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SOD Best & Worst -- 1989
Topic Started: Dec 7 2009, 10:58 AM (1,621 Views)
Matt
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BEST DEATH SCENE


JAMES STENBECK, AS THE WORLD TURNS
James Stenbeck (Anthony Herrera) has been dead and alive, on and off, for years. But now he's finally dead and buried, thanks to a wonderfully suspenseful climax delivered by Head Writer Douglas Marland. Stenbeck was back to convince his son Paul (Andy Kavovit) to leave Oakdale and come with him. In the course of his pursuit, James decided to torment his ex-mistress Emily Stewart (Melanie Smith), one last time and he snuck into her apartment. Emily was in the shower and James busied himself by reading some letters on teh dining-room table. They were love letters written to Emily by Paul and James went berserk when he read them. Emily came out of the shower and James leapt upon her, trying to strangle her for seducing his son. Paul came in, saw his father attacking Emily and shot him. A tightly directed episode featuring fine work by the principals, the death of James Stenbeck put to rest a long reign of terror by a master criminal.
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Matt
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WORST DEATH SCENE


HUGH GARDNER, GENERATIONS
He came, he coughed, he died. On GENERATIONS's first episode, wealthy Hugh Gardner watched his estranged daughter, Jessica, act on the soap TOMORROW'S ANOTHER DAY. Suddenly, he gasped, gurgled, then croaked. We gagged along with him. The actor, Jack Betts, has been on just about every soap known to mankind; could he not resist his fleeting, fatal coughing fit here? Was this GENERATIONS's idea of a guest appearance? If you blinked you would have missed the whole thing.
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RogerNewcomb
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Thanks, Matt. Always enjoy reading this type of thing. I actually have this issue in storage somewhere, and like my hundreds of VHS tapes, my magazines are so disorganized I'll probably never get around to figuring out what all I have.
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Matt
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BEST LOVE STORY


KATHERINE DELAFIELD & ROBERT SCORPIO, GENERAL HOSPITAL
Immediate and unmistakable, the chemistry between Tristan Rogers and Edie Lehmann transcends the pattern of the love story of their characters, Robert Scorpio and Katherine Delafield on GENERAL HOSPITAL. Like many love stories seen on daytime it features key familiar elements: initial dislike; arguments spice with a strong sexual undercurrent; cold feet when it came to commitment; declarations of love followed by complications. But the rapport between the two players makes this love story a cut above the rest, especially when we remember the roster of women improbably and unsuccessfully paired with Rogers since Emma Samms vacated her rose as Holly. Classical pianist and neophyte actress, Edie Lehmann conveys both enormous charm and sophistication while playing a character who is more than willing to laugh at herself. It was easy for the audience to understand why Scorpio was falling in love with her -- they were doing it, too.
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Matt
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MOST TORTURED LOVE STORY


TRISHA HARTMAN & TRUCKER MCKENZIE, LOVING
He took his name from his profession -- Trucker. Makes introductions easier. And then he hit Trisha with his truck. She was all right, maybe a little bit dazed, but she knew a tortured love when she saw one, and she fell for it, like a car spinning off a cliff. Trisha and Trucker have their problems. Some people just won't let them love each other. The biggest enemy of their love is Jeff Hartman. With rapacious Gwyneth Alden, he made it look like Trucker beat her up, so that Trisha would distrust her true love. That's how Jeff convinced her to go to Rome with him. Swooning over the fountains, giddy with the wine, Trisha allowed Jeff to woo and marry her. That's when Trucker caught up with her. Except for that first night -- the car accident -- Trisha and Trucker have had timing. Like all star-crossed lovers, they've been apart more than they've been together. While Trucker pines away in his mountain cabin, Trisha endures her loveless marriage. For now. Surely this couple will have an other opportunity to indulge their passion, but Jeff Hartman will dog them every step of the way.
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Matt
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BEST ENEMIES -- DAYTIME


JILL ABBOTT & NINA CHANCELLOR, THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS
Jill is her own worst enemy, but Nina comes in a close second. What makes their ongoing battles so intriguing is that scrappy, ambitious Nina is a younger version of Jill, who once married the man her mother loved because he was rich. Imagine Jill's dismay when Nina set her sights on Jill's son Phillip. Jill determined to get rid of the little tramp, but her malicious attempts kept backfiring. Jill was so nasty to Nina on baby Phillip's birthday, that Phillip proposed to Nina. Jill crowed when she thought she had prevented the wedding by ordering Chase to seduce Nina, but had to settle for spoiling the ceremony. Next Jill concentrated on keeping Nina from inheriting Phillip's money, and failed. Each defeat fuels Jill's desire to ruin Nina's life, but tenacious Nina never backs away from a good fight. Their battles are creative, vicious, well-motivated, splendidly acted and the highlight of many episodes last year.
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Matt
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BEST ENEMIES -- PRIME TIME


SABLE & ALEXIS COLBY, DYNASTY
Cousins and bitches, Sable and Alexis have hated each other for years. Sable came to the mile-high city to destroy her sweet cousin for having an affair with her ex-husband. The game gals engaged in sophisticated warfare. Sable bought Alexis's hotel, and usurped control of her oil tankers. Alexis retaliated by hiring a mercenary to blow up the tankers. Then she hit below the belt, telling Sable's daughter Monica that her father was not her father. But Sable was far move clever (and younger, and attractive) than Alexis and seemed to get the upper hand every time. She guilelessly fell for Alexis's ex, Dex, and became pregnant. Having missed that opportunity with him herself, Alexis was utterly undone. The two queen bees called a truce, but all of this backbiting made for an entertaining final season on DYNASTY.
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Matt
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BEST NEW CHARACTER


SALLY SPECTRA, THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL
First of all, let it be said that Sally Spectra is not under twenty-five. Let it also be said that Sally Spectra has basically saved B&B from the white-bread doldrums. She has brought the "bold" to THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL. It's not just that Sally is brassy, outrageous, grasping and hilarious -- she is one of the most persistent underdogs daytime television has ever seen. She's got everything working against her, yet she doesn't give up. Darlene Conley plays the role with such unflinching confidence and verve that the audience cannot help rooting for her to rock the house of Forrester once and for all.


MOST RUINED CHARACTER


KIRK ANDERSON, AS THE WORLD TURNS
He came on like a breath of fresh, salty air. Here was a guy who was ready to have a good time, shake things up a bit, and live life his way, regardless of whether everyone really, really liked him. Then he met Iva Snyder. They barked at each other and had a few honking laughs. Then Kirk settled down into a complacency that was totally out of character. The writers turned Kirk into an eternally supportive, hopelessly tractable and, it must be said, boring dude. Saddling him with an abandoned wife and kids wasn't the worst idea. The unbelievable portion was asking us to accept that a man who had done such a thing would suddenly turn around and try to be exactly what he never was before -- and all for Iva. Kirk used to be a mover and a shaker; now he's just a fretter and a waiter.
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Matt
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BEST AMNESIAC


FELICIA JONES, GENERAL HOSPITAL
Don't get the wrong idea -- we do not endores this exhausted plot device. But in 1989, GENERAL HOSPITAL introduced a refreshing angle in the case of Felicia Jones. She lsot her memory after being run over by a motorcycle. When she regained consciousness, she thought she was a woman named Phoebe Dawson, flake extraordinaire. Felicia appropriated Phoebe's eclectic collection of costumes and wigs and took to the high road with con artist Decker Moss. One night, Felicia looked like a biker dolly in black leather and studs. The next night, she resembled a refugee from Cyndi Lauper's closet. "Phoebe" gleefully cheated at cards, avoided paying hotel bills and even became a pickpocket. The story was a welcome change of pace for a charcater who is always so moral.

What made the sorjourn down Can't Remember Lane stand out is it was upbeat, fun -- and mercifully brief.
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Matt
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BEST IMPOSTORS


ALEX MASTERS, LOVING
ANGELA FORRESTER, THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL

Impostors are among the most enduring and resilient soap opera characters. Months and years of good story can come from an impostor plot and a talented actor playing the fake. This year, LOVING had tha talented Randolph Mantooth portraying Alex Masters who, in turn, pretended to be Clay Alden. In an story modeled on teh classic film The Manchurian Candidate, the two men were brainwashed in a POW camp. When Clay thought he was dying, he asked Alex to impersonate him. The ruse worked. The Aldens welcomed him home. In fact, the Clay that Alex created was an improved version of the old model they remembered. Naturally, the authentically nasty Clay returned, bearing a grudge against Alex. Before long, the two men were battling over the same woman, Ava.

On THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL, a discredited imposter decided to get even. First, we saw her as Angela Forrester, a microcephalic teen. Stephanie believed that Angela was her daughter. In fact, she was a runaway masquerading as Angela in hopes of inheriting some of the Forrester fortune. When the scheme failed, Angela exited in a fiery car crash. But, in an interesting plot twist, complete with the scariest makeup on soaps today, she's back on the scene, bald, burned and scarred, looking like Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger with a Ben Franklin haircut. Her motive is still revenge and she has a new fake indentity: Deveney Dickson. If she plays her cards right, she'll swipe some items from teh Forrester spring collection before zeroing in on Stephanie.
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Matt
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MOST CREATIVE STORY LINE


THE DAISY AWARDS, ONE LIFE TO LIVE
By their very nature, award shows are glitzy sitting targets. Slings and arrows have been flung at them for years, from the Oscars to the Grammys to the People's Choice awards. The Daytime Emmys took it on the chin when ONE LIFE TO LIVE launched its spoof of the annual exercise in self-aggrandizement, airing it opposite the Emmy telecast. The Daisy Awards, as OLTL called them, honored the stars of their own soap-within-a-soap, FRATERNITY ROW, and featured petty rivalry between nominees, soap-opera style clips of their work, and a musical number (starring Jessica Tuck and Sharon Schlarth as Megan Gordon and Spring Skye) that poked fun at the medium. They even had a presented named Brace who wore a neck-brace, an obvious takeoff on DAYS OF OUR LIVES's Patch. Presenters announced award winners and then admitted that they'd made a mistake. And it appeared that OLTL even spoofed out own Soap Opera Digest Awards by allowing FRATERNITY ROW to sweep the awards, much as DAYS has done for the past five years. All in all, a very funny episode and a wel-deserved satire.
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Matt
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BIGGEST LETDOWN


VALENTINE'S DAY SPECIAL, ANOTHER WORLD
ANOTHER WORLD tried to break out from the daytime mold with its heavily promoted, two-day "Valentine To Singles." Head Writer Donna Swajeski promised these episodes would celebrate "single-hood." Yeah, if you're a man. Ms. Swajeski and her writers implied that single men are a hot property who can bask in the attention of man-hungry women, and single women have no identity or purpose without a man. We were treated to scenes of women cringing with self-conciousness as they dined alone, while men took the same situation and turned it to their advantage. Men complained that women wanted to pin them down, while the women complained that the men didn't want to commit. So what else is new? The shows sent a very clear message to its female audience: without a man you're incomplete. Some celebration.
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juniorz1
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The Royal Stoner

Ouch to the slam on AW. I vaguely remember that VDay. Ironically, AW boasts my favorite Valentine's Day-themed soap episode of all-time: "The Case of the Stolen Heart," their black and white homage to the films of the 40s starring Cass Winthrop.
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Matt
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BEST MYSTERY


GEORGE RAWLINGS'S MURDER, THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS
Paul thought Cassandra was the woman of his dreams. She was beautiful, elegant, talented -- and, Paul discovered, married to his client and friend, George Rawlings. At first Cassandra seemed genuinely tormented by her predicament. She wanted to marry Paul, but still cared for her older, impotent (and rich) husband. When George found out about Paul's affair with his wife, he started plotting revenge. Having learned he was about to die of a terminal illness, George had nothing to lose. He staged arrguments with Paul, and planted incriminating invoices in Paul's files to give Paul a motive for murder. When George was found shot, all evidence pointed to Paul. The police believed Paul was guilty; the audience assumed George had taken his own life. But the case took an unexpected twist when the seemingly devoted Cassandra sprouted a mystery man, with whom she was planned to leave the country as soon as Paul was convicted. As the case slowly unwound, the grieving widow herself was implicated in George's murder. In classic mystery fashion, the story kept audiences guessing for months.
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Matt
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WORST ACTION SEQUENCES


ALL MY CHILDREN
Brooke is hit by a car. She falls down before the car is near her. Was she hit, or did she just faint? Skye is allegedly struck by lightning, but the camera does not pan to the sky. Skye just falls. Is she swooning, or was she hit? Nina crashes her car. She swerves to the right and the camera swerves to the left. Really convincing.

ALL MY CHILDREN has been justifiably praised over the years for its pioneering social stories. But when it comes to action sequences, they are amateurs. We know that soap operas don't have the luxury of sound stages or cameras equipped with cranes. But arranging any kind of action or special effect seems beyond AMC. There's no point writing scenes into a script that you can't stage.
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Matt
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BEST RE-CASTING


JUDITH CHAPMAN AS ANJELICA CURTIS, DAYS OF OUR LIVES
In a soap opera town chockablock with accommodating women, Anjelica Curtis is a hard-boiled, lofty bitch. She gets no greater kick than pouncing on poor Adrienne Kiriakis, wife of her former stud, Justin, and making life generally impossible for hte human race. The character got off to a great start when the divinely snotty Jane Elliot played it, but when she left the role to return to GENERAL HOSPITAL (see Best Comeback), DAYS miscast the part with Shelley Taylor Morgan. Soap veteran Judith Chapman came to the rescue with her own brand of blue-eyed bitchery. She plays the role with more sensuality than Elliot and less of Elliot's trademark mordant wit, but make no mistake about it, with a portfolio of brazen predators to her credit, Chapman knows how to unleash that dreaded venom. Anjelica has Justin's baby; barren Adrienne doesn't, and Anjelica constantly throws the miserable fact in the poor thing's face. She also successfully ruined their marriage. Elliot may be gone, but with Judith Chapman on hand, the bitch is definitely back.
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esp13
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I can't agree with that one. Judith Chapman may have brought the bitch back to Anjelica, but she also brought the whiny, over the top, smug, bug-eyed annoyingness as well. Jane Elliot's Anjelica was bitchy, but always with great wit. Her digs were often subtle and she was always coolly confident. I loved JE's Anjelica and hated JC's version.
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Matt
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BEST COMEBACK


JANE ELLIOT AS TRACY QUARTERMAINE, GENERAL HOSPITAL
Ten years ago, Tracy Quartermaine let her father crawl on the carpet and gasp for his heart pills instead of immediately rushing to his aid. Sure, Edward Q was only faking a heart attack, but he was testing her loyalty. She failed the exam.

This year, things haven't changed that much. Masquerading as a nun in habit and wimple, Tracy broke into the convent files to get evidence that her sister-in-law Monica (Leslie Charleson) gave birth to an illegitimate child when she was a medical student. Some people mellow with age; Tracy Quartermaine sharpened her jagged edges. She swept back into the Quartermaine mansion and took all of thirty seconds to insult those "near and dear" to her. Across America, viewers smiled. Jane Elliot had just proved that, once in a great while, you can go home again. With her acidic delivery, scythe-like haircut and reliable cynicism, Elliot has made a stunning and hysterical re-entry into a role that won her a well-deserved Emmy for Best Supporting Actress. To say she plays with punch is the understatement of the year. Elliot clobbers mere mortals and leaves the slow-witted quivering in her wake. Lucky enough to find the original actors still portraying the Quartermaines, Elliot plays her scenes with Charleson, Stuart Damon (Alan) and Anna Lee (Lila) as if they hadn't missed a day together, certifying this family's status as the funniest on daytime.
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Matt
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BEST LOVE TRIANGLE


ROBERT/EDEN/CRUZ, SANTA BARBARA
Cruz and Eden were one of those soap opera couples who union was thought sacred by the audience. Constantly fending off outside intrusions and impending danger, Cruz and Eden served as SANTA BARBARA's anchor. As long as they could get back together again, the daytime world could sleep at night. But now they face a more serious threat -- Eden's former lover Robert Barr -- and the audience can't decide with whom she should go. Even die-hard Cruz and Eden lovers are rooting for Eden's mysterious underdog. This creates numerous story possibilities in the basic peril-and-rescue pattern of Cruz and Eden's relationship and allows actors A Martinez and Marcy Walker to stretch their acting muscles and explore new facets of their familiar characters. Roscoe Born's Robert Barr is the surprise homewrecker of the year, a character who immediately intrigued and challenged the audience.
Edited by Matt, Dec 20 2009, 01:44 AM.
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Matt
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WORST LOVE TRIANGLE


ETHAN/LAURA/MICHAEL, SANTA BARBARA
This triangle was the product of what we call the Santa Barbara Syndrome. It goes like this. One half of a couple doesn't admit that in the past he/she had an affair with someone he/she is not currently married or engaged to. And boy, isn't the other half of the couple surprised when he/she finds out that his/her better half and this outsider are still attracted to each other? Indeed. Ethan didn't know that, prior to his marriage to Laura, she and Michael had been lovers. When Mr. and Mrs. Asher moved to Santa Barbara, Laura and Michael pretended not to know each other... at all. Sound familiar?

Other victims of the Syndrome include Celeste, who returned to town and pretended not to know Scott (who was engaged to Heather), even thought hey had been high school sweethearts. And don't forget Mason and Julia. Their relationship has been complicated by the return of Sasha, with whom Mason had a brief fling in Europe. Of course, Sasha and Mason pretended not to know one another. Really dumb.

When you put so many of your romances through this kind of a wringer, you leave them to shapelessly drip-dry. Despite their Vesuvian passions, Michael and Laura had no chemistry.
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