Shall we start with the worst and cheer ourselves up with the best? That seems fitting; the second half can be like a Christmas gift we get to open again.
The Bold and the Beautiful is my guilty pleasure. It's the most incestuous of soaps. Los Angeles is an enormous city, so why does the Forrester dating pool revolve around the same dozen or so people? It remains a mystery to me. Ridge, Eric, and Thorne have all dated Donna. Even worse, all three of them were married to Donna's sister, Brooke. These guys are fashion moguls and have scantily clad models prancing around in front of them every day. Did they ever consider asking out someone who wasn't sleeping with one of their relatives?
So I should not be surprised that this year held more of the same. Let's start with the worst offender, Nick Marone. Nick is Ridge's half-brother, so perhaps it is in the gene pool. This year Nick beat Ridge in the babe juggling department. Nick professed his absolute and undying love to four women in the past year: Brooke, Taylor, Bridget, and Katie. Make up your mind, freak show. It's hard to get invested in a love story when we viewers know Nick is kind of ADD. when it comes to women. He criticizes Ridge, and doesn't seem to realize he's an even worse offender.
Nick wasn't alone in his odd family obsessions, though. Rick managed to get involved with Phoebe; her mom, Taylor; and is on the verge of hooking up with Steffy. Sure she's mad at him now for killing her sister and all, but you know it is coming.
Speaking of Taylor, the disintegration of her character really troubled me. I thought her mental breakdown was an awful plot twist. Taylor has long been one of the voices of reason on this show. To have her delve into a complete and total meltdown where she actually heard voices taunting her in her head was just over-the-top crazy. Taylor is a psychiatrist and was the character who talked other fruit loops down in the past.
I was never able to buy that discovering that Brooke was the egg donor for her child would make her go insane. Certainly it might piss her off, but not make her lose her mind. Even worse was having Taylor actually give her baby away because it cried too much. What if there had been no egg donor? What if she was just a mom with a fussy baby? Would she give it away after shrieking for a week that the baby must hate her? Um, no. That was just bizarre.
Next on my list of grievances are underused characters and dropped storylines. Let's go back to Taylor's baby, Jack. They made a big production of Taylor turning him over to Brooke, and since that day, Brooke has not seen the kid one time. After Katie's miscarriage, Jack went to spend the night and, to the best of my knowledge, never went back to Brooke's. That whole plot was just abandoned.
And then there was the big production about tracking down Beth Logan. We discovered her in Paris with some mystery illness, which was eventually reveled to be some form of dementia. She had stayed away so her family wouldn't have to watch her disintegrate before their eyes. They found a treatment that apparently the specialists in Paris were unaware of, and suddenly she is totally healed and sits around waiting for the Forresters to throw a party of some sort. That's the only time we ever see her. Or Stephen, for that matter.
Beth has it better than the amazing vanishing children of the show. We haven't seen Thorne's creepy little zombie daughter all year. I suspect she will come back one day SORASed into a teenager. R.J? Hope? Dominic? Where have they all gone?
Lat year Felicia fought her way back from the dead... but for what? She never sees her son, or dates, or goes out to lunch with friends -- she basically just obsesses over her parents' love life. Thorne, too. Thorne went so far as to hire body doubles of Owen and Donna to make it look like Donna was a cheater. Say, didn't the ten-year-old twins in the Parent Trap conjure up juvenile schemes like that to get their parents back together? You'd think kids in their forties would be past that stage.
Rick was likewise afflicted. We were expected to believe that a grown man, successful in his own right from his turn at Forrester International, who had been gallivanting around Paris having a fling with Ashley, became completely unglued and bent on revenge after his big three-month fling with Taylor went sour. And it didn't stop there. The underlying root problem was that Rick was still peeved that Brooke paid more attention to Ridge than she did him when he was a kid. Really? Hard to swallow that logic.
Also on my worst list is the cheesy wedding of Nick and Bridget. Bridget asked Katie to officiate her wedding, and knew full well that Katie had a crush on her fiancé… Geez, you two crazy kids, why not get Carrot Top or a nice unemployed Elvis impersonator? But the lead-up to this ill-conceived wedding is on my best of list so… I'll let it go at that.
There was a lot wrong with in 2008, but there was also a lot right.
I have been a daytime-hooked-on-soaps since I was 12, which was many years ago, and I don't get surprised much anymore. But this year, B&B threw a curveball I did not see coming: Storm's suicide. When Katie accidentally got shot in the scuffle over Storm's gun and she needed a new heart, I suspected she would get a miracle cure. But I never anticipated that that miracle would come from a bullet to Storm's brain. WOW. The incredible power of sacrificial love on Storm's part, and the overpowering guilt, rage, and grief on Katie's kept me in tears for days. Those were some very powerful scenes. Heather Tom's gripping performances during the aftermath of Storm's death are one of the highlights of B&B this past year. Every time they lobbed a ball her way, she hit it out of the park.
As she recovered, another story began to emerge, her growing connection to Nick. Although I listed his fickle heart on my worst list, his budding relationship with Katie was one of my favorite parts of the year. When the family thought Katie was going to die, and Bridget "lent" Nick to Katie and asked him to make her last days happy, I knew in my head she wasn't going to die. But their performances made me feel we were going to lose her in my heart. I cried when they cried. When Nick and Katie were on Catalina and she wanted to just sit there and die, I was so moved by their connection. And when he got her to come back home and gave her the prom she had never had, I was in girl heaven. It was such a sweet and delicious moment as all of her youthful fantasies were fulfilled in one night, with one man. I loved their chemistry. But after all that passion, Nick still married Bridget?!?! Now that Nick and Katie have reconciled, all that chemistry seems to have faded away. Is Nick only passionate about women he can't have?
Stephanie's sister Pam was passionate about lemon bars in a creepy and twisted way and I loved her for it. We suspected from the start that something was a little off with our happy homemaker Pam, but we had no idea she was bat-sh*t crazy. Soap villains are always the most entertaining characters, especially when they do jacked-up things like pouring honey all over a heroine and opening the door so a hungry bear can come in to eat her. I have to admit I secretly hope Pam isn't completely cured.
Another thing B&B did well this year was cast new characters. The new and improved Steffy and Donna's son, Marcus, were introduce, and both have done a great job of making us care about them. Marcus (Texas Battle) has been pushed to the back burner at present, but I expect great things to come from him in 2009. If you missed Jacqueline MacKinnes Wood's (Steffy) powerhouse grief scenes when her twin sister Phoebe died, log onto to CBS or YouTube and download them, she was phenomenal. Another great newcomer is Owen Knight, played by the dreamy Brandon Beemer. At first I thought he was going to be a creep, but Owen continually surprises himself, and us in the process, every time he chooses to do the right thing.
Although the aftermath of Phoebe's death is just beginning, everyone involved thus far has been remarkable and real in their portrayal of grief. Ridge's scene where he dropped to the floor at the engagement party was so moving, Taylor's sense of remorse and guilt, Stephanie's anger and looking for someone to blame-someone to pay for this horrible crime against nature. I predict it's going to be a great few months.
2008 had good moments and bad; but in my humble opinion, even the bad ones were pretty good. I can't help myself, I love soaps.
And just for the record, two years later, I still miss Sally Spectra.
Merry Christmas, dear readers. Here's hoping 2009 brings us way more Bests than Worsts.
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