in 2006, the real Phillip Chancellor III was revealed to have been switched at birth by Kay, and the Phillip III that was seen in the 1970s-80s was someone else's.

In 2007, the show began to reintroduce infamous story plots to draw back some devoted fans. The infamous Jack vs. Victor war began to surface again in November 2006, with Jack secretly manipulating Victor's new company, "NVP Retreats", and Victor wanting revenge. Also, with the death of John, the basic "estate inheritance" storyline, made famous with many characters including Kay and Jill, played out between the Abbott children and Gloria, who was John's wife before he died.

Years 2006 and 2007 also saw two murder-mystery plots, as Carmen Mesta (Marisa Ramirez) and Ji Min Kim (Eric Steinberg) were killed off.

"Out of the Ashes"

One highly-publicised story was "the Clear Springs Explosion", marketed as "The Young and the Restless: Out of the Ashes", which aired from October 19 to October 26, 2007, in which a building collapsed and many central characters were injured somehow. The "Out of the Ashes" storyline is notable for being the first time "Y&R" has used a special title sequence for a particular storyline. Unfortunately, the extra budget dollars expended on "Out of the Ashes" produced little or no bump upward in the ratings. Viewers reacted somewhat negatively to the storyline, which earned the derogatory nickname "Out of the Asses" on various "Y&R" message boards.

Victims trapped inside the rubble were Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman), Sharon Abbott (Sharon Case), Nicholas Newman (Joshua Morrow), a pregnant Victoria Newman (Amelia Heinle), Adrian Korbel (Eyal Podell), Noah Newman (Hunter Allan), Amber Moore (Adrienne Frantz), Paul Williams (Doug Davidson), Lauren Fenmore Baldwin (Tracey E. Bregman), Detective Maggie Sullivan (Tammy Lauren), Katherine Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper), Cane Ashby (Daniel Goddard) and J.T. Hellstrom (Thad Luckinbill).

References

* [http://www.theyoungandtherestless.com/show_guide/yearly_summaries.html The Young and the Restless: Yearly Summaries]


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