Has your year been bold and beautiful? Did you bounce between women often enough that even bad checks looked good next to you? Did you concentrate so much on your daughter's life that you had no life of your own? Did you make your son number one with a bullet? These and more situations faced the Forrester-Logan-Spencer-Walton-Fulton-Buckingham-Finnegan clan in 2022!
Holy year enders, Scoopers! I don't know where 2022 went but it was like "Flash! -- Aaaah-ah!" if you remember that famous Queen song. As for our famous queens and kings of Los Angeles, they were led through a myriad of hit-and-miss scenarios this year -- some highly compelling and others that flipped show history the bird. Some were new like store-bought Christmas gifts, and others were clearly regifted.
B&B built on details of the past while simultaneously forgetting important details that left us going, "Whaaaaat??" There were special stand-alone episodes and characters who stood alone with one purpose driving their entire existences. In other words, it was one helluva year! And I get to break it down first for you this time! (Usually, Chanel's retrospective comes first; you will get hers next week instead.)
So, join me in mainlining gingko to remember all the good and bad of B&B for 2022, and see how much of it you agree with -- and disagree with! Isn't that half the fun of all this? As always, I look to Soap Opera Digest and other soap mags that have left us for formatting inspiration -- and, of course, the muse that seems to direct everything I do. Grab a warm beverage, and let's Two Scoop it Best & Worst style!
Any viewer who signed on after 1998 might have been confused by an elderly security guard suddenly smiling at an incarcerated Sheila. But we lifers knew that the one and only Mike Guthrie, who had befriended and aided Sheila in the '90s, was back! Mike busted Sheila out of jail and tried to help her care for a comatose Finn, all the while carrying his decades-old torch for her. Thankfully, Mike also brandished his trademark snark, adding fun to Sheila's capers. Too bad Sheila never gave Mike his longed-for tumble before he tumbled into the slammer himself for springing her. Good to see ya, Michael!
Granted, it was lovely to see Ashley Jones again. And her Bridget wasn't just a one-day wedding guest or sounding board for mama Brooke this visit. But Doc Budge stayed Krazy Glued to the hospital, only guiding Steffy's recovery from a gunshot wound. Bridget's rare non-hospital scene was with Quinn, of all people, catching her pop popping Donna. Not once did Bridget have a moment with her ex-husband Deacon; even though it was Jennifer Finnegan's Bridget on whom Deacon cheated with Brooke, surely Bridget has some unfinished business with Hope's papa. Alas, B&B left us disappointed by ignoring an obvious beat and leaving that business unfinished.
Unusually lovelorn barracuda Bill, who continued wanting Katie back, walked to his car one night and found a mute homeless woman in the street. That woman was Li, Finn's adoptive mother and victim of Sheila. There was something about Li that caused Bill to be surprisingly compassionate and soft-hearted, even after Li had total recall. They expressed mutual satisfaction about Sheila's apparent death by bear mauling -- for them, that was bonding. The show has not further explored the spark that ignited between Bill and the one woman who could match his steely resolve, but they should, because what a pair they would make.
No one likes a tease. After a still-hung-up-on-Brooke Deacon got shot down by his intended for the umpteenth time, he was approached by Taylor, who wanted to know how he might have helped her daughter's assailant, Sheila. Just having been ditched by Ridge again, Taylor groused about all things Bridge with Deacon, and they developed an unanticipated, appealing rapport. Taylor seemed to offer Deacon stability, while Deacon offered her spontaneity. Unfortunately, the second Steffy needed help, Taylor ran off to Europe with Ridge and forgot that Freaky Deaky existed. Daylor (Treacon?) really hinted at something fresh, and we got a Bridge/Tridge retread instead. Crying foul!
Not that he didn't look fine in his doctor garb, but something new emerged from the rather milquetoast Finn when he woke up from his Sheila-inflicted coma -- he realized the level of his mama's crazy and matched wits with her, occasionally even getting the upper hand. He became feral, resolute, and even violent in his attempt to escape Sheila's clutches and let wife Steffy know he was alive. And more recently, he traded his stethoscope for a detective pipe and gleaned that Sheila was alive. Finn is far more interesting this way; sometimes the worst truly does bring out the best.
Hope can't be faulted for her enduring cockeyed optimism. It's just that, with Thomas, she should have known better. His wanting full custody of Douglas was not uncalled for, but once he reiterated his love for Hope and refused to bring Douglas home, Thomas' previous victim Hope should have gone on red alert and not enabled him. She could have taken Thomas to court and settled guardianship of Douglas in a heartbeat. Instead, as Thomas regressed further into deviousness, Hope willingly buried her head in the sand so far, it's amazing this year's HFTF line wasn't made exclusively from ostrich feathers. Optimism should not equal cluelessness.
B&B rarely does stand-alone episodes. Yet for 2022, to celebrate the show's 35th anniversary, a drained Brooke, separated from estranged husband Ridge, fell asleep and dreamed of all her main loves. Forget the reminder of Brooke's dance card always being overly full and find the gold nugget in the return of Jack Wagner's Nick after ten years, as well as Winsor Harmon briefly but satisfyingly stepping into Thorne's shoes once again. These appearances added to the feat that is Katherine Kelly Lang inhabiting the same role for three-and-a-half decades, a rarity in the soap world worthy of celebration. (By the way, where was John McCook's episode?)
Sure, Sheila literally embodying her naughty nurse persona for Deacon was fun. And there was everything to love about the flashbacks of her best moments covering Kimberlin Brown's 30 years on B&B. But Sheila adding more talk to the no action of her present day only accentuated how watered-down the character has become. Adding insult to injury, Sheila's ultimate nemesis, Lauren Fenmore, visited for the first time since 2000 but never interacted with Sheila -- or even learned that Sheila had returned since Lauren supposedly killed her on Y&R in 2007. These opportunities ignored, it was a tricky Halloween that didn't come with nearly enough treats.
You know what they say about technology in the wrong hands. (Douglas' voice-changing app, anyone?) This year, technology found its way onto an actual hand in the form of the smart ring that Quinn gave Eric to secretly monitor his heart rate, given he had taken up the heretofore barely known game of Pickleball. Though the gifting coming so close to the reveal of Eric's affair with Donna rather gave the whole thing away, the realistic, wearable tech certainly gave Eric away when his ticker spiked, and Quinn found out it was because Donna was playing with Eric's restored pickle. The up-to-date inclusion was...smart.
Many of us probably know how divorces work from watching soaps (or going through them). So, we watched confusedly when Ridge got punked into believing that Brooke had reported Thomas to Child Protective Services...then filed for an annulment instead of a divorce. Bridge had been married long beyond the one-year time period allowed for an annulment -- they said their eighth "I dos" in early 2018. Nor had Brooke fraudulently gotten Ridge to marry her, the only other stipulation for such a filing. No, the legal action was illegally deployed so Ridge could split from Brooke one day and marry Taylor the next, a move that most assuredly made Ridge the punk.
Yes, Krista Allen became Taylor in December 2021, but we didn't know then if the reinvention would take. Flash-forward twelve months, and Allen has made Doc her own. Allen's Taylor can be silly and bubbly yet can handle the more severe moments with aplomb. There's something looser, refreshing, and more approachable about this Taylor, even with much of Taylor's history deleted -- plus Allen's generous and often humorously on-point interaction with fans on social media somehow adds to nuTaylor's likability. The beloved Hunter Tylo was a tough act to follow after 30 years, but Krista Allen has proven to be just what the doctor ordered.
With Reese and Zoe gone, Paris was the only Buckingham left on the canvas. Therefore, it made sense to anchor her with a mother, Grace, played by As the World Turns vet Cassandra Creech. ATWT's Denise was fiyah, but B&B threw water on Grace right away by having her do nothing but obsess over Paris' love life. Doctor Grace never worked; she just pushed Zende on Paris and worked to keep real boo Carter away by reporting him to Forrester execs for...what? FC employees "fraternize" with each other on the daily! Amazing one-note Grace was a song that went flat in the first couple of measures.
This may seem a strange superlative to give to the one-time Slut from the Valley, but Brooke has actually come to deserve it this year. Abandoned by her precious Ridge, first for drunkenly kissing Deacon, then for...well, Ridge never said what...Brooke received proposals of various kinds from both Deacon and Bill. Brooke could have found comfort in bed with one or both or someone new, but nay, Brooke did none of these, standing by Ridge even when he toyed with her and spent much of his time with Taylor. Could it be possible that Brooke "Scandal Queen" Logan has learned the word "fidelity" and finally grown up?
Ridge Forrester started as a playboy before limiting his exploration to marriages. But for 2022, Ridge's fickleness reached an entirely new low. Upset that Brooke had kissed Deacon once, Ridge sniffed around Taylor, whispering promises of "home" while making Brooke think their marriage had a chance. Returning to nurse Brooke's broken ankle, the Dressmaker gravitated to Taylor because he believed Brooke had called CPS on Thomas. While Brooke's devotion never wavered, even when Ridge refused to tell her why he'd split, Ridge withheld forgiveness for far less severe infractions than he'd committed himself. Ridge has always been B&B's Waffle King -- but this year, his waffles were burned.
It wasn't that Steffy went off the air or that she did so under a cloud of unbearable grief for her believed-to-be-dead husband, Finn. It's that it was one helluva way to accommodate a maternity leave! Expectant Jacqueline MacInnes Wood needed to be written out for weeks -- but rather than stick Steffy behind potted plants or large purses, B&B shot Steffy down and hospitalized her so JMW could blunt her bump with blankets. Then Steffy was allowed to recover in baggy hoodies and bail on L.A. in an attempt to deal with her loss. Definitely one of the more original ways to mask imminent motherhood!
When it was revealed that Rena Sofer would be vacating the role of Quinn Fuller after nine years, viewers anticipated a fitting finale. After all, sword-wielding, amnesiac-kidnapping Quinn had led a colorful B&B existence. The announced air date came, Quinn had some loving moments with Carter...and that was it. Quinn's wrap-up played as a regular episode -- and to make things worse, the happy Quinn we saw? She later broke up with Carter off-screen because she didn't want kids. It was a slap in the face to both Sofer and the character, who together gave this soap a decades' worth of its more entertaining scenes.
In 2002, Taylor received a bullet to the heart because of Sheila and almost died. Twenty years later, Taylor befriended her almost killer, which shouldn't have worked, but it did. Taylor only allowed Sheila into her orbit at first as a keep-your-enemies-closer tactic -- yet the shrink saw Sheila mourning for Finn and couldn't help reaching out genuinely, leading Sheila to reach out to save Taylor when Taylor fell off the rooftop from which Sheila wanted to jump. Taylor's forgiveness brought a softness out in Sheila, and though Taylor is wise to Sheila now, it was a unique pairing that stood out in an oddly poignant way.
No TV show can acknowledge every single thing that happened on it. There would never be time for new material if it did. But B&B has gotten into the nasty habit of skipping over important plot points that actually do affect current story. Example: Eric and Quinn ended their marriage, and Eric moved Donna in. Did Queric ever officially divorce? We don't know because the show never said. Has Li divorced Jack? Where is Wyatt living now that Taylor bought his house? Is his fiancée Flo still in town? Those are only a few examples; there's a laziness in the writing that needs a B-12 shot, quick.
Eric spent most of 2021 plagued by erectile dysfunction and even cuckolded himself so that Quinn could have a sex life with Carter. So, when Eric began putting distance between him and Quinn, the reason seemed obvious. Who knew it was really because Eric was, um, playing Pickleball with Donna on the side! Cheating is never okay, but Quinn did have it coming for stepping out on Eric first. Plus, how often do soaps show a septuagenarian getting his groove on? Though a clearer explanation of Eric's ED being psychological rather than physical would have been appreciated, his method of recovery was completely unexpected.
Sheila has never been one to let grass grow under feet. Yet as soon as those feet only bore nine toes, it was Sheila that didn't grow. She cackled a lot about getting Finn back and regaining her freedom, but she did jack about it. Over four months of exile in Deacon's apartment, the disguised Sheila only visited her grandson once, and she uncharacteristically seemed to have no plan as the days passed and passed. Making things worse, her dead weight really pulled Deacon down and jeopardized his attempt to be a better person. Sheila needs to relearn how to toe her own line.
Brooke acquiring her daughter's men has been without peer this whole millennium. So, when Liam offered his broad shoulder for Brooke to cry on, many of us cringed. Amazingly, Briam never materialized, and the plot took a different direction in Brooke and Liam limiting their support to the emotional. Brooke needed someone who understood how she felt about Ridge's desertion, and Liam needed someone who understood his Hope-related problem with Thomas. Liam even kept Brooke from drinking over the absent Ridge, and not once was there the feeling that their connection would turn sexual. It was refreshing, not just for Brooke, but for any soap in general.
Inadvertent Casanova Carter has had enough self-awareness to know he's been repeatedly choosing the wrong women, but it didn't stop him from perpetuating his bad habits this year. He pursued Paris, who was already dating Zende, then ran hot and cold with her when her mama, Grace, tried to call the shots. Then, Carter proposed to Paris, but more to keep her from catching on to his unresolved feelings for Quinn. With Quinn now out of the picture, Carter's batting his eyes at Katie, but he really ought to take a year off from romance and get to the root of his behavior before trying again.
Genoa City residents have visited Los Angeles before, but Nikki Newman's arrival wasn't random. You see, Nikki was briefly married to Deacon on The Young and the Restless, and by the time Bill broke Deacon out of prison on B&B, Sir Sharpe was serving time for obstructing justice in the death of Nikki's nemesis, Diane Jenkins. Turned out Diane had come back from the dead with a halo on, and the aggrieved Nikki wanted Deacon's help to prove that halo was tarnished. Deacon owed Nikki for using her, and his assistance added weight to the leaf he'd turned over while addressing a major Y&R plot point. Hopefully next time, Nikki can stay longer!
Liam has a half-brother. Oh, you didn't know? Then you must have started watching this year, a year Wyatt Fuller was pretty much nowhere to be found. Wyatt was relegated to the occasional meal with Bill and/or Liam and never even mentioned Flo, his fiancée since March 2021. Wyatt got done out of a home when Taylor bought his beach house from under him, and he could be living under an overpass now, for all we know. As portrayed by Darin Brooks, Wyatt is affable, funny, and full of personality. Surely Santa can find a story in his bag for Wyatt?
Few have ever been a match for the deranged Sheila Carter, which is what made it such a surprise when Finn's adoptive mom, Li Finnegan, basically said, "Challenge accepted." Once Sheila found Li caring for the not-dead Finn, Li played the angles and tried to get Sheila on her side, claiming they could nurse Finn together. Li got caught calling the police but managed to fend off the raging Sheila and escape. Li even came back from the dead herself, with the cops in tow! Neither of Finn's moms is right in the head, and it was fun watching the ladies circle each other.
In many ways, Paris Buckingham is as colorful as her multi-hued 'dos. That said, B&B continues to have absolutely no idea what to do with her. Paris threw Zende over for Carter, and karma replied by having Carter throw Paris over for Quinn, but that's about it for 2022. The philanthropic go-getter was reduced to modeling the occasional gown, and the arrival of her single-minded mother Grace dragged Paris down rather than lifting her up. Frankly, nothing Paris has been given to do has been particularly compelling. Diamond White's energy is contagious, but perhaps it's time to let this Buckingham palace close up.
As previously mentioned, you had to have been following B&B in the '90s to know who security guard Mike Guthrie was, but he was already a watchman at Forrester Creations in that decade. He worked for Brooke, who was FC's CEO at the time; Ridge knew about Mike's past involvement with Sheila, as well, so it made perfect sense that Bridge would grill Mike in an attempt to track down the fugitive nurse. Mike played dumb to his former employers, but it made for a suspenseful scene firmly rooted in an established past. It's the kind of connection that makes all right in the soap world.
One can forgive Taylor for returning with a new face, but not for the clean slate she brought with her. Hunter Tylo's final years saw our Doc shooting Bill in cold blood; her last unstable act before leaving town was buying a baby for Steffy. When Taylor came back as Krista Allen, however, she was sunny and bright, and all around her hailed her principles and honesty -- with no mention of Taylor having received any help for her obvious mental breakdown. It's a poor choice to pretend such a consequential period for any character never happened, and Taylor's presence today is diminished by the blind-eyeing.
Ridge went retro this year, pinballing between Brooke and Taylor as in days of yore. And the ladies co-signed it. They each tried to convince Ridge that his home was with them, while he offered slivers of commitment to both. But when Tridge's wedding tanked and Ridge went off to think, his baby mamas did some thinking of their own. Why should Ridge keep making their choices for them? Doc and Logan declared that they were choosing themselves, walked away hand in hand, and high-fived each other. Whether it lasts is anyone's guess. But, oh, what a needed development in a misogynistic marry-go-round that has gone on far too long.
Thomas had worked hard to return to the land of the sane after keeping Beth's survival from Hope and making out with mannequins. Getting a brain bleed operated on helped. But something about the possibility of his parents reuniting turned Tommy back to the Dark Side. He deleted Brooke's texts to Ridge and kept Sheila's drink-spiking secret to pave the way for Tridge. When that didn't work, Thomas framed Brooke with a fake CPS call and made yet another play for Hope. Now we can't even blame his behavior on a neurological disorder, and it's hard to see where Thomas can even go from here. What an unnecessary regression.
Sheila's escapes are epic -- a fire gave her cover in Genoa City, she shot Stephanie before taking off with her baby, and apparently, Lauren killed someone else who sported Phyllis' face instead of Sheila. But this year, Sheila brought her game to a new level by slicing off her own toe to avoid re-arrest. It was unusually grisly, yet the decision seemed to fit the more over-the-top path Sheila has been on the last several years. She faked being gutted by a bear and donned masks that would make Days of our Lives denizens proud. Innovative. Just don't challenge her to get a leg up on the competition.
Talk about arrested development! As soon as 2022 dawned, Steffy pushed hard for Ridge to leave Brooke for Taylor. Steffy even illegally obtained security footage to prove that Deacon had been at Brooke's with Ridge out of town. Steffy took a break when her husband was presumed dead, but about two seconds after Finn turned up alive, Steffy went right back to fixating on her parents' love lives and wouldn't stop, even when they told her to. Admittedly, it all made Steffy doing the right thing at Tridge's wedding a shock, but bratty Steffy should be made to sit in the corner until she grows up. Without dessert.
When Stephanie died in 2012, Eric and B&B honored her by putting a portrait of Gangsta Granny up over the mantel. Unfortunately, that gave license to other, wannabe matriarchs to upstage Queen Stephanie. Maya got a likeness, Sheila had one commissioned, and Quinn hung on the wall in uncharacteristic white. So, when Donna once again became the apple of Eric's eye, her deliciousness seemed fated to be framed. Surprise! Donna presented Eric with a portrait...of himself! Not only was it a great twist, but it was also a logical one -- and it puts the question of matriarchs to bed for good. Why had this never been thought of before?
"The institution of marriage is most solemn," many wedding officiants drone. Not on this show! Characters often eliminate the middleman of dating and skip right to the altar, which denigrates the specialness of such ceremonies. Carter only got Paris down the aisle so he could mask his feelings for Quinn. And Ridge! His turns as groom are legendary, but he readied to exchange vows with Taylor this year without even redeveloping a real relationship with her first. Soap weddings used to be highly anticipated events. Racing to them kills the magic. Don't whip out a ring until you mean it, B&B.
Liam, Steffy, and Hope dominated B&B in 2011 and 2012, so it was only natural to moan, "Here we go again" as Steffy woke up in the hospital, thinking that Liam was her "sweet husband." Hope began her hand-wringing anew, and Liam began spending time with his amnesiac ex. The handwriting was on the wall. Until it wasn't! When Steffy got her memory back, her focus went right to grieving for real hubby Finn, and Lope resumed their own married life. It was just enough of a reboot to rile us up, making it all the more gratifying that we'd only gotten our chains yanked a little.
In the '90s, Ridge's romances with Taylor and Brooke were must-see TV. Who would he choose? Would he stay with one when the other came back from the dead? Would one stay while the other was pregnant with his child? This all got revisited in the 2000s, but even by then, it was diluted rehash. Instead of leaving the trusty triangle in the past, B&B resurrected it once Taylor showed up in the guise of Krista Allen. There was nothing fresh in the retelling: Taylor bought whatever Ridge said, and Brooke didn't even fight for him. Ridge was allowed to pull all the strings, which made him seem callous and the women gullible. It lacked any fire, and by now, no one really cares who Ridge is with. The smart move would have been a new twist -- like Bridge staying married and Taylor dating Deacon -- not an old trope.
Did you know that when Kimberlin Brown read for the role of Y&R's Sheila Carter, she was directed to channel Kathy Bates in Misery? Well, intentionally or unintentionally, 30 years after her crossover to B&B, Sheila found herself doing her best Annie Wilkes as Finn lay bedridden, barely having survived Sheila's gun toting. Sheila just wanted Finn to get well and stay with her, but when Finn repeatedly demanded to see Steffy, Sheila lapsed into such crazy talk as, "Damn it, Finn! Just do what Mommy says." Sheila didn't hobble Finn like Kathy Bates did to James Caan, though she did drug Finn when he got strong and started fighting back, even overpowering her. It was all highly entertaining, it cast Finn in a new light, and it alluded to Sheila's original break with reality when she miscarried her first child. And their cat-and-mouse game towered over any romantic games being played elsewhere. No misery here!
That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it, Scoopers! Do you find yourself agreeing or disagreeing with my Best & Worst picks for 2022? Did different highs and lows ping on your radar? Tell us 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!
It's been quite the year, y'all -- and how! Here's hoping our 2023 mellows out a bit. I'm so grateful to you guys for continuing to read my rantings and ravings here on Soap Central. I appreciate it so much!
No matter what you celebrate, may your celebration be happy and peaceful. Be sure to check out Chanel's yearly wrap-up (it's always fun to see how similar and different our viewpoints are!). There's a whole new year of soapiness on the horizon, so keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold. See you in '23, my Scoopnesses!
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