Friday, May 08, 2009

Interview Y&R: Jill Abbott Will Fight Back, Part 2

Katherine Chancellor and Jill Abbott had always been arch enemies. From stealing lovers, companies and even loved ones’ lives, Kay and Jill have seen it all on their personal battlefield. Then, a few years ago, they discovered they were mother and daughter. While some animosity lingered, a love between them managed to grow.

However, the results of Katherine’s recent DNA test to prove she was not Marge also proved she is not Jill’s mom. Jess Walton, who has played Jill on The Young and the Restless for 23 years, is anxious to see how this all pans out.

Jess reveals: “I think she suspected it was coming. When it was finally confirmed, I think she felt like she had been kicked in the stomach. She did have genuine emotional love for Katherine, and now she was no longer her mother.

“I think we should wait for the dust to settle before we come down to what is really going on with her. She is still dealing with the shock of it, with many conflicting emotions and with grief, because it’s the death of a relationship.”

Is Jill fearful of what her new relationship with Kay might be? Jess knows that is a definite worry that Jill is dealing with. “She knows she’s not blood. She goes back to the fears of how awful Katherine can be and how vindictive in the past Katherine has been: when she stripped Jill’s son of his name, when she kicked Jill out of the mansion, when she drove over the cliff drunk with Philip and killed him, all her cruelties to Jill — real or imagined. All that fear comes back. She realizes all of this in a split second. All of this comes pounding down on her.”

Because of this, viewers can look forward to seeing a revived and feisty Jill, one who has to fight for everything she has. That’s just what fans, and Jess, love most about Jill. “She always bounces back; she is a survivor,” Jess explains. “She’s like Scarlett O’Hara in that way. She was poor at one time, and she hated it, and she swore she’d never be poor again. She’s had a few times up the ladder, and then back down. She has experience with never being down for long. So there’s a lot of hope in her.”

Jess has a lot of hope for her alter ego as well. As she explains: “I just always want to see Jill succeed. She is more fun when she is fighting with her back against the wall, and we’re going to see a lot of that.

“I would love to see her get in a relationship. She hasn’t had that in a while. With Ji Min, I don’t think that she expected it, nor did he, but they just fell into this really lovely relationship, and I don’ t think that was really examined and ended too quickly.”

Y&R continues to win the ratings race, being the No. 1 soap every week for more than 20 years. Jess has a theory as to why this is: “Our writers have remained fairly faithful to the characters that Bill Bell laid down, and they’re still around. I always think that soaps are popular because they are a family replacement. So many families are split up, and people move across the country.

“There’s a way of turning on a little box in your living room and checking on family members, and they almost become like family. It is inherent in every human being, this desire for family, and soaps are like a substitute family. Because our writers keep their characters on — it’s not like other soaps that get rid of theirs and change theirs — we have the same ones. We have the same core families and core characters that people grew up with and have grown with.”