Something weird happened when I sat down to write this post. I started writing down categories, and when I looked at my list, I realized that I had a ton of Bests and almost no Worsts. That isn’t to say there weren’t things that were downright awful on Days this year, because, come on, it’s Days. But 2010 was, by and large, a very enjoyable year.
There have been plenty of years where I’d have been all, “The best thing about this character was that she died” or “The best part about this story was that it let me catch up on my naps.” But in 2010, there was some genuinely good stuff to choose from! Luckily, there was also a great deal to mock or at which I could make the following face:
So here goes.
BEST COUPLE: Kate & Stefano
I am still in disbelief at how well this worked. I think the only people more surprised were the writers, who set up this marriage as an alternative to prison for Kate and then, suddenly, transitioned it into a real, loving relationship. Giving Stefano a wife not only made the DiMeras feel like a full family, but it added a much-needed dimension to Stefano’s character after years of being a total cartoon. I’m a little concerned that, now that he’s thrown her out, they’re going to abandon a pairing that could be a goldmine for years.
BEST NON-COUPLE: Maggie & Victor
We all thought that, if the show were ever to pair cranky Victor with one of the nice older women of Salem, it would be Caroline Brady, the mother of his son. And making a widow of Maggie by killing off Mickey was mostly a concession to the viewers’ sanity, since it was becoming increasingly difficult to believe that Mickey was “in the kitchen” for, like, the entirety of the family Christmas celebration or a loved one’s wedding. But as soon as they put Maggie and Victor in scenes together, it was evident that they had something worthwhile on their hands. Never did I think I’d see Maggie Horton in an engaging, frontburner love story again (especially after that hideous triangle in which she, Mickey, and Bonnie accidentally had a fourgy with a dog), but there you have it. I can’t wait to see how this develops in 2011.
WORST COUPLE: Phillip & Melanie
Let’s say you’re a 30ish scion of an ethically challenged business dynasty, and your father has recently put you in charge of the family’s legitimate business. You’ve already been divorced, as your wife was in love with another man and passed his kid off as yours for a while. Then you found out you had another kid, and you made a play for custody but ultimately gave him up for adoption. Would your most appealing mate be a college-aged nursing student who’s clearly in love with someone else?
I get that this relationship works for the story, but not for a second do I buy Phillip and Melanie as being in love. I’m actually pretty grossed out by the sight of them together. I hope that, now that the truth about him fathering Chloe’s baby is out, we can move on from this ill-advised marriage.
MOST ANNOYING WORD: “Sydney”
In a year in which half the cast spent three months saying “sarcophagus” in every scene, it’s quite a feat that I’m more annoyed by the mere utterance of a child’s name. But they did it. Sami and Rafe and EJ and Nicole did nothing but talk about Sydney all damn year. I can’t anymore. I just can’t.
In the words of Taylor from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills: “ENOUGH!”
BEST CHARACTER: Nicole
I should probably hate a character who stole the lead heroine’s baby and passed it off as her own, framed an innocent woman for a violent crime spree, ruined her best friend’s baby shower, and generally makes some of the stupidest decisions on the planet. And yet, I spent all year rooting for Nicole to pull it together. I give equal credit to the writers and to Arianne Zuker for managing to make this character endearing while not shying away from the fact that she’s a rude, drunken idiot and her own worst enemy.
WORST CHARACTER: Dr. Ty Treadway—er, Ben Walters
Wasn’t it strange how, one day, this new doctor was just in every scene at the hospital? If he weren’t played by a recognizable soap actor, I’d have thought he was someone who won a walk-on role. I feel like someone at Days wanted to give Ty Treadway a job, so they just slapped him in the hospital to see if it would work. Guess what? It hasn’t! He feels so crammed in there and out of place. I’m moderately intrigued by his connection to the Warden and her organ-trafficking scheme (I love that this show allows me to type things like that), and if he’s going to be a short-term villainous type, I could get on board with it. But if I’m supposed to care about this dude or want him with Jennifer—not gonna happen.
BEST SCENE: Wanchai Ferry Product Placement
I know a lot of people resent the product placement on this show, but I have come to love it. It’s never anywhere close to subtle—it would be more subtle if someone just drove a truck through the scene with a gigantic logo and an announcer’s voice blaring—and it’s amazing trying to watch the actors keep straight faces. I was actually fast-forwarding on the day this one aired, but as soon as I saw Caroline come out from behind the bar cradling a red bag in the most conspicuous, unnatural way possible, I had to stop. And my life is better for it.
The WTF factor is off the charts with this one. Why is she serving frozen Chinese food in an Irish pub? Is the clam chowder THAT BAD? Why don’t Sami and Rafe think this is weird? Why does Caroline presume that frozen Chinese food will make Sami feel better after she just shot a man in the head? And most importantly, why can’t this happen every day?!
BEST WEDDING: Victor & Vivian
Nowhere are the budget cuts on this show more apparent than at the weddings. (See: rich-ass Phillip Kiriakis gets married in his father’s living room; Daniel & Chloe have “the wedding of their dreams” in the “park” with eight people in attendance and some ribbon thrown over some potted plants.) But this backyard bonanza of a wedding was perfect, from all of the groom’s ex-wives circling up for a photo, to miserable Victor needing a drink to get through the ceremony and then “yada yada”-ing his vows. It was a nice reminder that Days can do intentional comedy when it tries.
WORST STORY: Chad is Stefano’s Son
Perhaps “story” is a misnomer. More like “series of scenes in which people talked to themselves about A SECRET and then there was a birth certificate made in MS Paint and then some kid spent two months walking around the docks with bad hair and visiting the DiMera mansion and then he and Stefano had one conversation about being related.” There were so, so many interesting angles to play with this setup, but it’s like they forgot about the story halfway through and then remembered they had to wrap it up somehow. I hope they can move on this coming year, but let’s just pretend this whole setup never happened.
BEST STORY I DIDN’T WANT TO SEE: Alice’s Death & Memorial
You guys. I cried the day I found out about Frances Reid’s death. I know it sounds stupid to anyone who doesn’t have a long attachment to this show, but Alice Horton has always been there. She was like another, fictional grandma to me. She was the backbone of this show.
I hoped they would do both the character and actress justice with Alice’s on-screen memorial, but they exceeded my expectations tenfold. We got visits from characters we haven’t seen in years and years (Marie! Laura! Mike!). They went to the trouble of recasting Bill Horton just for this short arc. And not only did we get to see these characters, but just about all of them were given scenes of substance—not just about Alice, but with one another and their loved ones. Carrie interacted with Mike and mended fences with Sami. Shane and Kimberly got back together. Kayla and Melissa reconnected over the fact that their kids were dating. And we got to spend two weeks reminiscing about Alice and this show’s long, memorable history. It was like a love letter to the fans and to Frances Reid herself.
MOST AGE-APPROPRIATE STREAK OF BLUE
IN ONE’S HAIR: Kate Roberts-DiMera
Yes, this happened.