Addiction to “The Show”- Who’s to Blame?

Growing up, Grandma was never a slave to the soaps. With five kids and a job, how could she? My grandmother, however, had her own set of daily soap operas which she rarely missed. Those were the days long before the invention of video tapes and DVRs, so she always had to be home to watch her stories.

Our family now has our own soap which we watch or record on a daily basis—“the show”, aka “The Young and the Restless.” I am now in my thirty-first year watching it, and two of you have been fans since you were little. How did this all begin?

I recall that during my sophomore year in college, the girls across the hall watched the Y&R, which was just shortly after it began in 1973. Not me, even though I had a television in my dorm room and, as a math major without lots of reading assignments, plenty of time to invest in one or more daily shows.

It was not until Kelly was born that I got sucked into the happenings of the Abbotts and Chancellors of Genoa City, Wisconsin by Grandma, but you all know that. You also know grandma’s introduction to “the show” had something to do with Aunt Lorraine’s mother, but you don’t know the details. So for the background, I contacted my cousin Tricia, who filled me in on her grandma, known to her grandchildren as Nana—Mrs. Zimmerman to the other cousins.

Here is what Tricia had to say:

I don’t remember the Y&R addiction, but yes, Nana was living with my parents at that point.  She definitely had vision issues and was supposedly legally blind, but if you wrote down something different than what she wanted, somehow she knew!  She was also supposed to use a walker and get assistance using the stairs, but she would just toss the walker or cane down the stairs and come down after it, scary!!

My mom was working and reached out to your mom to come over and check on her during the day.  Mom would make lunch and put it into the small fridge in Nana’s room and then your mom would come over and “visit” for a bit.  She was not checking up on Nana, no, no, no!  Just visiting!  Of course after the first few times Nana got mad that my mother thought she needed someone to babysit her.

So Grandma would visit Mrs. Zimmerman each day, and because of her vision problems, Grandma would explain to her what was going on during the show.  I’m not certain how long this went on, but it was long enough to reel in Grandma. By the time she came to help me shortly after Kelly was born, she was an addict, and when she returned home two weeks later, I was now a junkie as well.

Kelly would come home from first grade, and Jamie, who was just in pre-school, would fill her in on the latest storyline, which at that time, involved one of the many kidnappings occurring over the lifetime of the show..

The stories are cheesy, but still we watch. Grandma quit years ago because she said she was tired of listening to Sharon crying. Well, as we all know, Sharon is still crying twenty-one years later but we have been unable to break the habit. What is wrong with us?

Jamie at book signing with the late Jeanne Cooper--Katherine Chancellor from the Y&R

Jamie at book signing with the late Jeanne Cooper–Katherine Chancellor from the Y&R