The Personal Side of The Young and the Restless (A Positive Viewpoint on YR at 45)

 

Being cynical about The Young and the Restless these days is easy.  There is upheaval everywhere you look, and the fans are fighting it out on social media.  It’s a battlefield out there, no I don’t mean the awesome Pat Benatar song either.  Being a soap fan can be like a metaphorical solider on a battlefield for a dying genre.  Regardless, this blog post isn’t going to be about the negatives for this is a big week for The Young and the Restless. They are celebrating 45 Years on the air, and I’m here to celebrate with them.

Here are three positive ways The Young and the Restless affected my life.

Me and Grandma

I remember my grandmother telling me about the first episode of The Young and the Restless.  What was happening back then and how much it had changed since then.  That was when I was a teenager, but I’ve been watching since I was in utero.  I have fond memories are watching it with my grandmother growing up. On videotape once I started school and then in the summers I remember coming home from the pool to watch smelling of chlorine and a stomach full of brown cow ice cream.  I remember being obsessed and confused by my feelings for Victor and Hope when I was a hardcore Nikki and Victor fan. I remember being so in love with Nick and Sharon and feeling devastated when they kept falling part just to be elated when they got back together. I cried my eyes out when Cassie died. Katherine Chancellor and Jill Abbott. Their fights, friendship, and love for each other were epic, and I loved to see what they were that week. I had (have really) a huge crush on Neil and became very protective of him (I still am).

These are memories I hold dear.  Watching the show with my grandmother week after week as I grew up.   She has dementia now but every so often she will ask me about the show, and I tell her.  No matter what my grandmother blames Victor and that is how I know she is sane that day.  She used to blame Victor for everything back then too. We laugh, and I get another memory thanks to The Young and the Restless.

Katherine Chancellor

People see soaps as a genre where women fight over men and slap each other as they fall into pools, cakes or fountains.  Yeah, it has a lot of that, but The Young and the Restless had lots of women in charge of their own businesses and held essential jobs in the major companies.  Katherine Chancellor is the one that stands out to me the most.  This is a character that defines the soap diva.  She started out as a bored housewife with a drinking problem to someone who beat the odds and ran her own company while being an inspiration to everyone.  I grew up watching her and admired her to her dying day.  Her ability to push forward even when everything was terrible, and she was at her worst stuck with me.  Also, how to deal with a crazy person watching her epic battle with Jill Abbott. (I adore Jill by the way).  Katherine was like another grandmother to me and one hell of a role model. She wasn’t perfect at all, and that is what made her a true daytime diva.

Made Me Want to Write

I always wanted to write. That was a given.  I would write stories about my stuffed animals and my family before The Young, and the Restless became a considerable part of my life.  That is when I took my writing to the next level. For every great storyline from my time watching Young and the Restless, there were a few duds that drove me up a wall.  I would grab my Lisa Frank notebook and write what I wanted to happen. Yes, I participated in early fanfiction, but it helped me find a passion for writing complicated stories that went beyond my family and what my stuffed animals were doing that week.  I never lost that passion.

I grew up watching The Young and the Restless.  This show has been a part of my life forever, and I can’t see myself ever walking away for good. I might have moments when the show is just terrible, and I can’t relate, but I can never walk away.  So, I wait, watch and complain, but I will always support this soap and the people that work in and behind the camera.

Here is to 45 more years of feeling young and restless! Until next time, enjoy the week and try and stay positive.

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The Young and the Restless Live and Organized – January 29, 2018

Welcome to the preshow! I have been doing a live review for the soap Emmerdale for a year now (sort of…its getting close to a year) and I figured I’d try it out with The Young and the Restless. This is just my initial reactions, theories or opinions as I watch live. My opinions are separated by set or family on screen. Depends on how many characters are on screen at a time. So, let’s see how this goes today. Please leave comments below if you enjoyed this.

Let’s crack on!

Does anyone else hum the theme song too? No? Just me. Awesome. I think we need a new opening though. When Michelle Stafford’s legs are still in the opening one needs to change it up. Though, having Stafford back on the show as Phyllis sounds AWESOME. I miss Red. Big Red. Bitchy Red. Anyway…onto something different!

The Club

Hillary going from full blown ‘I have no time for others’ career woman to wanting a baby gave me whiplash. Just saying.

Like you care about family matters now, Billy. You are a true plot device these days. Don’t you have to screw Phyllis on some stairs or something? Go fulfill your comic relief position. Quick. Before Phyllis gets a storyline without you in it.

I love Ashley’s look today. Its all types of awesome.

Yes. Abby. The turkey baster baby.

What does Ashley want with Lily? Good mixing of characters though. I haven’t seen Lily talk to Ashley in a while.

Ashely is trying to get the new people under her wing instead of Victoria? Am I guessing this right? Are we heading towards a Ashley vs Victoria battle in the boardroom? I’m good with that. Abby can stay out of it. Another one I worry she can’t cross the street without sleeping with someone’s boyfriend.

I don’t know if I’d trust Ashley to make a great decision. She is upset and wants revenge. She might regret coming to Newman over her family.  Dina might have to come home to remind them the power of the Abbotts.

I assume Scotts blog is gone or just on the road and no one cares.

Hamilton-Winters Group Offices

She took the assistant job. Wow. Tessa is desperate.

Devon doesn’t want to deal with you. Just put her head down and do your job.

I know what they are doing. They are developing her into something bigger than just a singer. That bodes well for her time here on the show.

I understand Noah’s anger, but he is pushing it. He isn’t an angel either. Oh god. Yes, Devon is the adult in the room. Oh wait….NO. She doesn’t have to tell him. HOW DARE YOU NOAH.

Noah is a butt. I swear. They weren’t making out. They had one kiss.

Tessa is in hell right now. She shouldn’t have stolen the notebook and poem, but the kiss doesn’t need to be explained. It was something they both still need to figure out.

Devon is the adult in this storyline! Good for you!

Oh. Did Tessa not meet Charlie before? Great mixing of characters. Good for you show.

I do love how the family is getting involved in this business. I love seeing the Winters up and back in action. No more Winter Wednesdays.

Tessa is sleeping at work? Oh boy. Didn’t she have any money saved from being paid? Did it go somewhere? Awwww. I feel bad for her. I’m easy people. Have you not understood that yet. All it takes is some sad eyes and music and I’m a goner.

The Ashby’s

Cane is being a bit needy. Give the woman room. You just got back together. Let her figure out her place and feelings a bit more. Its not going to be perfect.

I think Canes Mom needs to make an appearance. General Hospital won’t treat her right…head on over to Genoa City!

Mattie seemed to adjust to Sam but now she isn’t? Ok then. This storyline is obviously a mess because of the switchover but yeah. I’m glad someone is holding Cane accountable. Next? She will ask why he whisper acts. *WHISPER*

Before the fire you weren’t willing to rebuild your family? Ok then. I’m a bit hard on Cane because he annoys me the most. Can’t love them all.

So, Mattie is putting him to sleep now? I think that should be Canes job no matter what. Then again, I think they screwed this part of the story up. Adorable cute Baby Sam and how he fits within this family. It can work very well. The show already proved that many times over but they seemed to run through this plot too fast.

Chelsea and Nick

This handyman stuff going on with Nick is odd. He is a little rich boy. It doesn’t work.

Nick is our resident comic relief for this episode. 10 to 1 he almost breaks the whole building.

God. The building is still standing.

Hey! Magic vent at your service! Is that something that Adam did? Hid money? Is that Chelsea hiding the money?

Love Chelsea’s outfit though. *vain moment*

OH WOW! That is one semester of college in that bathroom vent!

Crimson Lights

I love the Sharon/Chelsea friendship. It screams Adam might be heading home.

Let’s make it really complicated and awkward for Chelsea. *thumbs up*

Why is Hillary just walking around talking to people about her womb? Its like they are looking to chem test friends for her. Hillary has friends. She is awesome thank you very much.

I mean….Chelsea…I love you and all but…sooner or later that part of your life would get out. Might as well own it and turn it into a lesson for people who look up to you as a fashion designer. Always spinning my friend. SPINNING.

Well, I trust Devon to have an adult conversation with Mariah while Noah acts like a child. Ok. Its obvious. I like Devon. Like like Devon. He is a smart cutie. I worry that Noah needs help crossing the street.

This is why Mariah is one of my favorite characters. Other than the snark? She tries. She always strives to be better.

I really love this conversation between Devon and Mariah. Its adult and sweet and maybe Mariah is getting another ally other than Sharon.

“The heart wants what the heart wants.” – Devon

“Damn the consequences. I added that part.” – Mariah

Is Hillary just waiting for people to talk to in Crimson Lights? Just wandering around? *SNORT*

Hillary’s characterization is just all over the place. I thought she was heading in a good direction but now…sigh…I don’t know.

Billy is used to spreading it around. I’m going in hard on Billy today. Damn. I just slapped myself on that one. Yet, I leave it in. *wink*

Did anyone else notice how they changed how Summer got here? She had an affair. Not IVF. I was there.

NO FUCKING PHILLY BABY. Kill me now if they go there with them. *eye roll* I don’t feel bad calling Billy a man whore now. Also, Phyllis having a baby? No. NO. If that is the best they got for them? EEK. Sorry Philly fans. That is bad. Usually the baby shows up after about three storylines with the couple to strengthen them. They just appear for comic relief these days. I don’t count when Phyllis was emotionally cheating on Jack as a storyline either. *Oh boy. Its obvious now how I feel about them. Sorry!*

Newman Tower

Yes Cane. Newman is making lots of moves right now. Better get on that.

Oh. Lily is staying there and lying to Cane. I wonder if this is about the baby or she just needs even more space?

I think you can afford Ashley for Ashley is priceless. You get her smarts wand you get to annoy Jack. A win/win for Victor.

It’s not the first time some autonomy was given to an Abbott there. Not lately but it has happened. *tries to remember*

Is Victor punishing Victoria again? Why does she keep coming back and being loyal when he just cuts her off at the knees? Its getting super old now. SUPER DUPER OLD.

Mariah_&_Tessa_caught.png

Whew. That ends the first Live and Organized: YR Edition. Tell me below what you think and maybe I’ll try this again! Until next time, see you around in Genoa City.

 

The Tired and Confused: Thoughts on The Young and the Restless

I have been watching Young and the Restless for as long as I can remember. I have fond memories of watching live in the summer and after school with my grandma. I lived through multiple affairs, false starts, sad deaths and amazing villains. Yeah, there were clunkers. Bad writing. Bad characterization. It happens. In time we forget those missteps and remember the good.

That is the beauty of soaps. Running one hour a day for five days a week. Lots can happen in one year that drowns out the bad.

However, the ability to recall the bad is easier than ever. Social media, message boards, and video help remind us of when our favorite soaps have fallen, or miss stepped in major ways.

That might be why I am so critical and more willing to look beyond what is shown to us on screen. I can refer to past episodes easily and see the patterns. What worked. What went wrong.  What characters had the best development? Which characters were left behind for new blood? You get the point.

Since I do this for Emmerdale almost every day with my live reviews, I decided to take a crack at it with The Young and the Restless. This is not a live review of each episode. I might try that someday, but I cannot do that right now. This is more of an accumulation of my thoughts in general of the show since being taken over by Mal Young. As per usual, please leave your comments below since I am on a twitter break.

Let’s begin!

The Writing of The Couples

The romantic drama and humor that comes from different pairings of a soap are what put soaps on the map, to begin with. Currently, we have certain couples flitting and flirting around Geona City. I pulled two couples (possible couples) out of this for further review. However, there are three couples I want to talk about here. Phyllis and Billy. Chelsea and Nick. Nikki and Victor. These are some of the pairings that are just in autopilot mode. They seem to pop in and follow a set pattern and leave again.

Phyllis and Bill or Philly, are being cast as the ‘rom-com’ couple. Funny crap happens, and then they leave. However, when they are separated the characters have this dull sheen on them.  Like the Walking Dead. They do not seem to have long-term stories outside of each other. There isn’t even a story that they are in together. They are just there for comic relief and then to leave. As someone who is not a fan of the pairing, its just tiring to watch. Give them a story together or separately. Make me like them show. Give me reasons to like them together or like them separately.

Chelsea and Nick or Chick are a couple that is designed to have sex every time we see them together. Yeah, they are cute in a low-grade Peep Marshmallow sugar high binge way. They provide a small thrill that goes away just as fast as Chelsea’s orgasms. The difference between this couple and Philly is separately Nick and Chelsea have a lot going for them.  Nick is involved in his own stories. His world. Chelsea has her world too, and lately, Adam has been brought up quite a bit. I wonder if we are headed towards a recast sooner than later. These two work well outside each other but together; they are there. They are nice. I can sit through their scenes, but I forget them just as fast.

Nikki and Victor. THE couple of Genoa City. The ones everyone roots for in the end (I know…the fanbase has dwindled a bit).  I do not know what they are doing with them. Lots of blackmailing and reunions and fake weddings (in a sense) but they are still very much a team. It is odd. It is like so much damage has been done over the past ten years that the current showrunner is having trouble getting a hold of them. Separately they are fine on their own. Always been strong characters. Both have their own worlds. Right now though, watching them is a chore, which breaks my heart because some of my fondest childhood memories watching Young and the Restless had Nikki and Victor in them.

Lily and Cane

Right now on my current obsession, Emmerdale, their big couple is running a similar storyline to Lily and Cane (only the details are a lot different, but the result seems the same). I think Emmerdale managed to pull it off. Young and the Restless, to excuse the term, shit the bed with this one. It is part the wrong trope to pick for this couple, changing showrunners and audience tolerance for the story being told.

I am convinced, just my opinion, that the original plan was to have Cane and Juliette (Juliet? I have seen it written two ways in the press too) were meant to try and have a relationship while Lily did the same with that other guy. Whose name I have forgotten (ahem).  They were meant to break apart to realize what they had was worth fighting for. It would take awhile, but it would come out in the end. Maybe giving us a DNA revel type trope as well.

Since the past showrunner’s storylines were developing slower than molasses, the process felt horrible. It was not fun to watch. I am not even a HUGE Lane fan, and I felt it. It was just…badly done. They could have split them up so many other ways. Other ways to burn them down to build them better but they chose this. After the new showrunner showed up, it went from molasses to a fast-paced river of plot.  Kill Juliette. Almost kill the baby. Get the family involved with the baby. Win Lily’s heart back in Paris. HAPPY FAMILY AHOY! All in a few months’ time.

It is a mess. A huge mess. Now we have a slightly more interesting storyline developing. How can Lily love Sam? That is something interesting that is developing, but I wonder if they can pull it off in a believable way. I felt like while those two were talking in Paris, the baby should have been one of the major aspects of that conversation. Yes, let’s give the Lane superfans a treat, but the general audience needs to see more than just fluff right now when it comes to Lily and Cane.

Mariah and Tessa

The couple that almost was and might be? I am down for this couple seeing their natural chemistry develop to that kiss that seemed to stop everything. Yes, they are controversial for some reason. I think Young and the Restless are the only soap without a running same-sex couple or storyline. That is pathetic in 2018. The world has changed, and soaps should reflect that change in the world. That includes showing same-sex couples. I am very much outside the inner circle of the Young and Restless rumor mill, but I hope the new showrunner is not scared off and tries to give Mariah and Tessa a chance. The journey will be worth the watch.

I think the show should be willing to let people go to gain an even bigger younger audience. This is a great way to do it. Tell an interesting story that reflects the world we live in. It is not rocket science. Time for Young and Restless to join the other soaps in telling this story.

Dina and her Dementia

Ok. This one is personal. I assume Dina and her storyline of Dementia is somewhat closed up for now. Sending her off to France takes her off the canvas for a while. Regardless, I have something to say about how it was portrayed on screen. I am going to try and be as even as possible though, in my mind, there was more negative than positive for me. I am going to ignore the crazy storyline attached to this as well. Its just dumb and didn’t amount to much.

I did not appreciate it being used as a comedy plot point at all. There were times when she would enter a room and start fights because she thought a person was Nikki or she thought it was someone John Abbott dated, and it was played for comedy. It is not funny. This disease should NEVER be used as a comedy plot point EVER. It’s not funny its hell on a family.

Speaking of family. They attempted to show the emotional toll it has on a family to care for someone with dementia. To a point. They have money. They can give Dina the BEST in everything. They can put her in those trials for new drugs I hear about all the time. They can give her a private nurse. They can put her in the best care possible. To see Jack and Ashley put down some of the care centers they visited, made me so angry. Why? Some of us do not have a choice. We cannot be there all the time to take care of our loved ones. Sometimes we need help, and that help is not available because we are not millionaires like The Abbotts are. There is guilt there that doesn’t go away, and the show decided to stomp all over that by implying that people who put their loved ones into homes are making a bad decision. NOT EVERYONE HAS A CHOICE. I wish the show acknowledged that.

Some small things. You never give alcohol to a dementia patient. Especially with her pills. The pills are not a cure, just something to slow it down and even then, it is not meant to last. There are different ‘levels’ of dementia. Different types of dementia. The show ignored that fact. They got some of the testing right though; I appreciate that. Drawing a clock and reciting lists are part of the first test. Those tests usually come with a neurological exam.  Which Dina never got. At least not on screen.

You think I am just bitching and moaning, but they did get one thing right. How Dina acted herself. Marla Adams gave an amazing performance. The moments when they did not use her dementia for comedy is where she shined. That is what it is like. They get angry easily. They are frustrated. They are scared. They know their mind is not right, but they cannot do anything about it but go along. There are moments of clarity, but that goes away as time goes on. I thought she did an amazing job showing those feelings.

Emmerdale did an amazing job with their dementia storyline. If you want to see the episode that made me cry message me blow, and I will direct you to it online. Its worth the watch especially if someone you love has the disease.

The show had the support of the Alzheimer’s Association and Mal Young himself gave an interview talking about his experiences with the diseases. They should have done better.

Odds and Ends

Nice to see Sharon and Nick hanging out and being friends. I will always ship them. That will never go away for me.

I love Mariah in general. She was a great addition. As well as Mattie and Charlie Ashby. Those actors are great, and I cannot wait to see the show give them more challenging stories in the future.

The less Paul I see, the better (that is more personal than anything else)

Since Genie Francis was treated like crap by General Hospital, maybe she wants to come back and have some fun in Genoa City? *wink*

JT and Victoria are weird. That is all. Getting divorced while your characters are screwing on every surface must be weird. WEIRD. No matter how positive and mutual the divorce is. That is WEIRD.

Ravi deserves the best. I love him and the show should learn how to use him better than someone Phyllis sets up on random dates.

I still mourn the beauty and possibility of Chloe and Ronan. *bows head for moment of silence*

I have left a lot out here, but this is how I feel about the show right now. It is not bad. I can watch it. I do not shy away from it like I did a few years ago. I just know that it can be better and I think it might be better once a lot of the above is clarified or fixed. Until next time, see you all around Genoa City!

 

 

Tips on How to Watch Any Soap (From an Old Timer to a Newbie)

Soap Operas. They have been around since radio ruled the world.  It has developed into a genre that has, no matter what thrown at it, maintained its place in the world of television. Recently, I’ve noticed there have been quite a few new fans to the genre which is exciting, and I hope the trend continues. However, some people seem confused as to how to watch it. Yelling about plots, characters, writing and how the show is advertised when longtime fans of the genre know it’s all part of the game.  So, here are some things to remember while watching any soap opera.

  • Always Look Deeper/ Face Value Doesn’t Always Exist

I hear this often. How soaps aren’t that deep. They are trashy. They don’t provide any real thought or value. They are the sugar donuts of television. Well, I will profoundly disagree about that. When people think soap operas, they think the 80s. The big hair, harsh lighting, and bad sets. Things have changed since then. That includes the writing.  Soaps have their silly lighter plots, but since the late 80s soaps have been making their viewers think beyond the story, they are telling.  Not only are characters getting to develop a deep connection to the audience they also get to develop9 layers which informs their actions.  It makes viewers help understand what is happening and even gives them a reason to care more.  Soaps have to compete with competition that stole their formula. They had to go deeper. For people to say that soaps aren’t that serious or deep need to take another look. Things have changed and for the better.

  • The Writing, No Matter How Crazy, Always Has a Grounding Force

One of soap operas big draws or detractors is the writing. Sometimes it can be stupid. Sometimes the dialogue or situations are so ridiculous even the hardcore soap opera fans roll their eyes and take a break for the day. However, no matter how crazy or over the top, the dialogue is there are always moments or kernels of honesty. Words that need to be heard. Words that highlight or bring the show back down to the ground. The conversation between two family members, lovers or someone near death. There is always a grounding force. Quiet words among the crazy. Look for those moments. They are precious and provide much-needed character development.

  • Don’t Trust Media/Interviews

This seems to fall more for UK media than US media.  The fledgling magazine industry has to up their game. They need that hook to get people to click on their articles or buy their magazines.  That means making everything sensualized. Everything is life and death. Characters that aren’t pure evil are being played up as the evilest characters ever. Also, the sanitization of characters becomes extreme. They want to create differences and parallels to get consumers attention. People who don’t need that type of sensationalism get caught up in the extremes, and it gets upsetting or annoying. For others, it creates pictures of characters or situations in the wrong light. That is why it is confusing when one watches the actual show or episode in question.  Also, actors are trying to sell the story or their characters. They will never give you the truth. NEVER. Never trust an actor’s words when it comes to storylines. They need to sell it just as hard, and they want the audience to have a good time with any surprises on the horizon.

  • Any Character is Capable of Anything

Yes. I get this a lot. ‘No way could so and so do that!’ Yes, they can and they will at some point. To make storylines work characters will do objectionable or noble things.  Soaps are designed to be a heightened version of real life. The characters are like the viewers and will end up doing things for the right and wrong reasons. YES. Your favorites will screw up on the regular. Your love to hate will make the right decisions for the right reasons. Much like life, people can change and soaps reflect that.

  • Unless Your Favorite Character/Couple is Leaving Soon, They will Never Be Super Happy for Long

This is more for new fans coming into soaps with the mindset of nighttime dramas.  Your favorite couple? The one you are rooting to make it? To defeat all odds? They will always be doing that. They will have their moments of happiness but be aware of those moments. When a couple is at its happiest and doesn’t have conflict? That is when the hand of doom is coming.  There are different couples with different agendas, but the super couples will never be happy for long. The comedy couples will be happy but only used in one capacity or until the writers find them a good story.  The mid-player couples that are on and off, but the audience doesn’t notice or mind.  Doesn’t matter. Just be aware, unlike a nighttime drama that is being played out in 22 episodes and then a nice long break, soaps are constantly moving. Never to break for anything (holidays mostly) so things can’t stay rosy for long.  It’s the most difficult level of the shipping game. It’s not for the faint of heart.  When shipping a soap couple, you need to have a strong heart and stomach.

There are more tips, but I’ll end it there. Soap operas are designed to reflect our daily lives but heightened and more dramatic.  We are meant to relate, cheer, cry, hate, and love these characters and the places they live.  If you remember those tips I listed above, you can have a great experience watching too.  It won’t always be perfect (what is?) but remember the biggest tip of all, sit back and enjoy the journey. You never know where it is going on a soap.

Do you have any tips to add? Is there anything you would like me to cover on this blog? Please feel free to leave a comment down below or tweet me @AmandaJ718! Until next time, you know where to find me. That’s right. In front of the TV.

Participatory Culture and You: Does A Fandom Ruin a Show or Character?

Fandom.

It is an entertaining, reassuring, annoying, downright scary part of loving a piece of art. Yes, this art does include television shows. I’m convinced we are seeing a manifestation of Andy Warhol’s art in reality shows. That is for another essay though.

Anyway….

Fans are there to celebrate the highs and the lows.  You develop friendships that go beyond just talking about the show. You find your creative center. You can overanalyze and criticize the show and not be considered ‘weird’ for doing so.  You can swap theories and inside jokes. Fandom becomes this community of sorts. A place to stop by when the real world is getting too rough.

It’s another version of the ‘third place.’

That is a lot of fun. Until it’s not.

Which leads me to the question that has been populating my fandom riddled brain.

Does Fandom Ruin the Enjoyment of a Show/Character?

This reminds me of an academic writer named, Henry Jenkins and his theory of participatory culture.  I used to read him in graduate school and I loved what he found out.  In case you are wondering what participatory culture is, “…an opposite concept to consumer culture — in other words a culture in which private individuals do not act as consumers only, but also as contributors or producers.” (Jenkins).  It is the way we went from being passive in how we enjoyed our art to be more active producers. It depends on where we affiliate ourselves (Tumblr/twitter/message boards), how we express ourselves (fan videos/fanfiction/Meta-analysis), how we work together to solve problems tasks (special events that are by the fans for the fans), and how we shape what we see while enjoying our art (reviews/podcasts).

It’s how we contribute in our participatory cultures that have us enjoying the art on a deeper level. That includes a few more ideas that came out of studying participatory culture. Jenkins came up with a phrase called, textual poachers from his 1992 book, Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture. Textual poachers are:

How fans construct their own culture by appropriating and remixing—”poaching”—content from mass culture. Through this “poaching”, the fans carried out such creative cultural activities as rethinking personal identity issues such as gender and sexuality; writing stories to shift focus onto a media “story world’s” secondary characters; producing content to expand of the timelines of a story world; or filling in missing scenes in the story world’s official narratives order to better satisfy the fan community. (Jenkins; 1992)

Whew. That was just me nerding out (Look Ma, that graduate degree came in handy) but what does this all mean towards my question? What shows have some of the strongest and largest fanbases that stretch generations and have recently turned to the internet to join forces with others?

If you guess soap operas, you are right!

Soap Operas have fans that have grown through the years through the generations that watch.  This is very true for two soaps I love, Emmerdale and The Young and the Restless. One from the United Kingdom and another from America. Two different worlds, same participatory culture, and textual poaching.

I’m going to compare these two soaps I enjoy. Emmerdale and The Young and the Restless.

Emmerdale Fandom (As I See It)

Emmerdale has a powerful fandom. The fans are protective and opinioned which makes for a fun time.  Not kidding. Having so many different feelings and views gives you more to talk and think about. There are more people to talk to about theories, favorite characters and even how we feel about certain writers.  The fanfiction and fanart are heavily available for any character you want (even the characters who are long gone). The meta is outstanding and people knowing the histories of every family is aplenty. You can always ask a question and get an answer.

People are taking the art in front of them and putting their own spin on it, poaching it if you will.

With that said, poaching the material and making it our own is when things get messy. Head canons become fact for people. Shipping outside the norm becomes a sore spot for the fandom. Some even think the poaching goes too far. Some want to participate but feel left out of the well-established groups already formed. Some even take those discussions we have and take it too far letting opinions upset or get them.

How people shape and view the characters or a storyline on the soap can affect how others see a storyline or character.  While you think, ‘I’m not that easily swayed’ you would be surprised how strong group think gets while everyone is in their little online worlds.  Fractured fanbases make it hard to participate in this fandom and still be respected for the contribution. It comes in waves and right now, we are surfing on a fractured wave.

For instance, I’m heavily involved with the Robron fandom. The current storyline and split have caused a fracture that always happens when a soap couple ends things. Except, this time, there seems to be a war going on. In fact, I found that I’m starting to hate Aaron when I know I don’t hate him. Not for a minute. However, being constantly shouted down for pointing out faults, not understanding someone’s head canon or letting troll take over the fandom space makes the character harder to love. Which, for the lack of a better word, sucks. I think I can argue that a lot of people feel that way.

The Young and the Restless Fandom (As I See It)

The Young and the Restless. The fandom has a smaller social media presence but still as loud and opinioned as the Emmerdale fans. One could argue there is less textual poaching in this fandom. There isn’t as many theories or meta.  There is participation through reviewing and using social media to talk about the soap.  People know their character histories and are well-versed on showrunners and producers. Less on the writers.

With that said, things can be angry fast.  Usually around the showrunner. The biggest drama isn’t always who should be paired with who but who is running the show and if they are doing a good enough job.  That starts the showrunner wars.  We are in the middle of another changeover, and the fans are arguing over who should be picked next. It is less about what is happening on screen (it’s there) but what happens off screen that effects the fandom and how they participate within the fandom.

The ship wars are never bad. The storylines are usually mocked and tolerated. It is the fighting about behind the scenes drama that does me in.  I really don’t want to care about the showrunner. I don’t care who is running the writers room. I just want to see my favorite characters every day at noon dealing with the craziest of problems. I want to see who gets thrown down a volcano not who said what to whoever in the dressing room last week.

What was the Point of That?

What was the point of comparing the two fandoms and shows? There are two different fandom and two distinct ways they participate in their shows.  Emmerdale is intense about what is happening on screen while The Young and the Restless is passionate about the behind the scenes that what happens on screen.

Which brings me back to the original question. I’ll remind you. Does fandom change how you feel about a show/character?

I believe it depends on how intense the fandom can be.  Emmerdale has an active, intense young fandom out there. Opinions are shared and misheard, and people take those meta/fanfiction/gifs and love or hate them.  Fights happen easier and the longer you stay in that world participating, the easier it can get to feel like what others feel like (group think sneaks in again as well as wanting to agree, so you don’t have to fight with someone anymore). It makes it hard to enjoy a character or show on your own terms.

The Young and the Restless has an older fandom that tends to stick to discussing or reviewing the show than getting deep into the meta/fanfictions/gif making.  They don’t textual poach but there is a culture of participation that can affect how you see things but easier to walk away from seeing as things never get that intense over what is happening on screen.

So, yes, I think a fandom can ruin a show or character, but only if you stay too long and stay unhappy.  Meaning, this can all be fixed by walking away for a while. Watching the show and its characters on your own terms. Get a better footing before jumping back into that culture of participation and the groups that form.  It is easier to do that with The Young and the Restless seeing as it isn’t as intense and the participation is small (I have walked away too. For a year and it was the best decision. I can watch the show with clearer eyes now).

Emmerdale is harder to walk away from. The show itself has been one of best things I stumbled upon in a long time. It’s a different look at how soap operas could be running, and the fans are passionate and lots of fun. That fun can turn on you fast though when a story doesn’t go the way the fanbase wants, and their poaching of the material doesn’t help lessen the blow. People arguing can get old and hard to ignore. Like I said, I should walk away but I can’t. I’m too rooted here now. I have met many smart, talented and fun people in this fandom.  I love the fanfiction. I love the gifs. I love the jokes and I love how people try to make the best of a bad situation. Even though things are rough and people are getting more and more cynical, I see hope there. A positive that is on the horizon. It’s just rough to see it for long right now.

So, how do I fix this feeling? Tell me below or Tweet/Tumblr me @AmandaJ718. I’m very interested in getting opinions on this. Until next time, I’ll see you around in Overthinking World. It lives next to Denial World and Theory Land (THEORIES DON’T GET A WORLD?).  If you got that reference, you get a cookie and a trip to St. Olaf. Enjoy.