Editor's note: Be sure to check in next week when Mike offers his picks for the Best and Worst of 2010
The year has flown by on The Bold and the Beautiful, with many things that were good, a few things that were bad, but always bold and beautiful because, after all, that's what this soap is all about. Before the kudos and criticisms, hats off to Bradley Bell for another year of entertainment. To say that he's carrying the tradition set forth by his father and mother is a given. He's done them proud, so bravo to head writer and executive producer Bell.
Now, onto the awards! Let's start with some kind words …
Best Performance (Male) -- Believe it or not, this was a tough one. Looking back, too much attention was on Ridge and, truth be told, that left a lot of more interesting male characters standing on the sidelines, watching the action. So, who was the best if it's not Ridge? Nick. Jack Wagner's Nick Marone has been softened over the past couple of years, getting away from the boat, no more trips to Chuck's. He was way too domesticated in his marriage to Bridget. Well, there's nothing like getting your heart ripped out to make you change your ways. Rather than accept Bridget's infidelity and Owen being the father of her baby, Nick said "ENOUGH!" He cleaned house at Jackie M and refused to be anybody's doormat. Was he hurting? Yes. However, Nick stuck to his core values and emerged as the tough Nick Marone he was when he first hit town.
Best Performance (Female) -- I would love to give this to Brooke, but I can't. It's impossible to consider any other woman on the show but Stephanie. Susan Flannery is truly the Bette Davis/Katherine Hepburn of daytime TV. Whether she's evil or good, venal or generous, hateful or adorable, Flannery makes Stephanie the most important, interesting, and compelling character on the show. We watched her dare Stephen to shoot her, interfere with Brooke and Hope's relationship, deny the cancer that was consuming her body, and then transform into a Lady Bountiful with love and goodness for her fellow humankind. It was a staggering, year-long roller-coaster ride of emotions, including a real roller-coaster ride with Brooke at the Santa Monica pier! Brad Bell cannot kill off Stephanie; we need her too much.
Worst Performance (Male) -- For every plus, there is a negative. Sorry, Ollie, but you are the culprit. It wasn't just the ridiculous Zac Efron/Justin Beiber hairdo, or the inanely gooey romance with Hope. It was all of it put together! When a sweet little love story like Hope and Oliver unfolds, you know there has to be some conflict to keep them from "happily ever after." Still, who would have ever guessed that the conflict would be a case of mistaken intercourse! Oliver showed all the insight of a dog in heat when he thought that Hope was asking him to have sex with her at the graduation party. Really, Ollie, against a wall with masks on … you think that was what Hope wanted for her first time? Oliver's reaction since has been mopey and dopey and dumb. Any character who'd take advice from Amber is not playing with a full deck. Watching this cute guy all year long has cemented my opinion that Zack Conroy needs character rehab.
Worst Performance (Female) -- Just like there's nobody who could top Flannery's Stephanie, nobody has been worse than Hunter Tylo's Taylor. Oy vey, what a disaster this character has become. For an intelligent, educated, sophisticated professional, Taylor has displayed none of those qualities over the past year. Even at the Christmas party at Dayzee's, her insecurity was oozing from every pore as she watched Brooke and Stephanie share a laugh. Come on, Taylor, grow up, will ya? Taylor also completely disrespected her son by giving Steffy the 25% of Forrester that fell in her lap. What kind of foresight did she show as a parent? None. Finally, despite having a man who loves and respects her in Whip, Taylor is still pining for Ridge. And worse than that, she actually hurt Whip by uttering Ridge's name at the height of making love. Can you imagine that situation in reverse? What if Whip suddenly murmured "Brooke" while making love to Taylor? But more than anything, it was Taylor's screaming and yelling about Thomas and Brooke that has made her into a one-note harridan. How quickly she's forgotten her own seduction/romance and engagement to Brooke's 20-something son, Rick.
Top Storyline -- Okay, I hated what happened at the graduation party, but it really was the most dynamic storyline of the year. It had a huge impact on the young characters, Hope and Oliver, but the bigger focus was on Brooke and Ridge. For a change of pace, Ridge didn't freak out about Brooke's screwup (and the emphasis here was on the "screw"). True, she was technically not guilty of cheating because she thought Oliver was Ridge. It was ridiculous, but she's clearly not a very observant lover because she couldn't recognize what were not her husband's attributes. Either that or Ridge has the body of a 20-year-old man! But she was guilty of lack of judgment -- boffing in the middle of her daughter's graduation party? Not the actions of a responsible chaperone. And look what's happened since … Brooke cannot be trusted. Taylor's weirdness about Brooke and Thomas is all based on the graduation party … not to mention Ridge's teetering faith in his wife.
Storyline We'd Love to Forget -- Amber's hotline! Insulting to the intelligence of any viewer and a real black eye for the show. Basically, it made all the characters look dumb. After the fiasco of Rick sneaking Forrester designs to Nick the previous year, Forrester should have top-grade security for their work now. But without any trouble at all, Amber zeroed in on Oliver, the blockhead, and found all the "Hope for the Future" designs. That was a cinch! And Nick and company had no trouble scooping them up as if they were legit. Did Amber even have a clue about how to put these outfits together? Hell, no. It was just a picture. Oh, why go over it again … it was the storyline we'll hopefully never see again.
Character Assassination of the Year -- That would be the de-clawing of Bill Spencer. What happened? Ever since Dollar Bill became Daddy Bill he's turned into a wet nurse. Where's the power-hungry mogul who had plans to take down Forrester? Where's the guy who takes no prisoners and loves to play dirty? What's happened to the toughest hombre in the fashion business?
Character Rebirth of the Year -- Okay, he's still a little stiff, but the new Thomas Forrester is a hell of a lot better now than he was in years gone by. He's ambitious, a little reckless, and definitely more fun.
What About the Missing in Action -- Yes, what about 'em? Why are there so many great characters without a storyline? Donna, Eric, Katie, Pam, Marcus, Thorne, Aggie, Bridget, Jackie … come on, spread the wealth. We had a Stephen-Pam story that was dumped after a few weeks. Donna got a divorce and no story. Katie became Bill's dialogue partner and nothing more. After having a baby, Bridget went into retirement (yes, I know, she's making a movie). Still, is Steffy ever coming back from Paris? And would Rick be let out of detention and thrown back into the mix! He's such a good character and they're doing nothing with him. Brad Bell needs to learn how to parcel out more stories to utilize the cast he has.
Feel Good Story of the Year -- Finally, it has to be noted that the homeless story was a powerful winner for B&B. I was doubtful about it, but B&B pulled it off brilliantly. It was moving and memorable. It may also result in a third Emmy for Best Show for B&B, making it back-to-back-to-back for the soap.
Your emails are always great to read, so be sure to send them over with your thoughts on the best and worst of B&B. Until then, thanks for reading! Till next time, see you on the soaps!