According to the Corvallis Gazette-Times, a rose is "one of the most beautiful of all flowers, often given as a sign of appreciation." The same source describes a raspberry as a "sharp, scornful comment, criticism or rebuke, a derisive, splatting noise, often called the Bronx cheer." As I thought about what I wanted to say in my final column of 2012, about the men and women of Genoa City and their respective storylines, the Gazette's definitions had me nodding my head in complete agreement.
First, a small disclaimer. My version of Roses and Raspberries is not to be confused with, and has no relation to, the Golden Raspberry Awards, or any other roses-and-raspberry-related award ceremony that might already be, or is due to be, in existence. End of disclaimer.
Right around the first day of every November, I begin wracking my little pea brain, struggling to figure out what I'm going to talk about in this final column of the year. Trying to condense 52 weeks of highs, lows, ups, downs, bests, worsts, and everything in between into a single column of reasonable length always seems an impossible task. Which is why, over the years, I eventually embraced the reality that I can't cover everything I'd like to, or remember every important milestone in the lives of my Genoa City fake family.
Fast forward to December 2012. Despite my yearly vow to organize myself in such a way to have my column completed days, perhaps even weeks, ahead of schedule, my shameful habit of prolonged procrastination about nearly everything, has, once again, lasted until the very day the column is due. My time is now up, so after one deep breath for courage, I am diving right in, roses and raspberries firmly in hand.
I decided to limit myself to distributing about a dozen beautiful roses, although, of course, there are likely more than twelve residents or storylines deserving of appreciative recognition. Before I begin, let me just say that order of appearance is not necessarily an indication one resident or storyline is more appreciated than those that follow it. More likely, it is because he, she, or it just happened to make their way out of my jumbled mind first in a hopefully comprehensible form.
Having said that, my first rose is presented to Adam Newman. A top pick in my 2011 end-of-year column, this year, Adam is my all-around, blue ribbon, favorite Genoa Citian. I want to stress right now that all of the men and women on the Y&R canvas are supremely talented, and, for the most part, I enjoy them all. But Adam has an almost indescribable something that keeps me hanging on his every word and gesture. He seems to have the best lines, is accompanied by the best music, and is riveting in every scene he's part of. In my opinion (some would probably say biased), Adam has proven to be believable, whether he's being a friend, lover, husband, businessman, or an unwanted son or brother. To borrow the words from an old Virginia Slims cigarette commercial, "You've come a long way, baby." And I'm one fan who is thoroughly enjoying his journey. So, though my last year's wish for more closeness between father and son, and among siblings, wasn't quite fulfilled in 2012, I have been more than satisfied with what I did get. Bring it on, 2013!
Jack is the recipient of my second rose. Unlike Adam's relatively brief period of blindness, which happily resulted in a character change for the better, Jack was wheelchair-bound for a lot longer. Unfortunately, when he was finally able to struggle to his feet, he immediately started causing havoc in the lives of his loved ones and enemies.
Frankly, I was a bit bored during Jack's repeated bouts of weight lifting while he worked hard to walk again. I didn't find his courtship with, and marriage to, Nikki, any more interesting, and it was not a bit believable. As for their wedding, their flowery wedding vows just made me mockingly roll my eyes, and it was a joke that wasn't funny. So, why the rose, you might rightly be inquiring? Well, once Nikki had predictably gone galloping back to Victor (she gets a raspberry for the timing of that, by the way), Jack finally came into his own.
Jack deserves this rose for several reasons. First, he wasted little time blubbering over Nikki's defection. Instead of crying, he had her few duds packed up and waiting for her right in front of the door he was holding open for her immediate departure. Second, he managed to deliver a rare and resounding defeat to Victor by snatching the one thing he cherished above all others, Nikki and his beloved children (minus Adam, of course) included: Newman Enterprises. Oh, I know, Jack is going to pay dearly for his audacity. He will likely not only lose Newman in 2013, but perhaps Jabot as well, if he can't be deterred from folding it into Newman.
But finally, Jack definitely deserves the next best rose in my bouquet for his portrayal so far of a man in addicted distress. Deep down, although he has been denying it to himself and to everyone else, Jack knows he's in trouble, and his slow realization is being superbly and believably done. His friends and colleagues are bringing their A-games as well, as, one by one, they become unmistakably aware that Jack is in serious trouble.
By the way, I have to hand a special third rose to the scribes for an unexpected offshoot of Jack's addiction -- the charismatic bonding of Adam and Jack, as they let down their guard and shared some great moments of honesty. I couldn't get enough of the scenes between these two men, and watched them over and over. You can literally see the tug-of-war going on within Jack. He desperately wants to believe Adam is really on his side and not just working an agenda to topple Jack and steal his kingdom.
As for Adam, with the emotional roller-coaster he's been riding, trying to be a good husband to Chelsea and a supportive friend to Sharon, he seemed to have no strength left recently to deny his conflicted feelings about Sharon to Jack. I hate that Adam might have to push Jack beneath the wheels of the bus in order to save Sharon. So although I know this latest monkey wrench Victor has thrown into the Newman Enterprises works will probably make for must-see watching, unless Adam has a trick up his talented sleeve, my hopes for a real friendship between two men who haven't had one are probably destined for the dumpster.
Rose number four is for Noah Newman. As I mentioned a column or two ago, my admiration for Noah kind of came out of nowhere. One minute, I was furious with him for his treatment of Sharon; the next, he had somehow won my heart. A perfect blend of his mistake-prone, but basically good-hearted, parents, Noah, at times, seems more grown up than they.
With everyone from his parents to his siblings, and probably with ex-girlfriend, Adriana, too, Noah has been compassionate and kind. He's accepting and nonjudgmental of nearly everyone around him, and manages to support and advise without finger pointing and blame. Like his Uncle Adam, Noah, too, has come a long way in a short time. Surprisingly, not only has Noah endeared himself to me for suddenly beginning to have his mother's back, but I found I am really looking forward to learning what his future storyline will reveal about the life he was leading apart from his family.
The fifth rose goes to what has fondly become known as the new regime. I know there are still plenty of fans who are not pleased with their storytelling. Some even feel things have worsened under their guidance. But, call me crazy -- or easily pleased -- your pick, I have no real complaints worth airing. Any time I can't effortlessly guess what is going to happen next, I count myself entertained. So, although I'm positive I won't like every one of the new regime's tales, I have to admit that for now, I am more than happy with the offerings
A rose is still a rose, even when it's being handed to Sharon. Before the new regime took the reins, I had become quite annoyed with the way characters seemed to be getting trashed. Case in point (pun accidentally intended) is Sharon Case, a.k.a. Sharon Newman. Has any character in the history of Y&R been more reviled by so many, for so long? She has not one female friend, and other than Adam, every man she has ever shared her cookies with has turned against her. Even her own mother seems to have no love for her!
Sharon deserves this sixth rose. I don't personally know anyone suffering from a bipolar disorder, but some of those who do, say Sharon is portraying it well and realistically. But while I'm glad the new regime has given a name to what's been ailing Sharon, you won't read any complaints from me if the scribes decide to end this long-running, Sharon-bashing sooner rather than later. Just my worthless opinion, but enough is enough! I look forward to the day Sharon doesn't have to cling to someone, anyone, to keep herself afloat in life.
Rose seven (the tiniest one) goes to Victor because he finally lost. I know, that's mean, but I also know that I'm not the only fan out here giggling gleefully because of it. As things turned out, losing Newman Enterprises actually capped what turned out to be a year of losses for the great and still powerful Victor Newman. Although he gained and discarded the same wife (Sharon) twice, in exchange, this Romeo reunited with his Juliet for the umpteenth time. He lost Beauty of Nature to Genevieve, momentarily gained it back from Tucker, only to lose it, along with the rest of his company, to his mortal enemy, Jack. But, next to Newman Enterprises, the loss that probably stings him most is the controlling hold he once had over his favored children, Nick and Victoria.
Rose eight is presented to Nick Newman for finally snatching back his umm ... manhood. Not only did Nick stop allowing himself to be browbeaten and dominated by his habitually lying bride, he drew a line in the sand, and put a stick on his shoulder, respectfully daring his father to step over one or knock off the other. Victor didn't back down, of course, but neither did Nick. And for that he deserves a rose.
Now, to the raspberries.
A derisive, splatting, noisy Bronx cheer of a raspberry is aimed straight at Victor. I've finally accepted the fact that this devious despot will never, perhaps, can't, change. Year in and year out, Victor is the same. Mean, inflexible, meddlesome, and manipulative. Even the fact that he allegedly behaves this way out of love for his family isn't enough to excuse his behavior anymore. Didn't he go through a Scrooge-like experience recently? I guess that was a wasted episode, because it appears it had no discernible impact on him. Oh, I don't blame him for trying to get back the company he "BUILT FROM THE GROUND UP ... FROM NOTHING!" Trying to emotionally blackmail his kids into doing his dirty work for him, however, disgusts me.
Victor also deserves a fat, juicy, raspberry for rating Sharon's torching of his empty mansion above Nikki killing Kyle's mother. As a mate to Victor's raspberry, Nikki gets one too, for her tiresome rants about her memories and special, cherished mementos going up in flames. First of all, her memories should still be alive and well inside her half-empty brain. Second, she didn't live at the mansion. If her mementos were so special and cherished to her, why didn't they reside wherever she did?
Just a regular raspberry to Phyllis' no-fault non-trial. Fans were so outraged and angrily outspoken about the outcome of this one, their bitter protests overflowed my mailbox. I can't blame them, though. After subjecting us to three plus months of all the details of Phyllis' decades-old hit-and-run, along with heaping helpings of the still ineffective, outplayed, and outwitted Dr. Tim, the dangled carrot of Phyllis' comeuppance was abruptly snatched away. Accompanied by a raucous chorus of fan boos, Phyllis laughed herself out of the courtroom without receiving so much as a wrist slap!
Of course, I was so positive there was still some nonstick surface left on Phyllis' Teflon exterior, I never really expected true punishment to be served upon her. However, losing Nick and her marriage, her temporarily strained relationship with Summer, and the nasty, crow meat aftertaste in her mouth every time she looks at her sister with her almost-ex, was actually an acceptably sweet outcome for me.
A Bronx cheer raspberry to Ronan. Way to ruin a character beyond redemption, former scribes. When last we saw the good FBI agent, he was so by-the-book and upstanding, I constantly found myself searching for the outline of the iron rod that had to be holding him in such an unyielding position. Then he goes away, and returns this lovesick ninny who doesn't blink at breaking more laws than the woman he's supposed to be building a case against. All because he supposedly fell in love. Given what had been done to his character, I can't say I was sad to see him go.
A rotten raspberry each to Victoria and Billy. I don't blame Victoria for wanting to get Newman Enterprises back for her Papa, but pouty-pressuring Billy to backstab Jack to help her do it won my scathing contempt. An equal amount of contempt went to Billy for caving to Victoria and wielding the knife. So, call me callous, if you like, for feeling little sympathy for Victoria's kidnapping ordeal. She should have been careful what she wished for. Because in Genoa City, sometimes when you rub the magic lamp, the genie gives you exactly what you asked for.
Chelsea gets a rather rude raspberry for spilling the Sharon beans to Victor and Nikki, of all people. The raspberry isn't because she told on Sharon. Adam is her husband, and she rightly perceived Sharon as a marriage-ending threat. But in her blind hatred and jealousy, she apparently couldn't see that she was also throwing her culpable husband to the wolves. What was she thinking? Doesn't she know her husband doesn't do well with betrayal? Sharon could have told her that, ha-ha. Did she really believe Victor would do nothing with the information she furnished? And on top of that, she deserves a raspberry for her high school level babbling to Chloe, repeating practically every single sentence of her conversations with Adam.
Of course, along with her raspberry, I also have to hand Chelsea my ninth rose for her very realistic anguish over losing her child, her husband's attention, and finally, her husband himself. The top-of-their-lungs arguments between Adam and Chelsea have been the best I've seen, and so realistic, I've have to remind myself it's only make-believe.
Raspberry, raspberry, raspberry, to the scribes for taking away yet another man from Jill. What is the deal? Every time Jill gets a beau, he gets killed off, or let go. Tucker is the latest lover to be wrenched from Jill's arms and the comfort of her luxurious sheets. I know Tucker has had his dark side, and it's taken awhile for him to carve out a niche for himself, but I thought he'd finally reached a point where he and his storyline had potential. I guess I was wrong.
Speaking of characters being bum-rushed through the revolving doors, Tucker shares top billing with many of his Genoa City counterparts. Colin, Malcolm, Ashley, Genevieve, Ricky, Heather, Harmony, Daisy, Lucy, Ronan, Nina, Sofia, Moses, Murphy, Delia, Daniel, and Eden are all seldom seen, gone, or already in line to push their way through the door.
Lucky for Abby, someone had a change of heart, because she's on her way back after being unceremoniously dismissed. If you wonder if I care, I have to say I haven't missed her and am not jumping up and down with joy at the news she'll soon be back. But I will wait and withhold my judgmental opinion until I see what's written on her pages to recite. Hopefully, this time around she'll contribute more than snarky comments at Sharon's expense, and after-the-act surface conversations with Carmine.
Away from Nick, Phyllis is much more enjoyable, interesting and believable, so she gets rose ten. I'm looking forward to her interactions with her Newman co-workers, Jack, Adam, and Kyle.
Some things or people deserve both a rose and a raspberry.
Like Nick and Avery. Much like Phyllis and Nick, there doesn't seem to be much middle ground for these two when it comes to loving or hating them. Some say chemistry exists. Others find them dull as dishwater, or as interesting as drying paint. Rose 11 goes to them simply because they're not Nick and Phyllis. The raspberry is for Avery's quickness in setting her culinary cap for her sister's not-yet ex.
My twelfth rose is for Victor's amnesia and disappearance storyline because it involved so many characters, with ramifications felt long after he was safely home. But it also received a raspberry when Victor's methods of repayment were solely aimed at Sharon. Victor knew Tucker was the one leading the Sharon filly down the takeover path. So, why no vengeance for him?
Well, I see the florist must have miscounted because way down in the very bottom of the vase, I see a little, bitty half-opened red rose which I decided should go jointly to Ricky for his surprising murderous past and machinations, and to Paul, for his realistic anguish for contributing to his own son's death.
However, Paul's prosecution, including Michael and Ronan's hard-line stance when they were being extremely soft and unlawful with Phyllis, deserved only raspberries. As did Eden's amnesia, Kyle's out-of-nowhere lust for and protection of Eden (a concern that has since disappeared, and a lust he seems to have transferred to Phyllis), and the fact that Paul and Chris's joyous reunion unfortunately blindsided Nina.
Quickie raspberries that are pretty much self-explanatory:
Nikki and Victoria's continued snobbery and Sharon hate. It's gotten monotonous, and now, given Sharon's recently diagnosed illness, they just seem unnecessarily cruel and catty.
Of course, I know I've only scratched the surface with my picks for roses or raspberries. There is always so much more to say and people to say it about. But, alas, each column has to end somewhere, even the final one of the year, so I guess this is the place I've picked to end this one and close out 2012.
Before I go, though, I told the florist to prepare dozens and dozens of roses, in colors of red, yellow, pink, white, and the prettiest of pretty blues. They are for all of you, my fellow Y&R fans. Because, without you, there'd be no need for us. So, to all of you, who faithfully show up to read what we have to say each and every week, or take your valuable time to share your opinions with us, I say thank you and present you with a virtual rose. You are appreciated.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!