Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Best of 2006, part 2

Welcome to part two of The Best of 2006!
I’m just going to jump right back in.

April 5: There were a whole lot of things wrong with Blake’s INSIDE THE LIGHT episode. Way too much story crammed into one day left many viewers with the feeling of having been hit by a speeding truck that quickly disappears over the horizon. It’s a shame that Blake is so unimportant to the writing staff at GL that this story couldn’t have been given its proper due, but, after watching the episode again months after the fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that we may have overlooked some of its finer aspects. First and foremost, the appearance of Maureen Garrett as Holly is, in and of itself, worth the price of admission, automatically qualifying the episode for an appearance on this list. Garrett is a joy to watch and her work in that episode is as sensitive and well crafted as you’d expect from this amazing actor. But, beyond that, Liz Keifer (Blake) and Gina Tognoni also turn in deeply heartfelt performances as Ross’ grieving widow and daughter. For all its faults (and, believe me, there are many!), this episode still has much to recommend it.
Love Lostclip 1 , clip 2 , clip 3 , clip 4 , clip 5 , clip 6

April 26: One of the best complete episodes of the show all year is this blistering, brutal, and beautiful ITL featuring Gus as he grapples with his addiction to pain medication. Beth Ehlers is really wonderful here, but it’s Ricky Paull Goldin’s raw, honest, heartbreaking portrayal of the agony of withdrawal that leaves the viewer breathless and completely captivated. This episode also features a masterstroke of directing brilliance via a knock-down-drag-out physical fight between Gus and Harley that is filmed in silence through a window. The effect is that it shields the viewer from some of the more disturbing violence of the fight while simultaneously applying a megaphone the underlying horror of the event.
I can’t say enough about this amazing episode, except that it doesn’t matter whether you like the couple or not, this is daytime drama at it’s finest.
Aba Daba Dabaclip 1 , clip 2 , clip 3 , clip 4 , clip 5 , clip 6

April 28: What accounting of the best of 2006 would be complete without a look back at the Daytime Emmys? What a proud, exciting, and glorious night for GL and its fans! I still tear up watching Jordan Clarke (Billy) win his Emmy, no matter how many times I see it. GL is so battered, abused, and disregarded in so many circles and this tremendous evening of prolonged recognition was especially thrilling for those of us who know what a great show it still is thanks to the fantastic cast.
2006 Daytime Emmysclip 1 , clip 2 , clip 3

May 9: Caitlin Van Zandt is an exciting find for GL and her portrayal of Ashlee is a breath of fresh air on the show. What I appreciate most about the humor in Ashlee’s scenes is that she’s actually funny, in contrast to a lot of the forced “humor” that gets put forth, not just on this show, but on all soaps. Gus, Lizzie, Mallet, Dinah, and a few others all have had their time in the comedy sun, but Ashlee has me laughing more loudly and more often than any current soap character. No, it doesn’t work every single time, but when this girl is “on”, boy, does she get the job done!
This scene with Tammy contains more than a few hysterically funny bits, not the least of which is her simple but hilarious reaction to the discovery that Tammy is in love with with her own cousin, as well as a surprisingly moving moment right in the middle of the scene. And, of course, there is her magnificent and inspired reading of the line that I chose as the title of this clip: Jealous?

May 10: This sweet and wonderful ITL features a trio of ghosts from GL’s past returning to earth to advise their children. All of the ladies are welcome sights, but it’s luminous Fiona Hutchison as Jenna that steals the show. The moment where ghostly Jenna sadly moves away from Buzz at the hospital is pure soap heartbreak and there are lots of other great scenes and performances as well, including a surprisingly appealing Lillian/Buzz exchange.
Mother’s Dayclip 1 , clip 2 , clip 3 , clip 4 , clip 5 , clip 6 , clip7

May 15 & 16: This deeply satisfying (at the time, anyway) and unrelentingly emotional group event surrounding the reveals that not only is Phillip alive, but he and Rick were indirectly responsible for Ross’ death were, without question, some of the best viewing of the year. 9 of Springfield’s best and most interesting characters played by 9 of GL’s best and most interesting actors playing a story that spoke directly to the history of the show with decades-old, very high stakes! Blockbuster performance upon blockbuster performance from an array of GL’s brightest lights ricocheting off of each like super-heated particles of pure energy! Beth Chamberlin, Michael O’Leary (Rick), Gina Tognoni, Liz Keifer, Ron Raines (Alan), Beth Ehlers, and the rest all at the top of their game! It’s not overstating my case to say that these two days in May were simply glorious. Unfortunately, because the story contained no Reva and no Jonathan, it was almost immediately dropped except for a few of the plot threads that were halfheartedly squeezed in between Reva featurettes and Jonathan featurettes .
This event shows very clearly that GL, as it stands today, has what it takes to be what viewers want, if only they’d write for the entire cast.
Phillip Is Aliveclip 1 , clip 2 , clip 3

May 18: I teared up several times this year while watching GL. The Gus/Harley detox ITL, several Billy scenes, and Dinah/Mallet’s aborted wedding among others, but there was one time in ’06 where I was actually sobbing. It was the day Beth miscarried. Beth Chamberlin, always one to “go all the way there,” plumbed the bottommost depths of the despair and grief that losing a child can cause. Her work in this episode is absolutely shattering. There’s nothing more to say except that I will be furious when GL politics inevitably prevent Chamberlin from receiving the Emmy pre-nomination that she quite clearly deserves.
A Motherclip 1 , clip 2 , clip 3

May 30: There were several truly fine moments during Reva’s cancer storyline. It really is a pity that it was allowed to eat the entire show whole for six months (with only the equally interminable baby story as respite) because when you inundate viewers with the same thing day after day after week after week after month after month, it really does become a nearly indecipherable blur, regardless of its quality.
Having said that, the story did provide more than a few truly searing experiences in ’06, the very best of which is this brief but indelibly heartbreaking vignette near the beginning of the cancer saga. Kim Zimmer is at her best when she lets go of the bluster and the bravado and the creepy, forced sexuality to let us see the human being beneath Reva’s “act”. This scene finds Reva naked, scared, and very suddenly dying and it finds Zimmer similarly defenseless and particularly effective.
In a Moment

June 5: One of the things, I love about daytime is the ability to examine and display the “smaller moments” of a story. GL had a pretty spotty track record with taking advantage of this ability in ’06, but these lovely scenes featuring the chemistry-rich but seldom together Mel and Jeffrey fairly sparkle with easy comfort and natural rhythm.
An Organized Mindclip 1 , clip 2

June 7: Mallet’s “THE LAW” ITL was crap on a stick and practically unwatchable (despite Rob Bogue’s game performance and off the charts sexual magnetism), but the theme sequence to GL’s reality-show-within-a-show is actually rather clever and very funny, so I chose to include it (the theme sequence only, mind you!) on this list for the satisfying creativity on display

The hits just keep on coming! Stay tuned for part three in what’s now looking to be a four part series!


Blogger alanspauldingfan said...

Nice job Ivn. You have some great clips in there.

7:53 PM  

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