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There is still a strong desire for this type of programming as witnessed by the decades people have been captivated by their soap operas.”Captivated is one way to express my amazement over the latest indignity to befall Y&R’s poor Jack Abbott, substituted on his wedding night by the devilish lookalike Marco.Jack has for the last few months been trying to get home to his true love, the mercurial Phyllis played by Gina Tognoni, after fan favorite Michelle Stafford exited the role.Jack has been held captive and drugged by the lunatic Kelly, who wanted him all for herself and who—despite being dead, though nobody ever really dies on The Young and The Restless—continues to sporadically haunt him.Then he escaped and found himself on board a ship, which blew up, but not before he was discovered by Marisa, Marco’s ex. The Y&R world can feel very small and coincidence-filled.
And now, at CBS’s Television City in Hollywood, just opposite The Bold and The Beautiful and down the hall a bit from The Price Is Right, I—a dedicated, very excited fan—am here amid the warren of sets that include the “athletic club” where confrontations take place over glasses of wine, and people are always hooking up in what appears to be Genoa City’s only hotel room.
And so we 5.16 million viewers (Y&R is celebrating its biggest audience numbers since 2010) like to hold the show dear as something of a bespoke, private passion.
Reveal your passion and sometimes others respond by recalling rushing home from school to watch the totemic “supercouple” Luke and Laura getting married on General Hospital in 1981—Anthony Geary, who plays Luke, finally leaves the show on July 27—but people’s enjoyment of soaps is often recalled in the same wistful tone as other youthful follies.
And so now Jack is in a coma, and being willed to consciousness by Phyllis (a coma veteran herself, she went into a coma a while ago, and awoke a completely different actress), and us—because, really, how much can one man take?
Making the good suffer is the classic arc of any byzantine daytime story, through to whatever shattering denouement the writers can dream up.