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INs AND OUTs
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 Two Scoops: December 27, 2004 columns
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Michael Graziadei
Wishes for 2005
by Nita
For the Week of December 27, 2004
We wish for a normal city, we wish for a normal city, we wish for a normal city, and we wish it right now!
(Sung to the tune of We Wish You a Merry Christmas): We wish for a normal city; We wish for a normal city; We wish for a normal city; And we wish it right now!

Just kidding. If Genoa City life was normal, I doubt we'd bother to tune in. At least I wouldn't. If I want reality I can always focus the camera on my own life. But for now, reality will have to wait. We've got a make believe year to recap.

Christmas, 2004. All the boxes have been opened, Christmas bags all peeked inside. They've oohed, they've aahed, they've cried: We had such a glorious time. But now it's after Christmas, and in this discontented town, I'm sure many are already grumbling, wearing after Christmas frowns.

A bright and shiny 2005 might be just down the road and around the next corner, but that doesn't mean the rabble-rousing residents of Genoa City are planning to leave any of their problems back in 2004. On the contrary, on verandas and in vestibules all over the city, bags are already packed and waiting, so they (or their devoted paid servants) can drag their convoluted concerns right on into the coming year.

But before we can get to the first days of that untouched New Year, we have to recap this one. Well, fans, I wracked my poor little pea brain for days and nights about the best way to present this year end column. A summary of the year's events in my usual slightly sarcastic manner? A businesslike bullet list of important points; you know, best and worst, hate and love, wants and wishes? Here's what I came up with. Since so many of you were kind enough to take the time and trouble to let me know exactly what you liked and didn't, I decided that no one could say it better than all of you did, so what follows are your words, mostly in their entirety. Because, like I often say: "This is your column too! But first, here are some of my random thoughts in no particular order.

I thought I would begin my look back by emailing, snail-mailing and hand-delivering the following greetings:

"Hello" to Genoa City newcomers, Daniel Romalotti, Devon Hamilton and Gloria Fisher.

"Nice to See You Again" to a few who left, but have since returned: Mackenzie Browning, Malcolm Winters and Colleen Carlton. An honorable "Nice To See You, Too" mention also goes to third Musketeer, Sierra, I've been gone but now that Colleen is back, I get to come back too.

"Maybe we'll see you later" messages have been mailed in care of General Delivery to Victoria Newman, Raul Gutierrez, Shiloh, Wes and the Damon disappointed orchid lady, Vanessa Lerner.

A "See you soon?" telegram was sent to young Nate Hastings, his nose apparently buried in those London schoolbooks even over the Christmas break. Do you think Mommy Liv stopped batting bovine eyes at Malcolm long enough to at least bid her boy a telephonic Merry Christmas?

A "Where in the World Are You? pink telephone slip was left at the Front Desk of the Genoa City Hotel for delivery to Diane Jenkins and Kyle Abbott. Calls to inquire about the whereabouts of Angelo of Marsino's, now Marilyn's, went unanswered.

Due to their whirlwind appearance and disappearance as they blew in and out of the City, both hellos and goodbyes were shouted simultaneously at Danny Romalotti, Judge Arthur Hendricks, Harrison Bartlett and Elliott Hampton.

Numerous goodbye and good riddance greetings were sent and presumably censored heavily by the state correctional facility currently housing Cameron Kirsten.

And lastly, a final goodbye to those we know will never return: Frank Barritt and Paul's blue bathrobe. May they both rest in peace.

My Picks:

Worth a Rewind: There were many moments that sparkled as brilliantly as a diamond under bright store lights, but none made my eyes twinkle more in appreciative merriment than the two moments when first Victor, then Bradley kicked Ashley's fickle fanny firmly to the concrete curb.

Breath Stealers, Tear Jerkers and Heart Stoppers: There were so many, but I narrowed it down to these: Kevin in the closet. The slow-motion, brutal beating of Kevin. Michael single handedly carrying Kevin back from the brink of the beyond. Devon's heartbreaking realization that Neil was about to hand him his walking papers.

Will This Madness Never End: The Man Who Would Not Die - The Cameron Kirsten Comedy. The Orchid Roots That Would Not Wither, also known as The Hair Straighter that Wasn't. And a very close third is the current Had Samurai Sword, Did Swing It.

Most Missed Resident: Victoria Newman. Still.

Most mismatched Pair: Bobby and Brittany. Marriage has mellowed the once abrasive, self-centered blonde, but they still look and sound ridiculous together. Damon and his screech owl, Feel-Iss are a breathing down their neck second.

Most incompetent peace officer: Hank Weber, whose no-win record will soon surpass DA Glen Richards.

Biggest letdown: Cutie pie Abby letting the Baby Daddy secret out of the burlap bag and Victor's mild reaction to her Mommy's manipulative semen stealing.

Most obnoxious male. Hands down Mr. Knucklehead Nitwit Newman. When he isn't curling his lip into a sneer as he looks down his nose at his father, he's curling his lip into a sneer as he looks down his nose at everyone else. He's not expected to improve in the near future. Most anticipated moment: The day he falls flat on his obnoxious, know it all, fanny.

* * * * * * *

And now, from the Fan Gallery.

If things don't change soon, fan Mazie, is likely to tune her channel to some other land of make believe.

MAZIE - I have just about decided to give up watching this dumb show. The storylines are so stupid, the dialogue is inane, the stories are too long and drawn out and most of the actors are boring. Do they have new writers or what? I mute out much of what I see and find myself laughing or complaining at most of the drivel. I also have a few questions about things that annoy me, maybe someone can help. Why does Jack always talk with his mouth full of food and why doesn't he mind his own business? Is Olivia the only doctor at the hospital? She handles all cases no matter what the cause. Why does Katherine always talk with her hands? They are constantly on her face and flying around as she talks. Why does Malcolm wear that stupid handkerchief tied around his head? He used to be such a hot shot photographer why does he want to work in the "coffee house"? Phyllis I find is especially offensive, as is Ashley and Sharon. All storylines are thoroughly boring. I love Michael (such beautiful teeth) don't much admire Lauren. She overacts. I wish a nice girl would turn up for him. Neil, Dru, Lilly and Kevin are all worthless. J.T. and Mac are good, wish they would get together. Still like Victor in spite of how pompous he is. Bobby is an interesting character without his egotistical self-centered wife. And I have to mention the clothes these people wear. Don't they ever put on jeans like the rest of us do? They are always ready for a cocktail party, any time day or night, hair always done and jewelry hanging from everywhere. Speaking of clothing do they wear their own or does the show supply them? They are so tacky. What they wear to work amazes me. Phyllis, Sharon and Nikki are the worst. So I'm just about to call it quits after many, many years, there isn't anything that holds my interest. I'd rather go and do my ironing!!

Fan, Kristi, is a bit fed up too:

KRISTI - I tell ya, I've been watching Y&R since I was in 7th grade (I'm 26 now), and I think the show is nowhere near what it used to be back in the day. I am pretty sick of everybody that's on the show now, except a few - like Michael, he's definitely my fave. It seems like everybody is so wishy-washy on the show, always changing how they feel about something, especially Nikki and Victor. First she was ok with him leaving, understood why, and now suddenly she's furious. What? I do like Nikki and Victor, but they just need a better storyline. Anyways, back to who's driving me crazy ... on the top of my list is Nick!! What a pompous a-hole! I cannot stand this egomaniac. I was so pissed when Victor gave him the top spot at Newman - was not expecting that one at all. Nick is so hypocritical. He's guilty of everything he's accused his father of doing. Also, Phyllis is getting on my nerves. Does she ever learn!? Once again she's going to land her butt in jail ... big shocker. I really like her character, but at times like these (and during the whole year-long poolhouse thing), she's so stupid and reckless. I'm also sick of Dru. Just like Phyllis, I like her sometimes, but they are both just my-way-or-the-highway - gets very annoying. I'm pretty much sick of every storyline going on right now, save a few. Sick of the Brad-Ashley-Victor thing, Brittany and Bobby's freakish marriage, Kevin and his self-centeredness, Nikki and her bad dreams, Sharon's new job, yada yada yada. The only few things I do like about the soap right now is Michael and the Devon storyline. Hopefully with the Devon storyline not everyone is going to live happily ever after just yet. I'm anxious to see what happens. Other than that, not much interesting me. I'm really not interested in the new Kay-hates-Jill-again storyline. Been there done that. Oh, I also like Daniel. Hopefully he'll stay in some front-burner storylines. Mac is okay every once in awhile, or maybe it's just because I like to look at her flawless skin. The things I miss: I wish Victoria would come back. I love her! I guess I don't mean Victoria, I mean Heather Tom. I can't see anyone else playing that part. I miss Nina a bit, too. And I wish they would have kept Danny around. He was always one of my favorites from way back when. I think they could have done a lot with him. I also miss the time when Cricket wasn't such a b*tch. Man, what is wrong with her these days! She just rips peoples' heads off right and left!

Add Wanda to the ranks of the disappointed:

WANDA - Where are the Newman's (not Nick and Sharon) and the Abbott's? I DO NOT tune into Y&R to watch the Winters' family nor the Porter's and especially not the Marsino's. I am really sick of all these peripheral characters all of a sudden the main storylines. When is "the Moustache" taking back the reins of Newman Enterprises? Why don't the writers go ahead with Jack taking over CI and use some of the "displaced" Newman and Jabot employees over there?

This has been the worst year yet for Y&R bad storylines. I still say the writers have taken a sabbatical and some evil scribes have taken over in GC. Some of the stuff is downright unbelievable by the most faithful viewers. The Cameron Kirsten debacle, the Damon story suddenly turned into a murder and near murder, Kevin not getting in trouble for any of the felonies he has committed. Mal coming back from the dead from AFRICA. Judge Hendricks just left and Elliott just disappearing in a flash. I absolutely hated all the crap about the orchid. Nikki's 50 year old memories coming back to haunt her. The absolute worst one of all the marriage of Bob and Britt. I really have to consider at year's end if I want to devote an hour of my time each day to such nonsense and bad writing for 2005.

LON, KDH, CATHERINE and PATTI add their voices to the chorus of complaints directed toward the writers. I hope they're listening:

LON - I miss the old writers for Y&R who used to bring us some real intense love stories. Like the Brooks sisters Laurie and her sisters and falling in love with the same guy, who now plays Eric Forrester in B&B. We do not get that kind of story-line anymore. Even Danny and Cricket that was a great love story-line there. The love stories are so vague and short no spice, I think the writers are more concerned about creating these weird villains that get monotonous e.g. Dominic/Damon/Phyllis. Give us a good love story with lots of excitement and suspense. Besides love story the most interesting piece was Kevin Fisher and his antics this year. We can pretty much predict the outcome of most everything or get bored. Time to upgrade the writers

KDH - What has changed about the Y&R writing staff? Storylines just get started and popular characters barely get re-introduced before the moves are reversed. (Fonseca, Damian, Moore). The abrupt changes in the storylines are what upset me the most. For example, Ashley is all-American working mommy who is deeply in love with hubby one minute, and the next she's abandoning her child, making stupid mistakes, and back in Daddy's house with a step-mommy she hates. (By the way, why is Gloria being re-cast?) I was all set to see Jack heading up Chancellor Industries, but, noooooooooooo. Why does every character either quit his job or get fired at the same time? Every family is split because one spouse works for Jabot and the other for Newman. Can't we get some new ideas here? Can't we have just one character who changed his name years ago? Why have a whole slew of misnomers?

CATHERINE - I too am not happy with the writers and how they have Victor acting like a wimp and not the strong man he really is. Please change him back to what he was as this is soooo hard to watch because it is so not him. I bet Eric cringes when he reads his script. I know I would. Hopefully they will do it soon because I have never before fast forwarded scenes with Victor in them as I am now.

PATTI - The writers at Y&R do an incredible job - most of the time - but yikes! We're supposed to believe that Malcolm just happened to meet Adrian (who's walking around without a coat in the winter), late at night, in the park and is later invited to her place and ends up spending the night. Of course she's been in Africa, too, for who knows how long but keeps a beautiful apartment ready and waiting for strangers to stay. She talks like a bright lady but her actions say differently. And their dialogue - one would think they had been friends forever! They were just so "in tune" with each other it almost made me sick. I thought it was a pretty hokey way of introducing Adrian's character. Certainly the writers could have come up with something better.

Here they are, fans, Your Best and Worst and Wishes for the Rest:

BROOKE - Okay, first things first - I have always been a HUGE Nick and Sharon supporter, but this just may be the year for new beginnings. I'm rooting for Brad and Sharon - Nick will be left high and dry on his pompous behind - maybe he and Ashley can cry on each other's shoulders. Misery does love company. And wouldn't that be the irony of the century - turned down by the great Victor Newman only to have the pieces picked up by his self-righteous son? So ENOUGH Bobby and Brittany already! Has anyone done the math? Brittany is not even 21 yet, and since we know that Bobby is really Charles Casein, and he was like 2 when Nikki was 5, wouldn't that make him like almost 50? Nikki just needs to kick the mustache to the curb and then her and Bobby can live happily ever after, and then the smug little Brittany can run back to the wide-open arms of J.T. (that is if Colleen hasn't already snatched him back up). One last thing - I am so ready to see Malcolm and Dru just throw down and go for it I can't even see straight! I know he's leaving soon, but before he goes he needs to melt that little Winter Wonderland to the ground. Lilly can finally discover that there really is a root to all of her problems - and it ain't Kevin Fisher. I have a feeling 2005 will bring quite a few changes to Genoa City. Let's just hope it's enough to keep our hands off of the FF button.

ANNIE - Will not waste time with storylines I did not like; here are the best for the past year (1) Nikki and her childhood shooting; (2) Bobby Marsino; (3) Michael (except for Kevin - getting tired of that); (4) Gloria pissing off Ashley; (5) the Rec Center - so tired of the damn coffee shop, Newman ranch Jabot and Newman Enterprises where no one works and his jerk son has taken over. Maybe the writers listened to some of the polls (whatever happened to Nick's friend who was supposed to come and why was Victoria never recast). Okay, New Year: get rid of Ashley, Christine, Phyllis/Damon, Dru/Sharon career laugh-a-thon. More of Lauren and Michael, bring back Diane. Jack at Chancellor and Jill (where is Larry Warton when she needs him) storyline could be intriguing and let's have Nikki make Victor really unhappy for a change (he and Ashley richly deserve each other). Brittany is a bomb of an actress and why is J.T. stuck in such a storyline rut?

SALLY - The worst was the Sharon-Cameron Kirsten saga. Dragged on way too long and nobody cared anyway. The worst couple of 2004 - tie between Damon and Phyllis and Bobby and Brittany. Both of them lack chemistry. The best couple of 2004 - Michael and Lauren. Although, the writers seem to have dropped this budding romance like a hot potato lately. It had great potential. The performer I'd most like to see take a hike - tie between Christine, Paul Williams and Ashley Abbot. All of them bore me to tears. Best moment of 2004 - when Brad finally kicked Ashley to the curb and Ashley was left with nothing and nobody. About time this manipulative, whiny lady got what she deserved. For 2005, I hope Kevin finally gets some counseling and truly turns his life around. A romance would be nice for him, perhaps Mackenzie?

LINDA - Am I the only one that thinks Ashley running to Victor was one of the several stupid things she has done? It's like she has a split personality and both of them are ready for the loony bin. And Phyllis makes me roll my eyes and shake my head. About the best, the worst and our wishes, please excuse me if I sound like a terrible person. The best: none of the citizens of Genoa City. The worst: Ashley, Sharon, Dru, Diane, Phyllis. (Gloria is too dumb to even count). And my wish: I would want the old Victoria back and with Michael. Am I the only one who remembers half of the things Lauren has done? I do remember Michael's past but the writers have made me love him and if you want him to be happy I am afraid Lauren is not the one. The minute Paul winks at her she will be back in his bed.

MARY R - I don't understand why with the 75 million Victor gave Jabot they are in such a financial bind. How much does it costs to run a business like that? I also wonder how Victor is paying this. Is he paying a little at a time? He seem to be saying that when he was talking to Ashley. I guess if he is that's why Jabot is in such a mess. Oh, and poor Katherine not one mention of her unrequited love.

MARG - Will get right to the point! Malcolm. I was very disappointed to hear that he is going to leave. The reason that the fans have not taken to Malcolm is because he has lost his sex-appeal. Time to kiss and make up with Neil and move on. Malcolm is a ladies man and has not shown this side of himself since returning to Genoa City. Malcolm is a lover not a fighter. There is no one who can romance a lady like Malcolm! I truly believe that if they cleaned up Malcolm's look, i.e that awful hair style and dark looking eyes and gave back that sexy hairdo & look that the fans love, they will come RUNNING. Believe me he is one of the BEST actors I have ever seen to come out of daytime TV. He's a natural with his emotions and jive talk and very entertaining. I don't even think Malcolm has 'smiled 'once since his return. Shame on the producers for not utilizing his many talents. Also, that new girl needs a lot of work (especially her look & hair) and I can only see her bringing Malcolm down. Give Malcolm his ladies back! Offer him a 'to die for job at Jabot to get things back on track for them with advertising etc. Have him do some more photos with Dru (maybe romance). Now there's the winning combo! Sparks fly when they act!! Or have him come between Phyllis and Damon - excellent couple not to mention the friction between Dru and Phyllis (jealousy). MALCOLM NEEDS HIS LADIES OR HE WILL NOT SURVIVE! Lots of upper torso nude shots would not hurt either! Please don't let Malcolm go, not this way! Give him a chance to give the fans what they want.

MARY - Now that Neil has "really" quit Newman, maybe he can go run Jabot. After all, they all do keep trading employees. Also, am I the only one who sees a coincidence in Victor being out of town the same time the fire breaks out in California?

SANNI - Feedback: Worst Decision of 2004 - Eliminating the character of Raul. Letting David Lago go. David Lago was one of the best actors in the show. The writers could have developed a storyline for him apart from J.T./Britt (if J.T. can be a PI, why couldn't Raul be a cop?) and made him a darker character. Raul was like a breath of fresh air; most of the other 20-somethings are the same - boring and rich. Plus he was one of the few sympathetic characters on the show.

We'll wrap things up with JEFF and TARA. They're laugh out loud funny. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

JEFF - "Grüezi" to you from the snow covered alps of Switzerland! I know it's been a while since I last wrote to you, but I've been quite busy with work and going on business trips. Nevertheless I've still had ample time to keep up to date with your weekly synopsis of the daily trials and tribulations of our favourite citizens of Genoa City. Well after religiously downloading episodes of Y&R via the Soap City website, I've decided to contribute my 2 cents worth in the opinions you're currently gathering for your year-end run-down of the "best & worst" of 2004. So without further ado, here we go (I've provided brief summary/commentary so as not to overload your Inbox):

The Best:

Michael and Kevin: It's extremely rare that US soaps portray with such realism in the relationships between two brothers. This time around, Y&R has given us two wonderful talents to portray realistically flawed yet "real" brothers who have enough skeletons and scars in their respective closets to overwhelm a lake. Both actors excel onscreen together and give a realistic portrayal of brothers who occasionally both sneak up and beat up on each other. Of all the deeds, I personally found the "Kevin in the psychiatric ward" episode a bit over the top, but necessary to bang home the dire straights of this tragic character. The episode where Kevin regresses to his childhood trauma of being locked in the closet, all the while taunting big brother in the boxing ring, was indeed a riveting episode.

Katherine (finally) gets a man! It was nice to see this fine actress being used to portray a 60+ person in love. Ever since Y&R got rid of Rex, all we essentially saw Katherine doing was puttering about the "mansion", wearing expensive jewelry and trading barbs with Esther and Jill. For goodness sake, it's about bloody time this character had something else to do besides spending her time doling out world-weary advice to the lovelorn! It's one thing to be a "veteran" on the show, but it's far more interesting when a "veteran" actually has something to do than just rehash other characters' situations and hold up scenery. I do hope they'll bring back her new love and his absence is only temporary - give her a break!

Phyllis gets rid of Jack and moves on: although greatly flawed, at least we saw Phyllis finally stand up to Jack - after implicitly agreeing to be the doormat during the ridiculous "Diane pool-house" silliness - and tries to start anew with her now SORAS son Danny (I'll comment on the Damian dud later).

Nikki's flashbacks: Ok, although the writers appeared to have dropped the ball a little on this story where it' drifting a bit off course, it was finally good to see Melody Thomas do something else then to practice turning up her nose at people she doesn't' like and consistently helping to get Sharon out of trouble.

Devon: A breath of fresh air - unlike Gloria - and a great dynamic of a wrench thrown into the stiff, moralizing Winters family circle.

Lauren finally has a real man - Michael: Please let this story continue with no more "fairy godmother" tasks, silly makeovers and Paul. Let her find love again and bring her into the front burner area! When I look back on this characters in-depth history, it's almost a crime that the writers are blocked about what do to with her!

Ashley's obsession; although very revealing in showing how flawed human nature can be when trying to rekindle or regain the love they really should never have let go, I'm also aware the fans were quickly tired of this Brad/Ashley/Nikki/Victor square. What it did show was what can happen and what you can lose in real life when you take things too much for granted, without being too over the top (the dementia and catatonic states of Ashley excluded of course). Although drawn out at times, it was an intelligent and more subtle turn on an age-old love triangle.

The Worst (where to begin?):

Cameron is, isn't, is, maybe...a ghost or dead - need I say more about this silliness?

Sharon is bored and thinking about stripping to get attention in order to fulfill her seemingly dull life as a cheating housewife who men are inexplicably obsessed with (whaaaat???). Gee, what on earth will those people do once Miguel drops dead from the exhaustion of having to raise all those Newman kids while Sharon is busily getting herself into trouble and Nick is always have to "rescue" her? Even Aunt Mamie didn't have her hands this full with the Abbott family!

Rock & Roller boy Danny Romalotti returns to town to sleep with Saint Christine, briefly connect with his son and then vanish again from the city again after a "reunion" episode with St. Christine? Sigh, why bother? And they took little Daniel away from Phyllis because she was Unfit, okay.

Bobby finally marries his pride & joy stripper girl Brittany. These two have about as much chemistry as watching moss grow on a rock. Please, please, please Powers that Be, let her have an affair with one of the teens and let Bobby mix things up with Nikki. There we see more chemistry and more interest and just maybe Victor will finally regain the backbone he lost after all those "soul searching" journeys (they really ought to come up with a more interesting pretext for this character's absence when Eric Braeden goes on vacation. The "I need to find myself" speeches are really tired). I fall into a deep coma every time Bobby and wife are onscreen - thank goodness for the FF button of the Windows media player!

The "I hate Victor" vendetta (yawn), please give us the viewer something new and intelligent rather than the Abbotts blaming every problem, down to the light bulb blowing, on Victor. It's repetitive re-hash, sounds very much like a scratched CD skipping over and over and gets the show in a rut every time. At least I'm glad they seem to be moving Jack onto Chancellor Enterprises. This storyline has potential if the writers don't drop the ball.

Damon & Phyllis. As a black man living in Europe, interracial coupling is pretty much the norm over here and no one raises their eyebrows as they may do in the States when it's portrayed on TV soaps. However, if they're going to have such a coupling, at least give us one with some sizzle and not the dreary fizzle we've had to endure over the past 12 months! Force-feeding us the "undying love" poems and the contrived sex-scenes won't make the viewer appreciate this coupling. Try shifting Damon over to man-starved Olivia (Lord knows she ought to finally have a man that hasn't been bedded by Dru) and let Phyllis slowly make her way back to Jack. Maybe a new (single) man will make Olivia stop obsessing about her invisible son, Nate.

Major characters not acknowledging their offspring (where are the children?): After all the drama last year with Jack/Phyllis/Diane triangle and Kyle - where is this boy? After Olivia (again) lost a man like Wes, where is Nate? Are these children in a closet somewhere being occasionally fed and watered in order to be SORASed to 16/17 yrs after only being "born" two or three years ago? For goodness sake, although writers tend to not know how to handle kids (too complicated to integrate them into storylines I imagine) have Jack mention that he has done something with his (i.e. daycare, doctor, or... paging Keemo) please? Parents simply don't forget such things, as children!

The teens...big yawn on that one. The veterans are by far more interesting to watch. Although I'm sure your fans will come up with more (or similar) items to add to the year-end, hopefully the Y&R writers will take a good look at their errors and get back to drawing more intelligent storylines for 2005 (i.e an actual competent police force that solves a case, what a miracle!).

TARA - I've just been taking notes here and there, compiling a completely nonsensical list of thoughts I have on GC folks. Here it is for your reading enjoyment.

Tell me how Kevin can own an MP3 player and a cell phone? Last I checked, he ain't exactly scampering off to work every morning. And to my knowledge, he has no form of income whatsoever. So did he STEAL that $300.00 musical gadget? He's broke as a joke!

Gloria, Gloria, Gloria...oh my. What can be said about this sad little woman? I agree with reader Sandi on Gloria's wardrobe malfunction lately. When she walked into the Jabot board room with that coat on, I thought she'd just skinned a llama. She's been Mrs. John Abbott for what, 5 minutes? And already she's carrying around a $13,000 Louis Vuitton Ellipse handbag like she gave birth to it. Does he not notice that she's a money-grubbing ragamuffin?! Please, for the love of everything holy, someone snatch that blindfold off Old Man Abbott's eyes! I can't take it any more!

Believe me; I know what it's like to fall on hard times, so I can totally relate to Mr. and Mrs. Marsino's trouble with construction funds. But I'm surprised to see Princess Brittany finally get off her DUFF and get a J-O-B. Gasp! What is the deal with people (not) working in GC?! If she can drag her little derriere out of bed early, get all gussied up and bring her hard-workin' man a gourmet coffee and cleavage every morning, then honey, she has too much time and too much money on her hands. I'm glad she finally found a paycheck at the boutique. After her morning appearances at Marilyn's with the Starbucks, what did she DO the rest of the day?

OK, so I've admitted that PI Paul gets on my nerves like no one's business. But one more thing about him that I find to be such an irritant is the fact that his son Ricky is still in California. Paul runs off to Cali last year and takes little Ricky to meet his "grandparents." Paul's known these people, what, all of 30 seconds? And then has the bright idea to LEAVE HIS INFANT with these total strangers?! These upstanding citizens obviously did such an amazing job raising the card-carrying psycho Isabella that Paul felt comfortable enough to hand his baby over to them. And he never even speaks of Ricky! PI Paul just doesn't impress me in the least, honey! NEXT.

As for Niktor, I was getting a bit used to having 1/2 of that duo out of town. Gee, wonder how much time he actually spent looking for his beloved Victoria, whom he missed so much! (I had heard he would be MIA for 3 weeks....shows what I know!)

As for Brashley, I am glad these two went Splitsville. But I can totally see the sparks flying between the Ex-Pool Boy and the Spokesperson. I mean, c'mon, they have to bring a new man into the fray with whom Low-Self-Esteem-Sharon can flirt, right? The way she's passive-aggressively "throwing" herself at Brad....ugh! She is such a DINGBAT! We can all see where this SL is going...Sharon gets pats on the back for a job well done from Brad and she feels like "part of the team" while Nick feels a bit left out because she's neglecting her responsibilities at home (because women aren't allowed to WORK on this show!) and she's throwing herself into her work at Jabot. N&S will start to have problems and she'll look to Brad in her time of need...the rest will be history.

I'm glad we've finally resolved the whole Nikki-nightmare saga, but what I don't understand is the age thing. Supposedly, Joshua was the same age (5) as Nikki when the accident occurred, and Joshua's little brother was only a couple years younger than he (3) at the time. If Nikki's old enough to have a CEO son, surely Bobby can't be only two years younger than Nikki?! Good grief, Nikki's gotta be in her 50's, (as fabulous as she may look)! But Bobby's not 50 years old! Someone please help me understand that.

Wonder how long it'll take before B&B start to have marital problems and he turns to Nikki and she to J.T.? And Colleen's due back in town on Christmas Eve! Yeehaw!

What ever happened to Nick's school buddy? He spoke 7 words in 2 episodes and now he's gone. What was the point of that?

And Mac.....good grief, can this girl buy a storyline? They need to do something with her. Her character has become so upstanding and self-righteous, it's pitiful! Someone give her a few tequila shots, STAT! She needs to let her hair down, get drunk and dance on the table or somethin'. Lighten up Sweetie.

Jill and Kay I can do without. I like Jill but not so much Kay since her stroke. And personally, I'm glad Arthur is gone. He never creamed my Twinkie anyway. And does this mean that because Arthur's gone, so is Harrison? (please?!)

As much as I like Lauren and Michael together, how many men is she gonna have sex with in that boutique? Just a few months ago, it was Paul she was, er, um, "shopping" with in that store! Does she have a bedroom of her own?

I'm tired of Damon & Phyllis (yawn). (I laughed so hard I almost cried when Damon told Malcolm he was coming at him "like I just slapped yo granny"! That was the best line I've heard all year in GC!) I was actually ANXIOUS for Damon's ex to come into the picture. I think maybe that'll drive Psycho Phyllis back into Jack's arms (a gal can hope, right?) But I was more than a little shocked when, after a 3-minute conversation in a dark city park, Malcolm and Damon's 'ol lady head off to her HOTEL ROOM and she let him spend the night! I mean, I know Malcolm's fine & all, but c'mon! I never even saw them introduce themselves for cryin' out loud!

Speaking of Phyllis, that woman made the U-G-L-I-E-S-T man I've ever seen in all my days, honey! Whew! The artists deserve an Emmy for that fugly get-up! My feeling is that Jack will take the role at CI, and possibly hire on Neil as his right hand man. Or maybe give Malcolm a job, who knows! The possibilities are endless with CI.

Finally, just a suggestion, but perhaps the Winters/Carltons can get a Buy-1-Get-1 on paternity tests over the holidays! I'm sure they can find an after-Christmas special somewhere!

Okay, I'm back. First, I want to thank all of you fans once again for all your comments, opinions, questions, vents, rants and good wishes, not just the last two weeks' worth, but all of those you send me through the year. I really have a grand time click-clacking my way through the column every week, and it is wonderful to know so many of you appreciate and enjoy my little attempt at semi-sarcastic levity. And not to get so mushy I have to haul out those Puffs I keep stashed beside the VCR and dab at my watery eyes, but getting your weekly emails is like opening a gift - I can't wait to see what's inside and what you have to say. Kind of like Christmas every week. Thanks for the chuckles, belly laughs, and even the frown that makes that little line form between my eyes from reading a not so appreciative missive. Thank goodness I can still count those on one hand! You fans are the best.

And while I'm saying those polite thank you's my Mother taught me a well brought up lady is always to do, to you, dear Editor Dan, at the risk of making your cheeks pink, a very special thanks along with a tip of my New Year's hat to you for all the work you do. It takes me most of the week to write my column so I can't even imagine how you get everything done to keep the soapcentral.com site up and running. Thanks for the smiles, even when my column gets to you on SUNDAY, instead of SATURDAY. Guess you know what my New Year's Resolution is - Saturday, Saturday, Saturday. Dan, you are the man!

And so in closing, finally, even with all its faults, especially the two big "C" ones - namely Continuity and Character assassination - in my opinion our soap is still the best daytime has to offer. And as long as I think so, I'll keep watching ... and scooping it. See you in the City.

HAPPY NEW YEAR - I LOVE YOU ALL!

Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of soapcentral.com or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen, what has happened, and to take a look at the logistics of it all. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same view point.
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