In the movie Bambi, Thumper passed along some sage advice his mother had given him. He shared, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all." Well, Thumps, I tend to agree with that on normal occasions, but this is the Fourth Annual Alex North Awards, the Worst of DAYS 2010!
Consequently, another movie quote seems a bit more appropriate for the occasion. As Clairee said in Steel Magnolias, "Well, you know what they say: if you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!" So, DAYS fans, pull up a chair because it's time for Laurisa and me to give our fair Salemites, shall we say, a little "constructive" criticism.
Of course, before we dive into the dastardly, it should be remembered that Laurisa and I are complete and utter DAYS fans at heart and that these awards are sort of like Darth Vader -- we are honoring the best of the worst. Okay, that's not entirely true. We're honoring the worst of the worst, really, but, as Darth once said, "Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them."
So, you see, Laurisa and I aren't meanies. We're motivators! We know how great DAYS can be and we're using these awards as a way to steer the writers in the right direction so they won't make the same mistakes again. That and -- well, that and we are just meanies.
Now with no further ado, please grab a glass of Vivian's extra-rummed eggnog and some delicious brownies provided by Kate, and enjoy the Fourth Annual Alex North Awards!
WORST NEW CHARACTER
Laurisa: Dr. Ben Walters
Have we learned NOTHING from the whole Dr. Dan debacle of '08? Hmm? *foot stomp* You do NOT bring a good-looking, successful, eligible bachelor onto the show, have him flirt with one of the DAYS sweethearts, and then have him turn out to be a total creep. That's what we have DiMeras for! The writers still have a chance to fix this, but they better get a-dancing fast if they're going to convince me that Dr. Ben is as awesome as he looks.
Tony: Judge Madeline Petersen-Woods
When I thought Salem was getting its very own pearl-necklace-wearing, uptight version of Bree van de Camp, I was over the moon. When I realized what we got was simply another socialite with a hooker past, I was under the sun. Is that the opposite? I'm not sure. But I was surely disappointed with Madeline. The lady had potential, but that crashed and burned with a combo of character underdevelopment and a throwaway "been there, done that" backstory. Yawn!
WORST "SPECIAL GUEST STAR" or RECURRING CHARACTER
Laurisa: Gus Pascal
He's not a character. He's a plot device, and I just don't get him. I'll buy the fact that Vivian is crazy because I know Vivian. But I don't know anything about Gus. So, for me to accept him as a single-dimension character for the sake of making Vivian work is not happening. Vivian works fine by herself. Her sidekick should have more substance than being the token flunky. There's a reason steakhouses don't serve plain yogurt with bacon-wrapped fillets.
Tony: Marco, The DiMera Henchman
This is a totally tongue-in-cheek selection that mostly stems from my selfish desire to see the swoon-worthy Steven Bruns on-screen more often, but I think Marco is a horribly wasted Guest/Recurring character and that is the worst. The fact is, the DiMeras are down a right-hand-man. Since Bart *sigh* died and Dr. Rolf is * exasperated-overly-dramatic-double-sigh* MIA, Stefano and E.J. could use a loyal sidekick that's around more often. I think Steven has what it takes to make Marco an interesting character given the chance. He's young (and handsome) enough to be a romantic interest for someone like Stephanie. Ponder this: a DiMera henchman caught between his duty and love for a Brady. It could work, dear writers. Think about it!
Laurisa: Calliope Jones
The sheer memory of her constant crying is enough to make me want to toss my Christmas cookies. Calliope and Anna should have been entertaining to watch. Instead, I found myself wanting one of whatever they were drinking just to get through the episode. Calliope was not only having financial (and possibly marital) problems but was willing to throw an old friend under the bus if it would help. This incarnation was a far cry from the goofball that I remembered.
Tony: Marie Horton
Before you balk at my choice for this award, especially after I praised the returns for Alice's Memorial during the Golden Donut Awards, let me explain that choosing Marie wasn't easy. In fact, it stung, as Marie is one of my favorite legacy characters. But that's exactly why I chose her return as the worst -- because I wanted more Marie time! Instead, we got a few scenes, but nothing overly substantial. What really burnt me, though, is when Marie was leaving (where was she heading to again? We never even found out!) Anyway, when Marie left, she was actually thanked for coming to her own mother's funeral. Really!? Marie didn't need to be thanked -- she should have been there. And I, for one, think she should have been a bit more front-and-center, being one of Tom and Alice's remaining children and an original cast member. Let's hope she visits again and rights some of those wrongs!
They either died or departed, but their farewells were less than stellar
Laurisa: Anna DiMera
Anna had to go out with Rafe hollerin' over her comatose body and then end up "somewhere" where she can't even contact her daughter -- the one relative she has left. With the BOOM that she came back with, I would have thought the writers would send her out with equally awesome theatrics. I was wrong. Hopefully they at least gave her a toaster as a parting gift.
Tony: Lucas Horton
In 2010, Lucas sadly joined the ranks of other beloved Salemites who were unceremoniously ushered out of Salem. Where did he go? He went to China. At least that was the hasty explanation we were given to tie up his loose ends. Sure, he got a nice, new career with Hearth and Home, but he left without a much-deserved girl on his arm, his daughter, a proper farewell, or even his family jewels, which I'm pretty sure Kate keeps on the mantel to remind herself of all the times she thoroughly emasculated her son. Bryan Datillo and Lucas fans deserved more -- even one fun flashback would have been a nice crumb to snack on, but we were left starving.
THICK AS A BRICK AWARD
A typically smart character acting kinda stupid!
Laurisa: Mia McCormick
I cut her a break during the whole baby swap because, let's face it, if Nicole could fool E.J. and Stefano, then Mia never stood a chance. But she's got no excuse for breaking up with Will and going after Chad again. Call me crazy, but the whole "unplanned pregnancy with a druggie" would be enough to steer most gals away from going back for more.
Tony: Chloe Lane-Jonas
It would be a lie to say that Chloe is a "typically smart character" because, let's face it, she's never going to be able to add two and two together and come up with four without the help of every calculator Texas Instruments can throw at her. But Chloe hit an all time stupidity level in 2010 when she decided to listen to Vivian. That was just duh-umb! When I think of what could have been avoided by her simply stopping to think and not spaz out at every given moment, it makes me believe that Parker will be the one teaching her to read someday soon.
MOST LIKELY SCAPEGOAT
The character who gets blamed for...well...everything
Laurisa: Ciara Brady
Remember back when all Ciara had to do was sit in a shack and be a good little kidnap victim? Ahh! Those were the good ol' days! This summer, the poor kid had to endure endless rounds of her mama blaming her for everything from making up stories to stealing things. I'm pretty sure Ciara even had to sit in time-out for something that was not her fault. We all know no greater injustice can be bestowed upon someone under the age of seven.
Tony: Vivian Alamain
Auntie Viv is not your normal "scapegoat." She's actually done most of the things she's been accused of. However, one thing she didn't do was force Philip and Chloe into doing the drunken diddly-doo on Dr. Dan's davenport. Ironically, she knew nothing about it. But Chloe did her fair share of passing the buck. Lemme get this straight -- it was because Vivian tricked her that she chose to get drunk and sleep with Philip. Hobagsaywhat!? Sorry, Chloemeister, Viv can be blamed for many things, but Chloe's "I was tricked" angle just didn't stand up to the truth that she cheated, plain and simple.
The writers keep trying, but keep striking out!
Laurisa: Arianna Hernandez
The good swing was all Lindsay Hartley. The miss was everything the writers made her say and/or do. Just when we would start to see something interesting about Ari, like her past with drugs, the writers would swoop in and have her do something totally bonkers like accusing Hope of intentionally botching an investigation. The character was a fabulous idea and Ari's friendship with Melanie was a highlight. But TPTB never found the right drama for this diva. Boo.
Tony: Mia McCormick
There was time when I actually felt bad for the floppy-banged, baby-selling, teen mama Mia. Sure, she made some suspect decisions, but she was young and they were semi-excusable. Yet the writers made the worst decision when they decided to make Mia a snarky little schemer. I thought Kinsey already fit that bill, but, more so, Mia started out as an outcast you wanted to root for. By the end of her run, I just wanted to scream, "Boo!" every time she rolled her eyes onto screen.
BROKEN RECORD AWARD
In case you didn't hear it the first five thousand times...
Laurisa: Laurisa: Sami Brady, Rafe Hernandez, Nicole Walker-DiMera, and E.J. DiMera
None of you are doing what's best for the children. Not a single one of you. Shut up, already.
Tony: Tony: Philip Kiriakis
Philip should be exhausted after all the tap-dancing he did last year. The annoying part was he kept repeating the same song and dance, and -- trust me -- no one called for an encore. He did nothing but repeatedly converse with Chloe over their secret. Jay Kenneth Johnson is a great actor and could have handled more to do, but, for as much screen time as he got, I can only remember Philip having two things to say -- either a guilt-filled "I love you" to Melanie or guilt-filled whispers with Chloe about the affair.
Laurisa: Chloe Lane
I get it. Nadia Bjorlin is va-va-va-voom beautiful. But does she have to be in a dress and heels every time we see her? The day after she had a baby, she emerged from the bedroom wearing an outfit that I'd save for a special night out at the wine bar with my husband! Here's hoping that in 2011, Bjorlin will get the same deal Mary Tyler Moore did on the "Dick Van Dyke Show" and be allowed to wear capris one scene per week. Real women have sweat pants, producers!
Tony: Warden Jane Smith
As a woman with power, I expected to see Jane dress with a little more authority. Instead, she looked like someone shopping for clothes that actually fit. Gina Gallego is a beautiful woman, but I was constantly distracted by her oversized sweater/camisole combos. Most of her garbs just didn't seem work appropriate. I'm not saying she should be stuffed into a tight mini-skirt and stacked with shoulder pads, but a nice, crisp power suit could have given her more of a commanding presence. Then again, the woman is nasty with a capital "N," and if nasty is the new black, maybe she was dressed accordingly.
MOST REGRESSED CHARACTER
Laurisa: Sami Brady
I'm an unapologetic Sami Brady fan. She's the heart and soul of DAYS. So for the love of all things swell in life, the writers need remember who Sami is and stop making her such a flake. She really hit rock bottom for me when, during the whole shooting cover-up, she gave Rafe a kiss goodbye and said, "Go fix this" while she sat on the couch and cried. Excuse me? Sami Brady can fix things for her fabulous self! That's why I love her. If a man wants to help her -- awesome. But Sami should be in the driver's seat -- even if her bus is going straight to hell.
Tony: Stephanie Johnson
The list is long as to why Stephanie nabbed this dubious honor, but the biggest of biggie reasons is because Steph utterly degraded herself while scheming for Nathan's affections. Heck, she did to herself what Jeremy Horton couldn't even dream of doing, and he held her head underwater in a skank-infested hot tub in Vegas. I don't mind Steph with an edge, but just because Nicole dropped the "insecure, clingy, pitiful black hole of neediness" baton when she finally got her groove back last year after things ended with E.J. didn't mean Steph had to pick it up and run with it.
MOST UNDERUTILIZED CHARACTER
Laurisa: Adrianne Johnson-Kiriakis
Of all the shenanigans going on at the Kiriakis mansion this year -- the Philip/Melanie wedding, the sarcophagus, the Victor/Vivian wedding -- Adrienne wasn't around for any of it. Yes, I know that Adrienne and Justin split, but her four children are still a part of that family. She's got just as much a right to be involved with the Kiriakis bunch as Kate does!
Tony: Justin Kiriakis
Justin should sue the writers for sole custody of a storyline. Unfortunately, I have no idea if Justin's lawyer skills are up to par because we were cheated out of every court battle Justin could have fought. Heck, we were generally cheated out of deliciously dimpled Justin all together. With Vivian attacking the House of Kiriakis and Adrienne hinting that she's still interested, I'm crossing my fingers that we get to see Justin more often in 2011. And by "more often," I mean more than once every few months.
MOST OVER-UTILIZED CHARACTER
Laurisa: Johnny and Sydney DiMera
Please hurry up and start talking so that we can hand over some of the parental tug-of-war scenes to you. Since Claire left town, it's been crazy-tough to hold down the fort alone.
Johnny and Sydney
Tony: Sami Brady
It should be noted, I love me some Alison Sweeney. Seeing her fabulousness grace the screen is never a bad thing. With that said, the same thing can't be said for her alter-ego, Sami. The girl was just a hot mess last year. But the part that hurt the most was that the version of Sami we saw each week was a far cry from the gutsy, smart, take-charge schemer of yesteryear. Sure, I'm glad Sami is more mature, especially since she is a mother of four, but even a reformed Bad Girls' Club member can "bring it" when need be. Instead, Sami just seemed to rely on other people. She also seemed to have lost a lot of her quick-thinking schemer instincts. Therefore, seeing this version of Sami so often only made me miss the gal who I used to tune into DAYS for each day to see what she'd do next.
WORST LOVE LIFE
Laurisa: Carly Manning
It's one thing for her to lose it and stab her crazy husband. I mean, really, who among us hasn't gone through that? But, to draw the short straw and be the Bope interloper totally sucks. That part just never fares well. Patrick is in jail. Billie is recovering from life-threatening injuries. John got his entire damn mind erased. And "Gina" is still on the watch list every time Hope gets a headache. Watching Carly fall in love with Bo was like watching a toddler play with markers. You just know it's going to end up messy.
Tony: Jennifer Horton-Deveraux
Poor Jen just can't catch a break. Sure, sure, she and Jack are a true "supercouple," but, let's face it, they spend more time apart than they do together because of Jack's selfishness. He truly is a drama mama. More so, seeing sweet, kind Jennifer Rose hurt by him makes me mad. Granted, it wouldn't be a soap if we didn't see our beloved heroines suffer, but Jennifer's pillow is too tear-stained for my liking.
Laurisa: Rafe and Sami Hernandez
There's a difference between standing by each other no matter what and practicing reckless narcissism. Unfortunately, Safe falls into the latter category for me. I know they're going through a lot of pain right now, but I keep thinking to myself (being the mature woman that I am), "Good! You STARTED it!" These two knuckleheads spent the better part of the year trying to assure that E.J. is not part of his children's lives, yet scream from the top of Mount Soapbox when E.J. turns the tables on them and keeps Sami away from the kids. Add in the weird "dressing in the same color pallet" phase, and these two had quite a strange year. Whew! I made it through this whole paragraph without mentioning that Rafe was willing to throw his own sister under the bus in order to allow Sami to get away with attempted murder. Wait! Dang.
Tony: Will Horton and Gabi Hernandez
Will and Gabi are an attractive budding young couple, but I can't help but think we missed out on a few steps in their relationship. Mainly, we missed out on their entire courtship, and, as most soap fans know, that journey is what really makes us want see a couple make it. Heck, Will and Chad had more interaction (and chemistry) than Will and Gabi! The writers should take note, just because Will and Gabi are both teens doesn't mean they should date by default -- soap fans want more than an instant, drive-through relationship!
WORST VETERAN CHARACTER
Laurisa: Caroline Brady
No sugar coating here -- this cranky broad walking around in Caroline's pearls and curls is not my beloved Grandma Caroline. This version of Caroline is bitter, irrational, and all-around unpleasant to watch. It was silly that she risked her reputation for Stephanie's Łber boring relationship. But, spitting on one of the best storyline twists in DAYS history -- Victor being Bo's father -- amounted to soap sacrilege in my book. Ack! Pass the smelling salts, please!
Tony: Roman Brady
One of things that has made Roman consistent over the years is that he does the right thing. Even hard things, like stepping aside so John and Marlena could be together, RoRo did with class and dignity. But Roman took a hard turn to the shady side by ignoring the facts last year when it came to the Brady Family's newfound vengeance side. What set aside the Brady family is that they always wanted justice, not revenge, and when he started brushing things under the rug, it was hard to remember who to root for.
I DIDN'T GET IT AWARD
Umm, right. What just happened here and where did it come from!?
Laurisa: Brady and Arianna's Final Breakup
It's not that I didn't expect them to break up because they'd done it a zillion times before. But from what my merlot-soaked brain can recollect, Arianna broke up with Brady because, while getting the news that she was charged with serial assault and robbery, he had the absolute audacity to give her a funny look. Um...ooookaay, yah. That seems like a great reason to send the Greek Prince packing.
Tony: Carly Forgives Chloe...For Attempted Murder!
Um, right. Carly is one forgiving lady. I get that, and it probably stems from the fact she's made her fair share of mistakes. However, she basically forgave Chloe for ordering a hit on her life, you know, because Chloe felt really bad about it. I repeat, "Um, right." Kudos to Carly for being able to forgive and forget, because I sure as heck wouldn't be able to see the sorry side of a sob story from someone who wanted to send me ten stories down on the express elevator sans the cable.
WORST SHOCKING "WHAT THE &%$#?" MOMENT
Laurisa: Stephanie Throws Away Her Birth Control Pills
Looking back, it's not the worst thing that Stephanie did this year, but SHEESH! That move was head-slapping when it happened. Trying to trap a guy by getting pregnant is something rock star groupies fess up to on Behind the Music. It is not something that Patch and Kayla's daughter does -- especially not to Maggie's grandson! A little exercise in class and self-respect, please!
Tony: Tommy Horton Jr. and John and Marlena -- MIA from Alice's Memorial
Even the best storylines can have some not-so-good spots, and there were two big disappointments during Alice's Memorial. One was the aforementioned lack of Marie time, and the other was Tommy Jr., John, and Marlena being completely unheard from. John and Marlena were both very close to Alice and part of her extended family. Tommy is family! Therefore it was totally shocking -- in the worst way possible -- that none of them sent a card or flowers or even a text. I'm not even sure if any of them were mentioned, and that, my friends, was horribly shocking!
WORST STORYLINE RESOLUTION
Laurisa: The Loma Virus Saga
This storyline had tons of potential. Melanie and Nathan were hurt in the line of work. Daniel, Carly, Lexie, and Ben could have all teamed up to do some doctoring. Victor could have flown in specialists from around the country (paging Dr. Craig Wesley!) to help research. Bo and Roman could have investigated how the virus got onto American soil. Stephanie and Philip could have been struggling with their guilt while pacing outside the quarantine room. Oh yeah, there was a flipping QUARANTINE ROOM! Instead, Daniel invented an anti-virus overnight and they all lived happily ever after. Woo-hoo.
Tony: Lucas Returns from Rehab
Stefano marrying Kate effectively put an end to the "Danloe" affair in 2009. Kate couldn't be fingered as the culprit, and Dr. Dan and Chloe were free to be together because Lucas "stepped aside" and was shipped to rehab. But if poor Lucas wasn't a laughing stock before, he certainly was when he returned from rehab in 2010 and had to apologize to half of Salem for his one-time relapse and the way he "lashed out" at those who had hurt him. That "apologize list" included the woman who had cheated on him, the people who had kept the truth from him, and an assortment of people who had basically treated him like a chump. Welcome back, Lucas -- now get out and take your dignity with you!
WORST WASTE OF A STORYLINE
Laurisa: Arianna's Death
Shouldn't someone be investigating Arianna's death? Aren't we at all concerned that there's a hit-and-run driver running around Salem? Doesn't it raise anyone's suspicion that an ex-drug dealer turned undercover informant was involved in a freak accident? Did I mention that the victim is a friend of the House of DiMera and has a brother with confidential FBI secrets? No? There's no storyline there? Okay. Just checking.
Tony: Madeline's Maddening Misuse
Seeing Kate interact with an old frenemy was something I looked forward to. Lauren Koslow is always fantastic when playing a love/hate relationship, and the talented Jessica Tuck was keeping up with her marvelously. They had the beginning of a fun, banter-filled feud based on mysterious secrets and past misdeeds. Remember the guy Madeline, Stefano, and Kate killed in self-defense? Right, whatever happened to that? So, instead of watching their intertwined mysterious past unfold, Madeline got the default "I was a hooker" plot twist and was quickly killed off. Oh, Maddie, we hardly knew you, or found out any of your other secrets! What. A. Waste.
Laurisa: Rafe's Globetrotting Investigation
This gem of a storyline included Rafe yelling at poor Faye, almost killing Anna, and getting Shane beaten within an inch of his life. Who wouldn't want to sign up for that? Oh, that's right. ME! To make it worse, Rafe did this whole thing without Sami. Rather than teaming up and taking things on together like supercouples should do (See: Bo and Hope), the writers thought that this couple would grow closer by having him lie to her and disappear yet again. To top it all off, the proof was right in Salem the whole time. To quote one of my favorite Christmas movies, "I hope you kids see what a silly waste of resources this was!"
Tony: Sami Shoots E.J....in the Head
Sami shot an unconscious man in the head and then crawled back into bed with her beau. That's sort of ew, ew, and -- wait for it -- ew! I mean, just say it, "She shot him in the head." Yep, that pretty much makes one cringe. Now, I didn't expect Sami to sit back and take E.J.'s threats, but I didn't entirely buy her extreme measures, mostly because we all know that, once upon a time, Sami could out-scheme even the best schemer with one arm (and an illegitimate kid) tied behind her back. Because of her quick-draw actions, I lost most of my sympathy for Sami, especially when she scoffed on more than one occasion that she would do it again. More so, I'm not sure how a main character can bounce back from, I thrice repeat, shooting a man in the head, but I don't even feel like the writers have started to make strides toward any real redemption. The entire scenario had the same gut-punched feeling as watching someone kick a puppy. Even if that dog was a nasty, rabid pit-bull, it doesn't deserve to be kicked (at all), but especially when it's down. I'll say it again, "ew!"
And there you have if, folks, the losers -- I mean winners -- of the 2010 Alex North Memorial Awards! We thank you all for joining us and letting us officially vent. We'll be back next week with a brand-new 2011-sized Two Scoops. Until then, I'd like to end with a quote from the cantankerous Mr. Kiriakis, who snagged this year's Golden Donut Award for Best Lines, "Happy New Years, deck the halls, yada yada."