This is part one of a special two-part year-end Two Scoops showcasing the best and worst of The Bold and the Beautiful in 2009. Click here for part two, where Allison offers up her thoughts on B&B's hits and misses.
We've put together a special year-end list of the top ten most-read Two Scoops columns over the past 12 months. To check out the list and see what came out on top, please click here.
Readers, there was a moment in 2009 when I nearly gave up on B&B for good. The Taylor/Ridge/Brooke merry-go-round for the 50th time made me nauseous. Seriously, Ridge just needs to become a Mormon and do the Big Love thing and marry them both instead of spending the next two decades trying to decide between them. I can't imagine two beautiful and talented women like Taylor and Brooke actually standing around waiting for some guy to choose between them.
The very worst moment of the triangle debacle was James taking Taylor and Brooke up to Big Bear to give them creepy mud bath therapy. If someone wanted me to go to a cabin and make nice with my husband's ex-wife, they'd have to drug me to get me there. Pass! At least we got some comic relief when Brooke arrived at Nick and Taylor's nuptials on horseback all dirty and bedraggled looking.
I hung in there past that recycled mess and I am glad I did. Some wonderful things happened this year, starting with some fresh blood.
In the "Best" category, B&B made the absolutely brilliant choice of picking up other soaps' castoffs. When Y&R killed off Brad Carlton and fired Don Diamont, B&B scooped him up and created the magnetic Bill Spencer.
Brad Carlton never had as much fun as Dollar Bill has had on a daily basis. The addition of Diamont to the cast has brought life where there was none before, particularly to the character of Katie. Katie is no longer in the shadows of Brooke and Donna; she has come into her own with Bill Spencer as her husband and mentor. Bill and Katie's grown-up romance is a rarity on daytime and a joy to behold. I have thoroughly enjoyed witnessing as their relationship unfolds.
I also cheered for the hostile takeover of Forrester Creations, mainly because I loathe Ridge. I like it when bad things happen to him. (Except for last year when Phoebe died, I actually felt sorry for him over that one). In the latest selfish behavior, Ridge hatched a kooky scheme to design bad gowns on purpose to make the company fail. I wonder if it ever occurred to him that after Forrester fails, it might not bounce back? Probably not, there is only so much room for thoughts in his ego-inflated head.
When GH decided it was done with Rick Hearst and Sarah Joy Brown, B&B grabbed them up, too. Another smart move. Two more Emmy award-winning actors on the canvas can't be bad. At first, I assumed Whip Jones was coming on to be a love interest for Brooke. After all, the two of them used to be married. Instead, Whip and Brooke never interact nor have scenes together. Very curious. Instead they opted to give Whip the hots for the very married Jackie. Head scratcher, eh?
Finally it appears that Whip is going to get his own romance and storyline. He is now sort of dating Taylor and he also figures into the very intriguing Sandy Sommers storyline. Hooray.
Speaking of Sandy Sommers, it's been a thrill to see Sarah Joy Brown morph from twisted mob princess Claudia Corinthos on GH to the broken-but-good-hearted Sandy Sommers. Ms. Brown is a stellar performer. If this is your first chance to get to know her, you're in for a real treat.
This woman can emote and take you on a roller-coaster of emotions. She will break your heart. Brown somehow managed to play a brutal and murderous mobster's daughter with such layers that we felt sad for her even when she was doing horrendous things. Sandy Sommers is a far more sympathetic character, so I think we're going to take a wonderful journey with Sarah Joy Brown that we will never regret...
I secretly hope that Nick falls for Sandy, because frankly, I think Nick and Bridget are a real snooze. I guess it's not a secret anymore.
There have been a few stellar storylines this past year, the return of Betty White as Pam and Stephanie's mother, Ann, was unexpected, and very well written. Ann stood by and allowed Stephanie to be abused when she was a child, and B&B didn't insult our intelligence and give us a storybook ending. Instead, they gave us a sadder, but more realistic ending. Although Ann asked for absolution at the end of her life, Stephanie was still unable to fully forgive her mother, even on her deathbed.
Also well done was Stephanie's stroke. I have had experience with aging people in my family who want to pretend they are fine when they are not at all fine. I saw the truth in Stephanie's portrayal of a proud, stubborn woman who feared a medical ailment would jeopardize her independence.
However, there were just as many storylines that left me rolling my eyes and hitting the fast-forward button on my TiVo. For instance, one day out of the blue we discovered Owen had a secret evil twin who we had never seen before and haven't seen since. Dumb. Lately, Owen has been relegated to undressing and being put on a dog leash or dressed only in a fig leaf. A real waste of Brandon Beemer's talent.
Another thing that irked me the past year was the evolution of Steffy as a fickle home wrecker. After all, she's not Brooke's biological daughter. When Steffy first came back to L.A., she was hot for Marcus. Then she tossed him aside for Rick, right after he drove the car that killed her sister. That was supposedly a "Big Scary Love" that she couldn't resist, but now, she rarely sees Rick and acts like they are casual acquaintances when she does, as if all that angst and passion never happened between them.
Next Steffy moved on to Owen, who was married to Jackie, and was going to have catfights with a woman twice her age. I guess she figured that was a losing battle, so Steffy is currently is putting her tongue down Bill Spencer's throat, and Bill is married to Katie...
Hey writers, make up your mind. Is Steffy a character we should like or hate? Which couples are we supposed to care about in this revolving door of hers? I used to like Steffy's character, but she becomes less likable and relatable by the minute.
I mentioned earlier that I find Nick and Bridget boring, but they are nowhere near the snoozefest that Eric and Donna have become. Eric sulks and mopes while Donna wrings her hands about every choice she makes for fear of making Eric pout more. Zzzzz. She needs to get that honey bear back out.
Donna, I advise that you take your baby daddy Justin up on his offer. Leave Eric, recapture your lost youth, and let Stephanie have Eric so they can be old and crabby together.
There's a line in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy notes "People come and go so quickly around here." And the same is true of B&B. Rick was a main character, then one day they announced "We're sending Rick to Paris to run Forrester International." And we didn't see him again for months. Now he is back in L.A. but hasn't had much to do other than attend the occasional business meeting.
We haven't seen Jack, or Thorne and his strange little girl, Allie. Felicia and Dominic have also vanished, and we haven't seen Hope for eons. I suppose that was intentional, as Hope is going to be aged and come home as a teenager soon. Marcus, also once a front-burner player, hasn't had anything to do since his dad came to town, which makes no sense. It seems that would give him more air time, not less, but I have only seem glimpses of Texas Battle in the past month. If characters will be gone a while, please address it. Jack has gone to "Rich People Baby Camp" for the winter." Or something...
Okay readers, this is both a best and a worst -- Donna and Pam are hilarious together, great comic relief. The Price is Right episode and the first episode of The Catwalk were both "Must See TV." However, if you have ever watched Saturday Night Live, you've probably noticed a skit that ran too long. The concept was brilliant and funny, but they didn't know how to end it, so it went on about 2 minutes longer than it should have. I am sensing that "too much of a good thing" vibe with Donna and Pam. I like to see them together from time to time, but I am already kind of sick of hearing Pam meow. Who would watch The Catwalk show in real life? Certainly not me.
Readers, thanks for letting me share this final B&B column with you for 2009. I wish you all a Merry Christmas. I hope that 2010 brings out all the potential B&B has simmering there, and that all the new characters who are crying out for front-burner storylines and brilliant lines get them, I hope 2010 makes all your dreams come true, too.
Until next time, please be sure to check out the other year-end Two Scoops columns for other soaps. All of the columnists are taking the next two weeks to reflect on the best and worst of 2009. It's definitely a fun read -- even if you aren't familiar with all of the soaps!
Plus, feel free to head over to the Soap Central message boards and join in the discussion about the highs and lows of the year gone by. And, if you're feeling prolific, start your own blog and offer your own take on the Two Scoops' best and worst edition. If we like what you write, you might just see your comments posted here!