The Year in Soaps 2022: The best, the worst, and the soapy stuff in between

Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2022 12:21:01 PM

For the 28th year, Soap Central is taking a look back at the year in soaps. Here is the best, worst, and everything else that took place on The Bold and the Beautiful, Days of our Lives, General Hospital, and The Young and the Restless in 2022.

Picking the best and worst of anything is never an easy task. The terms are highly subjective, and when you have millions of fans, you'll rarely get unanimous agreement. So, this year, we decided to mix things up just a little bit. Since our Two Scoops columnists get to pick their tops and flops, we decided to try some more unusual categories this year. Rather than focus on traditional categories like Best/Worst Storyline, Best Newcomer, and Best/Worst Show, we invented some new categories. We could have dozens more categories, but we did our best to streamline things and focus on categories that we think show all the many facets of daytime dramas.

WORST EXIT: QUINN, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL

For more than a year, the yearning between The Bold and the Beautiful's Carter and Quinn was palpable. Last year, B&B had a, um, hard time trying to convince us that Eric had given Quinn and Carter his permission to have sex because he was unable to get an erection. That all changed when Donna poured some sugar honey on Eric, and Little Eric was ready for takeoff. After Quinn cut off Carter because she wanted to fight for her marriage to Eric, Quinn went all-in on her marriage. She even went as far as to surreptitiously put a health tracker in a ring she'd made for Eric. Eric's heart rate spiked, Quinn tracked him down, and everyone learned that Eric was having an affair with Donna. Quinn was finally free to be with the man she loved: Carter. Well, except that Carter was about to marry Paris. Quinn pedaled her way to stop the wedding. After overcoming the odds, Carter and Quinn were finally free to be together -- except that after a month or two, Quinn suddenly decided that she didn't want to be tied down, ended things with Carter, and left town. And all of that was done off-screen.

B&B was definitely in a hard place and didn't need honey to get there. Actress Rena Sofer wanted to exit the show. B&B couldn't very well have Quinn "in the other room" all the time. Recasting could have been an option, but it would be nearly impossible to find an actress who could be so quintessentially Quinn. So, rather than choose either of those two bad options, B&B went for a third when Quinn vanished. Quinn leaving was a slap in the face to the "Quarter" fans who had been rooting for Quinn and Carter to have their happy ending.

MORE EXITS THAT HAVE US UNHAPPY

We're still trying to figure out a reason that makes sense for The Young and the Restless' decision to kill of Rey Rosales. Rey wasn't necessarily the most interesting character, and sure, the rest of his family was written off the canvas. But there were plenty of ways to revitalize the character. Even if there weren't, there had to be a better way to write off the character than having him turn up dead in a ditch. There wasn't even a true final scene.

Just as General Hospital's Shawn Butler was getting back into a bunch of storylines... the character was gone. Emmy-winning actor Sean Blakemore announced in February that he had "other obligations" and needed to step away from GH.

Richard Burgi was shown the door at Y&R for violating the show's protocols. We understand that the safety of the cast and crew is paramount. Out of a goodbye that we weren't ready for, we got an unexpected surprise -- a new Newman on Y&R. This Newman was real, though: Joshua Newman. The Guiding Light alum took over the role of Ashland Locke and quickly made it his own. Ashland had tons of secrets, and there were just as many chances to ditch the character, but when it finally came time to write the character off, Ashland fell, hit his head, and died. Newman had only signed on to Y&R for a brief period of time and did not want to be a long-term player. If Ashland had to die, why not craft a juicy murder mystery? There were plenty of people who could have had a motive. The head clunk just seemed clunky.

While she technically is still somewhere in The Bold and the Beautiful universe, what's up with Flo? She hasn't been seen on-screen in forever. Is actress Katrina Bowden too busy with other projects to pop in for a quick hello? Is the character not important enough to recast?

BEST DING, DONG THE WITCH... YOU KNOW THE REST

Every now and again, a character comes along that is so evil, so intolerable, or just so damned annoying that we cannot wait for that character to get what's coming to them. Occasionally, we root for the great big pencil in the sky to reach down to a soap opera script and scribble out a name or erase a character from a script entirely.

General Hospital had been toying with killing off Peter August for months and months and months. We're pretty sure we asked, "Is this where Peter August becomes the subject of a whodunnit?" at least a half a dozen times in our GH Two Scoops commentary over the past two years -- we even featured photos of a not-so-dead Peter dancing with Michael Jackson in "Thriller" and curled up in an ice cream shop freezer. In true fashion, he kept coming back and coming back. Wes Ramsey seemed to thoroughly enjoy doing whatever he could to make Peter as unlikeable as possible.

When Peter finally met his maker in February, it seemed like every GH viewer breathed a sigh of relief. To be clear, we never celebrate anyone in the real world losing their job, but sometimes, it just needs to be the end of the road for a character that just isn't working anymore.

What made Peter's death so surprising was that he didn't end up the subject of a murder mystery (which we really, really wanted). Instead, Peter was offed by a tire iron-toting Felicia Scorpio -- perhaps the last person anyone expected to be the whodunner. Yet it all made sense. Felicia was protecting her daughter, Maxie, and the five-year nightmare that was Peter August finally came to an end. As least we think it's the end. GH being a soap and all... you just never know.

BEST RECAST/MOST SURPRISING RECAST: ALLEY MILLS AS HEATHER WEBBER

There were a lot of things that happened in 2022 that we did not have on our soap opera bingo card. Perhaps the biggest shocker was the announcement that Alley Mills -- yes, Wonder Years Alley Mills. And yes, Alley Mills of The Bold and the Beautiful's Pam fame -- would be taking on the role of Heather Webber on General Hospital. The idea of Mills going from happy-go-lucky lemon bars pusher to a BLT-craving psychopath seemed like a lot to swallow. But GH needed Heather on the canvas, and previous portrayer Robin Mattson was sidelined due to surgery.

To say that Mills has been a delight in the role would be an understatement. GH was wise to keep quiet about who Mills would be playing. The shock of seeing Heather pop up at General Hospital was totally worth it. Mills's take on Heather has been the same as Mattson's, but different. The sexual comments that Heather makes to just about every man that crosses her path seem extra naughty. Something that makes it even more fun is that Mills clearly appears to be having a blast in the role.

BEST ANIMAL FARM: GENERAL HOSPITAL

There's an old adage in the entertainment industry that you should never act with kids or animals. In the world of super-tight budgets, soap operas stopped regularly using animals years ago. Except for General Hospital. In addition to constantly adding new sets -- like a yoga studio, an axe-throwing store, a nail salon, and another eatery at the Metro Court -- General Hospital added an actual horse to its cast of characters. To make room for Dasher Dancer Comet, GH even built a stable set.

In November, someone must have asked if the show wanted to stop at just one animal. The answer was obviously neigh because GH brought in a live turkey for the Quartermaines' annual Thanksgiving mishap.

While the horse and turkey appearances might have been a blip in GH's storylines over the past twelve months, they were two decisions that showed how General Hospital continues to push the boundaries of what viewers have come to expect from the genre.

BEST LOCATION SHOOT: THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL

The Bold and the Beautiful has gotten so good as finding ways to film in exotic locations that we've almost started to take it for granted. Australia, Italy, France, Dubai... and this year, the CBS soap returned to both Aspen and Monaco.

B&B used its annual pilgrimage to collect its Golden Nymph statue for being the world's most-watched soap opera as an opportunity to give Steffy an epic reunion with her supposedly dead husband, Finn. Sure, back-from-the-dead plots might be the soapiest of soap tropes, but c'mon! The church bells ringing. The camera shoots sweeping around Finn and Steffy as they kissed. Monaco also played host to a pretty memorable Ridge and Taylor kiss, too.

Aspen might not be the most far-flung location that B&B has visited over the years, but it was just what the show needed. Fans of Brooke and Ridge might have been smarting from Ridge dumping Brooke, but the lush greenery was a much better spot for a breakup than aisle three at the local Walmart. We also got to see trees and rocks and babbling brooks as Taylor ran through the woods to try to get away from Ridge. And who can forget Ridge communing with a couple of deer?

BIGGEST SURPRISE THAT WASN'T REALLY A SURPRISE: DAYS MOVES TO PEACOCK

We think everyone probably knew that Days of our Lives would eventually make the move to Peacock. What we don't think is that anyone thought it would happen so soon.

In early 2022, Days of our Lives aired on NBC, but the online streaming rights were yanked from NBC's web site and given to its sister platform Peacock. At the time, though, the episodes were available on Peacock's free tier. That allowed anyone to watch the episodes on an ad-supported format, much the same way that the episodes had aired on NBC for more than half a century.

In August, NBC announced that DAYS would be moving exclusively to Peacock to make way for another hour of zzzzzz. Sorry, nodded off there. Something is airing in DAYS' old timeslot, but based on ratings data, it's not really worth knowing what it is. The twist was that DAYS would no longer be available on Peacock's free tier. That meant that fans would need to pay to keep up with all the action in Salem. As you can imagine, there was epic revolt among fans. However, that was greeted by quite a bit of pushback from fans whose soaps were canceled outright, most of whom said they would gladly pay a couple of bucks each month to be reunited with the residents of Pine Valley, Oakdale, Bay City, Llanview, Springfield, and Harmony.

Unfortunately, streaming services are very stingy with ratings data. There is no real way to know how many people are watching Days of our Lives in its new home. It's unclear if the show has attracted new viewers to the nest. It should be noted that in the months following the move from NBC to Peacock, Peacock reported a strong uptick in its paid subscribers. Coincidence? We don't think so.

The folks at Comcast/NBC/Peacock must have known what they were doing, though. Two seasons of Beyond Salem and a Christmas movie both streamed on Peacock prior to the DAYS mothership winging its way to the streaming service. If we can be permitted to make a suggestion, however, it wouldn't be a totally bird-brained idea to drop some DAYS episodes to the free tier after a period of time... say three months after they premiered? This would give content to fans who, for whatever reason, do not have a way to pay for the Peacock service. It might encourage them to subscribe... and at worst, it will feather DAYS' coffers with some additional ad revenue. Oh, and if we can make another suggestion? We want to see classic DAYS episodes also made available. We're pretty sure that lots of former DAYS viewers would be absolutely giddy at the chance to watch DAYS episodes from the 80s and 90s.

HOTTEST WEDDING TREND: NOT GETTING MARRIED

Wedding interruptus has been a condition suffered by soap characters for... decades and decades and decades. To date, no cure, medication, or vaccine has been found to stop it. It's not that soap character don't want to get married... it just seems that the fates have other ideas.

The Bold and the Beautiful had a whole bunch of weddings interrupted in 2022. Okay, just two -- but they were both pretty memorable. First, Carter decided to marry Paris, a woman he was kinda-sorta-maybe interested in, because the woman he loved had decided to stay with her husband. We wonder if there's a Hallmark card for that: Congrats on marrying your second choice. Thankfully, the wedding was interrupted by Quinn. Quinn, disheveled from a wild bike ride up the beach, even got to do a little Beyoncť "put a ring on it" gesture when she strolled into the restaurant. Yeah, they were being married in an Italian restaurant that had also been the scene of a double shooting a few months before. Nothing quite says 'til death do us part like that.

Later in the year on B&B, despite wanting her mom and dad to get married again, Steffy spoke up during the "speak now or forever hold your peace" part to say that she didn't want Taylor and Ridge to get married. Huh? Was she hearing strange voices? Kind of. She had learned that her brother -- if you're not a B&B fan, you might need to read this a few times -- had used an app to alter his voice to sound like Brooke, another woman that Ridge loved, so that he could place a call to Child Protective Services from "Brooke" to drive a wedge between Ridge and Brooke, and thereby get Ridge to ditch Brooke in a quickie annulment and get back together with Taylor. Re-reading that last sentence... re-reading... and... yep, that's exactly how it happened.

Everyone was furious with Thomas, but it brought about the most unlikely twist in B&B history: Brooke and Taylor both decided that they needed to put themselves first, and they both dumped Ridge.

Over on Days of our Lives, they don't use pedestrian measures like apps and bicycles to break up a wedding. Nope, in Salem, they use drag queens. When DAYS viewers learned that Gwen and Xander, and Leo and Craig would be having a double wedding, most fans began taking bets on which of the two unions wasn't going to happen. Surprise! Neither did. Abigail burst in to stop Gwen from becoming a bride, and Jackie "Don't call me Lisa Rinna" Cox told Craig that Leo was conning him (and that Leo and Jackie were already married). Earlier in the year, the long-awaited reunion of Sami and Lucas imploded when Sami learned that hubby-to-be Lucas was the one who orchestrated her kidnapping. Salem is like the Bizarro World's Oprah Winfrey Show. You don't get a marriage! You don't get a marriage! Nobody gets a marriage!!

Honorable mentions: On The Young and the Restless, Tucker McCall breezed in uninvited to Summer and Kyle's vow renewal. "Skyle" were already married, and Tucker arrived a bit late to bust things up. DAYS also had a wedding reception ruined by a satanic possession.

BEST WEDDING: WHEN A WEDDING IS MORE THAN JUST A WEDDING

In a year when more soap weddings seemed to not happen than happen, there was one wedding that thankfully made it all the way to the "I do" and -- at least so far -- the happily ever after.

The Young and the Restless took a very important step with its airing of the marriage of Mariah Copeland and Tessa Porter. No, it wasn't a first for daytime. And no, it wasn't even a second. But this was the first same-sex wedding on the longtime number one soap opera.

When Soap Central first got up and running in the 1990s, gay characters had one or two storyline options: conversion therapy or being "outed." It wasn't until All My Children's Bianca came out as lesbian that daytime fully invested in storytelling for an LGBTQ character that wasn't part of the periphery.

Seeing Y&R acknowledge that love is love shows the soap's commitment to telling stories for and about everyone. But as important as the Teriah wedding was, what happens next is just as important. Seeing Mariah and Tessa struggle with the same relationship challenges that every other couple faces will cement Y&R's commitment to equality.

FUN TREND: STAND-ALONE EPISODES TIED TO HISTORY

Stand-alone episodes sometimes get a bad rap. Guiding Light did regular, weekly stand-alone episodes during the end of its run, and viewers weren't really fans.

Of the four remaining soaps, General Hospital tends to do the most episodes that are not part of its regular, continued storytelling. Past episodes included one devoted to women being giving the right to vote and a retelling of A Christmas Carol. Some fans have labeled those episodes as "Emmy bait," meaning that they were created solely for the purpose of winning Emmys rather than entertaining viewers.

That criticism is a bit harsh, but it does appear that show execs have taken notice. This year, The Bold and the Beautiful, GH, and The Young and the Restless all aired episodes devoted to special occasions: show milestones.

B&B marked its 35th anniversary with an episode that focused on Brooke Logan and the men she has loved. B&B also marked 30 years of Sheila Carter with a spooky Sheila-centric episode on Halloween.

Y&R celebrated the 40th anniversaries of Eileen Davidson and Beth Maitland by crafting a special hour devoted to Ashley and Traci, complete with flashbacks that fans loved.

GH aired a special episode for its 15,000th show that, while focusing on Genie Francis' Laura Collins, featured nearly every cast member on the show.

STORIES THAT MAYBE WEREN'T SUCH A GREAT IDEA

For what seemed like an entire year, characters on The Bold and the Beautiful talked about what happened on New Year's Eve. What happened was Brooke took a drink of alcohol and ended her sobriety. What no one knew at the time was that Sheila had put a "non-alcoholic Champagne" label on a bottle of very much alcoholic Champagne. That all got lost because Brooke kissed Deacon and spent the night in her bed with Deacon. Ridge walked out on Brooke (the first of two times he did so in 2022), which set the stage for much of B&B's storylines in the remainder of the year. However, Brooke spent days and weeks and months asking, "If I could just know why I took a drink." Ironically, some B&B fans turned Brooke's lament into a drinking game.

Whereas New Year's Eve overstayed its welcome on B&B, on Days of our Lives, it was the big baddie himself who wore out his welcome: Beelzebub. Demonic possessions were their own superspreader event in Salem. The list of possessed read like a Who's Who in Salem. But what started off as a fun tribute to one of Days of our Lives' most memorable storylines turned into something that overstayed its welcome.

Rebecca Herbst has been on General Hospital for 25 years. A quarter of a century, and we never got to see her interact with her mom and dad. So, when GH announced that it had finally cast her family, fans were thrilled. When it finally played out on-screen? Well, some fans thought maybe it would have been better if Elizabeth had remained in a contactless relationship with her mom and dad. Prior to Elizabeth's parents beaming aboard, Elizabeth had been having a bunch of weird and disturbing visions, and it appeared that someone was stalking her. Some fans hoped that it was her "dead" husband Franco who had somehow cheated death. That was not the case. Elizabeth turned out to be her own stalker -- which could have been juicy, but viewers learned later that Elizabeth had been repressing a memory of knocking a woman down a flight of steps, a woman who turned out to be the wife of the man that Elizabeth was currently dating. The woman died, but not from anything Elizabeth had done, and by that time, most viewers had lost interest or been totally turned off by the story.

Meanwhile, on The Young and the Restless, fans were less than thrilled when the show dedicated a lot of time to Billy recording a podcast. It's not that watching someone record a podcast isn't terribly interesting -- the stories we could tell from the years that we put together the Soap Central Live podcast... It was that nothing came of the podcasts. Nothing. Billy made the podcasts ever-so-slightly more interesting by bringing in Chelsea then promptly quit. Lots of time was dedicated to something that meant absolutely nothing. We're hoping that the recent chatter about video games doesn't end up being equally snoozy.

BEST COUPLE THAT'S NOT ACTUALLY A COUPLE: SPENCER AND TRINA, GENERAL HOSPITAL

If you're a longtime Soap Central reader, you'll know that we aren't fans of those smooshed names given to couples. Most are forced and pretty clumsy. But we are a fan of couples. There have been oodles of supercouples over the years: Angie and Jesse, Victor and Nikki, Josh and Reva, Bo and Hope, Mac and Rachel, and the list goes on and on. But we're not sure if we can remember any time that a couple has had a smooshed name and a banner-toting plane fly over a studio when said couple wasn't actually an on-screen couple.

But General Hospital's Spencer Cassadine and Trina Robinson continue to redefine coupledom.

The chemistry -- and tension -- between Spencer and Trina has been evident for over a year. What makes things more magical is that fans' love for the couple did not change when the role of Trina was recast. The writers were also wise to not try to use that recast to "take the character in a new direction."

What has been interesting is to watch fan reaction as the slow burn continues to play out. In a time when attention spans are shorter and communication is done in 280 characters or in emoji -- modern-day hieroglyphics -- most fans seem willing to be put through an emotional meat grinder as the writers play a romantic game of cat-and-mouse with "Sprina." And while we are probably a little more patient, we do have a piece of advice for the writers when they do finally allow Spencer and Trina to explore their feelings. The advice comes from one of the great philosophical minds of our generation: RuPaul. "Don't #@%@$% it up!"

Do you agree with the choices we made? Are there any that you disagree with? If so, why, and what are your bests and worsts of 2022? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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