Why ‘Aunt Jordan’ from ‘The Young and the Restless’ is the best villain on TV

The Daily Beast

July 2, 2024

Colleen Zenk as crazy, devious, murderous Aunt Jordan on the CBS sudser has been causing chaos in Genoa City for months. Free her from jail immediately so she can cause more!

She was last seen swearing revenge with Brussels Sprouts—her most hated food—strewn around her. She is also television’s best, not well-enough-known, villain. Aunt Jordan (Colleen Zenk) is like a rare fine wine: only connoisseurs—in this case viewers of CBS daytime soap The Young and the Restless—know of her existence, and we treasure every one of her lunatic appearances on the show. If you haven’t seen Zenk’s evil character causing malevolent chaos wherever she goes, you are missing a bravura performance.

So far, Aunt Jordan has, in no particular order—imprisoned and force-fed the show’s diva heroine Nikki Newman with vodka to shatter her fragile sobriety and make her an alcoholic all over again. Then she killed the nice guy who Nikki was trying to help herself off the sauce.

Why does she hate the Newmans? Well, patriarch Victor Newman once broke the heart of her mad sister Eve. Jordan then stole her not-niece Claire as a baby from Victoria Newman (who thought her kid had died!), raised her (lying to her that she was her Eve’s child, and all the Newmans were terrible), then got Claire to participate in the mass drugging and attempted murder of Victor, son Nick, and Nikki and Victoria—before Claire turned on her! But is the new Claire as nice as she makes out? Some fans see traces of evil behind the new, reformed act, and anticipate when that worm may turn.

Jordan, who downed alleged poison to make people believe she was dead, has also burned down Victoria’s house, kidnapped Claire and little Harrison, son of Kyle, telling the little mite nobody loved him! Kyle rescued Harrison, Claire was found in a car lock-up, Victor found Jordan and incarcerated her in his already famous private dungeon to torture and torment her as payback for all the terrible things she has done. And then his plan was uncovered by Cole, Claire’s long-lost dad, and Jordan has been handed over to the authorities. For now, Genoa City is safely Jordan-free.

But we know that no maximum security establishment can hold Aunt Jordan. We have delighted in her disguises, particularly her dressed as a man, sending Nikki Newman alcoholic drinks from the bar at Genoa City’s haute eating spot, Society. We just know The Young and the Restless writers are cooking up a diabolically clever way for her to escape jail, and come after the Newmans once more. And Zenk’s great skill is to make Aunt Jordan both camp and OTT, and also genuinely terrifying. Her return to Genoa City to wreak yet more havoc cannot come soon enough.