It's easy for a fan that watches the soaps every day to determine who was the best actor or actress on a particular show over the course of a year. Each soap opera puts together more than 250 episodes every year. That's an amazing amount of content. However, when Emmy season rolls around, a winner is selected based on their performance in a single episode.
Is that fair? It depends on who you ask. Some critics have suggested that the media, the people who watch every episode as part of their jobs, should be involved in selecting the nominees or the winners. Others say it is impossible to get a panel of judges who are familiar with a year's worth of material.
This year, each soap was permitted to submit two episodes for the Outstanding Drama Series category.
Here are the clips submitted by the nominees this year for Emmy consideration. In the acting categories, the clips, or reels, feature only scenes in which the nominee was featured. All of the other scenes in that episode are not included.
We've provided synopses for each clip and provided links to our comprehensive recaps of those episodes so that you can get a better feel for what action took place. To get all the additional details, just click on the appropriate links.
All My Children
Episodes #10711 and #10712
Air Dates: September 22, 2011, and September 23, 2011
Running Time: 1:12:00
Episode 1 Synopsis: Erica made plans to head to California to work on a movie about her life. JR continued to spiral out of control as he felt he'd lost everything in his life. Adam was stunned when he learned that Stuart was still alive, and the two twins were later tearfully reunited. Cara revealed to Tad that she was pregnant.
Episode 2 Synopsis: Brooke purchased Chandler Mansion for Adam, and Adam promptly scheduled a party to celebrate Stuart's return. At the party, all of Pine Valley gathered to recall years of memories. Jackson angrily walked out on Erica. From a secret passageway behind the walls of the mansion's parlor, JR fired a gun into the crowd.
Days of our Lives
Episodes #11714 and #11720
Air Dates: November 11, 2011, and November 21, 2011
Running Time: 1:13:16
Episode 1 Synopsis: Jennifer talked to Hope about her conflicted feelings for Jack. E.J. and Stefano discussed what John's trial meant to their family. John's loved ones gathered at the pub before his trial, unaware that a gunman was across the street with rifle drawn. The gunman fired several rounds into the pub. When the gunfire ceased, Sami realized that her son, Johnny, was nowhere to be found.
Episode 2 Synopsis: Rafe and Will found Johnny safe and sound at the pub. Sami confronted E.J. and accused him of kidnapping their son, but the rage turned to passion, and they had sex. Will walked in and saw his mother in the throes of passion.
Episodes #12266 and #12294
Air Dates: March 21, 2011 and April 28, 2011
Running Time: 1:14:15
Episode 1 Synopsis: Carly was informed that her daughter, Josslyn, had cancer, and that a kidney transplant was not likely to be an immediate possibility. Luke told Tracy how he and Laura had reacted when they'd been told that Lucky had died, and remarked that Lucky would never get over losing his child. Jason, Elizabeth, and Lucky grieved over the death of Jake.
Episode 2 Synopsis: Luke's friends and loved ones staged an intervention for him. Each of Luke's loved ones read him letters explaining what he meant to them, and how his alcohol abuse was affecting their relationships. Throughout the intervention, Luke remained combatant, refusing to acknowledge that he was an alcoholic.
The Young and the Restless
Episodes #9710 and #9806
Air Dates: August 5, 2011 and December 23, 2011
Running Time: 1:14:01
Episode 1 Synopsis: The residents of Genoa City displayed varying degrees of guilt over the night that Diane Jenkins was murdered. The late Diane provided a haunting voiceover as Ronan Malloy interrogated potential suspects, and those with motives worked on cementing alibis.
Episode 2 Synopsis: After crashing her car, a drunken Nikki wandered into the church and realized that she had missed her daughter's wedding. A guardian angel appeared to Nikki and walked her through a series of significant events that Nikki had experienced in her life. Nikki assessed her life and realized that she had to make some changes. Before disappearing and returning Nikki to the present, the guardian angel revealed one final secret.