The Sixth Annual Golden Donut Awards

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'Tis the season to celebrate everything merry and bright, so grab an eggnog and gather 'round your computer, pads, and smart phones as Two Scoopers Laurisa and Tony present The Sixth Annual Golden Donut Awards: The Best Of DAYS 2012!

To hear Tony and Laurisa (and the rest of our Two Scoops columnists) discuss their Best/Worst of 2012 list, you can listen to their appearance on a special two-part edition of Soap Central Live.

To read what Tony and Laurisa had to say about the Worst of DAYS 2012, click here.

Welcome, welcome, welcome to the Sixth Annual Golden Donut Awards! We're delighted you joined us, and in your holiday best nonetheless. You all look fabulous! Well now, especially you over there in that reindeer sweater. Hey, hey! Call me. Right. Laurisa's giving me a stern look. Sorry. There's no time for flirting, as we have armloads of golden cyber-statuettes to hand out.

But a word of warning before we begin! Please buckle up. This is going to be a full-blown sleigh ride of delight and merriment that will rival even portly Ole Saint Nick's spin around the globe.

And why wouldn't Laurisa and I celebrate DAYS in 2012!? Among many other things, it was the year that both Kristen DiMera and Eric Brady returned to Salem! Those alone are reasons to put on our party hats and break out the eggnog. And by "eggnog," we mean champagne. And by "champagne," we mean a lot of it. This isn't a time to skimp, after all -- we survived both the non-apocalypse and Madison's wardrobe choices this year.

So, without much further ado, Laurisa and I graciously thank you again for joining us as we present the Sixth Annual Golden Donut Awards, the Best Of Days 2012! If you're wondering about the history, or the rules and regulations of the Golden Donut Awards, please click here to head over to my blog, which will explain everything. We'll stand by with our champagne in hand. Well, maybe just for a second or two, as we really do need to get cracking.

Awards beginning in five, four, three, two...

Best New Character
Laurisa: Brian
I believe I dubbed him "Hottie McBlueEyes" upon our first meeting. And what a meeting it was! Obviously, he was just a temporary catalyst to get Will and Sonny together. But I always held out hope that one of those boys would take up with the confident, charming Brian. He brought out the fun side of both fellas. Plus, he could score awesome concert tickets like "that." Who doesn't need a guy like that around?

Tony: Agent Spencer
When the good agent ventured to town, he was exactly what DAYS needed -- a smart, savvy good guy with scruples and an unbiased standpoint on all those whacky Salemites. The fact that he was easy on the eyes and had a swoon-worthy accent to match was just icing on this Best New Character cake! I'm not sure where he eventually disappeared to, but Salem certainly has enough intrigue to bring this guy back to help solve another caper. Let's make this happen, dear writers!

Best Special Guest Star/Recurring Character
Laurisa: Johnny DiMera
Is there ever a time we don't break out into a stupid, goofy grin when he comes on-screen? No. The answer is no. Whether it's an adorable talk with Santa or a late-night marketing meeting with Sami and E.J., Johnny never, ever fails to disappoint me. Plus, we can now all thank him for the mythical Robot Lobster creature, FTW (for the win)!

Tony: Awesome Soap Vets From Tony's Past
This isn't a tie at all. Consider it a group hug to the Casting Department caused by my warm, fuzzy stroll down memory lane after the appearance of so many wonderful soap vets last year! I can't list them all, but three immediately pop into mind. They are Jean Bruce Scott as Jessica Blake-Fallon, John Aprea as Arthur the DiMera Lawyer, and Anne-Marie Johnson as Dr. Patel!

Jessica's return was monumental and long overdue. She hadn't been seen in Salem for thirty years (and the same actress reassumed the role -- awesome)! Another Horton in town is always a good thing, even if she just returns from time to time. In fact, Nick could certainly use some parental guidance these days.

Seeing John, my pal Lucas Castigliano from Another World, brought back all sorts of wonderful memories of NBC's other long-running soap. I'm lobbying for John's Arthur to stick around Salem. He's a great actor, and DAYS could use another handsome, powerful mogul type to mix it up with the mature crowd.

And Anne-Marie is a fantastic actress who could easily win over viewers with her charm. She captured my heart when I first saw her on an '80s made-for-TV movie and later Melrose Place. Plus, Dr. Patel would give Marlena an ally (unless she was paid off by the DiMera famiglia *insert evil laughter*), or give Abe another lovely lady to mingle with. It could be a win/win all around. Just saying!

Best Return
Laurisa: Eric Brady
I've been saving up one of my three wishes from the soap genie for this return. Being the Nicole fan that I am, I'd grown tired of seeing Nicole be the second choice gal. She's just too spectacular for silver. So, I've championed the idea of her first true love returning to Salem to sweep Nicole off her feet for years. And Eric Brady is that guy. He's always been that guy. He's the one who's dance card always had Nicole at the top. (To put a positive spin on it, considering Eric's new profession, there's a good chance that Nicole is Eric's only gal on his dance card, if you catch my drift.) Yes, it's strange to openly root for a man to leave the priesthood, but this is the first time since the Maggie/Victor storyline that I could see where a storyline was going and actually couldn't wait for it to get there. Plus, who doesn't love the possibility of Nicole marrying Sami's twin?!?!

Tony: Kristen DiMera
I mean, really! Raise your hand if you didn't think I would pick Eileen's triumphant return as Kristen for this award. Anyone? Anyone!? Nope, I didn't think so. My love for Eileen runs so deep that I practically dedicated two columns to her return (one when the news broke and one when she actually returned). By "practically," I mean I did. I totally did. Yeah, I should probably apologize to readers for my Kristen-Fever, but I can't. I've waited fourteen years for that moment, and I simply adore her. I hope that everyone is finally realizing why. Eileen is amazing! Kristen is amazing! And it's amazing to have her back!

Most Improved Character
Laurisa: John Black
John often gets lost in the Marlena/Sami battle. More accurately, he just sits back and agrees with what Marlena says, maybe throwing in an accusatory "Samantha Gene!" here and there. But this year, he stepped up -- not once, but twice. The first was at the very beginning of the year. No matter what fire Sami threw at him, he never retaliated, nor held her fears against her. The second was when he offered Sami a job to get her away from Kristen. Rather than just demand that Sami quit her job (like a certain mother of Sami's did), John was proactive and actually tried to provide a compromise solution. I like this newer, calmer John when it comes to Sami.

Tony: Sami Brady
Wardrobe choices aside, working gal Sami is fascinating! Sure, she skyrocketed from a secretary type to C.E.O.-esque status in no time, but I didn't mind. At all. Once she secured her new gig, she became oodles more confident and wasn't going to let any corporate powerhouses like Madison or Kate push her around. Ms. Brady's even gotten a lot of her special brand of Sami Brady spunk back. That can never be considered a bad thing! Well, maybe for Kate, you know, since Sami now has Kate's job at the company Ms. Roberts-DiMera created. Well played, Sami Gene, well played!

Best Villain
Laurisa: Kristen DiMera
Who would have ever thought that "Thank you" could ever sound so cold? Yet with those two little words, Kristen solidified her stance as one bad arse chick. I've always found the best villains to be the ones who engage in a battle of wits over sheer violence. To make it even more interesting, she was playing mind games with a shrink! Do you know how good she has to be to pull that off?

Tony: Nicole Walker
Because of Arianne Zucker's amazingly endless talents, I got through the entire baby drama and the Nicole/Dr. Dan/Jennifer sagas. But as much as I love my Nicole and ultimately want to see her come out on top, she was a bad girl this year. A really bad one, in fact! She manipulated, lied, and used her baby to land a man, keep its paternity from another man, seek revenge by framing Jennifer for baby murder, and, well, she used that poor baby for pretty much every dirty deed one could use a baby for. Oh, oh! But since the repeat of Jennifer and Dr. Dan isn't flying with most fans, I guess we could actually thank her for standing in their way for as long as she did! See, maybe it's good to be bad after all. Thanks, Nicole!

Best Brawl

Me-ouch! Be it catty comments or full-fledged fistfights, the best battle of 2012! Laurisa: Ian McAllister vs. Kate Roberts-DiMera (August 15, 2012)
Their romance may not have been one for the ages, but their breakup certainly was. She was mad enough to learn that he'd been pining away for Madison the whole time. But her temper roared when Ian confessed to killing Stefano. Kate and Ian positively hissed venom at the each other. He quoted Macbeth. She thrashed his bottle of (very expensive, I'm sure) Scotch across the room! Truth be told, I lived vicariously through Kate for a good chunk of that scene, since I was irritated that this storyline had monopolized so many months, and I luuuved seeing my Katie roll up her sleeves and fight ugly again.
Click here to watch Laurisa's pick for Best Brawl!

Tony: Sami Brady and Kate Roberts-DiMera vs. Adrienne Kiriakis (September 19, 2012)
Hot damn! Three of my favorite ladies shared a catty, nasty little smackdown and, whowouldhavethunkit, Sami and Kate were on the same side! Sure, sure. It stung to watch Adrienne act all un-Adrienne-like, but eventually she came to her senses, and all was forgiven. However, it was beyond amazing to watch Sami and Kate team up against a common enemy to defend Will's honor. They were two ruthless ladies on a mission, and I ate up every second. I was simply enthralled by the always-awesome chemistry between Alison Sweeney and Lauren Koslow. They never fail to entertain! Heck, there was even a Vivian Alamain nod at the end of things. I repeat, "Hot damn!"
Click here to watch Tony's pick for Best Brawl!

Best Tear-jerker*
Laurisa: Victor and Caroline Share a Drink (October 18, 2012)
The Alzheimer's storyline and I certainly had our differences. But, tucked away in that irresponsible ruse of a plot was a heart-tugging scene, made all the more touching by the understated brilliance of John Aniston's Victor and the hard-nosed optimism of Peggy McKay's Caroline. They reminisced about old times and the great son that they shared. But both of them knew that this conversation could be arguably the most important they'd ever have -- for it could be their very last. Victor summed everything up with a simple kiss and a "Thanks for the memories."
Click here to watch Laurisa's pick for Best Tear-jerker!

Tony: Abe and E.J. Hug It Out (June 20, 2012)
Kleenex loved me in 2012! I'm not too proud to admit I bawled like a baby for several months as Lexie slowly succumbed to her brain tumor. However, the moment that really made me realize that she was gone forever was when Abe and E.J. gave each other a quick, yet meaningful hug. These two shouldn't be hugging, but they did. They did it because they were both suffering from a pain only the other could understand. And they did it for Lexie. I'm sure somewhere in Soap Heaven, she was looking down on them with that radiant Lexie smile we all miss. Wow! That was depressing. Moving on...
Click here to watch Tony's pick for Best Tear-jerker!

* Best Tear-jerker is a brand new category!

Best Comedic Scene Stealer

Sure, drama's nice, but comedy is, too, and this character always managed to tickle our funny bone! Laurisa: Justin Kiriakis
Look at Justin living up to Uncle Vic's example! It seemed like every time Justin was on-screen (which was not nearly enough, by the way), he had a snappy way of saying exactly what we were thinking, only with more class and way better dimples than we could ever manage.

Tony: Jack "Super Dad" Deveraux
Sure, Jack ran out on his family once upon a time, but just like Abigail, I forgave him last year. And Jack took that forgiveness and ran with it! He became one of the funniest, yet most earnest, characters in recent memory. His total adoration of Abigail was so sweet, it would have given me a toothache if Matthew Ashford wasn't so talented that he found the right balance of fatherly concern and adorableness. He wanted to create DADDE (Dads Against Daughters Dating Ever), for goodness sakes. I appreciated that as much as I did the enchanting father/daughter chemistry between Matthew Ashford and Kate Mansi. Three cheers all around, please!

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

Laurisa: Nicole Walker
I fully believe that the reason Nicole is able to pull off so many of her schemes with so little resources is because she can talk circles around pretty much everyone. And I mean that in a good way. Nicole can approach an awkward situation with humor or dodge confrontation with sarcasm. In a way*, her words are her best asset.

Tony: Nurse Maxine
Oh, hell yeah! My BFF, Nurse Maxine, returned to our screens in 2012 with her special brand of sass and sincerity. I love her friendships with Dr. Dan, Melanie, and the rest of her hospital "family," but more so, I love her way of keeping them in line with her lines. Her delivery is one part a "don't cross me, fool" look and one part a perfectly delivered line that oftentimes acts as the voice of the viewers, as Ms. Maxine never minces words. If it's on her mind, it's coming out of her mouth. Seriously, how many times have you wanted to say what Maxine did? Exactly!

Best Dressed
Laurisa: Brady Black
As hunky as those Kiriakis fellas are, there's been a bit of a style void since Phillip left for Chicago. (Come on, we all know that Sonny is nowhere near filling it.) But this year, Brady carried the team on his well-dressed back. Yes, he's still avoiding wearing a tie. But, the cool piping on his jackets, his always appropriate use of leather, and the good use of color (real men wear purple!) pays credence to his well-dressed uncle before him.

Tony: John Black
Give this man a suit, and he looks all shades of corporate perfection, but that's not all! John's casualwear is always classy and chic. Granted, it would be hard to make Drake Hogestyn look bad, but that's a challenge the wardrobe peeps didn't win last year. John always looked like a million bucks, which is actually quite appropriate for a multimillionaire, I'd say.

Best Babe: DAYS' Hottest Female Eye Candy
Laurisa: Arianne Zucker as Nicole Walker
*The only thing challenging Nicole's wit for "best part of Nicole" is pretty much everything Arianne Zucker brings to the mirror. From her awesome hairstyles to her ever-stylish jackets, accessories, and I'd-kill-for-it purse collection, Arianne Zucker made Nicole look like a million bucks. Brains and beauty. Ugh. This is where we'd all start hating her if she wasn't so stinking spectacular.

Tony: Kate Mansi as Abigail Deveraux
Not only is she an ah-mazing actress (seriously, Emmy peeps, give this gal an award), but the Lady Mansi is just all shades of gorgeous! Kate has this sly attractiveness about her that simply grabbed my attention every time she came onto screen. Simply put, Kate's like a sunrise -- beautiful, captivating, and only gets brighter as time goes on!

Holy Hunk: DAYS' Hottest Male Eye Candy
Laurisa: James Scott as E.J. DiMera
Okay, his presence in this category is verging on Meryl Streep Oscar status. But anyone who can manage to look that good during the DAYSaster, and after saving Sami, with dirt all over his face and his sweaty shirt stuck to his body, deserves to repeat. Really, if someone told me that I had to go through those circumstances, they'd be taking donations just to send me away to keep me from scaring the general population.

Tony: Shawn Christian as Dr. Daniel Jonas
Yeah, sometimes being a Two Scooper is hard, especially when picking an award like this. It's like being at an ice cream parlor and having to pick only one flavor out of a billion delicious ones. Well, congratulations, Shawn, you're this year's winning recipe! He has all the textbook Soap Stud qualities that could easily nab him this award, but what clenched the deal is his swoon-worthy twinkling eyes/bashful smile combo. It's no wonder Nicole was so batty for Dr. Dan! I think I went a little cray-cray for him, too.

Most Likely to Succeed
Laurisa: Abigail Deveraux
I'm pretty convinced that the best of the Jack and Jennifer charm doesn't rest with Jennifer anymore, but with their daughter, Abigail. Sure, Abigail's bout with crazy town early in the year was a low point (however, extremely entertaining). But, considering that she's about the only Salem 20-something who isn't a total wreck, I've got hopes for her. Her parting scenes with Jack were filled with amazing tenderness. Her support of Mel, Chad, Will, Sonny, and even Nick was tremendous. And if she can pull her love life together or (gasp!) have a professional storyline for a while, I think that Abigail will be just fine.

Tony: Dr. Kayla Brady-Johnson and Abe Carver (Tie)
I really, really tried to avoid the dreaded tie here, but my heart was torn. On one hand, I had Kayla. She's managed to hold her head up high and put her life back together after divorcing the love of her life, all the while remaining supportive of her family and friends. She's graceful and kind, and went from being a cook to Chief of Staff! Not too shabby. On the other hand, Abe also lost the love of his life and, like Kayla, he's been a rock star at coping with loss. Two single parents doing what it takes to put their families back together is always a commendable thing. Plus, tie all those factors together with the budding whatever Kayla and Abe have going on, and I believe the future is bright for them both!

Most Likely to Return
Laurisa: Chelsea Brady
Let's see. Pick a reason, any reason. Nick could climb out of the know-it-all pit much easier if he was paired with someone who didn't constantly need saving. Abigail is desperate for a best friend who can offer her some tough love and then laugh over some cosmos. Hope could use juicy storyline that her complicated, beautiful relationship with her stepdaughter could bring. Titan is more than in need of some Lady Kiriakis blood at the top. Imagine the possibilities if Kate had to answer to her own granddaughter. With Lexie gone, Theo would benefit from reconnecting with an old friend. Yup, there's enough to keep her busy.

Tony: Peter Blake
This award selection has nothing at all to do with Jason Brooks's über hunkiness. Nope. None, I tell you! Well, okay. Maybe a little, but I digress. Peter would be an interesting character to have floating around Salem once more. He's not only Jennifer's ex, but he's a DiMera. I always enjoyed his bond with sister Kristen, but how would he interact with E.J. and Chad? I'm dying to find out! Plus, I'd love to watch him mix it up Kate or Nicole. Hmm, lots of potential there, writers. Just saying!

Best Surprise
Laurisa: Sami Lets Rafe Have It! (October 18, 2012)
During their first meeting four long years ago, Rafe locked Sami in that bathroom and then sat down on the couch to watch a basketball game. That dynamic -- of Rafe being the one who called the shots -- has been consistent ever since. To make it worse, he constantly held Sami to a different standard than he held himself to. He could keep sisters, dead fiancées, and old partners a secret from Sami, but he'd order her not to even apply for a job before he gets all the details about it. So, I was downright floored when, for a brief, beautiful, shining moment, the writers let Sami Gene knock Rafe down off that pedestal It went a little something like this:

"If you had come clean after even the first 50 lies, maybe, maybe it would have been different. But the truth is, the bottom line is that you still chose her over me. (No, I didn't!) Yes, you did. If I had lied to you like that -- no matter what, no matter why -- I would have been out on my ass, and you would have been judging me for the rest of my life because you are a sanctimonious hypocrite -- two things that people would never say about me. So you know what, Rafe, next time you're grieving and you want someone to help you get rid of it with sex, you go find someone else, okay? (That's not what I was doing.) You know what else, I'm not finished. You gonna let me finish? (Okay, finish please.) I don't forgive you. I'm done. We're done."

Click here to watch Laurisa's pick for Best Surprise!

Tony: Will Officially Comes Out to Marlena (April 5, 2012)
The writers crafted an amazing coming out storyline for Will, but the one particular moment that stuck with me was when he finally admitted he was gay to Marlena. It wasn't an OMG!-shocking moment, but it was a fantastic surprise to watch Will regain his confidence and address the issue he and Marlena had been trying to talk around for months. It was a sweet, tender moment with splashes of humor thrown in. I couldn't have adored it more if I tired! And both Chandler Massey and Deidre Hall continued to knock their performances out of the ballpark during these scenes with their sincere brand of grandma/grandson chemistry. As John later said (and it applies perfectly here), "Will's out, and I'm proud!"

Click here to watch Tony's pick for Best Surprise!

Best Couple
Laurisa: Rafe Hernandez and Carrie Brady-Reed
As we've just established, I'm neither Rafe nor Carrie's biggest fan. But I loved them together. Like, to the moon and back. Rafe became this beautifully flawed character, struggling between what his heart wanted and what his brain said. And Carrie was intelligent and surprisingly at ease with Rafe. They even managed to pull off the school-kid giggling and make it look charming. To be honest, the domesticated version of Sami that she pretended to be for Rafe really was diet-Carrie. So, it made sense that Rafe was at his best when paired with the original flavor Carrie. And, not to make this all about me, but it was nice to actually enjoy Galen Gering again. It reminded me of what I liked about Sheridan and Luis from back in the Passions days.

Tony: E.J. DiMera and Sami Brady
They were only a couple for a hot second over the summer, but, oh, what a hot second it was! And a lot of that smoldering was done while Sami was wearing some God-awful pants, which certainly proves love is blind. Well, at least when it comes to pants. Anyway, James Scott and Alison Sweeney easily proved their fiery chemistry was still red hot even after a long "EJami" hiatus. More so, the writers gave the characters (and fans!) an honest start to a relationship, something E.J. and Sami have never really been given. Sadly, it ended way, way, way too quickly, but it seems like a reprieve may be on the horizon. Fingers crossing in five, four, three, two...

Best Veteran Character
Laurisa: Hope Brady
There was no better team player in 2012 than Fancy Face herself. She stood by Jen though the awful Jack/Jen/Daniel triangle. She was an amazing support for both Abe and Lexie during Lexie's death and continues to be there for Abe. She didn't so much as bat an eye when Bo decided to quit his job and move across the country. She even got some great scenes where she got to show off her detective skills and go undercover as the wife of an arms dealer. Despite Bo's departure (or perhaps because of it), Hope should be forefront in 2013!

Tony: Dr. Lexie Carver
Celebrating Lexie isn't difficult, it's just sad because she's no longer with us. But Lexie left a legacy behind that is certainly celebration-worthy. She faced her terminal diagnosis with grace and dignity. She even kept a brave, warm smile on her face, even when she was in pain, to assure her loved ones that she and they were going to be just fine. And Lexie did the impossible, really. She united nearly everyone in Salem who knew and loved her, and that includes archenemies Abe and E.J. So, she may have left us far too soon, but what she left behind was a great gift as well.

Best Actor
Laurisa: Chandler Massey as Will Horton
If you told me that DAYS needed an actor to play into the calmness of Deidre Hall, scream it up with Alison Sweeney, and scheme opposite James Scott, I would have thought you were casting for three different actors. To see Chandler work as the common denominator between those three powerhouses was spectacular. And while Will was definitely everywhere this year, I didn't mind it one bit. From Will's coming out storyline to Stefano's murder, to E.J.'s short term as mayor, Chandler proved himself to be the best young male lead on DAYS in 2012. Here's hoping that he follows his on-screen mom's footsteps and stays as a lead role as he continues to grow up in Salem.

Tony: Matthew Ashford as Jack Deveraux
There were many brilliant performances by the men of DAYS this year (please see above), but Matthew sealed the deal for me early in the year as Jack faced his PTSD demons. We didn't get to witness all of his recovery, but for what we did see, Matthew was completely astonishing. As the writers have a tendency to script Jack as the class clown -- probably because of Matthew's well-honed comedic chops -- it was extra special to see Matthew flex his dramatic ones. He was simply wowing!

Best Actress
Laurisa: Renee Jones as Lexie Carver
There's nothing glamorous about a brain tumor. Yet, thanks to Renee's poise and grace, Lexie's exit was practically elegant. Special credit should be given to the styling team, as it can't be an easy task to make Renee look anything less than stunning. But as I watched Lexie's physical condition worsen, the subtle acting choices that Renee took to convey Lexie's masked suffering were spot-on. It's because of her performance that, despite Lexie's untimely death, I'll look back and think of Lexie as one of the very few soap brethren who actually got a happy ending to her story.

Tony: Eileen Davidson as Kristen DiMera
Within five seconds of seeing Eileen as Kristen again, I remembered exactly why she received an Emmy nod last time she was in Kristen's scheming stilettos. She's simply divine! For starters, Eileen seamlessly stepped back into the role and reignited a spark that had been missing on DAYS since she left. In fact, the show needed someone to stir the pot again, and Kristen brought two large wooden spoons and a KitchenAid mixer. Eileen perfectly plays Kristen as a multilayered badass who's cunning, yet comical at times, which is a hard combo to pull off convincingly.

The natural chemistry she shares with every one of her cast mates is also impressive. Be it as a sparring partner with Dee Hall, flirting with Drake Hogestyn and Eric Martsolf, or being the big sis to James Scott and Casey Deidrick, Eileen radiates energy that keeps me glued to the screen. You can tell her and her cast mates are having a blast with the material!

Lastly (solely for the sake of time and not because I couldn't gush more about Eileen's talents), one of the best parts about how Eileen plays crafty Kristen is that you never know exactly what she's up to. Is she plotting? Is she being sincere? Or is she simply thinking about what she'll have for lunch? I don't know! And that's why Eileen rocks. She keeps things fresh, and she'll always keep you guessing. So, welcome back, Eileen and congratulations! You came. You saw. And you conquered!

Two Scoopers' Note: The Best Actor and Actress Categories were extremely close races this year! It took a lot of deliberation, and Scotch, to come to our final decisions. And whereas we completely stand behind them, we would like to give oodles of accolades to both Peter Reckell and Arianne Zucker. They are DAYS legends, and we can't praise their talents enough!

Best Storyline
Laurisa: Will Comes Out
This was one of the most well-balanced and organic storylines in years. First, it involved a majority of the cast and did just as much to further the development of other characters as it did for Will. Marlena got a humble, playful side. Gabi was strong and stood up for her beliefs when it came to bullies like T. Will finally got a chance to call Sami and Lucas out on some of the mistakes (putting it mildly) that they made as parents. E.J., a guy who practically deals in secrets, stepped up and treated this one like a complete non-issue. Heck, even Roman was in this storyline for a hot second!

Second, the show took its time letting us get to know Will (and Chandler Massey, for that matter) before the storyline started. That small move took him from a sterile, statistic "token gay guy" to a real person -- a distinction that other shows should most absolutely follow.

But most importantly of all, it really was a storyline about how faking any aspect of your life to please others will eat away at you. DAYS didn't go the political route, as so many other shows do, and that was smart. Instead. DAYS actually played their best hand and made it a story about family, friends, and the feat of not being loved. In other words -- the wheelhouse of all soap operas. Genius.

Tony: DAYSaster
For starters, NBC kicked into high gear to promote the show's return after the Olympic Hiatus. The promos were flashy, fun, and intriguing. More so, the brass showed us for the first time in a long time the network was truly invested in DAYS and its fans. That was greatly appreciated!

Next, the Special Effects Department completely rocked and rolled! It's been a very, very long time since I've seen such an elaborate action sequence on a soap. Scratch that! It rivaled what I've seen on primetime and in the movies. So, accolades all around for that!

And finally, snaps to the writers and actors! The storyline gave so many characters andactors moments to shine. How cute was Theo riding to that little girl's rescue!? Brady and Melanie remembered they were best friends, which allowed Eric Martsolf and Molly Burnett to enchant us once again with their special brand of BFF chemistry. The immensely enjoyable mentor/mentee relationship between E.J. and Will was showcased as was the smoking hot budding relationship between E.J. and Sami. Plus, Roman got to be a hero again. Kayla got to be a doctor again. And, shucks, Rafe wasn't around to irritate me, and annoying Madison kicked it.

Whoops! Was it insensitive to celebrate those last parts? Perhaps, so let's just say this storyline did wonders to pump up viewers again and tie so many storylines together. As far as an epic summer blockbuster goes, the DAYSaster ranks right up there. Mazel tov!

So, friends and fellow DAYS fans, those are your 2012 winners of the Sixth Annual Golden Donut Awards! Once again, Laurisa and I want to thank you for not only joining us today, but for following us throughout the year. Your feedback and encouragement is always sincerely appreciated.

And speaking of feedback, next week Laurisa and I get to give ours on the "Worst of DAYS 2012" as we join up again to present the Sixth Annual Alex North Memorial Awards! Be sure to join us before heading out to celebrate the New Year. We'll be easy to spot. We'll be the ones wearing matching snark and "I Hate Madison" t-shirts. And "That's a fact!"

What are your thoughts on Days of our Lives? What did you think of this week's Two Scoops? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.

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

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