Has your year been bold and beautiful? Did you reclaim the spotlight like a boss? Did you decide you were sponsored by the letter P? Did you need more than breadcrumbs to lead you out of the woods? These and more situations faced the Forrester-Logan-Spencer-Avant clan in 2016!
Here we are again, Scoopers! Only this time we're at the end of a year where it seemed just about anything could happen, no matter how improbable or outlandish. Of course, that's how B&B rolls every year, and there was no shortage of outrageousness for our fictional L.A. residents in 2016. Yet even that was sandwiched by blink-and-you-miss-'em subtleties and a stocking stuffed with things that make you go "hmm." Ready to dig in to the year that was? Let's Two Scoop it Best & Worst style!
BEST COUPLE: Pam and Charlie
Surprise! Amid a canvas full of pairings that ebb and flow with the tide, the lemon bar lady and her goofy security guard win top honors. Face it: they've been together three years, which makes them the longest sustained on-screen duo the show's got. They get a fraction of the airtime their younger counterparts do, but that doesn't take away from the obvious affection they share. Now if they could just get a meaty storyline of their own; imagine one helping the other through a serious illness. Though mostly being about baked goods doesn't make these guys any less sweet.
WORST COUPLE: Wyatt and Steffy
Sorry, Statt fans: they never had a chance. Wyatt, who already had two failed romances with Liam's leftovers under his belt, started sniffing around Steffy even before Liam disappeared, after which Wyatt campaigned hard enough to earn his own convention, never noticing the girl just wasn't that into him. Steffy halfheartedly claimed love on the rebound, marrying Wyatt on April Fool's Day; that said it all. Instead of conceding defeat when Liam came home, Steffy insisted on honoring her wispy marriage, cosigning Wyatt's denial and keeping him fighting for his loveless union. Wyatt, Steffy, and the audience all deserved better.
MOST SHOCKING TWIST: Sasha's Yellow Submarine
Newcomer Sasha Thompson was feisty but felt like a forced addition to the Avant family, especially when it came to coming between somewhat snoozy sweethearts Nicole and Zende. Knowing new bae Zende wanted to get back with Nicole, Sasha lied that she was pregnant but got cornered into taking a pregnancy test she had no way of passing -- until she decided to tell a hormone-filled mom-to-be "You can't flush!" Sasha gleefully dipped her Clear Blue Easy into the bowl like a chip into guacamole, making for the year's biggest oh-no-she-didn't moment. Not beautiful, maybe, but most definitely scandalously bold.
MOST CONVOLUTED PLOT: Douglas' Paternity
Ridge and Caroline secretly raising Thomas' baby was humming along until the arrangement gave birth to a host of head-scratchers. Dr. Wolin, who knew Ridge shot blanks, blackmailed Ridge then died, but his death had no repercussions. Adversarial Rick found out about Ridge's vasectomy, yet Bill and Brooke used it against Ridge instead, with Ridge trying to prevent an unlikely scandal that didn't even play out on-screen. Top it off with CaRidge splitting up while no one bothered doing a DNA test to confirm Douglas wasn't Ridge's, and you get a story as messy as one of Douglas' diapers.
BEST PAYOFF: "Adam's" Rescue
Wyatt continuing to pursue Steffy after learning Liam had been spirited away by Quinn was far from smooth. Springing into action when he found his amnesiac half-bro in a lip-lock with his mom made up for it. Wyatt not only helped trigger Liam's memory against Quinn's objections, he helped Liam lock Quinn in a closet and escape. Who opened that closet? The presumed-dead Deacon! Okay, the show never explained why Deacon was still wearing seaweed three weeks after his cliff dive, much less how he survived the fall. But this climax was as much of a rush as that plunge.
WORST PAYOFF: Nicole's Surrogacy
Having Nicole carry a baby for her transgender sister was a soap first, and rife with intriguing possibilities. Would some dire health crisis develop? Would Nicole develop feelings for Rick? Would she fight to keep her child? Alas, when Nicole gave birth...she just handed the baby over. The whole arc became about Zende's discomfort and Sasha waiting in the wings when he inevitably dumped Nicole, who was satisfied being Lizzy's auntie. Rick and Maya, who still deserve payback for their atrocious behavior during Rick's tenure as CEO, got what they wanted while Nicole lost everything. Talk about a stillborn storyline.
BEST TRIANGLE: Katie/Brooke/Bill
Brill's dubious 2013 beginnings had already tainted them irrevocably, so a revisit seemed especially skeevy. Interestingly, the show took this tortured trio in a different direction by not having Bill and Brooke embark on an affair at all, despite their no-longer-dormant feelings. Admittedly, Katie's paranoia did grate and go on too long, but there was no beating Heather Tom's bravura performances -- and real-life alcoholism is as long-term and unpredictable as Katie's depiction. Plus, unlike most soap triangles, there was no winner and no one to root for, which made Batie/Brill strangely fascinating and a triangle with particularly sharp edges.
WORST TRIANGLE: Liam/Steffy/Wyatt
Wyatt and Quinn interfering in one of Liam's relationships was so 2013-2014 to begin with. But this new permutation with Steffy at the center didn't even qualify as classic. Creepy Wyatt busted moves on Steffy while she was still involved with Liam, and her moving on with Wyatt just weeks after Liam's disappearance minimized her love for Liam. Then Liam finally recovered from his amnesiac state, claiming he'd otherwise be married to Steffy, never once remembering he'd already ditched Steffy because he'd caught her snoozing half-naked next to Wyatt. Adding injury to insult, their seen-it-all-before saga never ends. Leffy/Lope, anyone?
BEST ENEMIES: Ridge and Quinn
Infamously arrogant Ridge has run afoul of many a femme fatale over three decades, but something about Quinn brings the unique out in everybody. Ridge got especially vicious after Quinn married Eric, booting her out and pretending he had Eric's power of attorney instead of her when Eric was hospitalized. Quinn smiled through it all, annoying Ridge the most as they stood on the runway together after her victory over his attempts to sabotage her "jewelry pass" showing. Ridge seeing Quinn naked added to that little undercurrent of heat between them, intriguingly upping the ante of this war of wills.
WORST ENEMIES: Steffy and Ivy
These sort-of cousins already mindlessly demonized each other over Aly's 2015 death, but Steffy in particular should have known that battling another woman for Liam is a losing, boring proposition. In a silly plot designed to drive a wedge between Steffy and Liam, Steffy became unusually klutzy, causing Ivy bodily harm every time they got anywhere near each other. Last year ended with Ivy being electrocuted after tussling with Steffy, just as this one began with Ivy tumbling down the stairs for the same reason. Throw in a useless restraining order, and this feud played like a cartoon gone wrong.
BEST PROP: The Mansion's Portraits
The space over the Forrester mantelpiece, which only ever sported an angled mirror, became an homage to the late Stephanie Forrester (and portrayer Susan Flannery) once her portrait was installed there. Last year, Rick changed the game by replacing La Forrester's likeness with a portrait of Maya. In 2016, multiple muses reflected the jockeying of the living: Ridge edged out Maya's canvas to restore Stephanie's, which loomed large as Eric moved on with Quinn. Finally, the ironic all-white image of Quinn won out above all others. Any more will be overkill, but these embattled brush strokes are a masterstroke.
MOST OVERUSED PLOT DEVICE: Forresters' CEO Chair
Once upon a time, Chief Executive Officers of Forrester Creations were few and far between. Eric was the one and only until Brooke claimed the seat for a decade. Now, whenever there's a company conflict, the CEO spot is up for grabs. Ridge held the chair until Eric succeeded him for lying about Douglas' paternity; when Eric fell ill, Quinn became interim CEO. Currently the eminently unqualified Steffy rules the roost; she's the company's fourth CEO in a year. This all-powerful position loses that power when it's bounced around so casually, and it makes the corporate intrigue anything but intriguing.
BEST SHORT-TERM RETURN: Bridget
Sorry, Thorne and Felicia -- the prodigal Forrester-Logan daughter's homecoming was the most satisfying. Not only did Bridget add layers to Brooke's lingering feelings for Bill (Bridget can relate to losing a husband to family member Brooke), she quenched our thirst for info about the long-missing Jackie and Owen (she's traveling, he's helping raise Logan) and generated killer continuity (Rick mentioned Bridget's run as designer Madame X!). Bridget also shared screen time with transgender sister-in-law Maya for the first time. Splashy family reunions are great, but sometimes the subtle visits are more effective, as was the case with sight-for-sore-eyes Bridget.
WORST RETURN: Ivy
Ivy Forrester came to L.A. in 2014 all Australian charm and sass. In 2016, "the Plant" returned from a visit Down Under with neither of those things. She needlessly went to Quinn for her job back when Eric surely would have rehired her, then took the advice of the same woman who pushed her off a Parisian bridge and reinvented herself to snare Liam, dressing like a Steffy clone and smothering her Australian accent. When even donning Steffy's wedding dress didn't work, Ivy remained Americanized and became BFFs with Quinn, which defied any and all logic. Was Liam's amnesia contagious?
BEST GUEST APPEARANCE: Chaz Bono
Mama Cher's got an Oscar under her sequined belt, so it was a no-brainer that her recently-transitioned son would at least put in a pleasant appearance officiating at Wyatt and Steffy's wedding. But who knew Chaz had a flair for comedy? When Liam rightly feared Quinn's post-Eve obsession with him, he nearly took a baseball bat to Bono's down-and-out Reverend Rydell, who broke into Liam's house and stole the show with unexpected humor and self-effacing snark. Yes, his dialogue bordered on cheesy (guest roles are somehow never written as well as contract), but Chaz's gypsy tramp thief made us believe.
WORST GUEST APPEARANCE: Chris McKenna
The problem wasn't the Y&R hunk's turn as bespectacled, adorkable therapist Dr. Hayden. It's that he was on for one day! After misleading hype that made McKenna's arrival sound epic, Hayden sat down for a single session with slipping-off-the-edge Katie and disappeared. What happened to delving into Katie's psyche? To giving Katie an ally? To helping Katie serve perennial cheater Bill a heaping dose of karma by shucking his shirt and embarking on a steamy affair with Mrs. Spencer? We got none of those. Chris McKenna was just what the doctor ordered, but the show foolishly threw away the prescription.
BEST REFORMATION: Thomas
This dashing Forrester took top (or bottom) honors as last year's Worst Return between his man-ho machinations and punching out papa Ridge. Perhaps it's true that a little child shall lead them -- the birth of little bro Douglas was already inspiring Thomas to shape up, with the emerging womanizer realizing the error of his ways and taking responsibility for his irresponsible behavior. But Thomas really grabbed the grown-up baton when he found out Douglas was his, resolving to be a better example for the baby and sticking to it. Many a fictional L.A. resident could learn from this fellow.
MOST RUINED CHARACTER: Zende
Conversely, 2015's Best Return fell from grace and kept on falling. Unable to hack his girlfriend carrying his adoptive uncle's baby, young Forrester-Dominguez ditched Nicole and immediately schtupped the all-too-willing Sasha. Seeking forgiveness after the miracle of Lizzy's birth and narrowly dodging Sasha's paternity bullet, Zende finally romanced Nicole properly but petulantly reverted the moment Nicole decided on Round Two of sister surrogacy. His bed still warm from mile-high-clubbing with Sasha, Zende pathetically followed Nicole around with an engagement ring, promising to be good this time. Maybe it's time for Kristen and Tony to visit and give Zende a time-out.
BEST WEDDING: Eric and Quinn
It's not what happened at the nuptials of the formerly sidelined designer and the allegedly former kidnapper. It's what didn't happen. Blissfully clueless Eric had no idea Ridge was leading an opt-out protest that even the visiting Thorne and Felicia took part in. When Quinn came down the aisle, only Ivy was in attendance, and the suspense and disappointment were palpable. This wasn't B&B's first wedding boycott (that honor went to Eric and Sheila in 1993) or even its most recent (that honor went to Quinn and Deacon's 2015 ceremony), but it was a perfect marriage of soap and circumstance.
WORST HUSBAND: Bill
Who threatens to divorce his wife if his mistress won't have an affair with him? The Dollah, that's who, this year making cheating with Steffy and locking Katie in a tower look tame. Okay, his frustration over stuffing feelings for Brooke while constantly placating unstable Katie was understandable. But Bill finally had enough and built a love nest in his office to have his cake and eat it, too, then hypocritically lectured Liam about respecting Wyatt's marriage. By the time Katie got Will out of Bill's brand of protective custody, you kind of wished quickie divorces weren't just available in Mexico.
BEST RECAST: Anthony Turpel
It wasn't predecessor Mace Coronel's fault that his Ridge Forrester, Jr. resembled Chucky from Child's Play or that his R.J. got little to do except gawk over the sword necklace received from wannabe stepfather Bill. It's just that when teen Anthony Turpel took over the role, Brooke and Ridge's only son was supercharged. Right out of the gate, R.J. went up against Bill and channeled Ridge's legendary rebellious streak, actively campaigning for his parents' reunion. He even exhibited half-brother Thomas' eye for the ladies. Slightly SORASed, yes, but in Turpel's sneakers, R.J. gave B&B's adults a run for their money.
MOST WASTED CHARACTER: Maya
Maya's game-changing reveal as a transgender woman dominated 2015, grabbing real-life headlines and turning B&B on its ear. So where did Maya go? She spent 2016 giving Nicole prenatal vitamins, glaring at Sasha, and fading into the background at whatever Avant family events she attended. One could argue this is part of blending Maya into the canvas instead of focusing solely on her gender reassignment, but is asking her sister for babies all she does? There are myriad transgender struggles left for Maya to have, and no shortage of human struggles; she deserves to be more than a one-trick pony.
BEST TREND: The Great Outdoors
Used to be most B&B gardens, beaches, or lakes were shot on in-studio sets. True, the show's had some of the best remotes in soap history, but there's something to be said for the increasing number of scenes filmed in simple outside locales. Liam and Steffy's reunion on the beach and random conversations on the balcony of their cliff house are but two examples adding refreshing realism. Quinn's craggy hike with Liam that nearly ended in Deacon's demise was far more effective than the cast later traipsing around Monte Carlo. In these sequences, it's not just the sun that shines.
WORST TREND: Silly Misunderstandings
What would a soap be without crossed wires and misinterpretations? This year, however, poor communication skills were overdone. Zende thought he and Nicole were broken up and slept with Sasha while Nicole left him vague voicemails avoiding the topic of the deal-breaking surrogacy she decided against. Not to be outdone, Liam impossibly knocked himself out on an airplane and inadvertently stowed away to Australia, causing Steffy to think he was reuniting with Ivy; when Liam returned and caught Steffy snoozing with Wyatt, Liam bailed but never revealed why. There's suspension of disbelief, and there's disbelief that characters could be this dense.
BEST UMBRELLA STORY: The Forresters vs. Queric
Eric's raised the ire of his loved ones with his questionable affairs before, but the objection to Queric's nuptials unified this often feuding family like never before, involving almost everyone on the canvas -- rare for a soap that prefers to isolate characters in their own stories. Thorne and Felicia remained on hand when Eric suffered a brain hemorrhage, giving everyone a moment on-camera. The conflict continued when Eric refused to take his family's warnings about Quinn seriously, polarizing not only them but the audience. Love Queric or hate them, everyone had an opinion, making for damn good soap.
MOST WASTED OPPORTUNITY: The Fallout from Liam's Kidnapping
"Adam and Eve" brought out Quinn's humanity, and Liam's total recall was electrifying, so the repercussions promised to be, too. But aside from Quinn's arrest and Liam learning he didn't have a case against her, everything became about whether Liam and Steffy would reunite. Liam having continuing confused feelings for Quinn would have been most tantalizing; Quinn didn't do much better, falling for Eric just one month after pining for Liam. Worst of all, Deacon, whose attempted murder could have kept Quinn in the slammer, was MIA. It was an anemic wrap-up to one of B&B's more original stories.
BEST NON-COUPLE: Eric and Katie
You wouldn't think it would work. The fashion titan and the former waitress really haven't crossed paths much over the decades despite Eric being involved with Katie's mother and both sisters. There was Katie briefly running Forrester during Bill's takeover that generated ill feelings between them. Yet, suddenly in each other's orbit, Eric and Katie's unexpected warmth feels genuine and logical, mostly due to John McCook's and Heather Tom's clear admiration for each other. There's also no real sexual undercurrent, which is not easy to quell on a soap. Now that they're neighbors, here's hoping their fast friendship remains fast.
WORST REUNION: Thomas and Caroline
When Thomas sexed an incapacitated Caroline last year, some fans questioned the boundaries of consent while others cried rape. Regardless of where you stood, the events also stood -- until Thomas gained a son in Douglas, and Caroline suddenly decided Thomas hadn't taken advantage of her, after all, despite the fact that everyone watched her initial morning-after revulsion. It was an unnecessary retcon that normalized the inappropriateness of the encounter, and sometime bad girl Sasha was sacrificed when Thomas and Caroline attempted coupledom again, only to split for New York. This was one Big Apple that hid an even bigger worm.
BEST FANTASY: Quinn "Kills" Katie
Having once envisioned her face on Hope's future baby, self-professed reformee Quinn basked in being Mrs. Forrester until next-door neighbor Katie came knocking. Feeling Katie was cozying up to Eric, the woman who once smacked #DrunkBrooke to the ground over Deacon listened as Katie promised to steal Eric from her. Suddenly, Quinn bludgeoned Katie with a candlestick and left her in a pool of blood on the floor! Not! Quinn may have only committed the crime in her head, but it betrayed Quinn's true feelings and was sinfully cinematic. No one breaks from reality like Quinn Fuller!
WORST BREAKUP: CaRidge
A funny thing happened after the otherwise solid Caroline and Ridge came to terms with Thomas being the father of Caroline's baby: Ridge handed Douglas over and walked, having overheard Thomas asking Caroline to be a family but not Caroline's refusal. Without discussion, Ridge decided Caroline loved Thomas and offered her a divorce, which Caroline accepted with little protest. Ridge's goodbye was served up during an innocuous dinner, the same stunt Zende pulled on Nicole months before. It felt like the CaRidge ride was conveniently cut short to make room for nuBridge and driven in the most inorganic way possible.
BEST EVENT: The "Jewelry Pass" Fashion Show
All Forrester Creations showings nowadays are staged as rapidly as those let's-put-on-a-show-in-a-barn musicals from Hollywood's heyday, with none of the old juicy build-up. Yet interim CEO Quinn scored with her sabotage-resistant showcase featuring the fashion house's jewelry -- surprisingly novel, considering jewelry came in with Quinn's 2013 introduction. Maya, Sasha, et al. strutted down the runway in black dresses like something out of a Robert Palmer video, and Quinn stopped the show in Ridge's showstopper, trading barbs with him through forced smiles in front of the fashion world. Maybe there's something to be said for speedy barn shows after all.
WORST FOLLOW-THROUGH: Sasha's Secret
This time last year, Sasha burst onto the scene with a bomb she threatened to lob at Julius. Though Sasha was predictably Julius' love child, you could still smell the fuse burning. What would happen when Maya, Nicole, and Vivienne found out? Answer: not much. Sasha revealed herself to Nicole, arguing over a modeling assignment, then Nicole inexplicably forced Julius to tell Vivienne he had another daughter. Talk about defused; Mr. and Mrs. Avant hashed things out over a few episodes, and the show never even introduced Julius' baby mama, Lucy Thompson. Too bad sassy Sasha's big intro was a bomb.
BEST USE OF HISTORY: Flashbacks of Stephanie
One of B&B's most frustrating habits is throwing back to scenes from the day before or sequences we've seen over and over (that means you, Abu Dhabi). So it's all the more gratifying that the show still pays tribute to Queen Stephanie four years after her loss. When Ridge proposed, Brooke thought back to her long love/hate relationship with La Forrester, and Eric had an awesome extended flashback featuring Stephanie from the '80s and '90s. Of course a show has to propel current story, but with the 30th anniversary coming, here's hoping all the Stephanie luv was just a teaser.
WORST USE OF HISTORY: Sheila Who?
Eric's family was desperate to keep him from marrying Quinn, a woman guilty of kidnapping, attempted murder, and other crimes. Sounds like Sheila Carter, B&B's original bad girl. For all the older Forrester kids' anti-Quinn arguments, they never once reminded Eric he had already done the psycho-marrying thing back in the '90s. Boycotting Queric's wedding didn't make Ridge and Thorne recall they wore black to Sheric's wedding in protest? Surely Eric would have reconsidered had he acknowledged Sheila, who held him at gunpoint twice. It was a major missed beat that would have added exciting layers to Eric's present romance.
DUMBEST CHARACTER: Wyatt
Darin Brooks is talented, charming, and cute. So is his alter ego, only minus double-digit IQ points. Sure, Wyatt didn't initially know about Hope's involvement with half-brother Liam. But after also getting burned by Ivy's Liam lingering, Wyatt ran straight to Liam's ex-wife, Steffy; where's Taylor to diagnose this pattern? The evidence that Steffy was still in love with Liam was clear as day, yet Wyatt blindly tried to get Steffy's vote, even as she pulled away from their rushed marriage. And he still thinks he has a chance. Wyatt, dude: go back to your solar shower and start over.
MOST REJUVENATED CHARACTER: Eric
In the '80s and '90s, Eric Forrester didn't just give advice about triangles -- he lived 'em. Vital and sexy with a twinkle in his eye, Papa F fell victim to Backburner Syndrome over the years while his kids and grandkids stole his mojo. This year, both Eric and the show got that twinkle back. Under the guidance of portrayer John McCook, Eric took charge, commanded a major illness arc, and even did bed scenes! Okay, so Eric would never marry Quinn after his nups to psycho Sheila. We still have Quinn to thank for making this patriarch pop again.
WORST STORY: Surrogacy Redux
What's the best way to utilize soap characters? If you're B&B, you give 'em the same lackluster story they trudged through six months prior. It was surely a first in its 30-year history that they had Nicole lose Zende to Sasha over carrying Rick and Maya's baby only to put everyone back where they were not long after the original saga wrapped. As before, the focus was on Zencole rather than the surrogacy itself; it missed every good beat and only served to highlight the flaws in the overall tale. Yes, things ultimately shifted gears when Nicole backed out of giving Lizzy a sibling at the last minute, but ultimately, Rick and Maya looked even more selfish, Nicole looked like a sucker, and Zende, who had an epiphany at Lizzy's birth, permanently lost his redemption between Sasha's legs. Even on a soap, "lather, rinse, repeat" can't launder a stained story.
BEST STORY: All About Eve
Liam repeatedly smacking his head like he was in a Three Stooges film got silly very quickly. So who knew when Quinn packed him away in her car that they'd road trip down new highways? B&B stepped out of its comfort zone and harkened back to '80s classics like Y&R's Lisa keeping Brad in a cage, following that example by letting the tale play out over months, not weeks. The amnesiac Liam let Scott Clifton play something new, and Quinn losing her contempt for Tofu Boy was a joy. "Adam and Eve" finally acted on their long-standing sexual tension through unexpectedly tender lovemaking instead of hate sex, with Quinn feeling safe enough to reveal tidbits from her childhood. Finally, collaborator Deacon facing a surprise murder attempt and Wyatt's door-busting, rivalry-canceling rescue created riveting suspense. Pity the road afterwards bore nothing but I-want-Steffy-back signposts, but what a ride while it lasted.
There you have it, Scoopers -- hope that made more sense than 2016 did! Think my assessments were spot-on? Think I was talking out of my ass? Good! Tell me all about it 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!
If you want to see what goes into doing up one of these Best & Worst columns -- which is quite a different process than creating a regular Two Scoops -- peep the accompanying video below. You may be surprised how hard it is. Or how easy! Also, click the links scattered throughout for updated B&B character profiles!
Next up, Chanel will delve into 2017 with a back-to-business column, but I may not be ready for that yet. Want me to do an "If I Wrote B&B" column like I've written up in past years instead? Let me know! Comment below or just tweet me, and maybe I'll share the ideas I have about B&B when I'm back with you on January 16. Thanks, everyone, for supporting my columns, have a happy and peaceful New Year, and, as always, keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold. Because now, more than ever, no matter color, creed, religion, gender identity, or orientation, we're all beautiful.
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