I’m writing this because I love a good cry. If you, too, feel the need for a good cry every once in a while, then you must track down the following episode of The Young and the Restless.
On October 5, 2009, The Young and the Restless aired its 9,245th episode entitled “Victor Learns His Fate.” After 36 years of being on the air, I have to give it to The Young and the Restless. They consistently do a wonderful job of dealing with those “public service” type or real-life situations on any given day. On this day, they touched on cancer, organ donation, and stillbirth all in one heart-wrenching episode. This sometimes overlooked art form — the soap opera — produced many heartbreaking performances.
Any time a show can bring me to tears through acting I have to applaud it. Sharon Newman Abbott (Sharon Case) believes that the baby she gave birth to was born alive and then died. I know, I previously said stillbirth but that would involve the character of Ashley Abbott Newman. She doesn’t even know that her baby is dead yet, but Sharon believes her baby died at birth, and her portrayal of a mother who never got to hold the child she carried will leave you searching for tissues (if the box isn't already on your lap).
Beth Maitland, who has played the role of Traci Abbott Carlton Connolly since 1982, portrays a mother who not only has to come to terms with the sudden death of her daughter Colleen (played by Tammin Sursok), but has to decide whether to honor Colleen’s wishes to be an organ donor. At the same time, Colleen’s best friend Lily (played by Christel Khalil) struggles with the fact that she has outlived her best friend who previously gave her the strength and will to fight her own diagnosis of ovarian cancer. I don’t know about all daytime soap operas, but I have to say that this one continues to impress me with its true to life, on point storylines and plots.
Another thing that amazes me is the length of time some of these actors/actresses have stayed on this long-running story. Many people are quick to judge the viewers of daytime dramas (let alone the actors/actresses): how one can watch something so fake? It's so easy for some to overlook that some of today’s most familiar celebrities received their breakthroughs into the industry by way of the soap opera.
Kevin Bacon, Angela Bassett, Taye Diggs, and Cicely Tyson all starred on The Guiding Light. Eva Longoria Parker and Eddie Cibrian starred on The Young and the Restless. And even Brad Pitt starred on Another World; not to mention Calista Flockhart, Anne Heche, David Hasselhoff, Tim Daly, Ellen Barkin, and Hayden Panettiere, to name a few more celebs that started their careers on soaps (a few more are listed below, just for fun).
Whether you watch this episode just out of curiosity, or because you are in need of that good cry that I talked about earlier, be willing to let go of your inhibitions for a moment and give credit where credit is due. Once again, The Young and the Restless has pulled off a tear-jerking episode that follows in the footsteps of timely, true-to-life topics touched on in the past (breast cancer and its aftermath, AIDS, cosmetic surgery, and illiteracy, to name a few).
A few more famous actors who got their start in soaps: James Earl Jones, Meg Ryan, Marisa Tomei, Ray Liotta (As the World Turns); Tommy Lee Jones (One Life to Live); Demi Moore, Ricky Martin (General Hospital).