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Young and the Restless Unreal: Why Summer Newman’s Grief Is Going To Waste

Allison Lanier is doing great on Y&R…but the story isn’t worth it.

summer newman is mourning her not dead mother phyllis summers on young and the restlessIt's confusing why Y&R chose to play it this way.

Allison Lanier is doing a masterful job of portraying Summer Newman as grieving, full of regret, and experiencing tremendous guilt on The Young and the Restless. What a shame such an excellent performance is going to waste on a story that cut any tension or suspense before we even got the chance to worry.

Young and the Restless: The Element of Surprise

Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) was declared dead in one episode. And then popped up very much alive at the end of the very next one. Now, sure, we suspected this was all a set-up. After all, Phyllis and Jeremy (James Hyde) had spent weeks talking oh, so cryptically about their oh, so clever, oh, so devious, and oh, so foolproof plan.

So we figured that Phyllis melting down in front of her children, then setting it up so that Jack (Peter Bergman), Summer, and Kyle (Michael Mealor) walked in on Diane (Susan Walters) trying to strangle her, then fainting and getting taken out in an ambulance was all part of the aforementioned plan. But we could have been given at least a smidge of doubt that the car crash and fire weren’t part of it. You know, to make it feel at least a little bit soapy?

Summer Newman: In Need of Family Grief Counseling

At least, that way, as Daniel lamented to Lily (Christel Khalil) and Summer railed at Diane, we could have felt at least a little bit of their pain. Instead of already knowing it was all pointless. Soaps are supposed to make you feel things. And all we felt was that our time was being wasted. We want to sympathize with Summer and Daniel, but why bother when it will all be undone shortly?

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Young and the Restless Payoff For Summer Newman and Viewers

No. We take that back. There was one more feeling. It was confusion. How is Phyllis’s plan supposed to get back at Diane? Was that supposed to be the mystery and tension we’d previously been lacking? Because we were less intrigued and more cynical? The payoff to this pointless and uninvolving story had better be worth sitting through its contortions. Because if it’s not, then not just Summer’s, but all of our emotions will have been wasted.

The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on CBS. For an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.

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