It's interesting, but there are a lot of things this year that I found both good and bad, so I'm going to point out the highlights and lowlights together. You might not agree with me, and by all means, let me know how you feel, whether you agree, disagree, or think I'm off my rocker completely. What works for one of us might not work for another, and that's what makes the plot go 'round!
Most Dragged-Out Pointless Plotline: The whole J.T. murder situation, which had started in 2018, dragged on a bit. We started the year with Victor in jail for killing J.T. There was a memorial service, with disclosures of abuse. Tessa was involved in extortion. The ladies were arrested after Phyllis saved her butt, getting herself immunity in the process. Nikki wrote a heartfelt letter to the grandkids, recalling her life story, which was a good recognition of years of performances. But it dominated plot for a long time.
Strangest Return from the Dead: J.T.'s anticipated return from the dead at the Abbott cabin was suspenseful. The gas leak he caused after experiencing head pain was dramatic, but we knew the ladies wouldn't all die. I found it surprising that the brain tumor did not keep him out of jail, because usually that's how it plays out in soaps. Oops, my bad! The brain tumor made me do it. But instead, he's doing time.
Quickest Mental Health Recovery: Victoria dabbled in PTSD after the events with J.T. She checked into a Vegas hotel, became a rocker girl, then returned to her senses because of Billy's love. It hasn't really come up again, but things happen super fast in a soap.
Best Frenemies: It was a bad look when Jack taunted Victor in jail, but it was great when Jack had drinks with Victor at Society. They formed a strange not quite friendship but connection of sorts, and the show benefited from it.
Worst Use of Virginity: Lola and Kyle started the year at odds (it started over a purse, as I recall, at Christmas 2018). There was drama about virginal Lola not putting out and horndog Kyle being frustrated by waiting. Lola's virginity was a plot point, which was utterly ridiculous. A man should be honored that a woman would wait for the right man, if he was the right man. I know a lot of women who would undo some of their bad sex choices if they could. Sex did happen before marriage, and they moved in together (all before his divorce was official). They had some bonding moments as they stumbled through some DIY projects, which was cute because Kyle had never had to do that stuff and chose to for her. But the "shame" of being a virgin when she was not ashamed of it was unfortunate.
Most Uncertainty of How to Use a Character: Ana. Ana and Devon fighting over Fen's music was ugly. Ana's songwriter "friend" was a messy plot point. Ana's refusal to sing was somewhat of a disappointment (why bring in a singer and just have her act?), although when she did, it was only in snippets and wasn't really singing so much as making noises to music. When we learned music legend Jett Slade was her father, she was helping with his throat surgery, and their pride permitted no help from Devon, it only sort of made sense. But it did open the door for Jett and Elena to move in with Devon, and Elena and Devon are a cute couple. However, in a weird on-the-road-illness moment, Ana jetted off to help Jett and was never seen again.
Weirdest Home Construction: The hidden camera in the Newman walls and Katie's special in-the-wall friend were strange, clearly related to J.T., and never fully resolved (why was there space like that in the walls of new construction?), but it did convince Nick and Victor of J.T.'s non-dead status and helped move that plot along a bit.
Worst Impersonating Heartbreaker: Kerry was the magical chemist who manipulated Jack and "created" the "Jack of Hearts" fragrance to show her feelings for him. I do wonder what really was in her syringes, and I'm not sure it was for saving her eggs. Turns out she was Dominique, not a scientist at all but a plant from Ashley, who owned all the products that Kerry hadn't really made. Nobody was every held accountable. It was just more fodder for the Abbott sibling feud fire.
Weirdest Company Leadership: The game of Musical Jabot CEO Chairs was messy. I think it went like this: Phyllis, Jack, Kyle, Billy and Kyle (right after Billy disclosed his break from reality and despite Kyle doing fine work on his own), Jack, Kyle and Jack. That's just in 2019. I'm not sure how they have investor or customer loyalty, honestly.
Least Sympathetic Insecure Spouse: Mia was still around when the year started, which was a bummer. I never found anything sympathetic about her. She had a vow renewal with Rey after having sex with Arturo. The sex they had felt like a rewrite because Arturo had been struggling with feelings of guilt over an almost-kiss, but they made a baby that night. She was jealous of Arturo and Abby's ill-timed engagement. She was always jealous of Abby being with Arturo. She wanted the idea of Rey, but she really wanted Arturo. A lot.
Messiest Chain of Events: Mia shoving Lola into the pool was absolutely intentional, in my mind. It led to the liver transplant after the awkward Kyle/Summer wedding (he wasn't going to perform husbandly duties but did on the wedding night). There was a short-lived problem with Summer's surgery, which could have been dramatic but was resolved quickly. And after the surgery, both Summer and Lola have had a fair amount of alcohol consumption, which wouldn't be advised in most liver surgery situations, at least not as fast as it happened! It all just zoomed past and made little sense.
Justice? I didn't like that even when Lola, Abby, and the police knew that Mia had pushed Lola, thinking her to be Abby, Mia walked. I didn't like the brothers covering up that crime. I absolutely think Rey deserved to be fired for the cover-up, but I think Paul should have made Mia face some justice, even if it was just mandated anger management and probation. I'm not sad she and Arturo are gone, and it's good the baby is healthy.
Worst Betrayal Response: I disliked when Abby hammered Arturo's truck. I get that she was mad at his lies, but that is also a crime that should not go unpunished. I understand the impulse. I had thoughts when I was cheated on by a spouse, but I didn't act on those thoughts.
Lamest Beefcake Moments: The time when Kyle and Fen were substitute models was kind of embarrassing. Kyle does seem to have a lot of insecurity, even still.
Best Relationship Counselor: I liked Mariah as a relationship counselor and friend to both Kyle and Devon. She is a solid, honest person whose advice is actually helpful.
Oddest Police Investigations: I questioned the role of the police in the Newman plots. Rey worked with Billy and Nick to prove J.T. was alive. Paul worked with Victor to prove Adam's medication switch. Somehow, it was bad when Rey did it, but it was okay for Paul. It's good to be boss.
Biggest Heartbreak: The loss of Neil and the real-life death of Kristoff St. John was perhaps the saddest thing that happened this year. I appreciated the returns of beloved characters and actors and felt it was a good tribute.
Best Return: Paul. It was good to have him back.
Blink and You Missed It: Mariah had a stalker for a minute, but Tessa scared him away. I have known people who stalked celebrities. It didn't end that quickly.
Hypocrisy Much? It was okay for Rey to tattle to the police about J.T.'s death and Sharon's role, breaking her confidence, but it was not okay for Sharon to talk about Mia pushing Lola when he told her about it.
Most Poignant: I've enjoyed watching, if you can call it "enjoying," the Abbott family response to Dina's decline. It's heartbreaking but moving.
Best Independent Businesswoman: Society and the Grand Phoenix are a hit. Abby is shining as her own businessperson, not tied to family (dad is accepting it, not undermining her as he did to Nick's business efforts). I might have some issues with the boys' club mentality, but I like that she's making a go of things on her own.
Biggest Surprise Return from the Dead: The secret Vegas patient was memory-loss Adam. When Adam was shot, he magically got his memories back. However, he doesn't appear to have been a straight shooter even without the memories.
Biggest Missing the Mark: Tessa returned to singing, and Ana made inane attempts to change her image, which were inconsistent with her folk-like music style.
Best Non-Wedding: Victoria and Billy's un-wedding was just right for them.
Weirdest Connection: Cane and Lily broke up, which had to happen if she was leaving the show. The weird part was when Cane and Victoria kissed, and Billy tattled about it to the jailed Lily.
Most Uncomfortable Fantasy Story:Traci's Cane fantasy novel was awkward to watch. I was relieved when she rejected his offer of a date.
Biggest Missed Plot Potential: Phyllis' knockoff of Jabot Collective accessories. This is a show that thrives on corporate intrigue, and the potential for more intriguing story was shut down too fast here. The culprit was discovered instantly, and she just stopped what she was doing, with no impact on anyone. I would have preferred her doing this to helping Adam.
Best Grief: Devon is grieving, which is creating challenges with his new relationship, but he is trying nonetheless. And he recognizes his grief isn't going to just vanish. It's been a process, and it was made worse when Neil died, but he continues to plug away, with moments of sadness and anxiety in the midst.
Worst New Character: Theo. Ugh. He came in to help with social media influencers for Kyle and Summer, who were working at Jabot. He became Ana's mentor (and how old is he?). But he also blabbed to Celeste about Lola's health crisis. He taunted Kyle for growing up, but he also lusted after the woman who motivated Kyle to grow up. He tried to manipulate his way into Mariah's job. He hit on Tessa. He got involved with Adrian to get information on Lola and share dirt about Kyle. He seems like a manipulative opportunist party boy without a lot of potential for honesty. I'm not a fan. I still wish he'd gone to Paris.
Excessive Rebound Relationships: Theo and Summer after the abrupt end of Summer's brief marriage to Kyle. Nate and Abby (after Abby said not too fast) after the end of her engagement to and relationship with Arturo. Phyllis and Nick in their "power couple" situation after... yikes, which breakups were these? Chelsea and Nick right after her husband's sudden death. Devon and Elena as he grieved his late wife. Some of these pairings might make it (I hope Devon and Elena do)
Fastest Job Training Ever: Mariah was out at GC Buzz and in as head of Power Communications...because she put her loved ones in a good light? No training, but she was a good fit, right?
Best Acting Switch: New old Phyllis. I am glad to see Michelle Stafford back. I'm not a huge fan of the character of Phyllis, as is obvious from my writing. However, Gina Tognoni played her as a little angrier, and I find her more sympathetic with Michelle Stafford's slightly mentally unhinged version.
Worst Sweet Gesture: Devon paying off Elena's school debt was a source of conflict. I get her pride. I would let him pay my debt because he can, but for her, it felt too invasive.
Most Fun Returns: I'm glad Chloe and Kevin are back, in spite of the brief kidnappings and legal situations that got them there. Enough was cleared up that they can stick around, not that we see them much...
Biggest Failed Opportunity: Jack and Mallory connected because they both had parents with Alzheimer's. This potential healthy connection was gone when her father died and she moved to be near her kids. I think she could have been a stable partner for Jack, who could use that after Kerry/Dominique (and perhaps Phyllis, Sharon, and a few others over the years).
Strangest Connection: Phyllis became Dark Horse CEO and I wondered, Why does Nick keep forgiving her? I know they have a kid together, but seriously.
Best Parent Moment: Esther learning Chloe was alive. Most people who lose a child don't have the child return from the dead. The return was powerful for Esther, for sure.
Best Potential Use of Mental Health: Oddly, I didn't mind Devon's panic attacks and Hilary sightings; the decrease in intensity and frequency could be used to show the effectiveness of learning and using behavioral techniques if mental health wasn't used primarily as a plot device, which I dislike. Many, many people struggle with mental health challenges. Showing disorders in a sympathetic light and showing successful treatment could go a long way to normalizing it enough for more people to seek treatment.
Most Amazing Educational Achievement: Sharon's magical master's degree, when there wasn't mention of school after her graduation until she almost had the degree. Also, who really turns to her for advice other than Adam who did it first as a way to maybe get between her and Rey and get into her pants, and perhaps Billy, whose judgment is suspect? I see more people turning to Mariah for advice, so perhaps the wrong family member is pursuing counseling as a career. Although Sharon has been toned down a lot to fit in the role. This is not the off-the-rails bipolar Sharon who burned down the Newman ranch, to be sure! Redemption is good, so I hope she works well as a counselor.
Best Introduction of New/Short-Term Characters: I liked the arrival of Celeste as a surprise at the bridal shower and of papa Adrian Rosales at Lola's wedding. Their stays were short, their characters were consistent with what had been talked about, and we gained insight into the characters' dysfunction by meeting their parents. It was much better than the abrupt introduction of Rey and Mia and the way they almost immediately dominated plot. Even if they brought the parents back more or longer, we knew about them before we met them, so they weren't a big surprise.
Best Moment of Grace: Lola welcoming Summer to stay at the bridal shower.
Weirdest Character Introduction: Calvin. Chelsea was anxious around him, he talked to Adam and wanted Connor with Adam, then he conveniently died and she was conveniently rich. Nothing more was explored other than that Connor seemed to like him. Chelsea could have returned as a rich widow just as easily.
Worst Mental Health Situation: Billy's dissociative identity disorder, complete with the weird Delia messages and doll. The stolen handkerchief and murder attempt led to a miraculous recovery in a boathouse with his loving wife by his side as he battled his demons.
Most Pointless Dropped Plot Point: Lola's cooking videos came and went.
Most Annoying Words: Social. Media. Influencers. Don't like them in real life. Don't like them on the show. Wouldn't be upset if I didn't hear the words again. We are swayed by others in general, but now we can be swayed by others' manipulation on a mass scale while thinking we're being let in on a secret or entertained or even that we're laughing at someone. We have politics by social media, style by social media, shopping by social media. And we don't talk to each other anymore. Okay, rant over.
Most Insignificant Secret: Kyle and Theo paid the father off after a party girl who passed out drunk was discovered to be underaged. Surely more than the two of them would be responsible. (Why did Dad accept a payoff, for example, and how did she get into their party circle?) And there was no legal case filed. All that angst and... nothing happened. No, kids shouldn't be passed-out drunk, but it seemed like something so much bigger.
Most Interesting Upcoming Story: The Adam and Chance connection should be bringing some mystery into the new year. What happens in Vegas won't stay in Vegas if Phyllis has something to say about it (and since she's got nothing else to do right, now...). We know Adam bailed Chance out after Chance was arrested for assault, but there has to be more to the story than that. Adam is making sure "she" is being paid to keep her silence (maybe Riza, who we met before).
Worst Wasted Opportunity: The Jabot merger negotiations happened off-screen in Paris. This is a show that thrives on business dealings, and we didn't see them. There could have been more interesting drama in this than in much of the other stuff we saw on-screen.
Most Temporarily Stable Couples: I like Rey and Sharon together. Sure, they have had issues, but they support each other, and while there isn't high drama (except perhaps around Adam), they work. Mariah and Tessa, who are not seen together much, seem to be a solid couple.
Worst Wedding: Kyle and Summer's (but Abby's eye-rolling did provide amusement).
Best Wedding: Kyle and Lola's. She's who he wanted to be with all along. Is it weird that Kyle made all the arrangements instead of Lola? Sure. But it still worked.
Best Kid: Christian. I just love that little kid. The actor is adorable.
Worst Kid: Connor. He had school fights and locked Christian in the garage. He got a broken arm because he thought he was invincible. He is rewarded for manipulating his parents to be together. He got to move in with Adam at his insistence. He lied about Sharon abusing him. Adam is no saint now, but by all accounts, he was a good kid. I would not be surprised if Connor ended up as the star of a true crime story someday not too far in the future.
Best (and Maybe Worst) Girl Power: Victoria and Phyllis selling Dark Horse properties to Newman. Phyllis sold the Jaboutique properties to Jabot. However, Adam tricked Phyllis out of tricking him out of the Grand Phoenix. And Phyllis claimed she did all the work for the Grand Phoenix, but Nick did the bulk of it at the beginning, and Phyllis and Abby put on the finishing touches when Nick lost his company. Also, Phyllis had to get a stake in the hotel by trickery.
Worst Grand Opening: The Grand Phoenix. Zoe, who was butt-hurt at not being "in," drugged the drinks (but she brought the drugs, so it was clearly premeditated).
Best Use of Charity: New Hope. I don't know about where you are, but both where I live and where I work, there is a significant shortage in affordable housing. I like that this is not a handout, it's just a helping hand. I like Devon and Nick partnering on it.
Worst Legal Ramifications: Phyllis is never held accountable for hacking (getting Dark Horse for Adam, for instance). She hacked Nate's tablet (that Adam obviously stole, also without consequences), which enabled the drug switch that led to the faked death. This is a federal crime -- a HIPAA violation -- and her role should be punished. But everyone walks. She hacked the security footage of Zoe spiking the drinks, and it went missing. Phyllis used it to get part ownership and a suite -- a reward for her hard hacking work.
Best Family Drama: Victoria applied pressure and convinced Victor to step back and keep her as permanent CEO. At the same time, she is devoted to Billy and encourages him (even while not noticing his mental instability...but perhaps she's seeing it and hoping she can motivate him to be okay).
Worst Husband Moment: Kyle ordering Lola to stay away from Theo might prove to be less effective than alerting her to his techniques. Also, what healthy man orders his wife to stay away from someone? We ask. We plead. We petition. We don't order. He is not her drill sergeant.
Best Use of an Education: Elena, who graduated from medical school, resumed the practice of medicine, despite some insecurity. We need more doctors than just Nate, who was brought to town as the Newmans' private physician.
Worst Family Rewrite: Making Theo Dina's grandson after she gave up an illegitimate child for adoption. Why isn't the Brooks family taking Theo under their wing? He is not an Abbott, but he is being treated like one. Trying to force Kyle to accept him now that they're cousins instead of gently encouraging it is kind of like him ordering Lola to stay away -- might not be so effective. This storyline also makes Dina look less sympathetic, and she doesn't need that.
Most Wasted Opportunity: Nick's brief run for City Council. He walked away like he'd never really cared about it. Perhaps he really did just want to work at New Hope.
Weirdest Criminal Moments: Chelsea got dirty money from Calvin. Kevin laundered the money, but the government seized it from the bank. Simon showed up, demanding it, leading to a hostage situation. The only bonus I see coming from this is that Simon told about Colin's dirty dealings in the scam surrounding Katherine's will.
Loneliest Dudes: Adam proposed to Sharon. Now he wants Chelsea. It seems he really just wants a partner (who isn't Phyllis). I think Nate needs a partner. Elena is taken, Amanda is more into Billy, Abby has moved on with Chance (and that wasn't going to work, anyway, due to Nate's scruples). So, I think it's time to introduce an available and appropriate lady for the handsome doctor.
Worst Evidence of Parenting: The case for custody of Christian, with Adam blackmailing Michael to throw Nick under the bus, using video footage of Nick in the J.T. mask, and plotting all kinds of photo manipulation (including against the judge). It was upsetting that Sharon agreed to guardianship of Christian for Adam, but no matter because Victoria was judge's choice, although she allowed unequal visitation. In the end, Christian ended up where he should have been, in my opinion. I'd love if a blood test showed he was Nick's because both Adam and Victor had changed the original.
Strangest Skate Away from Justice: Victor's blood disorder led to a murder attempt and a faked death, and in the end, it doesn't even matter. Victor "died" for what? So Adam could leave town forever for a couple days then return for the son he wasn't fighting so hard for and show terrible parenting skills by indulging the child's every whim.
Best Reunion: Chloe and Chelsea's reunion as friends after Chelsea let some things off her chest. We get by with a little help from our friends.
Most Frustrating Story: The will debacle. Why a smart, savvy man like Devon would give money to Cane, of all people, without doing some serious independent investigation is beyond me. I hope somehow it's resolved, not that he can't make it on his own, because he can, but because Colin should not be living large on Katherine's money.
Traci's Best Book of the Year: Abbott family memoir. It didn't involve a single Cane fantasy.
Weirdest Friendship: Billy at sea and friends with Amanda. I hope this doesn't become more than friendship.
Best Character Return: It's good to see Chance again. We need to see our legacy characters. The fake jewel thefts plot was a weird way to get rid of Phyllis. But having a P.I. in town is good for plot.
Well, those are my thoughts around the best, worst, and most muddled of the year that was. And the best part of the year for me has been sharing my thoughts with you. I wish you all the best in 2020, and happy viewing!
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.