I was only interested in Stephanie up to the mid-90s or so. Brad Bell made her a grotesque caricature. I still remember sitting their laughing and laughing in the awful scenes where she confronted Brooke at Big Bear and had a stroke.
For me the best of B&B was always Sally, and Caroline (the first one). And Brooke up to the mid-90s.
Agree with many of the sentiments here. For me, B&B was never on the level of Y&R, GH, ATWT, but it was fun watchable "smut" up until the early 2000s. The problem was that B&B was heavily dependent on (often near incestuous) romance based drama, occasional fashion business drama, and Brooke being a slut. Not much plot diversity there.
Amazingly it's still #2 in the ratings, and still boasts better production quality than that of DAYS or GH. As for why it's still #2 IDK, the show has been in the gutter for a while now. Stephanie was the Erica Kane/the Viki Lord of the show and now that she's gone the show is suffering. Her antagonistic relationship with Sally, Sheila and of course Brooke played well for years.
The one thing B&B did right though was sticking to the 30 min format. At least it's easier to produce 19 mins worth of content 5 days a week with a smaller cast, stretch plots, and maintain decent production values.
Favorite scene: Sheila taunts Stephanie about marrying Eric (1993):