Credit: CBS screenshot, Howard Wise/JPI, NBC screenshot, ABC screenshot
Best Move/Worst Move
On one hand, we’re relieved that General Hospital put Lulu in a coma rather than a grave; when she inevitably returns, she won’t have to join the ranks of Port Charles’ walking dead. On the other hand, we’re annoyed that the show undercut the dramatic impact of its own November-sweeps blowup by stopping short of making a casualty of the legacy character.
Honestly, we could have done without the pyrotechnics. The emotions on display between Days of Our Lives’ Ben and Ciara — so beautifully played by Robert Scott Wilson and Victoria Konefal — were, if you’ll pardon the pun, da bomb.
Worst Love Triangle
For years, we waited for The Bold and the Beautiful to give Carter a storyline, and when finally the soap did, it was a romance with Zoe… in which we couldn’t invest — like, at all — because she had the same reaction to bachelor No. 2 Zende’s smoldering gaze as we did. And honey, that charisma machine turned us into puddles.
Even though it took a wrecking ball to arguably The Young and the Restless’ cutest couple (Elevon), we still can’t be sorry that Elena let her insecurity lead her into Nate’s arms. For a while there, we had been afraid that the show would never again work itself, much less us, into a lather.
Owing to the timing of Kristian Alfonso’s decision to quit Days of Our Lives and the role that she’d played for nearly 40 years, this was how we said goodbye to Hope: with her crying at a photo of Ciara while doing crunches.
Best One-Scene Wonder
We didn’t buy for a second that General Hospital had actually killed legacy character Holly Sutton off screen. What we didn’t expect was that single truth-revealing scene which clued us in to the fact that she’s out there, somewhere, being held by… someone. Talk about a cliffhanger!
Given as a scene partner the stiffest “actor” in Hollywood — a mannequin — The Bold and the Beautiful hunk Matthew Atkinson rose to the occasion, making Thomas’ confusion and anguish as painfully real as his storyline was surreal.
Most Ruined Character
Don’t give us that “Who, me?” look! We don’t know what to make of The Young and the Restless’ Adam anymore, what with the bomb-planting and flip-flopping between Sharon and Chelsea and, for heaven’s sake, the nonsensical vendetta against his father for letting him forget that he’d gotten blood on his hands at a time when most kids were still washing off finger paint. Mark Grossman and his legacy character deserve better, and frankly, so do viewers.
Best Father/Son Duo
Yes, General Hospital fans, of course we know that Franco isn’t Cameron’s biodad. Doesn’t matter. Nope. Not in the least. Because the bond that Liz’s husband and son have formed — thanks to a combo platter of sensitive writing and beautiful performances by Roger Howarth and William Lipton — is as sweet, as intense and as real as that of any sperm donor and his offspring.
Best Father/Daughter Duo
What General Hospital has tapped into with the tag team of Michael Easton and Jophielle Love as Finn and Violet is as rare and precious as the mythical animal on the little girl’s sweater.
Most Original Storyline
Evil twins? Been there, done that. Doppelgangers? Yawn. But The Bold and the Beautiful proved wrong those who say there are no new stories for daytime to tell when Thomas began spending time — let alone making out — with a mannequin which happened to look exactly like the ex with whom he was obsessed!
Yes, your makeup is perfect, you can put away the compact. Also, we love what Emmy winner Cady McClain has done with the role of Days of Our Lives’ Jennifer. She still accessorizes with her heart on her sleeve but also demonstrates the kind of spunk that one needs to last a week, never mind a lifetime, in Salem.
After General Hospital tapped All My Children’s former Jenny, Kim Delaney, to take over the long-vacant role of Jackie Templeton, any cries of “Moore” that you heard weren’t for previous portrayer Demi but simply for “More! More! More!” of the star who immediately made the character her own.
Best Storyline/Worst Storyline
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood could sell salt to a slug, so it’s no surprise whatsoever that the Bold & Beautiful Emmy winner reeled us right the heck in with the story of Steffy’s addiction. Trouble was, even as we were trying to overlook the fact that the soap had overnight made the character a switchblade-wielding junkie, the show itself was… wait, whaaat? It was wrapping up the plot by sending Steffy off screen to undergo the world’s fastest detox and recovery. No, Bold & Beautiful. Just no.
The ‘What Took Ya So Long?’ Award
It would have been all well and good if The Young and the Restless had taken its sweet time revealing that Amanda was Hilary’s heretofore-unknown twin sister if it had had good story for Mishael Morgan in the meantime. But… well… you know… it didn’t.
Even if it hadn’t been for their stint as would-be nuns, Days of Our Lives’ Kristen and Lani, arguably daytime’s oddest couple of gal pals, would have had a lock on this category. The former even gave up Brady, their daughter and her freedom to ensure that her confidante wouldn’t have to give birth behind bars. Now that’s what friends are for.
Only one actor currently working in daytime can make us feel at once like we’re watching a great soap and a classic movie, and that’s Maura West, aka General Hospital femme fatale Ava. Had the Emmy winner been born to another era, her star would be on the Walk of Fame right next to those of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.
Most in Need of a Love Interest
Despite what the picture suggests, The Young and the Restless’ Jack has no reason to be smilin’ these days, so neither do his fans. Here’s hoping Cupid takes aim at the former playboy — and soon.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house by the time General Hospital beamed down Courtney to usher dad Mike into the light and bring to an end the heartbreaking Alzheimer’s-disease storyline that had won both his portrayer, Max Gail, and Maurice Benard (Sonny) Emmys.
Though if you ask us too many of the last days of The Young and the Restless’ Dina were played off screen, the conclusion of her battle with Alzheimer’s — and the wrap of Marla Adams’ long on-again/off-again run in the role — still reduced us to rubble. “You know who you are,” she told daughter Ashley, trying desperately to settle her affairs. “An Abbott.” In that moment, so in a way were we all.
OK, so we didn’t love how desperate and pathetic it made Sally. We can’t deny that everything else about The Bold and the Beautiful vixen’s kidnapping of Flo — right down to the way the blonde managed to get an SOS message to beau Wyatt — was a hoot and a half.
Our hat’s off to Ashton Arbab, whose potential, sadly, General Hospital had scarcely begun to tap before Dev was killed off, bringing to a premature end not only the teen’s life but his love quadrangle with Josslyn, Cameron and Trina.
With Sarah and Xander, Days of Our Lives reminded us — and hopefully all of the other soaps, too — that it is possible to keep on the frontburner a happy couple that pulls together against an obstacle rather than fall apart. Helping every step of the way, the chemistry between Linsey Godfrey and Paul Telfer is the stuff of daydreams.
Worst Treatment of a Character
The Young and the Restless introduced Tyler Johnson’s Theo with a head-scratcher of a grudge against buddy Kyle, proceeded to make all of us hate him, revealed that he was sorta an Abbott, kinda redeemed him, kinda made us love him, then unmade all of that progress — and trashed his new family — in order to show him the door.
The photo doesn’t even do it justice. No photo could. The expressions that crossed the face of Bold & Beautiful MVP Scott Clifton when Liam realized that Thomas had been kissing Fauxpe, not Hope, were… in a word, priceless. And so funny that the actor’s own mom left him a voicemail in which she couldn’t stop laughing.
The ‘Better Luck *Next* Next Time’ Award
We had so hoped that The Young and the Restless would learn from the mistakes that The Bold and the Beautiful had made with the character of Sally — in other words, telling us that she was a smart, talented, independent woman while her behavior indicated that she was anything but. So, um, maybe if she crosses over next to Days of Our Lives?
Since Jake and Gwen moved in Days of Our Lives’ DiMera mansion has been the place to be. At times, it’s even so crowded that nobody bothers to converse with Stefano’s portrait, aka the best listener around.
General Hospital really caught us off guard with Réal Andrews’ return as Taggert after nearly 20 years. That is, it would’ve caught us off guard it hadn’t given away his imminent return in a day-ahead promo. D’oh!
It was a scene we won’t soon forget. After Brooke slapped Shauna on The Bold and the Beautiful, Quinn returned the favor… but twice as hard. “Stephanie taught you to slap?” Quinn spat derisively. “Bitch, you shoulda learned that from me!”
Best Fight to Come Out of a Byzantine Plot
To keep Days of Our Lives mom-to-be Lani from going to prison for protecting Kristen, Eli convinced Kristen to get sent up the river herself. Which seemed highly unnecessary, seeing as she was about to get away with stabbing Victor for letting her believe that her daughter had died. We know — it was a lot. But it sorta paid off when it resulted in oddly believable conflict between the expectant newlyweds.
The ‘Where Are They Now?’ Award
We know that all things in daytime are cyclic, but we saw so little of Don Diamont and Heather Tom as Bill and Katie on The Bold and the Beautiful this year that the characters practically qualified as missing persons. (We can only imagine that in this photo they are looking hither and yon, wondering where their storyline went.)
Biggest Missed Opportunity
We’ll never understand the decision to not only axe William deVry but, even as alter ego Julian was exiting, remind us of all the reasons it was a mistake. During the actor’s final episodes, we learned that Kim had secretly given birth to Julian’s child and got one last glimpse of what coulda, woulda and most definitely shoulda been between the dying man and his true love, Alexis.
Whatever Days of Our Lives was going for with the story in which Allie accused Tripp of rape — when it was pretty obvious from the beginning that he was not going to be the culprit — it missed the mark. By, like, a mile. A largely female audience — hell, any audience — was never going to enjoy watching the young woman be villified by half of Salem for doing what so many victims are reluctant to do — come forward — for fear of being disbelieved.
You know how we know Tanner Novlan is fitting in nicely as Finn on The Bold and the Beautiful? We no longer wait for him to flub his lines like he does as “the bad actor” in his legendarily hilarious Liberty Mutual commercial.
Somebody cue Carly Simon, ’cause the anticipaaaation of Peter’s downfall on General Hospital has been so delicious, we’ve been half afraid to ask if it counted as dessert.
Most Stalled Plot
Emily O’Brien has been a blast as Days of Our Lives’ new pot-stirrer, Gwen. But we wouldn’t mind having any freaking idea why she’s so hell-bent on making trouble for Abigail’s family. What did they do to her? For that matter, what did those poinsettias do to her?
In all seriousness, help. Can someone please tell us how we or any viewers of The Young and the Restless are supposed to invest in the show’s couples when they get married and divorced with a shrug (like Kyle did with Lola) or toss away hard-won reunions as if they were losing lottery tickets (like Summer did with Kyle)?
Alcoholism is serious business; we get it. But we’d still be remiss if we didn’t mention what an unpredictable thrill ride it is whenever General Hospital decides to send Alexis tumbling off the wagon and give Nancy Lee Grahn carte blanche to go for broke as a truth teller with zero [bleeps] to give.
The Much ‘I Do’ About Nothing Award
WTH was that? The Bold and the Beautiful made us fall for Shauna and Ridge as a couple, only to undermine them by having her trick him into a drunken Vegas marriage, then botch the reveal of her scheming with Quinn by having him react to the news with, in essence, “Whatevs,” as he toddled right back to his “destiny.”
The ‘Hold My Beer, We Can Do Worse’ Award
As if it wasn’t bad enough that The Bold and the Beautiful unspooled a “climax” to the Brooke/Ridge/Shauna story that was anything but climactic, it then went and robbed of any payoff the follow-up Quinn/Eric/Shauna plot. It was like opening a present, only to find the box empty. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: WTH was that?!?
General Hospital viewers’ fascination with the moss in Carly and Sonny’s kitchen grew faster than the plant itself. Departing star William deVry (ex-Julian) even joked on Twitter this fall that the greenery was the reason he was leaving. “There just wasn’t enough room in the budget for both of us,” he cracked.
We still giggle like seventh-graders every time we flash back to Days of Our Lives’ Ivan explaining Jake’s origin story to Stefan’s twin and Gabi. “Stefano DiMera seduced Madame,” said Vivian’s former manservant, “and then he abandoned her once he took her ruby.” Jake’s perfect response: “Please tell me that’s not a euphemism.” Gabi’s perfect response to Jake’s perfect response: “Gross.” And then it was back to Ivan to deadpan the kicker: “It was an actual ruby.” And also an absolute gem of a scene.
Worst Plot Twist
We wish we could say that this was the way that The Bold and the Beautiful played Liam’s revelation that he’d never, um, not loved Steffy. We wish she’d turned away, disgusted, and told her waffling ex to go home and talk to his wife about the fact that he’d seen what he thought was Hope kissing an unstable Thomas… and had left. Her. There. Instead, of course, the soap had the exes sleep together, calling into question both his faith in his missus (as well as his vision) and Steffy’s sense of self-respect.
Best Soap of 2020
Go ahead, laugh it up, guys. Well-paced, smartly written and remarkable in its ability to surprise us, General Hospital is our pick for the year’s standout daytime drama.