No. 10: Jackie and Owen, The Bold and the Beautiful
"Cougar" storylines were all the rage in 2009, but not all big cats were created equal. Unlike All My Children's contrived, dare-we-say, icky Erica and Ryan (Susan Lucci and Cameron Mathison) pairing, the relationship between Jackie (Lesley-Anne Down) and Owen (Brandon Beemer) on The Bold and the Beautiful felt organic and highly erotic. Gorgeous, much younger, stud Owen Knight helped revitalize sophisticated, fashion maven Jackie Marone, even as their relationship stirred up conflict with Jackie's son, Nick (Jack Wagner). From catwalks to Hawaiian beaches and many a photo shoot in between, Jowen flaunted their relationship—and Beemer's delicious abs— proving that some cougars are definitely better than others!
No. 9: Billy and Chloe, The Young and the Restless
While TPTB were still stuck on the notion that drippy Mackenzie Browning (Clementine Ford) is the love of Billy Abbott's (Billy Miller) life in 2009, even Adam Newman (Michael Muhney) could see that pint-sized fashionista Chloe Mitchell is the only girl for Jack's (Peter Bergman) baby bro. Not even Miller's unmatched acting chops could make us believe Billy actually wanted to back out of his marriage to sexy, sparky Chloe, because one-note Mac was back from Darfur and no longer his kissing kin. This year we suffered through the forced Billy/Mac reunion, and watched helplessly as the sizzling Chloe was wasted in a pairing with Sgt. Snore-ingham (John Driscoll's Chance). Meanwhile Billy and Chloe still set off fire alarms off every time they were in scenes together in 2009, whether it was squaring off at Restless Style, or over their precious daughter, Cordelia. Will we ever get to see this couple make a go for it? Let's hope there's still a chance.
No. 8: Brad and Katie, As the World Turns
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage, right? Unfortunately that wasn't how things went for As The World Turn's Brad and Katie Snyder (Austin Peckand Terri Colombino) in 2009. Bratie's fertility issues caused a lot of sturm, drang and a couple of miscarriages for the couple and pal Vienna, but in the end Bratie was with child. If you're waiting for "and they all lived happily ever after" you obviously weren't watching this soap in 2009. While trying to get her n'er-do-well best pal Henry (Trent Coleman) out of his latest pickle, a very pregnant Katie got herself kidnapped by a mobster who bore a striking resemblance to a deceased, New York area physician. Brad attempted to rescue Katie, and ultimately paid for his heroism with his own life, accidently at the hands of his cop brother, Jack (Michael Park), but the story didn't end there. In what could have been another cheesy rip off of the movie Ghost, Brad's spirit returned to Oakdale, desperate to reconnect with Katie and their son Jacob. The storyline's denouement, with Brad finally making contact with Katie, Jacob and the rest of his loved ones proved to be some of the best soap opera scenes produced in 2009, cementing the exiting Peck's leading man status, and making us even sadder about the rebounding ATWT's cancellation. The late Patrick Swayze, along with Doug and Irna would be proud.
No. 7: Brody and Jessica, One Life to Live
What do you get when you take one AWOL Marine with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and a woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder and throw them together? One hot couple! Or is that really four hot couples? We're still confused. One Life to Live's Jessica (Bree Williamson) and Brody (Mark Lawson) fell shrunken heads over heels in love while trying to find themselves at St. Anne's Psychiatric Hospital. While a romance at the funny farm didn't exactly seem like one that would have legs, Lawson and Williamson's red hot chemistry more than sold the storyline. After all, how could you not love a couple when the man is in love with all three of the woman's personalities?
No. 6: Jake and Amanda, All My Children
The year 2009 was a tough one to be an All My Children fan. Amid the ridiculous plot points, outlandish, out-of-character antics of beloved Pine Valley denizens and the absolutely awful, shameful, awful (Did we mention awful?) writing, there were but a few reasons to still have hope for this show. One of those reasons was Jake and Amanda's (Ricky Paull Goldin and Chrishell Stause) love story.
It was a miracle from the Soap Gods that after seeing the chemistry between Goldin and Stause, the shiny ball watchers at AMC aborted the onscreen reunion between Goldin and former Guiding Light costar Beth Ehlers (Taylor) and instead opted for JaManda. The love and support Jake provided Amanda as she carried the spawn of Satan (known in some versions of the bible as Vincent Irizarry's David Hayward) made fans root for the couple even more. Despite all the insane choices this couple made to protect their (after all the tomfoolery, the kid turns out to be Jake's!) baby from the omnipotent Dr. Doom, Stause and Goldin made it work, and for that they deserve nothing less than a pair of Nobel Peace prizes. Too bad they'll have to settle for being named one of Daytime Confidential's Best Couples of 2009.
No. 5: Todd and Tea, One Life to Live
The fire and ice relationship between Llanview's millionaire bad boy and the Latina lawyer was never fully explored when it began years ago on One Life to Live. Don't worry, like fine wine, TNT only gets better with age. Tea Delgado (Florencia Lozano) never pulls any punches with Todd Manning (Trevor St. John), or anyone else for that matter. With St. John's razor sharp-yet-at-times-maddeningly-subtle acting instincts, alongside Lozano's fiery delivery, the duo has made TNT: The Sequel a volatile hit. We can't wait to see what jumps off for this explosive pairing in 2010 now that equally combustable daughter Dani is in the mix!
No. 4: Spinelli and Maxie, General Hospital
Spixie fans almost got the wedding of their dreams on General Hospital in 2009. You heard right, almost. When most soap opera couples have a fanbase as undeniable as the one devoted to Maxie Jones (Kirsten Storms) and Damien Spinelli (Bradford Anderson) TPTB tends to give them what they want— at least some of the time. That being said, we never believed for one second the brass would actually give Spixie the fairytale wedding they deserve.
Instead, Spixie lovers were treated to a bizarre-yet-oddly-charming "non-wedding", that saw the quirky, young lovers realizing they still needed to grow as people separately before making a life long commitment. Too bad part of Maxie's "growth process" saw her cheating on Spin with psychotic artist Franco (James Franco), proving the young anti-heroine still has a lot of growing up to do. Here's hoping that 2010 will be the year Spixie finally gets it right.
No. 3: Sami and Rafe, Days of our Lives
Has there ever been an actor Alison Sweeney (Sami) didn't have chemistry with on Days of Our Lives? We can't think of one.
Sami and Rafe's (Galen Gering) 2009 romance was classic soap. So classic in fact it started off as an obvious retelling of Sami's parents, Roman and Marlena's (then-Wayne Northrop and Deidre Hall) original love story—a snotty blonde in distress, needs the protection of a lawman, whether she knows it or not, who doesn't want to be anywhere near her, yet the two slowly begins to fall hopelessly and helplessly in love.
Rafe stood by Sami as she carried her manipulative, ex-husband EJ DiMera's (James Scott) child, and even planned to help her fake an adoption to raise Baby Grace away from the DiMera's influence (Take that Bachelor Bob!). When the child Sami loved as her own perished, it was Rafe who saw her through it. It was also Rafe who proved that Grace hadn't really been Sami and EJ's child. An unhinged Nicole (Arianne Zucker), had switched the late infant at birth with Sydney, the child Nicole raised with EJ for much of the 2009. For years, it was "Sami Against the World "in life and love on DAYS, but in 2009 Rafe's calming presence, patience and protective, oh-so-sexy embrace created a "Safe" place for Salem's favorite bitch-turned-heroine to be finally let her guard down.
No. 2: Kyle and Fish, One Life to Live
The usual recipe for success for a young couple on a daytime soap opera goes something like this: take a character— generally of the heterosexual persuasion— who is a member of a core family and build a sweeping, starcrossed, boy-meets-girl, boy-hates-girl, boy-and-girl fall in love while saving the world from mobsters, European megalomaniacs and/or a scheming, century's old witch and her talking doll. Kish had none of those elements. First of all, this supercouple was decidedly boy-meets-boy.
While same sex pairings had been done in daytime pre-Kish (Relax Nukesters), unlike As The World Turns' Luke Snyder (Van Hansis) or even All My Children's sapphic heroine Bianca Montgomery (Eden Riegel), neither Oliver Fish (Scott Evans) nor Kyle Lewis (Brett Claywell) were so much as even loosely associated with any of Llanvview's core families. Fish was the goofy cop, who town sluts liked to bang when they were bored. Kyle was the dirty bird lab technician who would sell his soul— or a bag of blood— for the right price. The two peripheral characters weren't even in the same orbit—until they were.
From the moment OLTL began teasing at a secret past for frat bros Kyle and Fish (every gay bois fantasy du juor!), message boards, blogs like this one,After Elton, and even Perez Hiltonbegan to sit up and take notice. The Kish phenomenon was born. Unlike practically every other gay couple in soaps, from Kay Chancellor and her lesbi-lady friend on The Young and the Restless in the 1970's, to even our Number One couple of 2009 (see next page), TPTB at One Life to Live and ABC Daytime actually allowed Kish their due in 2009, telling a romantic, organic storyline for this inspiring duo, complete with (gasp!) horizontal clothes groping and plenty-o-smooches! They may not crash servers yet (Wait 'till that sex scene), but Kish was definitely the most realistic, if not quite the most popular, gay soap couple of 2009, and for that, they earned our Number 2 spot.
No. 1: Olivia and Natalia, Guiding Light
For months, Guiding Light teased viewers with a possible pairing between seemingly heterosexual maneater Olivia Spencer (Crystal Chappell) and naive, Catholic mom Natalia Rivera (Jessica Leccia), all the while swearing to the media the pairing would never happen, as opposed to promoting it like crazy to an L-World mourning, upwardly mobile, niche demographic.
In 2009, GL's last year on the air, Otalia did happen. The fire between Chappell's Olivia and Leccia's Natalia— former rivals for the affections of the late Gus Aitorro (Ricky Paull Goldin)— was enough to burn those damn cookies Natalia was forever baking in the kitchen of the late Hart Jessup's old farm house. It really is a shame TPTB didn't have the courage or confidence in their audience to give the most buzzed about pairing in the last decade of soaps the same kind of affectionate, intimate scenes it afforded their straight counterparts. Who knows, it just might have bought the sudser another year? Maybe not, but at least GL fans, not to mention Olivia and Natalia, would have gone away satisfied.
Despite the behind-the-scenes obstacles the pair faced, and plenty of plot driven ones onscreen (Frank impregnating Natalia anyone?), Otalia's love proved to be one that not even prejudice, fear or small-mindedness could destroy. If you don't believe us, just as the IT people for CNN International, or the ones manning the official VeniceThe Series website. Otalia fever is so doggone strong people are actually paying $10 for a chance to see Chappell and Leccia finally get their chance at love, playing two new characters on a web soap opera, when just a few years back the Writers Guild of America was forced to strike because greedy, Hollyweird producers were refusing to pay up for online content, stating there was no money to be made with scripted ventures online. Silly, silly Procter and Gamble, lesbians buy soap too, ya know!