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SOD Best & Worst -- 1998
Topic Started: Nov 28 2009, 04:49 PM (1,672 Views)
Mason
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BEST SOCIAL ISSUE


CAMILLE'S BREAST CANCER, AS THE WORLD TURNS


Breast cancer has been tackled on daytime before. In Camille's case, ATWT added a refreshing twist that resonates with the predominantly female soap audience.

Here was a beautiful, smart, fit, 20-something woman - a model, no less - diagnosed with a disease most assume does not strike someone so young. Wisely, the show told the story in real time, showing the progression of Camille's treatment, slowly taking her through every harrowing step, from self-pity and anger after her mastectomy to utter despair when her hair started falling out from chemotherapy. Instead of making Camille a martyr, her flaws remained. The insecure Camille pushed her loved ones away, choosing to face her mortality alone. But when she was at her lowest, she inadvertently brought on more heartache by seeking comfort from Brad (instead of the well-meaning, but clueless, Ben).

Camille's ordeal is far from over. Sure, we know she will triumph in the end. But this story has no easy answers or tidy endings, no good guys or bad guys, and - most importantly - no last-minute cures. Just like real life.
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Mason
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WORST SOCIAL ISSUE


BABIES AT ANY COST


Remember when the creation of a baby was deemed a miracle? Daytime doesn't. There, a baby is nothing more than a burping, gurgling means to an end. On GUIDING LIGHT, Dinah, who ultimately miscarried, got pregnant by Rob to hang on to Hart. On ANOTHER WORLD, Lila got preggers by Matt to keep Shane, who ultimately died. On SUNSET BEACH, Virginia inseminated Vanessa to get her hooks into Michael. AS THE WORLD TURNS's Carly worked overtime to put a bun in her oven as a way to net $50 million. On ALL MY CHILDREN, Adam secretly played "insemination swap" to be the father of Liza's baby. And on ONE LIFE TO LIVE, Nora had sex with her ex, Sam, because she'd already lied to hubby Bo that he was going to be a dad. Enough with the bargaining-chip baby-making. What ever happened to baby Jane or Jenny or Joey being created because Mom and Dad wanted to bring a new life into the world?
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Mason
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BEST TRIANGLE


AUSTIN/CARRIE/MIKE, DAYS OF OUR LIVES


Back in early 1997, this storyline would never have worked. The inseparable CarrieandAustin were DAYS's most popular star-crossed duo, and the demand for them to be together was overwhelming.

What a difference a year makes. Suddenly, these two don't seem so meant to be - and it has nothing to do with Sami's machinations. Dark horse Mike, in spite of being a perennial loser in love, has turned out to be a real contender for Carrie's affections.

What really makes this triangle work is that it makes sense. Carrie and Austin were young and in love, but were also virtually apart for three years before they pledged their troth. These two had never considered what effect the separation would have on their relationship. And Mike has succeeded in making Carrie realize that there's more to life than marrying your first love.

Ultimately, what makes this trio even more appealing is that there's no bad guy or wrong outcome. As it stands right now, Mike and Carrie feel extremely guilty about the kisses they've shared. Meanwhile, an in-the-dark Austin loves his wife so much, he's going to need a torch to help him see that she's a-strayin'. Just imagine the fireworks once Austin realizes what's really going down.

Anybody got a match?


(I have no idea what SOD was drinking when they wrote this one. Mike/Carrie was one of the worst pairings DAYS ever produced. It didn't work any better in 1998 than it would have in 1997.)
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Mason
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WORST TRIANGLE


ROSS/BLAKE/BEN, GUIDING LIGHT


On paper, it sounds like a classic drama: a hapless heroine torn between her adoring husband and his scheming kid brother. Then you read the fine print - and what once held such promise becomes a forced triangle contrived out of sheer implausibility. Would Ross really not tell Blake that he had a younger sib? (No.) Would Blake really cuckold Ross again? (No.) Would a moral zero like Ben really be so pouty about not having been breastfed? (No.) And would Blake really conquer her psychosomatic paralysis to save Ben's life after he secretly videotaped her, blackmailed her and withheld info on Kevin's paternity? (No! No! No!) Nothing about this triangle makes any sense, so none of its sub-configurations have any real rooting value. At this point, do we care who ends up with whom? (Uh, no.)
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Kenny
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Mason
Nov 28 2009, 08:23 PM
Back in early 1997, this storyline would never have worked. The inseparable CarrieandAustin were DAYS's most popular star-crossed duo, and the demand for them to be together was overwhelming.

What a difference a year makes. Suddenly, these two don't seem so meant to be - and it has nothing to do with Sami's machinations. Dark horse Mike, in spite of being a perennial loser in love, has turned out to be a real contender for Carrie's affections.
The only reason Austin and Carrie stopped being "meant to be" was because Sally Sussman Morina came in and completely ruined them. The way Austin ditched Carrie and shoved his head so far up Sami's ass wasn't believable at all.

As for Mike being an equal contender for Carrie's affections, that only happened because the writing for Austin and Carrie took such a sharp turn downwards. It's not as if Roark's chemistry with Christie really matched the chemistry she had with Austin Peck. I confess to liking Mike and Carrie for a while though. (Don't stone me!)
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Mason, we MUST stone him!
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Mason
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Kenny
Nov 28 2009, 08:47 PM
I confess to liking Mike and Carrie for a while though. (Don't stone me!)
I'll just excuse it as you being young and foolish, LoL. :P
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Mason
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BEST HERO


EDMUND, ALL MY CHILDREN


You won't find Edmund Grey drowning his sorrows at the local watering hole. Though the stoic writer is still grieving the loss of his beloved wife Maria and coping as a single dad, he reaches out to others. Strong, noble and compassionate, Edmund forgave his half-brother, Dimitri, for sleeping with Maria and kidnapping their daughter, Maddie. And when Dimitri was down and out, Edmund took him in and helped the pariah rebuild his life. Kit is another outcast who Edmund has taken under his wing. He championed Kit's quest to prove that she is Jack's sister. Now, he's standing by as she recovers from a rape that not everyone is sure even took place.

Edmund's success as a character is due to the writers who have stayed true to his history (allowing Edmund's once-vengeful, roguish personality to reappear every now and then) and, of course, John Callahan's performance. On soaps, strong moral fiber can come across as wimpy and predictable, but Callahan never fails to pull it off with panache.
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Mason
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BEST VIXEN


AMBER, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL


When Brooke hired free spirit Amber as a live-in baby-sitter for Rick and Bridget, we had a hunch that she'd shake things up, but even we underestimated Amber's impact.

When the nubile nanny started parading around the house in those skimpy, barely there outfits, 16-year-old Rick's hormones went into overdrive. Fully aware that he had the hots for her, Ms. Blonde Ambition tried to parlay his crush into financial backing for her singing career. And boy, did Rick love her bedside manner.

Amber never planned on getting pregnant, but when she did, she saw dollar signs: Her baby was the key to opening the Forrester vault. (FYI: The kid might not be Rick's, but he's clueless thus far.) Brooke sees Amber as a shameless fortune hunter taking advantage of her son. (How ironic, since Stephanie has always accused Brooke of doing the same thing with Ridge!)

Cheeky Amber is alternately scheming, scared and sincere, so we find ourselves rooting for and against her as she tries to keep Rick under her spell. To put it in terms she'd understand: Amber rocks.
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Mason
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MOST INNOVATIVE RECAST


ELLEN WHEELER AS MARLEY, ANOTHER WORLD


Sure, anyone can leave Soap Town, U.S.A. for a while. You go someplace far away, like China, after being raped by your ex-hubby and exonerated in his shooting. When you come back, you're the same goody two-shoes doormat you always were. Not so, if your name is Marley Love.

AW made two key decisions when they revived the character. No. 1: They opted not to have the same actress play identical twins Vicky and Marley, which had been the case since Ellen Wheeler originated the roles in 1984. No. 2: AW rehired Wheeler as Marley and radically reshaped her personality. Twisted physically and psychologically after mom Donna ran her down and she was trapped in a fire, Marley fixated on her ex, Jake, plotting to do anything to get him back and ruin Vicky's life. Wheeler showed how far Marley could descend into madness, yet still appear for the most part sympathetic - the Marley that Vicky so desperately wanted back. In a year when many of AW's casting decisions were questioned, this was an undeniable bright spot.
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Mason
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WORST RECAST


TIMOTHY GIBBS AS KEVIN, ONE LIFE TO LIVE


Since 1991, OLTL had been through no fewer than five different Kevins. In 1996, they finally hit the jackpot with No. 6 - Kevin Stapleton. Although the actor wasn't an instant hit with viewers, they eventually warmed up to his sarcastic portrayal of the oldest Buchanan brother and managed to accept the fact that he was engaged in a fun, steamy affair with Cassie, the preacher's wife. Heck, Stapleton even won our honors for Best Recast in 1996. Which is why we were dumbfounded when the new regime inexplicably recast the popular actor with Timothy Gibbs (ex-Gary, AW). Suddenly, the happy-go-lucky Kevin we had grown to love was dark, intense and brooding. Could that really have been Kevin holding a gun to Todd's head? Nothing personal against Gibbs - he is a fine actor - but we simply do not understand why OLTL found it necessary to fix something that wasn't broken.
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Mason
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BEST TEAR-JERKER


SHANE AND MICHAEL'S DEATHS, ANOTHER WORLD


Getting rid of one major character is par for the course during a soap disaster. But killing two heroes? Unheard of, but that's what happened when both Shane and Michael died in a head-on collision.

Vicky's indecision about whether she loved hubby Jake or Shane had taken her to the remote cabin where Shane was working. After choosing Jake, she insisted that Shane drive her down the mountain, despite a snowstorm. Meanwhile, Vicky's dad, Michael, was headed up the same icy road to stop his daughter from making a big mistake. When the cars collided, worlds crumbled, leaving grief, recrimination and guilt in their wake.

Since Michael was a popular nice-guy and Donna's true love, his departure was heartbreaking. The loss of Shane (a relative newcomer) was less wrenching, but elicited much wailing and keening by ex-wife Lila and Vicky. After sitting through two weepy funerals, Bay City was wiped out - as were we. This was one of the hardest stories to watch in years.
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Mason
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BEST TEEN STORY


JESSICA'S PREGNANCY, ONE LIFE TO LIVE


Jessica was, as she so aptly put it, "The poster child for virginity." And her boyfriend of three years, Cristian, agred to wait until Jess was ready. Nevertheless, after Jessica misread a hug between Cristian and Roseanne, the hurt teen and her new stepbrother, Will, got drunk and did the deed - without using protection. Soon, the normally happy Jess was moody, detached and pregnant. Viki sensed something was wrong, but daughter Jessica kept mum - until a car accident landed her in the hospital. After the truth was revealed, Clint was ready to kill Cristian (who lied that he was the daddy), and Viki broke down and cried. Their baby was going to have a baby.

Indeed. And it's all been horrendous for Jessica. Instead of attending Columbia University as planned, she has been dealing with issues of abortion and marriage, making this realistic tale of teen pregnancy anything but glamorous. It's also a grave reminder: After all, if this could happen to a good girl like Jess, it could happen to any girl.
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Mason
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BEST STORY


LUKE AND LAURA: THE RAPE REVISITED, GENERAL HOSPITAL


Theirs is a flawed romance, it's true. The relationship of Luke and Laura (as long-time viewers already knew and newer ones now know) was born of a violent act that both of them preferred to keep buried in the past. But to actually take the terrible truth - Luke raped Laura nearly 20 years ago - and unearth it, as GH's team of writers did this year, was a brave, risky task as complex as the assault itself.

When the rape originally occurred in 1979, it was treated by GH's then-powers-that-be as a "seduction". Because the crime was glossed over and Laura fell in love with and married her rapist, the challenge for the current regime was to translate the '70s interpretation into modern-day standards.

Deftly, the scribes initially revisited the rape through the eyes of Luke and Laura's son, Lucky, who learned about his father's heinous transgression during an argument with half-brother Nikolas. In one of the most emotionally wrenching and well-written scenes in daytime history, Luke was forced to confront the past by retracing that fateful night to Lucky, who had idolized his dad.

Soon after came another heartbreaking conversation, this time between Luke and Laura, in which they addressed the issues surrounding the rape that had privately plagued each of them for so many years. In purging their demons, the couple found a clearer road back to one another, but had to face the reality that their relationship with Lucky had been forever altered. Through it all, the stellar Anthony Geary (Luke) and Genie Francis (Laura) proved why they're still as popular today as they were nearly two decades ago. And Jonathan Jackson (Lucky) is, indeed, a chip off their acting block.

How brave GH was to take a dark chapter in its history and turn it into a storyline so compelling that we're still feeling the aftereffects. If only every show were as effective with its history lessons. GENERAL HOSPITAL, you get an A+.
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Mason
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WORST STORY


LOVE WITH A TURKEY BASTER, SUNSET BEACH


SUNSET BEACH never fails to shock, but this turkey of a story was nothing but a shocking failure. The convoluted plot - involving Virginia's impregnation of archrival Vanessa via a turkey baster filled with Tyus's stolen sperm - was an affront on every level. In one fell swoop, BEACH insulted infertile couples (Who knew getting pregnant was that easy?), women ("Time for Vanessa's date with Mr. Turkey Baster," leered Virginia) and African-Americans, who were left wondering how one of daytime's most interesting black triangles could have fallen so far, so fast. This misbegotten stunt, which did nothing for ratings, either, was also stomach-turning. While Virginia worked as a waitress at Ben and Meg's wedding over many scenes, her baster sat filled with sperm in a cabinet. Even a high-school biology student knows that sperm cells could not survive outside a protected environment for that length of time.

While we heartily thank the BEACH prop masters for supplying Virginia with a non-transparent baster to mask its contents, the ultimate revulsion was inflicted a few weeks into this story when we were treated to a clear, plastic cup filled with Vanessa's yellow urine, which Virginia needed to confirm the pregnancy. We understand that the low-rated BEACH has to push the envelope to draw attention to itself, but we sincerely hope the powers-that-be learned a lesson here. The only liquid we want to see in this show's future is ocean water crashing in on Seal Beach.
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Mason
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MOST IMPROVED SHOW


AS THE WORLD TURNS


In 1996, we named AS THE WORLD TURNS, the once-mighty daytime powerhouse that had crumbled into unrecognizability, our most disappointing show. Since then, Executive Producer Felicia Minei Behr and Head Writer Lorraine Broderick have steadily rebuilt this 42-year-old show from the foundation up.

Under their watch, old favorites have been reinvigorated, others have come to life and new characters were introduced s-l-o-w-l-y, through familiar faces. Longtime back-burner man Hal joined Carly and Jack in one of the most fascinating, unpredictable triangles in years (who could have guessed eight months ago that she would lose both and marry John?). Meanwhile, the staid Hughes house was thrown into chaos when Tom finally strayed from the straight and narrow, paving the way for a realistic, heartbreaking story of a marriage in ruins. Tom's one-night stand also marked the rebirth of the tragic, spiteful Emily, a core character we've always loved to hate. Molly got a makeover when Lesli Kay Sterling was finally allowed to unleash her comic timing on this once too-whiny character, revealing a spunky, hilarious vixen. And after 12 years, Lily and Holden were given a mature story in which their love is the one thing not being tested.

Thanks to a perfect balance of stories, we didn't tire of anyone. The recent Caribbean jaunt, for example, showcased at least four different storylines, all intertwined - and only half the town took the trip! Instead of revolving in their own little worlds, characters are suddenly interacting, and the focus is thankfully back on relationships and history.

After a string of fly-by-night executives, it's comforting to now watch a team that recognizes the value of ATWT's stellar cast and storied past. Come home to Oakdale - you won't believe the difference two years can make.
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Mason
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MOST DISAPPOINTING SHOW


ALL MY CHILDREN


How tragic it is to see the once-great ALL MY CHILDREN - which held the No. 2 spot in the Nielsens in 1992 and 1993 - now gasping for life with a dismal seventh-place rating.

AMC's decline is not only tragic, it's senseless. The show has an incredible stable of powerhouse performers, including David Canary (Adam/Stuart), Michael E. Knight (Tad) and Marcy Walker (Liza), to name just a few. But rather than use all its best talent, the show has opted to place other dynamos, such as Robin Mattson (Janet) and James Kiberd (Trevor) on the back-burner, where they languished in the tale of a dying pet. The always entertaining Palmer, as played by AMC veteran James Mitchell, was at long last dusted off, only to be tossed into a silly Nazi art story. And fan fave Susan Lucci (Erica), who began the year strongly with Bianca's anorexia story, was soon abandoned in a chatty love triangle with Mike and Jack. As for new faces, strangers Kit and Raquel have been thrust to the fore so quickly, the audience has barely had a chance to warm up to them.

Storyline-wise, the picture hasn't been much brighter. Cancer-stricken canines...bookend psychopaths (Jim and Lee)...a variety of visions (Mateo saw into the future, Tim and Janet saw Natalie's ghost, Camille made Adam think he was seeing things)...hackneyed stories borrowed from AMC's history (mysterious woman-in-white Camille reminded us of 1996's mysterious woman-in-white Skye; saucy, blonde con artist Kit hits town, stirs things up, gets raped and is thus redeemed...just like what happened to saucy, blonde con artist Gloria a few years ago). In some cases, the soap has even ripped off its very recent past. Ryan and Kit's howler of a drunken dirty dance on Halloween was eerily similar to Allie's cringe-worthy, booze-fueled hoofing a few months earlier. Memo to AMC: Viewers long for compelling tales that feature beloved favorites. As you know from your outstanding storytelling in the past: If you write it, they will come.
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Mason
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BEST PRIME-TIME SHOW


DAWSON'S CREEK


Who'da thunk that a drama centered around film-quoting adolescents in a small New England town would be the stuff that intelligent, inspirational - and often heart-wrenching - drama is made of? No doubt that's why CREEK is must-see-TV for a new generation of soap fans, as well as seasoned suds watchers.

This season, Dawson's folks, Mitch and Gale, are still grappling with their troubled marriage. And unlike other youth-oriented dramas, CREEK features parents who are actually sexual beings and proud of it - even when Dawson isn't. Their rocky relationship is a constant reminder of how parents' problems can profoundly affect their childrens' lives.

That fact can't be underestimated, considering that children's lives - well, teenagers' lives - form the backbone, heart and soul of the show. To wit, things haven't gone smoothly for Dawson and Joey, who we sished could have been happy together (for a little while, at least). Unfortunately, teen angst has made that impossible. Joey is now facing the classic predicament of getting what she's always wanted and, thanks to a kiss from the new Capesider, Jack, not knowing what to do next. As for Jen, afer the death of her grandfather and her breakup with Dawson, she has reverted to her not-so-pure New York ways. Meanwhile, Pacey is alternating between feuding and flirting with the high-strung Andie, and revisiting his affair with his sexy, Mrs. Robinson-esque teacher.

As the CREEK characters grow in years and wisdom, viewers will be watching with anticipation to see what's next for our favorite New Englanders. Maybe Dawson will realize his dream and make a film about the CREEK gang. If not, it would make a fine TV series.
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Mason
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BEST DAYTIME SHOW


THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS


The next time someone asks you what you like about soap operas, just tell them to watch Y&R.

This show has it all. Most importantly: Interesting, long-running characters placed in believable situations. 1) Young wife Sharon ignored her husband, Nick, so he wound up having a one-night stand on a business trip with a co-worker, something for which he was immediately sorry. 2) Bitter divorcee Nina is jealous of her ex-husband's skinny new wife, she she can't resist making cracks about her. 3) Chris and Paul can't stand his mother's meddling in everything from their apartment decor to when they plan to have a baby. 4) Neil is dating the boss's daughter, Victoria, and he was very torn when she asked him to lie to Victor when she entered the hospital.

See what we mean? Y&R's stories are character-driven, so there is no need for hokey plot devices. (You won't find a turkey baster within a mile of this show unless Miguel is making Thanksgiving dinner.) The stories don't come out of the desire for higher ratings (as if they would need to - the show has been No. 1 for over 500 weeks), they come out of character. Y&R respects its own rich history and mines it for everything it's worth. As a viewer, you never feel cheated that you've invested years in a beloved character, only to watch them turn on a dime. That doesn't happen in Genoa City.

Y&R is also full of surprises. Unlike other shows, its core charaters are on almost every day. Just because you don't see Nikki and Victor in the opening scenes doesn't mean they won't turn up in the second half of the show. Which means that every story inches along a little each day, and your favorites will be showcased.

It also offers a classic soap tag to every scene, which is something other shows rarely do anymore. Just before the commercial, a phone rings or a doorbell rings or a character says, "I have something to tell you." Of course, you are going to stay tuned - they make you.

Even better, Y&R has humor. You know if it's a Katherine/Jill day, or a Jack/Brad day or even a Chris/Nina day, you are probably going to laugh out loud. But most of all, Y&R has heart. You care about these people and what happens to them because someone on that show is probably going through the same thing you are. That is the mark of a great soap opera - and that's why we like this one so much.
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Vince79


Mason
Nov 28 2009, 04:49 PM
I've also got the Best & Worst issues from 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004, if anyone's interested.
I would like to see 03-04.

Thanks
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