Deep Soap: Y&R’s Casual Sex Epidemic

Peter Bergman on Y&R (CBS)

Peter Bergman on Y&R (CBS)

Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am

The Young & The Restless‘ is turning into the daytime equivalent of the No Strings Attached section of Craigslist.  People are having meaningless hook ups all over the place. It’s neither a criticism nor a compliment, just an observation.

Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) has made it quite clear that her relationship with Deacon (Sean Kanan) is nothing but casual sex.  Nick and Christine (Lauralee Bell) had a drunken makeout session and agreed never to mention it again.  Tuesday, minutes after Skye (Laura Stone) told a nonplussed Adam (Michael Muhney) that she loved him and Phyllis rejected Jack’s (Peter Bergman) flirtations, Jack and Skye hit the sheets.

Given that Y&R was for many years a show where it took couples eons to have sex and multiple storylines were centered around women who were opting to wait until marriage to lose their virginity, this reflects a huge shift in the show.

It’s certainly a more contemporary, realistic attitude towards sex. Most primetime serials are casual about sex, notably ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’  (Procedurals, oddly have become the last bastion of sexual tension. It took House and Cuddy six years to get together.)

Y&R is now truly restless, if not always young.  It is also resulting in some fun scenes, like Adam walking in on Skye and Jack in bed.  But it makes all of the sex on the show have less of an impact.  When Nick and Sharon finally had sex, it was the culmination of years of story.  It was almost as big a deal as their wedding.   Now nobody waits longer than a few dates.

Even adult virgin Chance slept with Chloe after a few months.   I am not advocating a return to storylines that portrayed women as damaged goods if they chose to have sex early in a relationship.  I am all about putting the steam back in soap operas, provided that it does not come at the expense of genuine romance.  It’s just surprising to see what used to be a socially conservative show have a sudden sexual revolution.

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New and Improved Noah

In other Genoa City news, thank you, Y&R  casting department, for getting one right. Recently there have been some dubious recasts that have not met with much of the audience’s approval including Clementine Ford as Mac and Darius McCrary as Malcolm.   So I was thrilled by the debut of Luke Kleintank as Noah on Tuesday.

In a single episode he proved himself, in my opinion, to be more interesting and charismatic than his predecessor Kevin Schmidt.  Obviously Schmidt, who left the show because he landed the lead role in The Cartoon Network’s ‘Unnatural History‘ and has also booked several film roles, is talented, but his portrayal of Noah was bland.

Of course, a cliched teen romance storyline did not help his performance. Kleintank exudes hot, privileged bad boy with a heart of gold.  He’s certainly easy on the eyes.  Noah, who now seems to be a young adult of indeterminate age, and chronologically should be older than Abby, surprised Nick (Josh Morrow) and Sharon (Sharon Case) by returning home unexpectedly from Paris.  He announced that he broke up with Eden, to the relief of every single viewer who hated her ill conceived character, then retreated upstairs to respond to a text — or was it a sext? — in private.  Is he conspiring with Abby or having a secret affair with another character on the show?  As long as he has not left behind a pregnant Eden in Paris, I am interested in finding out.  Kudos Y&R for casting an actor who is right for the role, rather than someone with name recognition.


As everyone on earth figured out months ago, ‘One Life To Live’s‘  Tea (Florencia Lozano) is alive and will soon be will.  Eli (Matt Walton) blackmailed Greg (Terrell Tilford) into falsely diagnosing Tea with a brain tumor and giving her medications that mimicked painful symptoms.  Thanks to him, Tea and her loved ones went through hell.

Though hackneyed flashbacks we learned that all Eli was threatening him with was revealing a secret to his little sister Destiny (Shenell Edmonds).  Fans are already speculating that either he or his brother Sean is actually Destiny’s father.  Yeah, that would be upsetting for her to find out.  But that’s hardly justification for what he did.

I get the sense that I am supposed to feel for Greg’s dilemma and believe that he is a good person because he disobeyed Eli’s command to kill Tea.  I have no sympathy for the hippocratic oath violating wimp.  He could either have manned up and told Destiny the truth or turned Eli into the police.  If Greg does not lose his medical license as a result of this fiasco, I am going to be really upset.

I am equally unsympathetic to the plight of Robert Ford (David Gergory), fired professor.  First of all, he somehow managed to go from Teaching Assistant to full professor — presumably skipping getting a PhD or at least an MFA as well as the assistant and associate professor ranks — in one semester.

Every real life academic who plugs away for decades in the hopes of a prestigious career would like to beat him down the way Eli did.   Second, yes Langston (Brittany Underwood) set him up in the hopes of getting him fired.  But he did make out with his student, well aware that it was in violation of university rules.  So he is guilty as charged.  Langston’s big setup consisted of saying she wanted to get back together.  All he had to do was say no.  He had unprotected sex with a mentally unstable Jessica and lied to her about it, as well as used numerous other women as sex toys.  The fact that he know feels remorse does not absolve him of responsibility for his despicable behavior.   Men of Llanview, quit making excuses.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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