Daytime Soap Operas
2015 The Year That Was

Best & Worst of 2015: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY


The Best Father and Son

Between their regretful Ava histories, and their mental illnesses, I love how similar General Hospital's Sonny and Morgan are, and how those similarities lead to combative moments of unfiltered, explosive energy you can't take your eyes off of. Yet then there are moments of such tender understanding between them, too, particularly as Morgan is coming to terms with his bi-polar disorder, moments so raw and honest that it's almost as if you're eavesdropping on a real heart-to-heart conversation. Whichever mode you find these actors in, angry or contemplative, the result is the same, stunningly good stuff.

Worst Father and Son (in the best way)

Ridge trashes his son Thomas' work, and his bachelor life, and, Ridge has also opted to raise Thomas' child without bothering to let Thomas know that he's having a child. He's so not a nice dad. Thomas, however, isn't the best of sons, either, what with taking advantage of Caroline minutes after his dad dumped her, calling Ridge out on on his deficiencies as a father and husband, and there was that moment where Thomas slugged his dad (though secretly we all kind of enjoyed that, didn't we?) These two are downright horrible to one another, every time they meet it's a clash of egos, and the thrill of not knowing how far things will escalate. These actors may not have made their characters particularly likeable, but who cares, they're way more interesting than the tug-of-war over Liam.

Worst Business Practices

As The World Turns. One Life to Live. Guiding Light. All My Children. Towards the end of their runs they all either had actors poached from them by other shows, or poached other shows' actors, and how did that work out for them? Oh, right, they ended up cancelled. I'm not saying that's the only reason they're off the air, obviously not, but it didn't help to shove an actor into a role that doesn't suit them purely for the sake of screwing the competition. That's just dumb, and damaging to both sides of the equation. The current war between GH and Y&R isn't benefitting either show. General Hospital stole Y&R's Phyllis and basically had Michelle Stafford play the same unhinged role on their show because they hadn't thought out an actual character for her, they just figured she's one of Y&R's most valued players, so we'll take her, and fans have been stuck for a year and half with them trying to figure out who she is. A similar mess is ongoing at Y&R with Steve Burton, they have tied Dylan to legacy characters, given him numorous professions, he's on his third love interest, and nothing sticks, because they had no idea what to do with him from day one other than to steal him from GH. Then we have stoic Jason on GH, who doesn't really play to livewire Billy Miller's strengths, so was their aim to hire the right guy for the role, or just to leave Y&R with a gaping hole? And naturally, now Y&R intends to fill that gaping hole with one of GH's fan favorites, but again, they've hired an actor seemingly just because they could steal him from another show, and not because Jason Thompson has ever exhibited the rascally nature that Y&R's faithful want from Billy. Jason Thompson is a skilled actor, so maybe the casting will work out, I don't know, I hope so, in any case, I'll never understand why the soaps insist on sabotaging one another. Think about it, if you were one of the last four people on earth, would you try to kill the other three just to guarantee you'll be the last to die, or would you choose to support one another, and brainstorm strategies to stay alive, so that maybe, just maybe, you might all have a shot at survival?

Best “New” Family

The Hernandez family isn't actually new to Days of Our Lives, Rafe along with some combination of sisters and a brother have been hanging around Salem for a long time now, but it's only with the introduction of wayward patriarch Eduardo, that they finally feel as complete and compelling as The Bradys, The Hortons, and DiMeras. It turns out Eduardo was trained to be an assassin, and having a family was just a cover, it wasn't something he actually wanted, until now, and while his daugher Gabi most leans towards embracing her dad, eldest son Rafe does not, and it makes for the best tension. Until this year, I was indifferent at best, towards Rafe, and at worst, I wanted him off the show, he was this goody-goody cop who I didn't find all that interesting, however, the scenes with his dad have had this great bite to them, now that you see this animosity from Rafe, he feels like a more multi-dimensional person, I love that he isn't being the nice guy he is, and falling for anything Eduardo's selling, he's consistantly prickly towards the guy, and aggravated whenever Gabi softens towards their dad. It just goes to show how family ties, particularly messy family ties, can add much needed depth and insight to a character. I'm enjoying Rafe so much more now that he has this baggage, it's improved his personality to the point where after a decent amount of grieving for Bo, I could see myself liking Rafe with Hope, which is not something I ever would have thought possible.

Could Have Been Better

When a soap alters a past storyline simply to make their current one work, it's not only annoying for viewers who invested hours in the original plot, it also makes the altered storyline tough to buy into. I like that The Bold and The Beautiful decided to do a transgender story, soaps don't address social issues enough anymore, and B&B has handled this plot thoughtfully, with some strong performances from their actors, however, once upon a time Maya had a baby, and it was a major part of her introduction to the show, a defining story for Dayzee as well, and Maya never ever indicated that baby wasn't biologically hers, that only happened when the writers needed to manipulate the situation to force the transgender plot to work. I just hate that such an important, landmark moment in soaps is always going to ring slightly false for me, all because the show chose a character whose past doesn't line up with being transgender. They could have told this same story with Caroline, Ivy, Wyatt, Liam, Nicole, or Carter – there are any number of characters without a history that would get in the way for longtime viewers, and then it would have felt as authentic as it should.

Even Worse Revisionist History

While The Bold and The Beautiful only changed one detail of Maya's past, and at least they did so in order to tell an important story, General Hospital wiped out a year or more of plot for no apparent reason. Why would Holly say she never met Bill? She had a romance with the guy. I doubt it was anybody's favorite, still, it happened, so why didn't she just say something like “we were involved, I'd rather not discuss it.” Instead, she claimed she never met him. The soap threw Emma Samms under the bus by having her say she misspoke, but seriously, how does, we had relationship mistakenly turn into a line about never having known the guy? I don't think so. That glaring mistake must have been in the script. This was a writer who didn't bother to do basic research. And two actors who, unless they're prematurely senile, knew very well that they'd worked together for an extended period as those characters, yet they couldn't be bothered to correct the error, because, I can only guess, they didn't want to have to wait around an extra two minutes while one sentence was re-written. It gave the sad impression that no one cared enough to make an effort, not exactly the message you want to send to an already dwindling fanbase, is it? Thankfully most involved are gone from the show, and hopefully they took their apathetic attitudes with them.

Best Disasters

I'm guessing as the top-rated soap, Y&R also has the biggest budget, still, this isn't the eighties, this is the era of cost-cutting, there isn't a ton of money to throw around for special effects and sets, shows have to think and shoot creatively if they want to pull off anything with an epic feel, and impressively, The Young and The Restless did so on multiple occasions this year. A plane crash, an apartment fire, a roof cave-in, a skyscraper fire, camera angles and blocking allowed viewers to see just enough, while well-chosen character conflicts distracted attention from whatever couldn't be achieved visually. Even Dylan doing his cop yet not a cop thing didn't annoy me as much because I was too busy actually being entertained, now Y&R just needs to figure out how to channel that sense of excitement into their everyday episodes.

Lighten Up Already

Days of Our Lives has had tremendous moments of drama this year, which has led to some of the finest performance I've ever seen from Kassie DePaiva, Bryan Dattilo, Kate Mansi and Robert Wilson, among so many others, every actor was at the top of the game, and I appreciate that Days didn't just kill off significant characters and never mention them again, we've actually seen the grieving process, however, it's been a lot of death, a seemingly never ending blackcloud over Salem, and other than Victor's snarky comments, I can only think of a handful of moments this year that actually elicited smiles or laughter. As important as it is to win Emmys and keep viewers on edge so they'll tune in for what happens next, soaps are truly at their best when they deliver every kind of emotion, viewers need fun times mixed in with the tears.

Most Improved Character

Kristen Alderson is a great actress so it's disappointing that General Hospital waited until she left to actually let Kiki be her own person. Before, Kiki always seemed to just react to whatever was happening to Michael or Morgan, now, finally, she actually has her own life, her own problems, and she dealt with them by pouting and drinking and pulling away from anyone who loves her, which gave Hayley Erin the perfect opportunity to show us just how talented she is, put her in a scene with Morgan, Ava, or Franco, played by three of the finest actors in daytime, and she's right there with them.

Most Unnecessary

The random rape of Y&R's Avery. Enough women are raped in life and on TV everyday, we don't need more if it's simply used as a red-herring about her ex, rather than as a meaningful exploration of violence against women, and to make it even more senseless, Avery was written out soon after, so we barely saw her deal with her trauma. Have a thoughtful reason for a telling this story or don't tell it. I mean, I don't see anyone stripping Victor of his power over his body or any other part of his life, writers actually manage to come up with an endless array of other plots for men, why is it that the fallback story for female characters is so often rape, there's really no other story of value and consquence to tell about their lives?

The Bold & The Beautiful: Highs, Lows & Wishes

Highs:
  • Maya standing up to her dad on her wedding day.
  • Bill the voice of disgust for all of us when it comes to Caroline and Ridge.
  • Rick and Caroline's emotional confrontation over their breakup.
  • “Pick a lane, dude,” Wyatt, to Liam about Steffy and Ivy, a.k.a the story of Liam's indecisive life.
  • That moment where Ivy and Steffy chose to walk away from Liam.

Lows:

  • That moment where Ivy and Steffy wanted Liam back.
  • Maya's desperate need to continue the gene pool that disowned her. The world needs more people like her dad?
  • Killing off Aly, not only was the actress starting to come into her own, but she's a Forrester and the death didn't even have a long term impact on the storyline.

Wishes:

  • Brooke gets a story and not at the expense of her sister's marriage.
  • Wyatt befriends Nicole to make up for having used her last year, it leads to romance, which is complicated by their age difference, the baby she's having, and Quinn vs. Julius, plus as an added bonus, Liam has never dated Nicole.
  • A long lost niece of Sally's, with attitude galore, revives Spectra, and like most of us, she's baffled by Liam's appeal, she's into her company's rival heir, Thomas.

Days Of Our Lives: Highs, Lows & Wishes

Highs:
  • Ben's emotional unraveling in the police station.
  • Paige smashes her birthday cake.
  • Paul comes out to his mom and grandfather.
  • Steve gives Joey a motorcycle behind Kayla's back, a classic Patch move.
  • Though I'm confident Hope is more than capable of saving herself, there was some sweet nostalgia in watching Bo save his Fancy Face one last time.
  • Sami's inability to cry over Will, while Lucas seemingly couldn't stop, the reverse of stereotypical gender responses.

Lows:

  • Anything involving Xander or Serena, ill-conceived characters from start to finish, and now Ava has me similarly worried.
  • Killing off Paige, Will, and Bo, three legacy characters, in a matter of months, sure, in the moment it made for emotional TV, but it also wiped out future storylines.
  • Paul, the only Asian character, and the only homosexual character left, has barely been seen for the last half of the year.

Wishes:

  • A storyline for Jennifer, maybe ditch the hospital, return to journalism, and fall in love with a potentially shady guy she's investigating.
  • More screen-time for Lani, Abe, and Theo, please show their tentative, uncomfortable family bonding on TV, don't just hint that it happened off-screen.
  • Lucas' daughter Allie decides to live with him instead of Sami, so we get to see him struggling to do the single dad thing and maybe he meets a single mom in the process.

General Hospital: Highs, Lows & Wishes

Highs:
  • Those of us who didn't have the privilege of watching Anna and Duke back in the day, needed only their final minutes together to understand how epic their relationship had been.
  • The moment Emma learned Sam and her dad broke up, and the poor girl longed for her mom more than anything.
  • That time in the mental ward where Franco made all sorts of references to James Franco and called Nina, Phyllis, no show has a better sense of humor than GH.
  • Johnny's return trips to Port Charles.
  • Nikolas at Children's Hospital after Spencer's burns.

Lows:

  • The lack of flashbacks in Luke's final episodes.
  • Dante and Valerie in Lulu's bed and they blamed Lulu, which was possibly the most obnoxious thing ever.
  • With the exception of his time in the burn unit with Spencer, I am unfamiliar with this corporate-raider, hitman hiring version of Nikolas, I can only assume someone's been digging through GH's mask cupboard.
  • Much like Salem, Port Charles' once prominent gay community has dwindled practically down to nothing.
  • Sabrina had sex with Carlos. Obviously she's been hanging out with Tracy too much.

Wishes:

  • Please no more stories where Tracy looks like an idiot all because she's desperate for a man, let her be the intelligent grown-up she is.
  • Anna needs her police commisioner job back because whenever she's there the PCPD seems a thousand times more competant, and once she's settled career-wise, give her a romance with her therapist, or that fella named Scorpio who is horribly wasted on Y&R.
  • Lucy and Laura revive Deception and clash with the ladies of Crimson over a marketing campaign, leading to much Lucy and Ethel style comedy.

The Young and The Restless: Highs, Lows & Wishes

Highs:
  • Mariah and Kevin's awkward night and morning after.
  • Nutty Doctor Neville. Welcome Back, Micheal E. Knight, daytime has so missed you.
  • Neil's drunken tirade on the plane exposing his wife and son's affair right before it went down.
  • Anything involving Adam, the best casting Y&R has done in years.

Lows:

  • Stitch's revolving door love-life, he'd get along so well with B&B's wishy-washy Liam.
  • Dylan who is not a cop or PI, seemingly in charge of investigating all Genoa City crimes, at what point does everyone admit how ridiculous this character is?
  • Marissa and Luca, great to finally have some latin characters on the show again, not so great when they put you to sleep.
  • Cancer sufferer Michael shoves his wife at married man Cane, nothing about this storyline ever made sense, and I still don't know if Michael even finished his cancer treatments.

Wishes:

  • No more dopplegangers or look-alike surgery ever, this show has tapped that well too many times, try something new and actually creative.
  • Let Tracy stick around, Genoa City needs an advice giver in Katherine's absence, even if no one heeds her advice.
  • Send Summer to school, and have her choose to pay her way by working at Fenmores, this gives Lauren screen-time, while Summer can meet a friend/co-worker and fall for someone less boring than Kyle, like a working class student who was long ago abandoned by Dr. Neville.
  • Hilary chooses Devon, thus freeing up Neil for a better storyline.


Fan Comments:

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Liz- I love my General Hospital very much and they do a great job in everything they do. It is so good to see Tristan Rogers back on the show lets hope he can stay there this time for a much longer period of time. Also wish that Steve Burton would come back to the show where he belongs.

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