All in all, for this fan, 2008 has turned out to be a rather decent year, so most of my picks fall into the not so great category rather than the absolute worst. So here they are, in whatever order they popped into my head.
Glad you're not my friend. Want a case of whine with that cheese? Wake me when it's over. Yes, all for Victoria Newman. If I was handing out an award for the most irritating character painted on the Genoa City canvas, it would be Victoria who'd receive the prize. Yes, fans, I know, I've picked on her a lot these past months. She's always been a Daddy's girl, but this year she seemed to go way overboard with her complete and utter devotion to what Daddy was doing. And no matter what was going on, or with whom, it annoyed me that she repeatedly managed to make it all about her. "How dare Daddy do this to me" she continually cried about his falling in love with her friend. "I've been betrayed" she whined as she snatched back her offer of godmother and handed it to of all people, Phyllis! I've been watching this soap and the Victoria Newman character a long time, and she's always been one of my favorites, with her prickly, yet often vulnerable portrayal, but I have to confess I didn't find a lot to like about her this year. Genoa City is not a town known for its gal pals, so Victoria's alleged relationship with best bud, Sabrina, literally came bounding out of the blue. But I was willing to suspend my disbelief for the sake of the story. After begging via e-mail and by phone, she was practically prancing in ecstasy when her dear friend finally arrived. In hog heaven, her best girl beside her, trading cutting quips with Adam, watching over her beloved boy, all was well until Sabrina suddenly took up with Daddy. And yes, I understood the ick factor of a picture of your father frolicking with your half his age and then some best friend, but Victoria didn't even try to understand until it was too late to matter. And when she finally decided she'd grant Sabrina full forgiveness, she still half-stepped about it. She had plenty of derogatory things to say to Sabrina's face, yet when it finally came time to spout conciliatory syllables, she stopped in her tracks, finally offering her apologies over her dead friend's grave. Too little too late and I count myself disappointed in Victoria.
Okay to be fair, what I didn't like about the snoozer of a storyline featuring Beauty's long, deep sleep had little to do with Victoria. She was just the unmoving prop in the hospital bed. I realize it was a unique way for the writers to handle her real life pregnancy, but it just kept going on and on and on. Daily, rather dull monologues by bedside-vigil keeping family members, relating ancient childhood anecdotes of things no one ever saw or recalled being referred to, literally went on for weeks! Just my opinion, but a little less of this might have had a lot more impact. The best thing about this one was the knock on the noggin and the excellently done somersaults down the mound of debris. I was glad when it was over.
A "Payback is a Pain Pin" goes to Mrs. Phyllis Newman. A perfect example of what goes around comes around; it obviously pricks a bit painfully when you're the Mrs. on the receiving end of betrayal. Ask Phyllis what's in a kiss and I bet she can tell you now. But when it was upon her lips that out of wedlock kiss was being pressed, she felt entirely different. And not to paint Sharon with the brush of sainthood, but when she gently denied Nick further access, she showed more respect for Phyllis' marriage than Phyllis ever showed for hers. I can only hope there is more justice and payback to come for the current Mrs. Newman for personally and purposely driving one of the killing stakes in the heart of Sharon's marriage to Jack. I understand she was trying to keep Sharon from running to her husband to lean heavily upon his supportive shoulder, but what she did to the man she recently called a friend deserves to be addressed and avenged.
An "Are you sure matrimony is your forte" award goes to Nick Newman. The song: "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with" seems perfect for Nick. Seriously, though, in spite of the infamous kiss, does anyone really feel Nick has been pining away with feelings of longing for Sharon? I would be the first fan to jump in if I saw a line forming for the end of Nick and Phyllis, but honestly, I don't see that, although I admit my fingers are crossed in hopes of that happening eventually. Instead, what I saw was Nick reacting to a brief pull to the past. And while the expression on his face might occasionally indicate a little wariness where his current bride is concerned, he doesn't seem any less in love with her. Yet. If he discovers what she's done, however, that could change.
Promise denied - Cane Ashby and Adam Wilson. What happened to these men? I feel cheated! When it comes to Cane, I have to constantly remind myself how old he's supposed to be. Although he's alleged to have previously been this worldly man about an Australia town, he's been nothing but gullible since he arrived in Genoa City. Amber easily pulled the wool over his eyes, and Chloe effortlessly followed her example. Yet, we're supposed to buy that he's also this astute businessman who single-handedly supervised Clear Springs and successfully CEO'ed Jabot, at least for the two minutes Jill was forced out of the picture. This character started out with so much promise, but quickly became a joke and a laughingstock.
Although I still have high hopes for Adam Victor Newman Wilson, or whatever his legal name is, right now he's quite literally a mess. Arriving in town with a chip on his shoulder the size of Texas, he's been a study in contradiction. Rude, abrasive and hateful, one minute he's sniffing after his brother's bride, the next, he's cold-shouldering her. First, he's bright in business, than he flip flops and starts making costly mistakes. One minute he's brave in the face of Victor's wrath, the next he's sniveling and being slapped about. As the year drew to a close, however, it appears Victor, while not even coming close to embracing Adam; at least it seems a thawing of his glacial rage has begun. Perhaps there is still hope the potential for good storytelling is still possible between Adam and the only family he has left.
Are you still here? - J.T. Hellstrom. A Paul Williams clone, J.T. seems only to be pulled out for special security detail. And to provide a strong wall for his clinging vine wife to wind around. I know that was catty, but that remark escaped before I could stop it. J.T. has always been a particular favorite of mine, although woefully underused. He was great as the bad boy with a definite soft spot for original Mac, original Colleen, Brittany, new Mac and new Colleen. Whew! Hard to keep 'em straight. Anyway, those bad boy, sleep with anyone (and at least one of their mother's) days are far behind him and he's now a solid citizen with a wife and adorable boy. As long as he's wed to the strong and powerful Victoria Newman, there doesn't seem to be much of any substance for him to do, other than her father's bidding, but hopefully the scribes will think of something. As he is, he's pretty much wallpaper.
When it comes to playing supportive second Baldwin banana, I seem to recall once reading it was Ms. Bregman's choice to have so little of substance to do. The winner in the "Most normal" category, Lauren is also my easy pick for the "Where did the B in me go?" award. I must admit I don't miss the catty, hateful, Lauren, but I wouldn't mind seeing her do more than commiserate with her spouse over the criminal or immoral antics of his dysfunctional family.
No "Father of the Year" award for Lowell River Baldwin. This non-father is so sleazy and slimy; an oily film is left on my fingers just typing the vowels and consonants of his name. If he has any redeeming qualities, I certainly haven't been able to spot them. Michael and Genoa City is well rid of this worthless character.
Most in need of an "I'm a Hypocrite" Button - Michael Baldwin. Okay, to be fair, I'd have to buy this button in bulk, because at one time or another, just about every Genoa City resident has deserved one. My biggest beef with Michael is that he can be so insufferable when he's self-righteously sneering down his snout at the failings and crimes other residents commit, yet overlook and vigorously defend equally onerous trespasses of those he loves or is related to. It was hard for me to feel his pain or understand his sudden need (as an officer of the court) to turn his father in to the authorities, yet see nothing wrong in not only covering up, but actively aiding his mother and brother. Don't get me wrong, though. I like this character (when he's not covering for his criminally-inclined kin, that is), but he definitely has a Martyr complex. Here's some advice for Michael that might make it easier for him to sleep at night. Just say "No".
Ugh! Glad they split them up fast. Colleen and Daniel. I don't know exactly what it is, but the Colleen character has been near impossible for me to root for. Her mouth seeming to always be twisted into an unbecoming sneer, she appears bored with just about everything. She seemed acutely uncomfortable with the Professor and if she had an iota of love for him, I certainly couldn't feel it. Her pursuit of Daniel seemed completely calculated and done solely to spite Amber, but because Daniel was once wed to her supposed best friend, only served to make her appear tawdry. The one thing she did that had me practically on my feet cheering in agreement were her catty confrontations with Chloe.
Most ill advised business partnership - The foursome of switched mates, Jack and Sharon and Nick and Phyllis. And their running of Ridiculous, I mean, Restless Style Magazine. I've never actually worked on a magazine, but I can't imagine this is really how one is run. Nothing about it worked for me and the cover which had Victoria looking more like Batman's Joker than whoever she was supposed to be was horrible. I guess it served its purpose, keeping the unlikely foursome within easy arms reach of one another, but it tried to hard. I won't miss it when it's gone.
Weekend at Bernie's - Genoa City Style. The three stooges, Amber, Daniel and Kevin, carting around Plum's stiffened corpse, was my least favorite story of 2008. The stolen, frequently entombed pile of marked bills, the fire in the AC walls, the legal slap on the wrists for all, and lastly the burning of the remaining bills was definitely fast forward material, although I forced myself to watch and scoff. I was glad when it was over.
Most distasteful overkill - Skye being butchered and buried beneath a horse's stall. Never fully explained, heck, never explained at all, it is presumed it was payback for her cheating Chow out of funds he couldn't afford to lose. But, if that was the reason for her unpleasant passing, why did Chow feel no desire to punish Brad?
Most disliked and talked about newcomers - Tyra and Ana. Fans quickly tired of the serenades by Ana (who I think has a lovely voice; I'm just not a fan of soap singing) and seem even less enthralled by Tyra's presence. I didn't like Sabrina at first, but soon changed my mind, so I'm trying to refocus my judgmental eye and give them a chance to see if they'll begin to shine.
And a few not so great quickies:
Who is that unmasked maiden? Why it's easy to see its Amber Moore. Pretending to be someone named Marina. What a hoot. Not.
Also hidden in plain sight was Chloe Valentine. Hard to believe no one residing in the Chancellor mansion had never seen any recent pictures of Esther's daughter.
Returning Character who's busybody qualities haven't changed for the better - Olivia Barber. I have one sentence to shout at her, and I'm phrasing it as kindly as possible. If you don't have anything good to say, just sit down and be silent!
So, that's some of what I thought about 2008 things. Like I said at the start, when all was written and watched, it really wasn't that bad of a year. I liked more than I hated and I'm looking forward with great anticipation to what the scribes have in store for us in 2009. Now, you've all read my thumbs up and thumbs down. Please feel free to share your good and bad picks with me so I can include them in upcoming columns.
To my fellow fans, I hope your New Year is happy and that 2009 turns out to be your best year yet. As always, as the year draws to a close, I want to take the time to thank all of you for your compliments and comments. I do this because like you, I love Young and the Restless. See you in 2009!