The Best and The Worst of The Young and the Restless 2021 (Part One)

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'Tis the season for Year-In-Reviews! 2021 feels as though it has flown right by us, but a look back at the past year in Genoa City reveals just how much has happened over the past twelve months ­ and some of it feels like a lifetime ago! Follow our writer on a trip down memory lane as we take a look back through each month and highlight the best and the worst of The Young and the Restless in 2021!

As I looked back at this past year on Y&R, I noticed that a lot of storyline threads that began at the start of the year are still being played out today as we reach the end of the year. This is both a good and bad thing. In some cases, the writers have taken us on a satisfying journey with lots of fun twists and turns; in other cases, not so much. Most of the storylines, though, have had both highs and lows, so I thought it would make the most sense to look at each month individually and see what worked -- and what didn't -- as storylines progressed throughout the year. Let's dive in!

The Worst of January 2021

1. Embezzlement at Newman Enterprises. Remember when Phyllis and Kevin teamed up to expose an embezzlement scheme at Newman Enterprises? I had completely forgotten about this "blink-and-you'll-miss-it" storyline (which didn't even make it to February)! I hope we see more of Kevin in 2022 and would love to see these two get tangled up in a larger storyline together.

2. The Bold and the Beautiful Crossover has made my "Worst list" -- but not because I didn't enjoy the overall story involving Summer digging up dirt on Sally. And, although I don't watch B&B anymore, it is still always a nice treat to see Y&R characters interact with the characters on their "sister soap" over on the West Coast. But I don't just want a few small appearances here and there; instead, I'd love to see a real storyline take root for a few months that really affects characters on both shows and has lasting ramifications. Anything less than that just feels like a media stunt and a lame attempt at grabbing viewers to watch either soap.

3. Child-Bearing Woes (Part One). So, both Abby and Chance are unable to produce children of their own? Wow, what a coincidence! The writers really went all-out with this contrived plot when it began, didn't they? Yawn.

The Best of January 2021

1. Closure! Sharing a plane ride on a private jet, Billy and Summer discussed their past, and Billy apologized for how he used her to get back at her mother, Phyllis. I really appreciated these scenes, and it felt like a real moment of growth for both characters. The scenes with Billy and Lily after she overheard their conversation were great, too! Billy and Lily are one of my favorite new romances this year, and I feel like it all began here.

2. Not-So-Happy Family Reunion. Amanda finally found her mother, Naya, only to find out that Naya would prefer Amanda remain a secret from the rest of her family. I am a big fan of Mishael Morgan and was excited to see the writers delving into her past!

3. Faith Begins Drinking. This story had me a little nervous at first, and I wasn't so sure about it; however, the writers did a good job telling this story about teen peer pressure and the dark side of social media. This was the beginning of a great exit storyline for Alivia Alyn Lind in the role, and her performance definitely helped earn a "best of the year" from me.

The Worst of February 2021

1. Bye, Bye, Bye (Part One)! Chance left town on an undercover assignment, and Abby had to find out after the fact from Christine. Um, what?!

2. The Best of Intentions? Adam enlisted Sharon's help when Chelsea's physical limitations were presumed to be stemming from psychological issues. I get that Adam thought Sharon would "provoke" a certain response in Chelsea, but yikes. Just, yikes. Bad idea, man. Some of these scenes made me cringe!

3. Ill-Fated Romance. Jack and Sally started dating, and I can only assume the writers were trying to provide him with a replacement for Phyllis in his life. I was never on board with this coupling, and I was thrilled they didn't last long!

The Best of February 2021

1. Child-Bearing Woes (Part Two). Devon agreed to be the sperm donor for Abby, and, while I felt this fertility storyline was a bit contrived overall (a Newman/Chancellor/Abbott/Winters baby felt a bit extra -- even for a soap!), I loved that Devon was brought into the storyline. Bryton James has shined in his role throughout all the twists and turns!

2. This Is War! News of Ashland Locke selling his media conglomerate, Cyaxeres, began a bidding war amongst the heavy hitters in Genoa City. For me, this mix of corporate espionage amidst all the personal drama is a great way to mix things up!

3. Homecoming. Theo returned to town with a secret -- Kyle has a son! Although I didn't warm to Theo when he was first introduced, I was happy to see him back in Genoa City and wreaking havoc on Kyle and Summer again. Now I'm wishing we'd see him more! Nic Luken is great in the role and hits all the right marks as the Abbott outsider.

The Worst of March 2021

1. Physician, Heal Thyself! Sharon is quick to dole out her psychiatric expertise/advice to others but struggled to manage her own personal issues. Rey and Sharon started marriage counseling after Adam and Sharon were caught in a kiss that was shared on social media. I am a Sharon/Adam fan and somehow also a Sharon/Rey fan, so I was a bit torn over this storyline. I love the history between Sharon and Adam, but her new relationship with Rey has brought out the best in her. She had me feeling very frustrated!

2. If This Is Love, Count Me Out. Victoria admitted to Billy that she still had feelings for him and consistently found ways to insert herself into his budding relationship with Lily. Although I was a fan of Billy and Victoria in the past, Victoria came off as desperate and needy -- and that is not the Victoria I love to see.

3. Revolving Bedroom Door. It was hard to tell from week to week who Elena truly wanted to be with after she bedded Devon (for a second time!) while still trying to build her relationship with Nate. I was glad to see Nate dump her once he learned the truth, but her back-and-forth emotions were making me dizzy! And the same can be said about Devon and his indecisiveness about Elena and Amanda. Somehow, though, the writers were able to keep all these characters likeable, which I appreciated. Relationships are complicated, eh?

4. It's a Miracle! Chelsea was able to stand on her own and even communicated enough with Chloe to enlist Chloe in her revenge plot against Adam! It wasn't such a miracle for Rey, though, when he became collateral damage in Chelsea's grand scheme. Rey was hospitalized and later learned his symptoms were due to thalium poisoning. I'm still not quite sure I understand how Chelsea pulled all of this off, and a lot of plot holes remain unresolved.

The Best of March 2021

1. Who's Your Daddy? Tara confirmed to Kyle that he was Harrison's father; regardless, Summer stayed firm in her commitment to Kyle, and the two of them became engaged. This storyline was just the right amount of drama and sweetness! It was great to see Kyle and Summer become stronger through their latest ordeal. When Sally and Tara formed an unholy alliance to break them up, I knew we would be in for a wild ride!

2. Bidding Wars (Part One). Ashland accepted Adam and Victor's offer to purchase Cyaxeres Media -- or did he? Victoria reached out to Ashland Locke personally and told him she was taking over the negotiations for Victor. Amelia Heinle shined in the role as she proved to Victor that she was very much her father's daughter in the business world and that she was willing to be as ruthless as he has always been.

3. Catfished! Faith was catfished by Jordan pretending to be a popular boy at their school, which ultimately resulted in her driving drunk with a truck from the Newman ranch after she learned the truth! Catfishing seemed to be a theme on the show this month, as Chelsea catfished Sharon by pretending to be Adam sending her text messages in an attempt to uncover/expose their supposed affair.

The Worst of April 2021

1. Is This a Company or a Daycare? Lauren had to act more like a babysitter than a CEO to constantly keep Sally and Summer in check as the two constantly bickered and tried to best one another. Tracey E. Bregman deserves a meatier story and shouldn't be relegated to the role of referee (even if it was nice to see her put them in their place!).

The Best of April 2021

1. Just Have Faith! Faith was in a drunk-driving accident, and, amidst all the drama, a new actress (Reylynn Caster) took over the role. Moses, now a teen, made his debut in Genoa City and befriended Faith during her recovery. I am really liking both of the new actors in these roles! I also appreciated that Adam was brought into this storyline and was discovered to not only be the mystery man that brought her to the emergency room but also the kidney donor that Faith needed. This is when we began to see Adam's character redeemed from his past misdeeds, which has been a long time coming!

2. Conspiracy Theory. Amanda found ties to Newman Enterprises regarding her father's death. Bringing Victor into this storyline was brilliant, and it was great to see Amanda stand her ground in scenes with Victor! #GirlPower

3. Bidding Wars (Part Two). Although Victoria was awarded the bid in the war over Cyaxeres, Victor stole that win from under her by refusing Ashland medical attention as he had a cardiac emergency until Ashland signed the contract that would give Victor control of the company. Talk about ruthless!

The Worst of May 2021

1. Bye, Bye, Bye (Part Two)! After failed attempts by the writers at finding Lola a storyline post-Kyle, she left town to work at a restaurant in Miami. While I understand that the actress, Sasha Calle, left the show to become the new Supergirl in an upcoming DC comics film, the writers could have given her character a better exit than this. I hope we will see her (and her sexy brother, Arturo) again in the future!

2. The Best of Friends? Rey's continued visits to see Chelsea at the mental health facility felt awkward to me. I get that he was suspicious of her and was trying to determine if she was faking her mental illness, but the two of them started to bond throughout the storyline. Something just felt off about the whole thing. I can't imagine being that forgiving toward someone that tried to kill me just to get back at her husband. But, hey, maybe that's just me.

The Best of May 2021

1. Tornado Warning! Nick tracked Adam to a ranch in Kansas so that he could bring him home to be a donor for Faith's kidney transplant, and the two of them were forced to take cover in the cellar to avoid a tornado. I loved seeing these two brothers bond, and it was a great moment when Adam returned to save Nick (with assistance from first responders) in the wreckage of the tornado's aftermath. Adam was a fugitive at the time, but he put his family before his own well-being and put his future on the line to agree to save Faith (again).

2. Tit for Tat. After learning of Chelsea's scheme to frame Adam for Rey's attempted murder, Victor offered her a reprieve from prison if she agreed to confess and clear Adam's name. The two plotted for her to stage a mental breakdown, and she was sentenced to a mental institution to recover.

3. A Tribute Fit for a King. The Hamilton-Winters family staged a tribute to Neil by inviting Neil's loved ones to walk in his footsteps by visiting Neil's old stomping grounds and listening to his favorite music. Kristoff St. John's real-life death was tragic, and his presence will forever be missed on the show, so it was great that they honored his memory and his legacy in this way.

The Worst of June 2021

1. It Was Me All Along -- I Swear! Amanda's mother, Naya, confessed to the murder of Amanda's father in an effort to take the heat off of Amanda's grandfather, Sutton. Naya was all over the place in this storyline, and the few morsels that the writers gave us weren't satisfying enough to justify the back-and-forth of it all. I wanted to care about this, but there wasn't a lot to root for, given how little screen time this story was given throughout the year.

2. Elena to the Rescue! Nate had an allergic reaction, and Elena saved his life, which helped them to reconcile and move forward in their relationship. This whole scenario just felt forced to me. Just like the story with Amanda's family, Nate and Elena weren't given enough screen time to make this have the impact it could have had.

3. Bye, Bye, Bye (Part Three)! Tara gave Summer an ultimatum to break up with Kyle and leave town or risk Tara running off with Kyle's son and disappearing with him forever. There was a lot of good drama in this storyline, but I was disappointed that Summer was bested by Tara and Sally. I was also disappointed that contract negotiations between Hunter King and the show could not be worked out to keep her around!

The Best of June 2021

1. True Colors. Tara showed her darker side when she went along with Sally's scheme to blackmail Summer into taking a job out of town. Although it wasn't surprising that Tara would use Harrison to manipulate Kyle and/or Summer, part of me was hoping that Tara wasn't all that bad. Alas, her plan with Sally worked, and Summer left town so that Kyle wouldn't lose his son. Say what you will about Tara, but this storyline was full of fun drama!

2. A Corporate Love Affair. Although Victoria lost the bid for Ashland Locke's media subsidiary, Cyaxeres, she scored a win when she convinced Ashland that their two companies should merge. After spending so much time together, sparks flew for this pair, and it was only a matter of time before they became romantically involved. It was really nice to see Victoria get pulled into a fresh storyline like this and cement her place as the head of Newman Enterprises.

3. A Welcome Homecoming. We didn't know how far off the rails Stitch had gone when he first returned to town, so I was thrilled to see him again. It was great to see him reconnect with Victor and his other friends in town when the storyline kicked off. If only we knew then what we know now...

The Worst of July 2021

1. You're Hired! Chloe took a job at Newman Media, working for Adam, and while I have enjoyed her role there and her newfound friendship with Sally, I just can't fathom her ever wanting to work with him or for him in any capacity, given their history. I was shocked -- and not in a good way!

2. Get Outta Town! Chelsea was released from the mental health facility so that she could care for her mother out of town. Huh? And Rey, whom she poisoned, was her police escort for the trip! Really?! There is no way this would ever happen in the real world. I'm not sure why the writers went to so much effort to get Chelsea out of town. Sure, they had to write out Melissa Claire Egan for her maternity leave in real life, but they already had her character locked up in a mental health facility and could have just kept her there until the actress returned. The whole thing had me scratching my head in confusion.

The Best of July 2021

1. Love Is in the Air. Victoria and Ashland made love for the first time and ended up moving in together. Moses arranged for Faith to meet her favorite band on their first date. And Devon and Amanda professed their love for one another! It was nice to see so many new and happy couples on the show -- and they are all surprisingly still together as we reach the end of the year!

2. Caught in the Act! Phyllis schemed to expose Sally and Tara's plot against Summer and caught the two of them arguing on video in her hotel, prompting Jack to dump Sally! Sutton was also caught in the act this month when Amanda and Victor recorded him all but admitting he'd arranged for the death of Amanda's father. And poor Mariah was caught while out jogging and then held against her will in an unknown bedroom!

The Worst of August 2021

1. Born in Captivity. After learning that Stitch kidnapped Mariah and had been holding her captive, Abby and Devon found her just as she went into labor! This story made my "Worst of" list because I hated the disservice the writers did to Stitch's character by bringing him back to town only to make him the villain of this story.

2. I Want to See the Receipts! Michael reinstated charges against Sutton in Amanda's father's murder case, which I was happy about -- but, like most of the storylines involving Amanda and Hilary's family, we only heard about it secondhand. Why was this story only told through word of mouth amongst characters instead of seeing it play out more fully? It would have been nice to see Christian LeBlanc on our screens more this year!

3. Missed Opportunity. You're telling me Phyllis traveled to Los Angeles the same month that Sheila's character returned to The Bold and the Beautiful, and the writers on either show didn't think to take advantage of all that storyline potential?! Instead, all it amounted to was a quick cameo by Eric Forrester as Phyllis dug up dirt on Sally. Boo! Isn't Sheila wanted for a myriad of crimes in Genoa City? How is she walking around Los Angeles amongst friends and colleagues of her victims in Genoa City without anyone alerting the Wisconsin police?!

The Best of August 2021

1. Take Her Away! Tara's schemes blew up in her face as Kyle learned how she forced Summer out of town, and Lauren discovered that she was laundering money from her investors! Tara was taken away in handcuffs, and Kyle raced to Milan to reunite with Summer. While I was sad to see both Kyle and Summer leave the show, it was nice that they got a happy ending!

2. Fast Friends. I loved the new friendships between Sally and Chloe, and Nate and Ashland! Adam and Sally's new friendship was also a welcome surprise as they flirted with the possibility of becoming more than friends.

The Worst of September 2021

1. Child-Bearing Woes (Part Three). Mariah struggles to let go of her pull toward Dominic and even breastfeeds him against Abby's wishes. This was so creepy!! I love Camryn Grimes and the character of Mariah, so I hated this direction the writers took her in. It was smart of her and Tessa to move out of the Chancellor mansion and get some space and time away from Dominic.

The Best of September 2021

1. The Truth Comes Out! Jesse Gaines arrived in town and blackmailed Ashland about his past. Ashland took matters into his own hands, though, and confessed to Victoria about how he took over the identity of his best friend. This story had me on the edge of my seat, trying to figure out what Ashland's big secret was. I really appreciated how the writers handled the Ashland and Victoria romance and that he trusted her enough to tell her the truth.

The Worst of October 2021

1. He Doesn't Know When to Quit! Even after being told to stay away from Ashland and Victoria's wedding, Billy couldn't help himself but to track down Jesse Gaines and enlist his help in revealing the truth about Ashland's past to the world. And even after he showed up to try to stop the wedding and Victoria told him she already knew the truth, he still wouldn't let it go!

2. Kyle and Summer Wed Off-Screen. What a waste that we didn't get to be a part of their happily-ever-after!

3. Are We Breaking Up? Nick and Phyllis' relationship problems, which seemed to come out of nowhere, hit an all-time high as they disagreed about how he should handle his family's issues. Although I suspected these two might not be in it for the long haul, this was a really odd choice the writers took toward leading them to a breakup.

The Best of October 2021

1. Welcome to Tuscany! Is That Love in the Air? If you read one of the very first Two Scoops columns I wrote this year, you already know that I loved the storylines surrounding the destination wedding in Tuscany. Although Billy was a little irksome, I felt that the writers really hit all the right spots with this storyline. Some highlights for me were Noah's return, Victoria standing by Ashland after he confessed his past misdeeds, Adam taking on the role of protector in the Newman family, getting to see Kyle and Summer one last time, and Sally swapping out Victoria's wedding dress! It was all a lot of fun and one of my favorite storylines of the year.

2. With This Ring, Are You Dead? Abby learned from Christine that Chance was presumed dead after his wedding ring was recovered from the wreckage of a bomb that went off where he was working undercover. It was nice to finally have some closure regarding Chance after he'd been gone from Genoa City for so long. And Melissa Ordway gave some great performances as she struggled to grasp that her husband might really be dead.

The Worst of November 2021

1. He REALLY Doesn't Know When to Quit! Even after his failed attempt to derail Victoria and Ashland's wedding, Billy fell right into Victor and Adam's trap when Gaines returned to town and asked Billy to protect him and help him bring down Ashland, Victor, and Adam.

2. Lock Him Up! Sutton made one last attempt to discredit Amanda before she testified against him in court. While I was happy that she outsmarted him and that he was ultimately locked up for his crime, this story did not get the screen time it deserved throughout the year. Hopefully, we will see more of Amanda's mother and sister in the new year now that this chapter of their lives is over and Sutton is out of the picture.

3. Check Your Attitude at the Door! Mariah's constant bad-mouthing of Abby and whining about why she wasn't chosen to watch over Dominic when Abby left town was a big bummer this month. She really should have given Abby more of a break and let her grieve the loss of her husband in the way she needed to.

4. Nick/Phyllis/Jack Love Triangle Redux. Although I do think Jack and Phyllis ultimately belong together, the way the writers went about this revamped love triangle did not sit right with me. But something tells me there are still some surprises coming our way for this trio...

The Best of November 2021

1. A Second Chance. Against all odds, Abby managed to track down a very-much-alive Chance in Spain! I am really enjoying Connor Floyd in the role of Chance already! The many scenes of Chance's family and friends learning he was alive were some of my favorites of the year. This was a satisfying conclusion after all they had been through throughout the year, even if I didn't like some of the storyline choices along the way. I'm excited to see what's next for Chance and Abby now that he is back in town.

2. Caught in a Web of Lies. Although it was frustrating to see Billy not let up on his vendetta against Ashland, Victor, and Adam, it was a lot of fun to watch them all fool him into thinking he'd bested them (with the help of Jesse Gaines, who played double agent for the trio of moguls). I hope this is the last we see of Jesse, though!

3. Bidding Wars (Part Three). Jill returns to town and takes no prisoners! It was so great to have Jess Walton back on our screens! I loved that she started a bidding war over ChanceComm and showed Adam she wouldn't just lay back and let him pick at the pieces of the company he helped to dismantle. More Jill in 2022, please!

That's all from me this week, folks! Since we are only halfway through December, I will discuss this month more in my next column. Do you agree with my picks for Best & Worst throughout the rest of the year? Hit the comments and let me know what you thought worked well -- and what didn't work at all! -- on Y&R in 2021! And please be sure to check out Nel's Best and Worst of Y&R column to see what she picked as the tops and flops of 2021.

Until next time,
Vance

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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.

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