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Van Hansis and Kit Williamson Talk The Final Season of ‘EastSiders’, Their Journey As Thom and Cal, & The Impact The Series Has Made

Photo: EastSiders TV

It captivated the LGBTQ audience, expanded from there, and was a passion project and labor of love for series creator, Kit Williamson (Cal) along with his husband and co-producer, John Halbach as they tirelessly brought the digital drama EastSiders to life.  Over 4 seasons (and 7 years in and of production) fans of the series were brought: riveting characters, real, witty, and intelligent writing, and beautiful performances that leave you either crying, laughing, or just plain in awe of their depth.

Williamson brought in As the World Turns favorite, Van Hansis (Ex-Luke, ATWT), from the beginning of the creation of EastSiders, to play his on-screen other half, Thom, and over four seasons we have seen Cal and Thom’s relationship grow apart, come together, have a very open sexual relationship, deal with addiction issues, and anxiety in the day and age we live in; while giving us a glimpse of a set of characters who all are struggling with something … or trying to love someone, or just trying to love themselves.

In four seasons, EastSiders went from a show on YouTube to now a popular series streaming on Netflix.  And as season four of the series was finally released back in December of last year, fans of the show were clamoring to know if Thom and Cal will have their happily ever after? Well, if you saw the emotional final episode, you kind of know the answer to that, or do we? But just when you thought EastSiders was a fait accompli, Williamson and company released a behind-the-scenes documentary of the season that is also a must-see! (Check it out below).  And this week, EastSiders scored nominations in the Queerties Awards for the Best in LGBTQ media and culture. Van Hansis scored a nod in the Digital Performance category along with EastSiders cast member, Stephen Guarino, and the series is nominated in the Digital Series category. You can vote for the Queerties now through February 21st here.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Van and Kit in a full circle moment for all of us.  We conducted the first interview these two talented gents ever did to publicize the series seven years ago, and we couldn’t let EastSiders go without one last look, one last goodbye, and to talk to the heart and soul of the story itself.  So here, we put a bow on it, and chat it up with Van and Kit in this very special EastSiders wrap-up.

Photo: EastSiders

So, 7 years ago, the three of us met at a coffee shop in West Hollywood, California and you had this little show called Eastsiders, and we do your first interview ever about the show.  Now, 7 years later it’s grown into what it has become.  What did you think of this whole journey from the beginning to the end?  Did you have any idea that EastSiders would take off like this, and did it exceed your hopes and dreams?

KIT:  Personally, I had no idea that the show could have this many lives.  I really just set out to make something cool and to put it on the internet.  At every stage of this, I wondered, “Is this it?” and it’s been wild to see how it’s grown.  As I’m thinking back on it, you are right! It was the very first interview that we did with the show … period.

VAN:  I was thinking the exact same thing.  It was!

Photo: EastSiders

When artists in any field create something, you never know how it’s going to be perceived by the public.  I think your perseverance and how you went about it was so smart that you garnered an audience worldwide.  So, what are your thoughts about how the series wrapped up with season four?  Because I had heard, Kit, that you extended the storylines.  Is that true that the season was longer than what you intended it to be?  

KIT:  So, we ended up having the penultimate episode be an hour long because I just kept writing new scenes for people and discovering things on set, and I think that kind of speaks to all of our desire to not say goodbye to the characters.  It’s a very long goodbye, you know?  Also, I can’t imagine getting to the second to last episode of a series that I was watching, and if I loved it, wanting the episodes to go by quicker.  So, it felt like something that I could tactically do at the end there.  Van, what about you?  I know in the behind-the-scenes documentary that we filmed, stuff like, not even knowing what a web series even was when we first started doing this, came up! (Laughs)

VAN:  Oh, yeah! (Laughs) When we started I was sent the script from an acting teacher.  I loved the script.  I knew I wanted to be a part of it no matter what. I had no idea what it would be.  To see what it’s become is amazing, and to be a part of what it’s become is amazing, and that is literally all mostly Kit.  He has done so much with this, and he’s put so much of himself into it.  I feel fortunate to see some of the behind the scenes stuff that sometimes you don’t get to see as an actor on a show.  We need more Kit Williamson’s in our lives, because it takes someone like that to make this happen and to make it go worldwide from literally YouTube.  So, as far as the ending …  I love where it ends off and where all of the characters sort of end up.

Photo: EastSiders

Kit, are you ready to do an EastSiders reboot?  Are we coming back to visit Thom and Cal 5 years later?

KIT:  I have said that I don’t know that I’m done with these characters yet.  Van and I have had conversations about that.  I think that the show is definitely finished is this format.  Trying to shoot and independently produce, 6 half-hour, ensemble events like this, and to do it right, and to keep growing and scaling it, is just not really sustainable, but it’s been a hell of a ride.  I’m glad that we went on it.  To speak to what Van was just talking about; I really think it’s just alchemy.  It’s a set of perfect circumstances coming together that we all met at the right times in our lives, and Van Hansis, in particular, is the spark that ignites the show.  I don’t think that the show would have had the success that it did if: we hadn’t had the chemistry that we had, and if Van’s fan base hadn’t gotten so excited about the show. To be able to kind of grow and create something that people are excited to see is really empowering.  Knowing that there is somebody out there who wants it, who is waiting for it, is gratifying.

Photo: EastSiders

Van, what did you think about Thom’s journey throughout season four?  The audience is like, “Please ask him already.  Pop the question,” and Thom is holding onto that ring!  Do you think he realized that he had what he wanted all along in Cal?  

VAN:  I think in the end he does, but I also think he doesn’t know where that journey is going to go.  Very much like … he knows that what he has is something golden and precious, but I think that he doesn’t know how to hold onto something like that.  Throughout the series, with Thom and Cal especially, they know that they love each other, but they don’t really know how to love each other in the best way.  I don’t know if that story is fully finished yet, but I think that they’re really very much on their way to figuring out what it means … and what it means especially to them.  I think especially as queer people, you don’t have a set of outliers that are given to you, especially, queer people our age.  I think the whole series has been not just about Thom and Cal, but every character in the show figuring out what is their relationship and to be able to create their own, and not give a care about what society thinks of them, which is really kind of fun.

KIT:  One of the most recurring themes of the show in terms of motif is cartography: drawing the map of the world together as a couple.  We had that Daniel Zaitchik song at the end of season 2, Map of the World, that also reprises this season.  There’s a lot of discussion of directions and destinations that I think is something I really wanted to get at because I think as queer people, we often don’t have the benefit of being able to just go down the road laid out for us by our parents.  We have to chart our own course.

Photo” EastSiders

I was watching all the comments on social media, and do you realize how many people said (including myself) that they were in tears and needed hankies at the ending of EastSiders? They just were a ball of mess at the conclusion of the show; which speaks to the investment we all had with the characters.  Did you see how people were so emotional and how they were reaching back to you? 

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KIT:  It’s been so cool.  I’ve gotten hundreds and hundreds of messages.

VAN:  Yes!  I also want to go back to Kit.  That’s his writing.  There are so many amazing shows that go out with a whimper.  I have followed so many shows that I absolutely love, and the final episode comes about, and I’m like, “Wait.  That’s it?  That’s what we get?”  Glen Weldon on Pop Culture Happy Hour, which is a podcast I follow, he talked about how well it stuck the landing.  Everybody gets a sense of an ending.  Most of them are happy, or all of them are happy actually, and for these characters, you’ve stuck around with them since we were on YouTube, and the audience deserves to see their favorite character have some sort of hope.

KIT:  Yeah!  I like to say happy with an asterisk.  An Eastsiders happy ending is a little different from a traditional happy ending.   They all have things that they still need to work through, but I didn’t want to leave any character in a sense of uncertainty.  I wanted to make sure that all of the loose ends of the story we’ve been telling the last 7 years were tied up.  I do think that there is definitely more story there, but I do think that’s life.  Everybody’s story continues past what you are allowed to see.

Was your final scene together that you taped the proposal in the club, or was this shot out of order?

KIT:  Van’s last scene was actually the scene with Richard (Bryan Batt) in episode 5, when they’re reflecting on everything.

VAN:  That’s a good last scene to film.  I had to come back last January to film just the material with him and with Traci Lords. So, no, our last scene together was not the proposal, it was the scene at the restaurant together towards the end,

KIT:  Yeah, the restaurant itself.  We did that out of order.  We had to shoot the bathroom scene where our characters have our big come to Jesus moment.

Those scenes were great.  Traci Lords was wonderful, by the way.

VAN:  Oh, she’s so good.  I love her.

KiT:  The scene that really gets me the most this season was Cal and his mother in the bed, and the discussion they had between them.

Photo: Eastsiders

When you watched back the ending with the proposal, what did you think?

VAN:  I thought it was great.  I posted something on Instagram like, “I get to be in a romcom!”

KIT:  It’s your Drew Barrymore moment!

VAN:  It was!  That’s what I wrote!  It’s my Drew Barrymore moment.  I’ve never gotten to do something that joyful.  Kit, I have a question for you.  Was some of that confetti in the final scene CGI or was all of that there?

KIT:  It was all there!

VAN:  Really!?  I don’t remember.  I was just so deep into your eyes that I don’t remember all of that confetti falling on my face.  It looks amazing.

KIT:  It was at the end of the night.   We only got one shot at that scene.  That was one take, and it ended up perfect.

Photo: EastSiders

 

In season four, you really expanded Jeremy’s role.  Matthew McKelligon was wonderful in the story you provided him.

KIT:  Yeah!  I really have tried with all of the characters to subvert expectations.  With Willam Belli (Douglas) and Stephen Guarino’s (Quincy) characters, their introduced as kind of the commedia clowns and then revealed to be the lovers, and with Matt’s character, he’s introduced as the “other woman”.  He’s literally called “Jezebel” all throughout the first season and then starting in season 2.  I think a lot of people were probably surprised that we are still following this character.  Jeremy doesn’t just disappear from the story when he stops sleeping with Cal and Thom.  I think to be able to follow his trajectory as he’s going on a radically different path than I think he even expected was really fun for me … and for Matt.

Photo: EaatSiders

Kit, a moment I recall on your social media posts, was when you said you’d just watched the sex scenes you were in and you were like, “I hope my mother doesn’t see this.”  Were you really embarrassed?

KIT:  Yeah, I did a reaction video when I watched it.   I will be honest.  You disassociate when you’re editing something because you’re looking at it as a frame-to-frame perspective, and then I had a little distance from it and watched it on Netflix for the first time, and that was the first time it really sunk in that I was like, “Oh, that’s a sex montage starring me.”

Van, when you were seeing the story of EastSiders progress through the years, and how Thom and Cal were sleeping around and with multiple partners, did you ever have a moment of, “What’s happening here?” Or, were you like, “Oh … cool!?”

VAN:  That started in the 2nd season, but I wasn’t like scandalized or anything by it.  What I love about the show, and what I love about the 4th season especially is that there are basically 4 narratives of gay male relationships, like queer all encompassing, but specifically looking at gay men.  Each one is different, and I think if you are in this community, I think you’ve seen these types of relationships, and you fall into one, or you don’t, or you fall between them.  So, I wasn’t like, “Oh, my God, you’re having a sex montage in the 2nd season,” no.  I’m not like some Victorian lady who is fainting on a chaise when someone is shirtless.  The thing that’s funny to me is that this isn’t shown more.

Photo: JPI

Van, you know from portraying Luke Snyder on As the World Turns, on a daytime soap, that as a gay character they often tap dance around so much in the writing!

VAN:  Yeah, I do.  I lived that, and that’s what honestly pisses me off.  That this program is afraid to show something.  It’s because they’ve probably done tests of what people are comfortable with, so it’s like, “Okay, we live in this society where people are uncomfortable with X and X and X and X,” and really, why?  People just need to live their lives.

Kit, do you have a favorite scene that you’ve written in this entire 7 years of the creative lifespan of EastSiders?

KIT:  I would say season 3 episode 5, the “What do you see when you look down?” conversation between me and Van as Cal and Thom.  To set the scene a little bit: it’s the culmination of days of talking on the road trip when you run out of frivolous things to say to each other and the real stuff comes out.  My character is asleep, and he wakes up to find that Thom is kind of drinking by himself in the camper, and they have this conversation to really get to the heart of what both of them are most afraid of, not just in their relationships, but in their lives. You sort of get to realize that this fear has been shaping their decisions from the very first season, that they have been leading with fear, and that is something that maybe they can work through as a couple, that they can maybe address together.  I think that moment for me is the moment that I knew that Thom and Cal were meant to be together.

Photo: EastSiders

That was the scene where you both were in tears inside the camper?

VAN:  Yep.  That scene is on my reel.  That is one of my favorite scenes that Kit has written also.  I would say for me, my favorite full-on episode is probably the first episode of season 3.  The bottle episode in Palm Springs.

KIT:  I love that episode, too.

VAN:  I think that what you do so beautifully is that it is just so funny and uplifting, but you do get those undercurrents of the reality in the relationship with Quincy and Douglas. I think that is where we see them go from sort of the clowns into the lovers, and I love the way that you put that.  We see them get a little bit more grounded.  So, that’s my favorite episode, but I love that scene in season 3, but I love so much from the series!  In season four, I love the scene with Jeremy’s foster daughter.  It’s not like a huge deep scene or anything, but the stuff that you brought out of that little girl … she is just incredible.

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KIT:  Scout was just so brilliant.  If she wants one, that kid has a career ahead of her.  I have every confidence that her family is supporting her in whatever she wants to do because they’re just incredible.

Kit, in EastSiders, you wore so many hats within it.  Would you ultimately want your next projects to just be acting in front of the camera, and not worrying about producing and writing it?  Did you like doing it all?  It’s a lot to take on.

KIT:  Yeah, they’re different itches to scratch.  I would like to have less responsibilities as a producer in terms of the day-to-day responsibilities and nuts and bolts of things.  I would love to never print a set of sides or stock ‘crafty’ ever again.  I would love to have those sorts of things taken off of my plate, but ultimately, my goal is to be a showrunner, and that means that I want the buck to stop with me.  I want to be the person who is ultimately responsible for not just the creative vision, but the execution of that vision from concepts to finished product.  But, I want to do all of it.  I find it really empowering to wear fewer hats.  I think a great career model that’s emerged for me in recent years is Phoebe Waller-Bridge.  I love everything that she does.  I love that she is creating shows that she’s not acting in, she’s acting in shows that she’s writing, she’s punching up the new Bond movie, and she is acting in projects that she has nothing to do with as a writer.

How do you feel the door had been opened for you because of the series?

KIT:  Oh man, I’m getting a lot of opportunities, and I’m really, really grateful for it.

In the LGBTQ community, what do the guys say to you, and how EastSiders has impacted them? Do they ever say, “Thom and Cal showed me this?” or “I’m so glad this was portrayed?” 

VAN:  Yeah.  I got something on Instagram about a week or so ago from a guy who was really freaking out about being in an open relationship, and he was like, “Thank God for this show.”

KIT:  Definitely anytime I’ve been outside of New York or LA and in a gay bar or a gay space, somebody has come up to me, and I definitely love it because the whole point of this is to get people to engage with your work.  That’s the reward; is knowing that people are watching.  I actually have a “gratitude folder” on my computer where I save some messages that people have sent to me.  It’s something I started recently, and I wish I’d been doing it since the beginning, because I always try to write back to everybody that writes to me about the show, and if I missed some, I’m so sorry.  It was an accident.  I can read you a few.  One says, “I live in a very conservative family, in a developing country, El Salvador.  Thanks to EastSiders, I understood that discovering my sexuality wasn’t something to be ashamed of and that all expressions of love are equally worth it.  You guys basically saved my life since I thought about suicide many times.”  In other messages, many people told me that the show gave them the confidence to come out to their friends or family, or that it made them feel less alone in countries where being gay is illegal.  I have a message from someone in Saudi Arabia, someone from Iran, Nigeria, Mississippi, where I’m from.  I get a lot of messages from Mississippi, because I’m so outspoken about how coming from the south shaped me.  It’s just really overwhelmingly satisfying.  As a kid there weren’t any openly gay people around me, so the first gay people I ever met were characters on TV, and it made me feel, like maybe, I could have a life worth putting on a screen someday.

Photo: Eastsiders

Let’s go back in time. Van, what was your first impression of Kit when you met him?

VAN:  I feel like I met him through his writing first, because I had never met him when I got the script.  I remember we met at a coffee shop in Los Feliz in Los Angeles.  Kit was very professional, and I remember there was a question if I was going to play Thom or was I going to play Jeremy? I think I was sort of gravitating towards Jeremy at that point, but you were like, “No, you’re a Thom,” so I was like, “Okay.”  (Laughs) I remember leaving. feeling that it was very much like a business meeting, but that went away really quickly when we just got to know each other.  You came across as a lot more serious than I thought whoever wrote the script would be.

KIT:  Oh.  Cool.  I love that.

Kit, what did you think of Van when you first met him? 

KIT:  Well, I was super nervous, and I definitely wanted to convey that this was something that I took really seriously.

VAN: (Laughs)

KIT:  So, I’m glad he got that.

Photo: JPI

I get that you wanted to come across very professional.

KIT:  Yeah, because it was my first time directing so I wanted to come ready, and the first thing I thought when I met Van was, “That’s Thom.”  Literally a sentence comes out of his mouth, and I’m like, “Oh, yeah.  Absolutely.  This is absolutely correct.  Thank God.  We have our lead.”

VAN:  I love the role of Jeremy, but I’m so glad I played Thom.

KIT:  Honestly, a lot of people were almost a lot of different people in this thing.   At one point, John Halbach, was going to be Thom.  John, at one point, was going to be Jeremy.  We didn’t have a casting director.  I was in grad school.  I had no clue what I was doing, and I keep on coming back to the idea of alchemy.  We accidentally made gold because we did not know what we were doing.

How did you know about Van?

KIT:  Through a mutual acting teacher in Los Angeles, and of course, I was familiar with As the World Turns and all of that, but I didn’t know him, and it never would have occurred to me that I could even reach out to somebody at his career level.  So, it was very, very fortuitous that we were connected.

Photo: Instagram

Kit, you have a gazillion followers on Instagram.  Do you ever have a moment with yourself like, “God, I have to do another post today to keep this going?”  

KIT:  It’s a hustle, and it’s a balance that John and I are both constantly doing our best to navigate, because we started it to bring attention to the show, and now, sometimes people will recognize us from Instagram and not from the series, and that’s not what we are going for. (Laughs)

You’re Instagram stars!

KIT:  It’s a balance that we are trying to navigate.  You know, how many shirtless selfies is too many shirtless selfies?  At what percentage of shirtless-ness will you no longer be taken seriously?  But as Van pointed out, I’m a serious MF with a master’s degree and multiple Emmy nominations. (Laughs)  So, I take myself way too seriously, but I know that you have to play the internet like a video game.  You have to do certain things and get a certain response, and attention begets attention, and a lot of people have told me that they found the show by following me on Instagram.  So, it’s mission accomplished I suppose, but it’s something that we have to be really careful about especially as I’m moving into phase two of my career.

Did you guys submit yourselves for contention in the upcoming Daytime Emmys?

KIT:  Yes.  Absolutely.

Photo: EastSiders

You both gave two of the most memorable performances of the year in Eastsiders and within the digital drama space.  So, we’ll see how it plays out for you when the nominations are revealed.

KIT:  Thank you.  It’s really interesting because historically it seems like the Daytime Emmys have gone with more traditional soap narratives, and ours is definitely the weird kid on the block, but I’m really hopeful that this season we will have a good showing because I really believe in Van’s performance.  I believe in all of the actors.  I believe that they’re all operating at their series best … to put it that way.  I think everybody is just sitting in their power and owning their characters in a way that was really, really cool for me as a writer to see.

It was amazing.  Congratulations.  I guess this is our wrap-up interview for Eastsiders … for now.

KIT:  Who knows… maybe this isn’t the end.  We’ll see.

So, will you miss seeing the journey of Thom and Cal on EastSiders?  If you watched the four seasons. did you have a favorite moment within it?  Share your thoughts on our conversation with Van and Kit via the comment section below.  Then check out the documentary of the “making of” EastSiders.

Days Of Our Lives

Michael Fairman TV Names The Best and Worst In Soaps 2019

As 2019 comes to a close, we take a look back with our annual list of the Best and Worst in Soaps!  

As it does every year, Michael Fairman TV  take this opportunity to pay tribute to the tremendous work of the talented men and women in front of the camera and behind the scenes, whose tireless efforts in the grind of producing and acting in this genre’s format is a feat in of itself.

Now, in addition to naming the best moments and performances of the year, there were several not-so-stellar moments featuring characters, storylines, and more, that get the dubious honor of some of our “Worst’s”.

So with that said; we give you our year-end review.  As you will read, we tried to dissect the calendar year on your favorite daytime dramas through our various categories.  While we know many of you have your own picks and choices, and may disagree, or agree with ours, we encourage you to let us know your thoughts as well.  And most of all, respect everyone’s opinions, as you wish them to respect yours.

Finally, we want to wish our wonderful community here at Michael Fairman TV and soap fans everywhere, a healthy, prosperous, and exciting New Year!   It is all of you with your passion and devotion to the soap genre itself, which make this such a special and unique medium that we all share, squabble, and delight over week after week, month after month, episode after episode.

So here we go … the Best and Worst in Soaps … and with that… 2019 out!

Photo: JPI

BEST SOAP – Classic and Traditional

The Bold and the Beautiful – The 8,000 episode of this CBS Daytime drama kicked-off an eight month journey that had fans anguished and throwing things at their TV or computer screens, but in the Bell tradition of storytelling it was all actually worth the wait.  After Hope was told that her baby was stillborn by Dr, Buckingham (Guest star, Wayne Brady) while giving birth alone on Catalina Island in the middle of the storm (yup), he sells the baby to Taylor (who is in the dark on his misdeeds to get out of a debt) who handles the transaction thus setting the stage for Steffy to unwittingly raise Hope’s baby.  When all was revealed, it was an epic soap moment not only for its emotion, but for the production value B&B brings to its remotes and major payoffs.  Add in a shockingly darker and twisted re-emergence of the character of Thomas Forrester, some noteworthy newcomers in Denise Richard and Katrina Bowden, and then putting back to front burner status, Ridge and Brooke, as their marriage crumbled thanks to Thomas, and B&B proved utilizing some classic soap storytelling, no matter how viewers protest at times, is still the ticket for them while focusing on families, couples, and the workplace.

BEST SOAP – Risk-taker and Entertaining

Days of our Lives – This was the year that 54-year-old-soap did something no other soap opera has ever done on daytime.  Not only did it continue to roll out plot-driven, quirky, clever and outlandish stories and moments, but it reset the show, by jumping all the stories one-year ahead in a flash-forward.  Thus, viewers now have more questions than answers triggering them to make sure to tune-in every day or you will miss something.  In addition, DAYS saw the DOOL app really take shape this year. and in addition to all the backstage and behind the scenes content, DAYS launched three new digital drama series, and one, Chad & Abby in Paris timed perfectly so that Chad & Abby’s return on the air shows matched the timing of the end of the digital series. And…. if you want have fun and look for some of those saucy soap tropes, you can find them in Salem.

Photo: JPI

SOAPMAKER OF THE YEAR

Ron Carlivati – Days of our Lives

Have to give it to the head writer of DAYS; for after pitching his idea for the time jump to both OLTL and GH, and even DAYS once before, the series had the courage to go for it, and Carlivati did not disappoint, weaving stories for some time to come that have not even scratched the surface yet on-screen.  While we know the time-jump has received mixed reviews from fans; we are only two months in since it started.  So … hold your horses!

Photo: JPI

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS

Maura West- Ava Jerome – General Hospital

This makes it two years in a row for West to take this category.  And this year, her character of Ava Jerome really went through the ringer, and in the end came back to the other side of it regaining her strength. Think of how Ava fell in love for a serial killer, without even knowing it? Then, learns of the startling revelation that she has been sleeping with her daughter’s killer!  Then, she sees her dead daughter, then, she has an apparent mental breakdown, then she is being duped by a returning Nikolas, then she is being trolled online following her cover story in Crimson, and we could go on and on.  Whatever the story required, West took it on and delivered with a classic movie star style non-compare in daytime,

BEST SINGLE PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A STORYLINE

Camila Banus – Gabi’s grief-stricken as Stefan dies – Days of our Lives

It’s amazing that you can hate Gabi Hernandez for all of her revenge-plots and then sob right along with her when she is gutted.  In the capable hands of Camila Banus this is made possible. When Gabi is sitting vigil near Stefan’s bedside, (after he is shot and brain dead) and then later at home wakes up alone missing the man she loves, who is ripped away from her, like everything else in her life, it set the stage for Gabi’s next heinous plot, and Banus delivered in all of these scenes.

Photo: JPI

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR

(Tie)

Maurice Benard – Sonny Corinthos – General Hospital

Jon Lindstrom – Ryan Chamberlin/ Kevin Collins – General Hospital

Michael Easton – Hamilton Finn – General Hospital

We are tying this one up three ways, because each of these gents from General Hospital had story throughout the year, (at times, more prominent than others) but each made an indelible impression for some time to come.  Let’s start with Maurice Benard, who coming off his Lead Actor Daytime Emmy win, continued to deliver heartbreaking scenes when acting opposite his on-screen dad, Max Gail in the Alzheimer’s storyline.  Who can forget the scene in which Mike is going to live at “Turning Woods” and move out of the Corinthos home, and Sonny has to say goodbye to his dad as he puts a photo of himself and Mike from last year’s Nurses’ Ball in Mike’s suitcase? And, speaking of the Nurses’ Ball, how about Sonny’s talk with Josslyn in her time of need; where he mentions his grief over Stone as she is reeling from Oscar’s death? These moments illustrated just how good Benard continues to be in touching and grounded scenes.  It’s nice to see Benard in these types of story points; instead of always Sonny mobster-mode.  As for Jon Lindstrom, as much fun as it was to watch all of Ryan Chamberlain’s twisted antics, you couldn’t help feel that Lindstrom was having the time of his life playing the role.  Think of: the Ava and Ryan showdown scenes, when he loses a hand, his snarky vernacular, and the fact that he was playing two roles with the addition of his twin Kevin.  Then, there was the aftermath of Ryan’s crimes, and his continued work opposite Genie Francis. Great performances from this soap opera veteran.  Michael Easton has made Hamilton Finn this quirky, loveable doctor despite himself, and as only he can do.  We can think of three instances where this was best illustrated: When Finn proposed to Anna at the Nurses Ball, when Finn cries his eyes out reading the letter that Hayden left behind that he is now left with raising their daughter solo, and has to face the difficult task of telling the little girl that her mother is gone, and then of course, the just aired “A Christmas Carol” episode which as Scrooge or Finn, Easton was pure joy to watch.

Photo: JPI

BEST SINGLE PEFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A STORYLINE.

Scott Clifton – Liam is reunited with baby Beth – The Bold and the Beautiful

There was not a dry eye in the house, when Scott Clifton delivered the most poignant and memorable moment of 2019.  It begins when Liam gets a call from the OBGYN in a Vegas hospital saying there is no record of Flo being there and giving birth, and the doctor was out of the country at the time of said birth.  It is then that the pieces start to fit for Liam after he recalls a moment with his brother says that Flo acted like she had never given birth.  It is then Liam realizes that “Phoebe” is his believed-to-be-dead daughter, Hope!  Liam runs into the baby’s room knowing that this is the little girl he believed had died! The baby says, “Dada!”  Liam says, “Yes, I’m you dada” and Scott Clifton showed us why come Emmy time he may be the actor to beat, which could make it his fourth piece of Emmy gold.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LONG-RUNNING VETERAN

Kin Shriner – Scott Baldwin – General Hospital

We couldn’t love Kin Shriner and Scott Baldwin anymore than did in 2019!  How touching was his work in GH’s 56th anniversary episode which centered around Gail’s final wish. We will always remember the end of the episode when Scott walks to the Memorial wall at General Hospital and there is Gail’s plaque.  But that was not all, Kin delivered the goods as a loving father, fighting for the return of his son, Franco (while he was Drew) and even before that story, being there for Franco and wanting to be a good father to him through thick and thin.

Photo: JPI

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LONG-RUNNING VETERAN COUPLE

Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes – Doug and Julie Williams – Days of our Lives

When DAYS wrote a story that had Julie having a heart attack, which would put her in critical condition, it would serve as the backdrop to see Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award recipients, Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes given material to act up a storm with … and boy did they ever.  Bill Hayes delivered one of his best performances of his storied career as Doug is frightened of losing Julie, but at the same time, he also must give her the will to fight.  For the Hayes’, this story hits close to home, when you have been married in real-life for as long as they have, having to portray a story like this is tough, given their undying love for one another.

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY A SUPPORTING ACTOR

Max Gail – Mike Corbin – General Hospital 

GH did not waver in their commitment to tell Mike’s battle with Alzheimer’s and in doing so showed his decline in 2019.  Now Mike does not remember his loved ones, “married” Yvonne at Turning Woods, loses his temper, has tantrums and is confused and frightened, and all of this is brought to us through the brilliant performances of Max Gail.

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY A SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Kassie DePaiva – Eve Donovan – Days of our Lives

Eve schemed and did her damn best to hold on to Jack Deveraux, but that damn Jennifer Horton always seems to come out the victor, much to the chagrin of Eve.  But through it all, soap vet, DePaiva plays “bad girl with deep emotional pain” so well, that when she is on the screen she delivers time and time again, no matter what the circumstance.

Photo: ABC

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE DUO IN A STORYLINE

Maura West and Genie Francis – Ava and Laura – General Hospital

When Laura had to tell Ava at the bridge that she has been sleeping with Ryan and not Kevin, it set the stage for these two powerhouse leading ladies to come together in the most unique and heartbreaking way.  Ava crumbled at the realization, and Laura was there to pick up the pieces and help her through it, even knowing how both of them were completely duped in the process.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A MALE DUO IN A STORYLINE

(Tie)

Wally Kurth and Chandler Massey – Justin and Will – Days of our Lives

Wally Kurth gave the monologue of the year when Justin visits Will in prison.  There, Justin talks about losing Adrienne and how he hates what has happened, but that he will always think of Will as his “son” and he tells Will to not give up on life.  Kurth was brilliant and we bet he will receive an Emmy nod for his work, and Chandler Massey is always stellar and always good, so this was the perfect set of scenes.

Roger Howarth and William Lipton – Franco and Cameron – General Hospital

“Tell your mom, I love her and I will be back” those were the most memorable and heartbreaking words at the outset of the mind-mapping story (that showed promise at the beginning) with this gut-wrenching scene played to perfection by Howarth and Lipton.  Franco saves Cameron from being mind-mapped by Dr. Cabot and Shiloh, and switches places with him as Cameron watches in horror.  Great performances and Howarth is always good no matter what is asked of him in story.

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GH's James Patrick Stuart Talks on Valentin's Downfall and Potential Rise to Power

BEST PODCAST EPISODE

Soap Nation Live’s Tribute to Kristoff St. John with Guest co-host, Daniel Goddard

Yes, we are giving this episode to our own broadcast, because being a part of it and listening to it back months later, it was the most riveting, raw and honest podcast, we have ever heard where co-stars speak about a man they loved and missed amidst a terrible tragedy.  Daniel Goddard was the perfect co-host and guests ranged from: Bryton James, Eileen Davidson, Joshua Morrow, Victoria Rowell, Christel Khalil, Mishael Morgan and more.  There were tears shed and we will never forget this as much as we will never forget our dear friend, Kristoff.  You can listen to the replay here.

BEST SOAP OPERA PLATFORM

The DOOL App – Days of our Lives

In its first full-year, the DOOL app brought fans backstage content that any superfan of the series would enjoy from interviews, games, auditions, behind the scenes. the making of, tributes and more, but also added the app added three new digital dramas to it– Last Blast Reunion, Chad & Abby in Paris Chapter One and Chapter Two.   Soaps need to evolve and this is the next evolution for watching, viewing, and being connected to your favorite stars, and for content you won’t see anywhere else.

BEST ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE

Neil Winters Memorial Service – The Young and the Restless

Y&R brought all of its viewers to tears with this send-off for Neil Winters; which in turn honors the late Kristoff  St. John.  The eulogies delivered with such emotion, sadness and heart by Eric Braeden, Bryton James, Christel Khalil, Daniel Goddard, Peter Bergman, and Shemar Moore were heartbreaking.  As we watched Genoa City mourn, we mourned, and the cast mourned through this cathartic and heartbreaking experience.

Photo: JPI

BEST VILLAIN, FEMALE

Camila Banus – Gabi Hernandez – Days of our Lives

OOOH she is so bad.  But, we can’t think of anyone who did it better in 2019!  First, she has this horrific revenge plot for Abigail, and then she has a horrific revenge plot for Julie and Lani.  Through it all Camila brought the soapy villainy of Gabi to these scenes, making her one character you do not want to cross!

BEST VILLAIN, MALE

Matthew Atkinson – Thomas Forrester – The Bold and the Beautiful

Thomas returned to Los Angeles, as a sneering, constantly shirtless, manipulative sicko and yet, we couldn’t turn away.  B&B needed an uber-villain pronto, and turning Thomas into one fit the bill. For those who say they don’t like Matthew Atkinson’s performance, I say think again, maybe you hate this new Thomas so much, because Matthew is just that good and being bad.

Photo: JPI

BEST YOUNGER ACTOR

William Lipton – Cameron Webber – General Hospital

He can act, he can sing, and he was front and center stage in key scenes.  We already honored him for his work with Roger Howarth, but remember when he learned Oscar was dead and how Cam went into the hospital elevator and weeped alone, so one would know how devastated  he was at the loss of his friend? Or, when he sang at the Nurses’ Ball? Or Franco and Liz’s reception? And then there is his ongoing relationship with Josslyn.  Lipton is a young talent on the rise.

BEST YOUNGER ACTRESS

Olivia Rose Keegan – Claire Brady – Days of our Lives

That little fire starter! Olivia Rose Keegan received some juicy material and played it to the hilt when it was revealed that Claire had set the cabin fires, and was all whacked out!  Keegan made it all work brilliantly!

BEST SCENE-STEALER MALE

William Utay – Dr. Wilhelm Rolf – Days of our Lives

You’ve got to admit … whether its concocting serums to bring people back from the dead, implanting brain chips, being comical (we loved the scene where Rolf thinks Kristen wants him to get her pregnant) or vindictive (when he turned Hope into Princess Gina, he blames Hope for shooting his beloved Stefano), William Utay can make you pay attention to any scene he is in, with anyone …and speaking of fun German accents…

Photo: JPI

BEST SCENE-STEALER FEMALE

Kathleen Gati – Liesl Obrecht – General Hospital

….Our female scene-stealer also has a German accent on her show, GH.  That’s right! Kathleen Gati, who can go from comedy, belting out a tune, evil, or heartbreak, has been able to keep Liesl Obrecht on the canvas, because so many fans can’t wait to see what she will do next.  Kudos to Gati for always bringing her A-game.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A WEDDING BREAK-UP

Lamon Arcbey and Sal Stowers – Elani Wedding – Days of our Lives

The scenes that followed Lani walking out on her wedding to Eli (thanks to Gabi’s blackmail) were so poignant, because Archey and Stowers made it so.  The devastation on Eli’s face as Lani tells him she does not love him anymore was picture perfect. Best work of both Lamon and Sal’s career to date.

Photo: JPI

CHARACTER WHO DESERVED THE BIGGEST BITCH-SLAP

Gabi Hernandez – Days of our Lives 

Get in line! Let’s see who should slap this biotch – Lani, Eli, Julie, Doug, Abby, Chad, should I go on?

CHARACTER WHO DISHED OUT THE BEST BITCH-SLAPS

Brooke Logan Forrester – The Bold and the Beautiful

All of a sudden Brooke became “slap happy” and after being provoked by a nasty Thomas and a manipulative Shauna, she lay the smacketh down upon them.  We love seeing feisty Brooke back in action!

Photo: ABC

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A PRIMETIME SOAP MALE

Lincoln Younes – Danny – Grand Hotel

The emotional heart of ABC’s summer soap, Grand Hotel (which unfortunately was cancelled after one season) was former Home and Away star, Lincoln Younes.  His character of Danny comes to Miami and goes undercover by getting a job as a waiter at the hotel to discover who killed his sister Sky … and in the process falls for the owner’s daughter, while having a life and a woman back in Chicago.  Complicated, but Younes made us root for the guy.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A PRIMETIME SOAP FEMALE

(Tie)

Robin Givens – Stephanie – Ambitions

Elizabeth Gilles – Fallon –  Dynasty

In OWN’s Ambitions, Robin Givens gives us a sexy, back-stabbing, vixen reminiscent of the classic daytime divas,  while on Dynasty, Elizabeth Gilles steals the show as the ultra rich Fallon, but snobbery and all, she is still a heroine we root for.

Photo: CW

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMER IN A PRIMETIME SOAP

Rafael de La Fuente – Sammy Jo – Dynasty

He has the best one-liners on primetime soaps, and Rafael delivers the comedy, the drama, the romance, and has become the heart and soul of CW’s Dynasty as Sammy Jo.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A PRIMETIME SOAP

Essence Atkins – Amara – Ambitions

Stephanie needed a rival, and Amara fit the bill … and she has been played with a fierceness and ferocity by Essence Atkins.  And, oh by the way, Atkins is one helluva an actress.

BEST PRIMETIME SOAP

Dynasty

Soapy, over the top, goodness. Yes, it’s a train-wreck, but we kind of love it for that.

Photo; JPI

BEST PERFORMANCE MALE IN A DIGITAL DRAMA SERIES

Van Hansis and Kit Williamson – Thom and Cal – EastSiders Season Four

The fourth and final season of EastSiders gave fans of the series closure for the journey of Thom and Cal.  Van Hansis (Ex-Luke, As the World Turns), brought the depth, reality and made us love imperfect Thom, who through all the open relationship sexcapdes and having a commitment phobia, finally realized he had what he wanted all along, and so too, did his longtime partner, Cal played by series creator, Kit Williamson.  Their performances kept us in engaged for four seasons over the seven year journey of the LGBTQ-themed continuing drama

BEST PERFORMANCE FEMALE IN A DIGITAL DRAMA SERIES

Kate Mansi – Abigail – Chad & Abby the Series Chapters 1 and 2

Let’s just say Kate Mani is a lioness! She always gives a 100% every time, and in key scenes; after Abby kissed and flirted with Austin and realized how her marriage to Chad could down the drain, and later stood up to vixen, Juliette, who tried to wreck her marriage, it all showed just how good Mansi is at playing all the beats required, and then some, to make the scenes work.

Photo: JPI

BEST COUPLE

Ben and Ciara – Days of our Lives

#Cin was IN throughout 2019, and if you weren’t on the #Cin train you were missing out.  This was the year that Rob Scott Wilson and Victoria Konefal cemented themselves as the star-crossed lovers to root for, and that they are the hottest duo on daytime,

MOST TORTURED COUPLE

(Tie)

Hope and Liam – The Bold and the Beautiful 

We don’t know how Annika Noelle continued to play all of those emotionally tortured scenes throughout this storyline!  Hope and Liam were put through the ringer with machinations gone wild from Thomas, cover-ups, and more, all leading to the truth that the daughter they think died at birth was alive and being raised by Steffy!

Will and Sonny – Days of our Lives

Anguish x 10: Will having a brain tumor from the serum he received to get his memory back, getting rid of Leo Starke who tried to come between them once and for all, and now the worst of all, Will is in prison for killing Sonny’s mother and they are divorcing!  What next?

Photo: JPI

MOST BORING COUPLE

Kyle and Lola – The Young and the Restless

The fact that these two got married already, makes us already bored, and they are in essence, two good characters who found love, although some of Kyle’s sketchy past came into question, but did anybody care? Snooze.

BEST RECAST MALE

Brandon Barash – Stefan Cassadine – Days of our Lives

Tyler Christopher is one of the best actors ever to be in the soap opera genre, and earlier in 2019 before his departure at DAYS, he turned in riveting work.  Enter Brandon Barash, who had the task to make Stefan O DiMera all his own … and he did! Barash was key to developing the love story of #Stabi with Camila Banus, and thus they became a popular on-screen duo of 2019, before the characters demise.

Photo: JPI

BEST RECAST FEMALE

Cynthia Watros – Nina Clay – General HospitaL

Taking over from Michelle Stafford in the role of Nina Clay on General Hospital, would be no easy feat, but it just might work if you are the one and only, Cynthia Watros.  In short order, Cynthia has made her Nina quite different, complex, and original.

BEST NEWCOMER FEMALE

Denise Richards – Shauna Fulton – The Bold and the Beautiful

Richards, who has been a primetime and reality series star previously, has breathed life into Shauna, who easily could have just been this interloper in Brooke and Ridge’s relationship, but her complex past and her love for her daughter, Flo, make her portrayal intriguing and fun to watch; especially in scenes opposite Katherine Kelly Lang who needed a new nemesis.

BEST NEWCOMER MALE

Mark Grossman – Adam Newman – The Young and the Restless

Talk about hitting a home run and out of the park   Y&R found gold when they cast Grossman as the nuAdam following Justin Hartley.  Grossman has fit in nicely with the cast and has handled everything they have thrown at this misunderstood, bad guy, black sheep of the Newman clan. Kudos to Mark for an outstanding job well-dine.

Photo: JPI

BEST RETURN BY AN ACTOR IN A LIMITED RUN

Dominic Zamprogna – Dante Falconeri – General Hospital

When Dominic Zamprogna came back for ten-episode stint on GH, viewers learned just how troubled Dante had become since his time in Turkey.  Now feeling he was a danger to his fanily and himself, and haunted with horrible bouts of PTSD, and about torture, Dante left to get healed and deprogrammed by the WSB or so we hoped.  His final scenes with Lulu were heartbreaking.   Great work by Dom Z in a storyline that has some holes and loose ends in it to tie up, but what do you do when you are no longer under contract with the show?

BEST RETURN BY AN ACTRESS IN A LIMITED RUN

Jessica Tuck – Cassandra Pierce – General Hospital

Soap veteran, Tuck takes villainy to a whole new level, with her know-it-all, drug-lord, Cassandra Pierce, and her no-one-can-take-her-down attitude.  Trouble is … now the character is supposedly dead!

MOST DISAPPOINTING RETURN

Rebecca Budig – Hayden Barnes – General Hospital –

This was not disappointing because of the actress, but because all of a sudden Hayden made a hasty exit out of Port Charles, thus leaving her daughter, Violet with Finn and us wanting more of this potential family dynamic.  It was disappointing in that that we did not get to see this play out more with all parties involved.  Maybe …. Budig will be back?

Honorable Mention:

Karla Mosley –  Maya Avant – The Bold and the Beautiful

They said Karla and her character Maya were on her way back to the show, but I guess, blink and you missed her! What’s up with that?

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Y&R's Elizabeth Hendrickson Gives Birth To Baby Girl

MOST CONFUSING CHARACTER RETURN

Nikolas Cassadine (now played by Marcus Coloma)General Hospital

Is Nikolas now a vengeful, bad guy who just won’t tell his beloved mother or sister that he is alive? Confused.

Photo: ABC

BIGGEST WASTE OF A TALENTED CAST

The Young and the Restless

All the big returns have not amounted to a storyline that has riveted the viewers or given the talents of the likes of: Michelle Stafford, Melissa Claire Egan, Doug Davidson, Mishael Morgan, Greg Rikaart, and Elizabeth Hendrickson, something to really sink their teeth into.  Here’s hoping something juicy emerges for all of these outstanding performers in 2020.

BIGGEST WASTE OF TALENT

Tamara Braun – General Hospital

She is a Daytime-Emmy winning actress (Ava, DAYS) and at one time Carly Corinthos on GH, and has a soap resume any actress would kill for.   But somehow the character Braun was portraying, Dr. Kim Nero, became so unlikeable that fans wanted the character off the canvas and it didn’t matter how great Tamara was in performing her heart out with the material she was given.   Kim’s grief over losing her son, Oscar had the character acting out in very unsettling ways – drugging the original Drew, so she could rape him and get pregnant by him again, then having sex with her good friend’s Elizabeth’s husband, Franco while he was mind-mapped as Drew.  Things could not have sunk lower for the character; even though we tried to understand her grief,

MOST UPSETTING GOODBYE

Dante says goodbye to Lulu to get help from his PTSD/torture – General Hospital

“Don’t go Dante”, yelled all of us at the TV, while Lulu was devastated that her husband was leaving her a second time!

Photo: CBS

BEST STANDALONE EPISODE

Jack walks down memory lane – Peter Bergman 3oth anniversary episode – The Young and the Restles

Y&R gave Peter Bergman a 30th anniversary salute that featured some excellent retrospective clips; several which we do not see often, which made it all the better. Watching Bergman’s reactions to Jack’s life story, and Bergman in the retro clips, makes you realize why Peter is a giant in this genre in a fulfilling special hour of soap.

Runner-up:

 “A Christmas Carol” – General Hospital

The performances led by Michael Easton, the costumes, the sets and the supporting cast made this a fully realized episode from top to bottom just in time for the holidays.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A STANDALONE EPISODE

Jason Thompson – “Billy Battles His Demons” – The Young and the Restless

It was great to see stalwart Thompson, get a standalone episode all his own on Y&R. This time the gum-chewing alternate personality of Billy’s tried to fight for control of him. Billy went down this rabbit hole once Adam resurfaced and opened the old wound of Delia’s death.  In this special episode, Thompson shared scenes with Peter Bergman, Jess Walton and Michelle Stafford where the characters were dishing it out to Billy and bringing up all of his failings, in the end, he wanted to do better for Victoria, and the children.  Good one won out that time.  Great performance.

Photo: JPI

BEST WRITING

Days of our Lives

Soap twists, doppelgangers, serums, brain chips paternity pickles, cabin fires, might on paper sound like, “How can this be the best writing on a soap” But, under head writer, Ron Carlivati somehow all these things come together making for the most entertaining soap opera of the year, love it, like it, or hate it.

Photo: JPI

BEST EPISODE

Kristen is unmasked at John and Marlena’s Anniversary party episode – Days of our Lives

Yes, it was high camp, and yes, it was one of the most preposterous plots of the year. but it was still a riveting romp, especially when John ripped that “Nicole” mask right off of Kristen’s head.  Thank God! How Kristen got away with this charade for as long as she did, and duped Brady in the process, and wandered around Salem was so far-fetched, but this reveal was deliciously fun and everyone in the cast delivered!

BEST TEARJERKER

Oscar’s death and the aftermath – General Hospital

Yes, you can argue, that so much attention was given to a character who was not on the air that much.  However, the episodes in which Oscar finally passed on, and was escorted by Lila and Edward to heaven, and then the aftermath, which saw bravura performances by: Garren Stitt, Billy Miller, Wally Kurth, Eden McCoy, Tamara Braun, William Lipton, and more were pretty hankie inducing.

Courtesy/ABC

BEST STORYLINE

“Phoebe” is Beth – The Bold and the Beautiful

One thing that The Bold and the Beautiful does better than any other show in the genre is those big sweeping, majestic pay-offs, after months of fans tearing out their hair hoping that the truth will finally be revealed.  But when it does, it’s a watershed moment; which usually brings the audience to tears.  B&B did just that, bringing the climax of the story to its conclusion following Thomas and Liam duking it on out on a rooftop, which led to Liam’s headlock on Thomas (with a confused Hope standing there as the men try to kill each other).  In the process, Liam got Thomas to admit to Hope that he knew Beth was alive.  Since Thomas did not dispute it, Hope knew it was true! Then, next step, Hope is finally reunited with her daughter! Then, the story takes another turn on how to tell Steffy and get custody of her biological daughter that was sold to … Steffy!  8 months of torture, led to a satisfying conclusion. We only wish Dr. Buckingham would have got his comeuppance on screen instead of off-camera.

Photo: JPI

MOST SOCIALLY RELEVANT STORYLINE

Mike’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease – General Hospital

The fact that GH has continued to show the decline of Mike Corbin with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease should be commended.  Often times on soaps, the shows will start a storyline about a medical or socially impactful story, and do one arc of it and be done with it and drop it.  Not this time, the performances and the writing have been excellent in this story.

Photo: JPI

WORST STORYLINE

Haley’s immigration deportation storyline –Days of our Lives

With chants such as “Send her back” about a character none of us cared about, it just didn’t make for an engaging, riveting, socially-relevant topical storyline that DAYS had hoped it would be.

Runners-Ups:

Dawn of Day – General Hospital

Franco Becomes Drew – General Hospital

Katherine’s will contested– The Young and the Restless

BEST TWIST DAYTIME SOAP

Flo is the daughter of Storm Logan – The Bold and the Beautiful

Katie has basically no vital organs of her own anymore! And it all goes back to when Storm Logan (Will deVry) shot himself and his heart went to Katie in the process! Since then, she has has health crisis after health crisis.  Now as Katie needs a new kidney to live, it is revealed that Flo Fulton is actually a Logan and daughter of Storm and can be a donor.  It was an interesting, if not cliché soapy way, to add some needed oomph to the Logan family tree.

Photo: JPI

BEST TWIST PRIMETIME SOAP

Alexis’ new face is that of Fallon – Dynasty

After Nicolette Sheridan made a quick exit as Alexis Carrington, the show had to come up with a plan to keep the character alive. So, what does it do? It has Adam push Alexis face first into a fireplace.  Later, after plastic surgery she emergences with the same face as Fallon! The plot was so juicy! Problem is, the show in its current season recast Alexis with another actress so it looks like the doppelganger story for Elizabeth Gilles was dropped.

MOST PREPOSTEROUS PLOT TWIST 

The “Nicole” mask – Days of our Lives

Does a voice alternator, prosthetic mask, and taking tats off of you make you a dead-ringer for another woman! Don’t try this at home! Because on DAYS, Kristen, got away with it.  What we did not understand was how no one noticed that it was a mask when people were intimate with her … or two inches away from her … when they were speaking with her.  But in the end, Arianne Zuker and Stacy Haiduk were so fun to watch in this that it made it work through this suspension of belief drama

MOST PREPOSTEROUS CHARACTER TURN

Dr. Shah goes from good doctor to obsessed psycho with a mother problem – Days of our Lives

Out of the blue, Dr Shah becomes the key catalyst to jogging Jack’s memory.  We can be thankful for that, but turning this seemingly nice doctor who liked Jennifer into a psychopath out of the blue was a little jarring, but at least we got our JnJ back!

Photo: JPI

MOST UNDER-UTILIZED CHARACTER 

(Tie)

Eva LaRue as Celeste Rosales – Y&R

Vincent Irizzary as Dr. Jordan Armstrong – B&B

We were thrilled to hear that former All My Children stars, Eva Larue and Vincent Irizarry were returning to daytime, only, they were hardly seen, in the case of Irizarry, or used properly, in the case of LaRue, on either of the CBS Daytime shows they were recurring on.

BEST ‘SO GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN’ CASTING

Robin Strasser – Days of our Lives

In a bold move, DAYS recast the role of Vivian Alamain with OLTL icon, Robin Strasser.  When Louise Sorel was unavailable they turned to Strasser, who came in for a limited run and still delivered the goods as Vivian. And, it was nice to see La Strasser, back on our screens.

MOST POLARIZING CHARACTER

Peter August – Wes Ramsey – General Hospital

Two years running, fans seem to be at impasse with the character of Peter August. They either love him, or hate him.  Since Peter was revealed to be conspiring with Helena Cassadine, and involved in the original Drew-napping … and then trying to stop the mind-mapping where Franco would be restored to his former self, at times he is evil and a bad guy, and then all of a sudden he has a moral compass.  Will GH settle on a direction for the character?

MOST ANNOYING CHARACTER

Wyatt Fuller – The Bold and the Beautiful

While we absolutely love Darin Brooks, Wyatt’s flip-flops between his relationships with Flo and Sally make the character an indecisive guy who at any given moment will chose one women over the other pending the latest circumstances.  Now it seems Wyatt is becoming much like his brother, Liam in the love department. Oh-no! Make it stop!

Courtesy/ABC

MOST ANNOYING PLOT POINT 

Kim decides to rape Drew – General Hospital

When a grieving Kim cut the circuits at the Haunted Star and then followed Drew to the fuse box and pulled out a syringe and injected him with something, fans were shocked. Next thing you know, she becomes creepy and gets him into bed with the hopes of getting pregnant. To make matters worse, the man she supposedly loves, Julian, happens upon the scene, and says he understands that her grief is making her do these out-of-character things.  Fans were outraged, and from here, Kim’s fate was probably sealed. Months later she would be written off the canvas.

BIGGEST SHOCKER IN SOAPS

Phyllis Switch – The Young and the Restless

Gina Tognoni was let-go from The Young and the Restless in the pivotal role of Phyllis Summers, a part that she made her own over the last five years, in order for the series to bring back another powerhouse, Michelle Stafford to the role she made soap-famous.  It was surprise move since Stafford was over at GH killing it as Nina Clay. Y&R wanted to reset the show and bring back many fan favorites and in bringing Stafford back many fans were rejoicing; while others were upset that Tognoni was shown the front door.

Photo: JPI

BIGGEST SOCIAL MEDIA FIRESTORM

Jussie Smollett – “Hate Crime” – Empire

When Empire star Jussie Smollett was reportedly the victim of a homophobic and racist attack in the early morning in the streets of Chicago, everyone including cast members and politicians came to his defense.  Then, in a shocking turn from the Chicago PD, they alleged that Smollett arranged for the attack on himself to gain more notoriety.  The whole series of events led to Smollett being dropped by the series for the conclusion of its season.  Then, Smollett was exonerated of all charges, although the city of Chicago was suing him.  Now as we enter the New Year, it looks like Smollett may be back as Jamal Lyon before the series finale of Empire.  This case had many weighing-in on the controversy via social media with all its twist and turns throughout 2019.

BEST PROPS

Billy’s Chewing Gum –The Young and the Restless

Masks Are Us:  (Lucha Libre, Nicole) – Days of our Lives

So, when it comes to props for 2019, Billy’s chewing gum was a key to watching his alternate personality come out and play. No one chewed gum like Billy Abbott!  And as for masks, well DAYS used this as quite the prop from Xander’s Lucha Libre mask to that “Nicole” mask which caused much havoc for a good deal of 2019 in Salem

BEST “FALLING AND I CAN’T GET UP” OR SO THEY THINK!

Thomas Forrester – The Bold and the Beautiful

How many times can a guy fall and get back up unscathed?  Following over railings, cliffs, and even into a vat of Hydrofluoric acid, Thomas still came back with a vengeance. But doesn’t his back or head still hurt? What’s up with that?

Now below let us know if you agree with our picks, or have picks of your own for the Best and Worst in Soaps 2019 via the comment section below.  

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Eastsiders

Binge Watch ‘EastSiders’ Fourth and Final Season Over The Holidays … and Bring the Hankies!

Who doesn’t love a good love story?  For four season, the LGBTQ-themed digital drama series, EastSiders, has captivated viewers with the oh-so-imperfect and rocky relationship of Thom and Cal, played brilliantly by Van Hansis (Ex-Luke, As the World Turns) and EastSiders creator, Kit Williamson.

We remember when this project first came to fruition several years ago, and when we conducted the first interview Van and Kit ever did for the series just as the first season was about to launch.  My how far this series has come … and how proud we are to see it fully realized and concluded it such a satisfying way.

While many of you probably know by now how the series ends, (if you watched all six episodes of the final season currently streaming on Netflix since the beginning of December), it’s the final 9 minutes of episode six, that will have you reaching for the hankies and shedding tears, because the characters, written so beautifully by Williamson, each wind up in, or resolve, pivotal moments in their lives with their future happiness on the line.  What steps will they take? It comes down to whether or not one will take the risk on love know matter how it may be framed.

Photo: EastSiders

There are several standout performances again this season in the stellar cast including: Matthew McKelligon as Jeremy, who might also rip your heart out in key scenes, William Belli, who has been phenomenal as Douglas, and Stephen Guarino as Quincy, and let’s not forget Traci Lords as Cal’s mother.

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Mirroring how many lives these days are all about Instagram, likes, followers and influencers, the backdrop of the series finale leads all roads to Quincy and Douglas’ ‘gay wedding from hell’ which is the catalyst for realizations for many of their friends and invitees to the nuptials.

Photo: EastSiders

Willamson wrote a smart, and unflinching look at sex and love in the LGBTQ community and how, when in the end, sometimes the person who has been by your side the whole time, is your one and only true love, no matter how you may have tried to deny it to yourself.

If you have watched EastSiders fourth and final season, let us know what you thought of how it came to its conclusion, and what were your favorite performances within it, via the comment section below.

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Eastsiders

‘EastSiders’ Drops Trailer for Fourth and Final Season

While we all wait to find out just how Thom (Van Hansis) and Cal’s (Kit Williamson) tumultuous relationship and journey comes to its conclusion in the series finale, the EastSiders crew released their season four trailer!

As fans of the LGBTQ-focused series (written and created by Williamson) know, this will be the final season, and it looks to be a doozy! Several of RuPaul’s Drag Race stars are also in the mix.

In story, Thom and Cal look to be sleeping with other people, and having their moments of disconnect.  But will it end with them finally just being with each other? Their future is in question.

Those complex relationship woes are intertwined with the wedding planning of their friends; Douglas (William Belli) and Quincy’s (Stephen Guarino) nuptials. Things take a comedic turn when Douglas’ colorful bridal party reveals itself to include: Drag Race’s Manila Luzon (who also appeared on General Hospital) and Katya .  In addition, original Queer Eye culture expert Jai Rodriguez is along for the ride.

But there is more to the story: Jeremy (Matthew McKelligon) and Derrick (Leith M. Burke), who are trying to raise a foster child are also trying to figure out their relationship. while while Ian (John Halbach) and girlfriend Hillary (Ex-GH’s Brianna Brown) deal with the news of Hillary’s bombshell .. she’s pregnant! But, is Ian also seeing someone on the side?

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GH's William deVry Teases That Julian Will Hit The Sheets Twice: But With Whom?

Check out the final season trailer of EastSiders and get ready for its premiere December 1st on Netflix.

So, will you be watching how all these relationships play out on EastSiders season four? Comment below.

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Video du Jour

Knots Landing favorites: Joan Van Ark (Valene), Michele Lee (Karen) and Donna Mills (Abby)  chat with Michael Fairman in honor of Knots Landing’s 40th anniversary. Leave A Comment

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Power Performance

Kelly Thiebaud as Britt

General Hospital

Airdate:3-23-2020

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