Editor's note: Be sure to check in next week when Allison offers her picks for the Best and Worst of 2010
Well, my fellow fans, another year is drawing to a close in our favorite fictional town. So before I pack 2010 away in tissue paper and haul it up to the attic, let's take a look back at the smiles and frowns, the thumbs ups and downs, and the squeals of delight and shrieks of dismay.
I'll begin with a smile, an up, and a squeal. For me, that is Billy Abbott. Billy has come a long way from the booze-swilling womanizer he was in 2009, and I've loved every moment of his transformation. It would have been easy to make Billy a cartoon copy of Jack, panting after Jabot when he wasn't chasing after Victor in vendetta fashion. But thankfully, the scribes took him in an entirely different direction. This guy is like King Midas, painting every scene he's in with a coating of pure gold. He's adorable with Delia, tender and supportive with his female family members and shoots reasonably straight from the hip with everyone else. Exactly the kind of man you'd like to have in your corner, or umm, in your bed.
Speaking of the lucky woman in his bed, pairing Billy with Victoria has been, in my opinion, one of the scribes' best moves. Billy fits well with the strong-willed, somewhat spoiled Victoria, always seeming to know exactly what she wants and how to deal with whatever is ailing her. Their relationship definitely has a kind of Hatfield-McCoy feel, and I love how fearless Billy takes on any Newman or Abbott who comes against them, including, and especially, Victor. I know nothing lasts forever in this town (except perhaps Lauren and Michael), but my fingers are crossed these two will remain a dynamic duo for some time to come.
Abby Carlton Newman (or whatever her legal name is) is the next on my smile/up/squeal list. Once we got past all the Naked Heiress stuff, which was kind of boring, not to mention silly, the character of Abby Carlton really grew on me and she's now one of the highlights of the show. No one-dimensional, one-note character, Abby, much like her cousin, Billy, ferociously goes after whoever messes with her family. But she also has a vulnerable side that sometimes has me touching tissues to my eyes on her behalf. I know the man pickings are slim in this town, but I sure wish there was someone besides Daniel for her to hang her romantic hopes on, because Daniel has a way of bringing down the women he allegedly loves.
Of course I was squealing with delight when Faith was finally returned to Nick and Sharon because their separation was killing the Mom part of me. Unfortunately, my joy was short-lived, and I know I'm not the only fan who felt tricked and cheated by what came next. Yes, I know, controversy is the meat and potatoes of soap fare, but come on scribes, us Moms are not happy that you made Faith the sacrificial lamb for Sharon standing by Adam. You put us through months of Sharon weeping over her lost wee one, cursing Adam for denying her that precious gift. Then, finally, she has Faith back and the reuniting of her family is at hand and what happens? Now she's so in love with Adam and so intent on clearing his name she will risk losing Faith to Nick and whatever woman he flip-flops to next. Well, I can't speak for any other fan, but "aargh" was my immediate reaction.
Adam Newman. Pacing first on one side, than the other, I've given up and just climbed aboard and straddled the fence over this guy. I was always a Nick and Sharon fan, with my fingers crossed like every other fan that they'd somehow find their way back to each other. But once again, the scribes have built my hopes high, and then cackled maniacally as they wrote them right back down. I guess the fan firestorm expected to be ignited by a Sharon-Adam pairing was just too tempting and delicious for the scribes to resist. I don't know whether the Nick and Sharon love boat will ever set sail again, especially since Sharon has uttered the magic I love you words to Adam. But clearly, Nick and Sharon's cruise ship isn't leaving the harbor anytime soon. So, for now, I may as well shelve whatever hopes are still bravely standing, and deal with all I'm going to get for the foreseeable future. Which, apparently, is Adam and Sharon.
Don't get me wrong. I still adore Nick. Even when his hair is at its, umm, shiniest, he's still a big old chunk of delectable eye candy, but if he turns completely into his father's son, I'll have to start singing a different tune.
But back to Adam. I know he's been a very bad boy, and some would say did things that took him far beyond any hope of redemption. But hey, if Victor, Phyllis, Michael, Kevin, and Jana can be granted full and complete whitewashed pardons, then Adam should be entitled to one too. Call me completely crazy, but I'm a sucker for a man who loves his woman. And despite all the wrong Adam has done to others, including Sharon, I do believe he loves her. At the very least, he hasn't yo-yo'd between women, like Nick did with Phyllis, nor does he give or snatch back his caring like Jack does whenever Sharon doesn't behave the way he thinks she should.
At the very top of my 2010 list for a frown, thumbs down, and extremely shrill and piercing shriek of dismay was the steamy, stinky mess made up of Sarah, Daisy, Ryder, Deacon, Emily, Jana, and Lauren. Stuffed with everything including the kitchen sink, it was senseless and got on every one of my nerves until I had none left. I thought I had left that armpit of a storyline behind in 2010, but obviously a continuing version of it is going to be a part of my bright and shiny 2011. Yes, that awful sound you hear is me screaming "aargh" yet again.
My next pick for 2010 stinkers isn't a storyline or a person. It's more of a general gripe. About romance, or should I say the lack thereof. I've been watching this show for 20+ years. The reason I got hooked was because I fell in love with these make-believe people. They could literally make me shed tears sometimes, or practically have me leaping off the couch to cheer when something good happened to them. These days, though, romance equals next to the dumpster sex, or its rip off the clothes, fling each other around, and get busy on whatever surface is closer sex, be it desk, staircase, shower stall, or most recently, the hard floor. Whirlwind attractions come out of nowhere, spin the participants and the fans dizzily about, and then fling us out in every direction. Dorothy once said about the people of Oz, "My! People come and go so quickly here". That's pretty much what I think about GC romances these days.
Then there is this recent penchant to pair the most unlikely of participants. I know age really is nothing but an ever-changing number in Genoa City, but Nikki rolling in the sheets with Deacon, knowing he'd already sampled her daughter isn't really my idea of romance. Nor is Nick doing the sexy deed with his father's ex, on the floor of his father's house. Or Phyllis supposedly overcome with desire for Deacon, the man who tried to send her son to prison, in smelling distance of a stinky dumpster. All that makes it really hard to care about these bed-hopping Genoa Citians, who fall out of love on Monday morning and are often testing their next model before that day's sunset.
Along with the lack of heart-pounding romance, there seems to be an unprecedented explosion of black-hearted villains. Villains have always been present and well accounted for in Genoa City. Even though there was usually only one terrorizing the town at a time. But good usually triumphed over evil, and the bad guys and gals, for the most part, eventually got the due that was coming to them. 2010's bad guys, though, come complete with super-powers apparently (judging by the way they get away with so much right under everyone's noses), and just about outnumber the regular people. They blow into town, make idiots of the residents, and then escape without paying a penny for everything they ripped apart. Then the scribes add insult to injury by bringing them back to terrorize us again before we've had time to recover from their first invasion.
Such is the case with Daisy and the baby bun baking in her dysfunctional belly. This chick was horrible the first time around, with her marionette expressionless face and monotone delivery. I always caught myself looking for her puppet strings. There are probably fans out there who've been chewing their fingernails to nubs anxiously awaiting Daisy's reappearance, but I'm definitely not one of them. I guess it's irony at its best watching Daniel with his knickers twisted in a painful knot, given the way he let Amber go rather than have anything to do with a child she loved.
Unfortunately, something about Daniel just turns me all the way off. In the past (which I should know better than to rely on given its tendency to change or be rewritten), Daniel has been the first to give up on his so-called friends if they got in a bind or disappeared. On top of that, he's been a horrible boyfriend and worse husband. It's almost always his way or no way at all. So if I could have my way, Daisy would be written driving away, and Daniel and their baby would be right beside her in the car.
Not exactly a frown, thumbs down, or a shriek, but still, Lily's cancer storyline left me feeling somewhat unmoved. However promising the lines neatly typed up appeared on paper, the reality kind of fell flat for me. I'm not sure how a storyline featuring a disease many fans must be living with could go so far off track, but for me and many other fans who wrote in, that's exactly what happened. Part of it, fans said, was because Lily looked too darn healthy. Another part of it was her words often came across as whining rather than brave. Whatever it was, many of us are glad it's over.
Cane, Cane, Cane. Does the truth live anywhere inside of you? Who is this man, besides a habitual liar? From the moment Cane came to town, it's been one big lie after another. From Kay's supposedly abandoned boy desperately seeking his family to this latest reveal -- that he had a family all the time, and is the son of the head of a cattle-rustling gang, a man he turned in to the authorities. Maybe this latest twist was always in the scribes' big plan, but Cane's backstory seems to change just about every time the wind blows in a different direction. And all the lying just makes Lily look like an idiot. Hard to believe even Lily, the heir apparent to the throne of Queen Gullibility, can be that trusting, clueless, and blind when it comes to the men in her life. Maybe she's the one adult on earth who really was born yesterday, because she certainly doesn't seem to remember, or learn by, a single thing that's happened to her in her supposed past.
Lastly, the drug dealing cops storyline was a complete bust for me. Pun completely intended, of course. Half the time I didn't know what the heck was going on. Ronan and Christine's insistence on secrecy only seemed to make a bad outcome inevitable. Chance suddenly slipped and fell into Heather's bed, something his upright, virginal character should never have been tempted to do. Chloe just as suddenly ended up on the couch with Ronan having anger-provoked sex. In my opinion, the whole crazy storyline turned the character of Chance into a missed opportunity that had a lot of potential, but ended up being a waste of time. Not that I've completely given up hope. If soap people can climb out of their graves and return 20 years later looking pretty darn alive, a man can certainly come back from Witness Protection.
The Never Learns Award -- It's a three-way dead heat between Nikki Newman, Jack Abbott, and Victor Newman. For Nikki, she needs to stop trying to get her hands on the Victor brass ring, get off the merry-go-round, and get in line for another theme park attraction. Katherine told her right. She does go into heat after the first mongrel that comes slobbering around every time Victor kicks her to the concrete curb. I'm guessing when she discovers Deacon was in cahoots with Meggie, she won't be eager to take another turn on his man ride again.
How many times has Victor yanked the rug out from under Jack's designer shoes? More than a few. Even so, Jack never sees the next betrayal coming. Jack always thinks like Yogi -- that he's smarter than the average bear. And because of his premature gloating and overconfident boasting, when Victor taps the first domino and all the dominos fall (the last one knocking Jack on his keister), it's really hard to feel much sorrow. Maybe it's because in his zeal to turn the tables and topple the titan, Jack doesn't care who he has to use or whether they, too, go down in flames, even if it's one of his own family members.
Of course, Victor is no better. You would think after the Patty Williams fiasco, he would have learned his lesson. But, nope. He's at it again, moving people around like pawns in his zeal to make Adam pay for the blood on his hands. Like Victor's own hands aren't completely covered with gore as well. Colleen's strong, young heart wasn't able to cause a lasting change in Victor; perhaps the Christmas ghosts' visits will prove to be more persuasive.
The Can't Say I Miss Them Award -- First place goes to J.T. and Mac. But send little Reed home for good. I do miss his cute little face. Second Place: Ryder. Good riddance to bad seed rubbish. Can you please send for your sister?
The "Who?" Award -- Who really killed Richard Hightower?
Least Liked Recasts: Heather Stevens and Malcolm Winters. If any fan likes these two, they are about as hard to locate as that needle in a haystack.
Before I box up 2010 and cart it upstairs, I have to share a few 2011 hopes.
One: Give Neil a meaty 2011 storyline that doesn't involve propping up Lily, lusting after his brother's woman, or falling off the wagon. How about pairing him with Leslie, Vance's assistant?
Two: Devon's got talent, scribes. Can he come out and play in 2011? And no, not just helping Noah promote his music or carrying Malcolm's camera equipment?
Three: No more cowering for Lauren from Sheila's evil minions. Ever!
Four: More Chloe and Kevin. I really don't want to see Kevin and Jana reunite. Sneaky and smarmy has not been an attractive look for Jana. Emotionless was bad, but this is worse. Teaming up with Daisy to get Kevin back, but unfortunately also tossing Lauren under the bus. Not cool and not deserving of the Kevin man prize.
Five: Less interfering Phyllis. She's good, but does she have to have her snout stuck in every storyline or be in nearly every episode? Sometimes I feel like I'm watching Everybody Loves Raymond, except it's Phyllis who is the apple of the scribes' eyes. Oh yeah, and give her someone new to hate besides Sharon and Adam. I'm tired of hearing her say Sharon's name, and Adam already has Victor.
Six: Someone write a tell-all Restless Style article about Phyllis. Billy, e-mail me. I'll be happy to try my hand at it if no other Genoa Citian has the stomach for it.
So, that's it. There's tons more I could say, but even a motor mouth like me has to stop to draw in air sometimes. This is the time. Hope your Christmas was supremely blessed and that your coming year is the best one yet. Fans, if you'd like to share your top best and worst, please send them on. I'd love to include some of them in a future column.