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SOD Best & Worst -- 2004
Topic Started: Nov 30 2009, 08:59 PM (2,012 Views)
Mason
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MOST ENDURING COUPLES


DAYS OF OUR LIVES


Bo and Hope. John and Marlena. Jack and Jennifer. You can't really make up clever combo names for them like most of today's couples. (Bope? Jarlena? Don't think so.) But after all the years they've been together (Fifty-two between them!) and in spite of all the obstacles the writers have put in their paths to keep them apart, fans will only accept them together. By now, these duos are synonymous with Salem as Alice's doughnuts. Why? Because during the 10-year span in which they all got together - the '80s and '90s - the show had cornered the market on supercouples, penning enchanting, adventurous, romantic stories that propelled the actors onto numerous covers of Digest. Two decades later, the fans' appetite hasn't changed, a testament to the power of true (soap) love.
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Mason
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BEST SECRET


THE BABY SWITCH, ALL MY CHILDREN/ONE LIFE TO LIVE


In daytime, what makes a secret compelling is how much its revelation will affect a show's community - and by that measure, the scribes of the future will have a tough time topping the labyrinthine double-show doozy that was "AMC's Bess is Really Miranda/OLTL's Ace is Really the Son of AMC's Babe and JR."

While we brayed at how long it took the secret(s) to wend toward full disclosure, in truth the saga of who was concealing the infants' identities and why (an ever-growing list with an impressive array of justifications) - and bravura performances from both casts - more than maintained our interest. We complained because we cared - especially about AMC's Bianca getting her baby back. No matter how large the story grew in scope, its focus remained laser-sharp, building to that moment. And if it proves to be worth the wait, consider AMC a lock for 2005's "Best Payoff."
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Eric83
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"Relax nobody's having sex.... at least not yet"

Mason
Dec 3 2009, 06:11 PM
MOST ENTERTAINING DUO


PHYLLIS AND DRUCILLA, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS


Love stories rule, but some of the most unforgettable relationships are loathe stories. The paragon is Phyllis and Drucilla. Their bon mots are delicious. (Dru: "I outrank you." Phyllis: "You are pretty rank.") Funny thing, these catty rivals don't hate each other; they just really know how to push one another's buttons because although they'd never admit it, they are so alike. Even in contrived circumstances (sharing an office, stuck in an elevator), the fab foes milk the set-up to great effect. They are not, however, cartoonish. The sassy lasses can set aside their differences during crises (when dealing with their teens or uniting to save their jobs). That just makes it even bettr when they resume hostilities. In a medium not known for comedy - they are called daytime dramas - watching Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) and Victoria Rowell (Drucilla) duke it out, literally and figuratively, is as heady as any soap romance.
I loved their rivalry. Phyllis is such a weak bitch compared to what she was then.
Edited by Eric83, Dec 3 2009, 06:23 PM.
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Mason
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WORST SECRET


T.C.'S SHED CONTENTS, PASSIONS


For five years, we saw T.C. sneak off to his mysterious shed - somewhere off-limits to the viewers and fellow Harmony residents. This led us to believe (or at least hope) that something scandalous was inside. Murder evidence? A creepy Norman Bates shrine to his dead dad? Even a tennis court would have stirred up some interest in this dull dude's story. Instead, the contents were revealed to be the old car that T.C. thought Julian was driving when it hit him thousands of moons ago. Boooooring! The reveal sparked zero interest, especially because we were already privy to T.C.'s obsession with the crash. Eve eyeing the hunk of junk did provoke a flashback, exposing that she was behind the wheel. However, Liz, Julian and Alistair already knew that pertinent info, so it was bound to slip out eventually - with or without the car around. In a word, this reveal was a clunker.




(Worst. Soap. Secret. EVER.)
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Mason
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BEST/WORST RETURN


SIMON, AS THE WORLD TURNS


Oh, Simon, we adored you so! You won us over with your Aussie charm and your perfect romance with Katie, even if ATWT rarely knew what to do with you. Then your portrayer, Paul Leyden, packed up for prime-time, but not before giving you two chances at good-bye.

Your January farewell was achingly poignant, honoring the chemistry and passion we fell for in the first place - bittersweet, sure, but absolutely faithful to character. You loved Katie so much, you let her go. In May, you were martyred at the "Matie" altar (it worked - we love them now) when ATWT gave you selfish schemes and shallow dreams that broke Katie's heart, devalued all of our investments (without a good excuse, like amnesia!) and made us wish you had died instead of your awful lackey, Pilar. So, if it's all the same, we'll just pretend that second guy wasn't really you.
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dc cubs
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Mason
Dec 3 2009, 06:16 PM
MOST ENDURING COUPLES


DAYS OF OUR LIVES


Bo and Hope. John and Marlena. Jack and Jennifer. You can't really make up clever combo names for them like most of today's couples. (Bope? Jarlena? Don't think so.) But after all the years they've been together (Fifty-two between them!) and in spite of all the obstacles the writers have put in their paths to keep them apart, fans will only accept them together. By now, these duos are synonymous with Salem as Alice's doughnuts. Why? Because during the 10-year span in which they all got together - the '80s and '90s - the show had cornered the market on supercouples, penning enchanting, adventurous, romantic stories that propelled the actors onto numerous covers of Digest. Two decades later, the fans' appetite hasn't changed, a testament to the power of true (soap) love.
Interesting that while still together, two of these couples are no longer on the show. The remaining couple, Bo and Hope, is in the middle of a marital crisis.

Thanks for recapping these Best and Worst Issues. I subscribe to the magazine but I don't keep the issues so it's a nice look back in time.
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Mason
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dc cubs
Dec 3 2009, 06:40 PM
Mason
Dec 3 2009, 06:16 PM
MOST ENDURING COUPLES


DAYS OF OUR LIVES
Interesting that while still together, two of these couples are no longer on the show. The remaining couple, Bo and Hope, is in the middle of a marital crisis.

Thanks for recapping these Best and Worst Issues. I subscribe to the magazine but I don't keep the issues so it's a nice look back in time.
LoL, I know, what a difference five years makes!

And you're welcome! :)
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Mason
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BEST CHEMISTRY


MAURICE BENARD (SONNY) AND EVERYONE, GENERAL HOSPITAL


Some complain that GH revolves around Sonny. But it would be foolish not to take advantage of the remarkable magnetism that Maurice Benard has displayed for the past 11 years.

To embody Sonny is to commit from the inside out, synchronizing a complex chorus of morality and passion on every level. Benard positively hums with it - which helps draw out the essence of every character Sonny crosses. So while he's riveting in scenes with everything from graves to ghosts - it's opposite flesh-and-blood characters like Carly, Sam and Alexis that he has helped spawn three boisterous fan bases. And we may joke about his closeness with Jason (they could be GH's hottest couple), but the truth is, this is one of the most intriguing male bonds on daytime.

Creating sparks is hardly guaranteed, but with Benard at the nucleus, you won't be bored.



(It took everything within me not to puke as I was typing this up.)
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Mason
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BEST SOCIAL ISSUE


FOSTER CARE, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS


A social-issue soap story needn't be controversial or shocking to be effective, as Y&R proved with an intelligent and realistic tale about foster care. Not an inherently "sexy" topic, the story was nonetheless compelling, especially since Victoria Rowell (Drucilla), a former foster child and now advocate, was instrumental in its development. The result was an involving storyline that won many civic accolades. By allowing for vastly different viewpoints, it wasn't preachy or emotionally manipulative, and like all good soap yarns, this one added texture to an existing relationship. Dru's earnest, pay-it-forward mentality in reaching out to troubled Devon caused friction in her marriage, as Neil initially refused to put his family at risk. Kristoff St. John played the scenes with enough compassion to keep Neil sympathetic. And, both sides were valid. Bravo, Y&R, for delivering an insightful, thought-provoking tale, while never straying from essential, soapy elements.
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Mason
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WORST SOCIAL ISSUE


ABORTION, DAYS OF OUR LIVES


So, like, Mimi didn't think Rex wanted kids, so she, like, had an abortion without telling him. And then Jan found out and like, blackmailed her. No, this isn't a description of an afterschool special, it was how DAYS chose to tackle a divisive topic that few shows even dare to approach. While on one hand we have to applaud the soap for having the guts to tell a story where a pregnancy is actually terminated, Mimi's reason for going through with it was incredibly weak. Wouldn't it have been more compelling if Rex and Mimi learned they were pregnant, made the painful decision together to terminate and then had to deal with the consequences of their actions? We think so. Instead, DAYS went for the camp, not the drama - and in the process, threw the baby out with the bath water.
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lysie
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Ugh Bonnie Lockhart. Ugh.

And we're not supposed to use BOPE for Bo and Hope? Guess we missed that memo, lol!
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sungrey


I agree, Lysie. I absolutely love Judi Evans in everything she did from AW to GL to Adrienne. Bonnie Lockhart got on my last F'ing nerve. Then again, I wasn't fond of the SSK story AT ALL. Nuff said. :)
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Mason
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BEST USE OF HISTORY


ROGER'S DEATH ADDRESSED, GUIDING LIGHT


Michael Zaslow's long-ignored, but ever-present legacy as Roger was finally addressed, six years after the actor's untimely death. This was not a storyline that simply needed to be done, but one that had to be done right. GL started by hiring proven actor Doug Hutchison to play the bearer of bad news and Roger's long-lost son. Next, they added a well-researched story, from small touches like gardenias and chess games (a few of Roger's trademarks) to flashbacks of some of his most iconic and infamous moments. Finally, the key players closest to Roger - Holly and Blake - were revived to help memorialize a man too complex to be defined as an ex, a father or a villain. Fans who didn't remember him saw dimension in a riveting new story; those who did were finally able to mourn Roger - and Zaslow. Consider this history lesson aced.
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Mason
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WORST USE OF HISTORY


MARYANNE MYSTERY, GUIDING LIGHT


Granted, when we said that we wanted GL's vets to be showcased, we should have been more specific. Billy, Josh, Buzz, Ed and Alan are staples of Springfield, each with a long, complicated past that could have spun out interesting story. Instead, the show told viewers: Forget everything you've watched. Wipe years of story from your mind. From now on, think of Springfield as a magical place where the past, unless newly created, has no bearing on the present.

In short, the plot was this: These five men accidentally killed a girl 27 years ago and kept it a secret. A Southern aristocrat living in a secret cave sought revenge, but she was actually the murderer. Given these men's disparate histories and backgrounds, the created scenario never could have happened in '77. End of story - which, thankfully, is now rarely mentioned. Hey, maybe the past is sometimes better left buried.
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Mason
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BEST VILLAIN


PHILLIP, GUIDING LIGHT


Always torn between his roguish Marler and sinister Spaulding sides, Phillip didn't start the year as a villain, but by the end, he had made his choice - malice stole his heart. And before he or anyone else knew it, there was no turning back: he kidnapped his kids; bulldozed Harley's house; covered up his daughter's hit-and-run and later orchestrated one of his own.

Phillip may have turned to the dark side, but Grant Aleksander kept him sympathetic by never altering his portrayal of a character he'd nurtured off and on for 22 years. Phillip saw the world as changed, not him; he justified his machinations with feelings that his friends and family had failed him. In the end, he was quintessentially, frustratingly, misunderstood.

Now one enemy has sent Phillip to an early grave - ending the madness, sure, but also ensuring that his disturbing descent will continue to haunt Springfield. And that's a sign of a great villain: Their legacy lasts longer than the character itself.
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Mason
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WORST VILLAIN


J.R., ALL MY CHILDREN


As the son of Machiavellian Adam and world-class nurturer Dixie, J.R.'s pedigree brings a built-in potential for a fascinating study in conflicted morality. That is what we expected AMC to deliver when the character was aged to a young 20-something and given a well-intentioned but misguided bride who deceived him something awful.

Unfortunately, when J.R. began to uncover Babe's lies, the only colors that he showed were lifted from Adam's palette. His overnight, one-note ruthlessness was jarring, in part, because we'd seen this kid grow up and he had always been a sweet boy, if a bit troubled. What was missing were the markings of Dixie's influence, the shades of gray that make for a truly compelling villain - and although they're now beginning to peek out behind J.R.'s dark cloud, the character and the story would have been better served if they'd been in evidence all along.
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Mason
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BEST QUADRANGLE


LIZ/T.C./EVE/JULIAN, PASSIONS


Estranged sisters, mortal enemies, secrets, lies, obsessions, unrequited love. In other words, good times! Soaps' hottest quad features Julian and Eve, who we named Best Non-Couple last year, and Liz and T.C., Eve's envious sis and angry husband.

After Bitterella Liz schemed to ensure that T.C. discovered his wife's sordid past with his enemy, Julian, Raging Bull T.C. engaged in rebound sex with his sister-in-law, Liz. Eve, who still hoped to reconcile, walked in on them and immediately went for comfort sex with Jules.

"Evian's" love has matured and is genuine, but T.C. and Liz are a different story. She's using T.C. out of spite. And T.C., well, the hypocrite is bedding a woman who kept the truth from him and is irrationally fuming over something that happened well before he wed Eve.

In a town ironically named Harmony, love is a battlefield, and this is one war we fully support.
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Mason
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BEST ENSEMBLE


AS THE WORLD TURNS


Maybe it's because they're all stranded together in the far-off expanses of Brooklyn. Or maybe it's Executive Producer Christopher Goutman, who has assembled (and mostly kept) a stellar cast by fostering a supportive, yet demanding atmosphere that makes us pity the performer who comes to ATWT unprepared. It could just be the luck of chemistry. But for whatever reason, they have become an ensemble in every sense of the word: a collaborative, cohesive cast whose members elevate each other and create a real sense of community. Consider the aftermath of Rose's death or Jack's funeral, when even the background action had us riveted, or the effect that those we don't see often, like Kim and Bob, have by immediately making us feel at home. And while the writing may have been uneven this year, the performances never were. Most shows consider themselves a family; ATWT makes us believe that they are one.
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Mason
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BEST NEW CHARACTER


ZACH, ALL MY CHILDREN


He's sexy, he's brooding, he's filled with secrets - and he's played by Thorsten Kaye, which helps. He's Zach Slater and is one of the most dynamic additions to the AMC landscape in recent memory. The character's backstory is a bit silly - he's devil-incarnate Michael Cambias's doting brother, back from the dead - and yeah, he must have been really young when he sired Ethan, whose mom must have been really tall. And sure, Zach's introduction was lackluster, tied as it was to the crash-and-burn "Erica is a showgirl" yarn. But we quibble, really. The truth is that Kaye's magnetic presence makes him the perfect pitchman for what Head Writer Megan McTavish is selling: A few sizzling, re-created flashbacks with Eva La Rue (Maria) and voila! - a viable triangle with the Greys was born, and Wildwind became an intriguing destination once again. So, welcome to Pine Valley, Mr. Slater.
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Mason
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CHARACTER ASSASSINATIONS


JESSICA AND MARGO, AS THE WORLD TURNS


There are, without a doubt, some gullible ladies out there. But of all the women in daytime, we dare you to find two less-likely candidates than Jessica and Margo to fall for the lecherous charms of football star-turned-sportscaster Doc. Maybe we were meant to find irony in the fact that two of Oakdale's most level-headed, intelligent and discerning women could be so easily spellbound by this raunchy Rasputin, whose lame come-ons and cheesy sex "appeal" had these old friends swooning and squabbling like a couple of 16-year-olds. Yeah, and maybe if they hadn't already been devastated by similarly ill-fated (though more contextually sensible) dalliances in the name of lust (for Margo, it was murderous Alec; for Jess, rapist Marshall), we could have tried to understand it. This went way beyond smart women, foolish choices - it's the story that made fools of these characters.
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