Has the first half of your year been bold and beautiful? Were you constitutionally incapable of discussing more than one topic? Did you come back to town and interact with everyone except the one you have the most history with? Did letting your freak flag fly yet again result in a body count? These and more situations faced the Forrester-Logan-Spencer-Walton-Buckingham-Finnegan clan these past six months!
Doesn't it kind of feel like this year has been SORASed, Scoopers? Seems we just rang in 2022, and we're already careening toward its halfway mark. Maybe it just seems that long because New Year's Eve lasted until May on B&B via the "mystery" of Brooke's drinking with Deacon, who stood in for the Baby New Year. Many of us were also lulled to sleep thanks to Paris and Carter's "romantic" machinations.
But the show also promised us some twists, and did we get them! The path from Sheila killing her own son to Sheila's discovery this week that Li has been keeping Finn alive took a lot of hairpin turns! So, how about we celebrate the highlights and dish on what could have been better in this mini-Best & Worst column? Y'all ready? Let's Two Scoop it Top Ten Style!
Who wasn't kind of excited when Eric and Brooke's legacy first daughter, Bridget, suddenly showed up? Good thing for Steffy, too, because Dr. Forrester just happened to be on hand when Steffy took a bullet from family nemesis Sheila. Unfortunately, Budge was relegated to doctor duties a day player could have done (think high-profile B&B doctors like ATWT's Jon Hensley and OLTL's Hilary B. Smith), and Bridget pretty much disappeared once Steffy was discharged, all while the show avoided crafting an obvious and much-needed scene between Bridget and Deacon. Maybe now that Quinn has Bridget on the case of Eric's heart rate, they can at least compare notes on their mutual ex-husband, Freaky Deaky himself.
Oops, he did it again. Fresh off of pulling some scaled-down stunts of old like hiding Ridge's phone to keep estranged wife Brooke from calling him, Thomas stumbled onto the secret that Sheila had tricked recovering addict Brooke into drinking by labeling a real bottle of bubbly as non-alcoholic. Did he immediately go to Ridge and Brooke and explain that their separation was manipulated? Nope. Thomas kept the news to himself in the hopes of securing a Ridge/Taylor reunion. When Thomas' misdeed was revealed, he had the presence of mind to sense he played a part in Finn's death, but Ridge and Taylor essentially let Thomas off with a slap on the hand. Like many public figures these days, Thomas is never going to learn if he never pays for his actions.
The Dollah isn't worth as much these days. Barracuda Bill has been mostly AWOL in 2022, so when he put in an appearance, fans were stoked. But it turns out Bill has been keeping to a New Year's resolution he must have made, and that is to only talk about Brooke at all times. The also-missing Wyatt paid a brief visit to hear his dad, only to get an earful about his former stepmother. In subsequent scenes, Bill continued to wax Brooke-stalgic. It's not like Bill, who is usually a major mover and shaker in Los Angeles, to be stuck on one subject. Bill needs new material and a fresh romance with a lady who is as devilish as he is.
It's one thing to forgive someone who shot you, especially when the gun went off in a struggle. But it was really odd for Taylor to befriend Sheila, who had been responsible for Taylor being away from her children during so many of their formative years. At first, it seemed Taylor had adopted a keep-your-friends-close-and-your-enemies-closer stance with Sheila as a means of monitoring the convict, but before long, Taylor didn't do much to stem Sheila's Brooke-bashing, and "world-renowned psychiatrist" Taylor became unusually blind to Sheila's signals. Taylor finally got a clue, but only because Steffy basically did an intervention with Sheila after remembering Sheila had killed Finn. Did Prince Omar send us an imperfect Taylor clone and keep the original for himself?
It's been good to have Taylor back, and Krista Allen has put her own sunny spin on the character, becoming a fan favorite. But what's been up with sanitizing Taylor since her return? During Hunter Tylo's final days as Doc, Taylor barely avoided jail time for shooting Bill in the back and attempting it a second time; then she bought a baby from a virtual stranger without so much as a background check. Taylor had more baggage than a 747 could hold when she left, but, when she came back, everyone in her circle acted as if Taylor had never been anything but perfectly normal. Taylor using Bill for target practice has never been mentioned, not even by Brooke, Hope, and Steffy, who know about the crime. Nor did Taylor ever empathize with Brooke, being a recovering alcoholic herself. Taking a character in a new direction is one thing, but pretending Taylor doesn't have a rap sheet does the soap no favors.
It's natural for kids from broken families to wish their parents were back together. But Steffy and Thomas aren't kids -- they're both in their 30s, and that's what makes their obsessive bids to reunite Tridge especially annoying. Making the "Tay-tots" sound even more immature was their constant browbeating of the parents, no matter how many times said parents told them to take a chill pill. Moreover, Steffy was so hard up to make Brooke look bad that she illegally got Charlie to bust into Brooke's private home security footage, and Thomas stood at the door like a guard dog to keep Brooke from talking to her disillusioned husband. It's enough to make you wish Taylor never gets Ridge back, because Thomas and Steffy don't deserve to be rewarded that way.
New characters on B&B are fairly rare nowadays, so when Cassandra Creech was named to come on board as Paris' mother, it showed promise. After all, Creech was fiyah as ATWT's spunky Denise. But five months into her tenure, Grace has only been about one thing: pushing Paris and Zende together, no matter how much Paris doesn't want him. An apparent doctor, Grace never works, and her tantalizing connection to baby-switcher Reese doesn't seem to matter. Never before has a new face arrived on B&B with this much laser focus on one issue and no room for development. Too bad this Grace is anything but amazing.
Paris was brought on to be a kind of anti-Zoe, a sensible and delightfully grounded counterpart to her erratic sister. But it turns out being flaky is just a Buckingham trait. After crushing on Finn and wisely turning away Thomas, Paris began a romance with Zende, whose boundaries moved on a whim. First Zende wanted to keep things light; then Paris decided to eschew exclusivity when Zende wanted to get serious. Paris topped all that by getting with Carter before Zende could propose to her. But Carter is turning out to be no prize, either -- he freely admits he used Paris to quash his feelings for Quinn, and now he wants to go as far as marrying Paris to accomplish that goal. Not only are these folks maddeningly fickle, they're also pretty boring.
Ridge was understandably upset when recovering alcoholic wife Brooke got drunk, kissed Deacon, and slept it off with that ex in Ridge's marital bed. But Ridge's pearl-clutching should have stopped there. After all, Ridge is the guy who responded to Brooke boinking a masked Oliver with an "Oh, Logan." Plus, two years ago, Ridge got drunk and knocked out with Shauna, marrying her after getting smashed a second time! So, does Ridge have any room to talk? No, but he did take a room at Taylor's, where he's been stringing Doc along while he decides whether or not to forgive Brooke for something he did himself. Ridge has always been a self-absorbed jerk who thinks he's the only one allowed to make mistakes, but this year, he's really outdoing himself.
In the first minutes of January 1, an inebriated Brooke smooched Deacon. By May, Brooke was still wondering what drove her to drink, but she never lifted a finger to find out why. Along with months of Brooke beating herself up came Ridge vacillating between almost forgiving Brooke but running back to Taylor, telling Tay he wanted to come home to her while referring to Brooke as his wife, whom he made no move to divorce. Even poor Douglas was forced into a loop of repeatedly telling anyone who would listen that he saw Grandma kissing Santa Claus. Bridge's umpteenth separation was iffy at best from the beginning, but the never-ending story just got harder and harder to stomach with each passing week. At this point, does anyone even care if Ridge reunites with Brooke or makes another go with Taylor?
Now, what goes down must go up, or however that goes, so let's also take a look at how B&B has gotten it right so far this year!
So, Sheila found herself in jail again, this time for killing Finn and attempting to kill Steffy, without a friend in the world. But hold the walkie-talkie! After a contentious argument with Finn's adoptive mother, Li, Sheila heard a familiar voice behind her and turned to see her old cohort Mike Guthrie! This was B&B's best-kept secret so far in 2022, because nobody saw that coming. And it was brilliant, because from 1993 to 1998, Mike was essentially Sheila's right hand and confidant, who fell in love with the naughty nurse, to boot. One disappointing sign: Mike apparently helped Sheila bust out of the joint off-screen, and it wouldn't be out of B&B's wheelhouse for Mike to be a one-time appearance. But maybe, just maybe, with Sheila sticking around, Mike might be back for another go-round with her...perhaps this time winning her heart?
Violence has become increasingly passé on at least this TV show, owing to the changing social climate we live in. But admit it: we still love to watch soap characters scrap! So, when Ridge and Deacon spent Valentine's Day punching each other out, it was more fun than it should have been. It wasn't like the brief slaps and punches that are usually exchanged (double slaps if you're Stephanie Forrester, RIP) -- Deacon and Ridge took extended time batting each other around, and a twist came when Deacon put down his dukes so Brooke would think Ridge was more of the aggressor. Then, it turned out martial arts master Deacon had gone easy on Ridge! Again, battery isn't something we should condone, but if it's going to be in the script, it doesn't get much better than the knuckle sandwiches Forrester and Sharpe fed each other.
Every girl should banish their blues with their very own episode! Yep, for B&B's 35th anniversary, they took a successful page out of other shows' playbooks and put together their very first stand-alone installment, focusing on original cast member Katherine Kelly Lang's Brooke. Okay, so it might have been a little questionable for Brooke to fall asleep and have all the main men in her life tell her how great she is. But it was as much a kick to see Jack Wagner's Nick Marone after ten years as it was Ingo Rademacher's predecessor, fan fave Winsor Harmon, as Thorne, back on our screens. And anything between the only other original portrayer, John McCook, and KKL is gold. Brooke woke up all too soon, but the anniversary nod was the stuff dreams are made of.
After barely recovering from the televised trauma of Finn dying and Sheila shooting Steffy at point-blank range, imagine the shock when Steffy emerged from her coma, thinking Liam was her "sweet husband!" Of course, that development brought closer the possibility of another Leffy/Lope go-round, which neither fan base wanted to see. So, it was awesome when Steffy's amorous amnesia lasted only a couple of weeks (it could have gone on for months), with Liam on hand to inform Steffy that he was not the one to whom Steffy was married. Going with an arc that is sure to rile up viewers, but only enough to tease, was surprisingly sweet.
Psycho Sheila stunned herself when she shot her own child Finn, who had rushed in and taken the bullet Sheila had meant for Steffy. Sheila was so horrified, she even considered ending her own life as a way to relieve her guilt. Newly minted BFF Taylor, who had been in virtual denial about Sheila's motivations, actually picked up on her one-time assailant's mood and followed Sheila to the hospital rooftop, from which Sheila was about to throw herself. It wouldn't have been Sheila's first plunge (that happened in 1997, when Sheila jumped on her wedding day to James), but Taylor worked to stop a repeat performance...only to go over the side herself! Not only that, but Sheila, who had once nearly killed Taylor, immediately sprang to save Taylor's life in a sort of two-decades-late redemption! It was a moment worth falling for.
Early in the year, B&B started going public with the promise of surprise twists that would forever change the canvas and give us back-to-back shocks. That was all well and good, except they kept talking about it, and nothing was happening. That changed on April Fool's Day, of all days, when Sheila killed her son and then shot her son's wife, Steffy, before Steffy could call 9-1-1, which could give Sheila away. That led to Steffy waking up with no memory, only to eventually spin a web around Sheila, which landed Sheila in jail. And then it turned out that Finn was being kept alive by Li, plus, most recently, Mike Guthrie showed up! The show made good on its word, and we're still watching the repercussions of it.
After Eric took Quinn back last October, despite her having cheated on him with Carter, Queric rather fell off the radar. But suddenly, this spring, they were back with the revelation that Quinn was hopeful about their marriage, while Eric spent most of his time in his guesthouse and at a club, playing a game called Pickleball. Well, it turned out "hide the pickle" was more like it, because Eric was really carrying on a torrid affair with Donna, who had played a part in Eric's recovery from erectile dysfunction! Is cheating something to be celebrated? No. But Eric comes alive when he's with Donna, and Quinn is getting a heaping pile of karma served to her on some Forrester fine china. Between Quinn's secret fitness tracker ring and Hope catching Deric in the act, Eric is about to get snagged, but his dalliance with Donna pleasantly came out of nowhere.
Sheila so hoped that Steffy wouldn't remember she was the one who shot Steffy and Finn that Sheila was ready to mess with the medical machines Steffy was hooked up to so her daughter-in-law could never diss and tell. But when Sheila's attempts to hang out with Hayes triggered Steffy's total recall, Steffy wanted more than the pleasure of calling the cops. Steffy had Taylor invite Sheila over on the pretense of seeing the baby, only for Steffy to bait Sheila so much that Sheila blurted out the truth about having left Finn and Steffy for dead! And just when it seemed there was no way the Forresters could contain the exposed Sheila, the police showed up, having heard everything via the wire they had provided Steffy with! It wasn't a direct route to justice, but Steffy punking Sheila was a dish best served hot!
When we were introduced to Finn's adoptive mom, Li Finnegan, she was a sophisticated, composed woman, even when she learned that Jack was Finn's biodad from an affair with Sheila. However, when we next saw Li many months later, she was cold and hard -- and cryptic, not allowing Steffy to hold a memorial for Finn. We soon found out why: Li had smuggled a barely alive Finn out of the hospital and connected him to life-saving machines in her new apartment! Li didn't even flinch when Sheila menaced her in jail, but Li's inadvertent reference to Finn in the present tense pinged on Sheila's radar so much that Sheila broke out of jail and found Finn in Li's custody! Turns out, Sheila has met her match in Li, and the enemies share an unexpected bond through their concern for Finn. What happens when Finn wakes up is anyone's guess, but he'll find he has not one but two bad "mama" jamas.
We knew something major was about to go down the way Steffy was sniffing around Sheila and from the show's hints that fans were about to be hit. But who knew, when Steffy trailed Sheila into the dark alley behind Il Giardino, that the scene would end with the Finnegan newlyweds bleeding out onto the pavement? The whole thing had an almost cinematic feel as Sheila pulled a gun on Steffy, only to shoot Finn and watch him collapse unceremoniously onto a pile of garbage bags. Sheila was sickened by what she had done, but somehow, that didn't stop her from shooting Steffy before she could call the paramedics for Finn! This was Sheila at her darkest ever -- which is saying something -- and it woke the show up out of the Brooke-got-drunk rut it had been in for months. Talk about a shot in the arm.
And that's it! Do you agree with my assessment of B&B's first six months in 2022? If not, what would you list as the soap's best and worst moments so far this year? Tell us in the Comments section below or the Soap Central message boards, or simply click here to submit feedback. Your comments could be in a future column!
The second half of 2022 awaits us, so keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold. And no matter where you are in the world, democracy and freedom are always beautiful.
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