Set in Genoa City, Wisconsin, this soap opera that centers on the saga between two wealthy families (the Newmans and the Abbotts) in the cosmetics industry. Head of the Newman clan is Victor Newman, the arrogant, cavorting billionaire and his wife Nikki; and running the Abbott show is Jack Abbott, the irresponsible, playboy CEO, and his sister Ashley. Most of the show is centered on the competition between the two companies: Victor's Newman Enterprises and the Abbotts' Jabot.
Yep, I was there on the first day from day one for "The Young and the Restless". Let me set the stage for all the younger viewers so they know where I'm coming from...
Back in the late 60's early 70's there wasn't much fare for young pre-teen children like me for Soap Opreas. They were all "adult" and handled "adult" themes, that were, honestly, way over our heads to keep us viewed day in and day out. We were of the "Dark Shadows" generation. To look at a soap, we wanted one that was exciting, different and on our level. Along came "The Young and the Restless" in 1973.
I knew it was for me and my pre-adolescent girl-pals, our parents didn't like it much. Our parents were watching "Somerset", "The Secret Storm", "Edge of Night", "Another World" and before "General Hospital" got hip, these soaps were dry and people didn't speak about much on network TV. Everyone had the same disease, everyone sat on the bed by themselves and yuck! that organ music!
It was exciting back then to see a daytime soap storyline wrap around themes that young ladies and young gentlemen were dealing with of those times, and it spoke to us on OUR level. Even the "older" more adult cast were speaking on our level, so it caught on quickly for us.
It's now 2003, 30 years later and "The Young and the Restless" is still a soap I will watch. Like all soaps, it has its moments...it goes up and down. But the "Young and the Restless" was NOT afraid to tackle the social, moral and racial issues of our day... STD's, AIDS, Cults, Alcoholism, Older women going after younger men (it was always the other way around!), Gigilos, Strippers, Rock Musicians, Models, oh my goodness!!! Now, yes, its more common place and these themes aren't much but "The Young and the Restless" was one of the first to tackle these head on and not subtly either!
The writing was crisp, young, on-target, just the right thing for us. Some of the best characters in my soap lifetime of watching the "Young and the Restless" that were dear to me were:
The Brooks Sisters -- Yes, the one who played the piano was the one I centered on because at the time, I could understand her problems. And "Pumpkin" poor, "Pumpkin", her story line really made me cry.
Nikki Reed -- Nikki and her family were tough. Nikki was a stripper. Nikki got money. Nikki got...around. Boy, we loved Nikki!
Katherine Chancellor -- This is the Y&R grand dame. Katherine and her younger men, Katherine and her money, Katherine and her alcoholism, Katherine and her face-lifts! Cosmetic plastic surgery was not mentioned on SOAPS! This character brought it on! I really wish they would show this soap in repeats, Katherine Chancellor kicked royal butt!
Victor Newman -- At first I thought this character wasn't going anywhere but wow, he developed nicely and I cannot see the program without him. Rich, powerful, handsome, -- flawed. What else could you ask for? The Newman Clan -- Victoria and Nicolas growing up quite nice and spoiled and unsure as we would expect.
The Abbott Clan -- In the 80's, Ashley Abbott and I were on the same career track. except I didn't do it through family, I made it up the corporate ladder the hard way, but boy was I glad to see Ashley Abbott go through the turmoil, the backbiting: her brother Jack who crushed HER at every corner and had his own problems, the father and head of a HUGE fragrance corporation John, the dear Tracey Abbott who was going through almost EVERY teenage girls' nightmare, being pretty, smart and second banana to her svelte sister, the mother Deena who had an affair and...well..lets just say not all Abbotts are Abbotts and when that eventually comes out (it's 2003 now and not EVERYBODY knows) what a thrill.
There are so many more such as...Neil Winters who really worked his way up through the ranks; streetwise, Drucilla Barber and her over-achieving sister Olivia, Paul Williams and his detective firm, what a thrill they were in the 80's (and not to mention that little STD Paul had when coming to Genoa City, and not to mention the Cult!!) Cricket Christine Blair who was the summer entry we all looked forward to in Jr. Jabot, the scheming Diane, the unsuspecting Andy, and so on and so on and so on!!!
The "Young and the Restless" has kept true to its title always bringing in young and restless story lines as well as keeping older viewers like me interested as well. That's a tough thing to do day after day, year after year, decade after decade. Some story lines and characters won't jell with everyone -- and that's okay, that's a soap. This is one that will be bold, go out on a limb and come right into your face with current and past material, young, middle aged and older story lines that no matter how old you are you could get involved with, (maybe not!) but the Young and the Restless is still, to me, one of the best daytime soaps out there for it is young..and very restless.
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