Our Latest Soap Opera Digest Column
By Becca Thomas
Another Daytime Emmys ceremony has come and gone, and I'm thrilled, confused, and irritated all at once. Thrilled because there was some seriously, seriously bad fashion on display, and it was oodles of fun to mock. And confused or irritated by...well, by virtually everything else.
First, the things that irritated me least. DAYS's Ava was written almost incomprehensibly (still irritating these many months later), but Tamara Braun worked wonders with what she was given, so I was happy for her Supporting Actress win (and she looked absolutely gorgeous--bonus!). Also on the DAYS front, I am always happy to see someone from my two shows win something, particularly if the show is DAYS, which, let's face it, rarely gets nominated, much less wins anything. So congrats to Darin Brooks (Max) on his Younger Actor win, though I remain a bit puzzled by his nomination. (And by his suit at the ceremony, but that is a discussion for a different day.)
GH's Julie Marie Berman should have won the Outstanding Younger Actress award last year, so while I didn't think she had the same level of material or performances this year, I'm happy for her make-up win. Perhaps the same logic will bring Kirsten Storms the award next year. She didn't even get a nomination last year when by all rights she should have won for her performance as Maxie mourning Georgie, but at least we're moving in the right direction.
I was fine with B&B's win for Outstanding Drama. First of all, who doesn't love thinkgs that are bold AND beautiful? I mean, that is a potent combination; one that I look for in both handbags and television shows. Second, while DAYS is one of my shows and was also up for the award, I have not been impressed with it much over the last year, so its loss didn't upset me. Third, from what I've heard (mostly from Mallory, in between her "Peter Bergman is so dreamy" ramblings), Y&R was really the best show last year, so the nominations didn't make much sense to begin with. The episode that DAYS submitted was strong, but that brings me to my major Daytime Emmys irritation: judging a soap opera based on a single episode is ridiculously unfair.
Of course, the worst result of this flawed process this year was GH's win for Outstanding Writing. Huge congrats, GH writing team, on all that excessive violence, sexism, dropped plots, repetitive dialogue, continuity errors, relationship re-treads, and out-of-character actions! I will give Emmy voters the benefit of the doubt and accept that the single episode that GH submitted must have been strong. But soaps are a serial format--by definition, their stories play out over months, if not years. I occasionally am able to mentally calculate to the penny the exact price of a pair of cute shoes on the sale rack, but nobody should be naming me Mathlete of the Year. Isn't judging soaps' best writing and overall best show based on single episodes just nonsensical?
My Take, Too
By Mallory Harlen
At some point during the seemingly endless 2009 Daytime Emmy Awards, things went from "This is incredibly cheesy" to "I don't know enough synonyms for 'awful' to accurately describe this." You could almost feel the production team hysterically trying to get this show removed from their resumes.
I didn't go into the show with high expectations (after all, it was on The CW, home of ONE TREE HILL), but the show was even worse than I dreamed it could be. The red carpet show was helmed by two hosts who plainly had no idea who they were interviewing. The ceremony's fashion show, with couples from each soap shimmying and vamping at a faux photographer, was more awkward than entertaining. Vanessa Williams is gorgeous and knows how to sing, but the show really didn't need multiple song and dance numbers to remind us of that, especially since it ate up precious time that could have gone to, oh, I don't know...showing clips of the nominated actors? Allowing presenters to read the lists of nominees without speed-talking? Airing the tribute to GL in full? Actually allowing Brad Bell to give a speech following B&B's big win for Outstanding Daytime Drama?
Thankfully, the Emmy voters did was the producers didn't, and made a variety of smart choices. With only a couple of exceptions, the most deserving nominee in each category won. Fancy that! Jeff Branson (ex-Shayne, GL) tying for Best Supporting Actor was surprising, in a good way! The few moments I saw of Shayne on GL were astounding, but I was worried that his acting was too subtle for a voting body that so often rewards the most over-the-top performances. Thankfully, I was wrong, and now I'm hoping that he lands a great role on another soap. Tamara Braun's (ex-Ava, DAYS) win for Supporting Actress was another pleasant surprise. Her performance as the crazy Ava was so much fun, and so purely soap, and brought out equally great performances from her very talented co-stars.
About those exceptions, though...I can't deny that Christian J. LeBlanc (Michael, Y&R) is fantastic, but I had hoped for a Peter Reckell (Bo, DAYS) win. In the decades that he's been on DAYS, he rarely got a chance to show his acting skills, and with the turn for the cheesy that the show has taken, it's unlikely that he'll get such great material again for a while. And GH's win for Outstanding Writing defies reason. Let me quickly recap some of the best writing in daytime last year: a child was shot in the head as punishment for buying a gun and a man had sex with the ghostly figment of his tumor-addled imagination. These stories being deemed the best in all of daytime is a slap in the face to the other nominees in that category. It's downright embarrassing that the stories--I use that term loosely--I've decried as heinous, have been rewarded. I'm going to lose all of my credibility!