Busted to Blissful ~ September 2007 ~ Y&R and GL

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Y&R Cools Off. GL Has SuperCouple in the Making


The Young and the Restless feels like it’s in a downward spiral.  Though Y&R has moments of brilliance, those moments have been few and far between recently.

A few months ago, the show finally wrapped the never ending “Who Killed Carmen Mesta Murder Mystery,” only to now embark on the “Who Killed Ji Min Kim Murder Mystery.”  Why trade one character’s murder for another?  If the show is going to go this route, hopefully Ji Min’s killer will turn out to be a major character so we don’t get stuck with one B player killing another, like Jana being revealed as Carmen’s killer.

And don’t even get me started on the mess that is Jana and Kevin.  I’m all for quirky and surprising relationships on daytime, but this one is just plain crazy.  Jana tried to kill Kevin by locking him and Colleen in a freezer, and he spent months trying to lure her out of hiding so he could return the favor by killing her.  Then all of a sudden, Jana is revealed to have a brain tumor which may or may not have caused her previous murderous inclinations.

In the span of one episode, Kevin went from thinking Jana was faking the tumor to get out of doing jail time, to believing Jana’s tumor was real and wanting to cure it so she could stand trial competently, to deciding he was going to blackmail his mom into paying for Jana’s surgery because he still loves her.  Huh?  This whole plot is a convoluted mess that gets worse by the day.  As if watching Kevin and Colleen (who not only changed faces via recast in a day, but her attitude towards Jana as well) befriend and help Jana is not disturbing enough, Y&R had to take it one step further.

Y&R took us into the operating room while Jana was getting her brain tumor removed, with Kevin standing by to literally hold her hand and coach her through the procedure.  I don’t know very much about brain tumor surgery, but I suspect it is highly unlikely that the patient’s intended murder victim/ex-boyfriend would be allowed in the ER.  Heck, I didn’t even want viewers allowed in the ER, let alone Kevin.  It makes for a very unappetizing lunch hour to watch a character have their skull cut open, to see blood and hear a discussion of the size of the tumor.  At that point, I was glad for the TiVo fast forward button!

My fast forward goes into full effect during any scene featuring that shrieking harpy Amber.  She has to be one of the shrillest women to inhabit Genoa City in quite sometime, and that’s saying something.  I can’t help but think of the Muppet character Gladys whenever she is onscreen.

I also admit to fast forwarding the increasingly uncomfortable Devon/Lily scenes.  Devon has been Lily’s adopted brother for a couple of years, and that relationship has always been a brother/sister one.  They now share the same parents for heaven’s sake.  Yet, Devon has convinced himself he’s in love with Lily, and not in a brotherly way.  The only good that can come from this icky development is if Devon admits his feelings right away, so Lily can put him in his place, never to speak of it again.  

If we have to be subjected to Devon pining for Lily for months on end, my fast forward button will get a good workout.  Even though they’re not related by blood and weren’t raised together, there is still a line which should not be crossed without it becoming fodder for a Jerry Springer episode.  Why would Y&R want to emulate The Bold and the Beautiful where all sorts of familial lines have been crossed in the name of love?

Speaking of crossed lines, why don’t Nikki and Victor get a separation if not a divorce?  Is it really okay with such a manly man to watch his wife traipse all over town flaunting her relationship with another man?  Enough already.  This relationships need clarity and closure.

Another relationship that needs closure is the one between exes JT and Colleen.  Where was the scene of him telling her he might have fathered a child with her former step-mother?  I would think Colleen would have something to say about this, especially since there’s a chance the baby could potentially be her half-sibling if Brad turns out to be the father instead of JT.  Either way, Colleen would have an interest in what happens, and should have scenes with her former lover, former step-mother and father.  Playing these relationships is what good soap opera is all about.  Y&R appears to have forgotten this basic tenet.  

Even though Y&R still dominates the ratings, those numbers are precarious at best.  In today’s culture where hundreds of other entertainment options are eroding soap viewership, the show would be advised to conclude these problematic storylines before more viewers fast forward or click away for good.


On Guiding Light, Coop and Ashlee may not be a supercouple yet, or even an actual couple, but they are well on their way.  This unique pairing is what good soap opera is all about.  Their budding relationship is being portrayed in such an agonizingly realistic fashion that it is almost hard to watch at times.

“Coop Cooper,” as Ashlee affectionately calls her beloved, is a strapping young man from a good family.  He’s everything a girl could want: intelligent, charming and extremely good looking.  Ashlee was raised by the single mother from hell, is younger than Coop, and overweight.  She’s also sensitive, self deprecating and pretty in an untraditional way.  Her brand of pretty is not Hollywood stereotype size two pretty, but rather real woman in the real world pretty.  She looks like someone we know.

Their romance has been depicted believably with the two starting out as friends before Ashlee developed a crush on Coop.  Their friendship deepened and Ashlee eventually fell in love with Coop.  They shared a tender kiss, but Coop still held back his true feelings.  It was clear to everyone but him that he was in love with Ashlee.

A turning point came when Coop broke up with his model-like girlfriend Ava, and declared his love for Ashlee only to be rebuffed by her.  In a poignant speech, she explained that it shouldn’t be so hard for him to love her.  He has sworn to win her heart and prove his love.

This modern day Cinderella tale is brought to life by John Driscoll (Coop) and Caitlin Van Zandt (Ashlee).  Driscoll and Van Zandt have chemistry to spare as they bicker and spar with each other.  When Van Zandt turns her baby blue eyes up at Driscoll, he seems to melt, as do the viewers.

Both actors have displayed good comedic timing which was never more evident than during the recent episode where Coop became excited while watching a movie with Ashlee.  While some thought the ensuing scene where Coop talked to his “privates” in the bathroom was distasteful, others found it hilarious and true to life.  Van Zandt seemed to be in her element as she baited Driscoll with wry one liners, and his embarrassment and awkwardness added depth to what could have been a cheesy scene.

These two are perfect together, and have real potential to grow into an anchor couple for the show, a young Josh and Reva if you will.  With Ashlee and her mother hinting everyday about some dark secret from Ashlee’s past, hopefully it won’t derail the burgeoning romance.  With any luck, the writers will let Coop and Ashlee declare and consummate their mutual love before they get torn apart, only to reunite them again in true soap fashion.


                                                                                                                                                                                   Lesleyann Coker, SoapdomLesleyann Coker is the co-author of Boob Tube, a
forthcoming novel that goes behind the scenes of the
soap opera industry.  She was previously a reporter
for Soap Opera Weekly Magazine.