Sunday, December 4, 2016

'The Young and the Restless' Star Melody Thomas Scott Tweets About the "Real Newman Ranch" and We Could Not Agree More

Y&R's Newman Ranch house was rebuilt in 2013 after a fire gutted the original.  The new set is beautiful and well-designed, it just has never felt like a place Victor Newman would ever live.
The Young and the Restless actress Melody Thomas Scott tweeted a photo on Saturday of the beloved Newman Ranch set. Thomas Scott referred to the image as the "real" Newman ranch, obviously agreeing with a number of fans that the current version of the set completely missed the mark. Former Y&R executive producer Jill Farren Phelps had just started running the top-rated daytime drama in 2012 when it was decided a fire would destroy the beloved Genoa City set. The house that was rebuilt in its place used a radically new, and out of place, concept. Did anyone actually believe Victor Newman would live in this house?

Phelps made a habit over the years of drastically remaking the soaps she runs, including a number of big budget set redesigns (the 1996 renovation of Another World comes immediately to mind). She won more Daytime Emmys than anyone along the way, so she had to be doing something right. But the results in this case were a mixed bag, at best, and sometimes left fans jarred when an iconic set suddenly vanished or was remade into a totally different or unrecognizable place.

The Newman Ranch was a prime example of this. The new version doesn't really look like a ranch house at all, and the generic IKEA-esque furnishings (we love IKEA, just not for the Newmans), only contributes to the sense that fans are not watching the beloved show they fell in love with, many decades ago. It's bad enough when fans think characters are acting out of character, but why burn down a centerpiece location like the Newman Ranch? Or paint the Chancellor mansion blue?

When Newman Ranch 2.0 was built in 2013, the Y&R brass explained that they wanted to make the show look more contemporary.

"We're aiming for a nighttime TV feel," production designer Bill Hultstrom told Watch in October 2013. "We want our sets to look like the city they’re in, as opposed to spaces that are unconnected to the world around them."

Perhaps Phelps didn't value sets as truly part of the fabric of the shows. They are! Or maybe she found a way to save much-needed money, such as using furniture from the series she ran immediately before Y&R, Sony's Hollywood Heights), whether it fit the characters or not.

Whatever her rationale, she's no longer working at The Young and the Restless and I, for one, wouldn't mind another fire to burn down the new set and rebuild the old. Let's make Genoa City, at least a few key staples, actually look like the fictional town we know and love. What do you think, Y&R viewers? And how about it CBS and Sony? Mal Young (the show's new executive producer)? Anyone?


Portions of the article were written by Roger Newcomb.

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