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Was your 2009 Bold and Beautiful? Did you pack as much into it as the Forresters and Logans, and now Spencers and Joneses ? Then make way for 2010 -- and, to honor the new year, let's reflect on where we've been, where we are, and where we're going! Much more fun than making resolutions -- and who keeps 'em, anyway?
It was a fairly amazing week, as there were only three episodes with just two storylines to focus on. Kind of a relief considering the breakneck pace of the past year. I mean, can you remember where everyone was when 2009 started? I didn't, so I opened up the soapcentral.com archives to have a look. Let's contrast it with the here and now! Break out the bubbly and get your noisemakers ready as we go down the list, in order, of B&B's most recent credit sequence!
2009: She was still trying to convince Eric that Donna was a mistake. Still at Forrester, she had recently declared war on Rick for Phoebe's death.
2010: Hasn't Jackie M just breathed new life into the former Forrester matriarch? She laughs, she smiles, she makes jokes. And she still delivers the business goods. Hard to believe she ever battled Nick and Jackie, because the whole Jackie M family just seems so natural. Now the lady just needs some love in her life. How's this for radical -- have Stephanie come out! It's plausible -- Stephanie has only had two relationships over the years (Eric and Jack, not counting the blink-and-you-missed-it interaction with Massimo), and she's been working the androgynous chic for years. Bring back Ruthanne, who she befriended on the streets, and let that friendship blossom into a beautiful romance. Hey -- it could happen!
2009: After realizing Donna didn't cheat on him with Owen, he resumed his marriage to her and worked on the Surfliner showing.
2010: I know there are those who have their qualms about the "Dare" line that's supposed to sabotage Forrester so the family can get it back from Bill. But I'm really enjoying Eric here. He didn't have much to do in '09, and he did mope a bit too long about the takeover -- this has brought back that impish Eric quality missing for so long. I'd like to see him regain control of Forrester -- which of course he will…keep reading for another wish for him!
2009: Caught in the middle of the Ridge/Rick feud, she looked forward to her upcoming (and umpteenth) wedding to Ridge.
2010: Well, another invalid wedding later, she and Ridge seem pretty solid. Let's keep them that way. No more Taylor, no more Nick, no more issues to break them up. Conflict, of course -- it's a soap. But they are B&B's signature couple. How neat would it be for Brooke to use her chemistry smarts to create a formula again? It would be a great use of history, and it would remind viewers that Brooke is actually a smart cookie. She's really matured, too, as evidenced during her chat with Nick this week. But did I really hear "carrying my grandchild" from her lips? Oh, how time has marched on. If they keep SORASing her kids (like they're doing with Hope), she'll be saying "great-grandchild" before we know it!
2009: Grieving Phoebe, he tried to forgive Rick's part in her death while preparing for his upcoming (and umpteenth) wedding to Brooke.
2010: I've always liked Ridge, but even I admit he's been a bit insufferable this year. The Rick thing got out of control, he was way domineering with Steffy (even if she deserved it), and don't get me started on sleeping with Taylor while hopped up on antidepressants , which don't put you in that kind of fog as far as I know. Let's just chalk it all up to his grief and move on now that he's tight with Brooke again. And, like Eric, he's likably devilish with the "Dare" line, even if he's still a little smarmy in regards to Bill. Ridge and Brooke need some sort of adventure -- a mystery to figure out, something involving travel, something that keeps them together and romantic and interesting.
2009: Grieving Phoebe and at-the-bottom depressed over Ridge's remarriage.
2010: After another year of pining over Ridge and partaking in more character-assassinating antics, someone's about to Whip her into shape -- and not a moment too soon. Taylor was a shell of her former self since her latest return from the dead -- until she crossed paths with Whip. Who saw that one coming? I have to say, it's inspired, and bringing out the Taylor I once knew and loved. As Britney would say, gimme more gimme more!
2009: Still a doctor, she just found out about Rick and Steffy, while Donna tried to set her up with Owen.
2010: Wow! Would Eric have spent all that money on Bridget's medical school if he'd known she was going to junk it for fashion and become his competition? The jury's still out on this move, as it is on her 3,000th reunion with Nick. I hope Bridget isn't being played for a fool yet again with the surrogacy storyline -- she's being kept in the dark for good intentions, but she's still being kept in the dark. I don't think she's going to be happy when she finds out -- but hopefully she'll end up being even more of a friend to Sandy than…
2009: After revisionist history that saw him cheat on Bridget, he proposed to Katie.
2010: I'm hoping it's for real with Bridget this time. It's hard to trust this guy because he's been with every woman on the show -- only Stephanie remains (and I told you why that isn't going to happen). The surrogate thing has bonded the Marones…but he's sure spending a lot of time helping Sandy. So far it's been a good, atypical storyline -- I just hope it doesn't result in a triangle. Did you catch the look Sandy gave him this week? There's a reason damsels in distress fall for knights on white horses. It would absolutely ruin Nick's character for good if he slips up with Sandy, so let's cross our fingers and see where it goes. If only Nick paid as much attention to his son Jack!
2009: Back with Eric, she had to wear Pam's crocheted bikini for the Surfliner fashion show, but worried that the recently released Pam was still mental...
2010: ... which is a good reason to co-host a talk show with her! At least the Catwalk challenge was less over-the-top for both of them, but why do TPTB insist on throwing Donna and Pam together every chance they get? Would you seriously hang out with someone who tried to kill you, regardless of the brain tumor that made them do it? Plus, Donna's marriage to Honeybear is a bit thin -- and Justin's waiting in the wings. I always thought it was a mistake to make Donna a sexpot just because she was recast with the bootylicious Jennifer Gareis. I like her, but maybe Donna just needs to go back to San Francisco…and take Justin and Marcus with her!
2009: Aside from trying to get rid of Donna by hiring models to make it look like she was cheating on Eric and getting mad at Stephanie for slamming Rick in public, he had no story.
2010: Aside from making a few phone calls for the Dare line, he has no story. Somebody get this man his own storyline STAT! Winsor Harmon already proved he had the chops for one when Darla was killed off…and…hello…this man is a Forrester! An original character from 1987, even if a third actor is playing him. He should be front and center, and it's shameful he's always relegated to the sidelines. Use him, and use him frequently, or send him off the canvas completely. Anything else is an insult -- to him and us.
BILL Well, he's sure shaken things up in 2009, hasn't he? It was slow going at first, but Dollar Bill is in full effect. He even won us over by genuinely loving Katie (seemingly, anyway). Here's hoping the bad boy keeps things hoppin' this year, as long as it's not in the form of cheating with Steffy.
2009: Engaged to Nick but obsessing over Jack after having a miscarriage. Heart surgery scar conveniently missing.
2010: Now a power player as CEO of Forrester Creations (a division of Spencer Publications), her scar is still missing. Hard not to see Victoria Newman in this executive version of Katie, but at least she's strong now, and not the doormat she seemed to be with Nick. Has she been corrupted by Bill? Was I the only one who didn't want Katie to figure out the Dare line was a sham? I'd love to see her marriage to Bill succeed -- but let's see what happens when the Forresters take the company back and she's out of a job!
2009: He battled Stephanie at Forrester, and just began his infamous quasi-incestuous relationship with Steffy.
2010: Thankfully backburnered. B&B really spent too much of 2009 being the Rick Show, and at the expense of what used to be a grounded, likable character. Okay, so sometimes good people do bad things -- but the change was too severe. How do you come back from all of his dirty deeds? Maybe Rick needs to spend the year off the canvas…let's check back in with him again in 2011. I don't think there's a place for him right now.
2009: Grieving her now not-identical twin sister Phoebe, she embarked on her infamous quasi-incestuous relationship with Rick and was about to experience her first Forrester fashion show.
2010: Now Forrester's P.R. guru (!!!), she comes up with fashion lines and kisses her boss to try to get the company back. At least she wasn't hitting on him in a desperate attempt to get a man, but apparently that was just a devious precursor to going up against a SORASed Hope Logan. I realize "the next generation" is important to continuing the show, but we have to care about them. I ain't feelin' it, here. Note to Katie: ship Steffy off to Forrester International. Believe me, nobody will notice she's gone!
2009: Proposed to Steffy at Big Bear but got turned down.
2010: It was a good idea to introduce an African-American presence again, especially on a show that takes place in Los Angeles. But they just can't figure out what to do with him. He has no personality, he's hardly ever on, and bringing Justin in as his baby daddy fizzled very quickly -- to say nothing of being adopted by Eric as if he were five years old. Put him back with Steffy and put them on a plane with Justin and Donna to Frisco. Sorry, Marcus…it's not a color thing -- it's a boring thing. The show's too short to have anything but dynamic characters on it.
2009: Aside from grieving his sister Phoebe, basically an extra.
2010: At least he's at work with his family on the "Dare" line, but…well, the poor boy hasn't had a storyline since his ill-fated relationships with Gabby and Amber. This is why I think it's a bad idea to SORAS soap kids -- because suddenly they're adults and supposed to be carrying story, but rarely have stories worth carrying. Drew Tyler Bell has matured, and Thomas is likable enough (except for that blowing-up-Rick's-car thing that everyone seems to have forgiven too easily), but either give him a story or send him to Forrester International until a good enough story can be created for him.
2009: Aside from being mad at Stephanie for slamming Rick in public, she had no story.
2010: And she still doesn't! What was the point of bringing back an almost-original character, recasting her with a talented actress like Lesli Kay, starting her off with a whiz-bang cancer storyline, and then just dropping her? It's so bad she's now on loan to ATWT. You know what they need to do? Team her up with Thorne for a front-burner storyline. Maybe they buy their own fashion house. Maybe they buy back Forrester themselves. Something. She's a Forrester. And she's been sidelined by minor characters far too long.
2009: Fresh from a brain tumor operation, she crocheted a bikini for Forrester and won herself a job!
2010: Movin' on up like the Jeffersons, she's now a talk-show host! Meow! Thankfully she's toned it down the last few weeks. But I'm sorry…a convenient brain tumor doesn't justify the criminal things she did, and there's not a lot of going back for this character. How are we to take her seriously? I admit she was quite grounded in the "Ann dies" story (which wrapped up after a few episodes…huh??). And the dynamic between the Douglas sisters is always interesting. But I can't get past her trying to kill Donna just yet. Maybe tenderly send her back to Chicago for a while…bring some lemon bars at Christmas…and try again next year.
WHIP Whip it up baby! I was so afraid he'd be a foil for Brooke and Ridge again, but he's a-movin' and a-shakin'. Jackie M exec? Sandy's cousin? Datemate for Taylor? We've always known Rick Hearst could do comedy, but it's nice to see the dramatic (and romantic) chops kicking in there now. Keep keep keep -- but no lingerie this time, please.
OWEN 2009: Trying to get over Donna, he worked with Pam so Donna wouldn't have to, and started flirting with Bridget.
2010: Owen and Bridget would have been inspired. Instead, B&B invited him to Cougartown and put him with Jackie. That was inspired in a lesser way, but since they keep exploiting Owen as man candy, the worked-out lad doesn't have quite enough substance, and putting him in outlandish plots doesn't help. Need to shake things up? Give him a one-episode twin brother! Owen was the only stud on the show for a while, but now we've got Bill, whose commanding presence makes the former detective/now skimpy model kind of obsolete, except for his connection to…
JACKIE 2009: Mostly a backburnered sounding board for Nick regarding Bridget and Katie -- although she was just starting to bond with Stephanie over the troubles at Jackie M.
2010: Jackie is Jackie M! She's so fabulous that only she can get away with being a parasailing cougar. We forgive her safari outfits because Lesley-Anne Down is simply having so much fun, and who'da thunk she'd end up BFFs with Stephanie? They probably laugh their heads off now about Jackie's fall from Stephanie's railing. Sure, Jackie's marriage to Owen is avant-garde and interesting, but you know where they really missed the boat? Eric! He's a core character, while Owen is a peripheral one. Stephanie wouldn't mind Jackie getting with Eric at this point (she's over him -- and out, remember ), and Eric, a fashion designer, has always needed a woman that oozes glamor -- sorry, Donna; it ain't you. Heed my words, Bells -- Jackie and Eric for 2010 and watch the faux-fur fly when their romance conflicts with their competing fashion houses!
You may be wondering why I'm suggesting the removal of so many current Los Angeles residents. Quite simply, the show is just under 20 minutes after commercials, and doesn't need 25 characters. Of course, B&B is going the opposite direction by adding SORASed Hope, a love interest for her, and Graham -- and that's just in January. Listen to me, B&B -- Too. Many. Characters. Pare it down, focus on the core characters, and put them in intriguing stories. A story like…
…Sandy's! Something tells me she's at the eye of Hurricane 2010, and I'm ready to tape up the windows right now. If the hints are accurate, she's going to come face-to-face with her attacker soon -- what will happen there? It can't be good, because this week Sandy hinted at wanting revenge, and her flashback at the police station made me wonder if she might just be a very little bit psycho. Of course her rape was traumatic, so not to minimize that…I just have a feeling Sandy will go medieval by February sweeps.
And that brings us to the present day. Fortunately, B&B is in much better shape as we begin 2010. I hope the Dare line gets more garish and flops to incredible mayhem! The show just needs to steer clear of the numerous over-the-top stunts we saw in 2009, and please please please modulate the pacing. I know stories have to be faster to keep up with today's miniscule attention spans, but lightning-fast hook-ups and break-ups, fashion lines churned out just days after their creation? Whoa, Nelly. Ease up, keep it character-driven, and you'll have more satisfied viewers -- and whiplash-free ones, at that.
I'm very grateful for the feedback that's allowed me to be a full-fledged Two Scoops columnist for soapcentral.com -- make your voice heard on the message boards, and I look forward to your opinions of my opinions as well! Have a Bold and Beautiful New Year -- everyone!