It was an action-packed year on The Young and the Restless in 2012, one marked by transition. There were changes all around, what with Victor losing Newman Enterprises to Jack, Jabot becoming a haven for Neil Winters and family, Adam attempting to become a new man, and Phyllis running from her past and getting away with just about every sin imaginable. Here's our look back at the best and the most memorable -- and the storylines we'd choose to forget.
To hear Allison (and the rest of our Two Scoops columnists) discuss the Best/Worst of 2012, listen to our two-part, year-end special on Soap Central Live: The Best
and The Worst
To read what Nita has to say about the Best and Worst of Y&R 2012, click here
When I think back on 2012 for The Young and the Restless, there's one word that pops up again and again in my memory: transition. It wasn't just the ouster of Maria Arena Bell as executive producer and head writer. It was all the changes that shook the foundation of the folks we love and follow in Genoa City.
As I look back now at the year in review, you'll see I've broken down the many ups and downs into categories. Some are awards of merit, some are…not. Take a look and, please, write back with your thoughts.
Men of the Year
-- Yes, there is more than one guy who earns this honor for 2012. In my estimation, Adam, Nick, and Billy have all made big strides this past year and have undergone significant changes. And that's what character growth is all about: moving forward. For Adam, the year was all about growth; could he really become a different kind of man? Marriage to Chelsea was a life-altering experience for him, and even when he was still drawn back into Sharon's vortex of trouble, I believed in Adam wanting to hold onto his marriage. Even now, with his jockeying between Victor and Jack, Adam's not the same two-faced snake he's been in the past.
Nick makes this list because for the first time in his life, he embraced independence. After being the victim of Phyllis' lies, disrespected and brokenhearted by her antics, Nick finally found his spine and said, "Enough." He turned his back on Phyllis. He also had the same message for his father when Victor tried to guilt him back into the fight for Newman Enterprises. The new Nick, who also shines in this relationship with Avery, is a much more interesting guy than he used to be. He's his own man. Good for him!
Finally, there's Billy. It's inevitable that Billy is always going to be a magnet for trouble, but at least he's got a conscience. The entire situation in Los Angeles when Victor had amnesia was proof that Billy's essentially a good man. Sure, he kept the truth about Victor being alive from the family for a while, but he didn't just leave his father-in-law to rot on the docks. It might have been understandable if he had; Victor once dumped Billy in a Myanmar prison and walked away! So while Billy still has miles to travel before he'll be a model citizen, the way he's changed since marrying Victoria is proof to me that he's deserving of man of the year honors.
Ladies to Cheer
-- This might surprise you, but I think Sharon's earned a round of applause for surviving 2012. It's been a really rough time for this character, and for a long time, I feared ex-head writer Maria Arena Bell had made Sharon completely unsalvageable. How would Sharon ever dig out from the mess she'd made at Newman Enterprises and then burning down Victor's ranch? Sharon looked like a lost cause. However, by giving her a mental illness and having her deal with that trauma -- which will be ongoing -- the new writers have reenergized Sharon. Even her decision not to reunite with Adam has shown she's making progress. For once in her life, Sharon's not looking for a man to save her. Of course, after the way Tucker and Victor abused her in 2012, I can understand her swearing off guys for a while.
The other woman I've admired in 2012 is Avery. It took Jill Farren Phelps as producer to recognize that Avery was a character in need of a story! Her history with Phyllis, the new mystery about her marriage and the man she had an affair with, and the romance with Nick have all made Avery fun to watch. And the Easy-Bake oven angle was cute, too.
Losers of the Year
-- Sorry, but if you have failed to put one foot in front of the other and haven't gotten from here to there in a year, you are a loser. Four Genoa City characters fit the bill, in my estimation, and it's not because they all didn't have many opportunities to make something positive happen in their lives. Let's begin with Phyllis, one of the biggest losers (and we're not talking about her diet!). At every turn, Phyllis chose to lie rather than tell the truth. Her web of deceit and lack of candor cost her everything. She was out at Restless Style
, had a miscarriage, faced prison for her past sins, self-immolated her marriage, was the victim of blackmail, helped kill Tim, and still believed that she was a victim.
Ronan was another loser, one who got himself all wrapped up in Phyllis' sphere of influence. Here was a man who supposedly had integrity and professional ethics, but because he liked sex with Phyllis (and thought he was in love with her), he was willing to lie and jeopardize his career as an FBI agent. He falsified evidence, covered up for her illegal actions, and panted after her like a dog in heat. He should have had a capital "L" tattooed on his forehead. To add insult to injury, not only did Phyllis get away with her misdeeds without spending a single day in prison, but Ronan also never paid for his actions. He wasn't demoted or exposed for the lousy cop he really is. You know, maybe we were the losers because we had to watch those two?
The last of the 2012 Losers of the Year is a couple…a couple of men who have massive egos, incredible wealth, and the mutual desire to destroy each other. That's right -- Victor and Jack. To the outside world, and to themselves, they're anything but losers. Jack thinks he's king of the world. Victor is the ruler of the universe. However, their life-long battle for Genoa City supremacy has shown that they're both flawed, shallow men with delusions of grandeur. They have moments of sanity, when they assume human dimensions and acknowledge they need other people, but before long, they resume their craziness, and everyone in their path becomes fodder for their futile feud.
What A Waste in 2012
-- There are times when good characters are just wasted on a soap, and so it was for a handful of Genoa City residents. Number one on my list was Tucker McCall. There were so many chances to turn Tucker into a major player, but the writers just missed the mark. His marriage to Ashley fell apart over the dumbest of reasons, his drunken one-night stand with Harmony, and that also undermined his rebuilt relationship with Devon. Tucker mucked up the Newman takeover by propping up Sharon as a figurehead, then failed to finish the deed because he trusted Genevieve when she was not to be trusted. Despite Tucker's occasional attempts at being decent, he always fell short. So instead of really making Tucker important to the show, the powers that be have made him irrelevant, and now he's leaving town (presumably).
You can add Jill to the waste pile for 2012, too. It seemed like the writers had no idea what to do with Jill once they torpedoed her romance with Colin. That, too, was another waste of talent! Tristan Rogers was so terrific as Colin, but instead of using him to become a criminal element in Genoa City -- perhaps an adversary to Jack, Victor, and the other tycoons -- they just railroaded him out of town. They never explained the mystery of Claude Shirl and whether that was Colin's doing, and once Colin was gone, Genevieve drifted from problem situation to problem situation. It was aimless, wasteful, and, ultimately for us fans, dissatisfying.
Bad Moves of 2012
-- Sadly, we saw quite a few ill-fated plot developments this past year. In fact, this list could go on and on. There was Restless Style
, the gossip rag. Or was it a web site? Maybe it was the voice of Genoa City. Or perhaps the TMZ
reality show wannabe that was going to make Billy Abbott a star? Today, Restless Style
is nothing, not even a plot point anymore.
TagNGrab was another flop plot. Seriously, was that supposed to go somewhere? How about the aforementioned mystery of Claude Shirl? Did we ever find out who that woman was and if she had any real connection to Cane's sister Samantha?
There were plot developments that were equally as bad as Restless Style TV
and TagNGrab, like making Michael Baldwin the interim D.A. Could there have been a more boring development for a dynamic character like Michael?
Rapid aging struck Genoa City in a bad way. Summer went from a sweet little girl to a terrible teen, while Kyle jumped from hockey camp to corporate up-and-comer. It felt like we were experiencing character whiplash, trying to keep up with all the changes.
Then there was Devon's music studio. It was a great idea to start, even if it was a stretch to believe that Jersey girl Angelina was capable of becoming a big-time pop star. But instead of keeping the music angle going, Devon just folded the studio, without batting an eye, to become a Jabot corporate flunky. Seriously, could you see that happening in the real world?
What Were They Thinking?
-- As bad as the weird moves and perplexing plot points were, what were they thinking when they brought in Ricky Williams? Was he always supposed to be a serial killer? Did he really plan to entrap Paul in a murder plot in which Ricky was the victim? After all, that video they found after Ricky's death pointed a finger at Paul in the event of Ricky's death. Had Ricky always intended to die just to destroy his father's life?
And what about Daisy? After we learned that Ricky hadn't killed her, she was abducted from the mental hospital and never heard from again. Questions unanswered and dangling plot points… why?
Of all the "what were they thinking" storylines, the one that was really questionable was the way Victor lost Newman Enterprises. Yes, I realize there was a medical element to the plot -- Victor's amnesia -- but before he fell off the horse, he'd put the entire business in jeopardy by his ill-fated marriage to Sharon. He didn't protect his investment. He exposed Newman Enterprises to risk from all sides. For a man who's supposedly a corporate genius, Victor screwed up in a massive way. As a viewer, you had to wonder, what were they thinking?
So, all in all, it was quite a year. There were ups and downs, positives and negatives, and the entire spectrum of emotions. The good news is that as I write this, things are definitely on the upswing. I can't wait to see what's going to happen next. Bring it on, 2013. I'm ready, willing, and able to handle whatever comes from Genoa City… even if it comes in the form of one General Hospital transplant by the name of Steve Burton!
Allison J. Waldman
Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of soapcentral.com 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.