Friday, November 29, 2013

'The Young and the Restless' Airs Throwback Episode from 1998

Just this Thursday, CBS chose to air a classic episode from its archives of The Young and the Restless; one from 1998. Lots of interesting stories were taking place at this time, including Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) finding out from Diane (Alex Donnelley) that her marriage to Victor (Eric Braeden) isn't legal, as well as Jill (Jess Walton) trying to find proof that the late Phillip Chancellor II wanted her to have the Chancellor Estate, not Katherine (Jeanne Cooper). This episode also happened to feature the infamous attic fight between Kay and Jill, an interesting part in their rivalry. All these interesting plots were taking place, and legions of fans have been saying that they wish this was the Y&R still on television today. But the question I'd like to ask is, would this Y&R last on TV today?

The late 90s was a time where daytime soaps were still pretty popular. Every major television network had at least three soaps on the air. Now? They're lucky if they've got even one on the air. As more and more legendary soaps have gone off the air (Guiding Light, As the World Turns, All My Children and One Life to Live, to name a few), writers have been forced to keep up with the times. The Y&R that aired in 1998 would in no way fly today. The stories, perhaps, might flow, but the way soaps were back then would no way garner enough ratings to stay on the air today. These were the times of the true soap opera; every remark required a long, perplexed look at the camera, and the music was either overly dramatic or inappriopriately seductive. And that's how soaps were. These were the soaps that legions of grandmothers watched with their grandchildren during the day. And before we knew it, this genre has been slipping away from us. I don't believe that overly dramatic music and drooling romance would fly today, and maybe that's why soaps have had to add a bit of reality into shows that once could have someone visibly die onscreen, then show up two years later in a plot twist. And no one would question it.

Watching this classic episode really made me think about the slowly disappearing genre of soap operas. Maybe if women hadn't started working outside of the home these types of soaps would still work on today's daytime television. But in the meantime, we have to sit back and accept that this time in soap opera history is behind us. We can either stay stuck in the past, or continue watching the stories they produce for us nowadays. Catch The Young and the Restless weekdays on CBS.

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