Serial Drama's Best and Worst of 2007
As 2007 draws to a close, we are partaking in our favorite year-end rituals, which include watching endless marathons of Law & Order, Project Runway, and I Love The [Insert Decade Here]s, making resolutions that we're obviously going to forget by Presidents' Day (Becca hopes to control both her Irish temper and household clutter, and Mallory plans to drink more water), and, naturally, looking back at the past year with a critical eye.
Since we love lists and we love bitchery, we're pleased to present you with a merger of those two loves, in the form of Serial Drama's Best and Worst of 2007.
Best Story: Something That Happened on As The World Turns, The Bold & The Beautiful, Guiding Light,One Life to Live or Passions
Between the two of us, we watch four soap operas, which are on for an hour a day, five days a week, 52 weeks a year. So that's over one thousand hours of soap operas this year, during which we found NO STORY that we'd call the best of the year. Sure, a case can be made for GH's Metro Court Hostage crisis, but we're also partial to the storyline where they didn't kill Alan Quartermaine. You liked the Vendetta Storyline on Days of Our Lives? So did we, in the first fifteen minutes, before it deteriorated into endless letter reading, cheesy accents, and countless people snapping about "the vendetta" in a way that made us both want to retire the word forever. Nick's death on The Young and the Restless was terribly sad and engrossing, but death didn't take and he was back in town like nothing ever happened in, like, a week. You liked Zarf/Zoe's storyline on All My Children? Then...there is something wrong with you.
We're sure that daytime did have a fantastic storyline in 2007, but we didn't see it.
Worst Story: TIE! Touch The Sky, Days of Our Lives, and Daniel's Porn Addiction, Y&R.
Touch the Sky Airlines, serving the highly coveted Salem-Las Vegas route, was a bad idea from start to finish. It further isolated the younger set from Salem and all the characters on the canvas there, it necessitated dozens of scenes on a plane that were virtually indistinguishable from one another, it featured many people in a bacteria-laden hot tub the very sight of which made us cringe, it wrapped Nick up in that stupid-ass story with the abandoned kids, and it brought Jett Carver to town in the form of Marcus Patrick who was, well, at least he's good looking. But most importantly/awfully, it re-introduced Jeremy Horton who, while hot and played by a capable actor, was a total asshole and a total slap in the face to anyone who had watched his parents in the 80s and 90s. Tellingly, both Jett and Jeremy left town before the year was out. Good riddance. And take that stupid plane with you.
There are, literally, dozens of ways that Y&R could have given the ever-adorable Michael Graziadei a storyline and broken up Daniel and Lily, if they desired to do so. If we had to, we could think of dozens of possible stories focused on a good-looking boy in his early 20s. None of those possible stories included a life shattering addiction to porn. This story was, like, the perfect storm of badness: icky subject matter, the significant dumbing down of Daniel (Who looks at porn at their high security job?], the significant de-dreamification of Michael Graziadei (pornstache!), repeated references to moles on Amber's breasts and the unpleasant knowledge that this story had been done before, and done better, on Lifetime with Cyber Seduction: His Secret Life.
Best Couple: Bo and Hope, Days of Our Lives
When did Bo and Hope become the cutest couple evah? Sometime in 2007, we think. The actors have fabulous chemistry and the writing has been cognizant of the characters' long history together while keeping the sparks sparking. These two have a conversation about groceries and somehow it's still flirtatious. The show that spawned the Supercouple also has Steve and Kayla and Tony and Anna -- other shows could take advice from Days about keeping couples interesting beyond their 30s.
Worst Couple: Jonathan and Ava, All My Children
You know what's romantic? ANYTHING besides a serial killer falling for the trashy identical sister of the autistic, teenaged ex-wife that he feigned mental illness to be with.
Best Triangle: Steve/Kayla/Jack, Days of Our Lives
Okay, fine, it's a triangle from 1988, but is there anything on the airwaves now that even compares? No. Which is sad. Why can't soaps do a good triangle anymore? It's a soap staple!
Worst Triangle: Victor/Nikki/David, The Young and the Restless
Victor and Nikki's umpteenth breakup this year on Y&R was silly and adding David Chow into the mix isn't making it any more intriguing. Are we honestly supposed to believe that the decades long relationship of Victor and Nikki is facing a legitimate threat in the form of the sleazy, shady campaign manager who was evil for, like, two minutes (the show may have forgotten that David Chow tried to gaslight Dru, but we have not!)? Really? Greasy David is going to do what Jack, Ashley and countless others couldn't? Okay. If you say so.
Most Tortured Couple: Zach and Kendall, All My Children
Zach's father killed Kendall's friends and tried to kill Kendall because he was mad at Zach. Then Kendall got pregnant, but she went into premature labor and while she was in labor, her frienemy kidnapped her son and then drove off of a cliff, deafening him. Kendall's premature child is born with a hole in his heart. Then Zach and Kendall go nuts trying to get revenge on Greenlee. Then Zach gets hit by a car and is injured. Then he gets stuck in a bomb shelter with Greenlee. Then Kendall has grief sex with her ex-boyfriend. And all of that happened in one year. Geez, can the writers just let Zach and Kendall be happy for two consecutive episodes? This is getting to be a little silly.
Best Family Drama: The Bradys Band Together, Days of Our Lives
Sure, the Vendetta storyline went off the rails and didn't pack the ultimate punch we expected it to, but we can't remember another story this year (or in other recent ones, really) that did a better job of integrating different generations of a cast, involving characters who otherwise spend little time together with each other, and reminding viewers of several families' longstanding ties to a show. The Bradys still need their 20-something set filled out a bit (another hot guy wouldn't hurt, we're just saying), but this story was a great start.
Best Quadrangle: The One From 9th Grade Geometry Class
A note to soap writers: quadrangles need to be left in high school math. They aren't entertaining. Please look no further than Sonny/Carly/Jason/Jason's Girlfriend of the Moment for proof of their inherent boringness.
Best History Rewrite: Tony Was Actually Andre, Days of Our Lives
How satisfyingly soapy was it to see the real Tony swagger up with those two island girls, knowing the show had thereby revived this once-great character without some utterly nonsensical re-write that required total suspension of disbelief? We like some suspension of disbelief, otherwise we wouldn't be soap viewers, but total? We reserve that for real life, like when we watch presidential debates.
Worst History Rewrite: TIE! Sam Is Actually A Multi-Divorced Con Woman, and James Craig is Jerry Jacks, General Hospital
There's nothing that Bob Guza & Co. enjoy more than rewriting their show's history. Which is unfortunate, since they have no skill in doing so.
We love Kelly Monaco a lot, but we've become convinced that the character of Sam McCall is just a way for the GH writers to make a mockery of the entire notion of history. Her past has been rewritten a good dozen times and she becomes less likeable with each rewrite. This year, we were expected to believe that Sam is ACTUALLY a divorcee several times over (all before she turned 27!) from her heretofore unknown past as a gold-digger which apparently ended once she killed her last husband, whose daughter came to town for revenge in an inane plot that included taking advantage of Sam's heroic...ish nature and making her famous. That...was a waste of time, but completely par for the course on a show that introduced a slick, sadistic BRITISH villain only to decide a few weeks later that he's ACTUALLY the formerly bumbling, good-natured, AUSTRALIAN fiance of Bobbie, Jerry Jacks. Because he had radical surgery on his face, see. And apparently an intelligence transplant, because the old Jerry wouldn't have the ability to spell Metro Court, let alone create a complex plot to rob it and then blow it up.
Best Recast: Shelley Henning as Stephanie, Days of Our Lives
We were skeptical at first, as Stephanie returned to Salem in a completely abrasive and trashy fashion, but Shelley Henning has proven to have talent and warmth, particularly in scenes with her onscreen parents (that we still claim she still resembles not in the least). She has also sparked good romantic chemistry with Darrin Brooks as Max, making us forget (almost) that Steph and Max are niece and uncle via adoption and despite lots of weird SORASing. That partial suspension of disbelief thing does sometimes work in soaps' favor.
Worst Recast: Tammin Sursok as Colleen, The Young and the Restless
Firing a well-liked, talented actress in the middle of a front-burner storyline seems to be a peculiar thing for a show to do. Replacing her with a far less talented actress who looks twelve seems even more peculiar, especially when one considers that her character is dating an older professor who now looks like he should be expecting a visit from Chris Hansen. And not even hiring the poor, less talented actress a vocal coach to help her master an American actress just seems cruel. We don't even know what story Colleen is a part of these days because we keep getting confused by the Wisconsin and New York bred girl keeps speaking like she's on the outback.
Worst Breakup: The 3 Breakups of Patrick and Robin, General Hospital
We're huge fans of Patrick and Robin around these parts, but even we realize that, sometimes, a soap couple needs to break up in order to shake things up and, generally, be soapy. We're on board with keeping things non-boring. But soap couples need to break up for reasons that make sense and the three (!!!) breakups of Patrick and Robin this year made no sense. Their first breakup came out of nowhere, as Robin suddenly decided that they were cursed and shouldn't live together and were like Carly and Sonny. Horrible! Their second breakup took place during the night shift, which found Patrick's eyes wandering to Leyla and Robin becoming a ranting, raving, babynapper. Well acted, but terrible! And their third breakup on the OG GH was again centered upon Robin's sudden, obsessive desire to be a mother. Realistic, but awful! Every generation on a soap needs at least one stable couple, while their peers run around and get married and divorced 27 times a decade. Why can't Patrick and Robin be that couple for their generation? Is it because they are doctors at General Hospital? That does appear to be the kiss of death these days. Hey, maybe Robin is actually a spy like her parents, and Patrick is actually an undercover cop! That should get them a reunion and screentime, right? Oh...never mind.
Most Shocking Plot Twist: James Craig Is Jerry Jacks, General Hospital
The "Holy crap, these sadistic people expect us to just sit back and take any garbage that they throw at us" kind of shocking, not the "Ohmigod, I didn't see that coming! I have to tune in tomorrow to see what happens next" kind of shocking, but shocking nonetheless.
Most Preposterous Plot: TIE! Scott Gets Guardianship of Laura/James Craig Is Jerry Jacks/Emily's Dead But She's Totally Happy About It, General Hospital and Killer Lipsitck/Burning EJ Alive, Days of Our Lives
You know how sometimes you want to defend your love of soaps to judgmental friends and family, but can't, because the shows are so ridiculous? These were all those times. Scott getting guardianship of Laura was about a decade's worth of stupid, and Sami trying to poison EJ via lipstick was cartoonishly awful. These stories were so far past the line of believability, the line was a dot to them.
Best Villain: Richie, All My Children
Richie Novak is bad, knows he's bad and is okay with being bad. He's a murderer with a violent temper and a psychotic need for revenge. He has a burning hatred for Ryan and Annie Lavery. He's pretty much the best thing to hit Pine Valley in years. There's nothing better than a villain who revels in being a villain.
Worst Villain: Alexander Cambias, All My Children
You guys, he was DEAD! And CREMATED! And now he's back in town, killing the girls who work at Fusion! Except he couldn't kill Babe, but he killed Dixie instead, via poisoned pancakes! And he's doing this all because he's pissed at his son for something! And he's called "The Satin Slayer"! There was literally no redeeming quality to this entire storyline.
Best Heroine: Kendall Hart Slater, All My Children
She has her moments of lunacy (don't think we've forgotten her telling Babe that she loves her) and she hasn't completely given up on scheming, although the fact that she's absolutely terrible at scheming these days seems to be proof that she is wholly redeemed. It's been incredibly gratifying to watch Kendall's journey since she first arrived in Pine Valley as Sarah Michelle Gellar and seeing her change from a complete sociopath to a fiercely loyal wife, mother, daughter and sister with only rare moments of sociopathic tendencies. She's flawed, no doubt, but we can empathize with her and see why she does the things that she does.
Best Hero: Bo Brady, Days of Our Lives
Sure, he's still a bit of a doofus, but Bo is a morally upstanding, family-oriented, police officer who is actually occasionally capable! We have to reward something that unusual in soapland. Peter Reckell brings a great everyday guy quality (along with a fantastic body, which is equally as important!) to the role, and we think it's high time he got his due for being able to play both romance and comedy well. The writers deserve credit for creating a hero who is actually rootable, without having to resort to every character who comes into contact with him praising him endlessly and telling us why we should love him.
Worst Heroine: Lulu Spencer, General Hospital
A little over a year ago, Lulu would have been our choice for Port Charles' heroine of the future. She's a legacy character played by a very good actress, and she had just enough of her mother's traits to make her lovable and heroic, with just enough of her father's traits to make her interesting and conflicted. Then something happened. Something very bad. Someone, somewhere (our money is on Bob Guza) decided that what Lulu really needed to be was a younger version of the latest conception of Carly Corinthos Jacks. It pains us even to type that. Now Lulu is judgmental and shrieky, a mob apologist with no apparent educational or career ambitions, self-centered enough that there are Lulu/Carly scenes in which Carly isn't the most selfish person in the room. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? Make it stop. And also stop throwing every single young male character at Lulu, and give Julie Marie Berman an opportunity to actually build a couple. She and Josh Duhon could have done that, if their courtship, getting together, and break-up had taken longer than three and a half weeks to happen.
Worst Hero: Jason Morgan, General Hospital
HE KILLS PEOPLE FOR MONEY!
Most Entertaining Character: Maxie Jones, General Hospital
Maxie is everything we could want from a soap character. She has awesome parents (we're going by the show's actual history, not the crap the current regime is trying to sell us on Frisco and Felicia), a self-destructive streak that she tries her best to keep in check, a love of fashion and a quick wit that's given the show some of its best bitchy comments in recent memory. Whether she's sparring with the guy holding her hostage in a vault or making fun of Dillon or reaming her mother out at Georgie's funeral or hating on Lulu, she's endlessly fun to watch.
Most Boring Character: Neil Winters, The Young and the Restless
When you can barely muster something other than a monotone when you ask about your wife's death and when your most memorable piece of dialogue this year is about coffee pot etiquette, there is a problem.
Best New Character: TIE! Richie Novak, All My Children and Kate Howard, General Hospital
Richie and Kate were breaths of fresh air in their respective towns. Richie's a cunning sociopath, but stands out amongst the rest of the Pine Valley sociopaths by being relentless in his hatred of Ryan Lavery. Kate's a successful fashionista who deplores organized crime. These things are about as rare as ABC Daytime treating its actors and characters with respect!
Worst New Character: Jeremy "Horton", Days of Our Lives
Most Daring Plot: The Text Message Killer, General Hospital
Daring as in "Daring us all to stop watching, for forever," that is.
Most Retread Plot: Who's The Daddy
Seriously, we know it's always the soapy stand-by, but with the possible exception of Days (Sami's twins have different daddies!), this hasn't been done interestingly on daytime in eons. With the notable exception of Maury, of course.
Best Return: Tony and Anna, Days of Our Lives
If you've been watching Days lately, we'd forgive you if you'd forgotten that Tony and Anna returned this year (they're practically as invisible as Justin Kiriakis), but they did return, and they were fabulous.
Worst Return: Greenlee Smythe, All My Children
Greenlee left Pine Valley in 2005 angry at the world and had changed her name to Greenlee DuPres, to honor her first (and most awesome!) husband Leo and to stick it to her utterly lame ex-husband Ryan. When she returned this spring, all of her anger had disappeared and she became...pathetic. Which Greenlee never, ever was. Desperate for Ryan to take her back and desperate for Ryan's baby, she went so far as to kidnap Spike, defy all orders to stay away from Spike and then dream of a perfect life as part of a Hart/Slater/Lavery happy family. Greenlee has always been a lot of things (selfish, snotty and sarcastic, to name a few) but pathetic and insane were never on that list.
Biggest Tearjerker: The Death of Alan Quartermaine, General Hospital
It seems like everybody, from the GH cast to the viewers, was furious that the powers-that-be made the decision to fire Stuart Damon in what would have been his 30th year on the show, and do so by killing him off as part of a lame sweeps stunt. All of the actors involved in the story gave their all: Leslie Charleson, John Ingle, and Kimberly McCullough go without saying, but even Natalia Livingston was amazing and Steve Burton actually emoted. The fact that Alan died without knowing that Jason had come to see him was truly heartbreaking.
Best Hair: Megan Ward as Kate Howard, General Hospital
If we had to guess how many General Hospital readers contemplated taking photos of Kate to their stylists in an effort to get her perfect bob, we'd say it was about 76 percent. (We'd hope it was actually higher, but then we realized that a good portion of GH fans write Spinelli/Jason fanfic and think Sonny is dreamy, and we don't expect them to have good taste in hair if they don't have it anywhere else.) And with good reason--it's chic, stylish and hip.
Worst Hair: TIE! Steve Burton as Jason Morgan, General Hospital and Sharon Case as Sharon Abbott, The Young and the Restless
I mean, seriously, what the hell was he thinking? The fact that this mane is on the floor of a barber shop somewhere makes it a happy new year, indeed.
Sharon's half mullet/half Marcia Brady/totally ugly weave continues to puzzle us. This woman is supposed to be a sought after fashion model with half the town panting after her?
Best Death: John Black, Days of Our Lives
We at Serial Drama reserve the right to revoke this award in the event that John's twelfth death does not take. But he's truly dead, it was the most poignant, well-acted soap death of the year and Days of Our Lives isn't the same without the eyebrow.
Worst Death: Georgie Jones, General Hospital
Why shouldn't Georgie be killed off? Let's see...she's the daughter of Frisco and Felicia; she's a teenager with decades of story potential; she's played by a winning actress who was part of a popular couple; she's one of the only good girls in Port Charles. And those are just off the top of our heads.
Why should Georgie be killed off? We can only surmise that Bob Guza is a creatively bankrupt hack who is bloodthirsty for the chance to ruin General Hospital in a systematic fashion by decimating all of the core families who have made the show popular for decades, as they remind longtime viewers of eras gone by when the show wasn't a wretched pit with an uncomfortable focus on the mafia, murderers and misogyny.
Worst Kept Secret: Jake is Jason's Son, General Hospital
Is it really a secret when the only people who don't know are the real babybaddy's mother and grandfather, the faux babydaddy's father and brother and the babydaddy's best friend?
Best Rebound Couple: Sam and Lucky, General Hospital
There are a lot of reasons not to like Sam and Lucky together (their first hot tub hookup was skeevy, she allowed his son to be kidnapped, she arranged for his sons and wife to be scared by gun-wielding goons), but...Kelly Monaco and Greg Vaughn are so freaking gorgeous together that it actually hurts to watch them sometimes. Soooo pretty!
Worst Rebound Couple: Belle and Shawn, Days of Our Lives
We would explain further, but zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Most Offensive Plot Twist: Jax's "Betrayal" of Carly, General Hospital
Did you know that you're breaking your marriage vows if you have the nerve to get raped? You totally are!
Most Underused Actor: Rick Hearst, General Hospital
He wins Emmys, he gives great performances whenever he's called upon, he's dreamy. So why is Rick Hearst stuck portraying the routinely awful Ric Lansing, and why can't the writers rehab Ric so that Rick can be the leading man he's so clearly got the goods to be? It's complex questions like these that are causing our frown lines.
Most Underused Actress: Julie Pinson, Days of Our Lives
How underused is Julie Pinson? So underused that when Becca suggested her for this category, Mallory asked who she played on Days. Julie Pinson is gorgeous and talented, can do drama and comedy, and has romantic chemistry with pretty much every guy (including unfortunately her onscreen brothers) they stand her next to. So why is she practically invisible, and saddled with horrible storylines like deflowering the barely-legal guy who it turns out is her daughter's boyfriend? Ew!
Cheesiest Moment: TIE! Lexie's Return from the Tunnel and Tony [Andre] on a Horse, Days of Our Lives
Duh Face of the Year: Sonny Corinthos, General Hospital
Best Soap Child: Cameron Webber, General Hospital
Every time Cameron is onscreen, he makes us laugh. Usually because of his open hostility towards Jason Morgan, but also because of his adorable relationship with Greg Vaughn and his hilarious storytelling skills.
We all know what Cam would have said, had we even considered giving this to someone else...
Worst Soap Child: Michael Corinthos, General Hospital
We get why the Quartermaines are upset that Michael has been basically cut out of their lives, but, really, all they need to do is take one look at his wannabe Jason hairdo and hear one of his violent soliloquies to get them out of that funk with a quickness. "Oh, it's cool, Sonny. No worries, you can keep him. No, really, we don't want to have him visit on the weekends, it's okay. We'll...we'll be pen pals with him, maybe...if the FBI can examine the letters that he sends us before we open them."
Best Performances: All explanations can be distilled down to "s/he is consistently awesome."
- Best Actress: Alicia Minshew, All My Children
- Best Supporting Actress: Nancy Lee Grahn, General Hospital
- Best Actor: Peter Bergman, The Young and the Restless
- Best Supporting Actor: Stephen Nichols, Days of Our Lives
Most Disappointing Show: General Hospital
General Hospital has all the potential in the world -- great history, fantastic cast, occasional flashes of Awesome Writer which hint at good writers somewhere beneath the rubble created by the current showrunners' blowing up the place -- but it continues to suck. "Disappointing" doesn't even really capture it, you know?
Worst. Just...Worst: General Hospital: Night Shift
It was a huge steaming pile of crap, and we had to (okay, chose to) detail the why and how of almost every painful detail.
Most Improved Show: Days of Our Lives
During James E. Reilly's tenure, did you ever think you could sincerely, without a trace of irony, say "that was a good episode of Days!" more than once a year? And now, don't you find yourself saying it at least a few times a week? Kudos to Hogan Scheffer but even more so, it seems, to new Executive Producer Ed Scott, who has made great strides in just the last few months, improving production values and eliminating some of the unevenness that Days had become known for. We expect great things in 2008. We also expect James Scott and Jay Kenneth Johnson to become involved in storylines requiring various states of undress on a near-daily basis.
Best Show: TIE! As The World Turns, The Bold and the Beautiful, Guiding Light, One Life to Live and Passions
Congratulations, shows in daytime that we don't watch! We can only assume that you were better than All My Children, Days of Our Lives, General Hospital and The Young and the Restless. We realize that this is damning with faint praise, but hey, a compliment is a compliment.