|The new Sally Sussman era of Y&R begins with an Abbott family breakfast.|
Howard Wise/JPI Studios
Sussman's work begins airing on December 7, and she opens with an Abbott family breakfast. If you watched the show during her previous run on Bell's staff (1984-1989), you'll remember this is a familiar setting. It's a small sign Sussman, along with the also returned-to-the-fold Kay Alden, is bringing Y&R back to its roots, and actually gets what this show is all about.
Below are some of the highlights of this fantastic interview:
* Sussman is no fan of the short, choppy scenes that have plagued daytime since network execs demanded them. They have taken the emotion out of so many situations. Imagine Karen's courtroom confession on One Life to Live, or Guiding Light's Reva declaring herself The Slut of Springfield, chopped up into 20-second segments. It wouldn't have worked. Having learned from Bell, Sussman knows how to write for a daytime soap opera. "I want to get back the spirit of Y&R, which to me is topical, multi-leveled storytelling with extended scenes—none of this choppy-chop-chop-chop stuff—and stories that give the audience a real payoff."
* Sussman actually mentioned the Brooks and Foster families (Y&R's original core), and understands that the rewrite of Jill Foster Abbott's history was a horrendous mistake. "Jill being Katherine’s daughter. I think that caused real problems. Things never worked well for Jill after that. [Jill being Lauren's sister is] also something I’m choosing to ignore and will probably negate at some point. It makes no sense. It was completely physically impossible! I wrote for the show back when Jim Storm was playing Lauren’s father—I named him after my friend, Neil—and the character was the same age as Jill so how could he possibly be her father? I just don’t know how they spun that."
* Sussman knows how Bill Bell would have handled the current state of Y&R. "He’d be the first to say, 'This s--t isn’t working.' And then he’d end it and move on. Now nobody admits anything."
* While John Abbott's death may not be fixable now, Sussman lamented what a rotten idea it was. "Killing him was the last thing Lynn Latham did before we were fired. We begged her not to do it, but she wanted him to come back like a ghost on Six Feet Under because she was in love with that show. It was so unnecessary and having that character still around now would be so valuable."
Read the entire interview here. If you've watched Y&R since the 1970s like me, you may just feel better about the show than you have in a very long time.