Skye's the limit! Could she return? (Soaps.com)

The grades are in!

As I write this, the annual Genoa City tradition of bringing tears to our eyes at Christmas is underway. Lauren warms to sudden-sister Jill long enough to invite her to stay with her husband and son on Christmas Eve – pass the Kleenex. Billy goes to great lengths to ensure Reed is brought home and into mother Victoria’s arms – there goes my mascara. Terminally ill Ronan arrives on the doorstep of long-lost mother Nina, and the look on her face as she opens the door – now even my dogs are crying. Not to mention a black and white teary-eyed Victor yelling at his computer (we’ve all had days like that).

In other words, a perfect time for a final, end-of-year The Young and the Restless Report Card:

Storyline: The Black Widow.
Y&R portrayed Ottawa as some backwoods trash town, leaving both Canada and its capital city insulted, but still, that’s where we met Sean Young’s Meggie, Murphy’s ex-daughter-in-law, the kook audiences couldn’t decide whether they loved or hated but who didn’t seem to care, anyway. Meggie nearly killed Murphy, tried to do in Victor for his billions, and turned Nikki back to the bottle. I loved Young’s weird whack take and the resulting chaos this unique character created: Grade: A

Storyline: Sister dearest.
We’re used to weird family twists when it comes to Jill, so it was easy to buy that her real daddy turned out to be Lauren’s daddy too. What wasn’t easy to buy was the sudden back-burnering of this development in order to bring Daisy back to torture Lauren further. That was a decision that has opened up a delicious can of worms, but Jill was suddenly pushed off the canvas, and, frankly, that should never be the case where Jess Walton is concerned. Grade: B (upgraded to B+ if the fun possibilities of this story are explored further and faster) next year.

Storyline: Sara snore.
Ooops, I mean Smythe. After a long teasing that felt like Sheila Carter was back in town, turns out that no, it was just some sister we never knew Sheila had, who looked just like Lauren, arriving in town complete with Devil’s Spawn, Daisy and Ryder – the kidlets of Terrible Tom and Satanic Sheila. The only catch? Neither Sara, Daisy or Ryder came off as remotely intimidating and the whole misguided mess was painful to watch, especially when there was another doppelganger storyline already underway on Y&R that was in a league of its own. Grade: F.

Storyline: Pushing Daisy.
So the completely non-terrifying Daisy is back in town and pregnant with a square pillow. The good news is that the competition is on to see who will become Genoa City’s Next Top Parent, and that’s fun viewing. Crazy Jana is in the lead, while former BFFs Kevin and a reluctant, ever-scowling Daniel get set to duke it out. Don’t discount Phyllis either; it’s great to see her being given fun storylines that don’t depend on a relationship that was beneath her to begin with. Grade: B+, but Daisy can go back to jail as soon as she pops.

Storyline: Take a chance.
This is how you clean up a story featuring a major character that isn’t working: send him out of town, let most of GC think he’s dead so that there’s plenty of room for secrets and fresh hot wounds, and then bring back a new and improved version at a later date and with a better story than that silly “drugs in the prison system” crap. Grade: F (while Chance was alive), B (“killing” him).

Storyline: Glo-A-Go-Go.
Isn’t Gloria the perfect character to run a naughty hot spot? She already has the gaudy hostess wardrobe, why not stick the word ‘worm’ next to her name and call it a day? This year, Y&R did just that, giving us a fun new set to enjoy, a place for Nikki to drink, and somewhere for a new Scooby Doo caper for Kevin to muddle through, a la Silver Chipmunk. My only worry is that Gloria is this close to becoming the new Gina, relegated to forever showing people to their tables, a new story ever 24 months if we’re lucky. She seems to be on to her husband’s bookkeeping shenanigans but has done nothing about it – not very Gloria at all. Or maybe she’s not noticed a thing and I’ve completely missed it because the story is just moving too slowly to notice. Grade: A- for Glowworm, C+ for Gloria and her stealing husband and sidekick son story that’s gone nowhere.