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On-Air On-Soaps Michael Fairman's Best and Worst List of 2011!

Courtesy/ABC

Courtesy/ABC

In an emotional, bizarre, and heartbreaking year in the world of soaps, there was still tremendous work done by the talented performers in the genre in front of the camera, as well as those behind-the-scenes who illustrated brilliant creativity and passion for their field, and for loyal soap fans everywhere.

In addition, there were several not so stellar moments, characters, or storylines that get the dubious honor of some of the “Worsts” of 2011.  So with that said, Michael Fairman presents to you his fourth annual Best and Worst of the Year.  In several categories, it was almost too tight a race to call, and so we have showed you the runner-ups in those particular cases, and in some cases, we had to call it a “tie”.

From Best Soap to Worst, to Best Overall Performance by an Actor and Actress to Most Irritating Character, to Best Storyline to Worst, to Best Newcomer to Worst Return, to Best Single Performance in a Storyline by an Actor and Actress to Most Tortured Character, to Most Inexcusable Way to Handle the Soap Audience, we dissect it all, in our annual look back at the year in soaps.

Now, while we know many of you have your own picks and choices, we encourage you to let us know your thoughts as well.  And most of all, we want to wish all our soapers a healthy, prosperous, and fantastic New Year!

So without further ado, after the jump, we reveal the list!

ON-AIR ON-SOAPS  MICHAEL FAIRMAN’S BEST AND WORSTS OF 2011!

BEST SOAP

One Life to Live

BEST WEB SOAP

Courtesy/ABC

Venice

WORST SOAP

General Hospital

MOST DISAPPOINTING SOAP

The Young and the Restless

MOST DISAPPOINTING EPISODE

All My Children finale

BEST STORYLINE

Tale of the Two Todds – One Life to Live

WORST STORYLINE

Who killed Skye? – The Young and the Restless

MOST BOTCHED STORYLINE

The Balkan and Brenda- General Hospital

LOOPIEST STORYLINE

Courtesy/MFSOAPS

Trippy-Berry Island with Brooke and Thomas – B&B

MOST OFFENSIVE STORY POINT

Lisa yielding an HIV positive blood-filled syringe as a weapon – GH

BEST RIPPED-FROM-THE HEADLINES SOCIAL ISSUE STORY

Teen suicide via bullying – One Life to Live

BEST WRITING

Ron Carlivati – One Life to Live

WORST WRITING

David Kreizman and Donna Swajeski – All My Children  (For the beginning of 2011)

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Garin Wolf – General Hospital (For the latter part of 2011)

BEST SINGLE PERFORMANCE MALE

Courtesy/ABC

Jonathan Jackson – Lucky addresses Luke during Luke’s intervention – GH

BEST SINGLE PERFORMANCE FEMALE

Erika Slezak – Viki battles her alters in Erika’s special 40th Anniversary episode– OLTL

BEST SINGLE PERFORMANCE BY A YOUNGER PERFORMER

Austin Williams – Shane’s suicide attempt – One Life to Live

BEST EPISODE OF THE YEAR

The Fraternity Row Fantasy Episode – One Life to Live

BEST COMEDIC EPISODE OF THE YEAR

The Vicker Man Premiere – One Life to Live

Runner up:  The Blanca Show – One Life to Live

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR

(TIE) Trevor St. John – One Life to Live,  Jonathan Jackson – General Hospital

Runner up:  Steve Burton – General Hospital

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS

Courtesy/ABC

Florencia Lozano – One Life to Live

Runner-ups: Erika Slezak – One Life to Live, Crystal Chappell – Days of our Lives

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY A SUPPORTING ACTOR

Billy Miller – The Young and the Restless

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY A SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Ilene Kristen – One Life to Live

BEST YOUNGER ACTOR

Chandler Massey – Days of our Lives

BEST YOUNGER ACTRESS

Molly Burnett – Days of our Lives

MOST BELOVED CHARACTER AND PERFORMER WE WILL MISS THE MOST

Michael E. Knight – All My Children

BEST RETURN

Courtesy/ABC

David Canary – All My Children

Runner up: Andrea Evans as Tina with David Vickers, the dog in tow – One Life to Live

WORST RETURN

Debbi Morgan – The Young and the Restless

BEST RECAST

Barbara Rhodes (Irene Manning) – One Life to Live

WORST RECAST

Tom Degnan (Joey) – One Life to Live

BEST RECURRING PERFORMER

Tuc Watkins – One Life to Live

BEST RUINATION OF A CHARACTER

Chloe Lane who becomes a hooker – Days of our Lives

MOST TORTURED CHARACTER

Jason Morgan – General Hospital

MOST OVERUSED PLOT DEVICE BY ONE SHOW AT ONE TIME

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The soap epidemic called The Doppelganger – DAYS, AMC, Y&R and OLTL all head them! Enough!

FAVORITE DOPPELGANGER

Jane – All My Children

WORST DOPPELGANGER

Caleb – The Young and the Restless

WORST WAY TO WRITE OFF A MAJOR  SOAP CHARACTER

Marty Saybrooke wanders on to a plane, because she is told her presumed dead husband Patrick is on board.  And, we see no on-screen reunion of Susan Haskell and Thorsten Kaye!

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MOST UPSETTING MOMENT OF THE YEAR INVOLVING A PERFORMER

Trevor St. John ends up being killed-off of OLTL after a murky and confusing negotiation, and the return of Roger Howarth. Thus depriving fans of the two Manning brothers for any length of time.

MOST INEXCUSABLE WAY TO HANDLE THE SOAPS AND ITS AUDIENCE

Prospect Park allowing OLTL to film their final episode knowing that they couldn’t come up with a way to put it online, and making the actors tout that the show is continuing, and leaving fans in the dark with no proper press.

WORST DECISION THAT IMPACTS SOAP FANS

Courtesy/NBC

ABC cancels One Life to Live and All My Children in the same breath!

BEST TRIANGLE

Viki/Charlie/Echo – One Life to Live

WORST QUANDRANGLE

Steffy/Liam/Hope/Thomas – The Bold and the Beautiful

BEST COUPLE

Billy and Victoria – The Young and the Restless

MOST CRINGEWORTHY COUPLE (TWO YEARS RUNNING)

Adam and Sharon – The Young and the Restless

SEXIEST NON-COUPLE

Brooke and Thomas – The Bold and the Beautiful

WORST COUPLE

Joey and Kelly – One Life to Live

WORST QUANDRANGLE

Courtesy/ABC

Steffy/Hope/Liam/Thomas – The Bold and the Beautiful

MOST IRRITATING CHARACTER

(TIE) Siobhan McKenna – General Hospital, Damian Spinelli as Jackal P.I – General Hospital

WORST NEW FAMILY INTEGRATED INTO A SOAP

The Patels – One Life to Live

MOST REVITALIZED CHARACTER

Nikki Newman – The Young and the Restless

MOST CREEPY PERFORMANCE

(TIE) Brianna Brown – General Hospital, Bruce Weitz – General Hospital

BEST WEDDING

Sonny and Brenda’s wedding – General Hospital

BEST WEDDING FALL-OUT

John and Natalie’s confrontation after the double wedding of Natalie/Jessica busts up! – OLTL

BEST NEWCOMER MALE

Courtesy/ABC

Josh Kelly – One Life to Live

WORST NEWCOMER MALE

Barrett Helms – One Life to Live

BEST NEWCOMER FEMALE

Kate Mansi – Days of our Lives

WORST NEWCOMER FEMALE

Diana DeGarmo – The Young and the Restless

BEST NEW CHARACTER

(TIE)  Sonny Kiriakis, Days of our Lives,  Cutter Wentworth, One Life to Live

THE CHARACTER WHO KEEPS COMING BACK AND NO ONE CARES

(TIE) “Franco” and Lisa Niles – General Hospital

BEST GUEST STAR PERFORMANCE

Josh Duhamel – All My Children

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Emily
Emily

I was really disappointed with the Lisa Niles story because with Brianna Brown, there was actually potential. Brianna and Brandon Barash had good chemistry and a better storyline/writing job would have utilized Brianna’s talent. Instead, they wrote the character into a corner that left fans gagging. GH has so much talent on board… I sure hope the writing in 2012 does the talent justice.

Chris
Chris

I disagree with you naming The Patels as the worst family of 2011! I loved them, and thought they all did a great job!

I know you probably named best new male newcomer and best new character to Josh Kelly/Cutter Wentworth because this year was a very slow year for “newbies”, and they weren’t a lot of them this year on the soaps, but I was indifferent to the Cutter character at the beginning since he was involved in that lame storyline con job scam with Aubrey scamming Joey, and the quadriangle between Cutter/Aubrey/Joey/Kelly. The I really hated the character when he eloped with Jessica when she was her DID alter Tess, and scamed her and her parents for a piece of the Buchanan fortune and The Buchanan Mansion, but then i grew to like him when he briefly reconciled with Aubrey/Christine, and we learned about his tragic backstory with Kim, and then learned he was Alex Olanov’s son and fell in love with Stacy/Gigi before his character ended up in a Kentucky prison for The Spotted Pony murder!

Michael, did you based your choice on best male newcomer and new character of 2011 on that person’s performance of the character throughout the year, or to a certain point in the storyline when you changed your tune about that character? What did you also think about Terri Conn’s performance as Aubrey/Christine?

Paul8148
Paul8148

Agree with most,…..I have Jerry Ver Dorn in a three tie with Trevor and Jackson for lead actor…….

Also for worst quad, I did not like the setup but i think the Steff/liam/Hope/thomas storyline has turn the corner in the last few weeks and is really good right now….

heidi
heidi

Great List Michael!!! Agree with most… Happy New Year and thank you for your great site, with awesome content and your wonderful interviews… oh and your fab podcasts!!!
We can only hope someone picks up OLTL… anything can be possible!

Chris
Chris

Okay—- Just have to say this was obviously one man’s opinion. OLTL is not THAT great. Sorry to say…. You can tell what his favorite soap is. Too bad the ratings don’t prove it…… Happy New Year, all!

Gerardo Ramirez
Gerardo Ramirez

Thank you,Michael.I agree with the vast majority of your picks.i dread that next year the worst coupling will be Victor & Sharon.Have a great New Year.

CclovesVilly
CclovesVilly

Woohoo! Great picks! I love my Villy. Miller and Heinle just SHINE together. There’s no one else like them

Mandy
Mandy

I agree with most of your picks especially Billy and Victoria as Best Couple and the return of Nikki Newman.

Happy New Year!!!

Courtney
Courtney

Great list Michael!

So happy to see Villy as the best couple! They definitely are! Love them And yay for BM getting best supporting actor! Well-deserved 🙂

Amanda
Amanda

Great picks but my favorite? Naming Billy and Victoria as Best Couple. They are a force to be reckoned with and their chemistry is amazing! <3

kay killgore
kay killgore

I would have put cringeworthing couple as anyone the character of Nick Newman is with, he is most definitely the male whore of daytime. I guess I am in the minority but I think Sharon& Adam have great chemistry. Don’t forget the Baldwin brothers did a lot of bad things before they were accepted into Genoa City society. I could list them for everyone but it would take too much time. And I am sorry I just don’t get Steve Burton’s acting or lack of he looks stiff. Just my opinion otherwise I pretty much agree Michael.

Rachel
Rachel

I’m in agreement with 99% of your list but totally disagree about your worst female newcomer. As an actress she’s really good. It’s not Diana’s fault that the writing is one dimensional. I see her doing a great job with not so stellar writing and don’t fault her at all.

barbara t
barbara t

good picks ,and I love that you agree with me about franco and lisa niles ,Im glad she is gone ,hopefuly franco is gone with all his finger painting and please ,I forgot her name right now but the one with the irish accent what a waste of her and lucky.please make her gone to.We only have 9 more days of one life to live ,the best soap,best writing ,best actors,It will be missed.

CSG
CSG

I agree with much of this list, but the Patels were integrated well into the OLTL canvas. Vimel was Clint’s lackey from 2010 and the addition of Rama was seamless. Tying her into new-ish characters also helped. I am neutral on Neela.

I am confused with how Debbi Morgan is a worst return to Y&R when she was never there before. Is her character’s return the worst?

Heather
Heather

General Hospital was not the worst soap. Dante & Lulu’s wedding was the best, definitely better than Sunny & Brenda’s.

Joss
Joss

Sorry, but I like the Patels! They’re great! When’s the last time a family of couple was integrated into a soap??

jp
jp

I agree with most. Definitely hands down OLTL was the best soap of 2011. I hope the emmys will recognize them with this distinction this year. It will be an injustice if it goes to any other soap.

Doe
Doe

I liked your picks this year. I’m sad cause I can’t say I will be waiting for next years list, anymore. I feel badly, Michael, because this must present a great deal of frustation for you and other journalists. But, I think because you are the best interviewer bar none, your creativity will find new avenues to write about. We still have Y&R and DAYS and GH and B&B and The online soaps. So hang in there everyone. Hope you will find new things to bring to us fans,Michael. You are the best.

linda
linda

Best Actor: Darnell Williams – All My Children
Best Actress: Debbi Morgan – All My Children

Best Couple – Jesse and Angie – Legends on All My Children

Best Single Performance by an actor: Jesse (Daarnell Williams) delivers his stillborn daughter.

Best Single Performance by A Couple – Angie (Debbi Morgan) and Jesse (Darnell Williams) at the gravesite of their stillborn daughter.

No racial balance in this article.

adriana8900
adriana8900

reunite sonny and brenda in 2012 and renew robin and patrick wedding vows

Jo Ann Zinaman
Jo Ann Zinaman

I Did NOT Think Debbi Morgan was the Worst Return of A Character on The Young And The Restless. I thought she did A Good Job. I thought the Worst Return was Gillian on All My Children. Gillian Barely said 5 Words. She might as well not have Returned. I know that Prospect Park wanted the Cliff Hanger, but I thought that Babe should have been Alive and Babe and JR and AJ could have Moved to San Diego. That way, Jacob Young could go to The Bold And The Beautiful and Alexa Havins could still do that Torchwood TV Cable Show. Jody

Erika
Erika

Jason Morgan the most tortured character?!?! Oh please, we have been tortured with Jason’s insertion into storylines that he has no business being in for years. How about tortured viewers! Completely over the character and “his pain”.

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‘The Masked Singer’ Runner-up, Ex- AMC’s Jesse McCartney, Recalls Working With David Canary

If you caught the finale of The Masked Singer this week, you know that “The Turtle” was revealed to be none other than former All My Children star and recording artist, Jesse McCartney.

While McCartney came in as the runner-up, losing out to Kandi Burress, he spoke to Digital Journal about his latest single, “Friends’ and recalled his time working with the one and only David Canary (Ex-Stuart/Adam) on the now defunct ABC daytime drama series.

As a young JR Chandler from 1998-2001, that put him sharing on-screen time with Canary, who played his father.  Jesse remembers all of the lines of dialogue thrown at him at a young age was not fun.

When speaking of his time with Canary, McCartney shared: “He was one of the sweetest guys on the planet and he was such a kind soul. He played my father, Adam Chandler, and not only was he the star of the show but he played his own twin brother, Stuart. He had double the lines of any character on the show, and in my three years on the show, he never messed up a line even once. There was a time when David helped me when I was having a moment and I struggled with remembering my lines, so as a result, the soap world for me is very sentimental.”

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So, do you remember when Jesse and David were in Pine Valley together? Share your memories via the comment section below.

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Missing the best, the baddest, and the sexiest of Pine Valley? Well, they are all coming together in Entertainment Weekly’s #UnitedAtHome series beginning next week on May 26th.

The five-part series goes through Friday, May 29th, with new live episodes premiering at 10 a.m. ET and two on Friday. You can watch it here  on EW.com and PeopleTV.com.

The All My Children zoom series will feature the likes of :Kelly Ripa, Billy Miller, Mark Consuelos, Josh Duhamel, Susan Lucci and many, many more.

The weeklong event is also for a cause, with the AMC cast choosing to support Feeding America, which is putting food on the tables of those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic across the country.

Cast members that will be appearing throughout next week are: Jennifer Bassey, Tamara Braun, Justin Bruening, Rebecca Budig, Mark Consuelos, Josh Duhamel, Bobbie Eakes, Melissa Claire Egan, Ricky Paull Goldin, Alexa Havins, Michael E. Knight, Jill Larson, Eva LaRue, Susan Lucci, Cameron Mathison, Cady McClain, Billy Miller, Alicia Minshew, Sydney Penny, Kelly Ripa, Leven Rambin, Eden Riegel, Chrishell Stause, Walt Willey, Darnell Williams, and Jacob Young.

So, what do you think of this AMC upcoming series with the former stars of the beloved soap? Comment below.

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ABC and PEOPLE’s ‘The Story of Soaps’: What Was Your Review Of It?

Tuesday’s night airing of ABC and PEOPLE’s two-hour special The Story of Soaps featured many notable daytime and primetime soap stars, past and present, clips from backstage to classic memorable moments, and some participants who were providing commentary on the erosion of the daytime soaps in our culture.  Still others, maintained and realized that everything today is serialized from the news we watch, to some of Netflix’s most binge-watchable series, and of course, the birth of reality-programming.

Throughout the airing of the special, The Story of Soaps was trending on Twitter and social media either at the #2, #3 or #4 spots for the entire duration of the broadcast presentation, and the cancelled and beloved All My Children was also at one point trending.

However, known soap writers, journalists, ardent fans, and actors of the genre, were all on Twitter last night live-tweeting their thoughts as the special went down, and there was definitely mixed reactions and reviews, when all was said and done.

What the special did not shy away from, but tackled, was Luke’s rape of Laura at the campus disco on General Hospital. and how that moment now, as Genie Francis (Laura), so eloquently put, would be considered as ‘date rape’ in our culture.  The series even included a pivotal moment where Laura addresses Luke (Tony Geary) about the rape years later, after helping Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) through her rape ordeal.

John Stamos (Ex-Blackie Parrish, GH) got a bevy of “Right On’s!” for his comment that the soaps do not get the credit that they deserve and clearly came through as one of the soaps greatest supporters, as did former The Doctors and Knots Landing star, Alec Baldwin.

However, throughout the two-hours, Andy Cohen’s commentary was thread throughout; mostly citing soap’s demise and the creation of reality-programming and his “Real Housewives” franchise, that the special touted as the new soap operas.  It continued on the narrative that people preferred to see real-life drama then made-up drama on a fictional soap.  And while, that has been a trend in American culture for decades, the commentary came off as often out of place in a celebration of the soaps; and bringing in a lot of negativity to the special that soap fans were tired of hearing.

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In a lighting rod moment, Cohen stated: “I know Susan Lucci doesn’t agree with me, but I think that the Housewives have replaced soap operas because truth is stranger than fiction. Soaps became kind of unnecessary because you could do it with real people, and they’re writing the drama themselves.”

The special did also address the cancellations of All My Children and One Life to Live, (which many were not sure they were going to do – given this special was airing on ABC), where One Life’s leading lady and six-time Daytime Emmy winner, Erika Slezak (Ex-Viki) said what we all wanted to sa ywhen the ax fell on the towns of Llanview and Pine Valley, “People were horrified”.

Clearly, OJ Simpson and his murder trial and reality-programming were also given a chunk of time to show where the once mighty landscape of daytime soaps which once had 13 shows on the air, dwindled town to 4.  But, it would have been nice to see more time spent on how in this day and age, the people in this current landscape of the genre work so hard to get episodes done at an unbelievable pace, and how in that climate the performers still deliver gut-wrenching performances.

Photo: ABC

Former Loving, OLTL and Breaking Bad star, Bryan Cranston, did point out how the once powerful soaps, just don’t have the dollars they used to, and need to, to help with production costs and their taping schedule.

Viewers were reminded of soaps’ socially relevant storylines including hankie-inducing moments from: Robin (Kimberly McCullough) and Stone’s (Michael Sutton) HIV/AIDS storyline on General Hospital, to Billy Douglas being a gay teen coming out on One Life to Live, played by a young Ryan Phillippe.

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There also did not seem time spent on the contributions of William J. Bell; one of the most prominent writers of the soap genre of all-time.

For many commenting on social media last night, there seemed to be a feeling of some glaring omissions of participants who could speak on this genre, who have been in the trenches as soap producers, soap writers, pundits, actors, and more, who were not included in the special.

So, what was your review of The Story of Soaps? How would you grade it? Do you feel it accurately reflected the history of the genre?  Were you happily surprised,  or when it came to the end where you over it, or somewhere in between? Sound off in the comment section below.  Below are some tweets from notables who have worked as an actor, a writer, and a journalist in the soaps.  

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