Daytime Soap Operas
2013 The Year That Was

Best & Worst of 2013: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY


Worst decision

  • ABC - Rather than revive a soap in the wake of Katie Couric’s failure, they’re filling her slot with Meredith Viera’s new talk show, a woman who didn’t bring as many viewers as Couric to the Today show, so how is her talk show going to do any better? At what point will one of these executives have the courage to say we made a colossal mistake in allowing Brian Frons to decimate our daytime lineup and now we’re going to right his wrongs?

Best Father and Daughter Who Sadly Aren’t Really Father and Daughter

  • The Young and The Restless’s Jack and Summer may be victims of yet another Genoa City paternity test scam, so they won’t be a forever thing, but in the meantime, they’re a pleasure to watch. Jack is such a loving guy, and Summer really, really needs to feel loved after all she’s been through, you’d think that would make their relationship an easy fit, but the actors brilliantly keep things awkward between them, mindful that Summer grew up with another dad, and she wouldn’t just suddenly adore this other guy in her life, it’s a delicate transition and they’re playing it to perfection.

The Highest High and Lowest Low

  • All My Children and One Life to Live’s revival. It was thrilling to see these soaps come back to life, then it was gutting all over again. I guess we should focus on the positives, we had some more stories featuring our old favorites, we met some new favorites, and hopefully, aspiring soap producers of the future can take the good and the bad from this venture and figure out how to make it succeed.

Biggest Game Changer?

  • It’s still too early to say whether hiring rugged Thorsten Kaye as The Bold and The Beautiful’s Ridge is the most absurd casting ever or pure genius. Will his natural acting style change the somewhat campy tone of the show, who knows? But you have to admire the guts it took to give this a shot.

Best Wedding

  • Patrick and Sabrina didn’t make it through their wedding, and (sorry Sabrina fans) that’s what made it great. First, adorable Emma spied her back from the dead mama at the end of the aisle and threw herself into Robin’s arms, in the biggest "aww!" moment of the year, or at least it was the biggest "aww!" moment, until Patrick raced up the aisle, too, and kissed his true love.

Most Tortured Fandom

  • Days is doing so much right lately, that it’s hard to believe they’re still getting John and Marlena so wrong. Almost from the moment they returned to the show they were divided, and not in that great way where they share all sorts of wonderful scenes of longing for one another. Whatever moments they shared were angry and accusatory. Obviously soap couplings grow stale when they’re too happy, but you can’t have so much angst that it stamps out all traces of love and ultimately pushes a popular actor out the door. Surely in the aftermath of Kristen, there’s a story to tell that doesn’t involve convoluted espionage or brainwashing, a story more in line with the thoughtful show Days is now. It’s not like they need to be on every day burning through the show’s budget, a good old fashioned tale of two people falling in love all over again is actually best told at a leisurely pace.

Most Mixed Emotions

  • General Hospital’s anniversary year saw the return of many favorite faces, maybe too many. I love having Scotty and Lucy back, Anna makes the Port Charles PD seem semi-intelligent, and Duke is growing on me, but GH has developed a serious juggling problem where characters disappear for such long spells that you’re surprised when you see them again, you thought for sure they were gone from the show. It’s one thing to play this on and off game with Anthony Geary, we’re accustomed to that, but to do so with an entire cast is jarring, you’re just enjoying a story then it disappears, and when it finally reappears, you’re trying to remember what was going on a month ago when last you saw Molly or whoever. Also, there’s been an issue of doing justice to our beloveds, like say Frisco, who had some great father/daughter stuff with Maxie, but the Nurses Ball stripped him of his dignity, which was not cool for any of us who have always loved him, and who know Felicia loves him. Same goes for Laura, why bring her back if she wasn’t going to be there when her daughter most needed her during the custody battle, it makes Laura look like a bad mom when we know Laura shouldn’t be portrayed that way.

The Leading Man

  • Days of Our Lives EJ, can at times be the most despicable guy in daytime. While he does have many, many heroic and romantic moments, he’s also volatile and malicious, and James Scott is outstanding at all of it. On the one hand, someone should warn Abby away from EJ, on the other hand, who could blame her if she doesn’t listen.

The Leading Lady

  • Technically, Kirsten Storms is a supporting actress, not a leading lady on General Hospital, but her contribution is just so significant, so full of spark and emotion that it’s impossible to consider her anything less than one of daytime’s most valuable players. As Maxie attempted to make the ultimate sacrifice and pass her own baby off to her best friend, and then later, agonized over custody of the child, Storms surpassed anything she’s done, which is saying a lot.

Most in need of a rethink

  • The Young and The Restless shouldn’t be as difficult to fix as one regime after the next makes it seem. First Dylan had PTSD over a war buddy, when that didn’t tug at our heartstrings the way it should have, he had PTSD over a child who’d died in the war, again what should have been a heart-tugger didn’t really play, so now, because we love Nikki, suddenly she’s his mom, she apparently hid the pregnancy from everyone including herself and the television camera, and gave birth to him in 1980, which means Steve Burton is 33. Sure. If you have to constantly manipulate a story to make us care about a character, maybe the character isn’t working and you should stop shoving him down viewers throats. The Newmans already have a black sheep that the fans enjoy, there was no need for an additional Victor/Nick foe. I don’t know what the problem with Michael Muhney was, but I sure hope it was horrifyingly bad, and not an issue where everyone involved should have just figured out how to grow up and get past it, rather than let it negatively impact the show. Also, if one half of a couple is still seriously acting challenged after more than a year, no amount of montages in Malibu will improve anything, nor will some long lost love, which, by the way, Tyler shouldn’t even have since he was portrayed as the ultimate player when he arrived in town. Then there’s Lauren, if she’s been tortured by ninety-five different psychopaths, isn’t it time to explore a new story for her, not discover that oh, shocker, Carmine’s alive. Oh, and if Neil proposing in the police station is the writers idea of romance, well, yeah, that explains the lack of compelling couples. Lastly, and most obviously, if you lose your matriarch, honor the woman by her death having as big an impact on the show as it should have, not by giving her inheritance to a kid where the only thing that comes of it is a lame identity theft storyline, that money should have gone to the character that would have caused the most conflict across the entire canvas, and please, let there be a solid endgame to the music box mystery.

Most Promising

  • At one time, General Hospital’s Morgan was the only kid in town everyone wanted to save from the mob, so he was shuffled off to boarding school, now he’s the most likely to spiral down Sonny’s path. Between Ava and Kiki, and his gratuitous shirtless scenes, it was initially hard to take this young actor seriously (no fault of his own) but once they hooked into Morgan’s jealousy of half-brother Michael, Bryan Craig’s proven to be a real find, the guy does emotional wreck really well. I’m still not liking the stuff with Ava, but put him in scenes with Maurice and the relationship’s every bit as explosive as you’d hope for between Sonny and his less-favored boy.

Most Deserving of their Emmy

  • Days of Our Lives. Kate and Sami joined forces to dispose of a dead body. Marlena joined forces with Victor and it backfired on her big time. Eric and Nicole share endless sparks and tension and possibility even when they’re breaking each other’s hearts. Ciara’s a mini vixen in the making. Kristen’s machinations push Brady off the wagon. Instead of ignoring Jack’s ugly past, the show forced J.J. and his family to face it head on. From romance to family dynamics to generational stories and humor, Salem is the place to be.

Highlights

  • B&B - Anytime Katie stood up to Bill and Brooke. - Bill’s audacity. - Steffy’s wedding entrance on a motorcycle. - Pam and Donna’s friendship.

  • Days - The book club donuts. - Nick’s rape admission. - EJ bows down to Stefano to save Sami from a murder conviction.

  • GH - Every girl’s best friend, Felix. - Britt barbecued Emma’s doll on July 4th. - Obrecht and Faison at Halloween. - Treating Loving and Ryan’s Hope fans to brief walks down memory lane. - Diane, single-handedly making courtroom dramas interesting.

  • Y&R - The tribute episode for Jeanne Cooper. - While unnecessary and clearly a bid to win Emmys, Delia’s death did bring out the best in the actors.

Lowlights

  • B&B - Anytime Katie apologized to Bill and Brooke. - The revolving door that is Hope and Liam - Eric moving in Taylor five minutes after Stephanie died.

  • Days - Nick’s death led to some great material for other actors, but here’s hoping he’s somehow alive, Blake Berris is too good to lose. - Jailing Vargas when he had potential - A lack of motivation for Theresa’s actions, it’s time to give her and her talented portrayer more to work with, a multi-dimensional bad girl is a far more loveable one.

  • GH - The Chew. Like Y&R’s Dylan, we don’t need them shoved down our throats, either. - Treating Port Charles fans with disregard by making a mockery of a vampire story they enjoyed, and killing Alison, who would have made a lovely addition to the show. - Killing off Connie/Kate and for what purpose, so AJ could sit around in jail off screen for months?

  • Y&R - Paul and Christine wed at Katherine’s funeral. - Neil’s drunken past combined with Leslie and Tyler’s puzzling need for aliases and Hilary’s blogging all added up to nothing - Time’s running out with Billy Miller, and it’s spent hooking him up with a random woman. Really?

New Year’s Wishes

  • B&B - Backbones for all the ladies, and Liam, too. As always, a request to stop rushing everyone to the altar.

  • Days - A love interest and/or a story for Hope, she’s as beautiful and interesting and capable as ever, use her. And, hopefully some patience and kindness from all of us towards the new Will, it’s going to be a hard adjustment all the way around.

  • GH - Lisa LoCicero is talented and likeable, but there’s no sizzle with Sonny, he needs a new love, his dreaminess should not go to waste.

  • Y&R - Cut every character who isn’t fully formed and related to someone important/we love, get the show down to the basic essentials and start from the heart of those people, not with ill-conceived plots. Keep it simple and true to who they are.


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