Sunday, December 28, 2014

'The Young and the Restless': The Best and Worst of 2014

2014 will soon draw to an end and it's only appropriate to name the best and worst of America's number one daytime soap opera The Young and the Restless. This year, I will not only be counting down the Top 5 best and worst storylines, but actors and actresses too! Don't take what I say too seriously as it is only my opinion. Let's get started, shall we?

Top 5 Best Storylines:

5. Nick and Sharon reunite
Fans of "Shick" had to know that their long awaited reunion most probably wouldn't last (and it didn't), but the good few months we had of Nick and Sharon Newman (Joshua Morrow and Sharon Case) were written fairly well. As for now, well, lemme just not get into that.

4. Billy and Victoria split, Stitch and Victoria get busy
I'll be honest, I'm a "Villy" fan and as much as I love them, I was beyond ready for them to spend some time apart (given the fact that Billy Miller had left and at the time, David Tom really wasn't bringing it). But I really enjoyed their split. Not only did Victoria fall into the arms of Stitch (Sean Carrigan), but clearly her tryst with Stitch wasn't well spaced as she became pregnant... and didn't know who the daddy was. The paternity reveal over 10 months later wasn't exactly the best but everything leading up to that was pretty fair game, including the acting. At least Amelia Heinle's acting.

3. Ian Ward targets Summer
This storyline didn't really last that long, but I found it to be pretty solid. Cult leader Ian Ward (Ray Wise), who arrived in town amidst accusations of fathering Dylan (Steve Burton) with Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott), started to target Nick's "daughter" Summer (Hunter King), who was unaware of everything. While Nikki and Ian's history was pretty much made up out of thin air within the past year, it just seemed to flow. Maybe it was the acting, maybe it was the writing. Whatever it was, it just worked. Not to mention Ian's secret, secret history with Mariah (Camryn Grimes)!

2. Phyllis wakes up
I'm not gonna lie, the main reason I'm including this storyline on this list is because of Gina Tognoni, who stepped into the role of Phyllis Summers Romalotti Abbott Newman in August. I've always dislikes Phyllis...but Tognoni is almost responsible for changing that. Phyllis woke up thanks to Victor (Eric Braeden), who was hell bent on finding out Sharon's afforementioned secret and heard a tip that Phyllis, who had been comatose since last July, may know the truth. Phyllis woke up and escaped her Georgia clinic in time to crash Nick and Sharon's wedding... and all hell broke lose. While it wasn't exactly fun for me as a Sharon fan to see her a wreck again, I admit Phyllis wreaking havoc by waking up was well written, well paced and well acted.

1. Mariah is Sharon's biological daughter
Bringing back Camryn Grimes for the umpteenth time wasn't anything new last summer; we all knew it would mean Cassie's ghost would be paying Sharon a visit...that never seemed to end. Ghost Cassie was helping her plot to get Nick back which eventually lead to her "secret" of switching Summer's paternity test. But then, suddenly, Sharon could touch her ghost of a daughter. Before long, we found out Victor had hired a Cassie lookalike to gaslight Sharon to find out information on this secret of hers. By the summer time, Sharon had grown attached to the girl who looked so much like her daughter and sure enough, there was a reason: She's Cassie's twin sister! Of course, a soap opera-esque move. But the main point was bringing back Camryn Grimes, who was killed off in 2005, as a brand new character! Not to mention great writing.

Top 5 Worst Storylines:

5. Tyler and Abby: The Mariah Caper
Tyler and Abby... What can I say about Tyler and Abby? Their pairing was honestly just a waste of time. As I've already established, Melissa Ordway's portrayal of Abby isn't the best. It's far from it. So how would you react when she and Tyler (Redaric Williams) are on basically every second day bitching about Tyler's ex "Mariah"? It went on for months. Mariah was secretly sneaking into their hotel room and then locked Abby in an empty apartment overnight. We knew it was her because she had a distinctive tattoo of a sun on her wrist. There were rumors that Christel Khalil, who plays Lily Winters, would turn out to be playing Mariah as well... but out of nowhere the Cassie lookalike turns out to be Mariah. Which was...okay. Camryn Grimes can pull anything off, but it just seemed like that wasn't the initial plan despite producers saying it had been in the works since the beginning. It just didn't work and was unsatisfying, considering Tyler and Abby broke up thereafter and Tyler has since disappeared from the show.

4. Jack and Kelly's romance
We groaned everytime Jack (Peter Bergman) called the clinic in Georgia where Phyllis lay comatose and told a nurse to hold the phone to her ear so he could proclaim his love. It was only necessary that he move on... but he chose unwisely. From the moment he and Kelly (then Cynthia Watros, now Cady McClain) first shared scenes, I was yelling NO! at my television. Okay, I'll admit, I'm not a Kelly fan. She tore apart Billy and Victoria's marriage and just has an annoying presence which continues to this day. But, Jack and Kelly started a relationship just in time for McClain's debut in the role. Honestly, I wish Watros had stayed, because McClain has made me hate the character even more. We continued to groan as Jack fell hard for Kelly and even let her start to redecorate the iconic Abbott mansion. Whoa. In what universe would Jack's sisters let that happen?! And then, as all of this came to a head, Phyllis woke up and made her long awaited return. Jack failed to make a commitment to Kelly nor tell Phyllis about their tryst... she had to find out herself. And now, Kelly continues to pine over Jack to anyone that will listen. Make. It. Stop.

3. Dylan is Paul's son
In all honesty, this storyline wasn't that terribly written. It was gold compared to the reveal that Nikki is Dylan's biological mother. But it was just too...propped. Executive producer Jill Farren Phelps will always say that she doesn't prop Steve Burton, her bestie, but has she watched what she's producing? Dylan is like Genoa City's guardian angel. He gives Paul a liver transplant when he was shot, he found Faith (Aly Lind) just recently when she ran away from home and just last week, his coffeehouse magically had power when the rest of the town went dark. Seriously? It's just really bothersome.

2. Summer and Austin got married!
Summer Ann Newman (Hunter King) is not the sharpest tool in the shed. In fact, she can't even find the shed. So how would anyone expect to enjoy hearing her bitch about losing everyone in her life when she has two millionaire daddies and anything she ever wants but oh, her mom was in a coma at the time. So as soon as she met cameraman Austin (Matthew Atkinson), she sank her claws into him and didn't let go. They got married, even after Austin kidnaps and nearly killed Avery (Jessica Collins), and are now playing house in an expensive condo that was bought with money made from selling Phyllis' penthouse while she was sleeping. We're supposed to enjoy seeing Austin work so hard to provide for the rich princess he "loves" but guess what... No one cares.

1. The Internet is being mean about my cupcakes!
I was speechless when Avery (Jessica Collins) having her own online cooking show became an actual storyline. Then, someone is posting mean comments about her precious cupcakes... oh no! And the police aren't going to do anything? The nerve of some people! Not only that... we then find out that the cupcake meanie "4MJ" leaving comments is none other than Austin, her cameraman, who only took the job because apparently a few years ago Avery freed the man who killed his mother, or something like that. So in his final plot for revenge, Austin kidnaps Avery and plans on killing her but Dylan to the rescue! He wrestles Austin for the gun and Paul (Doug Davidson) ends up with a gunshot wound. The storyline was just so bad, you laughed at first, but once it sunk into your brain, the laughter turned into tears that said, "Is this what things have come to?"

Top 5 Best Actors:

5. Doug Davidson as Paul Williams
Always a pleasure. His decades-long portrayal of Paul, the P.I.-turned-police-chief, is timeless. You can't NOT love Doug.

4. Billy Miller as Billy Abbott
Miller only appeared as Billy for the first month of 2014, but even in that short time, his performances warrant him on this list. That is all.

3. Eric Braeden as Victor Newman
What need be said about Victor Newman? The Dark Knight is classic. Irreplaceable. Impeccable. Amazing. Cunning. Mind-blowing. At times aggravating. Should I stop there?

2. Joshua Morrow as Nicholas Newman
I don't always like Nick, but I'll always say that Morrow is a great actor. He plays Nick with such passion that is forever held dear.

1. Christian LeBlanc as Michael Baldwin
Even if he doesn't have much of a storyline sometimes, LeBlanc will always be one of the best actors on Y&R. Ever. And I can't wait to see how he handles Michael's cancer storyline that will continue into 2015.

Top 5 Worst Actors:

5. Steve Burton as Dylan McAvoy
Burton has the ability to do good work. We saw that on General Hospital. But I have to admit that since joining Y&R in 2013, he has made minimal magic. Scratch that. NO magic. I debated whether or not to include him on this list, but...I just don't see it. Perhaps with better material will come better deliverance.

4. David Tom as Billy Abbott
We were sort of intrigued when they announced David Tom would be reclaiming the role of Billy...but it wasn't good. He is definitely not that strong of an actor, and didn't hold the weight of Billy Miller. At all.

3. Burgess Jenkins as Billy Abbott
I also debated whether or not to include him on this list, but it has to be said. Jenkins is not that terrible of an actor. He's not Richard Gere, but he's not awful. But his ordinary and dull deliverance of Billy is just too out of touch with everything that had been created in previous years. The current writing for his character is absolute sewage. And that being said, Jenkins doesn't exactly hold the weight of Billy Miller either. Dear Lord, will anyone?

2. Hartley Sawyer as Kyle Abbott
Sawyer only appeared in the first month of 2014, but his godawful portrayal of Jack's son that made us cringe for most of 2013 was too bad not to be recognized. Thank god they cut their losses in that department.

1. Matthew Atkinson as Austin Travers
The horrific storyline that surrounded Austin's introduction didn't help Matthew Atkinson. But even then, there's not much more to say. He's not an Emmy-worthy gem and most probably never will be.

Top 5 Best Actresses:

5. Amelia Heinle as Victoria Newman
Heinle always brings something interesting to the table as ruthless businesswoman Victoria.

4. Camryn Grimes as Mariah Copeland
Bringing Grimes back as Cassie Newman's previously unknownn twin was the best move the show has made in years, because Grimes has showed us she can pull off anything and make it enjoyable to watch.

3. Melissa Claire Egan as Chelsea Lawson
Whether she's mourning her sociopathic husband, fighing off her crazy best friend, or shacking up with the man she was paid to date rape just a mere three years ago, Egan always manages to make Chelsea memorable, spunky, seductive and fun.

2. Sharon Case as Sharon Newman
Year after year, Case is given more and more out-of-character storylines that she continues to knock out of the park. She's always snubbed for an Emmy and I'm hoping that will change in 2015. I'm allowed to dream, aren't I?

1. Gina Tognoni as Phyllis Summers
I can't believe that me, a well known Phyllis hater, is naming her actress as the number 1 best actress of 2014. But I couldn't resist. Tognoni is the best recast this show has seen in years. She brings something to the table that her predecessor Michelle Stafford never ever brought in 16 years. She captures everything about Phyllis' character and still finds time to add her own twist to it. Pure soap opera magic.

Top 4 Worst Actresses:

4. Catherine Bach as Anita Lawson
I mean... Bach isn't a gem. She never was. Anita is annoying. She always was. Sometimes the embarassingly bad portrayal Bach brings is just hilarious.

3. Jessica Collins as Avery Bailey Clark
I've said this before, and I'll say it again. Collins is not lead actress material. She did fine as a supporting actress when she was introduced by former executive producer and head writer Maria Arena Bell in 2011, but since having more airtime and more storylines (if that's what you want to call them, then sure) she proves time and time again she's not worthy of the material she gets.

2. Cady McClain as Kelly Andrews
I'm probably going to catch hell for going against a daytime soap opera veteran, but McClain's portrayal of Kelly, Billy's mistress-turned-Jack's bed buddy, has been abysmal since her first week on the air. Her boring and ordinary portrayal just doesn't match up with the characteristics Cynthia Watros created before she vacated the role. And when McClain finally got some good material, she overacted the hell out of it. Sorry not sorry.

1. Melissa Ordway as Abby Newman
Ordway is not that strong as an actress. She's not the worst thing you'll ever see, but she's nowhere near a future daytime treasure. Which is why she comes across as so annoying when she flaunts her stuff around town acting like she's been perfect all her life. Try again, honey! I'd say they need to recast her again... but it seems at this point we're better off seeing where they take her next. It's almost amusing some days. Other days I wish Abby were hit by a bus.

Here's to a great 2015! Watch The Young and the Restless weekdays on CBS.

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