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Mark Hapka
The third annual Golden Doughnut awards
For the Week of December 21, 2009
Part one of a two-part look back at the events of the past year in Salem. This week, our columnists discuss the best that Days of our Lives had to offer in 2009.
This is part one of a special two-part year-end Two Scoops showcasing the best and worst of Days of our Lives in 2009. In this installment, Tony and Laurisa break out the Golden Doughnuts to celebrate the highs of the year gone by. Click here for part two and the Alex North Memorial Awards, which look at things that didn't quite fly in 2009.

We've put together a special year-end list of the top ten most-read Two Scoops columns over the past 12 months. To check out the list and see what came out on top, please click here.
  MORE YEAR-END READING

2009 YEAR-IN-REVIEW TWO SCOOPS
  AMC   Part 1: Best | Part 2: Worst
  ATWT Part 1 Part 2
  B&B  Part 1 | Part 2
  DAYS Part 1: Best | Part 2: Worst
  GH   Part 1: Best | Part 2: Worst
  OLTL Part 1 | Part 2
  Y&R  Part 1 | Part 2

  DAYS Best/Worst 2008: Part 1 | Part 2
  DAYS Best/Worst 2007: Part 1 | Part 2
  DAYS Best/Worst 2006: Part 1 | Part 2
  DAYS Best/Worst 2005: Part 1 | Part 2

  '09 Two Scoops: All DAYS Columns
  All the Recaps: 2009 Recaps
  All the Headlines: 2009 News

Happy holidays, everyone, and welcome to the Third Annual Golden Doughnut Awards, the Best of DAYS 2009! Or, as I like to call it, "The Nice Column," since it's the only one each year in which Laurisa and I promise to be kind to all of Salem's colorful residents. Yes, Virginia, even Dr. Dan and Rafe.

However, before I go on, I should start the festivities with a confession. I had an extremely hard time writing this year's introduction. You see, I really wasn't sure where to begin...

I mean, do I start with the fact that DAYS reached a five-and-a-half year ratings high in November, or do I gloat about the TWO Emmy Award wins and 13 nominations? Or perhaps I could start with the returns of (but not limited to) superstars Crystal Chappell and Louise Sorel. Or I might want to bring up that James Scott and Nadia Bjorlin beat out every single soap stud and daytime diva -- from every other show, mind you -- to be named the Most Attractive Male and Female Stars during soapcentral.com's 2009 Dankie Awards. But still I could talk about cool commercial trivia bits, the fact that we all fell in love with a little scene-stealing bundle of cuteness named Sydney, or Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso representing DAYS on my favorite sitcom, 30 Rock. Then again, I could just celebrate the show's 44th Anniversary!

But any way I spin it, one thing is clear -- DAYS was "all that and a bag of chips" this year! There were great storylines, fantastic acting, and more Maggie than you could shake an hourglass at. All in all, amazing -- just like the woman after whom the awards were named, Alice Horton.

Sadly, we didn't get to see "Gran" this year, but I believe Alice's presence was felt. After all, she truly is the heart and soul of DAYS. And, of course, you have to feed the soul, right? Chicken soup? Nah, not in Salem -- they feed souls doughnuts there. Alice knows that, and it's her culinary signature that we picked to honor her, and our winners, with.

And speaking of winners, if you'd like to see who Laurisa and I selected last year, check out her blog for the 2008 Golden Doughnuts Review. Now, without any further ado, Laurisa and I would like to thank everyone again for joining us. And welcome to the 2009 Golden Doughnut Awards!

BEST NEW CHARACTER

Laurisa: Dr. Nathan Horton

Mark Hapka is still a little green, but he's proved to be a quick study -- especially in scenes with the divine Suzanne Rogers. More importantly, another Horton is back on screen. Not only that, but this Horton is professionally successful and mentally sound, has tons of potential, AND has visible family members in Salem. Despite their genealogy, Lucas, Will, and Hope are too wrapped up in other drama to worry about carrying on the Horton name. So I'm thrilled that there's hope for a new generation of Hortons.

Tony: Owen Kent

He was creepy and kooky. He was mysterious and, well, mostly goofy. But, all in all, Owen's short stint in Salem left a lasting impression. I thought Wes Ramsey's unique take on what could have been a toss-away henchman was brilliant. And the good news - the door's open if they decide to bring him back! Of course, it didn't hurt that we got to see soap vet extraordinaire Gordon Thomson play his father, Walter. It was a win/win all around!

BEST "SPECIAL GUEST STAR" CHARACTER

Laurisa: Lawrence Alamain (Michael Sabatino)

Crystal Chappell had truckloads of press surrounding her return to DAYS, so Carly's entrance really had to deliver the goods. As great as she was, it was Michael's deliciously creepy guest spot as a full-blown madman that perfected the scene. I got chills when he sneered, "Maybe when she's dead, the screaming in my head will finally stop." Are you kidding me?!?! The guy made being bad seem so fun.

Tony: Chelsea Brady (Rachel Melvin)

Even though her return meant the departure of Darin Brooks's Max, I was thrilled to see Rachel and all her acting fabulousness one last time. Granted, she hadn't been gone that long, but getting an extra day or two with her was like a holiday bonus...just several months too early. Besides, even if Chelsea returns at some point, I suspect it will be a recast. Therefore those few extra scenes did wonders for my Rachel Melvin-loving heart -- we miss you, Swamp-Baby!

BEST RETURN

Laurisa: Crystal Chappell as Dr. Carly Manning

I like the actress. I like the character. I like the writing for the character. RARELY do all three of those come together. But Crystal Chappell's Carly is definitely the exception. In a year filled with self-entitled characters who believed that it was their God-given right to be a parent, I really dig that Carly was willing to accept that a casual relationship with her daughter may be the best that she's going to get. It indicated that Carly has a keen sense of self-awareness and is able to look at the big picture. I love it when characters do that.

Furthermore, if Carly shakes up Bope a bit and gives Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso some meaty material in the process, I'm not going to argue. Since the viewers know Carly's got more important things on her plate than Bope, we can sit back and enjoy Crystal's scenes. After all, Bope is going to be just fine. Carly, however, still has to deal with Vivian!

Tony: Louise Sorel as Vivian Alamain

The list of reasons why I'm thrilled that "Auntie Viv" has returned is long, but it all begins with the extremely talented and generally fabulous Louise Sorel. Her hysterical and downright sinister portrayal is legendary. I'll pause for applause.

Now, overall, having Vivian back on the Salem scene is simply genius. Here are a few of the many reasons why, in no particular order: Vivian and Victor are a side-splitting super-villain combo, Kate has regained a sparring partner who's equally as tenacious and merciless, and, of course, Carly's life (and the viewers') is much more interesting with Vivian in it. More, please!

BEST RECAST

Laurisa: Lindsay Hartley as Arianna Hernandez

Lindsay Hartley brought layers to the role of Arianna. And with those layers, we got to see that there was a pile of pain in the character's past. I loved Lindsay's tearful performance when Arianna pleaded with Roman to take her off the case, only to realize that she's past the point of no return. So, Arianna sucked it up and focused on finishing the mission. Lindsay really hit home that Arianna has a tortured side and the only thing more terrifying than remembering it is reliving it. The beauty of this character trait is that it doesn't matter who Arianna is sleeping with or where she works. Her past is ALWAYS going to be a part of her. Now the viewers have something concrete to associate with the character.

Tony: Dylan Patton as Will Horton

"Pre-Switzerland Will" was like the poster child for birth control. So imagine my surprise when the little bugger returned from the Alps with a fresh new face -- and a lot less attitude -- and actually won me over, mop-top and all. Dylan's Will has done a lot for the character in terms of maturity and character development. I mean, really, Sami and Will actually get along now -- who would've thought that would ever happen?! That in itself is a reason to celebrate. Yet even with his newfound, praiseworthy, mature decision-making abilities and dealing with incredibly heavy storylines, Dylan's Will still stayed true to the awkwardness that comes along with being a teen. All in all, I liked it!

BEST VILLAIN

Laurisa: Kate Roberts

If you ever tell them I said this, I'll deny, deny, deny...BUT Kate put the fellas to shame in the villain department this year. Kate single-handedly put Chloe in a coma. And Kate got her hands all sorts of dirty along the way. From carefully plotting the revenge to stealing the drug to framing Daniel (she even planted fingerprints!), I thought Kate was fantastic. What started out as a completely relatable reason (wouldn't your mother be mad if she found out your spouse was cheating on you?) quickly spun into a diabolical vortex of absolute madness (pretty sure your mom wouldn't poison eggs). And that makes her crime the most villainous of the year. Sorry, Vic and Stefano. There's always next year.

Tony: Kyle, The Kidnapper

The guy was a third wheel who followed his sister, Brenda, and her badass boyfriend, Officer Dean. He didn't have the means, or wits, to carry out any grandiose schemes of his own. Heck, he didn't even have a last name. But what he lacked in means, he made up for in creepiness.

In fact, his creepiness was off the charts. There was something about Ryan Alosio's chilling performance that made me thoroughly uncomfortable. I think the pivotal moment was the "Tommy Bear Scene" when he smelled Ciara's beloved Teddy. I mean, holy Amber Alert, Batman! I get shivers just thinking about it. Because of that, and the fact the guy was a confirmed sex offender, and you can't get any worse than that, he gets my creepy Villain of the Year Award.

BEST BRAWL
Me-ouch! Be it catty comments or full-fledged fist fights, the best battle of 2009.

Laurisa: Sami Brady vs. Nicole Walker

I'm talking about the slap that I know y'all heard! The slap that we knew HAD to be coming when the baby-swap came out. The slap that was so good that we had to watch it over, and over, and over. It was more than just a "you stole my man" slap. This slap came with the angry vigor that stemmed from Nicole stealing Sami's entire life. It was a well-acted, brilliant climax to a storyline that we've been watching for the past year.

Tony: E.J. DiMera vs. Rafe Hernandez

Let me set this up -- viewers were dealing with the aftermath of Grace's death. Most of us were sobbing because of Alison Sweeney's heart-wrenching performances (Emmys, here she comes). Then E.J. punched Rafe, and I lost it! That blow made Adam West's campy Batman punches, complete with pop-art "KAPOWS!," look realistic. Click here to watch it on YouTube, I'll wait. Ok, I'll even wait for you to watch it over and over again -- it's that funny. I'm still convinced the editors left it in there just to add some levity to the über-depressing scenes. And it worked!

BEST COMEDIC SCENE STEALER
Sure, drama's nice, but comedy is, too, and this character always managed to tickle our funny bone!

Laurisa: Baby Sydney

Of course none of it is scripted, but just the mere sight of Hailey and Lauren Sinnema turns me into one of those idiots who blabb-ers baby gibberish at the TV. But the way Sydney interacts with characters - crying the second Nicole handed her to Chad, giving Stefano looks of confusion, and giggling at Daniel -- just leaves me grinning like a goofy fool.

Tony: Nurse Maxine

I clap like a toddler who sees Big Bird every time Maxine comes onto the screen. Aloma Wright has smartass looks down to a science and has mastered sassy one-liners. Besides, anyone who can keep up with feisty Melanie or is brave enough to joke with the notorious Stefano DiMera by saying things such as, "You're pulse is racing, Mr. DiMera. You got a crush on me or something?" not only rocks, but rolls, too!

BEST LINES
Say what!? The character, on average, who always came up with the finest zingers!

Laurisa: Vivian Alamain

I'll have a glass of Viv's particular blend of crazy any day -- even if there are 5 cups of bourbon in it! On screen, Vivian has gems like: "I'm just going to stretch out and relax and invite the muse of vengeance to put the pieces in place of my plan -- and then anticipate the hell out of the end of Carly Manning." and "He thought he was Brian Boitano." And off-screen, her amazing portrayer, Louise Sorel, is equally as clever. I read an interview with her where she described Jay Johnson by saying that, "He looks like an English poem!" Ha! Both Viv and Louise are simply extraordinary in my book!

Tony: Victor Kiriakis

John Aniston brilliantly delivers lines like a bulldozer. He verbally plows through them with a combination of confidence, directness, sarcasm, dryness, and Tourette's. And all the while, you never doubt that Victor believes what he's saying is right no matter how distorted his logic is to others. Of course, his downright snarky comments to Chloe are always guaranteed hilarity, too!

BEST DRESSED

Laurisa: Shelley Hennig (Stephanie Johnson)

I might not always like watching Stephanie Johnson, but I adore looking at Shelley Hennig! The gal wears some of the best duds on the show. She can pull off super-sexy dresses without looking campy. She always has great coats and purses. And, being the accessory junkie that I am, I totally was down with the chandelier earrings. The bigger, the better! Go on, Shelley!

Tony: Darin Brooks (ex-Max Brady)

Daytime is normally all about what the ladies are wearing, but Darin has funky style that's hard to ignore. I'll even forgive his Emmy outfit because, most of the time, his wardrobe is a chic balance of classic and quirky. Plus, Darin's great at rocking accessories and hats!

BEST BABE
DAYS' Hottest Female Eye Candy

Laurisa: Alison Sweeney (Sami Brady)

Sami's storylines this year hardly left her dripping in diamonds and gold lamé -- more like spit-up rags and sweats. But it still doesn't change how stunning Alison Sweeney is. Perhaps it's the glow of being a new mom again. But this year I thought Alison looked as beautiful as I've ever seen her.

Tony: Kristian Alfonso (Hope Brady)

Even though the uglier side of Hope's personality is rearing its head right now, Kristian is about as far from ugly as one can get. In fact, I think they developed the word "striking" just for her. She's sophisticated yet sexy and has an effervescent smile that lights up the screen. Plus, after twenty-plus years of playing Hope, Kristian's fancy face is lovelier than ever...and, sorry, I apologize for that last corny joke.

HOLY HUNK
DAYS' Hottest Male Eye Candy

Laurisa: James Scott (E.J. DiMera)

Is there really a year when James Scott couldn't win this award? Probably not. But this year James purposely put on some muscle mass so that E.J. DiMera had more of a presence on-screen. James, sweetie, you could wear a Smurf costume on-screen and the viewers would notice your "presence." But the physical change did work for the storyline. E.J.'s Hulk-like anger matches his Hulk-like physique. I see no downside here.

Tony: James Scott (E.J. DiMera)

Minus the suspect "Constant Craving" era K.D. Lang haircut at one point during the year, James is a 100% certifiable soap stud and an all-around attractive human being. And I totally second Laurisa's reasonings above. Welcome back to the winner's circle, James!

MOST IMPROVED CHARACTER

Laurisa: Brady Black

Since the Brady return and recast, Eric Martsolf has continued to impress me. This year, it's his unexpected chemistry with Alison Sweeney and Molly Burnett that makes me like him even more. Since Brady comes from such dominating male characters, it's very easy for Brady to become a caricature of the "Man's Man!" Yet Eric has been smart enough to capitalize on the humor and compassion in his scenes with Alison and Molly, and make Brady seem like a more complete character. Oh, yes, and he's still quite dreamy.

Tony: Dr. Carly Manning

I'm bending the rules a bit as Carly hasn't changed since she returned in October. BUT she has changed since her first stint in Salem, and it's been one for the better! This Carly has the same hypnotic eyes but is much more sarcastic and all-out gutsier than the woman who left town sixteen years ago. I love it and feel Carly's finally ready to square off against Vivian mano-a-mano. Nope, I don't think she'll be buried alive so easily this time around. Let the games begin!

MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED

Laurisa: Will Horton

Not to get too narcissistic, but if Will can win me over, then he can win anyone over. I despised the kid. He was self-righteous, rude, arrogant, and immune to learning a single life lesson. Hey, why learn lessons when you can just blame your parents for everything? But I am a reformed Will-hater, and I wear that title proudly. He was there for his dad when Lucas came stumbling home drunk. He tried to talk some sense into his mom about Rafe. And his tender relationship with Mia taught him that everyone is fallible. The best part is that those lessons were not lost on dear William. He still carries them with him and learns more each day. I'm a fan.

Tony: Maggie Horton

Just last year I chose Big Red as the "winner" of the MOST UNDERUTILIZED CHARACTER category during the 2008 Alex North Memorial Awards. Thankfully, she won't be receiving that award again, as Maggie is now la Grande Dame of Salem! Since the beginning of the year, she's had a steady stream of supporting storylines (and tenants), and the lovely Suzanne Rogers got to flex her wonderful acting muscles time and time again. Moral of the story, if Maggie can go from scorching on the back burner to burning hot on the front, I suspect she's on the right track to stay out of storyline purgatory and succeed in staying front and center, and supplying viewers with a sufficient dose of Big Red each week!

MOST LIKELY TO RETURN

Laurisa: Nicholas Alamain

Vivian Alamain is out for blood -- Carly Manning's blood. And When Vivian learns Carly's secret -- and you know she will -- Carly will be toast. There's only one person who could possibly appeal to Vivian to save Carly, and that person is Nikki Alamain. Furthermore, if he appears with...say...a child and threatens to withhold that child from visitation rights with Auntie Viv, she just might back off. Vivian may be the only person who is more fantastically delusional than Stefano DiMera when it comes to family members.

Tony: A Kiriakis Heir

Be it Alexander, Victor Jr., Joseph, and/or Jackson, I believe one or more of Justin and Adrienne's sons will pop up at some point during 2010. My hunch is either the Teen Scene will get a new crew member or Philip will not only have to fend off Nathan but also one of his cousins for the affections of the fair Melanie. Plus, it would be interesting to see a character that is part high-powered Kiriakis and part down-to-earth Johnson. After all, that's one combo Stephanie couldn't come to terms with, yet, ironically, her cousins are made of -- cousins she has in common with Philip. Conversely, I think DAYS missed a potential casting nugget, as there is something about Brendan Coughlin (T/Tad) that reminds me of a young Wally Kurth.

Note: With the unfortunate demise of As the World Turns, fingers are crossed at DAYS Two Scoops that a Judi Evans and/or Julie Pinson return could be on the horizon. Judi already has a storyline to step into. And as for Julie, we just want to see the look on Hope's face when she walks into the living room to see Bo having coffee with Carly AND Billie!

BEST SURPRISE

Laurisa: DAYS Trivia Bits!

Huge Dork Alert!!! I secretly look forward to those trivia bits each day. I get excited when I know the answer. I get mad at myself when I don't. But most of all, I am thankful for the chance to get a glance at the actors' personalities. My favorite bit was the one between Nicole and Baker when he claimed to be Alice's son. It was so funny and spotlighted the mutual comedic genius of Arianne Zucker and John Callahan. Please, please, please don't ever stop doing these!

Tony: Anna DiMera Returns -- And She Kidnapped Sydney!

I'm not entirely sure what's more shocking than a "surprise," but Anna turning out to be Sydney's kidnapper, part two, was it. In fact, my jaw is still on the floor. Kudos to DAYS for keeping that casting spoiler of spoilers close to their vests! The reason she took Sydney is still a secret at this point, but, I have to admit, unless it's an overly awful convoluted tale, I probably won't care. Having the always-entertaining Leanne Hunley back is reason enough to love this surprise!

BEST COUPLE

Laurisa: Philip Kiriakis and Stephanie Johnson

Their courtship was a master class in soap-opera guilty pleasures -- high-powered CEO slowly seduces gorgeous intern with diamonds, brandy, mansions, sports cars, and (my personal fave) cheeseburgers and champagne. Most importantly, I truly felt that neither character had to be compromised for this pair to work. Stephanie could be the strong/slightly spoiled princess that the writers need to stop pretending that she's not. Philip finally got the girl and ended the completely bogus streak of being a consolation prize. I'm not saying that they didn't crash and burn. But when they were happy, this pairing did a ton of good for each individual character.

Tony: Nicole Walker and Dr. Richard Baker

There's a fine line between love and hate. Yeah, that saying doesn't apply to Nicole and Dr. Baker. It was mostly a loathing and hate-type relationship, but one of the best DAYS had to offer in '09! Not only was the combined acting brilliance and comedic chemistry between Arianne Zucker and John Callahan off the charts, but the character of Dr. Baker brought out the best in Nicole. And by "best," I mean worst -- which is actually good in this case, in case you're keeping track.

Because of Dick -- whose name made me snicker like a fifth grader every time Nicole snidely said it -- Ms. Thing's claws came out with a vengeance! She was cornered, dangerous, and, most importantly, not the painfully insecure, clingy, pitiful black hole of neediness that followed E.J. around like a lonely puppy the year before. Nicole returned to full hellcat status! Plus, Ari simply shined as Nicole descended further and further into madness and brought Dick down with her. I sincerely bow down to Ari, as her talent never ceases to amaze me. And when Dr. Baker became too much to handle, we were treated with another great-yet-dysfunctional duo -- Nicole and Stefano!

BEST VETERAN CHARACTER

Laurisa: Maggie Horton

I'm so glad that Nick Fallon went crazy, because thanks to that storyline, a light went on in the writers' room -- Suzanne Rogers is simply charming in scenes with "the kids." So they wisely capitalized on that magic and had practically everyone under the age of 30 move in with Maggie Horton. Her scenes with Nathan, Mia, Mel, and even Chloe and Lucas were filled with a genuine compassion and real hope. Maggie's concern doesn't seem patronizing or uninvited. Maggie sees the best in people, and it's convinced more than just a few viewers to give certain characters a second chance. I have no doubt that Alice is terribly proud of her daughter-in-law. I know I am!

Tony: Victor Kiriakis

The guy is one unapologetic, surly son of a bitch with vicious wit and a sharp tongue, and he makes no bones about it. Call me crazy, but I love self-awareness in a character. And that's one of the things that earned Victor this award. This year, he also proved why he's still a powerful tyrant to be feared...and why he'll always carry a torch for his true love, Caroline. So, from sentimental old fool to sinister warlord to hysterical-yet-iron-fisted family man, Victor wore many hats this year, but he wore them all so well thanks to the mega-talented John Aniston.

BEST ACTOR

Laurisa: John Aniston as Victor Kiriakis

Allow me to call out the elephant in the room here. When the slew of vets were unceremoniously ousted at the beginning of the year, someone had to pick up the vet banner and run with it. I can't think of a better choice than John Aniston. He's been criminally underused in the past years, and it's more than time to correct that wrong. He was up to and exceeded that challenge. And the writers regularly rewarded him with some of the best dialogue of the year. His lines often reflect the very thing that viewers are thinking. More so, John Aniston's dead-pan delivery of those lines was pure brilliance.

Tony: Joseph Mascolo as Stefano DiMera

There's the booming voice. There's the commanding and ominous presence. And there's also the mischievous eye twinkle and rolling R's. But more so, there's simply a talented actor doing an amazing job in one of daytime's most iconic roles. Although the Phoenix was a tiny bit of a hypocrite at times and a total monster at others, what set Stefano apart this year is that we got to watch him mourn the loss of Tony and gush over Sydney (and, on occasion, Theo, too). Who knew the big guy had such a big heart!? Well, Joseph did and played Stefano not only as the nasty tyrant we all love to hate, but also as a man humbled by the death of his son and with an all-encompassing yet somewhat unhealthy love for his family and need for vengeance.

BEST ACTRESS

Laurisa: Arianne Zucker as Nicole Walker

It took longer for Sami to find out about the dang baby-swap than it did for Odysseus to get back from that little errand in Troy. Baby-Swap Saga Extreme took numerous twists, introduced a slew of new characters, and required old characters to reinvent themselves (sometimes to unflattering shells of their former selves). So, in order for viewers to retain some hold on their sanity during this time, we had to care about Nicole, at least a little bit, because she was the centerpiece of this epic.

Arianne Zucker did not disappoint. Her ultimate scene, where she couldn't bring herself to say the words, "Sydney is Sami's baby" shattered the ceiling of what I thought were great performances. Logically, I know Nicole is sick and inexcusably selfish. Yet I still care about her and am actually rooting for Nicole to come back better than ever because I know that Arianne Zucker can tackle anything.

Tony: Lauren Koslow as Kate Roberts

Picking a "best" out of the DAYS cast is an extremely hard task, especially this year when we've seen so many powerhouse performances. But amongst all the Baby-Swap business was an unsung hero -- Lauren Koslow. She was absolutely flawless as malicious, manipulative, multi-layered maniac Kate.

Lauren also saved a somewhat suspect storyline from utter failure with her limitless talents. Every actress who wants to tackle a "bad gal" role needs to re-watch Lauren's acting this year -- she did "love to hate her" perfectly. In fact, I judge a great performance by the amount of times I scream at my TV, "Oh, no, she didn't!" But, yes, she did, and I couldn't wait to see what she did next. Bravo, Lauren!

BEST STORYLINE

Laurisa: Stephanie Held Captive

May Sweeps was mercifully devoid of too much baby drama. Instead, we got the DiMera/Kiriakis feud, which climaxed with Philip rescuing Stephanie from a literal dungeon of death. Let me list the great things about this storyline: Victor and Stefano got to battle it out. Philip and EJ got to face off. Wes Ramsey gave a touchingly good performance as the villain du jour. Melanie and Brady proved to be an entreating, yet ultimately bumbling, scheming team. Brady talked about his mom, Isabella. Bo and Hope got to be in full cop-mode. And Stephanie was the perfect blend of her parents -- strong yet compassionate even in the face of terror. All without any love triangle added! It was soap drama at its best.

Tony: Devilish "I Dos" -- Stefano and Kate Tie the Knot!

Seeing these two sinners saunter down the aisle was sensational, and I'm thrilled this storyline came back from the dead like Stefano after one of his funerals! This deranged arranged marriage caused so much commotion, it was hard to ignore. And it wasn't ignored -- at all!

Characters came out of the woodwork to either give Kate a piece of their minds or question Stefano's motives. There were some legendary battles before and after the nuptials and the fallout is still being felt months later. But Stefano doesn't care -- he simply wants Kate. And, eventually, she began to want him, too! Their mutual adoration has been interesting to watch grow, but I don't think their full combined evilness has even reached its zenith yet. *insert wicked laughter*

Most importantly -- their union effectively ended the "Danloe" saga. Dr. Duh and Ho-E got to grope each other in private, while viewers got to watch all the delicious action happening in the Brady Bunch-esque DiMera Mansion and the fallout across town at Kiriakis Estate. Stefano and Kate -- Evil and Evil-er -- I now pronounce you one twisted-yet-awesome couple and my pick for Storyline of the Year!

PARTING THOUGHTS...

Well, there you have it -- the winners of the 2009 Golden Doughnut Awards! Thank you again for joining us. And please join us at the cyber after-party where we'll be raising our virtual glasses of champagne to toast all the winners.

But just remember to pace yourselves with the bubbly because you're also invited back to next week's festivities - that right, Laurisa and I go from holiday cheer to nasty jeers as we present the Third Annual Alex North Memorial Awards! We just ask everyone to wear the appropriate protective gear as the "Alex Awards" tend to get a little rowdy! If you don't believe us, check out our reviews of last year's winners - Dr. Dan's still sporting some nasty bruises from them, whoops!

Until next time, please be sure to check out the other year-end Two Scoops columns for other soaps. All of the columnists are taking the next two weeks to reflect on the best and worst of 2009. It's definitely a fun read -- even if you aren't familiar with all of the soaps!


Plus, feel free to head over to the soapcentral.com message boards and join in the discussion about the highs and lows of the year gone by. And, if you're feeling prolific, start your own blog and offer your own take on the Two Scoops' best and worst edition. If we like what you write, you might just see your comments posted here!

Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of soapcentral.com or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen, what has happened, and to take a look at the logistics of it all. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same view point.
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