By Marlena De Lacroix
I’m not overly excited about this week’s Daytime Emmys. I could be fluffy and say it’s because they moved the ceremony to L.A. several years ago and I don’t get to go and to buy a dress, and to me (I attended here in New York 23 years in a row) the Daytime Emmys was always about The Dress. But the truth is, daytime drama, which I’ve spent most of life my loving, is a collapsing industry, and I just don’t feel very celebratory. Glitz and glam be damned, wouldn’t the time and money spent on the Emmys be better spent gathering everyone in the industry together to meet and intelligently discuss finding a way to put Humpty Dumpty back together again?
Oh well ,brighten up, Marlena! Friday night is the Emmys broadcast (8 p.m. EDT on ABC) and you must make award picks. As Irving Berlin wrote in a song in Annie Get Your Gun, “There’s no business like Show Business … Let’s go on with the show!”
Outstanding Younger Actress: Emily O’Brien (Jana, The Young and the Restless) When Jana was introduced as Kevin’s gal about two years ago, I was going to write in a column about newcomers what an authentic talent she was. But then she went to jail and got a brain tumor and had an operation and held Kevin and Colleen hostage … and confessed that she murdered Carmen. What we used to call an ingénue has to do these days to collect a paycheck! Remember the old days when all younger actresses like Jacqueline Courtney (Alice, Another World) spent most of their time just crying and sobbing?
Outstanding Younger Actor: Tom Pelphrey (ex-Jonathan, Guiding Light) Van Hansis (Luke, As the World Turns) has done a wonderful job, injecting nuance and emotion into scripts that were short on the kind of affection two people like Luke and Noah would naturally express. But I think Pelphrey will win. Emmy voters historically prefer fireworks over subtlety. The scene where Jonathan actually poured gas all over Alan’s dining room and lit it with a match was among the most terrifying I’ve ever seen on a soap. Then mamma bear Reva showed up and calmed down her cub. To me, that capacity for tenderness has always been Reva’s most redeeming quality. I humbly submit that Kim Zimmer’s best scene partner over the past twenty years has been Pelphrey. And I bet you she does, too!
Outstanding Supporting Actress: Heather Tom (Katie, The Bold and the Beautiful) Tom’s Susan Flannery-esque intelligence and depth arrived just in time as this show’s plots went from over the top into the realm of the ridiculous. Somewhere in the last two years or so, the show I so lovingly called a “camp classic” 20 years ago has jumped the shark. Steph’s criminal part in setting up Brooke’s rape? (Later, the show took it back!) Storm’s sudden suicide? Katie’s transplanted heart acceptance “miracle”? At least Tom’s all-knowing Katie does a nice job of balancing out the airheaded-ness of her dumb-dumb sister Donna, who now seems to me to be the most pathetic female character on B&B, if not all of daytime.
Outstanding Supporting Actor: Brian Kerwin (Charlie Banks, One Life to Live) Let me be the first honest soap journalist and say I picked him as an Emmy winner in his category because I recently interviewed him and found him to be a doll. But seriously folks, I’ve liked Kerwin ever since he arrived in Llanview as Viki’s new love because he is a genuinely fine actor and his Charlie is finely etched — a flawed but genuinely nice guy whose honesty and heart tend to do him in. Have you been watching this week as Viki confronted Charlie after she found out he had lied for his son Jared? The superb acting a deux a la Kerwin and Slezak is a thrill to behold in the desert that is daytime!
Outstanding Actress: Jeanne Cooper (Katherine Chancellor, Y&R) Ms. Cooper has been nominated ten times for this award, and for many years I’ve campaigned for her to win it because this daytime original deserves a performance Emmy after thirty-plus years (she’s still here!) of playing the thoroughly absorbing and shatteringly human Katherine. This year Cooper may have the clips with the whole Cane identity controversy. And yet more proof that Cooper can act anything!
Outstanding Actor: David Canary (AMC), Christian Jules LeBlanc (Y&R) and Peter Bergman (Y&R) For twenty years, my default pick for Outstanding Actor has been Tony Geary, whom I love just as you do. But this year, he was uncharacteristically not very good in Luke’s trip to Heaven (which Geary is rumored to have had a hand in writing) after Luke “died” during heart surgery. I’ll never forgive TPTB at General Hospital for letting Geary sourly sing “My Way” a la Alfalfa of Little Rascals fame. Canary, LeBlanc and Bergman are all master actors and incredible every year — so I’m giving it to all three.
Outstanding Show — I feel there was no one show that was consistent enough — because of writer changes, crazy plot stunts and a writer’s strike and other agita in a generally poor soap year — to deserve the award. But as I look at the scant great storylines and some of the sequences submitted by the nominated shows, I wish I could sew a quilt of them all together to make one Big Outstanding Show. I loved Guiding Light‘s 70th anniversary show; I loved One Life to Live‘s Death of Asa episodes; I loved the masterful MetroCourt sweeps month sequence on General Hospital (though the rest of the GH I have come to abhor) and I loved the new mature and womanly Nikki written by the otherwise scorned Y&R ex-headwriter Lynn Marie Latham. Put them all together and they spell Emmy to me.
(With thanks to Esther and Chris L for sharing their very different picks with me.)