As characters on soap operas go, sometimes a change is all they need. Sometimes that change makes them more likable and sometimes more interesting.
Soap Operas: Characters For Better Or Worse
The year 2019 was no exception to that rule as some characters went through some amazing transformations. See who Soap Hub picks for the most improved characters on Days of our Lives, General Hospital, The Young and the Restless, and The Bold and the Beautiful.
The Bold and the Beautiful: Thomas Forrester
For most of his early tenure, Thomas (Matthew Atkinson) was a waffler. Every few years, he was pursuing a new love interest (hello and goodbye Caitlin, Amber, Ivy, Caroline, Sally, etc.) and depending on the way the wind blew, he was either mentally sound or dangerously crazy.
But the Thomas Forrester who returned to Los Angeles earlier this year was a completely delineated character with one laser-focused agenda: attain the affections of Hope Logan (Annika Noelle) no matter the cost.
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So far the cost has included lying about the state of her baby’s existence, mentally and emotionally abusing his grade-school age son, and inadvertently causing the death of an innocent teenager — the state of his mental health, it seems, is no longer in question. This boy needs therapy stat!
Days of our Lives: Ben Weston and Xander Kiriakis
One of the most tried and true tropes of soap operas is the bad boy turning over a new leaf thanks to the love of a good woman. While DAYS is currently curbing the worst habits of two of its naughtiest men, the soap is also allowing them to retain just enough of their dark side to keep them interesting.
By falsely imprisoning Ben (Robert Scott Wilson) for Jordan’s (Chrishell Stause) murder and positioning Ciara (Victoria Konefal) as his ride or die, the soap has made this serial killer palpable to the fans who once called for his eternal imprisonment.
Similarly, fatherhood to baby Mickey and undying devotion to Sarah (Linsey Godfrey) has endeared former diamond smuggler, kidnapper, and all-around ne’er-do-well Xander (Paul Telfer) to the viewing public.
General Hospital: Ava Jerome
After finally extricating herself from that tepid romance with Griffin Munro (Matt Cohen), Ava (Maura West) seemed to have a new lease on life thanks to her burgeoning romance with Dr. Kevin Collins (Jon Lindstrom).
So, imagine the shock, recrimination, and anger that she experienced from the one-two punch of learning that a) Kevin was actually Ryan, the doc’s psychotic, stab-happy twin and b) he was the person who murdered her beloved daughter, Kiki (Hayley Erin).
Most of mid-2019 was dominated by Ava’s reaction to the revelation and her determination to see vigilante justice done – a position which she herself enacted by introducing a carving knife to Ryan’s back.
Subsequently, the grieving mother endured a stint in Shadybrook — the result of being gaslighted by a vengeful Nikolas Cassadine (Marcus Coloma), and gained a backbone where the greatest hypocrites on soap operas, Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Carly (Laura Wright) were concerned. She also forged ahead with three new relationships with similarly fierce women — Laura (Genie Francis), Trina (Sydney Mikayla), and Nina (Cynthia Watros).
The Young and the Restless: Traci Abbott
Newer YR fans might find it hard to believe that Traci Abbott (Beth Maitland) was once a powerful presence on the soap. In fact, during her initial reign (1982-1996), Traci managed to snag herself a rock n’ roll superstar and one of the show’s sexiest bad boys — Brad Carlton (Don Diamont) — and her rivalry with bully Lauren Fenmore (Tracey Bregman) was legendary.
So it was all the more welcome to have the character take center stage to the extent that she did throughout 2019. From the fantasy world she lost herself in and her almost-relationship with the much younger Cane (Daniel Goddard) to her dogged determination to uncover her ailing mother’s long-buried secret, Traci’s time on-screen was inspired and hope springs eternal that the New Year will usher in more story for this fantastic lady.