I’ll be honest. I don’t watch soap operas. (Ok, there was a year in college when all the girls in my dorm would congregate in the common area after lunch to watch DOOL. But I didn’t understand a thing that was happening!)
But when Kevin and Roger from We Love Soaps approached me to act as a correspondent at the Paley Center for the celebration of the 10,000th episode of THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, I thought yes, why not! It would at least be a fun night out.
We checked in early and got our place in the press line and waited for the stars to appear. And so they did! Slowly they started to arrive, and, in no time, there was a flurry of actors and cameras and microphones.
We got to speak with a few of the cast members – Doug Davidson, Melody Thomas Scott, Kristoff St. John, and Kate Linder. All very lovely and excited to be there and celebrate the feat and stay power of the soap they live and love.
Once the press was over, we moved inside to panel discussion with Peter Bergman, Eric Braeden, Jeanne Cooper, Christian Leblanc, Joshua Morrow, Michelle Stafford, the above mentioned Doug Davidson, Melody Thomas Scott, Kristoff St. John and recently replaced head writer and executive producer Maria Arena Bell.
They started with a clip of scenes that spanned the history of the show, from its beginning in 1973 to more current scenes. The audience laughed and cried during the 10-minute video, reliving some of the storylines they have followed for so long. For me, it was nice to see the actors that were on stage in action. I quickly realized why they were there that night and why they’ve been on the show for so long – great acting, major on-screen charisma.
Once the video was over, the discussion started. Listening to this group of actors who have been working together for so long, one thing was clear – they love what they do. They’re proud of their work and they appreciate the success they have experienced. And they enjoy the challenges that a daytime drama brings to the actors: no rehearsal time, 1-take scenes, 1 episode per day of shoot. Looking at it this way, it’s quite amazing that these actors are able to turn in such great performances, day in and day out.
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS has been the number one rated soap for over 20 years. That is a feat of incredible proportions. They have such devoted fans that several audience members came from out of town or country to be at the event, one of which explained that he has watched every episode since 1973, even sneaking into his parents’ room to watch it when his mom made him leave the family room during ‘taboo’ scenes! That’s dedication!
Closing out the night, Maria Arena Bell, having recently departed, gave such a graceful bow out – saying how proud she was of her work and that like every good soap opera story, “I got killed off.”
I’ll be honest. I don’t watch soap operas. But after this event, I just might start watching Y&R.
Fernanda Espíndola was raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and moved to California twelve years ago. Her previous credits as an actress include "Cold Nine," "Love," and the stage play "Diary of a Catholic School Dropout." Usually cast as a troubled party girl, she is quite pleased to play, in "Bloomers," a knocked up career girl. Seems like the natural progression of things. Maybe one day she will get to play the obvious conclusion to this arc - a psychic nun. "Bloomers" is Fernanda's first project as a producer, for which she co-created Nikhedonia Entertainment, that currently has multiple projects in development. She is so grateful for the endless hours spent producing on her couch with her partner in crime, Matt Palazzolo. Happiness is only a hair flip away. Follow her on facebook: /thefernandaespindola & twitter: @Nanda1336
Matt Palazzolo, originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, moved to Los Angeles 9 years ago to attend UCLA and pursue a career as an actor and filmmaker. He originated the role of Fever in the NAACP Award-winning play "City Kid," beginning his trend of playing hookers. His short film, "Green Room," which he wrote and directed received accolades around the world #truestory. His recent performance as Salsa in the successful indie feature film "You Should Meet My Son" earned him stellar reviews. Aside from the entertainment industry, Matt works as an LGBT activist and tries his best to be a regular do-gooder. He's very honored to have been able to create Bloomers alongside the whole cast & crew and his trusty companion, FUNanda (Fernanda Espíndola), under their new production company, Nikhedonia Entertainment. Live long and prosper. Follow him on twiiter @mattpalazzolo & at www.MattPalazzolo.com