Since we’re witnessing the ‘The Golden Era of Television’ (well, the third one), it’s pretty easy to sing the praises of such shows like ‘Mad Men,’ ‘Homeland,’ ‘Modern Family,’ and basically everything on HBO. But, let’s face it: we like the bad stuff too. Whether it’s teary-eyed confessionals, stupid pranks or staged catfights, we all have a TV guilty pleasure (or two) that we simply cannot quit.
So that’s why I’m rounding up my favorite television vices each week, so that we can all find solace in knowing that someone else is watching – and enjoying – the same vast wasteland.
Because the first step in healing is admitting that you have a problem.
This week’s Guilty Pleasure: ‘The Young and the Restless.’
I have a serious history with the residents of Genoa City. I first began watching ‘The Young and the Restless’ at the age of six with my babysitter and I have it to thank for teaching me all I know about life. Like, for instance, how having a long-lost identical twin sister is not only possible, but also pretty much a surety in life, and, when in doubt, give an extra long pause before revealing something to ensure the most dramatic effect possible. Throughout the years, I would check in and out with the Newmans and Abbotts to see how they were doing, and it’s always been the same old, same old: an extra-marital affair here, a switched-baby-at-birth there. But since I began freelancing full-time, I find myself being sucked into the Genoa City happenings more and more on a daily basis. I’ve realized that, no matter how dramatic and predictable the show may be, I just can’t quit ‘Y&R’ and here’s why.
The Predictable (Yet Addictive) Storylines
I can leave Genoa City for two weeks – heck, even two years! – and I will still know exactly what’s going on within the first two minutes of tuning in, thanks to the use of constant flashbacks and those never-ending storylines (I think it took, like, five years to solve the murder of Diane Jenkins). Sure, all that baby-switching and wife-swapping and whodunits can get pretty redundant at times, but it’s their predictability that keeps us coming back for more.
Work Looks Sexy and Exciting
Besides Paul the Detective and Michael the Lawyer, I couldn’t tell you what the other residents of Genoa City actually do for a living. Is Newman Enterprises a hedge fund? What does Chancellor Industries really make? I know Jabot is a cosmetics company, but I’m not sure what everyone does around there. No matter. With their high-powered business suits and the constant shuffling of papers, they always look super professional and super busy. Whether Jack is doing some major self-reflection while staring out a window or Jill is doing the deed on a desk, work has never looked so fun.
Time and Space Are Non-Existent
Genoa City is on its own clock. What seems like weeks for us is actually only a day, or even an hour, for its residents. Babies are born one minute, and then grown into a full-fledged adults in, oh, about a month. Victor hops on his jet for Paris and is back home within minutes. Also, Genoa City must be pretty small because no sooner does Nick leave the Athletic Club in one scene than reappears at Crimson Lights in the next. I’m not a big fan of growing up in the blink of an eye, but I sure wouldn’t mind jetting off to Paris in one.
No One Really Dies
Faithful ‘Y&R’ viewers know that a character’s death does not guarantee their eternal demise. They can easily come back to life thanks to a stranger’s kindness or happenstance or, well, however a writer wants to resurrect them. “The car exploded, but…before it did, Adam escaped just in time!” OK, cool. We’ll buy that. And if the same actor can’t reprise his role, that’s fine, too. Sometimes characters have plastic surgery that totally restructures their face (“He was burned beyond belief!”), other times Genoa City fans just accept that the old Billy is now playing the new Billy, no biggie. These characters have more lives than a cat, and that’s why we know that when a character dies, it’s not over until…well, never (except for, maybe, Delia).
Even if you’ve never watched a full episode of ‘Y&R’ you know Victor Newman, and you know that mustache. Decades have gone by and it’s still somehow just as stylish and bewitching as it was almost 40 years ago. Women swoon over it, men curse it, yet the ‘stache remains. Sure, Victor can be scary and mean and selfish, but he always – always! – wins. Predictable? Of course. Boring? Never. Victor and his mustache may not be young anymore, but they are definitely still restless, and remain pretty much the main reason I keep coming back for more.