Today is the airing of the 10,000th episode of The Young and the Restless. And as the episode centers around Victor’s “funeral” and the star-crossed love story of Nikki and Victor on this very special day, we wanted to bring you a very special chat with one of the most iconic names of the series, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki).
Melody spoke with On-Air On-Soaps to discuss her thoughts on the milestone, and the episode, and tragedies that strike the Newman family. Plus, she shares: what has it been like working with her on-screen children, the Victor/Nikki romance, the new Y&R regime, a preview of what may lie ahead, and if booze is once again in Nikki’s future. Thomas Scott also talks about her loyal fans and followers on Twitter, and those who have supported the series for almost 40 years!
We really enjoyed our conversation with Melody, who is able to look at her soap life with humor, dignity and grace, and respect for the art form she has come to be synonymous with. So happy 10,000th episode Y&R, and now here’s Mel!
Nikki is featured prominently in the 10,000th episode where she believes for all intent and purposes Victor is “dead”. There is a scene at a gravesite that people have been buzzing about featuring you. What can you tell us about the emotional scene and what to look forward to?
MELODY: How many times have I cried at this gravesite??! I lost count! Each time you must make it seem like the first time, so it becomes a challenge.
Do you enjoy the gut-wrenching material when it comes to Nikki’s ever-lasting love for Victor, and the tragedy that strikes the Newman family?
MELODY: Honey, I was born for tragedy! Ever since I have been an actress, which is 56 years now, I have always preferred high drama, angst, and catastrophes. I find it more interesting to play. I guess it’s no accident that I found my way into soap operas!!!
Nikki left Jack for her concern for Victor on their wedding night! Would you have liked to have seen Nikki and Jack last longer as a couple before heading off in Victor’s direction once again?
MELODY: It was written as it was, so I don’t speculate. She has done it before … perhaps she will do it again. But leaving Brad at the altar stands out in my mind as another dramatic ditching! (Victor had just been shot!)
With Jill Farren Phelps and Josh Griffith coming in as the new EP and head writer of Y&R, some of the core contract actors have had meetings with the duo to discuss their character and story. Have you had your meeting? And, did you tell them things you would like to see happen to Nikki down the road?
MELODY: My meeting is today, as a matter of fact. I have no idea what is going to be said in that. However, I have never told a head writer what to write about. Bill Bell (Creator, Y&R) would never have that, so it never occurred to me. And so I just don’t. I enjoy “the-what’s-going-to-happen” as much as the fans do. So, I really don’t want to know. I would never suggest anything, because I think that is telling them what to do, and it’s not my place. I guess I am an old-school actor. You just don’t do that. I would never do that. So I think it’s going to be a short meeting! (Laughs) If he asked me, I would probably throw in, though, the Nikki drinking thing.
Thursday’s episode was Maria Arena Bell’s last script. When you read it and performed it, did you feel that for the 10,000th episode of this iconic series that it honored it, focusing on the core families and relationships?
MELODY: At the time we were shooting that I didn’t. I think probably because it took us six days of shooting for that one episode. So I wasn’t really aware of the, “Oh my God. This is the 10,000th episode!” I didn’t think about that. But now that you mentioned it to me, Michael, I thought, “Wow. This is quite something.” And I thought it did honor the show, and focus on the core families. My only problem with it is that I wish this very special episode did not revolve around the funeral, because it does.
We know that no one plays a drunk better than you! Is there any other actress that you feel in motion pictures, television, or theatre, plays a good drunk, too?
MELODY: Yes Michael. I think there are many that could do that. I have to say I do enjoy playing drunk, as well. Well actually, that does fall into the category of tragic. (Laughs) As far as if booze is in Nikki’s future, only the writers know.
Would you like to see more airtime between you and Jeanne Cooper (Katherine)? The on-screen dynamic of these two has always been something the fans have loved. And, did you read Jeanne Coopers book … Not Young Still Restless?
MELODY: Yes, of course. Katherine and Nikki have a very special relationship, and they have a very special heartbeat. And no, I have not read Jeanne’s book yet. I have been too busy working, but I plan to soon.
What are a few descriptive words or adjectives you would use to describe your on-screen children, Amelia Heinle (Victoria) and Joshua Morrow (Nick)?
MELODY: Amelia is an angel straight from heaven. I love just being in her air space. Whatever problem you might have, it seems a little better when Amelia is present. It is so true. She is magical! I don’t think she even knows she is doing this. It just happens. Amelia can do no wrong in my eyes, and she is an amazing actress to boot. Joshua is also a very special soul, who can make you double over with laughter. Ah, if I only I were younger and he weren’t my son … but rehearsals, that’s another story. (Laughs)
Did you ever think when you started on Y&R, that 10,000 episodes were a possibility? Or, at some point did you know this show is such a hit that reaching 10,000 would not be a problem?
MELODY: I never really thought about it. These numbers are just a way of referencing episodes. But every time we reach one of these milestones numbers, I do have to stand back and say, “Holy, Mike! This is really something!” But this 10,000 is quite something. It would take a primetime show 450 years to reach 10,000 episodes!
You and Eric Braeden, as Nikki and Victor, are the staples of the series. Do you think there might come a time where Victor and Nikki might be happy together for at least a week? (Laughs) Or, do you think the constant self-destruction of their own relationship is still as juicy as ever and it needs to happen all the time, or it wouldn’t be true to “them”?
MELODY: No. Not because it wouldn’t be “true” to them, but because it would be boring. As Bill Bell always said, “conflict is the essence of drama.”
You have taken Twitter by storm. What are fans saying to you, or asking you the most? What feedback do you get?
MELODY: Well, I am not sure about that! But I will forever be grateful to all of my fans and followers on Twitter, for let’s face it, saving my sorry ass last year. All of their comments have been very supportive, and I have made several friends in the process. Some nights I sit alone in my kitchen howling with laughter. My husband just shakes his head, and my family thinks and knows … I am crazy! (Laughs) I really don’t think I have ever had a negative tweet. I have never had anybody be mean … never, ever, ever. (Editors note: At press time, Melody’s on-screen partner, Eric Braeden, finally joined Twitter @ebraeden, taking the Twitter world by surprise over the last few days)
Are you concerned that the soap genre, as we know it right now, will last only a few more years? We have four shows left, and the two healthiest, at least from outside appearances, are Y&R and B&B. But as had been reported, Y&R has had to make some serious budget cuts, and B&B is also tightening their belts.
MELODY: I think all actors are almost trained from being in this business for so long to not think that way. Being an actor is so precarious anyway, that to try and second-guess how long a show will last, especially something like Y&R, when a show has lasted almost forty years. That’s looking for trouble, Michael. I just wake up and go to work, still happy that it is still here. I don’t want to put that energy out there, so I don’t think about it, and I put my head in the sand. We are so blessed to still be on the air, and rightfully so. I just take it one day at a time and the producers take me 13 weeks at a time! (Laughs)
What would you want to say to all of your fans on this milestone 10,000-episode day, who have followed all of the trials and tribulations of Nikki and have showered you with their loyalty?
MELODY: Thank you so much for all of your love and support, and your loyalties through the years. Y&R has the best fans of any show daytime or nighttime. Keep watching, as we never get tired of saying, “Thank you.”
What tease can you give us for what we should watch for Nikki over the coming weeks?
MELODY: Trouble follows trouble and when it rains it pours. Another very tragic event happens on the heels of all of Victor’s trials and travails, and it struck me Melody, very personally.
So soapers, what did you think about Melody’s thoughts and comments? What do you think will happen to Nikki and Victor coming up? Did you watch today’s 10,000 episode? Did you give it a thumbs up? Weigh-in and let us know!