Commentary Y&R

Young and the Restless Demonstrates What Good Soap Writing Is

How two scenes proved what “Show Not Tell” should be on Y&R.

the young and the restless lily and sally, summer and phyllis.Y&R did a lovely job of showing not telling recently.

The Young and the Restless offered a master class in what good writing is — and always should be. The first thing aspiring writers are told is to “show and not tell.” It’s a noble goal, but not always possible.

Young and the Restless: Know Your Limitations

Sometimes, it’s a matter of budget. Y&R presumably didn’t have the money to show us Phyllis’s (Michelle Stafford) ambulance crashing and exploding into a fireball. So we had to take Chance’s (Conner Floyd) word for it. The same way we have to believe that Society is the hottest, most popular, and most successful restaurant in town…even though we never see more than four people at a time in it, tops.

Y&R: Hell Is Other People

Sometimes, actors aren’t available for certain stories, which is presumably why Mariah (Camryn Grimes) and Tessa (Cait Fairbanks) met their daughter’s birth mother off-screen, and why we haven’t seen Amanda (Mishael Morgan) making Devon (Bryton James) and Abby’s (Melissa Ordway) lives miserable, even though we’d really like to.

Young and the Restless: The Telephone Game

But the worst offenders are when we are just told things like Harrison (Kellen Enriquez) loves Diane (Susan Walters) and was devastated while she was in prison. To that, we say, “Sure, Jan.” Don’t tell us. Show us.

Which, conversely, was exactly what Y&R did, and brilliantly in the last two pairs of scenes on the Friday episode prior to Memorial Day weekend. In one scene, Lily (Christel Khalil) was telling Sally (Courtney Hope) how it’s the parents’ job to take care of their child, to protect them, and then let them go to live their own lives — no matter how much it may hurt you. You live for your child, not the other way around.

Young & Restless: Opposite Day

Then, in the very next scene, Phyllis used all of her manipulative powers to gaslight Summer (Allison Lanier) so badly that, by the end of it, Summer insisted it was her job to take care of her mother, to protect her, and to give up her own life to give Phyllis whatever she needs — no matter how much that might hurt Summer. Viewers saw Phyllis for the twisted monster she’d become. Without the show telling us anything. Just showing us. Well played, Y&R. Well played!

The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on CBS. For more about what’s coming up in Genoa City, check out all the latest Y&R spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.

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