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Young and the Restless turns 40

Yesterday the soap opera The Young and the Restless celebrated its fortieth anniversary. Yes, you read that correctly, the show has been airing for forty years. A rare feat in this day and age where a hit show lasts maybe ten seasons at best. Especially when soaps are being cancelled left and right. Once soaps ruled the daytime airwaves, running from 12:30pm until 4pm on all three major networks, now I think you're lucky if a handful of soaps survive. I won't get into the possible reasons as this is not about such things. Created by William Bell, Y&R first aired on March 26, 1973. The show did center on different families than it does today. Though one should expect some changes after forty years correct? Though also some things have stayed the same, and for that I am grateful. My name is Tom Johnson and I am quite glad to call myself a fan of the Young and Restless.

I started watching the show in the Summer of '84. I was thirteen. I forget the exact reason why I started watching. I know I was on summer vacation and was out of school. Perhaps it was raining, maybe I was home, grounded, or something, because at thirteen you really didn't spend much time inside. At least you didn't back then. But I did tune in. I remember one of the first story-lines was Jack (then played by Terry Lester) and Nikki (still played by Melody Thomas) having an affair at his beach house. Yow! I will be honest that at thirteen I more than likely became hooked by the soap because, well because of all the attractive women. What self-respecting, hormone-filled teen wouldn't be? I think my first two crushes on that show were the original Jill Abbott (Brenda Dickson) and Lauren Fenmore (Tracy Bregman). One of the first stories I do remember was Lauren being stalked by the villainous Shawn Garret. That and the story involving Cricket, Nina, and Aunt Rose. Who could resist all the beautiful women and excitement. Paul and Andy being P.I.s, along with Victor and Jack. I do miss such characters as Miguel and Maimie, John (though he does show up from time to time)... it's been a long time hasn't it? So, why does a straight guy of forty-two watch a soap? Because I like to. For me as I grew older, it became an hour of mindless fun. Yes,mindless... no offense or insult meant to the show. But for me it was an hour where I don't have to think. I sit there and just enjoy the show. That's not to say the show doesn't cover heavy issues, from abortion to alcoholism to an important child character dying,and with recent ongoing stories of Nikki's MS and Kay's possible Alzheimer's. But for their about characters I care about and the show doesn't browbeat me with politics, religion, or anything I can get from the news. Though the reason I enjoy Y&R over any of the shows is it stays rooted in the norm. I'm not seeing possessions, aliens,mystic cities, or anything else completely over the top. I will admit I do think they could have done more and a better job with the recent bullying story. As a fan of movies like Casablanca, Peyton Place, and Picnic I just enjoy the melodrama, the romance. Call me a geek but hey the chicks like Sharon and Lauren are still easy on the eyes.

So, yes I have been watching for thirty years. To be honest it hasn't been a continuous run. Back in 1984 you didn't have VCRs to tape the show and watch later. So, I watched on days off from school. Later on I started reading Soap Opera Digest to keep up with what was going on. When I graduated high school I was able to watch at work, waiting tables/seating customers during lunch. It was when I went to college Y&R helped me meet one of my better, and long-time friends. During lunch one day, somehow Young and the Restless came up in conversation at the lunch table, and a fellow student chimed in that she also watched. So, after that we would scoot over to her dorm, down to the basement and watch Y&R. So, thanks to the show for starting a friendship, one of the very few of mine, that has endured for twenty years. It wasn't until a few years back that I stopped watching due to my infliction with an eye disease which came with a nice case of glaucoma. Unable to really endure the glare from either the television or computer screen I stopped paying attention. It wasn't until a year ago that I decided to get back into watching the show. I was quite surprised and glad to find that most of the actors and actresses I had grown up with were still playing the characters. True, some things have changed, new characters have been introduced, but in this day and age, it is easy enough to catch up. It has also been my dream to write a mystery storyline for the show and see what I can come up with some of my favorite characters. No idea how to go about submitting such as this but maybe down the line... Well this has been my celebration to one of my favorite shows. Happy Fortieth Young and the Restless, may you have many more.

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