Lisa is an editor at soapcentral.com, but she does not watch soaps. In fact, she watches almost no television. Recently she discovered (via TiVo's saved log, which was moved to another room and used by an actual television viewer) that her television had been unplugged since before Halloween of 2009. It remains unplugged. While Lisa doesn't watch soaps, she is conversant in all of them, due to her job of reading the daily recaps for every soap, reading the Two Scoops columns for every soap, reading all new news content for the site, and reading through many (soon to be all) character profiles.
In previous years, Lisa has made picks by using pseudoscience, with experiments that have included pets, hydrodynamics, aerial trajectory, and other exciting techniques. These experiments have not had a high rate of success. While she pondered a trip to the unconscious for these predictions, she opted instead to use a combination of previous methods, if needed, and a process of elimination involving information she has gleaned from the past two years of soapcentral.com reading, rather than by using the actual video footage (she read the summaries, but didn't watch -- it's important to still be random). So, without further ado, here are her predictions.
2010: 2 for 8
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR
Ricky Paull Goldin
Because I don't view the reels, I just go with what I think of the characters, so it's almost as random as when my pets helped me pick (oh, how they miss it -- they got treats out of the deal, and they're hovered around me as I type now, hoping that I'll change my mind about including them). While Maurice Benard may be an excellent actor, I'm not a big fan of Sonny Corinthos; he seems to be all reactionary and doesn't consider consequences. E.J. DiMera is glorified evil, and I'm not big on glorified evil, so I can't vote for James Scott. Michael Baldwin is the lawyer who does everything -- no need to specialize in Genoa City because Michael is there; the character seems like he's too much of a good thing, so I can't vote for Christian LeBlanc. Michael Park doesn't get my vote because Jack Snyder seemed so unsure of so many things, and I wanted him to make up his mind already. So, that leaves me with Ricky Paull Goldin, who plays Jake on All My Children. He seems like an all-around good guy, and a supportive friend. And let's be honest, he's not too hard to look at, either.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS
So, right off the bat, I can eliminate half the characters. Sometimes I love what they do, other times I find them so unbearably rotten that I don't want to read about it. Those are Phyllis Newman (played by Michelle Stafford), who seems narcissistic and spiteful; Stephanie Forrester (played by Susan Flannery), who doesn't seem to love her children equally (if you're not Ridge, she's busy; leave a message and she might get back to you); and Carly Jacks (played by Laura Wright), who seems confrontational beyond logical limits. Alicia Minshew (who plays Kendall Hart) apparently turned in some excellent performances, as the viewers have told me. Debbi Morgan (who plays Angie Hubbard) has had difficult material to work with as a sighted actress playing a woman who loses her sight. However, I loved the love story between Henry Coleman and Barbara Ryan, so I have to pick Colleen Zenk. Classic romance has those two people who don't plan to fall in love but do despite their best intentions to avoid it, and these two did just that.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR
Billy J Miller
I have nothing against any of the actors/characters in this category, but I love Billy Abbott, played by Billy J. Miller. He may make bad choices, but he seems to make them for all the right reasons since he's fallen in love with Victoria Newman. Wouldn't we all like to have someone that much on our side? He's just wonderfully endearing, and while he's fictional, I'd like to find me a guy like that! Apologies to all other nominees because I just skipped over you when I saw Billy's name.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Nancy Lee Grahn
Through no fault of their own, I can't vote for Melissa Claire Egan (Annie Chandler) or Bree Williamson (Jessica Buchanan) because I cringe when I read the soap representations of mental illness. These actresses might do great work with what they're given, but as I mentioned, I cringe. A lot. It's not at all pretty to see (they might send me away to Oak Haven if they saw the cringe, honestly). Heather Tom (Katie Logan), Tricia Cast (Nina Webster), and Julie Pinson (Janet Ciccone) played characters who didn't move me strongly one way or another. Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis) remains. While I don't think Alexis is always the most attentive parent, it is clear that she does care passionately about her kids, and she doesn't annoy me. Killing Kristina's abusive boyfriend worked for me, even if it was a mistake (and in real life, killing is wrong, but in a soap, it works). She wins my vote.
OUTSTANDING YOUNGER ACTOR
Michael Corinthos, III
I do domestic violence and sexual assault support work as a volunteer, so my choices for younger actor and actress are not random, nor are they avoidable for me. The stories Chad Duell played as Michael Corinthos were heartbreaking to read about, and from what I hear, the performances were phenomenal. Tackling such difficult subject matter -- prison rape and all the damage that it causes -- earns a vote from me.
OUTSTANDING YOUNGER ACTRESS
For the same reason I picked Chad Duell, I choose Lexi Ainsworth, who plays Kristina Davis. She did all the things an abuse victim does -- trying to hide it, trying to appease the perpetrator so it won't happen again, blaming herself -- it was well written, and impressive that a teen could tackle the subject matter. This happens all the time around us, in all kinds of families from all kinds of socioeconomic statuses, and all demographic groups. If watching this helped some families spot signs of abuse and help someone in need, it was all the better.
OUTSTANDING WRITING IN A DRAMA SERIES
Days of our Lives
I'm still angry that As the World Turns killed off Reid Oliver. Obviously I didn't watch, but I loved that guy! He was the kind of character I'd expect to find in any successful television series or movie. And I loved that he and Luke made each other happy and crazy at different moments. So, while the team might have done great writing on the whole, that one act loses them my vote. Any time someone needs a heart, someone's going to die (and you know someone's going to be giving a heart to Clint Buchanan on One Life to Live just in the nick of time; I have several people I could nominate, but I'd anger too many fans if I named them). Why did it have to be Reid's heart? Not cool. Why can't there be a just plain happy ending for a gay couple on a soap? I don't understand it, but I wish it could happen like it does for some straight couples. The Bold and the Beautiful did their homeless work, and they did a cancer story, and yet on the whole, it all seems to revolve around Brooke and Ridge having makeup sex -- in the office, in the steamroom, anywhere they might be able to steal a moment to drop their clothes -- which isn't all that interesting to read. The Young and the Restless has Victor Newman acting like a petulant child and doing all within his power to get his way, whatever that way is in the moment (subject to change based on his whim), and never facing consequences for that, which bugs me. Days of our Lives has the DiMera and Kiriakis families involved in criminal activity, which is a bad thing, but it seemed to have the broadest range of variety in storytelling, so it is getting my vote. While characters may have evil sides (seriously evil in some cases), they also have soft spots, which is kind of like all of us. We may not be that evil (I hope not!), but we do have some evil moments, but we have good moments, too. We're a little bit balanced (kind of like Donny and Marie: I'm a little bit country, I'm a little bit rock and roll… [If you're old enough, you're now singing this. You're welcome]).
OUTSTANDING DIRECTING IN A DRAMA SERIES
One Life to Live
When I first started reading recaps, One Life to Live drove me crazy. I hated to read it, more than I hated any other soap (and Todd Manning was a big part of the reason that first year), and saved it for last, when I reluctantly forced myself to plod through to the end. Now, I find it to be the most interesting because stories are neither too rushed nor played to death, so it's disappointing that it was cancelled. Because I enjoy reading it most, I'm giving the directing team credit for that, because the writing team wasn't nominated.