Few soap operas have established their fictional workplaces as well as The Young and the Restless (Y&R). Corporations like Newman Enterprises and Jabot are nearly as familiar to viewers as the characters who work there, while Chancellor Industries, Hamilton-Winters Group and Fenmore’s keep Genoa City’s stock exchange interesting. Or at least they used to.
Lately, these institutions — built from the blood, sweat and tears of beloved characters like John Abbott, Neil Winters and Katherine Chancellor — feel like vacant office space for personal melodramas rather than arenas for white collar rivalries.
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Newman Enterprises has become a barren backdrop for Victoria’s personal life, while the Jabot offices haven’t been seen in forever. In spite of this, it’s supposedly really important who’s CEO and COO. If Y&R can’t be bothered to invest some time in these companies, why are they so hung up over who’s in charge?
Just to recap: Chloe and Nick have entertained out-of-the-blue COO offers in the past week. Prior to that, Nate was offered the COO position at Hamilton-Winters despite having zero experience in business. And let’s not forget about Lily and Billy’s shuffle after the collapse of Chance Comm.
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Then there’s the tornado of career changes happening at Newman Enterprises. In order to deceive Ashland, Victoria fooled her whole family into believing she’d ditched her position as CEO and left Genoa City. Her return, one week later, resulted in a domino effect that now threatens Adam and Sally’s CEO statuses. Keep in mind, this follows both Ashland and Nikki taking turns at becoming co-CEO, as well. Is there a point to any of this?
The business side of Y&R has always been a game of musical chairs, but major changes in leadership used to result in serious drama. Remember when John lost Jabot to Victor Newman? Or when Jack and Brad ousted the Moustache from his own company? These storylines had believable stakes and created serious rifts between characters.
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Yet these recent promotions and demotions have no consequences. Shouldn’t Victor care that his daughter jettisoned her position, forcing him to hold a press conference and name Adam as her replacement? And shouldn’t Y&R acknowledge that renaming Victoria as CEO within a week of her departure would cause a free-fall in Newman Enterprises stock?
If Y&R isn’t interested in writing compelling business-centric stories, then why are these CEO and COO positions being handed out like candy grams?
Head writer Josh Griffith was recently asked about all of these company moves and told Soap Opera Digest, “I’ve been working toward this for the last three years, to establish three influential corporate arenas that are the temples of power in Genoa City.”
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As Griffith has united the Abbott family, the Winters family and now the Newman clan, it sounds like he’s planning some corporate warfare!
“Now we’re going to have real conflict and battles,” he continued. “If I were to define Y&R as what I think it is, that would be ‘the clash of the titans’.”
If Griffith is planning to bring Y&R back to its golden age of white collar drama, he’s doing a few things right. First of all, he’s consolidated legacy characters back to their family crests. Nick has (inexplicably) agreed to become COO at Newman Enterprises, while Ashley has been enjoying a lengthy return to the canvas.
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Secondly, Griffith is introducing new characters to this age-old rivalry, like Jack’s newly discovered granddaughter, Allie, and her beau, Noah. Faith has also revealed some business ambitions. Plus, Marchetti’s move from Milan to Wisconsin could be a wildcard in future storylines.
But for Griffith’s “clash of the titans” to happen, he’ll first need to remind viewers why these corporations matter. He’ll have to draw out how they’re distinct from one another before simply riding on the coattails of their histories.
Ultimately, Y&R needs to look beyond the flashiness of being CEO or COO and build some utility into those titles. Otherwise, they’re just hollow acronyms.
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