Daytime Emmys 2012: Respect Was Surprisingly Shown

By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a Connie Passalacqua Hayman

Today I’m going to use a word I’ve never used in a decade of viewing the Daytime Emmys (but nearly always used when I attended the 22 years previously).  I actually “enjoyed” Saturday night’s Daytime Emmys on HLN.Don’t freak out — there are “excepts” which I’ll get into later.  You see, Marlena is a great admirer of the traditional award show format on TV.

“Marlena,” Moose exclaimed during the show, “this show really knows how to play to its own community, like the Tonys (and theater).  And you’d never even know that soaps were dying!”  He didn’t even seem to mind forgoing the competing Yankee-Mets baseball game, clicking over only during commercials.

Yup, the Daytime Emmys 2012, were very up.  No more tacky Las Vegas promotion, as in the last two years. The show felt like it was aimed at me, a soap viewer, despite the myriad of other categories (game, talk shows, etc.), Plus, it was done with — gasp — actual respect for our favorite genre.  No fuss, no muss — the streamlined, simplified format went at a nice clip. It had one great innovation — mostly solo presenters, reading straightforward intros. No stupid patter or ad libs between cutesy duo presenters.  Remember the year that a perky, petite ABC actress used the time to admire her co-presenters “cute butt”? Yikes!

There were a few boo-boos.  The clip-less “tribute” to departed soaps was a travesty, with Susan Lucci, Erika Slezak and Cameron Mathison looking ill at ease as they soldiered on through the weakly scripted “toast-eulogy” that begged for video backup and received none. I wanted to see those clips of my old faves All My Children and One Life to Live, and have the big sob my decades of intense devotion certainly would have evoked.

I thought the presentation of the Outstanding Actor and Actress awards by teams made up of Outstanding Younger Actor and Actress nominees was very sweet and — here’s that word again — respectful.  But those ladies from The Talk who introduced themselves as the hosts of The View were about as funny and endearing as the brainless show talk show is not.

The award choices themselves were seldom objectionable.  I, of course, wanted my longtime favorite Erika Slezak to win her record seventh as Outstanding Actress, but surprise winner Heather Thom has always been a solid, superlative performer, for the first time in daytime history completing the Triple Crown of Outstanding Younger, Outstanding Supporting and now Outstanding Actress. Outstanding Younger Actor Chandler Massey was certainly very deserving in his wonderfully acted and scripted coming out story on Days of Our Lives.

That the fired Days writing team shockingly won for Outstanding Writing (for the first time for the show since 1976!) was a real tribute to the judgment of that soap’s executives. Seventh time winning Outstanding Actor Tony Geary’s acceptance speech was the one of the best moments of the night.  That risqué joke about General Hospital possibly being cancelled for a show about “celebrity boob jobs gone wrong” was a bulls-eye, showing Geary to be to be, comme toujours, the coolest of the daytime cool.

For first time, I watched the show along with Twitter, which I found to be a lot of fun.  Nancy Lee Grahn’s remarks are always a hoot, but it was a thrill to tune in “with” her in her remote location as she won her second Outstanding Supporting Actress award. “Oh my freaking G-d,” she tweeted. But the most pointed, spirited tweets of the night came from  Robin Strasser.  Loved when she wondered whether Dee Hall had work done to her face or not!   As for the pre-show, HLN’s surprisingly classy presentation of the Red Carpet festivities tickled Robin’s fancy, too. She so liked the genuine reverence it showed for daytime soaps, she tweeted it made her feel “ferklempt.”  Moi too!

The overall production of the main show was okay, especially considering HLN only had three weeks of preparation.   But the set looked game-showy, and as a friend said, the tacky “electronic” music sounded worse than a Casio watch she had in the 80s.   Of course, those bizarre new categories like “Best AOL Video” and “Best New Concept in Daytime” seemed to us longtime attendees as fast forward and bizarre as if we were blasting off into outer space. Not as bizarre, however, as the fact of, at long last, a decent presentation of the Daytime Emmys themselves. We who have soldiered through our genre’s usually bad,  embarrassment-filled premier televised award show year after year thank you, HLN.


  1. I have to disagree. Kind of hard to be embarrassing when it’s bare bones. I appreciate your review, but I found the show rather bizarre. There seemed to be zero thought to the order of awards. In what world should younger actress be AFTER supporting and lead?? Unless there was a nominee whom everyone was dying to see (and forgive me, but I don’t think that was the case here) that you drag it out to the end, why do that? There was no showmanship to this telecast. Crazy awards that seem to have little to do with daytime — uh, isn’t the web ANYTIME you sit in front of it? The dead tribute not ending on Dick Clark was just wrong in my eyes. Personally, I missed seeing the usual clip packages. The Daytime Emmys, like any awards show, is about promoting its product. With no clips, nothing clever by presenters, a boring blowhard tribute to herself…um, I mean to the dead soaps by Lucci and crazy categories/order, I was left feeling like I had eaten stale Cheerios without milk instead of a delicious breakfast buffet.

  2. antmunoz says:

    It was a throwback. It reminded me of a mid-80’s telecast–not necessarily a bad thing. I was pleased to see Judy Lewis in the IN MEMORIAM but missed Linda Cook. Who else was missed?

    Marlena says: Ant! So good to see you–it’s been so long! I think they also left out Anthony Herrara.

  3. I’m not sure how much longer the Daytime Emmys can have the soap-opera genre be included. There are four soaps left. (ABC’s “One Life to Live,” which signed off Jan. 13, is eligible to compete one last time in 2013.) And, since the younger-acting awards were initiated in 1985, there are still six performance categories given awards.

    I hated the strange music that was overplayed. It was over everything. Not merely background; but it was at least 90 percent of whatever music a viewer heard. And that interferred with my ability to enjoy the 39th Emmys, which made a more dignified choice this year with not going to Nevada to deliver an infomercial on Las Vegas and a hunger charity that relegated the awards ceremony to the background.

    The actual winners were not terribly important to me. I wanted “All My Children’s” Debbi Morgan to win best actress so she could have supporting- and lead-acting Emmys enjoyed by her longtime screen partner Darnell Williams. (He won best supporting actor in 1983 and lead actor in 1985. She won supporting actress—in a tie with “General Hospital’s” Nancy Lee Grahn, this year’s winner honored back then for “Santa Barbara”—in 1989.) The fact that lead nods came Morgan’s way in all four of her submitted seasons (since she and Williams returned to “AMC” in early-2008) is nothing short of remarkable.

    And, yes, it is remarkable that Heather Tom became the first actor in the history of the Daytime Emmys to win all three categorical levels. She was best younger actress, for “The Young and the Restless,” in 1993 and 1999. And, for her current run on “The Bold and the Beautiful,” Tom won statues for supporting actress in 2011 followed by, of course, lead actress in 2012.

    In 2012, Tom became the fourth actress and eigth overall to nab nominations at all three categorical levels. Those who came before (followed completed year) were: Roger Howarth (2004); Michael E. Knight (2005); Steve Burton (2005); Beth Ehlers (2006), the only one from this list who never had a singular win; the above-mentioned Debbi Morgan (2009); Vincent Irizarry (2009); Sarah Brown (2010); and then we arrive at Heather Tom (2012).

    Whatever pleasure one dervied from “The 39th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards,” I’m glad. It wasn’t a bad show, per se, but I had to mute a good amount of it.

    Marlena says: DSO darling, welcome back. Thanks for your remarks and factoids on the Daytime Emmys. I didn’t know about Debbi Morgan’s supersuccessful nomination/win record. She is divine and really brought down the house on All My Children when Jesse revealed to Angie (who was blind at the time) that their daughter wasn’t their own but actually had died at birth and was switched. I also like her on Young and Restless now, though I’m not a big fan of the show’s writing and producing at the present. But more on that another time.

  4. Seems it took the demise of 75% of the soap world for “Days of Our Lives” to finally win a couple of respectable Emmys. Just sayin’.

  5. Marilyn Henry says:

    Hi Marlena,
    Agree, it WAS a pretty good Emmy show. None of them since I started watching, have been excellent, and usually the missteps are the same show after show: No clips, stupid introductions and silly patter.
    What I noticed most was a nice respect for soaps, equal to the game shows, talk shows, etc., type shows. Usually it seems that those are the shows the Emmys are all about, and soaps an afterthought, but this time I felt they cared about our shows. I didn’t mind the set–it was kinda simple, not too garish. The music was annoying and I did wonder that they didn’t play the themes with the announcements, but if they had so little time to prepare, perhaps understandable.

    I always have to question how GH wins best show and it seems they usually do. Last year was especially dreadful with Wolfe pretending to be Guza…downbeat dragged out stories…oh, well. And OLTL not even nominated? wow. I did wonder if Lucci had too much wine with dinner as she stood there congratulating herself in a very long self-serving speech! Erika barely got a word in.

    Tony always deserves his awards, and his speech was classy! As he said, he actually for the first time had enough time and wasn’t used to actually getting a chance to accept. Glad Nancy got her Emmy. Now if she could just get a real story and romance on the show. But I really have very few complaints about the show right now under the new regime. They have breathed new life into it.

    Yep, I enjoyed this year’s Emmy show.

    Marlena says: Friend Marilyn, I’m glad you enjoyed the show too. Certainly, this was far from a consensus from what I saw on other soap sites. General Hospital winning Best Show didn’t sit well with me either and I also thought that that as you say the “Wolfe pretending to be Guza” era was flat and not very entertaining. But it’s hard to beat those Luke intervention scenes, which I think were submitted for voting. I thought the one who seemed a bit tipsy was Lisa Rinna. One Life to Live will just have the Best Show award in the heart of its many fans. As I’ve written, GH, despite its core flaws, is definitely a much more watchable show right now.

  6. To Marilyn and Marlena: Anthony Geary submitted the scenes where Luke was at the bordello where Lucky found him after Luke abruptly left rehab after his intervention where he told Lucky that when he accidently killed his grandson Jake, he felt free and liberated by doing so when he hit rock bottom in his alcoholic rut for his GH emmy winning submission reel this year!

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