"So, just to be clear: this is going to be another Best AND Worst list?"
"Not just a Best list? Or a Worst list?"
"No, Best AND Worst. It's our tradition!"
"Right. It's just that...there are a lot of worsts. And not many bests."
"Come on, there were bests."
"Alice Horton's funeral was great. And so was Palmer Cortlandt's memorial! And, hey, the moment where Sonny shot Dante was seriously good."
"Oh, wow. Death and attempted cop murder. Those sure are some best-y bests."
There's no way to sugarcoat it: 2010 was a pretty dreary year for soaps. There were some good moments, sure. And there were some things that we really hated as they happened but, looking back, turned out to be not so bad at all, comparatively. And then...there was the rest. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
Best Story: Robin, Patrick and Lisa Star In a Rip-Off Of Homage To Fatal Attraction, General Hospital
When Lisa Niles and her never-ending supply of "This one time, in college? Patrick and I drank a lot of [ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE] and watched a lot of [SPORTING EVENT] and then [SEXUAL ACT] and it was craaaaaaazy" stories came to Port Charles, she might as well have introduced herself to her new co-workers with "Hi, I'm Lisa, and I'm going to sleep with Patrick". That's how clearly this story was telegraphed. We all knew Patrick was going to cheat on Robin; it was only a question of "When?" and "Then what?" and also "Why?" To answer the first question: while Robin was in Africa working on AIDS research, which is probably the single douchiest excuse for infidelity, ever. To answer the second question: Then Lisa went CUH-RAZY and for a few glorious weeks, it was awesome. And to answer the last question: to give Jason Thompson and Kimberly McCullough material for their Emmy reels. Even when the story bordered on camp, Thompson and McCullough managed to ground it in realism with some of the most honest, gut-wrenching performances we saw this year. We dare you to watch Patrick's confession and not be moved. WE DARE YOU! They did such good work (and continue to do such good work even though the writing has definitely taken a turn for the lazy) and Brianna Brown played the hell out of the one note she was given. It even incorporated a surprisingly well-handled return of Stone Cates, so it was our choice for Story Of The Year, no question.
Worst Story: Teen Jess, One Life to Live
At first it seemed like it could have some potential for those of us who've been watching since the first time Jess was seventeen, at least as a cute and brief side story -- but alas, Jessica's amnesia storyline started in the ickiest of possible ways (her biological father tried to rape her) and only got worse from there. They never bothered to explain her illness (was it just a loss of memory, but she was perfectly healthy? was she deeply ill and convinced she was a teenager? was this yet another personality -- because this one certainly didn't resemble the one we knew at that age?) and most everyone seemed content to let her traipse around town unsupervised and behave as if she were indeed a teenager, including letting her go back to high school while she stalked her art teacher/ex-boyfriend. While she was being handled as if she were legitimately seventeen, Brody nonetheless tried to get her to... what? Fall in love with him? Remember that she loved him? Had she actually not regained her memory but still fell for Brody, would he have dated her, and therefore essentially dated a seventeen-year-old? And why in the world didn't she notice how hot that soldier boy is? So much was unclear,and it ended with a possible-impregnation by the slimiest guy in town, Robert Ford. While it was certainly rewarding that at the end of that night we got to see an unconscious and bloodied Ford, nothing was worth having to tolerate Teen Jess for months on end.
Best START To A Story: Sonny Shoots Dante, General Hospital
We knew it was coming, thanks to explicit promos that aired round-the-clock and a helpful chyron that spoiled the shocking storyline twist, but still: when a ruthless Sonny shot a brave, unarmed Dante in the chest and a horrified Olivia wailed "You just shot your own son!", we got goosebumps. The immediate aftermath gave us some top-notch acting and some righteous Sonny hatred that warmed our hearts and souls. The fallout...was terrible. Instead of genuine remorse or growth, we had Sonny petulantly defending himself with "I didn't KNOW he was my son". Because, right, you didn't KNOW, so that totally makes shooting an unarmed cop in the chest okay. Commendable even! Instead of all of Port Charles turning on Sonny, we had throngs of defenders. And Dante, in one of the most poorly written moments of a poorly written year, covered for dear old dad. There are no words. Only curse words.