Has your year been bold and beautiful? Did you learn to run before you could walk? Did you decide video killed the Forrester star? Did your sister's brotherly secret hit the mother lode? These and more situations faced the Forrester-Logan-Spencer-Avant clan in 2015!
Can you believe it's that time again, Scoopers? You know, it's not necessarily an easy thing to take an entire year of a soap and boil it down into best and worst categories the way we do. In terms of B&B, I can't tell if a whole lot happened or if it really wasn't that much. And in our busy, busy lives, we tend to only remember the highlights. That's why we're gonna dig into some serious nitty-gritties -- jump into Back to the Future's DeLorean with me to 2015 and let's Two Scoop it Best & Worst style!
BEST EXIT/MOST SHOCKING TWIST: Aly's Death
After a year of toeing the line, the demure Miss F retconned everybody by revealing she had only pretended to forgive Taylor for her mother's death. Egged on by sinister specter Darla, the unbalanced Aly painted a bull's-eye on Steffy's back, which resulted in Aly losing her balance and smacking her head on a rock. And boom -- Aly was dead! In a genre notorious for miracle recoveries and back-from-the-deads, Aly's unspoilered and very cinematic snuff-out came as the year's biggest surprise. B&B may deserve an Emmy simply for keeping the demise of Thorne's daughter a secret until it aired.
MOST ANTICIPATED EVENT WITH NO PAYOFF: Rick and Maya's Non-Comeuppance
Rick and Maya lorded their vise-grip control of Forrester over everyone, tormenting employees and laughing at their misery. So when Ridge, Steffy, Thomas, and Bill combined stock to overthrow the tyrants, it was time for some just deserts -- which were never served. Sure, Rick left Forrester, but only as a result of Maya revealing herself as transgender. Afterwards, Rick and Maya offered half-hearted apologies, yet there's still a nagging sense they haven't properly atoned -- Rick shot at people and wasn't even arrested! Given their dictatorial build-up, Rick and Maya should have gotten a proper downfall for us to enjoy.
MOST DARING PLOT DEVICE: Thomas and Caroline's Consensual/Nonconsensual Sex
Dumped by Ridge without a clear reason why, Caroline drowned her sorrows with wine and incredibly convenient pills pilfered from Pam. Lovesick Thomas joined the pity party then things got interesting. Caroline woke up next to Thomas, who beamed that their lovemaking was beautiful. Caroline freaked because she couldn't remember the deed -- and social media blew up. Was it rape? A matter of blurred lines? Does not saying "no" still mean "no"? Surely B&B knew the firestorm they'd set off, and months later, the embers are still smoldering. Even scandal queen Brooke never generated such controversy!
MOST WASTED OPPORTUNITY: Julius' Implied Extortion
Maya's intolerant daddy, Julius, breezed into town, seemingly past his son Myron undergoing gender reassignment surgery. Papa J's eyes bugging out over the luxury surrounding Maya and later blaming his transgender daughter for his continuing unemployment were two major red flags. Extortion plot, anyone? Alas, our soap dropped that juicy, juicy ball. How perfect would it have been for Julius to fleece Maya, who was fresh from coveting Rick's millions and in need of payback for casting herself as the Forrester matriarch? Note to B&B for 2016: next time a perfect story plops in your lap, don't let it escape.
MOST REALISTIC ILLNESS: Caroline's Accident
In February, Linsey Godfrey's ankles were injured when she was struck by a car. It would have been only natural for B&B to write Caroline out as Godfrey recovered, and they did for a while, having the designer check in via occasional on-screen phone calls. That's what made Godfrey returning to set, willing to have her alter ego suffer her same injurious fate, most phenomenal. Not only did it get CaRidge back on track, but it gave the couple even more rooting value as Ridge helped Caroline to walk again. This is how you make lemonade out of lemons!
WORST SOCIAL ISSUE: Brooke's Alcoholism
Manless after decades, Brooke turned to a new lover: the bottle. That's an intriguing twist, given the perennially attached character, but La Logan's boozy journey quickly went awry -- the key word being "quickly." Drunk Brooke emerged after a couple of weeks, minimizing the very serious disease of alcoholism and cheating viewers (and Katherine Kelly Lang) out of a slow, agonizing descent. Only Katie noticed anything was wrong -- and Brooke sobered up just as rapidly in a handful of A.A. meetings engineered just to put Deacon in her orbit. Talk about a party being over before it started.
BEST RETURN: Zende
At the rate the Forrester-Logan-Spencer-Avant clan procreates, it's not unusual to see a SORASed kid show up regularly and get thrown into a run-of-the-mill Kiddie Patrol story. But Kristen and Tony's adopted son, Zende Forrester Dominguez, turned that little ritual on its ear. Under the smooth delivery of Rome Flynn, the Miami-raised intern flirted with Nicole then showed his serious side when Nicole opted to carry her sister's baby. The best part? Zende is the chronologically correct age; having been ten in 2002, he's rightly in his mid-twenties today. That by itself makes Zende's resurgence a welcome one!
WORST RETURN: Thomas
It's not Pierson Fodé's fault. He backs up being model-gorgeous with a warm confidence perfect for Ridge's eldest son. The problem is the hormone-fueled trajectory Thomas has traveled since coming home. Not content to act on his once-love for Caroline by sexing her while she was incapacitated, Thomas kissed Nicole, porked an intern, and bet sister Steffy he could steal Ivy from committed squeeze Wyatt. This bad behavior would be soapy fun if there was justification for it -- there isn't, so Thomas comes off random and creepy. He's such a man-ho, he makes the once randy Ridge seem chaste!
BEST EVENT: California Freedom
The electricity was off the charts as Ridge brought Forrester Creations into the 21st century and sent transgender models sashaying down his runway. A perfect bookend for Maya's coming out story, especially as she had already been lead model for months, the music was jammin', the dresses were fierce, and her fellow fashionistas owned the stage. But what really made things spark was the juxtaposition of Aly slipping off the edge. Having her plot Steffy's murder amid all the cheering and celebration was mega menacing -- and an object lesson in how to further supercharge the heightened haute couture.
WORST PARTY: Halloween
Most of Forrester not showing up for it should have been the tip-off. Things felt forced from the jump with perky party planners Pam and Charlie at the wheel, but then B&B filled the room with strangers -- including refugees from the most recent Big Brother, who didn't exactly exhibit mastery of the corny lines they were given to utter. Turns out the whole shindig was just a ploy to put Thomas into a triangle with Ivy and Wyatt by having Thomas save Ivy from a falling light. It was hard not to feel tricked after experiencing this supposed treat.
MOST INTRIGUING STORY: The Surrogacy
Yes, a woman carrying another woman's baby has been done on soaps -- as far back as 1987, when Dynasty took a whack at the then-hot button issue. So why is it eye-catching for B&B now? First, the show hasn't tried this particular story before (Taylor hatching Brooke's egg doesn't count). Second, the surrogacy's necessary because a transgender woman can't conceive. But what crackles is that things are pregnant with possibilities -- will Nicole refuse to give up the baby and tear her family apart? It's on a slow bake right now; done right, however, this saga could easily broil.
MOST MISGUIDED STORY: The Takeover
Rick surely deserved to be booted out of Forrester, and his disgruntled underlings combining their 62.5% stock in the company to gain control made sense. But the first misstep was inserting Liam into the proceedings; Ridge, Steffy, Thomas, and Bill didn't need him to make the takeover happen. And Steffy, who once blackmailed Bill to retake the design house, would only contribute her shares if Liam returned to her. Liam amazingly declined, then the story was put on hold for months -- and by the time Ridge became CEO, the fire had fizzled. It was corporate intrigue without the intrigue.
GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Stephanie
The shadow of La Forrester continues to loom large, even three years after her tragic death. There was much brouhaha over Rick replacing Stephanie's portrait with Maya's as his family reminded him Stephanie was irreplaceable; some even took to chatting with the stashed painting. Stephanie's presence was felt at Thanksgiving, and, as recently as Ivy's electrocution, Eric lamented the loss of his lady love, imploring the younger generation to cherish every moment. Most soap deaths are final (sort of), but B&B keeping the memory of the Forresters' one true matriarch alive is something viewers can't get enough of.
WORST TREND: Too Many Characters
B&B has an unfortunate habit of collecting new characters like they're Beanie Babies. Then, like the cushy toys, most of them collect dust on the shelf -- a handful of characters get stories, but the others exist only to prop them up. Not everyone can be front-burner, but there should be a better rotation: folks like Carter, Donna, Pam, and Quinn are constantly MIA. Even Bill, Katie, and Deacon are virtual day players, and Thorne is all but forgotten while the show introduces yet another newbie, Sasha. The show should either trim the cast or learn to distribute storylines equally.
BEST USE OF HISTORY: Deacon and A.A.
When the sultry, sometimes sinister Sharpe came home in 2014, the first thing he did was chug down a drink. Yet, in 2003, Deacon was established as an alcoholic; he sought recovery, which even came into play during his Y&R stint. Alcoholics relapse all the time, but Deacon drank as if it were perfectly normal. Thankfully, this major gaffe was rectified this year -- when Deacon saw Brooke following in his soused footsteps, he told Quinn about his disease and rebooted his sobriety. Audiences know when continuity is being adhered to; B&B literally got with the program in one sentence.
WORST USE OF HISTORY: Pacific Coast Highway
Okay, it was hella dramatic. But when Aly received directives from her deceased mama to bump off Steffy, we lost count of the conveniences. Steffy's punctured tire just happened to crap out in the exact spot on the exact highway where Darla was hit by Taylor's car all those years ago. PCH stretches on for miles; it was so coincidental, it was hard to take the genuinely meaty drama that followed as seriously as it demanded. Aly trying to run Steffy down on any road would have demonstrated the inherent karma in the story; GPS-ing these particular coordinates wasn't necessary.
BEST REFORMATION: Brooke
The eldest Logan sister flew to Milan to find herself, but went off track as the lack of a man in her life drove her to drink. Brooke also lost points when she unquestioningly supported her tyrannical, gun-toting son Rick. Thankfully, somewhere between A.A. meetings and settling into flying solo, the former Slut from the Valley pulled herself together and became a confidante to anyone who needed an ear. Nicole, Zende, Thomas, even Ridge -- Brooke counseled them all, and with just a touch of busybodyness that would make Stephanie proud. Maybe the all-time scandal queen is gone for good!
BIGGEST WASTE OF TALENT: Winsor Harmon
Putting the number two Forrester son, an original legacy character, on the front-burner is the no-brainer of no-brainers. Yet, year after year, Winsor Harmon's Thorne gets pushed aside by not only older brother Ridge, but pretty much everyone on the canvas. Yes, Harmon came back and delivered a one-two punch at Aly's memorial, but Thorne didn't even get a final scene with his daughter -- he was shipped away to Paris without getting a chance to grieve properly then placed on recurring status. It's just wrong. Thorne Forrester should be leading the pack, not barely trailing behind it.
BEST FRIEND: Carter
What else is a guy to do? Storyless since his engagement to Maya fizzled out, the lawyer and sometime wedding officiator has at least been carving out a place as everybody's BFF. Whether it's trying to keep Ridge from resigning by confiding in him about Maya's gender of origin or advising Zende to tread lightly regarding Nicole carrying Maya's baby, Carter Walton seems to be the guy people want to hang out with. Now if the single hottie could just get a steamy romance of his own instead of always working off steam at the Forrester Sky Lounge...
WORST GUEST APPEARANCE: Schae Harrison
The devil made her do it? Last year, the much adored but very dead Darla came back as a disembodied head to comfort troubled daughter Aly, whether as actual apparition or just in Aly's mind. Still, Darla was Darla -- lovable and ditzy. This year, Darla turned to the Dark Side, literally, as the still disembodied vision -- now stereotypically brunette -- gave Aly murderous instructions. Harrison was game, but Darla deserved a full-body return, and with Aly dead, Darla's glowering ghost is the last way we're ever going to see her. That's no way to treat a Spectra specter.
BEST VILLAIN: Bill
Dollar Bill used to be the barracuda you loved to hate. He got castrated bouncing between Katie and Brooke, but when Wyatt found out Maya was transgender, Bill got his groove back in a very Bill way. The Dollah promised to keep quiet to appease Katie and Liam, then splashed Maya's story all over his magazines with tacky, insensitive headlines that only Bill would fashion. Cruel? Yep. And it gave Bill the bite he's missed for a long time. He's since reverted to continuing "better man" admissions, but he did get to be badass again, if only for a while.
WORST SECRET: Caroline's Pregnancy
When Caroline found herself knocked up after an incapacitated night with Thomas, she and Ridge agreed to pass the child off as theirs and to hide the gestation as long as possible. But the show wasted no time inflicting morning sickness on Caroline, which was manna from heaven for snoopers Pam and Charlie; soon, an unexpectedly nosy Liam helped corner Caroline into confessing she was carrying "Ridge's" child. A good soap secret cooks for months, but this one was heat-and-serve -- plus Ridge's constant, dead-giveaway scowling lowers the flame even more, especially considering the scandalous lovemaking that got things burning.
BEST PROP: Aly's Hate Board
Sure, the Magic Markered maligning of Steffy and Maya was just this side of stereotypical. But the collage of blacked-out faces really three-dimensionalized Aly's deepening descent into madness. Up until that point, all Aly's caterwauling about the depravity of the California Freedom line was just talk -- the revelation that Aly was expressing this vitriol via razored magazine clippings was intriguingly creepy, not to mention a major full circle to how Young Aly defaced Taylor's photos back in 2006. By the time Ivy found this terrifying tribute in one of the year's more suspenseful sequences, we knew Aly meant business.
WORST FOLLOW-THROUGH: Wyatt's Not-Fashion House
Wyatt had a bad year at Forrester Creations under Rick's megalomaniacal thumb and new squeeze Ivy getting squeezed by Steffy. So it made sense for Wyatt to ask his bazillionaire papa to bankroll a new design house designed to crush Forrester. Strangely, Bill put the kibosh on Wyatt's brainchild, claiming he didn't want to pit his sons against each other, as if that were ever a concern. Forrester has had no competition since Jackie M silently disappeared; creating opponents felt like a foregone conclusion. Why did B&B bring it up if they weren't going to build a story around it?
BEST WEDDING: Bill and Katie
Katie reuniting with a man who screwed her over seven ways to Sunday felt icky and distasteful. What livened up these dubious nuptials was the presence of 2015's first hashtag, #DrunkBrooke. Standing up for Katie after several doses of liquid courage, Brooke watched Little Sis marry the man she herself nearly wed in the Middle East; popping off with giggly, inappropriate asides; forgetting the rings; and wiggling her nose to distraction. It was fun, it provided a Brooke we'd never seen, and maybe Katie had it coming after faking a heart attack to stop Brooke's wedding the year before.
WORST WEDDING: Deacon and Quinn
On paper, pairing B&B's baddest boy and baddest girl must have been soap perfection. But the much-anticipated DeQuinn coupling didn't work on either end. Beginning with Quinn waving a gun in Deacon's face to keep him from squealing about her never-settled part in the death of Ricardo Montemayor, Deacon inexplicably proposed to the leather queen after asking Brooke for another chance moments before. Hope got a 21st century chance to stop the ceremony via Skype, but by then, the rooting value was gone anyway. The mishandling of this S&M twosome made many fans feel as if they'd been whipped instead.
BEST TEAM: Liam and Wyatt
Liam is typically depicted as the do-gooder Spencer brother, while Wyatt is colored a little darker. No matter where they sit on the spectrum, Bill's sons are often pitted against each other, regrettably over a girl. Liam and Wyatt shine, however, when they join forces. Tired of Rick's all-consuming control of Forrester, Liam masterminded a takeover and installed Wyatt as house spy; Wyatt romanced Nicole and got the goods on Rick's transgender girlfriend Maya. There's a genuine warmth when these half-brothers work together and steer clear of love triangles; hopefully B&B will cast them in this light more regularly.
WORST FAMILY FEUD: Steffy and Ivy
This battle of the brunettes started when Steffy sauntered home from Paris, laying claim to Ivy's boyfriend (and Steffy's ex), Liam. But when Ivy came upon Steffy's foggy roadside encounter that left Aly dead, these romantic rivals were ripe to form an unholy alliance to keep Steffy out of jail. Instead, Ivy cried "merduh" and tried to blackmail Steffy with a video while Steffy fired Ivy, then forced her to model lingerie. Now the not-quite-cousins are back for Round Two, wielding electrocutions and restraining orders. Theirs is a minor tale masquerading as front-burner drama, and just plain boring to boot.
BEST COUPLE: Ridge and Caroline
They've played paint-by-numbers on each other, but their romance is anything but. CaRidge has survived being shot at, Caroline's paralyzing accident, a breakup, and Ridge's infertility, and they're currently grappling with Caroline's pregnancy via Thomas' line-blurring seduction. Not into May-December dalliances? This coupling is timeless; what makes it work is the incredible chemistry Thorsten Kaye and Linsey Godfrey share, and the absolute realness they bring to their soapy sagas. They make you feel CaRidge's emotion; they're the best thing to happen to B&B in years. Despite taking a backseat lately, rest assured: when Caroline gives birth, CaRidge will deliver yet again.
WORST COUPLE: Wyatt and Ivy
The boomerang is a popular item in Ivy's native land of Australia -- no wonder Ivy was rebounding with Wyatt immediately after being dumped by Liam. At least Wyatt had more time under his belt after his divorce from Hope, but he signed on for Ivy's self-serving #JusticeForAly campaign, and their strategizing was portrayed as romantic. After painful strip tease dares, Wivy supposedly found solid ground until Ivy couldn't keep her lips off of Thomas, and Wyatt doesn't know Ivy's talking what-ifs with Liam. Wyatt comes off like a schmuck no matter what; even "Steam" looks stable by comparison.
BEST NON-COUPLE: Eric and Brooke
Maybe it's because John McCook and Katherine Kelly Lang are the only original cast members left after almost 29 years. Maybe it's their warm chemistry or their characters' long history. Or maybe it's that Stephanie has been gone long enough to make it possible: Beric sparkles when they're in a room together. It's not even romantic tension; it's more that they represent the B&B that used to be. They are B&B. Brooke and Eric share kids, a friendship, and a bond via their close relationships with Stephanie. And La Forrester would probably approve if Beric ever tied the knot again.
WORST BREAKUP: Liam and Ivy
When these nice guys found love in Amsterdam amid the ashes of Liam's on-again, off-again hijinks with Hope, they were a Dutch treat that kept on treating. Livy was genuinely gentle and romantic; they even survived Steffy's first attempt to seduce Liam. So it was disappointing when Livy tanked after their quickie Immigration wedding: Liam suddenly decided he'd treat the marriage as if he and Ivy were still dating, kept Ivy in the dark about having chosen Steffy, then dumped Ivy during her best friend's funeral. Aly's body may have been cold, but Liam's treatment of Ivy was much, much colder.
BEST NEW CHARACTER: Nicole
There was something special about Maya's sister from the moment she walked into Forrester. To begin with, Reign Edwards exhibited beauty, style, and talent that went far beyond her eighteen years -- talent that stood her in good stead as she was entrusted to kick off Maya's important transgender journey. Nicole is spunky and sassy, but she can keep it realer than most, which is helping her through her unusual surrogacy story and romance with Zende. Despite some early missteps (blackmailing Maya, kissing Wyatt and Thomas), Miss Avant is a joy to watch and a force to be reckoned with.
MOST RUINED CHARACTER: Ivy
When Ivy Forrester first arrived from Down Under, she was the epitome of class and integrity. She even went up against the Mighty Quinn for deep-sixing her in the Seine! But this year, something went terribly wrong: Ivy became a blackmailing vigilante hellbent on making Steffy's life miserable. Yes, Ivy's claim that her behavior was triggered by the double whammy of Aly's death and Liam leaving is valid, but her fall from grace continues: she encouraged Thomas' come-ons and is now mooning over Liam, all while involved with Wyatt. Is the real Ivy still on the side of PCH somewhere?
MOST ENTERTAINING CHARACTER: Julius
He's brash, insensitive, about as un-PC as you can get -- and the biggest breath of fresh air B&B has seen in a long time. Whether referring to Maya's wedding as a freak show or warning Nicole not to become a surrogate because she'll be as big as a house, Julius Avant operates with no filter, and that's what makes him must-see TV: you never know what he'll pop off with next. Given new arrival Sasha has dirt on him, time will tell if Papa J's mouth can get him out of as much trouble as it gets him into.
WORST STORY: The Video
The repercussions of Aly's sudden death promised to be staggering. Would Thorne grieving for his daughter be Emmy-worthy? Would Steffy end up in jail upon the discovery of her discarded tire iron? Alas, no. Ivy, Aly's supposed best friend, saw Aly on the side of the road and filmed her scuffle with Steffy instead of stopping it. Even Ivy didn't know why until she used it to get a modeling gig out of Steffy. Every other story point except the video and whether it would be deleted was dropped -- Thorne disappeared after Aly's memorial, and Aly's boyfriend, Oliver, never got a chance to mourn properly. Then Lt. Baker closed the investigation with the tire iron still in the bushes and no resolution as to whether Steffy actually delivered the fatal blow. The real tragedy wasn't Aly's demise, but the across-the-board bungling of what should have been a gripping tale.
BEST STORY: Maya Is Myron
"You're not Maya at all; you're Myron. You're my brother!" Those few words from Nicole kicked off what may well be remembered as B&B's most daring tale: the revelation that Maya Avant is transgender. Though it required a little retconning (explaining away Maya's "daughter," especially), the truth of Maya's origins took months to trickle down, from Carter to Ridge, then Brooke and the Spencer brothers, ending up in Bill's magazines with Maya's boyfriend, Rick, being the last to know. It was a case study in soap secrecy done right, unfurling at just the right pace. Yes, there were post-revelation snafus (Maya not atoning satisfactorily for her atrocious behavior at Forrester, honesty-at-all-costs Rick accepting Maya too easily), but it's the slow, delicious unveiling that deserves this top spot -- not to mention the fact that the notoriously conservative B&B tackled an LGBT story in the first place with such aplomb.
And there's your 2015 on B&B! Did you agree or disagree with my take on things? Make sure you talk about it below or on our message boards; we want to hear from you! Thanks to all of you for supporting my columns these past six years -- I hope 2016 will be off the hook for all of us! I will see you January 11, after Chanel kicks off the year. As always, keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold!
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