Friday, December 27, 2013

'The Young and the Restless': The Best and Worst of 2013

Welcome to my first Y&R editorial looking back at the storylines of the past year! Let's face it; this year has been a pretty crucial one for the number one daytime soap in America. From the arrival of presumed dead lovers, to baby daddy drama, to corporate intrigue, this article will count down the best and the worst storylines of 2013.

Top 5 Best Storylines

5. Jack's pain killer addiction
2013 started off with the heart-wrenching story of Jack's (Peter Bergman) addiction to pain killers, and the compromising situation he wakes up to on New Year's Day to find a dead hooker on his floor. With the help of Adam (Michael Muhney) and Phyllis (Michelle Stafford), Jack was able to get off the pills and get well. The acting was impeccable and the storytelling was relatively well paced.

4. Leslie and Tyler's true identities
Congressman Marcus Wheeler (Mark Pinter) starts suspiciously calling Leslie Michaelson (Angell Conwell) by the name of "Valerie". What's going on here? We soon learn that Leslie and Tyler's (Redaric Williams) mother Belinda was murdered and their father, Gus Rogan (Tony Todd), was convicted for the crime. Leslie and Tyler quickly changed their names, originally being Valerie and Davis Rogan. Soon after, evidence surfaces that Wheeler in fact murdered Belinda; Gus is freed and he takes his place. This storyline introduced us to how much of a powerhouse actor Williams is, as well as how the Michaelsons aren't just the basic simpletons we thought they were.

3. Katherine's brain tumor and death
Another amazing story this year was the plight of Katherine (Jeanne Cooper), when she was losing her memory (to the point that she forgot to attend her best friend's wedding). With the help of Cane (Daniel Goddard), Kay learns that she has a brain tumor. The surgery to remove it was said to be successful, but then viewers were devastated to learn that Cooper herself had passed away at the age of 84. The story wasn't readdressed until August, when her loved ones are informed she died while on a trip around the world with her husband. The cancer had spread but she didn't want to worry anyone anymore. The story of Katherine's brain tumor, as well as her loved ones learning of her death, was definitely one of the best this year.

2. Summer's true paternity
After Summer Newman (Hunter King) begins pursuing older crush Kyle Abbott (Hartley Sawyer), Jack's son, her dad Nick (Joshua Morrow) begins suspiciously looking at documents pertaining Summer's DNA. As viewers recall, Summer was conceived during a time where her mother Phyllis was sleeping with both Nick and Jack. But, years later, it is now revealed that the paternity test that Nick conducted was corrupt; he just decided that Summer was his daughter. He has another test conducted, that shows Jack is actually her father. The scenes where Phyllis, Jack and Summer learn the truth were so powerful, and the acting was better than anything else you could watch on television.

1. The Baldwin family saga
The best storyline of 2013 by far was the saga of the Baldwin family. The story kicked off in the fall of 2012, when Summer began cyberbullying a boy named Jamie Vernon (Daniel Polo). Fenmore (Max Ehrich) was initially against it, but when his father Michael (Christian LeBlanc) takes Jamie under his wing, Fen becomes wildly jealous and takes over the cyberbullying even after Summer ceased fire. The bullying lead to a struggle with the boys on a rooftop, and Jamie was later found face down in the snow. He accused Fen of pushing him, and Michael was forced to arrest him, devastating wife Lauren (Tracey Bregman). While Jamie later admitted Fen didn't push him and he was exonerated, Michael and Lauren's marriage was severely affected. Lauren began turning to bartender Carmine Basco (Marco Dapper), and later began having an affair with him. When their affair is revealed, Fen turns to drugs and Michael considers divorce. Not only that, even after Lauren ends things with Carmine, he becomes increasingly obsessed with her. After Michael and Lauren reconnect and Fen goes to rehab, Carmine is arrested for attacking Lauren, but he escapes on the night she is scheduled to receive an award. He is shot to death in an alleyway. Michael went to prison for the murder, but Fen admitted he shot him. We still don't know who really shot Carmine, but this year long storyline has been a riveting ride. Some say it's too drawn out, but in my eyes it is by far the best storyline on Y&R in 2013.

Top 5 Worst Storylines

5. Melanie sues Adam for sexual harassment
Melanie Daniels (portrayed by former General Hospital actress Erin Chambers) definitely wasn't a prize winning character. She arrived in town in June, working at Newman Enterprises with Victor (Eric Braeden) and son Adam. Before long, she and Adam headed for the bedroom, but in reality Victor had been paying Melanie to spy on Adam's business deals. At this point in the storyline, I really didn't have a problem with it. But suddenly, it took one big wrong turn. After Adam dumps Melanie and Victor fires her, she reciprocates by suing Adam for sexual harassment, a completely bogus allegation. Perhaps this storyline might've worked if Chambers were a stronger actress, because she really didn't sell
what should've been a ruthless bitch taking down a Newman. Before the case could go to court, Adam's ex-wife Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan) convinces her to drop the charges and she disappears from town. I heard that because the story was universally panned, the writers decided to kill the story and dump the character.

4. Sharon tampers with Summer's paternity test and Ghost Cassie
After the great story of Summer's true paternity was seemingly coming to a close, the writers through in a completely ridiculous and stupid twist. Nick's mentally fragile ex-wife Sharon (Sharon Case), who had heard about him questioning Summer's paternity, decided that she wanted him and their old life back. So, she went into the DNA lab and tampered with Summer's paternity test, which supposedly said that Summer was in fact Nick's daughter. The only person who knew about it was Ghost Cassie (Camryn Grimes), a hallucination of Nick and Sharon's late daughter, who convinced her what she did was the right thing. That was wrong on so many levels. The story was bad to begin with, and then they bring back Cassie, a legendary character, to condone it? No thank you. The story is still going on; Nick has absolutely no idea what Sharon has done, but they're currently growing closer...

3. Chelsea's baby ruse
If you ask most fans of the show, they found their insomnia cure during this storyline. It went on for months, and bored most of us to tears. In January, after splitting up with Adam, Chelsea discovers she is pregnant with his child. She tries on many occasions to tell him, but sees that he is spending more and more time with ex-wife Sharon and decides against it. Her best friend, Chloe (Elizabeth Hendrickson), tells her to sleep with someone and pass the child off as his (not surprising; Chloe did the same thing a few years back). While initially against the idea, Chelsea shares a one-night stand with Dylan McAvoy (Steve Burton), a new character with oodles of potential. When Adam accuses her of being pregnant with his child, Chelsea quickly decides to pass the baby off as Dylan's. Dylan, so eager to become a father, doesn't question it. This was the beginning of the bad part. This storyline made Dylan seem so dim-witted, to the point of him being dubbed "Dyldumb" by viewers. It also gave us a bad representation of who he is, because he was so new. After Chelsea and Dylan get married, she gives birth (one of the worst birthing scenes in television history, I might add), but their son Connor is facing hereditary blindness. Adam figures out that Connor is his son as blindness runs in his genes. Chelsea admits the truth, and Dylan is crushed. Getting sleepy just reading this summary? I feel you. I dosed off several times during this storyline.

2. Dylan is Nikki's long lost son
As you can read in one of my previous Y&R editorials, this storyline was very poorly written. Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) reveals she gave birth to a son with a cult leader, Ian Ward, decades earlier. She investigates into where he is now, and discovers Dylan (still reeling from Chelsea's baby ruse) is her son. After a month of secrecy, she reveals her secret, straining her marriage to Victor and blindsiding Dylan, who still refuses to accept her as his real mom. Everything about this storyline was poorly written. Simply everything. It could've been a great story, but it was ruined by terrible storytelling. It's as simple as that.

1. Hilary Curtis, the Winters family stalker
There are way too many words to express how bad this story was. A series of complicated wrong turns, it was horrific from beginning to end. In June, Hilary Curtis (Mishael Morgan) arrives in town as Cane's new assistant. Suddenly, Cane's wife Lily (Christel Khalil) and her family, including Neil (Kristoff St. John) and Devon (Bryton James), are being attacked by lies posted by a blogger on a website. At the same time, Leslie is trying to find a woman named Rose Turner, who was friends with her now deceased father. Neil has repressed memories of meeting Rose in Evanston, Illinois years prior. They went to a hotel room where Rose passed out drunk; Neil assumed she would sleep it off but she in fact died that night. Hilary is then revealed to in fact be Rose's daughter Ann Turner, and is targeting the Winters family to get revenge for her mother's death. The plot was long, complicated and way too drawn out. We would see it one day, and wouldn't hear from it for another two weeks. However, the storyline did give us Hilary, a character with much potential.

And these are my picks for best and worst storylines on The Young and the Restless in 2013! Here's to just as many (if not more) good storylines in 2014, and perhaps less bad ones. Catch Y&R weekdays on CBS.

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