Deep Soap: Daytime Emmy Hosts Announced; Are the Women of ‘Young & the Restless’ Leaning Out?

Amelia Heinle of "The Young & the Restless" (Photo: CBS)

Daytime Emmys Hosts and Presenters Announced

“The 40th Annual Daytime Emmys” are just nine days away. HLN has announced that the awards show will be hosted by “Good Morning America” weather man Sam Champion, and HLN personalities A.J. Hammer and Robin Meade. In other words, three people who mean nothing to the soap, talk and game show viewers who will be watching the show. But considering HLN’s line-up, we could have gotten stuck with Nancy Grace and Jodi Arias.

Fortunately, the presenters will include numerous soap stars including “General Hospital’sNancy Lee Grahn  (Alexis) and Jason Thompson (Pratick), “Days of Our LivesChandler Massey (Will) and Freddie Smith (Sonny), “The Bold & the Beautiful’sJacqueline Wood (Steffy) and “The Young & the RestlessJess Walton (Jill), Max Ehrich (Fen), Hunter King (Summer) and Bryton James (Devon) and “One Life to Live’sErika Slezak (Viki). Grahn hinted about a segment for the telecast tweeting, “Took a crew onto Hollywood blvd for the Emmys. Picture 6 pop lock dancers doing creative things with Emmys. #crazygood.” You can watch the awards on June 16 at 8PM ET/ 5PM Pacific time on HLN.

Leaning Out

It may seem like an insignificant plot point unworthy of ire, but my blood boiled on Wednesday when “The Young & the Restless’s” Victoria (Amelia Heinle) decided to give up a corporate career to become a children’s book author. From the time she was SORASED into a teen, Victoria’s ambition was to run Newman Enterprises. She was the child who inherited Victor’s (Eric Braeden) business acumen. He, being a male chauvinist, always viewed the more family oriented Nick as his heir apparent. Her struggle to get her father’s recognition is what fueled her.

One of the things that drew me to Y&R when I was a child was that women spent as much time in the boardroom as the bedroom. Back then, Jill was a power player at Jabot. Ashley (Eileen Davidson) ruled the chemistry lab. Sure, there were plenty of women with different priorities. Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) was content arranging flowers and playing the piano at the Newman Ranch. Sharon (Sharon Case) was, until a few years ago, focused on raising her children. But there was a sense that women could, if that was what interested them, be power players.

Full Episodes of “The Young and the Restless” Are Available on xfinity

So Victoria’s decision to give up not just working for Victor, which would be understandable given that he again promoted one of his sons over her, but on business all together, was galling. Why not have her go work for Jabot or Chancellor and beat Newman at its own game? I have nothing against characters who are writers. I love Traci (Beth Maitland) and Nina (Tricia Cast), but they have always been portrayed as women who find happiness behind the keyboard, not in the executive suite. For Victoria, it came across as giving up Peggy Olsen’s life for Betty Draper’s. I was also peeved by her telling her mother that she didn’t have the first idea of how to become an author. She ran a major cosmetics company. She should have a hundred contacts in publishing, and the confidence and skills to figure out what she doesn’t know. I got to thinking about all of the ways that, over the past few months, the women of Genoa City have been, to use the lingo of “Leaning In”, the most popular non-fiction book in the country right now, leaning out. Lily (Christel Khalil) just gave up a leadership role on a big fashion campaign because she’s worried that she will be tempted to act on her feelings for art director Tyler (Redaric Williams), thereby jeopardizing her marriage. Sharon also gave up her job because of her on- and off-again relationship with Adam. Leslie and Avery both quit positions as the legal counsel for major companies, though they are starting up their own firm. Though it was dictated by tragic real-life circumstances, Katherine (Jeanne Cooper), the one true female mogul in town, will be killed off. Jill seems more interested in offering Cane (Daniel Goddard) business advice than getting back in the game herself. Lauren ostensibly runs a chain of department stores, but her employees are never shown on-screen, nor does she ever seem to be actually working. Chloe (Elizabeth Hendricksen) and Chelsea (Melissa Egan) have started their own clothing company, but the vibe is more, “We’re two friends who are stumbling through this,” than Genoa City’s version of Forrester Creations. They spend a lot more time talking about their personal lives than actually working, while in contrast, male executives are shown talking about business and making decisions, which, admittedly in soap terms means throwing around some generic jargon.

It’s surprising that the women of Genoa City seem to be moving backwards now that Jill Farren Phelps, the most powerful woman in daytime right now, has become the show’s executive producer. It’s not just unfortunate because of the message that it sends out, but because women viewers are seeking out shows that portray women who care as much about their careers as their love lives, like “Scandal’s” Olivia Pope. Y&R should not celebrate its 40th anniversary by reverting to the gender roles of 1973.

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

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