Genoa City's Bitter Secret When you hear the word "SOAP" what do you think of? A cleansing compound made of natural oils and fats? An obnoxious, but admittedly catchy television jingle? (Zestfully clean, zestfully clean! You're not fully clean unless you're zestfully clean!) How about an attractive girl in full cosmetic glory drawing in air while posing seductively with a bar of Lever 2000? (How do they do that without getting soap in their eyes?) Whatever you "visualize," go far enough and an image of a desperate woman scorned, a ruggedly handsome man lying breathlessly in a hospital bed, or TWINS — one evil, one virtuous — is bound to pop up. The serialized drama or soap has been an American television mainstay since the 1940s. (

The Guiding Light started as a radio drama in 1937.) Synonymous with soaps is The Young & The Restless. I don't care if you have never turned on the award winning show even once. (Seriously, I have no financial incentive.) However, just by virtue of its tenure, (it's been on since 1973) Y&R, as it is known, has seeped into pop culture. It is a given. Who, I ask you, hasn't heard of Victor Newman? If you haven't, you're an alien and your time here is limited! Whatever your age, whether or not you support stem cell research, if you follow Britney's underpants scandal or spend time helping the homeless you have heard of the richest man in Genoa City. Face it! It's nothing to be ashamed of. Having said that, one thing you DON'T know after more than five THOUSAND episodes, is that those tiny little age-defying actresses and chiseled man-child actors should be dead by now. Not because their characters undergo more stress in a day than Michael Richards on David Letterman, not because they have the toughest workload or the least time off of any actors on TV, but they should all be corpses because the studio temperature is BELOW FREEZING!! If I am lying, may Heat Miser strike me dead. When we visited the set (3 different times) my teeth chattered so noticeably, it sounded like Morse Code. You could totally see your breath! In between interviews with the still handsome and terribly witty Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott) and a tour of the fabulous wardrobe department with Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman), who has the coziest dressing room in television, my capable well-educated producer Candy was often relegated to following with an oversized parka. How the crew regains feeling in their extremities is beyond me. It took two full days to find my pulse again. Why didn't I say something? Complain of the inhumanity. Ask for some sort of thermostat mercy? I thought about it. Then I realized COLD quite possibly could be the key. Everyone desperately searches for that holy grail of what makes a show a success. ( Y&R has been #1 since 1988) Actors come and go, writers move on. Maybe it is the bitter hypothermic atmosphere? Just a guess. Still they walk around genuinely pleased, admitting quietly to the "nip" in the air. They work at break neck speed, completing ten times the amount of dialogue on a given day than film actors. Their characters move from perturbed to elated in an instant. This show is a well-oiled machine. There isn't time for complaining. Meanwhile I just want a pair of UGGS and a burlap ski suit.