Has your year been bold and beautiful? Did you do your best imitation of a ping-pong ball? Did you rack up frequent flyer miles like they were going out of style? Did you cast a shadow over the whole of Los Angeles? These and more situations faced the Forresters, Logans, and Spencers in 2014!
This year in soap history -- at least where B&B is concerned -- may always be remembered for the presence of Quinn Fuller and her son Wyatt's constant battle with Liam for the hand of Hope Logan. There were other stories, of course, but they rather got lost in the large, looming shadow of these ceaseless sagas. Thankfully, that's why we're here: to read between the lines and rescue otherwise forgotten moments of 2014 that may have slipped through the cracks. Grab the gingerbread cookies and apple cider, and take a break from ho-ho-ho because it's once again time to Two Scoop it Best & Worst style!
BEST NEW CHARACTER: John Forrester
With Stephanie gone and only one of Eric's biological children on the canvas, the patriarch doesn't have much left in terms of Forrester representation. Along came his never-before-seen brother John, who was only briefly mentioned off-screen when his ex-wife Maggie and daughter Jessica came to town in 1994. Under the charmingly goofy command of Fred Willard, John not only flirted with Pam and irked Charlie during his brief appearance, he gave Eric a new lease on life by reminding him that there is life after Stephanie. John instantly deepened the roots of B&B's most important family tree, which is quite a feat.
MOST ANNOYING CHARACTER: Katie
The former Mrs. Bill Spencer started the year as a force to be reckoned with, seated in her ex's CEO chair, but something went wrong when Ridge entered her orbit. The usually upstanding Logan sister cruelly faked a heart attack just to stop Brooke's wedding to Ridge then Katie spent months more worried about how Ridge's Abu Dhabi dunking affected her. Next, the woman who abhors violence to the point she took Bill to therapy over it purposely sicced Bill on Ridge, knowing Dollah would punch Ridge's lights out for kissing Caroline! Did Katie get a personality transplant along with her heart transplant?
BEST REVENGE: Ridge and the Helicopter vs. Bill
After Ridge popped Bill in the face during his wedding to Brooke and spirited her away, Bill had Justin bank their helicopter, unintentionally dropping Ridge into the Persian Gulf. The impact blurred Ridge's memory, but when the designer remembered Bill's part in it, he served up a steaming dish of an eye for an eye by luring Bill into a helicopter and jostling him around until the freaked-out foe admitted his treachery. The sequence was action-packed, and let's face it -- it's not every day someone gets karma to bite Bill in the ass. Logans and Forresters, take note!
WORST REVENGE: Rick vs. Caroline and Ridge
Rick had a right to be furious when Caroline admitted kissing Ridge, Rick's half-brother and sometime rival. It even made sense that he would try to sabotage the duo's brilliant couture line by overpricing it. But Rick went too far when he immediately jumped into bed with the all-too-eager Maya then flaunted the affair in Caroline's face. Rick came back from the Dark Side in 2010, so this behavior was out of character now and a clear case of the punishment not fitting the crime. Jacob Young's compelling performances weren't enough to gloss over Rick's unusually vicious payback.
BEST LOCATION: The Middle East
When soaps go on exotic remotes, they usually limit their forays to European countries. So it was renegade when B&B travelled to both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, bringing their HD cameras along with them. It was a look at a part of the world most North Americans have never had a chance to see -- the footage was gorgeous, and it was the only remote this year that didn't involve Hope and Liam; this time, their parents got the spotlight in a wedding throw down. Topping it off with Ridge's helicopter accident even gave the festivities a GH kind of flair. Brill-iant!
WORST GIMMICK: Too Many Remotes
In recent years, B&B's "remotes" mostly only extended to Aspen and Cabo San Lucas. By comparison, sending our characters to the Middle East, then Paris, Monte Carlo, and Amsterdam seemed like an answer to a prayer, but something was amiss in having these location shoots so close together in one year. It began to feel like a desperate bid for attention, and not even towers and canals could dress up the lackluster, played-out Wyatt/Hope/Liam triangle, which was the focus of most of the trips. Foreign locales are awesome, but quality is better than quantity.
BEST RETURN: Karen
It's really too bad original cast member Joanna Johnson's schedule doesn't allow her to appear more regularly, but Karen Spencer's short return still packed a punch. Summoned by Brooke, of all people, Karen listened as her brother's main squeeze made a case for kicking Katie out of Bill's CEO chair, which Karen helped Katie wrest from him in 2013. Karen acknowledged that Bill had grown, but surprisingly held her ground by gently refusing to grant Brooke's request. Karen's strength, class, and long history with the show gave her visit only one flaw: it couldn't be longer.
WORST RETURN: Darla
Ditzy Darla Einstein, who had languished on the backburner following her 1989 debut, was so beloved by the time she was fatally injured by Taylor's car in 2006 that fans deeply hoped for a spectral visit. This year, we got it, thanks to Darla's rapidly aged daughter, Aly, but Darla's appearance left much to be desired -- like a body. There's no rule that television ghosts have to enter in their entirety, but Darla's glowing, floating head looked like a basketball from the beyond, which was more distraction than delight. Schae Harrison deserved more than coming back as a disembodied apparition.
BEST FANTASIES: Quinn
Ms. Fuller didn't seem crazy at first, but as 2014 began, it became unquestionably clear that the jewelry maker was short a few gems. Turns out, the most interesting thing about Quinn is what goes on inside her head. Obsessed with winning access to her grandchild, Quinn envisioned tickle-torturing the pregnant Hope into submission and that her baby would be born with Quinn's face. Quinn was even self-aware enough to admit her flaws in front of Hope's baby shower guests -- if only in her mind. Quinn's real-life misdeeds get an average grade, but her imaginary ones get an A+.
MOST PREPOSTEROUS PLOT: Brooke Forces Katie to Relinquish Bill's CEO Seat
Last year, Brooke scored Most Shocking Twist by taking papers Bill seduced Katie into signing and replacing them with leaves, killing his bid to regain control of Spencer Publications. This year, Brooke gave an up-yours to that show of sisterly solidarity by putting her on-again, off-again relationship with Bill first. Seeing he was miserable without his company, Brooke brandished those same papers, which she lied about destroying, and used them to blackmail Katie into restoring Bill as CEO. It was an uncharacteristically diabolical move on Brooke's part, and worse, Katie barely reacted to it. Leaves burn, but a soap's continuity shouldn't.
BEST USE OF HISTORY: Taylor's Guilt
The debate has long raged as to how responsible Taylor was for Darla's death. Should alcoholic Taylor have been behind the wheel? Did Darla fall into the car's path herself? Regardless of where you sit on the issue, Aly kept her finger pointed at Taylor, who returned to tell Aly about her engagement to daddy Thorne. Thanks to Aly's new beau, Oliver, Aly listened as Taylor tearfully confessed just how horrible she felt that Darla was dead because of her, which was what viewers needed to hear. Aly's return begged for this confrontation, and Taylor's culpability satisfied at least that.
WORST USE OF HISTORY: Brooke and Deacon Redux
When Deacon smoldered back into town, fans remembered his oh-so-wrong but burning hot affair with Brooke in 2001. Would Deacon find himself in Brooke's embrace again? Yes, but it failed on all levels. Not only did the one-time lovers have only a fraction of the chemistry they did the first time, but Deacon proposed despite him and Brooke never actually resuming their relationship. Plus, B&B forgot its own history by showing recovering alcoholic Deacon chugging down whiskey with no mention of whether he'd fallen off the wagon. Apparently, where there's smoke, there isn't always fire.
MOST DRAMATIC STORY: Quinn Tries to Kill Liam
Quinn's psychotic antics became cartoonish very quickly, but her summer murder plot against Liam made things ice cold. Wanting Liam gone to give Wyatt a chance with Hope, Quinn graduated from simple pranks to spooking Liam so much he sprained his ankle. She then crafted a giant-sized Spencer sword weapon based on her jewelry creations. Like a wolf moving in on its injured prey, Quinn eerily tormented Liam and would have impaled him if Wyatt hadn't stepped in. The repercussions were unsatisfying (because there weren't any), but Quinn's swordplay generated thrills not seen since Sheila Carter's reign of terror.
MOST MISGUIDED STORY: Oliver's Back and Forth
Oliver spent four years in backburner purgatory after his part in the infamous mask-boink of 2010. So, while it was great to see Zach Conroy on-screen again, his alter ego came back with a bit of an identity crisis. The gentle photographer kissed an engaged Maya then got tired of accepting Forrester crumbs and dated Aly as a form of job security. Oh, but he didn't mean it. Once Ollie got snagged admitting his motivation in a recording, he swore he had truly fallen for Miss F. What were we to believe? The lack of clear direction put a damper on Mr. Jones's otherwise welcome resurgence.
BEST CONTINUITY: The Many Wives of John Forrester
When Ivy arrived in L.A. from Down Under, we were told her father was John Forrester, a brother of Eric's who had only been mentioned once in the '90s. Longtime viewers scratched their heads. Ivy's mother couldn't be John's ex-wife, Maggie, because then their daughter Jessica would be 20 years older than Ivy. B&B wisely called John to the Forrester compound to detail his world travels, during which he subtly mentioned having moved on from Maggie with Ivy's mother, Claire. The show could have ignored this little-known level of Forrester hierarchy; the fact that they acknowledged it makes all right in the B&B universe.
MOST ANTICIPATED EVENT WITH NO PAYOFF: Aly vs. Taylor
Prodigal daughter Aly returned to the fold with a chip on her shoulder and unbalanced behavior to match. Who wouldn't be scarred after losing their mother as a child? When Taylor, who had a hand in Darla's death, hoped Aly would accept a revived engagement to her father, Thorne, the scene was set for one helluva blowout. It didn't come. Aly grandiosely threatened Taylor with a convenient axe then heard the shrink's side, suddenly becoming just a geeky girl with no problems afterwards. The Aly/Taylor confrontation should have been the beginning of Aly's healing, not the end of it.
BEST REUNION: Hope and Deacon
The product of a scandalous affair between her mother and ne'er-do-well Deacon Sharpe, Hope grew up without a biological father figure, and very briefly reunited with him in Italy in 2012 -- except that Deacon was only there to sabotage Hope's wedding to Liam on Bill's orders. This year, the show gave father and daughter time to truly bond. Though Hope disapproved of the returning Deacon's relationship with her smother-in-law, Quinn, she was close enough to the former bad boy by the time she miscarried that she naturally called him "Dad." Quite a journey -- and one that these two really needed to embark upon together.
WORST REUNION: Taylor and Thorne
Mysterious candlelit silhouettes on sheets turned out to be Taylor and Thorne, having reunited after young Aly torpedoed their 2007 go-round (she was unable to process her father's marrying her mother's killer). Despite this rekindling having developed off-screen, with Aly in the picture again, their timing was better and more dramatic than their hurried 2011 attempt at romance. Aly eventually gave Thorne and Taylor her blessing, and the couple returned to France -- but then Taylor visited solo and told Eric she and Thorne had broken things off, also off-screen. One might call the recoupling a junk bond, because there was nothing there to invest in.
MOST SHOCKING TWIST: Hope Dates the Spencer Brothers
Following in Liam's waffling footsteps, Hope flip-flopped between him and Wyatt like a boss. And so the triangle went until Liam, who was afraid he'd lost Hope for good after a pregnancy scare, suggested that she date him in addition to Wyatt. And Hope agreed! Was this development tacky? Yeah, a little. But at least it was honest; maybe all of B&B's characters should allow themselves to date multiple people instead of getting married and divorced willy-nilly. Agree or disagree, Hope allowing herself to be courted by both Spencer boys was different, and different is something this soap needs.
WORST PSYCHO: Quinn
Mousy Quinn became a lion in 2014, shoving her fingers in every pie and literally drawing blood. Mover and shaker though she may be, there was no real rationale for her jumping on the crazy train; comparisons to Sheila aside, at least Sheila losing Scott's baby on Y&R is what pushed over the edge. Worse still, Quinn was seconds away from killing Liam -- and no one put her in jail! Instead, she simply ran free, telling people she checked herself into a mental facility, which no one bothered to verify. Quinn fails because she's a cartoon who gets away with everything -- even Sheila paid her dues eventually.
BEST EVENT: The Couture Line Fashion Show
Rick married Caroline, Ridge proposed to Katie, and all seemed right with the world -- until sparks flew between Ridge and Caroline while designing together, causing something else to fly during the showing of their creations. A vengeful Rick overpriced the gowns, hoping to kill interest in the line, which created genuine suspense on its own -- but the show juxtaposed this runway-working with scenes of Bill pummeling Ridge on the Forrester Sky Lounge for taking advantage of his niece. Would the fashion fall? Would Ridge or Bill fall off the building? The nail-biting sequence gave B&B some much-needed punch.
WORST SOCIAL ISSUE: Talking to the Animals
B&B tried to shine a light on the plight of unwanted dogs and cats by sending Hope and Liam to an animal shelter and encouraging viewers to likewise adopt. Despite hearts being in the right place, the trip tanked -- not because of the message but because Hope and Liam didn't adhere to it. After one episode of cuddling with new cat Bu, the star-crossed lovers forgot all about their kitty, except when the victorious Wyatt said he didn't want it living with him and Hope. Poor Bu became collateral damage -- the ironic, unintentional takeaway being that pets are disposable.
BEST PLOT DEVICE: Quinn's Selfie
B&B put today's trend of electronic self-portraits to good use by having Quinn snap herself in bed with Bill, who was on one of many breaks from Brooke. Then, Quinn sat on her selfie until the time was right, showing it to Ridge, who raced to Abu Dhabi to stop Brooke from marrying a "cheating" Bill. The result? Bill dumped Ridge out of a helicopter. This led to Ridge's impaired memory and flirtation with Caroline, which is still playing out seven months later. One click did the trick!
WORST PLOT DEVICE: Forrester's CEO Chair
Corporate intrigue is a soap staple, but the battles for Forrester Creations' top spot are so frequent that this year's boardroom games didn't make a dent. Ridge, who had barely even talked shop since his return from Paris (in the guise of Thorsten Kaye), suddenly decided he needed to run Forrester. That bore no fruit, but then, months later, Eric put the CEO chair up for grabs as he had done many times before, engendering ill will between sons Rick and Ridge. The business brouhaha not only lacked freshness but was difficult to care about because of that lack.
BEST ENEMIES: Liam and Quinn
Handsome Liam Cooper Spencer's constant simpering and waffling regarding Hope dulls both his personality and likability quotient. Solution? Just add Quinn and stir! There's something about Liam going up against his half-brother's mother that brings out an unexpected, sexy strength in him. Not to be outdone, Quinn gives as good as she gets when she toys with Liam. There's so much chemistry between these adversaries that you almost expect them to end up in bed together! However, it's watching these two make hate, not love, that's the most fun B&B's put on our screens in a long time.
MOST RUINED CHARACTER: Maya
This actress/model had an edge when she arrived looking for her missing daughter then lost it when she lost it for Rick. Miss Avant sweetly stepped aside as Rick married Caroline, despite jumping into a loveless engagement to Carter. Then things got weird: the woman who was initially furious Rick had lied about having money suddenly coveted it, having a public affair with Rick and bragging to Carter, of all people, about her new station in life. Maya's brief admission that being nice had gotten her nowhere wasn't enough to justify this quantum leap in her personality.
BEST CHEMISTRY: Bill and Quinn
With Brooke in his stable, the Stallion wanted nothing to do with babymama Quinn when she revealed Wyatt was his son. That changed when Brooke ditched Bill for "destiny" Ridge, and Quinn offered to wipe Bill's drunken tears with her whip! S&M isn't new to B&B (recall James Warwick and Sheila's dungeon love of 1995), but Quinn's leather-clad romps with Bill gave the show some much-needed spice and showed what their original fling must have been like. While Bill more recently tried to goad Quinn into jumping off a building, it still seems he'd rather she jumped on him instead.
WORST STUNT CASTING: Bob Barker
It wasn't the game show host and animal advocate's presence that was the problem -- it's what B&B gave him to do. Wyatt, who wouldn't usually be a jerk to the elderly, jeered the nonagenarian's love of cats and dogs simply to engineer an excruciatingly painful redo of Barker repeatedly punching Adam Sandler in the 1996 film Happy Gilmore. The sophomoric sight gag was completely out of place on any soap, and even the performers looked uncomfortable lensing this contrived, unnecessary sequence. What a disservice to Bob Barker -- he ought to have had that script spayed or neutered.
BEST EXIT: Brooke
The eldest Logan sister has only rarely been off-screen during her 27-year run, so it's novel enough that Brooke has been absent since October (to facilitate Katherine Kelly Lang's appearance on the Italian version of Dancing With the Stars). But when Brooke left for Milan, she acknowledged that she shouldn't have gotten involved with her sister's husband, telling Bill she needed time to get herself together. Of course, Brooke has had these moments of self-awareness before, only to revert to form, but that she left with a clear head offers hope that this long-scandalized character can finally be redeemed.
WORST EXIT: Hope
The Internet nearly collapsed after Kim Matula announced her decision to leave B&B. How would the pregnant Hope be written off? Would stalker Quinn kidnap her? Would Hope go on the run to escape her? Nope. Like Steffy before her, the show played the predictable miscarriage card, throwing Hope down the stairs and killing her baby. Yet, unlike Steffy, who got weeks of Emmy-worthy grieving before departing, Hope got one sullen conversation with husband Wyatt; she went on to kiss Liam, profess her love to him, and literally disappear into the horizon. It was an unsatisfying end to an even more unsatisfying story.
MOST ROMANTIC COUPLE: Liam and Ivy
Liam likes his damsels in distress: saving Steffy from drowning primed their pairing, and he's rescued Hope more times than can be counted. So naturally, Liam jumped into the River Seine after Ivy, but their eventual (albeit rebound) relationship has been unexpectedly sweet. Spunky Aussie Ivy brings out a tenderness in Liam seen with no other girl before her, and their admissions of love in Amsterdam, followed by candlelight canoodling in their hotel, seemed to prove that maybe romance on soaps isn't dead after all. Livy is a hearts-and-flowers shot in the arm the show definitely needed.
LEAST REALISTIC COUPLE: Ridge and Brooke
Surprise! The duo that defined "supercouple" in the '80s, '90s, and even '00s arrived DOA this go-round, and not because of Ridge's recast. When Thorsten Kaye's Forrester came back for his Logan, we were told to buy the repairing, not given a reason to. Ridge recoiled over Brooke having gotten with Bill, and Brooke pursued Ridge seemingly out of habit, culminating in an attempted wedding that was forced and lacking in chemistry. If B&B ever reboots its signature couple again, they'll need a lot more than we got in 2014 to rebuild this Bridge.
BEST COUPLE: Oliver and Aly
It shouldn't have worked. Aly was one HFTF poster away from the loony bin, and Oliver couldn't decide if he liked Miss F for herself or her position as a Forrester. But once the young lovebirds cleared that up via some medieval jousting (it was unique, anyway), they proved to be the most likable pairing on the show. Aly's relative innocence pulls that same quality out of Oliver, which he'd lost after mask-boinking Brooke. Aly and Oliver are rarely on together (she spends more time with new BFF Ivy), but when they are, it's a glimpse of love as it used to be -- and should be.
MOST BORING COUPLE: Ridge and Katie
After Brooke made off with Katie's husband, Bill, it made soap sense that Katie would eye Brooke's longtime paramour, Ridge. Would Katie romance Ridge as revenge? That didn't happen, but Ridge commiserating with Katie quickly evolved into a relationship -- too quickly. After some poetry and a couple of park dates, these two were in love. When Ridge came back from Abu Dhabi with his memory impaired, "Kridge" seemed impaired, too, their union as unexciting as Katie's engagement string. Ridge had more spark with Caroline in one scene than he did with Katie in months! If this was a chemistry class, Ridge and Katie flunked it.
MOST ENDURING COUPLE: Pam and Charlie
So Charlie doesn't have six-pack abs and Pam won't be showing her butt à la Kim Kardashian any time soon. What the lemon bar lady and self-important security guard lack in Hollywood-perpetuated youth, they make up for in stamina. An item since Thanksgiving 2013, Pam and Charlie are almost always seen together -- John Forrester's flirting couldn't touch them, and they were a Renaissance-clad support system for the fledgling Oliver and Aly. All of B&B's other lovebirds could take a lesson from these two; Charlie and Pam don't get their screen time, but they're the most solid couple the show's got.
WORST STORY: The Liam/Hope/Wyatt Triangle
It was almost fitting when Hope gave it back to Liam for constantly waffling between her and Steffy, but her own waffling soon became just as maddening, if not more, because of the frequency of her switching between Liam and Wyatt. In a tortured trio filled with shiny campers, exotic locales, and magic diamonds, nothing stuck, and it all played like the tired Leffy/Lope saga that dominated the show for two years. Hope even topped Liam's flip-flopping by marrying Wyatt after Liam was a few minutes late for their own wedding! Newer viewers like the younger characters, but B&B needs to learn that too much of a good thing is still too much. The immature tale is over for now, as the show had Hope copycat Steffy's miscarriage and exit, but, before attempting another triangle, this soap would benefit from shifting the focus onto other types of stories for a while.
BEST STORY: Ridge's Accident
B&B could have taken the easy way out, as it often does, by having Ridge recover instantly from his tumble out of a helicopter into the Persian Gulf. Instead, Ridge came home, suffering memory loss from the impact, which impacted him for months afterwards. Ridge recalled Bill's part in the injury and got his revenge, but he still was unable to draw, which was his life's blood. Enter Caroline, namesake of Ridge's first wife, and soon the two developed a synergy and chemistry long missing from the show -- which also plunged Rick, Caroline, and Forrester Creations into chaos, with money-grubbing Maya ready to take advantage. This is the very definition of a soap repercussion: one event that drama, messes, and heartache can be connected to long after that event. Who knew that Bill's casual command, "Cool him off," would heat up the screen for more than half of 2014?
And that, Scoopers, is the year in B&B according to me! But I'm not the only one with opinions -- Tracy will take her own look back at 2014 on December 29. Then, on January 5, I'll usher in 2015 with my yearly "If I Wrote B&B" column. It's a whole holiday of soapy gifts just for you!
I'd like to say thank you to each and every one of you for coming back week after week and reading our thoughts about B&B (and for tolerating all my mentions of my recently-released book, The Bewitched Continuum, which I am very proud of and which has put the "bold" in a very "beautiful" year for me). Without you guys, they wouldn't keep letting us come back to spout off about the Forresters, Logans, and Spencers! Have a joyful holiday and a kick-ass new year, and don't forget: keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold!
What are your thoughts on The Bold and the Beautiful? What did you think of this week's Two Scoops? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.