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John Paschal/JPI; CBS screenshot (2); NBC screenshot;

We couldn’t let 2020 exit without offering our thoughts on what worked — and what really, really didn’t — where the year in soaps was concerned.

There’s a certain irony to the fact that when we needed an escape more than we’d ever needed one before, three of the four soaps were taken off the airwaves thanks to production shutdowns. At first, watching classic episodes from the past kept us entertained, but eventually, we just wanted to dive back into our favorite dramas.

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When finally they returned, we cheered — even if some shows struggled to regain their footing. Having seemingly lost its way before the forced break, The Young and the Restless returned a muddled mess with few actual stories in which to invest. On the other hand, General Hospital spent much of the year daring viewers to look away from the screen long enough for it to sneak in an unexpected return or twist the plot in some surprising fashion.

We watched as The Bold and the Beautiful took the mannequins which had become central to its socially-distanced love scenes and placed one front and center in the most buzzed-about story of the year. And despite having labeled it folly in the past, we were thankful for the advanced shooting schedule which allowed Days of Our Lives to keep new episodes coming without missing a beat.

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So now, as we count down the final days of 2020 and speculate about the stories which will keep us tuning in next year, it’s time for one final check of the previous 12 months. Which character was the most maligned and which story the most daring? Whose wedding were we most thrilled to attend, and what story were we anxious to see come to an end?

Click the gallery below to find out which plots, stars and stories earned our favor or wrath, then make sure to visit the comment section to weigh in with your own thoughts regarding the best and worst of the year, not to mention which plots you’re looking forward to in 2021.