I feel like centering the show solely around them and not developing other characters outside the Capwell clan made it hard for the show post Marcy and A leaving the show. They should've got this right at the height of the show's popularity.
Other unpopular opinions:
I liked Harley with Phillip. IMO, that was her best pairing. Her worst is a toss up between Gus and Mallet. I always felt Mallet should've been paired with Mindy as they had BOMB chemistry.
I never got the hype of Beth/Phillip. Both characters were better when they weren't in each other's orbits.
I actually liked Nick McHenry.
Here you go! It was posted on twitter recently.
The Vivian stuff was bad and demeaning and it felt like John/Marlena, Carrie/Austin, and Bo/Hope just stalled out. Things happened but not quickly. It took 2 more years for John/Marlena to get married!! And Carrie/Austin had Mike and Sami but it felt like the show was unsure to pull the trigger on the Carrie/Mike stuff. And the Bo/Hope/Billie stuff...............blah. Peter having jungle madness was cool though.
This was also when Vivian and Ivan spent most of their time dressed in humiliating costumes and also trying to con "Jonesy" (Robert Mandan) out of his fortune. I think Vivian also dressed as Elvis around this time. I think a third of the cast dressed as Elvis around this time. Vivian or Ivan were also dressed as french fries. I believe Louise Sorel panned this material when she was interviewed in the late '90s.
It was sneaky but it was there. When they were in the jungle getting Roman's cure John was delirious and making out with Hope thinking it was Marlena and I was like, nope, nope this seems like trouble. Good thing they didn't try to make that work for several years lol. And it would have been more scandalous if it was Kristen he was making out with, but I just remember Kristen standing in the corner mad about it. They really just wasted Eileen for her last 6 months, but they gave her a good workout for the entire previous year so whatever.