Sunday, October 12, 2014

'The Young and the Restless': What a Difference a Year Makes

Well kids, it's been a year since The Young and the Restless made the bold decision to kill off Delia Abbott (Sophie Pollono), the young daughter of Billy Abbott (then Billy Miller, now Burgess Jenkins) and Chloe Mitchell (Elizabeth Hendrickson). The decision did not sit well with audiences, and it eventually lead into the storyline of Adam Newman (Michael Muhney) being Delia's killer, the result of a tragic accident, and he was later presumed dead. (But the term 'dead' is used loosely in soap operas...)

Several casting changes began to unfold thereafter. Billy Miller, legendary for his portrayal of Billy since 2008, announced his departure from the role last November. David Tom, who played Billy from 1999 to 2002, was brought back to take over. Tom's portrayal received widely mixed reviews. In May, it was announced that Tom had been let go from the role and Burgess Jenkins had been cast (after Miller declined to return). Several bogus-sounding reasons were given for Tom's departure, such as he was too young in contrast to Cady McClain's Kelly Andrews, even though Billy and Kelly's storyline had long since concluded. Clearly the series thought that Tom's portrayal wasn't in it for the long run. Jenkins debuted in June to even larger mixed reviews, many saying he was far too old to be a convincing Billy Abbott (Jenkins is 40, Miller and Tom are 34). I for one have grown to like him in the role, as I get major John Abbott, Sr. vibes from him.

Kelly Andrews is also another story. Cynthia Watros played her during her initial storyline of being Billy's grief buddy (in more ways than one). Watros later left the role to launch her MTV pilot Finding Carter, which has been an instant success. Cady McClain was hired to take over Kelly, starting in April. While I like McClain in the role, we all have to admit that 90% of the character's edge disappeared when Watros vacated the role. McClain's ordinary and occasionally boring portrayal is good, but some days I yearn for Watros' version of the character and how she would've played the several curveballs the character has been thrown lately, especially the revelation that she and Stitch (Sean Carrigan) are siblings. 

Delia's mother Chloe had undergone significant change too; she had a nervous breakdown. Unfortunately it wasn't the fun, soapy breakdown you'd picture in your head, no. She went berserk; she got a little too close to godson Connor (she kidnapped him to Paris), and eventually had to remarry Kevin (Greg Rikaart) to avoid being institutionalized. She also asked ex-hubby Billy to have another baby with her, just out of the blue (say what?!) Chloe eventually agreed to go to a treatment centre, in California (Hendrickson had confirmed her departure from the series). What her loved ones did NOT know is that she left town with a fresh batch of stolen Billy Abbott sperm in her handbag. Last I heard Hendrickson was supposed to return for Delia's anniversary... We'll see how that works out.

Billy and Victoria's marriage also took a turn off a cliff, after a long and tumultuous time apart during which she got with Stitch and became pregnant with a child, unsure of the paternity. Billy has been getting his sweet loving from Adam's wife Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan). Victoria STILL doesn't know the baby daddy and obviously still loves Billy and he loves her. Meanwhile Adam is on his way home (Justin Hartley takes over the role in November), and he'll definitely find trouble when he gets back.

What a difference a year makes. But at least Delia is in peace, right?

Watch Y&R weekdays on CBS. 

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