As fans of the CBS daytime soap The Young and the Restless know, Dina Mergeron (Marla Adams), mother to Jack (Peter Bergman), Ashley (Eileen Davidson) and Traci Abbott (Beth Maitland), returned to Genoa City this past May. The last time she was seen was in 2008, when everyone in town believed Y&R matriarch Katherine Chancellor (the late Jeanne Cooper) to have died (pictured below, photo credit: CBS Soaps In Depth). So it’s been 9 years since we last saw Dina, but not everyone has been pleased with the storyline surrounding her return in 2017.
A lot of newer viewers may be unfamiliar with Dina and her history with the Abbotts and that is understandable, given that the only time she was a main cast member was between 1983 and 1986. Since then, she has only made a handful of appearances: twice in the ‘90s, another time 12 years later in 2008, and now again in 2017. That’s the thing: as much as Dina Mergeron is the mother to three of the most important members of one of the most important families on The Young and the Restless, this is the first time she’s been around for more than a few episodes since the mid-‘80s, and it’s been a little lackluster.
Even back in the ‘80s when Dina was a main cast member, most of her history with the Abbott patriarch John (Jerry Douglas) happened off-screen and was part of a backstory (she left the family before any of the Abbotts even arrived in Genoa City). All of this to say, Dina returning to The Young and the Restless for her longest stint since the mid-‘80s has been one of the slowest-moving and pointless stories of the year thus far. It started off as rehashing stories that were told with the character 30 years ago, like the rift between her and Ashley (Eileen Davidson) involving John not being her biological father. They’ve shown flashbacks from the fallout of said storyline in recent years, but nothing more was to materialize. When Dina first returned, it seemed like she was only back to reopen vaguely unfinished storylines from the ‘80s that had since been solved by the bounds of time. Then her business partner and personal assistant Graham (Max Shippee) becomes more of a fixture, and is shown to be overly involved in her life and more concerned than anyone else’s personal assistant would be. Word on the street was that Dina had returned again after another long stretch of time because she was dying from a terminal disease and Graham was her personal care nurse, but it’s been almost three months now so I’m gonna guess that spoiler was false, considering terminal means, y’know, very little time left to live.
As resident daytime soap fans for the Kelly Alexander Show who record Y&R every weekday, I discussed Dina’s return with Kelly this week and she said that while she has been enjoying the general pace of the series lately, we agreed that this story was falling flat, pace-wise and otherwise. Nothing seems to happen with Dina other than awkward family gatherings with her children, who were hesitant to reconnect with her at first but are now getting pretty chummy with their long-lost mama.
The writing is slow and pointless, there is no doubt about that, but we can’t deny that there wasn’t much acknowledgment of the fact that Dina hasn’t really been a character since the ‘80s: a few episodes here and there over the decades that followed and spaced widely apart, but that’s it. Considering that this wasn’t just a quick hello, goodbye meeting with Dina and her children, there should have been more investment in reconnecting Dina with the rest of Genoa City clan. Sure, we got a bit of a brief, bitter meeting between Dina and Jill (Jess Walton), but that’s about it.
If Y&R was serious about keeping Dina around for several months (again, which marks the first time she’s appeared for more than just a few episodes since 1986), they should have better re-integrated Dina into the world of Y&R. It’s almost as if they’re acting like we just saw her six months ago and a little return storyline on the side over the summer would have been enough to satisfy longtime viewers. No, we haven’t seen this much of Dina since the ‘80s, and as a result of the current writing surrounding her return, one would think she was a completely new character who we are still struggling to get used to, when that is far from the case. Her return has come out extremely hackneyed, and I only hope with executive producer Mal Young taking over as head writer in the coming months that we receive some sort of intrigue and/or resolution to a blatantly boring storyline that could have been an action-filled, history-driven return, but unfortunately we are seeing none of that. The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on CBS.
Are you a Y&R fan? What have you been thinking of Dina’s return? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our latest interview with Eric Braeden, who stars as the Great Victor Newman on the top daytime soap!