By Michele Dargan

So I’m trying to catchup on five back episodes of General Hospital, which I haven’t watched because…..oh yeah, I could care less!!!

Let’s see….we have the Brenda returns storyline……snooo-ZER!

Brenda Barrett (Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo). (ABC/Rick Rowell)

Really! How absolutely sloooowwwwwly can Brenda’s return drag out.

There are so many non-storylines going on around Brenda (Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo) – and none are remotely interesting…

The whole Sonny/Brenda and Sonny/Jason reunion is a total bore…a big WHO CARES???

Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo (Brenda) and Maurice Benard (Sonny). (ABC/Rick Rowell)

I am SOoooo sick of all those flashback clips.

The first couple of clips were nostalgic…now they’re fast-forward material every time one comes on.

The only s/l that could have been a home run is Brenda’s involvement with the Alliance to Save Exploited Children, a group that helps children involved in sex trafficking.

That was a great opportunity for the writers to shed light on an important social issue….

Instead, the exploited children issue has taken a backseat to the hunt for yet another criminal – the big, bad Balkan….

And if TPTB think that I’m at all interested in Lucky going to Ireland to try and track down The Balkan – along with dragging Dante and Lulu into the mix – I don’t care about that either….It’s also boring!

I do think that Jonathan Jackson as Lucky has a remarkable Irish accent, though.

And vying for perhaps the worst storyline of all time…..

Drumroll please…..

The Claire and Sonny tryst!!

Yes, folks, they want us, the stupid viewers, to believe that Claire Walsh (Dahlia Salem), a career-driven, tough-as-nails federal prosecutor with one goal in mind – to take down Sonny Corinthos – ends up throwing her career away for the chance to sleep with the mobster….

Dahlia Salem (Claire) and Maurice Benard (Sonny). (ABC/Ron Tom)

That, my friends, is an all-time low on many fronts.

But especially because they took a strong, smart woman and reduced her to Jello (once again) after falling under the spell of the charming mob boss.

It’s a shame, really. Because I like Salem and her portrayal of Claire.

I just don’t like the way the character has been ruined.

The only strong woman who hasn’t fallen prey to Sonny is Diane Miller (Carolyn Hennesy).

Believe me, I was cheering when Diane lit into Claire for trashing her career for a roll in the hay with Sonny.

Smart woman, that Diane.

And Carolyn Hennesy really brings it every time she’s on that screen.

Carolyn Hennesy (Diane Miller)

Yessireee…she’s one of the best things that show has going for it!

The only storyline that of interest right now is the Crazy Lisa kidnapping Robin storyline….

Kimberly McCullough (Robin) Brianna Brown (Lisa) Jason Thompson (Patrick) Photo: ABC

But, quite frankly, that was spoiled for me by the spoilers and the previews, which gave everything away! UGH!

By Michele Dargan

First of all, let me start out by saying I loved the tribute to Dick Clark and American Bandstand.

So well-deserved!

It was difficult watching Dick Clark sobbing at the end and I do think they could have taken the camera off of him sooner.

I also am so happy that Agnes Nixon, creator One Life To Live and All My Children was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Agnes Nixon - Lifetime Achievement Award

Again, well-deserved and so appropriate that Susan Lucci give her that award.

Known as bringing social issues to her daytime dramas, Nixon is a pioneer and a trailblazer.

All I have to say is that I wish she were still at the helm of her beloved soaps.

The tribute to As The World Turns, which is ending its 54-year television run in September, was definitely sad.

But I really wish they had used more clips from its early days….I find that when they do these tributes to longtime soaps, they use a couple of old clips and a majority of newer ones.

As many of my Twitter peeps noted last night, where was the In Memoriam???

I think that was a huge black eye on the event, not to have honored those who have passed away and have given so much to the genre.

And there was NO pre-awards, red carpet coverage!

Where the heck was SOAPnet with that?

I know SOAPnet (the alleged soap channel) is going off the air in 2012, but has it already checked itself off the air?

SOAPnet usually carries that portion of the program.

That was a HUGE faux pas not having live red carpet coverage.

Click here to see SOAPnet’s still photo red carpet gallery

And, for the record, I don’t think the 2010 Daytime Emmy Awards were rigged for CBS – per se – just because it was broadcast on that network.

(My tweets last night were taken out of context…coming from a reporter I never thought I’d be saying THOSE words – LOL!)

Facts: the awards WERE broadcast on CBS and it did receive the majority of major awards.

But I DO think ABC got ripped off….there were some amazing actors and actresses from ABC who were nominated.

That’s not taking ANYTHING away from the CBS actors who did win and I’m not saying they didn’t deserve it.

In the name of full disclosure, I am an ABC soap fan. Those are the main soaps that I watch daily.

(Hey, I can’t watch them all…I have a day job!)

Julie Berman (Lulu/GH) took home the Best Younger Actress Emmy and was the only ABC actor/actress to do so.

It was her second consecutive win in this category and huge kudos to her!

I do think the sentimentality of As The World Turns ending in three months may have factored in to the fact that ATWT won so much. (Note the usage of may have.)

And that’s not a bad thing, because this is their last chance to win for this soap and it is a wonderful tribute to this longest running soap.

It’s really extremely sad that As The World Turns is ending – and following so closely on the heels of it’s CBS compatriot Guiding Light closing down last year.

I enjoyed the emotion and the speeches by the ATWT actors who won: Maura West for Outstanding Lead Actress (Carly/ATWT), Michael Park for Outstanding Lead Actor (Jack/ATWT) and Outstanding Supporting Actress Julie Pinson (Janet/ATWT).

I really liked the way Pinson – in her acceptance speech – payed homage to her fellow nominees in the supporting actress category….Very classy of her!

Julie Pinson (Janet/ATWT) winner of Outstanding Supporting Actress

Just like last year, I think that was one of the strongest categories.

In my opinion, it should have been between Carolyn Hennesy (Diane/GH) and Bree Williamson (Jessica/OLTL) for the win.

Again, not taking anything away from Pinson.

Hennesy is one of the brightest spots on GH….Among all of the mob violence and doom and gloom, Hennesy as the saavy mob lawyer who brings a humaness to all the violent stuff around her.

Carolyn Hennesy (Diane/GH) Oustanding Supporting Actress nominee

She lights up the screen and is a master at putting a smile on my face while I’m watching her masterfully portray the smart, sometimes wise-cracking Diane.

As for Williamson (Jessica/OLTL), she got totally ripped off last year. She should have won it, hands down, no question!

So she’s nominated again this year….with equally strong performances – and she doesn’t win again? Huh?

Williamson is one of the strongest performers on OLTL…she constantly delivers in all of her scenes – whether comic or sadness – Williamson gives 110 percent.

In the Outstanding Supporting Actor category, Brian Kerwin (Charlie/OLTL) got my vote.

Again, not taking away ANYTHING from winner Billy Miller (Billy/Y&R)….but Kerwin is a great veteran who brings lots of experience to the role of Charlie Bank and has brought lots of layers to the character in the past year.

I also have to give nods and kudos to Bradford Anderson (Spinelli/GH) and Jonathan Jackson (Lucky/GH) for their noms and, quite frankly, I would have been happy if they had won.

Anderson….what can I say….he is totally amazing as the offbeat, sweet and brilliant computer geek Spinelli….He’s another one who brings so much to his character and to the role, that he really needs to win this at some point.

Jackson…I must say I was less than happy when he took the role back from Greg Vaughan, who I loved as Lucky. When Jackson first came back, I thought he looked way too young to be Lucky….let alone a cop.

But, I must say, Jackson has won me over.

He gave such gut-wrenching performances when Lucky found out about Liz/Nik betrayal and he’s done such good work that I’ve come around to thinking of him as Lucky.

There’s no doubt he’s a wonderful actor and I also love his scenes with Luke (Tony Geary) and Ethan (Nathan Parsons) his new-found brother.

As far as Outstanding Drama Series, the Bold and the Beautiful won for the second consecutive year!

Seriously?

Oh…almost forgot….

So glad that Cash Cab won two Emmys, including Ben Bailey for Outstanding Game Show Host.

I love that show!

By Michele Dargan

I love Claire Walsh as the tough-as-nails prosecutor on General Hospital for many reasons.

Steve Burton (Jason) and Dahlia Salem (Claire) on GH. (ABC/Patrick Wymore)

For one, Dahlia Salem as Walsh brings a great deal of realism to the role.

She has the mannerisms and presence of a prosecutor down better than many real-life prosecutors.

I know this because is my real job as a news reporter, I cover courts and spend lots of time sitting in courtrooms and watching prosecutors on a daily basis.

Salem, as Walsh, is the real deal.

She’s tough. She’ll do just about anything to win a case – except lie which is taboo – and she has a conscience.

She also has a soft side – as evidenced by her talk with Lucky (Jonathan Jackson) about her biological clock ticking.

I love her paired with Lucky, btw, and I hope that’s where the writers go with her.

Of course, these days, Walsh is making a deal with the devil – namely Sonny -in order to arrest Johnny.

Now, that part, I don’t really like, because – up to now – everything about her character was pretty much real.

But, seriously, this would never happen in reality!

At least not with any ethical prosecutor – and that’s exactly what Claire is.

Remember how incensed she was when she discovered that Jax lied to her and knew it was Michael who killed Claudia all along?

That was real!

But I really liked Monday’s eppy when Claire told Sonny (Maurice Benard) what he was really about.

And she nailed it!

“You’re really good at justifying yourself,” Claire said. “And what’s fascinating to me is that everything that people say, is true. You are ruthless and you’re manipulative. I wouldn’t call you brilliant, but you’re certainly cunning.

“You’re your own biggest fan and you think the world owes you a favor because your stepdad slapped you around. And you use your bad experiences to justify the violence you cause. You’re an emotional bully!”

But then Sonny comes back with telling her that HE knows what she’s all about – her career! And that’s why she doensn’t have a husband or children.

He goes on to tell her that if she arrests him instead of Johnny, it would be much better for her career, because he’s a much bigger fish to fry and Johnny’s a nobody.

“You’re ego never fails to astound me,” Claire says. “Where I’m headed, people like you are somebody else’s problem and, where I’m headed, you’re not a thought on anybody’s mind. You’re just something they scrape off the bottom of their shoes. You’re a stepping stone…just another way to get where I’m going.”

Well said, Claire!

Dahlia Salem (Claire) and Maurice Benard (Sonny) on GH. (ABC/Ron Tom)

However, I’m really afraid of the path they’re going down….

You see, for some reason which I fail to understand, Sonny attracts some strong, smart women.

Case in point: Alexis.

Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) was Sonny’s attorney when she slept with him. Can you say Conflict of Interest?

One Time and BINGO -she’s pregnant!

I DON’T – and I Mean DON’T want to see Claire go down that road.

I cannot stomach Sonny seducing one more intelligent woman and make her into a driveling, Sonny defender.

Not this one!

Run Claire, Run!!!