I did not start this year writing a Two Scoops column. I started watching as a fan, just like the rest of you, so I wasn't making notes. I didn't review what had happened. I started writing this column late in the year then realized even later that I would need to write a best and worst column. That meant I had to read over the Soap Central recaps for 2018 to jog my memory, and my goodness, a lot happened, and a lot of it felt like it happened way before 2018. So here, in no particular order and with no particular categories, are my picks for the best and worst of 2018.
Best: Every Day Is Not A New Day
The decision to have every episode of The Young and the Restless be a new day in Genoa City was innovative and even somewhat daring. Every soap fan at one time or another has seen one soap day turn into days and even weeks in real life. But Y&R's "new day" approach made for awkward pacing and incomplete stories. It was something new that didn't work, at least for this viewer. From what I've heard, I'm not alone! So the decision to stop that "every day is a new day" storytelling approach was a welcome change -- or is it a welcome unchange?
What I'd like to see in 2019: More storyline-dictated pacing. Don't rush it, don't skip stuff, and don't drag. It. Out. Forever. (see: Worst Long Story below)
Best Dose of Real: Hilary's Death and Devon's Grief
Mishael Morgan wanted out, so I respect that. There was nobody else who could have been Hilary, so killing her was the best choice (the character wasn't going to walk away). Her baby drama was good, with Sam causing the baby urge to spring to life in her. I disliked Lily and Cane interfering in the insemination process and was uncomfortable with sex in a loveless relationship to procreate, but it was better when Hilary and Devon realized their love for each other. That Devon lost both his love and his child was powerful, and he won't recover anytime soon. Hilary reconciling with Cane, Lily, and Neil before she died was appropriate. The hospital marriage? Beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. It was a well-done departure, and Devon's grief is appropriate because there is no checklist or timeline for grief.
What I'd like to see in 2019: Devon continuing to heal from his grief, not forget Hilary, but continue to heal. Possibly Devon learning to love again, perhaps with Summer when she returns with Billy's baby. Not immediately, but the pairing could work as long as Summer has grown up a lot, which might be in the works in Dubai.
Worst "Family Support": Cane with Devon
Cane pushed widower Devon to forgive and forget because Lily was uncomfortable, not paying much attention to the fact that Devon's wife was dead. Yes, it's a bummer Lily is in jail. But Hilary and her baby are dead. Maybe let Devon feel what he has to feel instead of telling him what he has to feel. Cane is part of why his wife is in jail; if they had been honest up-front instead of him pushing the kids to lie about what happened, this story might have had a different ending. And again, Devon's wife is dead. He doesn't have to bend over backwards to make Lily feel comforted. Not yet. Cane was too much.
What I'd like to see in 2019: Cane processes more of his own mistakes (covering up his fling with Juliet, making Lily raise his baby from said fling, making the kids lie for him) and deal with his preexisting relationship issues, Devon working things out organically with Lily and developing a more normal but still changed relationship with her, Lily working toward prison reform after what she had to do to survive there. Oh, and hey, Neil could return!
Worst Long Story: J.T.'s "Death" and the Fearsome Foursome
I did not like J.T. returning as an abuser. Whether it was a medical condition or medication, I'd like to know what it was (so that's one reason I don't want him dead). I totally get Nikki defending her daughter. I would do the same. However, I would not listen to Phyllis' harebrained scheme to get rid of the body. This idea just snowballed and grew worse. I have contended all along that this would have been justifiable homicide. The coverups, the lies, the paranoia, the fear, all unnecessary. However, Nick's costume of J.T. in the creation of Dark Horse was hilarious, even though that was part of what led to his breakup with Sharon. Victoria had PTSD from the abuse then she didn't after one karate lesson with Nate. To me, the story all seemed like a mess, but it's gone on forever.
What I'd like to see in 2019: J.T. is alive and planted the shirt with his blood (how would his blood be on a shirt he hadn't been wearing at the time of his death when there wasn't even blood on his clothes then?) and the gun at the site of the stables he burned down. He actually hit Nikki, not Reed. He is coming after the others, but they catch on and stop him. Phyllis declared him dead, so he might not be. Yes, digging out would have been hard, but maybe those meds he was on gave him super powers (steroids, perhaps? That would explain some of his rage). I'd like him to face charges for what he did. And I want this story to end.
Best Surprise: I Ain't Got No Body
When the ladies dug up the grave and J.T. wasn't there, that was the best thing that happened in the story.
What I'd like to see in 2019: The end of this story.
Most Brutal Revenge Plot: Who's Jack Abbott's Father
The lengths Ashley went to for this showed a level of cruelty I had not expected in her. Ruining Charlie's dream of being a filmmaker, destroying the beauty of Abby's efforts at filming Dina's memories while they were still there, just for the sake of unseating Jack and making him see the Blood Abbott Clause was wrong... it was too much. I will not be upset if I never hear "Blood Abbott Clause" again, though. Never would be too soon. This led to Billy as CEO, which relaxed the workplace a bit (not sure the popcorn machine was the key) and set up the Jaboutiques, which add life to the Jabot brand, which it probably needed. Had John not been Jack's father, the story would only have worked if Jack and Victor were brothers -- their battles would have continued with greater intensity.
What I'd like to see in 2019: More Dina, maybe some ghost John visits, Jack continuing his efforts to unite the family. They're on the right track right now.
Most Uncomfortable Moments: Billy's Gambling
I did not like Summer luring him back to gambling. I did not like the loss of Jaboat to gambling or the subsequent rewinning. I did not like Kyle luring Billy deeper in to the point of no return. I really disliked Phyllis as gambling cheerleader in Vegas.
What I'd like to see in 2019: No gambling. Billy working on his demons. Kyle not being devious anymore. Kyle and Billy working toward being friends.
Most Hilarious Moment That Shouldn't Have Been Hilarious: Victor Falling Down the Stairs
I'm reminded of this by the replays in the Y&R ad during the show. I knew he wasn't dead, or it wouldn't have been funny. That whole story, with Jack's arrest and J.T. shutting off life support, was intriguing.
What I'd like to see in 2019: J.T. facing the consequences for domestic violence and attempted murder. Then perhaps the charges being dropped for the underlying medical reason.
Best Recast: Kyle
Kyle came back as a jerk with a plot against his father (with Victor, of all people). I won't pretend his motives have been good. I don't know why he came back with the chip on his shoulder (there are probably many reasons, but we didn't see them). However, despite doing some bad things during the year, he also did some good things. He has some work to do to earn the family's trust still, but I think he's on the right path. He seems to have a good heart for his friends. I can't even name what it is, but I like Michael Mealor in the role, and I can't see anyone else in the role now. In all honesty, Mealor's Kyle reminds me of Justin Hartley's Adam in a lot of ways, and I think the show needs someone like that. He won't be perfect, but he has a heart.
What I'd like to see in 2019: Fewer vests (that seems to already be happening) and possibly Lola giving him a real chance. And if she can't, I'd like him to be paired with someone who isn't Summer. But I'd like him in a healthy relationship, and eventually, I'd like him to advance at Jabot.
Other Best Recast: Ana
I'm digging Ana. I hope she'll sing, because if they brought on a successful American Idol candidate and are just using her as a producer and administrative assistant, they're wasting her talent. I love the easy rapport with Devon, and from what Loren Lott says, it's genuine.
What I'd like to see in 2019: I would like to see Ana not only successfully write for and produce Fen's album but also sing with him on it. And I'd like it to be a hit.
Most Ambivalent Recast: Nate
Nate can come across as sanctimonious and perfect. He clashed with Hilary and Victoria. I like that he is the Newmans' private doctor. I really didn't like him teaming up with Ana when Devon had a hangover. I was glad for the family Christmas, even though it might not have been what any of them would have envisioned. But I don't care for Nate much of the time, even though I want to.
What I'd like for 2019: Keep Nate, but keep him as Newman family physician, friend to Victoria (not romantically), and cousin to Nate and Ana. Perhaps pair him with Lola if she can't work things out with Kyle. I could actually see that working, even though I can't recall if I've ever seen them together. Let him work through his own grief a little more so Devon can feel that Nate isn't telling him what to feel but is instead projecting; perhaps they could be friends (not just cousins) as a result. The show would benefit from more people having allies.
Best Return: Reed
I know people disliked Reed earlier this year, and he was a little on the emo side. However, he grew up a bit while away, and I like his friendship with Charlie. I think the emo side of him works well as the guilt of hitting Nikki eats away at him (but I'd like J.T. to have been the real guilty party, even though Reed should not have been driving). The irony of Reed hitting the woman who killed his father would not be a bad plot device, but I'd definitely like him to realize he hadn't done it but be so scared that he doesn't do something stupid like driving in a blizzard with a suspended license again.
What I'd like to see in 2019: Reed working out his complex feelings for Nikki and J.T. before returning to school as well as during his summer break. I like him and Mattie as friends, and I really like him and Charlie as friends, not verbal sparring partners.
Worst Return: Summer
She came in with a flash of grand theft auto and immediately went after Mom's man. She seemed ungrounded, unsure of what she really wanted. Eventually, she thought she really had something with Billy, but it was just revenge on his part. I want to say he was wrong, but she pursued him so long when she was in the wrong that I can't 100% blame him. It was disturbing, though. Her bet with Kyle that she'd bed Billy in a month was disturbing.
What I'd like to see in 2019: I'd like to see Summer have Billy's baby from their one-night stand. It's disturbing on many levels, but the story potential it would open would be amazing. I absolutely don't want them together, but another Abbott/Newman baby is overdue. The number of people who would want revenge on Billy would be amazing, and if he's worked on himself enough, he could work out every conflict, hopefully not perfectly.
Best Transformation: Billy
I didn't like Billy with Phyllis. I like that he is a friend now to Sharon and a healthy co-parent with Victoria. Jason Thompson seems to have natural rapport with kids. I like that after screwing up by screwing Summer, he seems to be showing the caring heart he had when he was Billy Miller. Part of me still expects Summer shall have his baby. That would be a hot mess storyline for 2019, and part of me hopes it will happen. The fallout will be all drama, all the time. I love Billy with Reed. Love it. He's the way a stepfather should be. And who knows, the way things are looking, Billy and Victoria might give it another go, but whether they do or not, I hope the relationship with Reed stays strong. Reed needs it.
What I'd like to see in 2019: Maybe a healthy, supportive friend relationship with Victoria. I'd like Billy to take time for his recovery, focus on the things in his life that make him run off the rails so much, learn healthy life skills, then perhaps be ready to enter into a healthy relationship with someone, whether it's Victoria or another. And, of course, parenting his child with Summer, who I do not want to see him in a relationship with. He's been with her mom. Just eww.
Favorite Character: Mariah
I just really like her. She seems almost too good to be true, wanting to be good to everyone and do the right thing, even when it's hard. She's pretty, she's witty, and she is overall just enjoyable in scenes.
What I'd like to see in 2019: Mariah and Tessa broken up and Mariah in a healthy relationship, and I don't care if it's with a male or female partner. I'd like to see her happy and secure. Heck, if Kyle and Lola don't work out, perhaps he's grown enough to be worthy of her.
Least Favorite Character: Phyllis
I didn't like her with Billy. I don't like her with Nick (rebound power couple? Not so much). I didn't like her with Summer. I don't like her as CEO. I didn't like her insistence that the Fearsome Foursome bury J.T.'s body. I guess I just didn't like Phyllis this year. Perhaps it's her insecurity, but it might be other things. Whatever the reason, she's the one I like the least.
What I'd like to see in 2019: Phyllis not CEO of Jabot. I'm all for women's rights. I just don't think she's got what it takes. She wasn't the only one who courted Kerry for her job. She is using Billy's ideas. I'd like to see her single for a bit, but I can't imagine she'd be able to do it. She seems to need a relationship to feel like she matters, independent of her libido.
Least Favorite Plot Device: Overuse of text messaging to forward story
It seems to happen daily, multiple times. Sure, we talk by text with our people now, but I know a rule of good storytelling is "show, don't tell." Texting tells. Sure, a text that someone else reads, totally awesome plot device, because you show their reaction then you show the things they do to retaliate (like reading a misplaced love note back in the day). A message that reminds a character to be somewhere or tries to find someone who is asleep instead of at the date they're supposed to be at (accompanied by phone call attempts), fine. But dialogue? All the time? Not so much.
What I'd like to see in 2019: Less text messaging, both on the show and in real life. Maybe we could talk to each other more?
Most Interesting Plot Device: Young Abbott Flashbacks
I wasn't sure when I first saw the flashbacks, honestly, but as they were interwoven over time, they told so much of what planted the seeds for the grownup Abbott issues. Mom having "Jacky" as her favorite, Dad having Ashley as his favorite ("my beauty" felt creepy to me, in all honesty), and Traci being the little one who was ignored but saw everything... it explained Jack and Ashley's grownup clashes. It explained Traci being more comfortable in her pretend world of books and planted the seeds for her success as a writer. I thought the roles were well casted.
What I'd like to see in 2019: Judicious and limited use of flashbacks, but don't leave them out!
Least Favorite Departure: Ashley
I feel that there had to be patents she didn't own. I feel she would have had some compassion for her family company, knowing she had the ability to make more products, even if she took some patents with her. The highlight was her raising the glass at the airplane window. Another highlight was sort of fixing things with Jack and the rest of her family. Starting her own company was appropriate. And I do realize that without that challenge, without needing to scramble to find a plan, the Jabot story would be boring, so this did forward the action and drama. I had just hoped there would be more love and affection when Eileen Davidson left after so many years.
What I'd like to see in 2019: Eileen Davidson left of her own volition. If she wants to visit, she can, but I'd like to hear that her business is doing okay and get an update now and again while she is away.
Most Unceremonious Departure: Paul
Blink and you missed it. Forty years, and that's the thanks Doug Davidson got. Not okay.
What I'd like to see in 2019: Paul's return. Oh, and how about some good storylines for him, too. It's okay if he has to work with Rey.
Worst Relationship Idea: Nikki and Victor's open relationship
Just ugh. I didn't want to see Nikki with Arturo. I don't want Victor with any more women. They've been through too many lovers for me to care about them as a couple if they haven't grown through it all and become solid. It's time to settle down and grow old(er) together. There's plenty of drama for them to be involved in even if they stay happily married. They've proven that many times over the years!
What I'd like to see in 2019: Victor and Nikki as a real, solid, loving power couple, not always supporting each other's choices, but staying together and faithful to one another.
Best Couple: Abby and Arturo
Okay, so this was a little icky at the start, with Arturo having repeatedly bedded Abby's stepmother, but really, they're cute together. They're supportive of each other. They're from different worlds, but they work it out. He believes in and supports her dreams. She believes in and supports his dreams.
What I'd like to see in 2019: Since they seem like the healthiest couple on the show at this time, I'd like them to stay together and continue working things out. I'd like Mia to not be a factor interfering in their relationship (please). He doesn't want to get married, but maybe they will do that someday and have a little baby Abturo or Arby.
Worst Couple: Mariah and Tessa
If Sharon hadn't been in on the kidnapping, they'd be Splitsville. Now, primarily to defend Tessa against her evil mother, Mariah stays in a relationship that is absolutely filled with lies, and I don't see that changing. In 2019, I'd like Tessa to either stop the schemes and lying and become a better person (her music for Lola and at the hospital for Nikki at Christmas were positive steps in this direction) or to end things for real, and for Mariah to let her if that's the case.
What I'd like to see in 2019: Either make them a solid couple or break them up. Mariah is kind of the sweetest person on the show, and I hate seeing sweet people mistreated (even though it happens to them the most). In all honesty, I think it's time to end them. The stolen journal, the repeated lies, the blackmail...it's enough. Just let Sharon accept it, and maybe it can die a natural death.
Most Uncomfortable Couple: Jack and Kerry
Yes, they have a spark together, but I can't get over the age difference. He gets a goofy grin, and they both love fine wines, but he could easily be her father. I know age is irrelevant on soaps (hello, Nikki and Arturo, also contenders for this category, #thankyouverymuch), but I can't not see it. Sometimes I'm close, but then it fades. What I'd like to see in 2019: I'd like to see them each find someone else in 2019.
Most Indecisive Couple: Lola and Kyle
Yes, I'm indecisive about them. I keep wanting to like this couple, but then something else happens, and it gets in the way. The most recent was her walking because he gave her a purse that was expensive. Yes, they come from different worlds. If he gave her a five-dollar gift, she'd feel insulted. I've felt uncomfortable (ahem, this year) at giving a less expensive gift than I received, but I accepted it in the spirit in which it was given, recognizing that I make less money than the person who gave it to me, and it was given in love. Kyle's been patient with her wanting to wait for sex because he thinks she's worth it. He's tolerated her brothers. He's stuck around when other guys haven't. I know I like Kyle, so I'm biased. I know she has her dreams and her goals, but those are starting to come true. Kyle is going out of his way to be romantic and think up loving ideas. He makes a lot of money. He's from a rich family. To me, that shouldn't be a deal-breaker, but perhaps I don't get it, either (full disclosure: I'm not from a wealthy family).
What I'd like to see in 2019: I'd like to see Lola get over her insecurities and accept Kyle, and for them to try to navigate this relationship. She seems very immature, and I'm not talking about being a virgin -- I respect that. I'd like to see him with someone who isn't Summer.
Couple I'd like to see: Fen and Ana
The spark is there. I don't want Fen with Lola (he's a player, and she needs to grow up some more before she can be mixed into that mess... if she'll ever fit). I think Fen and Ana could make beautiful music, both in the studio and in the bedroom. They look right together, and she softens Fen's edges a little.
What I'd like to see in 2019: Fen and Ana as a power couple in the music industry. I want it to build slowly, but I'd like to give this pairing a try. I'd like him to have her back with Devon and for her to have his.
Things I don't have time for but which were noteworthy in 2018:
• Graham died when Dina defended herself against his attempt at murdering her then shut off his life support
• Dina's Alzheimer's story continues to be amazing
• Homeless Kathy, who Sharon took in, vanished
• The charity Nikki and Nick started is invisible now
• Ravi is gone, but I'd like him back
• Noah is gone, but I'd like him back
• Victoria battling Ashley and Abby because of the insecurities Victor planted in all his children
• Victor somehow getting custody of Christian; it was good this wrong was righted
• Jack and Victoria framing Ashley
• In the #metoo era, it wasn't okay for Hilary to be complicit in Juliet's case, pushing her to punish Cane when there was no advantage-taking; it invalidates the countless real cases, and the show could have done this better
• Chelsea's bizarre departure, including knocking Sharon out
• Crystal...perhaps Tessa should move in with her for a while
• Rey and Mia, about whom I'm ambivalent
• The warm connections between Dina and Kyle, Abby, and even Kerry, but also Jack, although I feel sad for Traci, who she forgot first
• The Abby/Lola friendship; as I've said, we need more friendships on this show
Biggest Two Scoops Change: Boone's departure
This change was sad for the site and her fans but fortuitous for me because it afforded me the opportunity to share with you every other week. Please, Boone, don't be a stranger! I'd gladly give you a guest spot if you wanted it. Thank you to all the readers who read what I have to say, share it, comment on it -- let's keep sharing the love for this show we love so much.
Until we meet again, I wish you all a happy New Year, and I hope your dreams for the year come true -- including a year of all the drama we can handle on The Young and the Restless.
What are your thoughts on The Young and the Restless? What did you think of this week's Two Scoops? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.