Monday, January 01, 2007

The Best of 2006, part 3

Happy New Year!
Boldly onward into the second half of 2006 we go!
July 4: This year’s Bauer BBQ got a lot of flak for having no Bauers at it, which was weird to me because there were four of the show’s five Bauers prominently featured in the episode, plus (admittedly one-sided) telephone conversations with Ed and Michelle. I thought the episode was just fantastic, especially Rick and Mel calling Leah’s bluff at Cedars and Beth’s astonishment at Leah’s age (“Leah? Look at you! You’re all… grown up!). I loved Blake’s acknowledgement of her status as a pseudo-Bauer and the tenderness between Josh and Cassie. I could go on because there was a whole lot to love about this episode. Group events like this are so important and such a meaningful pleasure for soap viewers who spend so much time with these characters.
Fireworksclip 1 , clip 2 , clip 3 , clip 4 , clip 5 , clip 6

July 13: We don’t get enough cross interaction of characters from different stories and the preparations for Dinah’s wedding showed us what we were missing. The mini-catfight between Harley and Olivia was truly hysterical as they poked fun at the alarming excesses of their soap heroine lives. Also interesting is the Blake section at the end of the scene, setting up as it does her actions later on in the year.

July 21: It would be the understatement of the year to say that there has been considerable backlash to the pairing of Josh and Cassie and that’s a real pity too because all the backlash in the world can’t take away from the effervescent chemistry between Robert Newman and Nicole Forester. Newman is brilliant in these scenes where Josh unburdens the pain and frustration that his relationship with Reva brings, communicating the heartache and helplessness of his character as he reaches for the happiness before him. As many of the couple’s best scenes were, these too were sabotaged by being directly juxtaposed with Reva suffering in the hospital, creating for many viewers the erroneous impression that Josh and Cassie’s love was a direct byproduct of Reva’s pain.
This episode also contained one of Jordan Clarke’s many standout performances as Billy discovers that he is ineligible to donate marrow to Reva because of his past with alcoholism. Clarke is a master of a naturalistic style of acting that appears completely effortless and utterly unlike “acting.” One of the best things about GL in 2006 was the effect of Jordan Clarke’s Emmy nomination and win on Billy’s profile on the canvas.
Painlessclip 1 , clip 2

July 25: Dinah and Mallet’s engagement party was noteworthy partly because of the fact that it was big group event featuring really satisfying scenes with Vanessa /Olivia and Blake/Jeffrey, but the main reason that this episode stands head and shoulders above a lot of the rest of the year is because of Gina Tognoni. Her portrayal of wary, weary Dinah dealing with a crippling betrayal from Mallet is so gripping and visceral and arresting. Tognoni is a master of making her character into a total human and really dragging the viewer heart-first into Dinah’s reality and at no time this year was that on clearer display than during the boathouse scenes with Rob Bogue’s Mallet. It bears mentioning here that the often-overlooked Bogue does very good work here as well.
Trust--clip 1 , clip 2 , clip 3

August 17 & 21: The section of the unpleasant, unsatisfying, illogical, and never-ending “Lizzie’s baby” plotline where Lizzie shoots Alan brought the story (briefly though it was) squarely into contact with the rest of the show. (What? There’s more to the show than Jonathan and his harem? Surely, you jest!) For way too short a time, all (well, most anyway) of the people who should’ve been caring that Alan was trying to take Lizzie’s child from her suddenly did after she shot him in her Beacon hotel room. The shooting event and the run-up to it brought people out of the woodwork, like the often inexcusably absent Alexandra. The immediate fallout from shooting saw no less than 10 characters (11, if you count Jon and Billy’s surprisingly hilarious phone conversation) interacting at Cedars advancing several different plotlines in ways that mattered. Placing Lizzie’s story in context to the rest of Springfield instead of its usual spot in Teen Island Hell gave it more weight and quite frankly, it about quadrupled its entertainment value.
Saferclip 1 , clip 2 , clip 3

August 21: Also from this date is this wonderful performance from Crystal Chappel as Olivia tells Buzz the story of how her mother died. This clip is also worth mentioning because of the appearance of the lovely and charismatic Alice Kremelberg as Young Olivia.
A Shadow Behind Her Eyes

August 30: One exciting thing about GL in 2006 was the return of the location shoot. As might be expected, every single one of them was used to feature Reva (Umm… okay…) and this one was no exception, although on this particular shoot, some other people got to come along (!). This ITL centered on an honor being given to Josh aboard the USS Intrepid in New York Harbor. I’m a sucker for outdoor shoots (especially on cash-strapped GL where we get so few of them), so I really enjoyed the scenes on the ship, but it was the indoor Springfield scenes in the “regular” part of the episode that qualified it for this list. Robert Newman, once again, delivers the goods in spades in a difficult scene where Reva attempts to justify breaking Josh’s heart for no apparent reason. Newman is Kim Zimmer’s equal in every way, matching her wall of emotion step for step with his underplayed, intricately layered strength. He follows this scene with an incredibly touching, romantic, and well-written exchange with Nicole Forester’s Cassie (herself the picture of radiant vulnerability). It was this Josh/Cassie “goldfish scene” that irrevocably solidified the couple as the rooting interest for me in the cancer story.
What Price Freedomclip 1 , clip 2 , clip 3 , clip 4 , clip 5 , clip 6

September 7: The 15,000th episode… Yeah, how about that 15,000th episode?
Let me put it this way: For inclusion on this list, I edited it down to just the enjoyable parts. I was left with 4 minutes. Marj Dusay is amazing and hysterically funny as a fractured, Southern-fried version of Alexandra and she is, far and away, the very best thing about this travesty of an episode. I’m at a complete loss to explain why we don’t see this phenomenal actor more.
15,000th episode

September 13: The ITL containing the aborted wedding of Dinah and Mallet was nothing short of amazing for several reasons. It was a veritable rollercoaster of different styles as the episode transitioned from beginning to middle to end. The first parts of the show are hysterically funny with Rob Bogue and especially Gina Tognoni bringing all the funny you could want as Mallet and Dinah are forced to honor their reservation for their canceled wedding reception at Towers. The middle sections where Dinah and Mallet make up and resolve to get married after all are touching and genuinely romantic to a degree that is rarely seen in daytime (or anywhere else, for that matter) these days. Finally, the end segments where the wedding is called off again and the aftermath are crushing and profoundly heartbreaking thanks to truly brilliant performances from Tognoni and Bogue. A captivating episode on so very many levels, this is among the best of the best.
Cross Over the Lineclip 1 , clip 2 , clip 3 , clip 4 , clip 5 , clip 6

September 14: A Spaulding event! There were precious few of them in Lewis/Cooperville this past year (especially ones where they weren’t depicted as the most evil people imaginable) and the brunch attended by Alexandra, Beth, Lillian, Lizzie, Rick and Jonathan was a rare and welcome treat. The incomparable Marj Dusay was on glorious display as Alexandra interacted with Lizzie’s self-satisfied, obnoxious new husband Jonathan. Also great viewing is the example of surprisingly good scene partners Beth Chamberlin and Tom Pelphrey in scenes relating to Jonathan’s blackmailing of Beth, but it’s the group dynamic that’s the star of these clips.
Family Mattersclip 1 , clip 2

September 19: This is a standout episode full of standout scenes with lots and lots of characters. It’s not really a huge “event” show (although plenty happens), but practically everything is incredibly well done, from the hilarious scenes of Blake discovery Dinah coming out of Jeffrey’s bathroom in the morning to Cassie’s attempts to find a partying companion and eventual impromptu “girls’ night” with Dinah, to Josh and Reva’s beautifully played goodbye scenes at the lighthouse, to Olivia’s manic, desperate breakdown and attempt on Ava’s life, to Josh’s sad, lonely phone call to Marah, just about everything about this episode clicks on all cylinders.
It’s worth mentioning here that Nicole Forester delivers a fantasticly strong set of performances, transitioning Cassie seamlessly from comedic to dramatic situations with Mallet, Frank, Dinah and Reva. Forester proves without a doubt that she stands shoulder to shoulder with most adept of GL’s phenomenally talented ensemble.
Good Timesclip 1 , clip 2 , clip 3 , clip 4 , clip5 , clip 6

September 26: Another wonderfully understated set of GL’s “small” scenes finds Olivia and Billy crossing paths on Main Street. No bombs go off, nobody cries or yells, no great belly laughs. Just the lovely, slice-of-life, naturalism that makes GL GL.
Checking In

And that, readers, is part three! If you’re still reading (and congratulations to you if you are!), part four is coming very soon!

---ivnkplng :)


Blogger sosquare said...

Billy had a great line in "checking in." "Fair enough." That is a very relevant motto for most of the relationships on GL. Everyone gets their chance, their excuses, and their do-overs. It may sound trite, but "fair enough" is very powerful.

8:17 PM  

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