Jenny is a regular Soap Central recapper for The Young and the Restless and Revenge, and a former recapper for All My Children. Her love of soaps began with her introduction to AMC in the late 70s, but it quickly expanded to include all daytime dramas. Through good years and bad, she has been a dedicated fan of all four remaining network shows since the mid-80s and diligently followed the Prospect Park reboots to the very end. She is proud to be back on the expert panel for another chance to predict the year's Emmy winners.
2014: 2 for 8
Billy Miller's reel featured one of the most memorable scenes from 2014 with amazing performances from Miller and Michael Muhney. Miller conveyed the controlled rage of a grieving father with perfection, and he won last year acting opposite Muhney. If voters are put off by the soapy context of Geary's reel, I wouldn't be surprised if Miller wins again. Christian LeBlanc and Jason Thompson had excellent reels showing great emotional range, and while I'd love to see Thompson get his first win, I think Geary's the one to beat.
I've always loved Gina Tognoni's work, and I can't imagine a better recast for the fiery role of Phyllis. Tognoni deserves an award alone for slipping effortlessly into a difficult, key role, and her reel was full of variety -- quiet moments with Summer, bitterness toward Kelly, tears and anger for Jack. Tognoni hit every beat, and I wouldn't be disappointed if she chalked up another win.
I remember watching Maura West's scenes for the first time and thinking that was her Emmy reel. However, if voters are watching without knowing the character of Ava and the context of the scenes, they might come across as overly dramatic. Peggy McCay and Caroline Brady are beloved parts of Salem, and her reel consists of very touching scenes, but I really can't get over that she simply wasn't a lead on DAYS last year. I enjoy Laura Wright's work, but I didn't think she had a particularly strong reel this year compared to her competition.
Chad Duell was always among my top picks in the younger category, and I wasn't sure how he'd compete among the ranks of supporting actors, but he had an excellent reel. In an intense confrontation between Michael and Sonny, Duell showed the mixed emotions Michael felt as he prepared to gun down Sonny for taking A.J.'s life. In a less capable actor's hands, the scene could have been one-note or over the top, but Duell infused it with layers and subtle acting choices that kept me glued to my seat.
The Emmy panel loves Scott Clifton, and you can never rule him out. He plays well off Darin Brooks, and he chose a very well-written scene for his submission. He's so earnest and natural, it's never surprising to see him nominated. Jacob Young showed range as he took Rick on a journey from anger to devastation, but I'm not sure if unfamiliar voters will understand why Rick was so upset over a few kisses, and his reaction might seem extreme. Despite the fact that I never bought into Rick and Caroline sharing a great love, Young still made me feel bad for Rick.
Kristoff St. John was my frontrunner before I knew the content of the reels, and I was surprised he chose the much-hyped return of Shemar Moore to submit. While certainly it helps to have strong actors to perform against, the episode seemed distractingly focused on showing the Winters brothers' history through dialogue and flashbacks, and I spent most of the reel thinking it should have been Moore's submission in the Special Guest Performer category. There was nothing wrong with St. John's performance, but nothing really stood out, either.
Amelia Heinle had similar tear-jerking material to what helped her win last year, and I wouldn't rule her out to take home another trophy. Linsey Godfrey continues to grow as an actress, turning Caroline Spencer from milquetoast to multi-layered, and I was happy to see her make the jump from younger to supporting this year. The tears in Elizabeth Hendrickson's farewell episode were real as she shared emotional goodbyes with other fantastic actors, but that also made it not much of an acting stretch. I loved the episode Lisa Locicero submitted (I have to turn off that ASPCA commercial the second I hear the first strains of the Sarah McLachlan song, or I'll be a mess), but often humor doesn't win big with the Emmy panel.
Max Ehrich was perfectly cast as Michael and Lauren's son, and he has grown into a terrific young leading man. The moment where Fen silently threw his arms around Michael in a show of love and fear after Fen learned his father had cancer broke my heart, and Ehrich opted to keep his performance reserved, making it more effective. Freddie Smith is consistently solid. His reel is short, and it's more of an everyday argument scene, but there wasn't an uneven beat. I generally like Tequan Richmond's work, but T.J.'s sudden, overdramatic breakdown in the middle of otherwise realistic scenes was stereotypically soapy enough to take me out of the moment.
I enjoyed Donna Mills's turn as Madeline on GH, and she had the same glint in her eye that made me love her as Abby on Knots Landing decades ago. I instantly took a liking to Linda Elena Tovar's scrappy Rosalie, and she did a good job playing drunk on her reel, although she seems more of a mainstay on GH than a guest. Fred Willard had a memorable turn as Eric's brother, John, but I don't see the material he had garnering him an Emmy. Sally Kellerman's reel was very short, and Constance seemed awfully strong and alert for a woman on her deathbed.