No. 10: Phyllis Helps Jack Detox, The Young and the Restless
We criticized a lot (okay, most) of the stories The Young and the Restless told in 2013, but you can never go wrong by pairing "The Berg" (Peter Bergman) and "The Staff" (Michelle Stafford) in a meaty storyline. Phyllis helping Jack detox from his addictions to booze and pills was the best of Y&R in 2013. The soap smartly played on the complicated histories of the two iconiccharacters, not to mention their powerhouse portrayers.
No. 9: Return of the Jeromes, General Hospital
For many fans of ABC Daytime's General Hospital, "mob" had become a dirty word, thanks to previous regimes insistence on having organized crime sagas dominate the sudser's front burner. Executive producer Frank Valentini and head writer Ron Carlivati bided their time before launching a new mob war in Port Charles. They spent said time reconfiguring the canvas to tell stories centered on other popular elements from the soap's canon, i.e. the Cassadines, the Nurses' Ball, ELQ and the hospital.
When sultry gallery owner Ava Jerome (Maura West) was first introduced, fans and Port Charles citizens alike took notice of her infamous surname. Could she be one of those Jeromes? Ava denied her connection to the mob dynasty who terrorized Port Charles in the early 90's, insisting Jerome was a common name.
Meanwhile, mob heir Morgan Corinthos (Bryan Craig), who was dating Ava's daughter Kiki (Kristen Alderson), found himself hiding out at Ava's penthouse from thugs, after racking up a serious online gambling debt. A coincidence it wasn't!
The story really heated up when Ava's mysterious art benefactor, wealthy publisher Derek Wells (William deVry), descended upon Port Charles. Derek, as it turned out, was really Julian Jerome with reconstructive surgery! The sexy SOB was back from the dead and wanted to reclaim his territory from Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard). Let the mob games begin.
No. 8: JJ and Theresa Terrorize Salem, Days of Our Lives
Our dislike for all things "Dannifer" is well noted. The chemistry-devoid, heavily-pushed no-mance between Dr. Daniel Jonas (Shawn Christian) and Salem saint Jennifer Horton (Melissa Reeves) was one of precious few things left to gripe about on the masterfully-rebuilt Days of Our Lives in 2013.
Even Dannifer was made bearable this past year, however, courtesy of a pair of delicious, taut, young adult schemers. Jennifer's sullen, grieving son, Jack Deveraux, Jr. (Casey Moss), and Theresa Donovan (Jen Lilley), half-sister of Jenn's high school nemesis Eve (Charlotte Ross), pounced on Dannifer's relationship the moment they respectively hit town.
Disrespectful. Drug-addicted. Debaucherous. JJ and Theresa harken back to DAYS long history of introducing horrid snots via the soap's younger scene. Heck, cruise-going matriarch Julie Williams (most notably played by Susan Seaforth Hayes) made her 1965 debut as a teen shoplifter! We can't forget Salem's ultimate teen scheme queen. Almost two decades after she drugged her sister's boyfriend and sold her kid sister on the black market, former pubescent bad seed Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney) is still going strong! Welcome to the club, JJ and Theresa.
No. 7: David's Redemption, All My Children
Dr. David Hayward (Vincent Irizarry) played God by resurrecting everyone who ever died in fictional Pine Valley, Pennsylvania just prior to All My Children going off the air on ABC Daytime. For some reason the townsfolk still don't like the fellow! You'd think the guy allowing their loved ones to pull a Lazarus would make him the burg's hero. Unfortunately, David's numerous evil deeds threatened to cancel out all the good he's done in 2013.
One woman didn't see it that way. Lucky for David, she just so happened to be the dimpled heart and soul of the town. Dr. Angie Hubbard (Debbi Morgan) risked the wrath of her husband Jesse (Darnell Williams) to cosign David's release from prison. David returned the favor, by supporting Angie through the harrowing ordeal of her daughter being sold to sex traffickers.
While still no prince—just ask ex-flame Cara (Lindsay Hartley) how he reacted when he learned she lied about their kid—David made notable steps toward redemption on the new-and-short-lived AMC update, which made for good online television.
No. 6: EJ Gives Up Everything for Sami, Days of Our Lives
Sami, Sami, Sami (Alison Sweeney). Will this woman ever shy from telling lies, committing well-intentioned murders and/or participating in complicated cover-ups? We hope not. Days of Our Lives wouldn't be nearly as fun to watch!
This past year, the eternal bad girl found herself facing a murder rap — again. When she walked in on a dirty cop about to change ex-husband Rafe (Galen Gering) from a rooster to a hen, she shot him dead.
Sami neglected to mention to the authorities she knew the cop-in-question. He was one of Stefano's (Joe Mascolo) henchmen, dispatched to get dirt on Sami's son Will (Chandler Massey). Our Samantha had previously tried to hogtie the chap in a public park, all of which had been recorded for posterity by Chad DiMera (Casey Deidrick)!
Despite the best efforts of the town's 20-something set to see the video squashed. Sami's preachy nemesis Adrienne Kiriakis (Judi Evans) stumbled upon the damning footage and sold Sami up the Salem River, quicker than you could say "I Went to Greece on a Location Shoot"! Not even Adrienne's brilliant lawyer husband Justin (Wally Kurth) could save Sami. EJ, however, could.
The dark prince of the DiMeras knew his father could get Sami off in a heartbeat. Having recently succeeded in ousting Stefano from atop the DiMera empire, EJ had no choice but to return the spoils of their war. He was also forced to get down on his knees, kiss daddy's pinky ring and pledge unwavering loyalty. If that isn't true love, I don't know what is.
No. 5: Cassie is Sold to Sex Slavers, All My Children
Agnes Nixon is known for telling compelling, timely tales, ripped-from-the-headlines on her soap operas. In her 80's, she proved still capable of spinning such powerful yarns, by overseeing an arc about Angie Hubbard's (Debbi Morgan) adopted daughter being sold into sex slavery on the new All My Children.
Jesse (Darnell Williams) wanted to surprise Angie by flying Cassie (Sal Stowers) home from Paris for a visit. He never imagined the beautiful young ex-pat would be abducted at the airport by a ruthless underworld network of sex traffickers.
In an umbrella story that saw the returns of Zach Slater (Thorsten Kaye) and Billy Clyde Tuggle (Matthew Cowles), AMC viewers witnessed the horrors of the sex trade via the offspring of one of the soap's most beloved couples. The story was disturbing, ugly and unimaginable, but anyone who watched it more than likely had a conversation with their daughters about not getting into cars with strangers.
No. 4: Robin Returns from the Dead, General Hospital
We've been screaming on our podcast for years for the soap opera to retire the "Return From The Dead" as a plot device. What the heck do we know?
When done right, a RFTD can still provide soapgasmic television viewing. General Hospital proved this in 2013, when believed dead heroine Dr. Robin Scorpio-Drake (Kimberly McCullough) finally began reuniting with her loved ones.
It isn't every day a spunky, upstate New York medical researcher is spirited away from the lab explosion believed to have killed her, to secretly work on a cure for polonium poisoning to save the life of an international terrorist. Imagine Prince Nikolas Cassadine's (Tyler Christopher) shock when he discovered his "deceased" pal roaming around his family's Greek compound. Here he thought he was only there to rescue a baby from the tot's maniacal grandparents!
As heartwarming as Robin and Nikolas' reunion was, it paled in comparison to those with Robert (Tristan Rogers), Anna (Finola Hughes), Duke (Ian Buchanan) and just when you thought you would punch your TV in a mad state of "WILL THEY GET ON WITH THIS?" near-psychosis, finally, Robin's daughter and husband — the latter of whom happened to be at a church about to marry someone else!
It will be a long time before we forget Emma (Brooklyn Rae Silzer) sweetly yelping "Mommy", or that kiss Patrick (Jason Thompson) planted on Robin. Sorry, Sabrina (Teresa Castillo).
No. 3: Katie, Bill and Brooke Triangle, The Bold and the Beautiful
Just when you thought Brooke Logan (Katherine Kelly Lang) couldn't shock Southern California any further, she did, by hooking up with her kid sister's husband! To be fair, Katie Logan Spencer (Heather Tom) did orchestrate the initial connection between her husband Dollar Bill Spencer (Don Diamont) and her ravishing elder sibling.
Suffering from postpartum depression, Katie pushed Bill and Brooke together. Brooke, vulnerable after being dumped on her honeymoon by Ridge (now played by Thorsten Kaye) and the death of frenemy Stephanie (Susan Flannery), tried to fight her attraction to "The Stallion", but as Brooke is prone to do, she eventually gave in to her most basic of instincts.
No matter who caused Bill and Brooke to come together, the pairing proved combustible, blowing apart the Logan sisters' relationship and affecting the balance of power at both Spencer Publications and Forrester Creations. A vengeful Katie (Tom at her most ferocious and Emmy-deserving) teamed with Bill's sister to oust him from his own company.
Meanwhile, Brooke was finally deemed simply too scandalous to even attend an FC fashion show! Nobody wears a scarlet letter better than Logan.
No. 2: Return of the Nurses Ball / 50th Anniversary, General Hospital
For the past decade or so, soap showrunners have claimed it was too expensive to properly pay homage to a sudser's history during anniversary seasons and/or to do the kind of big, splashy events soaps were once known for. General Hospital said to heck with that thinking in 2013 and with the blessing of ABC Daytime pulled out all the stops to bring back the Nurses' Ball and celebrate the soap's 50th Anniversary in style.
For the better part of a year, GH fans were treated to the returns of the serial's most beloved characters. Laura (Genie Francis), Lucy (Lynn Herring), Scotty (Kin Shriner), Noah (Rick Springfield), Bobbie (Jacklyn Zeman), Brenda (Vanessa Marcil), Jax (Ingo Rademacher), Frisco (Jack Wagner), Faison (Anders Hove), Sean (John Reilly), Lesley (Denise Alexander), Audrey (Rachel Ames) and countless more were on screen in 2013 and not just for blink-and-you-missed them appearances.
The majority of returns actually played into the soap's umbrella storyline, featuring sinister supervillains battling it out with the heroes of old. Sure, you couldn't satisfy everyone. Remember Jack Wagner's Twitter meltdown? But we challenge anyone to find another soap that has even attempted something of this magnitude to pay tribute to such a milestone.
No. 1: Kristen's Revenge, Days of Our Lives
Revenge is a dish best served by a psychotic blonde. No, we aren't auditioning for a gig writing promos about Emily Thorne from that one soap on ABC. We are talking about the insurmountable Kristen Blake DiMera (Eileen Davidson) from NBC's Days of Our Lives.
It had been a whopping 15 years (that's like 40 in soap years) since John Black (Drake Hogestyn) chose Dr. Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall) over the unhinged adopted daughter of arch rival Stefano DiMera (Joe Mascolo). To say Kristen was still carrying around quite the grudge would be an understatement along the lines of saying DAYS really likes to kill off Jack Deveraux!
Kristen's return to Salem got off to a slow start, but once her schemes began percolating, you couldn't look away. First she dismantled Jarlena's union, by painting Marlena as an obsessive shrew, who couldn't let go of the past. Then she seduced Brady (Eric Martsolf), John's son, who has long had issues with his stepmother.
She torpedoed John and Brady's relationship as well, by managing to elicit latent feelings in the Black patriarch. Brady was so furious, he got into a knockdown, drag out fist fight with his Pop!
Devastated when Brady—whom she had actually fallen in love with—dumped her, Kristen decided to use Marlena's other son to achieve her ultimate goal. She opted to drug and rape Father Eric Brady (Greg Vaughan) in order to wholly destroy Marlena's life!
What she didn't count on, was that idiot Brady forgiving her again. Buoyed by her second chance at love, Kristen decided not to show anyone the flash drive footage of her boning the priest.
Victor Kiriakis (John Aniston) had other plans. Brady's grandfather was determined to save him from himself and set up Marlena to preside over quite the nasty slide show at Bristen's wedding! Can you say scorched Earth? Salem hasn't been this much fun since the Devil herself resided in town.