Go out with a bang, not a whimper: The Best and Worst of 2016

For the Week of December 26, 2016
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Go out with a bang, not a whimper: The Best and Worst of 2016
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The week of December 26, 2016
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Going out with a bang would certainly be Adam's philosophy after both Adam and the cabin exploded into a million pieces. But did the year for Y&R also finish out with a bang as 2016 drew to a close? Or did the soap limp out with a whimper not much louder than Christian's nonexistent cry after he was stripped from Sharon's loving arms?

Whether the stories were gripping or a wee bit snooze-worthy, the Young and the Restless delivered drama and intrigue in many forms in order to satisfy each fan's burning desire -- much like Jack's passionate love for Phyllis or even Billy's immoral yearning for his brother's wife. So, while we had to take the good (a dorky doctor's secret love for a sophisticated businesswoman) with the bad (Marisa!), the fans were treated to plenty of cheers (Adam and Chelsea together again) and tears (Dylan, Sharon, and Paul lose Sully) to last throughout the year.

The Worst of 2016

Adam was killed off, maybe for good this time. Adam Newman is possibly the most complex, complicated, and convoluted character to have come to the soap world in years, and the new head writer is considering not ever bringing him back? It's true that Justin Hartley has left some pretty big shoes to fill, but I can't believe Y&R won't even try to bring Adam back somewhere down the road in another form. Things change, though, so maybe this decision will too. And we can only hope enough time will pass for the fans to try to accept another actor's version of the man who is haunted by the past of his father's neglect, while he, at the same time, tries to find a true love (Chelsea) of his own.

The obtuse triangle of Noah, Luca, and Marisa -- or even the Summer, Luca, Noah, and Marisa square. Okay, okay...Marissa!!! Marisa gave love -- and women -- a bad name. She started out with a phony baloney accent, which she dropped just as soon as she decided to move to Genoa City, and nothing was genuine with her from then on. Marisa was one character who wouldn't know the truth if it slapped her in the face, and if I drank Champagne, I would have popped the cork on a bottle the second I heard she was on her way out. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

The loss of Dr. Simon Neville. Noooooo! I am still mourning Simon's loss, and yes, I know, he's not even dead. But he might as well be, since he is no longer on our screens. It's just a crying shame that popular soap actor Michael E. Knight couldn't stick around as our favorite nerd doctor who harbored a not-so-secret love for Ashley. And Simon and Ashley had oodles of chemistry between them also. There was still so much story to tell for the couple, and just as things started heating up, our dorky doc was shipped out of town. Please consider bringing Simon back. The fans need his special medicine of quirkiness.

Changes in the writing. I am all for Y&R changing to a more character-driven way of writing, as long as the storylines are still riveting. And as long as the characters are still acting, well, ...in character. But a kinder and gentler Victor Newman? A tyrannical and heartless Jack Abbott? Red who is no longer "red"? Too many changes at one time can be a bit unsettling, and the fans still need to recognize the ones they have loved for years, practically like their own family members. And it would be a huge mistake not to bring Adam back, since he is pure gold for writers and as a character. Adam Newman is someone you can love and hate at the same time, and his return would automatically come fresh with new drama, since he is the biological father of Nick's son Christian. I would hate for my viewing future to be without Adam and without Adam and Chelsea. And without Jack and Phyllis.

Natalie and Kevin. Yes, I am very aware that the soap was trying to take advantage of Natalie's resemblance to Chloe, but this couple never worked for me. But then again, I am no Chloe/Kevin fan either, so, in my eyes, Natalie never had a chance with Kevin. I am sticking by my girl, the feisty redhead Mariah, but she seems to have stalled out in neutral, as far as Kevin goes. I am not quite clear why the writers suddenly brought Natalie back, since she really has no real storyline right now. Time will tell, I guess. Who knows? Maybe Natalie will disappear again.

The sudden and rather bizarre end of Dr. Sandy Anderson. Sandy waited for years to get revenge on Nick for the past diving accident in his family's swimming pool, and she went through all the trouble to come up with an elaborate plot to destroy his life by stealing his newborn child from him. But then Patty killed her before Sandy ever had a chance to smugly inform Nick of the reasons for her vengeance and before Nick could even discover her duplicity?! Sandy's death just seemed like a letdown after the fans had waited so long for Nick to confront the diabolical doctor. The fans -- and Nick -- were robbed of this, which made Sandy's death so anticlimactic.

It's just not Christian to sully the memory of Sully. Actually, it's outrageous when you watch a young toddler not shed one single tear after being ripped out of the loving arms of the only parents he had ever known. It was like Christian had no problem at all having Nick replace the couple he had believed were his parents. Christian never even seemed to notice that his mother was no longer around, and even later, when Sharon was in sight, he never cried out for her or wanted to be with her, as fan Teresa pointed out. When Christian first arrived at Nick's, thanks to a jar of applesauce or bananas, the tot was happy as a lark. And when he was first thrust into an unknown bed in a strange home, Christian supposedly slept like a -- baby. That's not only bizarre, it very unrealistic. I would have been a little more convinced about the whole thing if Christian had at least fussed a little.

Chloe and Kevin. I actually don't mind Chloe's return, because she brought with her an intriguing story about the father of her new daughter, Bella...the daughter that she had wanted to be Delia's clone. But it looks like it may take some time to reveal the identity of Bella's daddy, and in the meantime, Chloe decided the best way to keep the truth hidden was to kiss up to Kevin. Ugh! Chloe has never loved Kevin the way he has loved her, but he doesn't seem to mind, as long as he can have her in his life. No matter how much she uses him. Chloe only wants Kevin around when he is useful to her; otherwise, she treats him like dirt. These two definitely do not have the greatest love story of all time, and a better fit for Kevin is Mariah, who truly and honestly cares about him. But I guess in soapland, Kevin and Mariah's relationship doesn't spell suspense.

Neil falls off the wagon. Then Nikki. Then Neil. Then Nikki. Etc., etc. Enough already! Surely, there are other things Neil and Nikki can do besides taking yet another tumble off the wagon of sobriety. And strangely, they kept alternating their falls. Once Neil bounced back and quit drinking, it was Nikki's turn to start pounding the booze and vice versa. It sometimes seemed like the two of them were never sober at the same time. And it was also amazing how quickly each could leap right back into sobriety -- easy breezy, without any ill effects. Neil and Nikki made it appear to be a piece of cake to be an alcoholic, since they could stop drinking again at the snap of a finger. Hopefully, there is more in store for each of them in 2017 than just being the latest town drunk.

Sage wanted to adopt Shawn's baby. That was not fun to watch, and thankfully, it was dropped fairly quickly.

Victor rules the world! Don't get me wrong. I love the character of Victor Newman. He's the perfect catalyst to keep the drama moving along. Victor's mix of doing wrong for all the right reasons (in the name of family!) keep his character from going completely toward the dark side. However, it gets a little old and dull when Victor is always, well...the victor in every battle he's in. Victor can bribe judges and blackmail his enemies, and each and every time, he can get away with it all, without even breaking a sweat. It really would be more interesting to watch Jack win once in a while if the Newman/Abbott vendetta continues. But Victor always walks away squeaky clean. Dare we hope that a little more mud will land on him during future skirmishes?

Victor and Adam in prison. As much as Victor deserves to spend many, many years in prison for all the crimes he has committed, it really limits him, as far as interacting with other characters and with what he can do, each time he is locked away behind bars. Sure, Ian was a little entertaining for a while, but he is always full of hot air. Ian has almost become a caricature of himself, since his villainy seems to be a joke more often than not. And a captive Adam was a crying shame, since Adam was most entertaining whenever he was out and about, intermingling with friends, enemies, and family members alike. But still, an incarcerated Adam is better than a dead Adam or no Adam at all, which is what we have ended up with now.

Victor and Chloe schemed to frame Adam for Constance's murder. This just never made any sense to me. It seemed more like a way to bring Chloe back to town than a well-developed story. There was never any rhyme or reason for Victor wanting to get revenge on Adam in this way, since the end result would be to take Connor's father away from Victor's grandson. I am sure we all breathed a sigh of relief once the truth of Constance's death was finally revealed.

The Best of 2016:

The Young and the Restless celebrated 11,000 episodes. Wow!

Justin Hartley's Adam Newman. There are just not enough words to describe how truly remarkable Mr. Hartley was as Adam. Justin Hartley added even more layers to an already complex character and was able to showcase his bitter regret for accidentally running over darling Delia. At the same time, Adam could wear his heart on his sleeve for the love of his life, Chelsea, even as he confronted his own demons about the love/hate relationship he had with his dad, Victor. If Y&R ever brings Adam back, there will be some humongous shoes to fill, but here's hoping Adam's demise is not permanent, and like Mark Twain, the reports of his death have been greatly exaggerated.

Dr. Sandy Anderson's lies and schemes. Although Sandy's death was anticlimactic, the story that led up to her demise was pretty engrossing and involved changing the lives of quite a few of our beloved characters in a rather dramatic fashion. Nick and Sage's baby, Christian, died. Dylan and Sharon's son, Sully, was born. No, wait, Sully was actually Christian in disguise, through no fault of his own. But hold on...Adam was actually Christian's father, not Nick, even though Nick is still unaware of it. It almost took a scorecard to keep track of who was actually biologically related to the child and which were his true grandparents. Even if Sandy hadn't intended it, Dylan, Sharon, and Paul were the real losers in the end, when they lost the child they thought belonged to them.

Jack and Phyllis. I adore Gina Tognoni's Phyllis with Peter Bergman's Jack. Phyllis oozes heat in both her passion and her anger, which sometimes do not mix well and can combust. But her strongly supportive Jack has always stood by his "Red" to try to keep her calm and reasonable. Unfortunately, Billy entered the picture and destroyed the couple's loving family portrait. But they say that love conquers all, and it's so very clear that Jack still loves Phyllis, no matter how much he tries to deny it. Are they finished as a couple? I sure hope not.

Changes in the writing. I am all for Y&R changing to a more character-driven way of writing, as long as the storylines are still riveting. And I am encouraged by promises of more character interaction, which has been missing for quite some time. If Sharon's character may finally be painted in shades of grey, rather than always in a villainous black, even if circumstances were out of her control, I will cheer from my rocker/recliner. While I am still waiting for Nick to tone down the "you stole my son" chant, at least Sharon has friends -- even females friends! -- who can understand her side of the story, even if one of those is Chloe. I am willing to go along for the ride to see where the new writing regime goes, but I can only hope some of what I have previously loved about the soap remains.

Jason Thompson's version of Billy Abbott. If you had asked me shortly after he first joined the soap, I would have put Jason Thompson's Billy at the top of my worst soap recasts of all time. Billy became so despicable, selfish, and immature, it was painful to even watch him, as he had an affair with the wife of his big brother -- the same brother who had always supported and loved him unconditionally. Billy's theme song seemed to be "Me, Me, Me" all the time, and it was tiring to watch. However, despite himself, Billy seems to be growing up right before our eyes, as he's been trying to undo some of the damage he has done in the past by wishing the best for Jack and for his own ex, Victoria. I can only think that, when Jason Thompson first joined Y&R, the writers were trying to wipe the image of GH's good-guy Dr. Patrick Drake out of the soap fans' minds, and they were certainly successful in achieving that. Hopefully they didn't overdo it, though, and Billy can still be redeemed. Soap fans can be gracious and forgiving, and Jason is finally putting his own spin on the happy-go-lucky yet still terribly tormented Billy.

Newman Enterprises vs. Jabot vs. Brash & Sassy. Corporate drama is what Y&R does best, and we had it in spades with Victor, as the head of Newman Enterprises, clashing with his arch nemesis, Jack, who was leading the charge for Jabot. But we also had a new kid in town in Jill, who threw her hat (and spunk) into the ring by gathering her crack team of experts of Cane, Billy, and Victoria. Jill guided them with her own very special matchmaking skills...uh, I mean business savvy and knowhow. Nothing will get in Jill's way if it means closing the big deal -- which was to reunite her son with his ex, even if Cane ended up being collateral damage. It's been fun watching the three companies try to one-up each other as they concoct new strategies to get ahead in the fashion world. And anything that brings Jill back to town has to be included on the best list for the year.

Hilary and GC Buzz. This storyline has so much potential; I just hope the opportunity isn't wasted. Any character can become involved with GC Buzz at any time, just as long as scandal -- and Hilary -- follow, because no matter how much Devon insists that Hilary play nice by playing by the rules, it just ain't gonna happen. I mean, he does know Hilary, right? However, I would love to see Mariah take a legitimate shot as the hostess and prove to be successful at it -- and then grind Hilary's nose in her success. Wouldn't that be fun? Mariah's tumble on the red carpet may have started a stiletto-heel-stomping, backstabbing battle between the two feisty ladies at the tabloid.

Patty. Paul's sister always brings trouble, when she's back on-screen, and who can complain about that? Not only are Patty and her kitties great at stirring up the cat litter, she's catty enough to fling back the turds at those who bare their claws toward her. Just ask Sharon. Patty proved not to be a scaredy cat and hissed at Sharon when Sharon howled about Patty's break-out-of-prison plans. But seriously, I always look forward to Doug Davidson's acting as Patty brother, Paulie, whenever he is in the same scene as his Patty Cake. He is so sincere and genuine, you can honestly believe Paul loves his sister and would do anything in his power to protect her from harm and from herself.

Hilary and Chloe. As much as I can't stand Chloe with Kevin, she did return with an interesting storyline of Bella's father -- if we ever get to it, that is. Plus, Chloe does deliver the humor, when needed, which always helps to keep things from getting too depressing. And Hilary -- she's another one who can drive me crazy with her nastiness and her selfishness. However, she's also truly fascinating in that way. One thing you can say about these two ladies is that they are never boring, which can be a soap's worst fate. Hilary and Chloe remind me of each other, and I would say that while Chloe tends to recognize that she has crossed the line sometimes, Hilary never acknowledges any boundaries or guidelines and is always full steam ahead to fulfill her goals. Wouldn't it be fun to watch them battle it out? Each woman deserves her place in Genoa City -- just please keep Chloe away from Kevin!

Simon and Ashley. Y&R really missed the boat by letting Simon get away. The somewhat nerdy doctor really had a special kind of love for Ashley, and their fondness for each other could have been further explored. Theirs could have been a truly unique love story in the making.

2016 Y&R Outstanding and Memorable Moments (Good & Bad)

Chelsea and Nick watched as the cabin Adam was held captive in exploded. Noooooo!!!

The gullible Jack felt like the biggest fool in the world, once he learned his brother had an affair with his wife. And it wasn't like Billy was doing anything to try to hide the affair either. Y&R loves the spouse cheating with family members sagas, and this time it was Phyllis' turn to switch partners in the sack, in her do-si-do with the brothers. But boy, did Jack look like the fool once he finally realized he was the last one to know the truth. Ouch!

Sharon learned that Sully was actually Christian. And then Sage found out. And then Nick. And then Dylan. And then just about everyone else in town, thanks to GC Buzz. Yeah, it took a while for the truth to come to everyone, and it was done in good soapy fashion. Sage died, trying to get to Nick to tell him their beloved son was still alive. At the scene, Sharon watched Sage pass on and knew that her secret was safe. And later, both men were in tears when one realized the son he had cherished had never existed and the other discovered his beloved boy had never died. It was all suds, happy and sad, and the reveals were just the ticket for a good sweeps period.

Max plotted and caused Abby to miscarry. Man, that was one scary kid. And poor Abby was the one who had to pay the price.

Ian kidnapped Nikki and Phyllis at the cabin and held Nikki at gunpoint. Ho-hum.

Nichelle Nichols was Neil's mother. Lieutenant Uhura of Star Trek!

Billy dramatically revealed to Victoria that Travis cheated on her with Michelle. I really liked Travis at first, when he appeared strong enough to stand on his own two feet. But when he returned, Travis became more wishy-washy, and he never really had a chance. Travis' first mistake was to work at Newman Enterprises, where Victor had every opportunity to tear him down. Travis had once advised Victoria, "Don't settle for someone else's idea of what your life should be. Decide what you want. Go after it." It's just too bad he didn't heed his own advice.

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Some of the Funniest Lines (or moments) from the Past Year

I loved Adam's quip to Luca that Victor's "skeletons have skeletons." And Adam should know.

The writers were in full creative gear, when Jack remarked to Phyllis that Victor "snakes" the deal out from under Billy and then "slithers out of town." How ssssizzling!

Chelsea's description of Adam to Nick was dead on when she stated Adam was like a firehouse dog who, once he smelled the smoke and heard the alarm, would run straight to the fire. With all the fires, both literal and figurative, going on at Newman Enterprises, Adam must be racing a virtual marathon.

Was Chelsea right? Was Adam becoming "a newer, shinier version" of his father, as she claimed? Or was Adam one of Victor's "nearest and dearest" who had turned against his father, as Adam believed? Time will tell.

After Billy informed Phyllis that Victoria had the evidence against Victor, who can blame Phyllis for stating, "Blood is thicker than evidence." That sure has proven to be the case in the past with the Newmans.

Sharon, who has also had her share of similar experiences with Victor and company, told Sage that the Newmans were circling the wagons. And she should know, since she had been the one in the center of the circle many times.

Couldn't you just picture Mariah sitting at her beach bungalow on an island, drinking her fruity drinks and reading a novel? Well, until Natalie drove by in her flashy car, overtaking Kevin's speedy little Ferrari. After Mariah heard Natalie's fantasy, if looks could kill, Natalie would have been a goner.

Wow, what a coincidence Faith's ghost story about Sheila Carter was titled, "The Tale of the Baby Switching Ghost." I am sure that alone had both Sharon and Mariah shaking in their shoes at the campfire.

Chloe said it best -- she is a screw-up, sometimes a little shady, and selfish basically all the time. Nothing's changed.

Colin is always good for a laugh, and he didn't disappoint when he wanted to celebrate because of his "gorgeous wife's almost clean bill of good health" after her acid reflux attack. Yes, indeedy, it was heartburn, not a heart attack. Keep those antacid tablets on hand, Jill.

All I can say is that Dylan and Chloe should know "the cops and robbers game" better than anyone.

Apparently, Billy's vision was, at long last, clearing, when he admitted to Jill that he looked into the mirror at his bloodshot eyes and saw the mess he had made of his life. Even if he said it wasn't exactly a moment of clarity for him, Billy finally saw what almost every other person in Genoa City had been seeing for quite some time.

It was so sweet and sad when Dylan talked to Sully of lesson 127, which was how to be a decent guy. You had to wonder what Dylan's first 126 lessons consisted of.

Did I see that clearly? Did the brochure Summer was looking at for college business classes really say on the back, "Persue your calling?" I guess the person who created the brochure should look into taking a few classes, also, mainly in the area of spelling. P-u-r-s-u-e. How especially embarrassing on a pamphlet promoting education!

Until next time, please stay tuned.

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