It was a year of transition, turmoil, and the "triangle" on The Bold and the Beautiful, and while it was not a year that I'd call riveting and revolutionary, it was still important and memorable. Instead of magic psychedelic berries, we saw a magic iPad that videotaped a romantic encounter all by itself! Instead of a concentration on fashion as we had in years past, we had a focus on relationships. Specifically, one monolithic romantic triangle that still shows no sign of ever coming to an end! But more than all that, in the 25th year of Brad Bell's The Bold and the Beautiful, two of the show's integral characters -- and the actors who've played them since day one -- were gone. So all in all, 2012 was bittersweet for B&B.
As we look back at 2012, it's time to assess what was bold, what was beautiful, and what just made us go, "Huh?"
Let's start with the best of B&B...
Top Storyline -- There were a lot of big storylines in 2012, but the one that really covered a wide array of emotions and has been the catalyst for big drama was Katie's pregnancy. The fact that Katie wanted to have a child was no surprise; it's the kind of woman she is. But Katie didn't share her desire with Bill beforehand, and when he learned that she was having a child, he told her to abort it! Talk about shocking. But Bill was afraid that Katie's health would be in jeopardy, which was a legitimate concern when you realize Katie's living with a transplanted heart.
Well, Bill was right. Katie nearly died giving birth; she had a heart attack and an out of body encounter with her dead brother Storm (he was checking up on her and his heart); and after delivering baby Will, she suffered near-crippling postpartum depression. That would have been enough to qualify as the top storyline of 2012, but the ripple effects of Bill and Brooke's attraction when they were thrust together while Katie was falling apart are still being played out. The conclusion of this story has yet to be written.
Storyline We'd Love to Forget -- Once upon a time, people feared getting lost in the Bermuda Triangle. In 2012, we all lived in fear that we'd get lost in the never-ending Steffy-Liam-Hope triangle. As the New Year approaches, it still may not be over. Brad Bell learned many things from his father about storytelling. However, I think even the great Bill Bell would tell his son that enough is enough when it comes to Steffy-Liam-Hope. The back and forth and forth and back has just been unrelenting.
And it doesn't matter who you're rooting for, because Brad is just going to turn around and send Liam back to the other girl. After watching all of this unfold for a year, I'm ready to declare that Liam is better off with Steffy. It would be nice if it could simply be resolved in that way, but I fear it's not anywhere near being done. In fact, if I'm still writing about this triangle at the end of 2013, then I think we're all in a lot of trouble.
Best Performance (Male) -- For me, the best performance by a man on this soap is an easy choice. John McCook as Eric Forrester was simply terrific. Most of his storyline, of course, was concentrated at the end of the year with the exit of Susan Flannery as Stephanie. He made her death from lung cancer all the more poignant. One of the keys to really great acting is believability. I believed every moment of Eric's love for Stephanie, and his profound sense of loss. John's acting never turned sappy or overly sentimental; it was just truthful and real.
Best Performance (Female) -- With John McCook as the actor giving the best performance by a man on The Bold and the Beautiful, it's virtually impossible to not also recognize Susan Flannery. This wasn't the first time she was the best actress on the show, but it is sadly the last one in which we'll be able to enjoy her performance as Stephanie. She had a lot to live up to in the final months that she appeared on the show. For 25 years, her performance as Stephanie dominated the soap. She was the boldest, most beautiful, and clearly the most striking character in all that time. In her final scenes on the show, planning her farewell party, saying goodbye to Eric, and then dying in Brooke's arms, Susan Flannery was never more brilliant.
Worst Character (Male) -- A year ago, I reluctantly had to give this award to actor Scott Clifton as Liam. Well, I'm sorry to say that once again, Liam is the worst character (male) on this show. Liam is like a human piņata. He keeps getting whacked over and over and over again and comes back for more. His character never seems to know what he wants; he's always a reflection of the women in his life. If that wasn't bad enough, he's also spineless. Liam rarely stands up to any other character involved in his life, whether it's Bill or Steffy or Hope.
How can you have any respect for a character that flew to Italy for his wedding, seemed madly in love with his bride, and then wound up rolling around on the bed with his ex-wife because his bride was late showing up at the altar. Okay, maybe you can forgive him for that one. He thought Hope dumped him. However, what was he doing the night before his Beverly Hills wedding to Hope, grinding on the dance floor with Steffy? That little escapade culminated with him sporting dyed hair and tattoos, then bursting into the wedding in his underwear, trying to get Hope to forgive him. Seriously, how can you have any respect for this character?
Worst Character (Female) -- As much as I like Katherine Kelly Lang, Brooke was really the worst character (female) on the show this past year. It's not the actress's fault. It's all about the writing. After everything that Brooke has gone through with Ridge to reach a point where they finally were married again, only to have her lose him on the honeymoon, was just bizarre. The explanation for why Ridge walked out on Brooke was idiotic. Supposedly he couldn't take the fact that she had text messaged Deacon and lied to Ridge about it. Seems pretty flimsy, but even if we accept that, what Brooke has done since is why she's become the worst character. For Brooke to have let herself develop feelings for Bill, her sister Katie's husband, crosses the line. Brooke is the matriarch of the Logan family. She should never ever do anything to hurt Katie. More than anything else, that's why Brooke is my choice as the worst character (female) for 2012.
Who Is He Now? Award -- That's Bill Spencer. Is this the guy who's supposed to be called Dollar Bill? It's like every time I think I know who Bill is, he changes. This is the same character that never wanted to be a father. You would think that the way he acts with Liam, a son he never knew he had, and Will, the baby he never wanted, that he's in the running for father of the year. He's just over the top. You don't see Eric acting like that about his children, do you?
I guess we're supposed to believe that Bill is an obsessive personality, and that justifies everything he does. Here's what I think Bill needs to do: Get a hobby! Go play golf or polo. Take up surfing. If Bill would stay out of Liam's life, maybe the kid would finally grow up. As for baby Will, who's to say how that little boy is going to turn out with a wacky father like Bill to raise him. That's assuming, of course, that Bill doesn't abandon his marriage to Katie to go off with Brooke.
You Call Her a Professional? Award -- There have been some great moments this past year for actress Hunter Tylo. But her character, Dr. Taylor Hayes, really deserves to have her license stripped away. For most of the year, she encouraged her daughter Steffy to break up Liam and Hope. She projected her own feelings of romantic loss onto her daughter, which was completely unprofessional. I'm sorry, but Steffy losing Liam to Hope, was not the same as Taylor losing Ridge to Brooke.
But maybe you could forgive Taylor in that instance because, after all, Steffy is her daughter. There were emotions involved. However, Taylor's decision to tell Katie about the kiss between Brooke and Bill was unforgivable. She wasn't thinking of her patient, Katie's, vulnerable emotional and physical state. Instead, all she saw was a way to hurt her archenemy, Brooke, one more time. To make matters worse, Taylor confided her decision in Steffy -- in a roundabout way -- thus betraying the doctor-patient relationship she has with Katie. What Taylor really needs right now is to see a therapist herself.
Lost Forever Without Even a Goodbye -- What happened to Nick and Jackie? If there was anything that really drove me crazy on B&B this past year, it was the departure of the Marones. Without even a goodbye scene, Nick and Jackie were just gone. I watch the show every single day, and I cannot recall one mention of what happened to Jackie M. Even when Stephanie was planning her farewell party, the show cared enough to bring back old clips of Darlene Conley as Sally Spectra, but where were a few scenes of Stephanie with Nick and Jackie? It was like they never existed. And while we're on the subject of Nick, what about his son, Jack? Remember Jack's mother is Taylor. Do you think she remembers that? Maybe she just doesn't care.
Is the Fashion Business Really This Straight? Award -- Okay, I'm just kidding with this award, but seriously, Rick and Thomas are absolutely horn dogs when it comes to women. They've spent most of the year fighting for the attention of Caroline Spencer. Are there no other women in Los Angeles? And now they are going at it tooth and nail over who gets to run Forrester Creations. Why does this feel like a rerun of Thorne and Ridge?
Ridge Got the Olive, But We Got the Pit Award -- By far the most disappointing story development of the year was Ronn Moss's decision to leave the show and Brad Bell's decision not to recast the character of Ridge. It was bad enough that he walked out on his honeymoon, but then for him not to return for Stephanie's goodbye was completely stupefying. I don't blame Ronn, he came to this decision, and after 25 years, it was his right to move on. I do blame Brad for not simply bringing in a replacement Ridge, even temporarily, to complete Stephanie story the way it needed to be done.
Some Random Thoughts From 2012 -- Here are a few tidbits, things that have bothered me that we might want to remember as we look back.
• Aspen was also the site of a beautiful location shoot for the show, although would Bill really be spending time in a hot air balloon when he's worried sick about his wife suffering from postpartum depression?
• Speaking of locations, going to Italy was certainly beautiful. Unfortunately the storyline turned out to be pretty pedestrian. The most memorable thing that came out of the Italian shoot was the magical iPad.
• Do you remember that this was the year that there was a gay storyline on B&B? Caroline has two mommies, Karen and Danielle. Of course, as quickly as they were introduced, they were basically written off the show. It was a tremendous waste of talent, especially an actress of Crystal Chappelle's caliber. But then, this is the same show that couldn't find more airtime for Hillary B Smith.
• There must've been half a dozen weddings on B&B in 2012. Ironically, the one I seem to remember best was Ridge and Brooke's in Eric and Stephanie's living room. After all the glorious weddings those two characters have had over the years, the last one was a real dud. I mean, even Marcus and Dayzee's wedding had more oomph.
• Isn't it amazing how a character like Bill can skirt the law with no repercussions? What he did to get Deacon out of prison in order to break up Hope and Liam's wedding in Italy was reprehensible. But he's never had to pay for any of that illegal activity.
• For about two or three weeks, Marcus actually had a storyline. It was the movie of the week storyline about texting while driving. For a split second, it looked like Marcus was actually going to jail for something he hadn't done. But just as quickly as the storyline came up, it was wrapped up with a pat solution to a mystery that felt like imitation CSI.
• Speaking of stories that came out of the blue, who knew that Stephanie was Irish? Well, I guess they had to justify that guest appearance by Celtic Woman.
• Is it just me, or are they trying to turn Thomas into a villain? He's become so power crazy that I don't recognize him anymore. If I were writing the show, I think Rick, not Thomas, would make a better villain.
• Although I realize that it's just a plot contrivance, I do like that Liam collects old Bob Hope movies. In fact, the "thanks for the memories" bit between Steffy and Liam was one of the nicer touches this past year. Hope and Liam have nothing like that to connect them to one another.