Marlena’s “Only the Bests” List 2008

New Year'sEve clip art

Thinking Fans’ picks and pans for 2008: Cherry Ames pans Todd/Marty as “the foulest story ever” … DSO816 picks the Angie/Jesse reunion … while Marlene agrees GHNS2 set the bar higher for all soaps … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Marlena De Lacroix

Last year I decided I will no longer do “Best” and “Worst” lists for soaps.  After all, there have been so many “worsts” this year (real life deaths, superstar firings, General Hospital limosex and other tasteless storylines, wasted returns of some soap veterans), why would I want to re-inflict the pain on you?

 So, darlings, here are my “bests.”

General Hospial Night Shift 2 — As I wrote last fall,”If they could bottle this show, they could save soap opera.”  This 2008 soap dared to remember that soap opera is supposed to be about love, compassion, close friendships and the importance of family. I had scheduled an interview with the show’s exec producer, Lisa De Cazotte, to accompany this column, but it had to be rescheduled for early next year.

Days of Our Lives plane crash — The best produced episode I have ever seen in all my decades of watching the ordinarily unremarkably produced Days.

Actors (almost) save crumbling soaps – Despite the widespread wretched writing this year, some actors still managed to give remarkable breakout performances.  Best examples:  One Live to Live‘s Kristen Alderson Kristen Aldersonand Kathy Brier, All My Children‘s Melissa Claire Egan and The Young and the Restless’ Elizabeth Hendrickson. And in tough times on bad soaps, I especially enjoy the comic relief provided by such character actors as OLTL‘s Tuc Watkins and Peter Bartlett and GH‘s Carolyn Hennessy and Bradford Anderson.  But to me, it’s still the veteran soap actors who continue to be the jewels in the crown of daytime. These include Robin Strasser, Peter Bergman, Erika Slezak, Melody Thomas Scott, Judith Chapman, Maura West, David Canary, Susan Flannery and John McCook (who never gets credit for his endless hard work and backstage leadership at The Bold and the Beautiful.)  They and other vets are the glue that keeps the crumbling soap genre together.

Two octogenarians score big –In a medium obsessed with youth, Jeanne Cooper, age 80, won her first Emmy for Best Actress.  Agnes Nixon, age 80, stole a whole episode of AMC when she appeared as a timeless sprite named Aggie. Brava.

Adult couples, and other couples you can believe in — Edged in here and there among the youth lust thrusts and the momentary marriages are a few mature story couples who almost seem to be having realistic adult relationships. Hail Viki and Charlie on OLTL, two people who found love by understanding each others’ troubled lives; illness-tested Reva and Jeffrey on Guiding Light (a vast improvement on Reva and look-alike Richards’ romance in San Cristobal years ago), and Tom and Margo on As the World Turns, celebrating 25 years Robin and Patrickof rocky but believable marriage. Robin and Patrick on GH are younger, but the characters/actors are always perfectly intellectually and emotionally keyed into one another. They are the rare soap characters I buy as being truly in love.

Amazing returns –Tamara Braun sizzled as Ava on Days and Reese on AMC. Darnell Williams and Debbi Morgan energized AMC.  A deeper Tristan Rogers dazzled on Night Shif.  Florencia Lozano knocked us all out as Tea on OLTL.  Jeff Branson Jeff Bransonliterally brought new life to GL as Shayne. And I love Thinking Actress (watch her face as she works) Sarah Brown on GH, even if her perpetually black-clad character Claudia is a despicable ho-a.  As I predicted, multi-soap executive producer Paul Rauch and Y&R are a perfect match.  And how improved the show is: the acting is deeper, the performers look a lot classier.  There’s no equivalent for PR’s experience and good taste!

TPTB are listening — As in the old days of SOW and quality soap magazines, TPTB are now reading these blogs and actually reacting.  But more importantly, they are taking steps (okay, baby steps) to occasionally acknowledge at least some of our complaints.  Christmas Eve last year, GH aired the depressing funeral of the murdered Georgie. This year, they’re airing Patrick and Robin’s joyous family wedding just a few days after Christmas  And special kudos to my colleague Roger Newcomb (We Love Soaps.com) who so brilliantly publicized the Kiss Campaign, launched when ATWT ridiculously would not let Luke and Noah kiss for three months). He even got the New York Times involved. And ATWT gave in! Proving that fans rule when they work and think hard enough! P.S. As soon as I complained  that former mental patient Addie on OLTL  should not be portrayed as a stereotypical lunatic wearing scuba gear to dinner and a wedding dress with a price tag on it, OLTL corrected the situation.

The year’s best storyline — Will the real Ron Carlivati please stand up?  It’s a mystery storyline with lots of Ron Carlivatiunexpected twists and turns and contradictions. And it stars the biggest star in the soap opera universe (if you read the soap boards). He’s drooled over by viewers and (unprofessionally) infatuated journalists as if he were a major on-screen male hunk.  Carlivati’s work was wonderful enough to win an Emmy in June, yet it’s been a wildly uneven year for him, even considering the handicaps of the strike. He gave OLTL a great spring, a 40th anniversary summer of both good and not-so-good storylines, then slipped into an almost unwatchable fall.  He writes exquisite character-rich stories like last year’s Viki and Charlie falling in love in Paris, Texas. Then he capped 2008 with a shatteringly misogynistic story in which a “lovelorn” Todd entrapped amnesiac Marty and raped her again. Viewers and bloggers either adored or reviled the hot button story. (“It’s sexist,” cooed one brainless female critic, “but I loved it.”) In 2009, will the real Carlivati please stand up?

So, Thinking Fans, what are your bests of 2008?  Send’em. You know the drill.

And Happy New Year to all! 

Comments

  1. Dan says:

    Your choice for “Best Storyline” was interesting because mere seconds before I read it, I posted on SON that I thought Mr. Carlivati’s writing had DID along with the rest of the Lords. He vaccilates between such extremes that he gives me whiplash. He can write the most brilliantly traditional storyline in Viki and Charlie’s Texas romance one minute and then dissolve into 1980s era camp the next minute in the absurdly planned story of Dorian’s BE takeover (I hope he watched Maria Bell’s Jabot takeover a few weeks ago and took notes. She did it MUCH better.) Then top everything off with twin adventure arcs in Mendorra and 1968 respectively and a horribly offensive “romance.”

    I understand variety perfectly, but a consistent vision is SO MUCH more important. Is OLTL campy? Traditional? Edgy? Mysogynistic? Make up your mind!

    Marlena says: The mark of a great headwriter is he can write all sorts of stories. Back in the very early 80s Doug Marland wrote Nola’s delightful comic fantasies at the same time that he wrote serious stories like Carrie’s schizophrenia and Billy and Vanessa’s romance.

    But the stories written by Ron, I feel, are way too disperate to come from the pen of the same person. The tender, sweet, charming Dorian and (dead) Mel reunion for the 40th anniversary written by the same person who wrote Todd the animal sleeping with his amnesiac rape victim Marty again? I don’t buy it. As you said, either Carlivati has DID or someone (like Frons) is pulling his strings.

  2. Hi Marlena!

    Well you just knew you’d get feedback! In addition to what you already wrote, I have to add my own:

    Best new character: Brody, OLTL
    Worst new character: Melanie, DAYS
    Best couple: Alexis & Diane, GH
    Worst couple: Paul & Meg, ATWT
    Best use of a veteran in a single month: Deidre Hall on DAYS in January ’08 (EVERY episode that month!)
    Best example of a veteran rising above it all the entire year: Robin Strasser, OLTL.
    Best extinguishing of useless charcters: Y&R’s Sudden Impact story
    Worst extinguishing of useless characters: AMC’s Tornado
    Most realistic couple: Marcy & Michael, OLTL
    Least realistic couple: Ridge with anyone on B&B
    Worst product placement: DAYS / Morgan’s Midol
    Best product placement: AMC / Ryan’s Thong
    Biggest waste of talent: Ilene Kristen and Robert S. Woods (OLTL)
    Strongest argument we’re in a recession: Deidre Hall & Drake Hogestyn’s firing
    Second strongest argument we’re in a recession: GL
    Least strongest argument we’re in recession: Y&R’s Paris shoot
    Best onscreen trend: Support groups are back! (AMC & OLTL)
    Worst onscreen trend: Murdering young heroines (B&B, GH, AMC ..2x)
    Happiest online trend: Another World on Hulu!
    Saddest online trend: Posters disrespecting one other.
    Most improved soap: Y&R
    Most uneven soap: OLTL
    Best argument TPTB need a Xanax: ATWT

    Marlena says: These are fabulous daring. I especially like your very original categories. I totally agree with you about Marcy and Michael on OLTL being the most realistic couple. It helps to have not one but two genius actors as scene partners. But Brody as best new character??? To me, he hardly registers.

  3. Michele says:

    Hi Marlena, I think you were dead on for the vast majority of your best of 08, but you forgot to mention Billy Miller as Billy Abbott. I absolutely love this character from the start, and most of the time it takes a while for new characters to grow on me, including Elizabeth Hendrickson’s Chloe. He has chemistry with everyone on the show, and that’s a feat hard to come by these days.
    And I must say bravo to you and anyone else who endures GH, this year after Limo sex when Carly thought she was pregnant and pressured Jason into saying he was the father, despite being married to a man that loves her, I said bye bye, and haven’t been back since.
    Enjoy your new year:)

    Marlena says: Michele, thanks so much for enjoying my list. It took forever to come up with. And I agree with you that Billy Miller is great as Billy Abbott. I was never able to get into the young folks on Y&R (column to come) but Miller won my attention immediately. As far as GH goes, I’m obligated to watch it as a critic. But personally I have never forgiven them for shooting Michael, a child. Perhaps in 2009, Guza will finally get the boot he deserves. Happy New Year!

  4. Patti says:

    The worst without a doubt is all of AMC. Charles Pratt proved he is no better, and maybe worst if that’s possible, than B&E. The tornado was suppose to bring a change to PV well the only change is that it’s more depressing than ever. Where’s the love in the afternoon? The biggest blunder was taking what could have been a groundbreaking lesbian love story and making it a joke. Having Zach be the father of Bianca’s baby was probably the dumbest thing and then putting him in the middle of these two lesbians totally destroyed what they were suppose to be showing us – the love between two woman. If that wasn’t bad enough, The Ryan Lavery Hour continues to destroy AMC just as much as The Sonny Show destroys GH. When will ABC get it through their head that these two characters ruin both shows and turn viewers off.

    I know many hated the Todd/Marty story but I believe it was well done and in character. Marty having amnesia was brillant and gave us a good story and a very much in character Todd. It may have been hard to watch but it was well written and, as always, Trevor St. John did an amazing job. He is definitely an actor who can make you love to hate him. Unlike AMC, Ron Carlvati has imagination and has character driven stories. I think OLTL is the best soap on ABC.

    Speaking of ABC, when will they get the fact that the veterans do so much for a soap. Y&R gets it and maybe that’s why they’re number 1. Even as a young girl I enjoyed the older characters and I think many young people do today Most soaps new viewers are usually children of people who watch soaps, like me, and playing to a younger audience doesn’t mean you have to alienate the older generation who have kept you afloat. Also, competing with prime time is ridiculous (are you listening Mr. Pratt). The people who watch soaps want good storytelling and are not looking for gimmicks. Agnes Nixon said it best when she said gimmicks do not take the place of good writing and I think that’s a major problem with AMC these days, good writing doesn’t apply on this show and wasting of talent like Thorsten Kaye, David Canary and Vincent Irrizary.

  5. Mary says:

    I think the best storyline in 2008 was the Buchanan Enterprises corporate intrigue storyline on OLTL. It utilized a great portion of the cast and it involved families, friendships, juicy rivalries, and classic office romance – all the good stuff. Unfortunately that storyline was killed in June, but for the first half of 2008 OLTL was must-see TV. I will never forget Dorian and her big hat crashing the BE stockholders meeting at The Palace.

    Sadly, OLTL in the last half of 2008 has stunk.

    Some other bests for me in 2008 were Angie and Jesse on AMC, the under-used Jane Eliot on GH, Tea Delgado’s return and any time that Phil Carey made an appearance on OLTL.

    Marlena says: Oh Mary, my favorite scene of all of this year was Dorian coming down the stairs at the BE takeover. As I wrote, it was such an Alexis Carrington moment.

    I love and adore Phil Carey but how many times can they bring Asa back from the dead via video? I’m sure we’re in for a lot of fun now that Asa has FINALLY declared David his son and heir.

  6. Cherry Ames says:

    Dear Marlena and “your” Moose, The Best of Everything in the coming year. It was lovely to read your Only the Best column. I can really only agree or disagree with OLTL because it’s the only (and probably the last) soap I’ll ever watch.

    I do agree that for pure style over substance, the scenes with Dorian taking over B. E. were a joy. She had just the right ensemble for a morning of corporate ruthlessness. Huge hat, glamorous gloves, high heels and sheer stockings and a smashing little black suit-it doesn’t get better than that, IMO. But there it ended. There were a handful, if that, of scenes of Dorian running B.E. and just as suddenly as she became CEO of B.E. she was dethroned and back to business as usual, being a CRAMER WOMAN.

    On to the foulest story ever, that of Todd and Marty. The acting and the chemistry between TSJ and Susan Haskell is quite compelling but I still don’t understand just why this particular story ever Needed to be told. I watch it like it’s a horrific accident unfolding before my eyes and I want to turn away. Well, at least at the beginning, but now it’s just boring. Todd and Marty are both too complex for me to understand. Or maybe the writing just doesn’t make sense.

    I do take issue with those who give Ron a free pass as if to say when the writing is good it’s all Ron but it’s Frons when it’s bad. I have no doubt that Frons has his fingers all over OLTL and from past viewing of AMC , where scantily clad “business” women swing from stripper poles in the office and the really disgusting treatment of female characters on GH, the common thread of distaste can only be one man, Brian Frons. However, I think the same could be said of past OLTL head writers and being influenced by the chief.. Margaret raping Todd never felt like a story any woman would write nor did most of OLTL. I don’t believe for one second that Dena H. had any more autonomy or control over what showed up onscreen than Michael Malone or Ron.

    I never jumped on the “Ron is the savior of daytime “band wagon and I’ll have a soft spot for the underdog ie. Dena. It is what it is.

    I don’t know how much longer I will have the patience for the never ending saga of Llanview, Pa. and its residents. But, such is life. Happy New Year!

    Marlena says: Ah, Cherry always so good to hear from you. You are just like me declaring “This is the last soap I’ll ever watch,” and then somehow keep coming back for a peek. Hon, I’m there for you! Happy New Year from the Moose family!

    It drives me crazy whenever Dorian or anyone says that moniker, “The Cramer Women.” As in reminding the audience, “if you forget who these characters are, they are all nuts, evil or mentally ill.” Who uses family “titles” like that in real life? So archaic.

    I have nothing left to say about Todd and Marty except, Cherry if you only want to follow one “last” soap, why does it have to be OLTL?

    And you feel sorry for Dena?? This person cannot write and still keeps on getting headwriting jobs. What is her secret? Someday someone will write a story explaining her two decade employment with Mr. Corday at Days I hope.

    Do I have an alternative soap to recommend? Well, I have been liking AMC a lot lately. It’s not yet fabulous, but as I have written I feel safe from Frons and his nerd-o-rama macho on this show. If there is one thing I enjoy watching it is Thosten Kaye and his scenes with Eden Riegel or Tamara Braun. It’s one controversial story and who knows what is going to happen , but so far it has been played well and with great intelligence.

  7. Marlene says:

    Dear Marlena,

    Your choice of GH Night Shift II as the best made my heart sing. You have no idea how I long to see the quality of writing and acting and respect for history that Sri Rao displayed with the GHNS storylines to be shown on AMC and GH DayShift. I have every episode on DVD. Antonio Sabato’s dimples and bare chest and Tristan Rogers steely blue eyes still make me feel like a high schooler.(Yes Dear Marlena I can be superficial).
    But it was the heart breaking but beautiful and moving storyline of a cancer ridden Robert that kept me glued to Soapnet every Tuesday night. To see Robert, a once almost invincible character, given human frailities and human illnesses while respecting the integrity of the character was nothing short of sheer writing talent.

    I hope Tristan Rogers gets nominated for an Emmy. The scenes where he speaks of his colostomy while I rememberied the Robert that was a top notch WSB agent, had me in tears.
    Thank you Sri Rao!

    However, you didn’t think I would completely agree did you?

    As for Tamara Braun’s return to AMC it was more fizzle than sizzle thanks to Chuckie P’s sadistic and twisted paternity storyline involving Reese and Bianca and Zach. He ruined Bianca and Zach and made Reese hated before her appearance. Chuckie P needs to be taken to task for this grevious error.

    Happy New New Year!

    Marlene

    Marlena says: Hi Marlene! I am just as susceptible to Antonio Saboto’s humongous dimples as you are dear! And Tristan’s colon cancer story was wonderful; I theorize that he did some work on his acting, making it much deeper, in the many years he wasn’t on screen. The writing was superb. Isn’t it interesting no soap has snapped up Rao yet? My guess is that such a young, talented writer didn’t want to be caught up in a, ahem, declining genre. Still, NightShift2 was the best thing Soapnet ever did, and NS is forever RIP now that the net has declared it history. Happy New Year, dear.

  8. Jenn says:

    Hey Marlena! Happy New Year! Ironically, I posted something similar on a GH board about how different this Christmas was from last Christmas. How this holiday season focused on romance and family and how refreshing and heartwarming it was. Even the New Year’s episode focused on couples and romance. I have given up on the other soap I used to watch regular, Days of our Lives, so GH is the soap I continue to watch on a fairly regular basis, so I can’t really comment on other soaps. But I must say that Robin and Patrick’s wedding was the moment of the year, for me. A wonderful, return-to-soap-roots, romantic wedding, where there was no over the top drama, no gunfire, just pure love and romance. And I loved seeing both Robert and Anna at this second wedding, what a treat the flashbacks were! If TPTB truly are beginning to listen, then I say hallelujah!

    Marlena echoes: Hallelujah sister! Robin and Patrick’s wedding was old-time soap at its best, complete with those wonderful flashbacks. As I wrote, I thought this was a giant “we’re sorry” from a soap to its viewers, a try at apologizing to we who knew what utter trash the last violent, mob-filled misogynist year was. Viva romance and true love!

  9. DS0816 says:

    First of all, I want to wish everyone at this site a healthy and happy 2009!

    On to the matter at hand…

    No detailed best-and-worst list will be presented by me, this year, because I wasn’t tuned in to the entire soaps lineup on ABC, CBS, and NBC.

    I do have one request: If the Daytime Emmys actually operate—in some capacity—then I’d like to see “All My Children’s” Debbi Morgan emerge in the lead-actress race with a third-career nomination (she would become the second actress—and fifth individual overall—to have nabbed nominations in all three performance categories which, for Morgan, began in 1986 with a younger-actress bid). It was 20 years ago this exquisite great became the first—and, thus far, only—African-American actress to win a dramatic-serial performance Emmy (in a tie for best supporting actress, actually, with “General Hospital’s” Nancy Lee Grahn; the five-time nominee was awarded for her work on “Santa Barbara”).

    The Angie-and-Jesse reunion, at a Pennsylvania train station, sparked an earthy and richly powerful performance from Morgan. We felt her longing, just prior to their fate, and we related to [Angie's] fears of seeing her son, Frankie, possibly return to Iraq. Mature, wise, and honest acting like this is what always rises to the top—quality wise—and Morgan demonstrated that in 2008. (Kudos as well to Morgan’s screen partner, two-time Emmy-winner Darnell Williams, among the year’s best lead actors.)

    I imagine that there is little point to predicting who’ll round out the 2009 list specifically in the best-actress race, because it’s mostly reflective of peer perceptions, via whatever system currently operates, in determining nominations. I “can” speculate that 2008′s Emmy-winner for lead actress, “The Young and the Restless’” Jeanne Cooper, will return for a 12th career nomination. And maybe a slot will be made available to her costar, Melody Thomas Scott (so routinely, and insultingly, overlooked that she has been nominated just once—10 years ago, in fact, when Scott and Cooper both bowed to the finally prized, and Morgan’s fellow cast mate, Susan Lucci) .

    If there is a 2009 Daytime Emmy awards—and when one considers other forms of entertainment that are a part of the Emmys, like talk shows, there probably will be—then Morgan must be among the lead-actress contenders. (I frankly would love to see her win. How priceless it would be for Morgan if Emmy No. 1 is Angie widowed by Jesse…followed by Emmy No. 2 showcasing Angie reunited with “He’s alive!” Jesse.)

    Aside from Morgan being among the standout best of 2008, all I will say when it comes to the worst is that…well, it’s about loss.

    2008 marked the deaths of too many greats—whom I grew up watching beginning in the 1980s (and, of course, most had been active even before my soap-opera viewing premiere)—and it’s sad to no longer have them around. It’s sad because their contributions had no price tag to their value. Among them: “All My Children’s” Eileen Herlie (Myrtle); “Another World’s” Irene Dailey (Liz); “AW’s” Beverlee McKinsey (Iris; also “Guiding Light’s Alexandra); “As the World Turns’” Keith Pruitt (Frank; “Loving’s” Flynn); “ATWT’s” Robert Colhoun (exec producer; numerous soaps); “Days of Our Lives’” Wayne Heffley (Vern); “Days’”/’GL’s”/”Passions’” [head] writer James E. Reilly; “General Hospital’s” Shell Kepler (Amy); “GL’s” Nicolette Goulet (Meredith; additional serial parts); “Loving’s” Augusta Dabney (Isabella; several soap roles); “Ryan’s Hope’s” Keith Charles (Homer; many soaps credits); and “Search for Tomorrow’s” Larry Haines (on throughout the entire 35-year run as Stu).

    My well wishes to all for a better 2009!

    Marlena says: Happy New Year DSO. As I wrote last week, Debbi Morgan’s Angie is the new Kate Martin; she should be the heart of the show. And what’s so wonderful is that we watched Angie grow up from a teenager to a mature, thinking woman. Debbi is an amazing, amazing actress–did you see her in a great film called Eve’s Bayou? It would be great to see her get her third Emmy. If only the show would give her and Darnell more to do!

  10. DS0816 says:

    Dear Connie/Marlena,

    Please bear with me as I write …

    … Oh, yes! I went to the theater, when it was released in Fall 1997, and saw Debbi Morgan in Kasi Lemmons’ “Eve’s Bayou.” It was No. 1 on Roger Ebert’s list for the best films of 1997. Ebert wanted it — and Morgan — up for Academy Awards (as shown on his, and the late Gene Siskel’s, “For Your Consideration” on “Siskel & Ebert & the Movies.” (I felt the same as Ebert.)

    An excellent movie, taking place in 1960s Louisiana, involving the supernatural and some disturbing tragedies in the lives of a prosperous African-American family, I must admit that I haven’t seen in years “Eve’s Bayou.” Morgan’s performance garnered raves and won her prizes for best supporting actress from the Chicago Film Critics Association and Independent Spirit Awards. “Entertainment Weekly,” in fact, forecast her as a “Lovable Longshot” in its Oscar preview, in January 1998. And “People” was on the bandwagon, calling her performance “blazing” — and even interviewed the actress, if memory serves me correctly, in December 1997. (At the time, Morgan was playing Ellen Burgess on “General Hosptial’s” previous spinoff, “Port Charles”; she left the series the following year.)

    Emmy-winning Debbi Morgan might have landed a 1997 Academy Award nomination had pre-Oscar influences — like National Board of Review or Los Angeles Film Critics Association or New York Film Critics Circle or National Society of Film Critics — awarded Morgan; Chicago’s winners came in a ceremony held “after” the Oscar nominations were announced. There’s a key reason Morgan (and others) lost out on an Academy bid (nominees were Kim Basinger, the winner, in “L.A. Confidential”; Joan Cusack, in “In & Out”; ex-”As the World Turns” Emmy-winner Julianne Moore, in “Boogie Nights”; and Gloria Stuart, in “Titanic”): One year after low-budget independent films swept 1996 Academy Awards in nominations and statues (“The Year of the Independents”! My fave was the Coen brothers’ “Fargo”), Hollywood put out better quality in 1997 … and they reigned supreme in awards leading up to, and on, Oscar night. This subsequently put the screws to not only “Eve’s Bayou” but other award-caliber independents like Neil Labute’s “In the Company of Men” and “The Ice Storm” (from the 2005 Oscar-winning director of “Brokeback Mountain,” Ang Lee). In stark contrast, the only independent best-picture nominee for 1997 was “Good Will Hunting”; the year prior, only one “insider” was nominated as best film — “Jerry Maguire.”

    Returning to talk about today’s soaps: Morgan is a great actress! I’ve loved and appreciated her exquisite work over the last 25 or so years. I have no problem with your suggestion, Connie/Marlena! There’s no question her Angie Hubbard may as well be ["AMC's"] voice of reason. [Angie] is the most down to earth figure. She should be seen —consistently — at the front and center of the action on “All My Children.”

    I’d like to end — and without any further feedback (on my part) — by apologizing for the accidental typo of the late executive producer Robert Calhoun’s last name. (Let’s hope we don’t suffer with a 2009 Obituaries list that was the case in 2008.)

  11. Tara says:

    I totally agree with u about Tamara Braun. What’s the chances she will stay in Pine Valley once Bianca&Reese breakup? Do u think the character would work being bisexual but dating guys? I think she the first character ever that could work with Zach. Her and ryan could work as well.

  12. Trudi says:

    LOL. Marlena, you never hold back do you. I find I disagree with much of what you said, but I always approve of how you say it. ;)

  13. Gene says:

    Best Story
    Robert’s Colon Cancer=GH:NS
    Sudden Impact=Y&R
    Jabot Takeover=Y&R

    Worst Story
    Mendorra=OLTL
    anything on ATWT
    Phoebe’s Death=B&B
    anything on Days

    Worst New Character
    Melanie=Days
    Eden=Y&R
    Sofie, Ameera, Spencer=ATWT

    Worst Character
    Sonny Corthinos=GH
    Carly Jax=GH
    Lulu Spencer=GH
    The Mob=GH

    Best Character
    John Black=Days

    Worst Couple
    Paul and Meg=ATWT
    Sonny and anyone=GH
    Ridge and Brooke=B&B
    Donna and Eric=B&B
    Nick and Katie=B&B

    Best Couple
    Patrick and Robin=GH

    Best Recast
    Billy Miller(Billy Abbott)=Y&R
    Jeff Branson(Shayne Lewis)=GL

    Worst Recast
    Justis Bolding(Sarah Roberts)=OLTL
    all the newbies on ATWT
    Jennifer Gareis(Donna Logan)=B&B

    Most Improve Soap
    AMC-It still needs a lot of work, but it is getting their with the heart of the old soap.

    Worst Soap
    B&B-This soap is the worst with the incestuous relationships and the bad writing and acting and contrived s/ls. Brad Bell should be ashamed of the way he is destroying the essences of his parents legacy and making a mocking of the Bell shows.

    DAYS-Ken Corday needs also needs to be ashamed for turning his show into the most unwatchable crap on air. He mismanage his parents legacy and turn the show into the ground.

    GH-This goes for Ann Sweeney for letting Frons and Guza putting on this misogamy of GH that I beginning to think that no one is doing anything to turn this show around.

    Best Soap
    Y&R-The comeback soap of the year, the beginning of it was boring and dull, but killing off a characters that no one cares about turn the soap around and the whole canvas a old feel in the new year and bringing Thom Racina and Paul Rauch to make the soap lush and stylish and made the show good again.

    Worst Headwriter
    Jean Passante
    Bob Guza
    Brad Bell
    Dena Higley

    Best Headwriter
    Maria Arena Bell
    Ron Carlivati

  14. Nancy says:

    I totally agree with you on the statement that it’s the veteran actors that hold the whole genre together. That’s a good reason why ATWT is pretty much unwatchable right now because it’s all focused on the newbies. An extremely talented lead actress and fan favorite Maura West is down to airing one day a week. And when we see her, instead of the story being focused on her, she’s propping a newbie as she has done all year. Using her character this way doesn’t make you like the newbies more, but rather makes you resent them. Any former ATWT viewers that might have tried to watch the show over the holidays wouldn’t have recognized it as it is overrun with newbies. What I don’t understand is how TPTB can’t see what a glaring problem this is. I get that a big part of it is budget, but if you just turn off your viewers, doesn’t the budget problem get even worse? Why not focus on what they want to see and put the newbies in supporting roles? Too many familiar faces are sitting on the sidelines these days.

  15. BL says:

    Happy New Year Marlena! Let’s hope for a very fine 2009. Many of my favorite moments this year were on GH: Night Shift and the last few weeks of GH with Robin and Patrick.

    Other than that, I liked a lot what I saw on AMC. This is the first time in years, that I’ve enjoyed AMC for more than a week here or there. Angie and Jesse’s wedding was so romantic and beautiful until it turned into a shooting gallery. Loved that Greg got to reunite with his friends too. Seeing the Hubbards with their son was something that was definitely a highlight. While I’m not happy they killed Julia, I am glad that Kathy/Kate and Tad reunited. I was pleasantly surprised by the character of Brot. I didn’t expect to like him as I worried it was a stunt and now I want him to stay.

    With OLTL, I felt it very uneven in 2008. The first half was decent (even with the writing strike stalling out parts of it). The summer/fall, well some was good some not at all. The Anniversary shows when Agnes Nixon was on were my favorites of the year. The two days where Tina and Cord interacted made me smile as well as the few scenes we got of Tina and Viki. If one doesn’t care for the Todd/Marty material, the last months of OLTL have been hard to watch.

    With Days and GL, neither had too many positive highlights. In the summer, there was too much Santo/Colleen material, though I did like the plane crash for what it was. With GL, I can’t name one story I liked from beginning to end, some had potential for being good like Dinah taking over Spaulding. Though I think I’m the only one who liked that. Ashlee had her surgery and the fall out from such massive weight loss stalled, but that could have been good.

    Marlena says: Happy New Year to you, old friend! I like your methodical approach to reviewing each soap. I have tended to be very emotional about what has happened this a tumultuous, controversial year and not remembered specific events and stories as well as you clearly have Blossy. I too really would have liked to see the fallout on the Ashlee story on GL. But because the new technology used in taping GL has so often been so bad, I admit I missed a lot of their stories–even though I’ve had the show on all year. So little of it has sunk in. But Tognoni’s performances have always been superb.

  16. Cate says:

    “Worst onscreen trend: Murdering young heroines (B&B, GH, AMC ..2x)”

    As much as I loved Babe’s death on AMC I agree that they are killing off too many young heroines. AMC is started to surpass GH when it comes to excessively killing off characters. The canvas will hardly to recognizable if they continue at the rate they are going.

  17. Levi says:

    My CBS favorites of the Year

    My favorite episode—–GL’s recreation of Josh and Reva’s first wedding in 1989. The flashbacks tied in perfectly to the story at hand. That was an episode I watched a few times over it was so good.

    Most tiring storyline—–B&B’s triangles——I just say let Brooke and Ridge be happy for a little bit. I used to not like this couple but I have turned the corner with them after all the crap they have endured.

    Most “Jerry Springer” storyline—-Luke/Brian/Lucinda—-I like this story, it’s a little bit different but does happen…..sometimes……the stepgrandpa coming on to the stepgrandson…….but Jerry should cameo on ATWT. But I do like the exploration of a middle aged man in the closet. It is a topic not addressed on tv much.

    Couple of the Year—-Jeffery/Reva GL——-this coming from a Josh/Reva fan—-I think Josh will have to move on this time.

    Most improved—-No brainer–Y&R—–out of all 8 soaps it had the best turnaround.

    The worst——-although my show—-GL—–this was the first year I skipped episodes in 12 years. It was so uneven but it is improving somewhat now. The casting is getting better and Grant is coming back. Please GL don’t ruin his return.

    Actresses of the year—–Gina Tognoni and Michelle Stafford (tie)

    Actors of the Year—-Van Hansis and Eric Braden (those scenes on the beach with Nikki were frightening)

    The MVP of her soap—-Susan Flannery B&B—the summer she took off we all missed her—-although we understand you gotta enjoy your life :)

    Storyline of the Year—–The Jabot power struggle (Y&R) which is still ongoing—it ties generations together.

    The Dinah—Spaulding takeover (GL) started well but fizzled which was already mentioned on here.

    Worst Storyline—-The Lizzie kidnapping GL—-Brooke/Ridge/Taylor B&B—–The Holden Lily Jack Carly mess on ATWT—–River/Eden on Y&R and the whole mess with that

    I think ’09 things will improve especially on GL—-I can feel it or at least dream it :)

  18. Kevin says:

    Mmmmmmm, Marlena! I love your columns!!!

    The lack of you not being in the printed soap press is like this humongous elephant in the room which nobody mentions but is more than aware of! You are awesome!!!

    BTW, are you on MySpace?

    I would love to have you on My Top 8!!! =-)

    ~ Kevin

    http://www.myspace.com/iluvdaytimedramas

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