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Judith Chapman
Tipping my top hat
by Nita
For the Week of December 31, 2007
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Time to poke through the pile of a year's worth of columns and try to ferret out the fine from the foul, the best from the banal, and the good from the awful.
Well, it is that time of year again. Time to poke through the pile of a year's worth of columns and try to ferret out the fine from the foul, the best from the banal, and the good from the gosh that was so awful. This week, it'll be all about what we liked; next week, we'll tally up what tanked. Well, let's get started.

There's all kinds of ways to blue ribbon the best. A situation might get there because it had that certain something that hooked us from the start. Or maybe it was something that we despised at first, then found it was slowly dragging us toward devotion. It might even be a person who was the very best at being the very worst. Which means such a person could conceivably wind up featured in both the best and worst columns. And, of course, some people have so many talents, good, bad or otherwise, they might even receive multiple mentions. So, that being said, here's what I thought, in no particular order and chosen with no discernable rhyme or reason.

Enter, Gloria. When it comes to the best at being bad, obnoxious, malicious, mayhem-minded and I guess just plain lucky, I must reluctantly mete out a meritorious medal to the world's most misbegotten mommy, Gloria Baldwin, Fisher, Abbott, Bardwell. The woman who first appeared on the Genoa City scene, that could easily have represented the poster child for the punch line of an extremely tasteless trailer park type joke (no offense to trailer park inhabitants, of course) has metamorphosed into a manipulative monster of impressive proportions. Before she purposely positioned herself on a collision course to slam breast first into John Abbott's lonely chest, the woman was as poor, as the cliché claims, as a church mouse. Hey, don't ask me to explain it - I only use them as I see a way to make them fit. Anyway, what with husbands conveniently dropping dead like summer flies at the first cold snap in the weather, this black widow spider has managed to get her sticky little pincers on millions that might soon rival or surpass her daughter-in-law's Fenmore inheritance. And now that John's letter has been unearthed, she will likely soon have even more dollars at her spending disposal.

Gloria and her favorite search engine, along with her obedient and always ready, willing and computer capable of aiding and abetting her, son has effortlessly enchanted and ensnared the easily impressed older men folk of Genoa City, who never even have a clue they're being hoodwinked and readied for ravishment of their resources. Of course, to give Gloria credit, which I'm in all fairness compelled to do, she does claim a deep and abiding love for each and every bank account, err, bachelor she's bamboozled, I mean wedded and bedded. But then again, what's not to love about men who wind up giving you anything your cold, greedy little heart decides to desire, and worships the very ground your scales slither across. Has she finally met her match in Jeffrey? Ha! I'll only believe that one if I see it play out right before my own bugged out, disbelieving eyes.

Gloria also deserves, hands down, Teflon's highest rating for a nonstick exterior, an honor which was previously held by former getaway clean queen, Phyllis Summer Romalotti Abbott, Newman, until her brief stint at the nearby Prison Camp with Special Privileges ended her long reign. Just a bat or two of Gloria's deliberately bugged baby browns, or blues, or whatever muddy color they might be, seems to get her out of scalding hot water and right into a calm, cooling bath. Some examples: from blackmail to doctored bank accounts, caught, but no charge. Drugging by Viagra, not caught, not charged. A squirt or two of libido enhancing substances into a conference room coffee carafe. Caught, no charge, no punishment. Illegal video surveillance. Not caught. Not charged. Tainting of Jabot's face cream. Caught, though, not by anyone not a family member, spouse, or spouse wannabe. Will 2008 be the year Gloria is finally forced to pay the piper in full for her assorted and ever-increasing immoral or illegal crimes? Now that would be worth tuning in for.

When it comes to boys being bad, Jack is several bad deeds ahead of the rest of the scheming wolf pack. 2007 has definitely not been a banner year for him and because of that I've temporarily rechristened him Glowerin' rather than Smilin' Jack. Having been up to something more often than he wasn't, he just couldn't seem to get bad right. And each dishonorable misdeed seemed to diminish him more in fans' eyes. His lowest point: Tricking his father into writing Gloria out of the will, of course. No matter that I felt the wench didn't deserve so much as a red hot cent sizzling in the center of her palm, it was John's will that she have it and most fans felt Jack shouldn't have taken it upon himself to circumvent that desire.

The one thing about Jack, though, that in my opinion keeps him from being a true bad boy is his always sincere sounding contrition. Yes, he took slight advantage of Victor when he still had a few dead cells in his battery, but I think there was a time he had genuinely begun to like Victor and regretted some of the deceptive deeds he'd done. I give Jack a little leeway because some of his actions took place before he realized all Victor's pistons weren't firing. And Victor did bring some of what happened on himself by practically begging Jack to take over and run NVP.

When it comes to romance, the pickings as they say, were a little slim, so I had to squint to find them. But when I looked closely enough, sure enough, there they were.

First, many fans favorite: Michael and Lauren. As sweet and sticky as blue or pink cotton candy, especially when supplemented by son, Fen, these two have never even had a knock down, drag out. Oh sure, Lauren wasn't overjoyed to inadvertently discover her felonious family members were illegally spying on Jabot and Jack email activities. But she was not nearly offended enough to do much more than murmur a couple of tisks and tasks for show. Realizing Gloria tainted the cream that led to her customer's death and Jack's company disbarment was also information easily forgiven and deleted from her pea brain's main frame. Ditto, practically keeping William captive to prevent him going public with the tainted tale; in fact on that one Lauren was a willing accomplice. I guess, after finally finding a true and lasting love, one that was minus a ma-in-law whose favorite dish to serve was Spare ribs and Sauerkraut with a generous side of spiteful comments, Lauren wasn't about to do anything to ruin that. But, I was referring to romance, so let me haul myself back to the home row on my keyboard and get back to it. Lauren and Michael are that rare commodity (at least in soapland, anyway): a twosome. Unless you count Kevin's early crush, there has been no third man or woman to turn them from a compatible couple to an awkward three's a crowd. Apparently, there's not a single Genoa City man or woman with a secret hunger to paint so much as a starting stroke in a design on Michael or Lauren's heart.

Tied with Michael and Lauren with fans is probably Nick and Phyllis. While not my personal favorite, its clear fans either love or hate this pair. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground for fans to mill upon. I've gotten past the whole Nick cheated on his wife and made his mistress pregnant thing, as they say, stinky stuff happens, but I confess I always like them better when they chew the scenery with their always-munching on something little Summer. And while I crave cozy encounters of the romantic kind just as much as any other soap watcher, Nick and Phyllis' steamy clinches come a little too close for my personal comfort to soft porn and leave this fan uncomfortably cold. But that's just me; everybody else may salivate at their pre-intimate interludes.

As a couple, J.T. and Victoria brought their own married life reality into the make believe world of Genoa City. I've never witnessed them together in real life, so I can't attest to any chemistry that might exist between this couple. But I confess I don't see much sizzle on the make believe screen. But, like Michael and Lauren, their sheer pleasant-ness together seems to be beginning to attract a fan following.

Also pleasant together are Neil and Karen. Other than Karen having to contend with occasional Dru droppings from the mouths of her fond family members, she seems in like flint, now that Devon and Lily have mostly accepted her presence at the family gatherings. She's much quieter than Dru, which many fans who found Dru too vocal, undoubtedly appreciate. Like Dru, Karen is a woman of many talents; an accomplished career woman with a growing list of can do credits in her play time column as well.

And lastly, my personal favorite, the still so shiny new it squeaks coupling of Cane and Lily. Sure, she's only 19, but what's a 10-12 year age diff between Genoa City couples? Jack and Sharon have one. So do Nick and Phyllis, Victor and Nikki, and probably David and Nikki do too. And I'm guessing there's more than a handful of fingers between Colleen and her Professor as well. Reaching way back, there must have been 20+ years, give or take a couple, between Jill and Phillip Chancellor. Obviously, in Genoa City, age really is nothing but a number not many pay attention to. Unless, of course, you're the parent of the underaged half. I know every fan obviously doesn't feel the same, but Cane and Lily cause a definite thaw in my frozen, indifferent heart. And I find them a refreshingly clean offering amidst the other slightly tawdry couplings where so few have shared so few. Like a daughter playing with a tin soldier once residing in her Mother's toy chest, two women playing a matrimonial version of musical chairs, I mean husbands; sisters or sisters-in-law sharing the same man. You get the idea. I don't know about anyone else, but the thought of all that saliva swapping tends to leave this fan with a rather nasty taste lingering in her mouth. So I find it a very nice change to see two people simply drawn to each other, no scheming or manipulation necessary, just two people discovering they kinda like each other.

And, though all the life in it was pinched off, in my opinion, prematurely, I can't leave out an honorable mention of the one other romance I felt held a promise of intriguing potential. JiMin and Jill. Obviously this romance was sacrificed for the same reason Cassie Newman was: "future storyline reasons". Clearly JiMin had to go now so other characters would have something to do later. I understand the bigger picture storyline possibilities of why he had to be eliminated even though I don't necessarily like it. Just off the top of my head, for instance, the stolen money, re-stolen by Amber with a possible discovery by Daniel and/or Kevin of their friend's duplicity; Jack and Victor as murder suspects, leading to the setup of Jack or Victor as suspects, leading to the real suspect being accused and arrested. But still, on the other hand, though probably with much less interesting storyline potential, it was gearing up to be quite a nice romance.

How about Heather and Daniel? By her own admission, Dear Daddy's been missing from her life for about 25 years. So I guess that makes her right about that same age. Daniel at at least 20 and by now probably closer to 21 isn't so far behind that a matchup between them is inconceivable. And I do like their early encounters, he could probably show her a way or two to soften the often unyielding stance she's prone to adopting.

Or Daniel and Amber. Sure, right now she claims to harbor a lifelong love for Cane, but we know, lifelong by Genoa City standards, doesn't actually mean for life. Personally, I think her and Daniel are destined for friendship rather than romance, but then, what the heck do I know? I'm guessing Amber hasn't given up on Cane and in 2008 will likely toss her hat back into the ring right next to Lily's. Obviously, my fingers are crossed that he will toss it right back out.

Providing Sharon waves the white flag over her broken marriage to Jack, I'm sure some fans are hoping fervently that Brad will finally have a chance to stake a claim on her land. These two still do nothing for me, but then, I'm not convinced Sharon has any lasting love for Jack either, so I really don't much care who she cozies up with.

Nobody does rage like Victor Newman. And 2007 found him doing it over and over again. He started off taping the red circled target to Jack's back, but it wasn't long before he found plenty of other backs to take aim at. Brad, JiMin, and now Nikki and David. Nikki is obviously safe from any real harm due to being his Baby Mama and estranged wife for the ninety-ninth time but if David doesn't learn to keep his nose in his own puppy chow instead of sticking his damp little snout in Victor's business, he might find himself bricked up in a basement somewhere. And when it comes to being grouchy, the green, pointy head Grinch hasn't a thing on Victor. The only difference is that Victor isn't at all interested in simply stealing Christmas. He just wants to take away Nikki's joy, I mean, independence. At least that's what Nikki and David claim is his real goal.

Yep, Victor again.

Remember when Nikki was throwing her daughter and her marriage to Brad to the media hounds in the name of her Senatorial campaign? Remember when Nikki was painstakingly tossing dry logs on the hot coals to make sure Victor's fiery rage against Jack Abbott would remain stoked and roaring furiously? I see she's very glad to enlist Jack now in her campaign to bend Victor to she and David's will. Remember even further back when Nikki was in cahoots with Brad and her children to stab Victor in the back to wrest ownership of his own company from him? But now, the pendulum has swung back the other way and many are murmuring poor, poor Nikki Newman, what went before apparently forgiven and forgotten. How dare that mean old Victor Newman try to control her, keep her from her dreams and the warm embrace of her lap puppy, David by demanding she repay her overdue loan? So what she's waving the derelict David before Victor like a red flag flapping before an already enraged bull, his flanks streaming blood from the sharp quivers peppering his hide. Doesn't he realize she has a comatose daughter to worry about?

While just about everyone in Genoa City could probably be charged with the crime of hypocrisy, still the best at putting a hypocritical slant on things and sometimes for a rather tediously long time, Sharon Newman remains the uncontested Queen of the Hypocrites. I don't know this man I'm married to, she keeps whining. Every time I turn around, another lie is staring me in the face. Um hmm, just like the lies that kept popping up from her past for Jack to look at. No, she didn't deceive her father. Only her sister-in-law. And her husband. But her biggest lie, the one she's yet to own up to, is actually a lie of omission. The fact that she still has a hunger and a hankering for Brad. Of course, I shouldn't be surprised at Sharon's condemnation. She's always been very good at looking down her nostrils at other people's faults.

The Baldwin-Fenmore-Fisher dynamic. Unlike the Newmans, the members of this family wouldn't even think of yanking out a jeweled dagger to plunge into any of the others' back. This family obviously lives by the oath "All for one and one for all." If one does something that would make him in danger of being thrown in the dungeon, they needn't worry they'll be languishing down there in the dark alone, because the rest of the clan would be right beside them, facing the exact same charges. You know what they say; the family that preys on society together, stays together. Okay, so nobody really says that. Obviously I just made it up.

And nestled right up there with them in the Family First section are Cane Ashby, Jill Abbott and Katherine Chancellor. These three have been wonderful in their family togetherness.

As has Phyllis, Daniel and Summer, plus Nick.

Cane Ashby. Especially if the enigmatic, but character damning sounding phone call turns out to be just another dropped storyline. Next, I like Jeffrey Bardwell, just because I hope he'll turn out to be smarter than the average Yellowstone Bear. Or if not, then at least smart enough to beat Gloria at her own money grubbing game.

Forget about being afraid of the wrath and fury of a woman scorned. Save your fear instead for Jill, the woman whose fiancé has been prematurely dispatched to whatever hereafter JiMin believed in. Jill has been spewing vitriolic venom at Jack for months. I wonder whether she will be equally quick at mumbling her remorseful regrets when the real killer is apprehended. And who might the real killer turn out to be? I think we can all agree that person won't turn out to be Jack or Victor. Some fans wonder whether Jeffrey could have a connection to the killer, or be the killer himself, though I, of course, still have my wager placed on the square imprinted with David's smirking visage.

I know I can't possible remember them all, so I'll just mention the four that still stand out clearly in my mind. First, from last February. Kevin's weary slow motion walk down the hospital corridor, flanked by taller, bigger GC policemen, after being arrested for the attempted murder of Colleen Carlton, just seconds before being blindsided by bully Brad. I still have that one marked as a YouTube favorite which I return to from time to time for multiple re-watching. My second pick happened at the scene of Dru's demise. Lily's piercing screams raised goosebumps on my arms as she watched her mother tumble over the cliff, and were even more chilling as they echoed through her cell phone line directly into her listening Daddy's ears. Could you imagine the horror? Third? All of October's Out of the Ashes promos. And finally, I loved and watched over and over the moment Nick realized an injured Noah was trapped in the collapsed parking garage as he rushed toward the debris, caught practically midair and restrained by the rescue personnel. A powerful moment.

Said Michael Baldwin to Victor Newman. Apparently having learned nothing from the time he did Victor's bribery bidding, Michael was back to asking is this high enough when Victor commanded him to leap toward the sky and help him convince JiMin the Victor devil he didn't know could hurt him much more than the Jack devil currently yanking his puppet strings. By the time it was all over, I'm sure JiMin was wishing he'd never heard of Jack Abbott and Jabot Cosmetics. Because before he came to this GC town, he was likely a man in charge of moving his own strings. But by the time he left it … in a zippered bag, unfortunately, his strings had become all snarled and knotted from constantly being snatched at by Jack, Victor, Michael and finally Jill.

Proving that revenge is even sweeter than anyone might have imagined Cane gave as good as he'd been getting when he ravished then rejected his lying faux bride for her Las Vegas wedding duplicity.

And how lovely it was to watch Brad learn first hand the value of doing unto others on your way up as you hope they'd do you back if you happen to find yourself tumbling back down. Guess Neil had the last laugh and it was definitely on Brad.

And some quickies …

Paul owning up to being Heather's missing daddy. Along with finally mentioning poor, previously abandoned Ricky. And let me know forget, Sheila getting shot. I sincerely hope she's really dead this time and won't run into John Abbott who might teach her how to come back as an annoying apparition.

Colleen Carlton. Nothing against the current portrayer, but I thought the former was somewhat better with her Professor; and had definite charismatic chemistry with Kevin. Sure, he tried to kill her once, but hey what's an attempted murder between friends or lovers? Heck Jana went beyond attempt and made it all the way to actual done deed, and Kevin still loves her madly in spite of it.

Not to be confused with the Surprised I Miss You Award - Drucilla Winters

Phyllis goes to Prison for her blackmail.

Or, in some other words, I didn't mean for that to happen. Uttered by Phyllis to the Winters family for the second time. The first time it was for Lily inadvertently overhearing her taunting Dru with the identity of Lily's true father. This time it was for starting the tug of war that resulted in Dru tumbling into a raging river.

The winning rattle for that goes straight to Summer Newman.

Yes, that would be Jack Abbott.

It's a three way tie between Who Cares Who Killed Carmen, The Reliquary Rotgot a/k/a Brad's Baffling Backstory and those darn Sheila Shenanigans.

I feel bad for saying so, after all she was only doing a job she was probably well paid for, but I can't claim to be sad that LML won't be around next year to further alter my fav show's history. 'Nuff said.

Out of the Ashes, up to and including the final rescue.

Phyllis Newman, no question. In a dead heat with, who else, Gloria Bardwell.

Jack and Phyllis. I enjoy any moment I can get between these two. I love her loyalty to Jack, despite knowing all the dirt he's done. Sharon, find a pen and take notes.

Victoria waving like a beauty pageant contestant on parade before being beaned by that pebble. Sorry, if that was insensitive fans, but the truth is the truth; it was just a little bit funny. I know I wasn't the only fan who thought so. Of course, Victoria's head over heels tumble was good and looked pretty realistic.

Reed Hellstrom's birth. But is he actually a Hellstrom or did Victor do something to ensure he would not be declared a Carlton? Nothing I know. Just a little food for thought.

Nikki Newman's scraped back hair and make-up free face for her hospital bedside vigils.

David Chow

I couldn't possibly forget the moment Victor one-punched Brad a good one while never losing his grip on the chunk of apple his choppers were chomping.

William Bardwell for his helpless portrayal of a stroke stricken man kept in captivity.

Well, as always, there is so much more that could be said. There were obviously many more stellar moments, but these are the things I remembered the most. And I have to stop somewhere; this seems like as good a point as any. What follows are some of the things you thought were closer to the top of the heap than the bottom of the barrel. And what you thought about the week just past.

And speaking of bottom, that's what we'll talk about next column. Once again, fill me in on what you hated by Friday, January 4 so your voices can be heard.

One last thing before I pass the Mic. I'd like to wish you all a heartfelt Happy New Year. If you must drink at your party, tell someone who doesn't to drive you home. See you next week.

* * * * * * *

JANICE - My favorite storyline during 2007 was Jack and Phyllis doing anything together. They are the ultimate couple and hopefully discovering Jack is Summer's biological father is coming soon.

MST05 - The best of 2007 is all related to Cane. Finding out his birth mother was Jill and the relationship he developed with her and Kay was an enjoyable one. Also, Cane busting Amber about their fake marriage. His subsequent insults will now and forever remain among soap's greatest hits for me. It drives me nuts he still doesn't know all she did but at least I know when he finds out he'll nail her good. Lastly, is the surprisingly sweet, romantic and sexy relationship that has slowly developed between Cane and Lily. The writers gave them parallel relationship stories to give two characters that would never interact a starting point for friendship and then romance. Christel and Daniel do not disappoint. Their chemistry is palpable. Y&R has had some shoddy writing this year but the character of Cane has been written fairly well and consistently. Add to that, the most exciting actor I've seen in daytime in five years, Daniel Goddard. So Cane is definitely my fave character of 2007.

CAROLYN - My favorite storyline for 2007 was the developing romance of Cane and Lily! They have so much chemistry together and are adorable. I can't get enough of them on screen. They need to be on screen more often. Cane and Lily have become an addiction and I tape every episode that they are on together. Love this pairing and hope that they will be a couple in 2008! Cane needs to let Lily know how he feels and both discuss how they feel about their age difference. I see nothing wrong with the chatter between Lily and Colleen. Love this friendship and Colleen has Lily's back. All women of all ages discuss their potential or new love interests with their friends. If that is being immature, then all women are immature. Love the chemistry between Kay, Jill, and Cane together. They are awesome as a family and need to be on screen more often. I hope that Lily will have more interaction with Cane and his family. Love the protectiveness and love shown to Lily by Neil when he kisses her on the cheek or head.

ERIN - Nita, my vote for the best of 2007 is: Your column! The storylines haven't been great, so I've been FF-ing a lot. Thanks to you, I can keep tabs on what's going on, and get a great dose of humor along with it! Thanks for doing such a fantastic job every week! (BTW, I loved the flashback 1995 episode on Christmas day!)

SILVI - I almost didn't watch the Christmas Day repeat episode. Boy, am I glad I did! There it was, right in front of my eyes: the real "Young and the Restless", back in the days when it was actually well written, and you didn't want to miss one single scene; when the Abbott family was intact, and so was the Winters family. Nikki and Victor were at each other's throats of course, and Brad was the evil slime he still is, but SO much fun to watch. It almost made me cry to realize how much damage LML has done to such a great show. It was the first time in many months (or since LML took over the writing) that I watched and loved MY show again. I feel so bad for all the people out of work because of the writers` strike. But if, as rumor has it (oh please, please, please let it be true) the strike means the demise and dismissal of all the present writers, it will have provided one fine thing for Y&R. On a personal note....I love Lily and Cane; hate Nick and Phyllis and find their married bliss really boring and yucky; never thought Sharon and Jack had an ounce of chemistry; and finally, want Phyllis to be back with Jack and Sharon to be with Brad. Of COURSE all these people are flawed and have all done awful things. I don't want to judge them till they get some writers who will turn them back into the characters we used to care about when they were well written. But for now, let's at least have some fun, illicit or not. And last, but not least: Dump Amber, Heather, Colleen, David and the idiot Professor. Oh yeah, and bring back Ashley, make John magically be really alive, and if I didn't mention it GET RID OF LYNNE MARIE LATHAM! Happy Holidays to all!

Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen, what has happened, and to take a look at the logistics of it all. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same view point.
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