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'The Young and the Restless': Soap opera fans face harsh reality

Seasoned fans know their show.
Seasoned fans know their show.
Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Soap operas represent a form of entertainment, which isn't debatable. Fans of this genre naturally seek to escape from the real world and there's nothing wrong with that. However, a series of events have clearly affected some hardcore viewers of 'The Young and the Restless' in ways that forced reality into their own stories.

Jeanne Cooper was a rightfully beloved iconic actor who offered an indelible portrayal of 'Katherine Chancellor' across four remarkable decades. Cooper's passing left a permanent hole in viewer's hearts. Her character's removal is something they could accept as a natural part of life.

Michelle Stafford choose to leave 'Phyllis Summers' (and her additional last names) behind in order to pursue other options. Knockout performers seek new opportunities in every line of work on a regular basis. Yes, co-workers, and in this instance the public, can read into Stafford's intentions and resulting acceptance of her 'Nina Clay' role on 'General Hospital' if they want to. But, these choices are made every day in the real world.

Billy Miller apparently wanted to continue pursuing alternative work, while also wearing 'Billy Abbott's' clothes during the daytime. This terrific actor previously won two Daytime Supporting Actor Emmys and received his first Lead Actor Award last weekend. So, choosing to let him walk from YR, if that's what happened, is surely debatable.

The nature of Michael Muhney's exit from the show created a firestorm unlike any other in modern Genoa City times. His situation polarized significant segments of the steamer's fan base. “Innocent until proven guilty of whatever unexplained charge stands”, is the collective statement his supporters maintain. And, there's no doubt that the 'death' of 'Adam Newman' directly reversed YR's ratings momentum.

Beyond the names noted above, other actors have also arrived and departed along the way. Change has always been a part of every workplace, no matter how fair, or unfair, that fact may be and is also true on this CBS show.

Jill Farren Phelps is believed to be the driving force behind what has taken place, both on- and off-screen, by those who feel somehow betrayed by what has transpired. Most new bosses make an impact, as all business owners, fellow supervisors and employees know. The difference with a TV business is that viewers are aware of resulting, or perceived, consequences.

Some soap opera loyalists see themselves as stock holders because of their emotional investment in daytime drama. Others, including sections of the last group, appear to believe that they are customers who support an entertainment business. Actually, there's no right, or wrong, way to feel. It's a personal choice that should be respected.

Fans of this particular soap opera have endured tremendous upheaval within the past year, or so. Different personality types have been affected in varying ways, as the ratings and a torrent of social media messages surely confirm.

Now, for the final scene: When the screen goes dark each day, YR's entire audience (with respect offered to the alienated as well) simply wants to believe that the best possible play has been performed. Seasoned fans know their show cold, care about the talented people who are employees and simply want to feel respected by all involved. That's the basic premise of every real-life story.