Has your year been bold and beautiful? Did your old triangle get a new face? Did you and a bunch of people you know disappear into thin air? Did you paint a bull's-eye on your back in every available color? These and more situations faced the Forrester-Logan-Spencer-Spectra-Avant-Barber-Buckingham clan in 2018!
Another year has come and gone, Scoopers! As my father, who passed away in March, used to say, "Life is like a roll of toilet paper; the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes." And damned if he wasn't right. Plus, between the distractions of technology and the entirely different soap opera playing out in the real world, it can be hard to remember everything that's happened on B&B in 2018.
That's why we're here to do it for you. Last week, Chanel presented her year-end retrospective, and now, it's my turn to give it a go. As always, I haven't yet looked at her column or even Soap Opera Digest, whose Best & Worst issues I've been collecting since 1994. Nope, it's just me, my laptop, and the recaps here on Soap Central to refresh my memory and put everything into personal perspective.
And, if you've been reading my columns at all over the past nine years I've been doing them, you know I don't pull any punches with this stuff -- especially not with year-in-review installments. So, heat some leftover Christmas dinner and set yourself up with a steaming cup of apple cider, 'cause it's time to Two Scoop it Best & Worst style!
Pharlie didn't get much airtime this year (surprise), but what they got was choice. Together since 2013, Pam and Charlie are B&B's longest-enduring pair, and apparently, they're only getting started. We saw the concern in Charlie's eyes when Pam's stability wavered as a result of being off her bipolar meds. Charlie knows Pam enough to slip an engagement ring into a batch of lemon bars, and Pam was willing to battle Quinn to marry her Charlie under Stephanie's portrait at the Forrester estate. And when Pam postponed the nuptials Quinn nixed, Charlie was uber understanding. Even Bridge doesn't exhibit this kind of devotion.
What the hell happened to 2017's Best Couple? Thomas came home to tell Sally (finally) that Caroline's near-death had been a ruse to purge Sally from his life. Tally picked right back up, with Thomas offering to move the nuSpectras with them to NYC. A few weeks later, Sally returned solo and revealed Thomas had dumped her for Caroline...again! Damn, Tom, that's stone cold. We never even found out which coast Shirley, Saul, and Darlita ended up on. Note to B&B: don't reheat one of your hottest couples only to immediately give half of it, and the audience, blue balls.
Okay, so you'll never see Bill hooking up with his attorney/right-hand man. But don't these guys act just like an old married couple? When Justin tries to steer Bill away from his impulsive schemes, Bill accuses Justin of being a nag. Dollar Bill brushes off Barber's dime-store analysis but only because Justin knows exactly what makes his boss tick. And when it comes down to it, Bill would be lost without Justin, and Justin wouldn't be anywhere but at Bill's side, helping Bill tromp those who would transgress against the Almighty Dollah. They're more romantic than most of B&B's actual sweethearts!
Last year's Most Surprising Couple survived their no-strings status, Thorne's interference, and Bill's fury upon finding out his son and ex-wife were engaged. So, what undid Watie? One comment from little Will, who correctly declared Wyatt was his brother, not his father. Before you could say "pizza delivery boy," Katie called things off with Wyatt -- but what made this uncoupling so crass was Katie kissing Thorne immediately after and Wyatt just as quickly moving in a drunk girl who was ready to shoot him. Watie went from refreshing to rebound in five seconds flat. Call Guinness World Book.
Viewers either loved or hated Kim Matula's Hope Logan, but she was a front-burner force that couldn't be denied. Brooke's prodigal daughter (sorry, Bridget) bounced in late 2014 after losing Wyatt's baby -- three years later, in walked the blonde corner of the Leffy/Lope triangle in the form of Annika Noelle. Did she have a Hope in hell? You betcha. Noelle's Hope is a little more earthy, but her sincerity and sympathy fit the ongoing ingenue to a T. Plus, this Hope seems stronger, standing up to Bill and Taylor with a singular ease. Noelle brings Hope to the future!
To be clear, it's not Finnegan George's fault. The child actor does fine as Batie's only son -- it's just that Heather Tom's boy, Zane Achor, had played Will for five years, since he was an infant. And it was getting so young Achor could play a pivotal part in story, such as coming between Katie and Wyatt. Rather than stick with Achor through Will's custody battle, B&B inserted George and aged the character, which was jarring. No one could blame Tom for putting her son in school instead, but in this case, where there was a Will, there wasn't a way.
Even B&B's most diehard fans can't count Bridge's weddings (this was their eighth), but Ridge and Brooke's 2018 nuptials worked. The "destiny" couple hadn't actually been wed since Brooke got text-dumped in 2012, and it took awhile to warm up to Thorsten Kaye's Ridge romancing Logan. Yet by the time nuBridge finally got to the altar in February, it felt like they were getting it right. The best part? Stephanie speaking to former enemy Brooke from the beyond, telling her not to screw things up! Hopefully, this time, Bridge will be the B&B endgame they seem destined to be.
The ceremony was beautiful, and Will's inclusion was aww-worthy. Thatie (Korne?) just needed a shotgun, because that's how fast this wedding happened. First, Katie broke up with Wyatt and moved Thorne in before the change of address cards finished processing. Then, Thorne badgered Katie into suing Bill for full custody of Will, and, before you knew it, this couple who never even went on a date was exchanging vows the day before Will's hearing, assuring themselves they were marrying for love. No one else seems invested in them, either; B&B has back-burnered Thatie, and Ingo Rademacher just split. Romantic, ain't it?
This I.T. guy is IT! Danny Woodburn brings some much-needed laughs to B&B as Ken, the talented, temperamental computer whiz. Though Ken only appeared twice this year (to help Katie and Thorne find HFTF's cyberbully and to hack into Ridge's phone for Bill), he made his mark by demanding tea and other pampering while on the job, serving up wisecrack after wisecrack. But Ken can get real, too -- he calls Bill out on his questionable behavior and suggests that the Dollah shouldn't get married so much! Ken is definitely tech support you're willing to stay on hold for.
Longtime voice of reason Taylor has been edgier since her 2005 resurrection, but the woman we see now feels like a stranger. Armed with misinformation about Steffy she never verified, Taylor -- who once counseled Bill regarding his tendency toward violence -- armed herself and popped a cap in him. Then, she vacillated between tearful paranoia and vitriolic ranting, with the show failing to explain her radical one-eighty. Taylor's identity crisis is interesting, and money-hungry Reese may be the one to push her over the edge, but seriously -- did Prince Omar clone our Doc and send us the copy?
Surprise! Despite this year's marry-go-rounds and relationship switcheroos, not one trio can take the prize for this quintessential soap shape. Steffy, Hope, and Liam got back into familiar triangular harness; however, even with some intriguing new twists on this old standby, their saga felt monotone. Newbies Emma, Xander, and Zoe captured screen time but never viewers' hearts, and Bill didn't seem welcome in any coupling he tried to insert himself into. A good triangle involves a main sweetheart genuinely torn between two rivals in a situation where there are no bad guys. B&B just didn't fill that bill in 2018.
As 2017's Worst Couple, Brooke and Bill, wisely parted ways, leaving Brooke to tie the knot with Ridge, hopefully for keeps. But Bill -- and B&B -- couldn't leave well enough alone, with the Stallion jockeying for position with his former mistress/ex-wife repeatedly. No matter how many times Brooke told him she was devoted to the Dressmaker, Bill campaigned for himself and tried to impress Brooke by declaring his love and changed-man status. That might've resonated had Bill not just busted all the same moves on Steffy months before. A triangle doesn't work if its center only wants one participant!
Ten years ago, unstable Pam went to dangerous extremes to keep Donna out of Eric's bed, infamously attempting to serve Donna up as a bear's snack. So, Donna returning and warmly embracing her one-time victimizer should never have worked. But it did, because Pam and Donna sat down and discussed the old days, with Pam taking responsibility for herself and Donna finally accepting that a brain mass had controlled Pam's behavior. And, in the ultimate ironic twist, Pam is now trying to get Donna to lure Eric away from Quinn. Somehow, it feels like even Stephanie would approve, doesn't it?
Though "Hott"'s 2014 marriage was pretty much just a Parisian rebound, it didn't make Hope losing Wyatt's baby then any less heartbreaking. Yet when Hope returned from Milan this year and ran into Wyatt, the subject of her miscarriage became an elephant in the room so big it required a steam shovel to clean up after it. The former marrieds offered up some small talk but never addressed the loss they'd shared -- or gave any hints they were purposely avoiding the topic. It was simply as if the miscarriage didn't happen, which robbed us of a scene pregnant with possibilities.
Okay, it was the only B&B catfight in 2018 -- but it was rooted in history. Decades of fighting over Ridge having morphed into fighting over whose daughter was better for Liam, Brooke dug her heels in for Hope but didn't anticipate Taylor's new no-filter ways. Taylor ripped Brooke a new one then ripped into Hope's wedding cake and pelted the pastry at her rival. One-time Valley girl Brooke gave as good as she got, but Steffy and Hope making their moms do the walk of shame for mauling each other with marzipan was only just deserts. How sweet it is!
What else to expect from 2017's Most Conniving Character? Bill acted on his rekindled feelings for Steffy; that she was married to his son Liam was a mere inconvenience. Bill moved on Steffy like a bitch, proposing and threatening to throw Steffy's mom, Taylor, in jail for shooting him if Steffy didn't marry him. Bill then used Wyatt to punk Liam into thinking Bill was still shagging Steffy; Bill bribed Wyatt into keeping mum but disowned him for telling the truth. This all left youngest son Will so neglected, his mom sued Bill for custody. Even Hallmark doesn't make cards for this!
Quinn had been so vocal about hating Bill, she became a suspect when Bill was shot. But Detective Sanchez delivered a surprise: he knew Quinn had kidnapped the amnesiac Liam two years earlier and passed herself off as his wife. Characters often forget their past actions on this show; here, Quinn had to relive her crime, and mentioning that its catalyst had been another of Liam's concussions, the first of which he suffered in 2010, was a master stroke. Liam's latest head injury even had him believing he'd pulled the trigger himself! Ain't honoring history this way a kick in the head?
Is there a magician on B&B's staff this year? R.J., Coco, and Ivy disappeared without a trace after Bridge's wedding; only R.J. merited a casual mention afterwards. Shirley and Saul wished violence against Bill, then vanished, which was more than Darlita got. Thomas swept Sally off her feet then got swept under the rug, while Caroline came back to strangle Bill and quietly slinked out, reuniting with Thomas (?) off-screen. Rick suddenly and unceremoniously left for Europe with Maya but sent Maya back alone. They're called exit scenes; remember those? Every character deserves one, and the audience deserves them more.
2018's only new character over 21, Reese Buckingham, is also the only one whose arrival heralds some intriguing possibilities. Sharing portrayer Wayne Brady's easy smile, Reese is a charmer, yet it's already obvious there may be a dark side to this pond-jumping doc. Reese is impulsive -- which he demonstrated by quickly kissing Taylor -- but Zoe has warned us that her dad goes through money and women faster than she goes through lingerie. There's a loose cannon quality to Reese, meaning he can only wreak havoc on our screens -- and for a soap, that's a very good thing.
Maya's cousin blew into town, covering his British accent. So far, so good; it soon came out that Xander was faking Americanism so his British ex-girlfriend, Zoe, wouldn't be able to track him down. Xander and Emma started a sweet relationship, but as soon as Zoe showed up, Xander not only didn't bother to tell us what Zoe did that drove him away in the first place, but he kissed Zoe behind Emma's back every chance he got. By the time Emma dumped him, she had a cheering section. Someone needs to tell Xander pigs belong on farms, not on runways.
Ridge has never befriended anyone named Bill Spencer -- B&B began with Ridge antagonizing Bill Sr. over the original Caroline -- but this year, Ridge took his campaign against Bill Jr. to dastardly heights. Believing Bill violated Steffy, Ridge illegally influenced a judge to take Will away from Bill and even asked Sheila to kill Bill for him! Ridge using Bill's tactics just made Bill laugh and taunt Ridge over how much Ridge's daughter wanted him. The enemies threw punches that ended with Bill flying over his balcony -- yet both Bill and Ridge occasionally disarm each other with humor. Two embattled egomaniacs engaging? Yes, please!
Lawrence Saint-Victor is too talented, too suave, and too handsome to have his character languishing on the backburner year after year. Carter comes out of mothballs to perform weddings and occasionally represent Forrester folks in court -- amazing since Mr. Walton is the company's patent attorney; he has a convenient and unrealistic range of legal skills. All Carter got to do in 2018 was go up against Justin in Will's custody hearing and make an out-of-nowhere profession of love to the married Maya, who friend zoned him five years ago. Please, B&B, give Carter some love -- and a life.
Taylor Hamilton Hayes Forrester Rashid Forrester Marone Jones has danced with snakes, played dead twice, and even tripped on psychedelic berries. But one thing no one ever expected was that she'd make herself subservient to hated nemesis Brooke. As the secret of her shooting Bill continued to leak, Taylor became increasingly afraid that her days as a free woman were numbered. So, when Brooke got woke, Taylor naturally appealed to her -- then dropped to her knees, grabbed Brooke's ankles, and begged for mercy! Taylor fans weren't sure what to think, but nobody can deny the move was decidedly bold.
Last year, Sally got back-burnered after catching feelings for Liam. Sometimes insecure but always spunky, Sally came roaring back in February but uncharacteristically trained guns on both Bill and Wyatt. Sally moved to NYC, only to hit L.A. again, strangely penniless to the point she was willing to sharpen pencils for Hope at Forrester Creations. Then, Sally got two second chances: designing lingerie for Steffy's Intimates line and an instant relationship with Wyatt. Courtney Hope is a joy, but it feels like B&B doesn't know what to do with Sally. Hopefully, 2019 will find Ms. Spectra sashaying down a more defined path.
You could have lined all Bill's potential shooters down Hollywood Boulevard, but it was the suspect who suspected himself that was the most intriguing. Even though his father did his wife, do-gooder Liam would never pick up a gun as retribution -- or would he? It turned out Liam, who has a history of concussions, knocked himself out again and found himself wearing gloves that matched the shooter's. Then, he had flashes of firing at Bill! Apparently, it was only a revenge fantasy, but Liam's potential culpability was completely organic, and Scott Clifton knocked this arc out of the park.
What was the point? Teenybopper Emma danced into town and was warned by Uncle Justin not to let the Forresters know she was a Barber. Of course, that came out when Emma unoriginally took photos of Forrester designs, but once Justin stood up for her and defended the family name, uncle and niece never even had another scene together. Emma and Justin just chased Xander and Bill, respectively. The Barbers could easily have been random characters, as unexplored as their connection is; if you're going to seat a new family member at the table, better put some meat on the plate.
Usually, when soap spouses scrap, one or both gravitates toward more agreeable partners. Ridge and Brooke have made an Olympic event out of that, which is why their stick-to-it-ness this year is a breath of fresh air. Bridge disagreed over whose daughter deserves Liam, but things got stickier when Brooke supported Bill in his custody fight for Will and Ridge broke the law to topple it. Yet even though Bill kissed Brooke and made his intentions clear, Brooke remained devoted to Ridge, who kept his usual waffle mix in the cupboard. Maybe these fickle Forresters have finally grown up after 31 years.
#FirstWorldProblems. Having navigated a rare truce in regard to Liam, Steffy and Hope hit turbulence when financial concerns threatened to impact their respective fashion lines. Hope made a case for the freshly rebooted Hope for the Future, while Steffy went straight to Ridge and said she needed Intimates, since Hope had gotten everything else of hers. Not surprisingly, Intimates was green-lit and Hope grumbled that her message collection was in the toilet. All this while multimillion-dollar Forrester Creations could easily afford to back both lines. Big yawn. This "battle" did nothing to debunk Hope and Steffy's rep as spoiled princesses.
Wyatt was on track to win Dumbest Character for the third year in a row when he discovered Bill faked a seduction scene so Wyatt would tell Liam that Steffy was still sleeping with Bill. Agreeing to keep quiet, Wyatt accepted Bill's hot ride and promise of becoming CEO in five years. But when Liam proposed to Hope based on his false info, Wyatt's conscience got the better of him, so he stopped the ceremony with the truth, even though it meant getting disowned by Bill. Being willing to fall on the knife for his brother was a most satisfying wedding present.
After a nifty whodunit about his shooting, Bill was floored to learn that the usually stable Taylor held the smoking gun. Bill used that revelation to pressure Steffy into marrying him but kept his word about keeping Taylor out of jail when the police came back six months later, asking questions. But why did Detective Sanchez let the case go cold in the first place? Were we really to believe the cops would shelve the attempted murder of a publishing magnate that long before investigating again? The extended break made the story lose momentum and Sanchez look like a buffoon.
In the '90s, Joe Lando caused swooning with his scruffy woodsman on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. This year on B&B, Lando took a more serious turn as Judge McMullen, who was tasked with deciding whether Katie got full custody of her son, young Will Spencer. But it wasn't just another short-term stunt: Lando brought gravitas to McMullen as he agonized over granting Ridge's request to sway the case, took in what a crappy father Bill was, and panicked about being exposed. Oh, and still sexy? Double check. B&B needs to find a way to award us custody of Lando full-time.
The queen of evil deserved so much better! Last year's Worst Return had come back without explaining why she had her original face and attempting watered-down versions of her infamous schemes. In 2018, she toiled at Il Giardino, denied she'd filled Ridge's order to off Bill...and disappeared. Is the woman responsible for the biggest crossover in soap history in the back of Il Giardino, folding napkins? Of course, portrayer Kimberlin Brown was running for Congress, but the show refusing to acknowledge Sheila's whereabouts was a slap in the face to a character whose exits used to include faked deaths, prison sentences, and kidnappings.
When Hope returned from Italy, Steffy found herself in yet another dizzying competition with her for the hand of Liam. Surprisingly, Steffy stopped the crazy train after she caught Liam kissing Hope, and she cast herself in the starring role of her own life. Deciding to raise infant Kelly on her own, Steffy "proposed" to Hope on Liam's behalf with her own engagement ring, then threw herself into a campaign of self-empowerment. Okay, what strutting in skivvies has to do with that, who knows. But in a year where more women took back their own power, Steffy claiming hers was rock on.
Today, women demand to be believed when they claim harassment and/or abuse. The converse should also be true: believe a woman who insists she acted of her own accord. Steffy's parents didn't get that memo. No matter how many times Steffy tells them she slept with Bill willingly, Ridge and Taylor keep thinking Steffy was violated. This stubborn misbelief fueled Ridge's rage toward Bill all year and inspired Taylor to shoot Bill in the back. It's irresponsible to send this message at this point in history, plus Tridge comes off as far more hardline than they actually are. Believe it.
Leffy/Lope dominated so much of 2011 and 2012, it seemed certain they wouldn't be welcomed again. Yet, we had to watch Liam bounce between his women in 2018 -- which is what made it so cool when Hope and Steffy stopped pirouetting to Liam's tune and made up their own dance. Having both sprouted in Liam's fertile soil, the stepsisters/rivals faced reality and decided to raise their babies together in one extended family. HFTF/Intimates was an obstacle, and now Taylor threatens to topple the whole thing, but Hope and Steffy's maturity was refreshing -- and more than their mothers showed over Ridge.
It made sense for Katie to seek full custody of Will, given his father was too busy chasing Steffy to see him. But we missed some beats in the deets. Judge McMullen was horrified enough hearing what Bill was like; he shouldn't have needed Ridge's pressuring to reach the same decision. In the end, Katie just wanted time management concerning Bill's visits; he could still see Will as much as he wanted as long as he made arrangements first. So, why bother with court? Katie eventually restoring joint custody to Bill just made the entire saga seem even more unnecessary.
Too often, people on soaps give each other free passes for devilish deeds and move on as if nothing happened. Not this year! B&B's resident pacifist, Liam, finally had enough after his father slept with his wife and used his brother to fake a continuing affair with her. Despite Bill's tearful apologies, many of which Liam had heard before, Liam turned away from Bill and spent most of 2018 avoiding him. Yes, Liam was at Bill's bedside when he got shot; that just proves Liam is human. But Bill got what he deserved; in this case, to not forgive was divine.
Rivalries, instant job promotions, green-eyed monsters backstage at Forrester? Nicole, Zende, and Sasha blazed this trail in 2015; unfortunately, newbies Emma, Xander, and Zoe followed in their footsteps, only with British accents. Xander ditched potential psycho Zoe in London and Americanized himself to keep from being recognized, which Zoe did the second she showed up at Forrester. Yet the only trick crazy Zoe pulled was writing nasty things on the HFTF site; any other devilry died with her cat. As for klutzy dancer Emma, she never knew new bae Xander was constantly kissing Zoe, yet she delivered so many side eyes that friend Tiffany reminded her how she had been with a Jonathan, a clue that went uninvestigated. When Emma finally broke up with Xander, no one cared. Exploring the lower ranks of the fashion industry is a great idea, but interns need some snap and crackle; this trio had no pop.
By the time Bill got a bullet in his back, he needed a Facebook group to organize all of his enemies. Sally hated him for flaking on rebuilding Spectra; Pam ran out of bipolar meds and went on anti-Bill tirades; the near-forgotten Rick grumbled about old grievances. Suddenly, the Santa Ana winds kicked in, and the setup was movie-quality -- long shadows, creepy classical music, a power outage. And bang! Bill was lying in his own blood. Nearly everyone on the canvas stood in the fallout; even the visiting Thomas and Caroline got pulled into this umbrella story. B&B brilliantly made Liam think he'd popped his own father -- but the shooter turned out to be Taylor, which no one predicted. Yes, the long gap between further developments made the story stall, but the actual attempted murder and what led up to it was nothing less than a bang-up job.
How 'bout it, Scoopers? Agree with my Best & Worst picks, or think I'm totally off the mark? Make your resolutions in the Comments section below or on the Soap Central message boards, or simply click here to submit feedback. Your comments could wind up in a future column!
Can you believe B&B is going to air its 8000th episode? That's right -- the odometer turns over on January 4, and the scuttlebutt is, that day will kick off a "profound" tale that will resonate all year. Why do I get the feeling it's going to involve something out of Sheila's playbook?
My deepest appreciation to you guys for continuing to follow me and my columns here on Soap Central. If you're good -- and I mean really good -- I might just kick off the new year with what I would do if I were on B&B's writing team. 2019 is going to be one helluva year, so keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold. Because now more than ever, no matter color, creed, religion, gender identity, orientation, or nationality, we're all beautiful.
What are your thoughts on The Bold and the Beautiful? What did you think of this week's Two Scoops? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.