Marlena’s Emmy Picks in 2008’s Humpty Dumpty Soap World


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!”Emily O'Brien

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?Tom Pelphrey

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!Heather Tom

Outstanding Supporting Actress:  Heather Tom (Katie, The Bold and the BeautifulTom’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.Brian Kerwin

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!Jeanne Cooper

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.Humpty Dumpty

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.)


  1. Interesting picks you ended up with, Marlena. I still say no way to Jeanne Cooper, though it’d be nice if she did finally win. I’m still with Maura all the way. She is just amazing despite the lousy, bordering on offensive material she’s been given since returning from maternity leave. Bottom line though about this Emmy Awards — I just don’t care about anyone nominated. All the shows sucked…though OLTL, for the first time in over a decade, finally interests me.

    Marlena says: OMG Esther, YOU like OLTL now too! Ms. Hoffman is the only person on earth pickier than Marlena about quality soap operas (which is why we have always been the best of friends.) Earning our interest in OLTL is hereby the greatest achievement on earth earned by Mr.Valentini and Mr. Carlivati. Don’t disappoint us from here on in, boys!

  2. Wow, Marlena and Esther both recommending OLTL!! Maybe I should come out of my soap watching retirement and…nah. 🙂

    Marlena says: Leona, you should watch because you are a soap historian and there is a huge and very unique buzz in the soap world right now about OLTL. Despite the rapture of some very young posters, let me assure you that the heart and brilliance of a Labine or a Marland are missing so far. Carlivati imtimately knows the history of the show and really knows how to expertly handle a canvas full of interesting characters. Right now, OLTL is very watchable and amusing, especially compared to other soaps. But I’ve yet to see anything especially profound here. When he gives us heart and geniune brilliance–then I will rave.

  3. Fabobug says:

    Speak on it Marlena!

    I too find it very challenging to make picks, or even muster much enthusiasm this year. I am tickled to death that DAYS received so many nominations, but they appeared grounded in politics and industry support than in actual artistic achievement.

    For me glaring omissions such as Melody Thomas Scott, Cassie DePaiva, and Kathy Brier make it very hard to take seriously. I do hope OLTL gets the awards it deserves. NOT because it’s the best show ever, but it’s been consistently the best show in the past year.

    Wouldn’t it be great to see Jeanne Cooper FINALLY get to get up and make a speech? I’d love to see her shout at the orchestra conductor as he tries to cut her off. Here’s hoping!!

    Marlena says: LOL as usual Fabs. I interviewed Cooper once years ago over the phone. Just to hear that wonderful Mrs. Chancellor voice over the phone — and to hear Cooper joke and laugh — well, to borrow some Rogers and Hammerstein lyrics — there is nothing like a dame!

  4. I hope Nicole Forester wins Lead Actress this year. I’m not pleased with Cooper’s antics. She admitted that she was shocked by her nomination and that Thomas Scott and Sharon Case drove story all year long and she STILL submitted herself. In fact, I hope none of Y&R’s actors win, because they all block voted. None of those girls from Y&R nominated in the Younger Actress category deserved to be there.

  5. In 25 years of soap-watching, I’ve never found myself less detached to a Daytime Emmy awards as I do in 2008. (I have no respect for how this year’s nominations were determined.) But for the hell of it, I’ll offer up my list of predictions. Just don’t ask me to explain; it’s not worth the energy.

    DRAMA SERIES: “The Young and the Restless”

    LEAD ACTOR: David Canary, “All My Children”

    LEAD ACTRESS: Jeanne Cooper, “The Young and the Restless”

    SUPPORTING ACTOR: Greg Rikaart, “The Young and the Restless”

    SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Judi Evans, “Days of Our Lives”

    YOUNGER ACTOR: Van Hansis, “As the World Turns”

    YOUNGER ACTRESS: Jennifer Landon, “As the World Turns”

    DIRECTING: “General Hospital”

    WRITING: “One Life to Live”

    Marlena says: Finally a longtime daytime fan as publicly disaffected as moi by the Emmys! Kisses, DSO. But if I can support my choices darling, can’t you get up the energy? Have a margarita on me! Marlena plans to sip them tomorrow night throughout the Emmy ceremony. If the actors present are going to sit and drink through the ceremony this year, as host Mr. Matheson as disclosed in an interview, why shouldn’t we?

  6. Patrick says:

    I totally agree with your views on the best show – none were consistent all year, but some really shone.

    That GL 70th anniversary episode still sticks in my mind because of how wonderful it was. That the same team has cranked out some of the worst years of GL makes no sense to me!

  7. I see GL winning best show this year, mostly because the 70th anniversary is a “isn’t our long-lived industry great” type of feel-good show. It will leave the voters happy about the medium and checking GL on the ballots.

    However, YR submitted the plane crash show — which I loved! I watched it three times the day it aired it was soooo good.

  8. One more thing … Jeanne Cooper has no business in the lead category. If she would submit in supporting where she belongs I might be able to jump on the Cooper bandwagon.

  9. This might not be the best place to ask this but I am wondering with all the praise for OLTLl how come no one has addressed the lack of AA characters on the show and no, not the two bodyguards.

    Ron seems to be bringing the vets to the forefront but he has forgotten about RJ and poor Layla is probably never going to be seen again since her only purpose on the show has moved to Paris.

  10. You can add me to the list of less enthused fans. I’ll be watching (with one eye) tonight, drinks in hands.

    Bless Sherri Shepherd’s heart, but I’ve had my life’s worth of Camera Whoreson and I really wish he’d give my TV a break.

    And what’s with all the rave over this year’s “innovative” Golden Globes-style seating and drinking? Does no one remember what the Daytime Emmys looked like in the ’70s/’80s? Or the Soap Opera Digest Awards for that matter? Soap folks sitting around tables ain’t nothin’ new.

    Jeanne Cooper Emmy memory: I was at the awards in ’99, the year Lucci finally took it home. Jeanne had also been nominated for best actress. That year, the Bell soaps had a double-decker bus with their logos and cast pictures emblazoned along the sides. The cast and crew rode around Madison Square Garden waving at fans below. Well, somehow the bus left for the afterparty without its Grandest Dame, Ms. Cooper. A few of us chatted with her curbside while she waited for a cab to be hailed down. I guess someone eventually realized the mistake, and well after she was gone, a driver was walking around outside the Garden with a sign that read “Jean Cooper”. We explained that she’d already left, and some nutjob fan SNATCHED the sign out of his hand for a keepsake. This same loon also LATCHED onto a penless Linda Dano’s wrist, pleading for an autograph. I’ll never forget Linda’s late husband Frank Attardi snapping, “Unh-unh! You don’t grab onto her!” I remember thinking, “I like this guy.”

  11. Some thoughts: I didn’t watch the entire ceremony (thankfully!). I started watching my TiVo-ed telecast about halfway through and managed to fast forward through, well, the vast majority of it. So perhaps my thoughts aren’t as accurate as they should be. However, the overwhelming feeling I got from this was tacky, tacky, tacky. I don’t care where an awards ceremony is held, honestly. But everything about this screamed high school talent show. I found the ceremony rushed and disjointed. It also seemed awkward and/or poorly rehearsed. I felt sorry for the presenters awkwardly backing away as the winner came to the stage. Ugh.One that that really struck me while listening to the presenters and viewing some of the nominated actors’ clips: does no one train in diction any more? There were a couple of spoken moments that really irritated me–no, actually, they appalled me!

    I still loathe the non-soap additions to the ceremony. A separate category for courtroom show? Two categories now for talkers? Ugh, again. I wish someone would step up and make this ceremony a celebration of soap opera–not there’s much left to celebrate, I suppose. (As I always say, it’s no wonder daytime is in current state. Its brain was removed when NBC foolishly canceled Santa Barbara, and its heart was removed when NBC cavalierly canceled Another World.) Imagine having actual relevant clips for all categories; time for thoughtful speeches; and, here’s a thought!, actually listing the names of the nominated members of the directing and writing teams. (Again: tacky!) I actually have come to somewhat enjoy the little video vignettes of shows put together. Some of them–in the past!–have been nicely done. This year, due to my FF-ing, I only saw two, GH & GL. Um. Wow. I think I could go onto YouTube and find a better GL montage really easily. But that didn’t prepare me for GH’s which looked to me like it was just a repurposed commercial from the whole Metro Court thing. Again: ugh.

    Throughout most of the ceremony, I couldn’t fault the winners. They might not have been my picks, but–something so many forget!–that’s OK! I loved Gina Tognoni’s acceptance speech, because she really said what I feel. I mourn the current state of daytime (in no small part because I mourn SB), but I hope it continues. And I hope GL continues; I am tired of hearing people who should know better say they think it would “be for the best” were it to be canceled. That’s nonsense. I like Tom Pelphrey’s speech for its emotion. Those were some of my highlights. I’ve never (sorry) been a fan of OLTL, but I couldn’t disagree with the wins for directing and writing. No winner truly shocked me–that is until General Hospital won for Best Soap. That left me dumbfounded. It’s one thing to say that with the many good performers in daytime that any number could worthily win; it’s quite another to say that GH was even close to the best this year. Yikes!

    Marlena says: Carl, we think mostly alike on last night’s Emmys. I will be posting my complete thoughts on them either tomorrow or Monday with the tentative title: Daytime Emmys 2008: Crass–Your Ass!

    I’ll save my (Lack of) Dignity address until then. But I’d like to thank you for saying what Moose did during the Emmys and what he always says when he watchs soaps: Don’t these actors and actresses learn diction? There are so many performers who can hardly speak clearly on daytime everyday! I have no idea how so many of them get acting work. (Yes, I do, their training was as models!) Give me a theater trained actor anyday!

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