Truth is, I’m rather moody myself. Even world-famous brain surgeons have needs. And with a hottie like Katie on the other side —

— Reid (to Henry)

Eric Sheffer Stevens’s Emmy-Worthy Performances?

To jump straight to the clips from fan-suggested episodes, click here. I took the “short list” from threads I started at LRO, ESS.com, the Reid Oliver FB, and atwt_lure community, I have seen a bunch of suggestions, which I’ll post here for your viewing pleasure and you can vote for in the poll that’s pinned in the sidebar (top right of each page).

ETA, 4th March 2011, 6.54pm GMT: Added some observations based on last year’s Supporting Actor reels.

In the meantime, I admit, I’ve been thinking about this for awhile – ever since it occurred to me that Eric and Van were BOTH seriously Emmy contenders (though no longer, sigh) and that nominees are only allowed to submit ONE episode for consideration (due March 11th).

The shortcomings of the single-episode format

I can hypothesize two rationales:

  • the level the playing field, so that great actors with fewer episodes filmed can compete against lesser performers with more airtime
  • to reduce the length of the Emmy reels

Both of these are lame excuses, IMNSHO. Even two episodes would be (duh) obviously, twice as good, allowing an actor to choose two different scenes to complete a story or show their range. If there is someone knowledgeable who can tell me the real reason, I’m happy to retract my insult. Lengthy rambling on the problems with the one-episode system follow, but I’ll collapse them for those of you who’d prefer to get on with the episodes.

[spoiler name=shortcomings]

I realize that before they went to the one-episode rule, that reels ranged in length from about 8 minutes to over 40 minutes. If that were the problem, they should set a time limit on the length of the reel (15-20 minutes sounds about right, since just about everyone was under 15 minutes to start with – and we know that Luke and Reid rarely got more airtime than that based on the YouTube clips). ETA – though after a closer reading of the rules, this may be even more complicated if they HAVE to submit all scenes from the episode they select, which would explain the dramatic variation in duration of reels.

OTOH, one episode rewards both happenstance (anyone can have a good day) and favors actors who happen to be given stellar material and hit it out of the ballpark. I think this unfairly discriminates against actors who are very good day to day (like Eric) vs those who have the ultra-soapy episodes (Van’s scenes on the day of Reid’s death, Crystal Chappell’s graveyard scene, Jonathan Jackson’s confrontation scene). But then again, Crystal Chappell lost, so what do I know.

At any rate, Reid was a character who grew on many people. For many, it was love at first sight, but part of that love was knowing the ATWT context and seeing how wildly funny and odd Reid was in that environment (telling off Lily! and Bob Hughes! and Kim! calling OPD on their incompetence!). And much of his acting was incredibly subtle and spread in moments across episodes (I think I timed one facial response in Dallas that I thought was particularly telling at 0.19). These are “unless you watch these scenes carefully, if you blink, you’ll miss them moments.”

Most of the Emmy screeners will be unfamiliar with their peers’ shows. At the Vermont Shakespeare meet & greet, Jenny Sheffer Stevens mentioned that they had started watching the show and were following a few storylines (I think they liked Benry, as both Eric and Jenny had worked with Trent previously) but I don’t get the sense that they watched their OWN show regularly. Van, I’m pretty sure has alluded to the same in the past. So if they don’t watch their own shows, it’s hard to believe that they watch the rest of their peers’ shows the way the fans do. This creates the “unrepresentative episode” and small sample size problem that contributed to ATWT winning this year’s WGA award for writing.

As I’ve said in my WGA post, it’s obviously impossible to subject daytime award judges to 200+ episodes of 6-10 soaps as that would be truly cruel and inhumane punishment, but surely there must be some middle ground between one episode and 200? Though any one actor won’t be in 200 episodes, with six acting categories, it’s likely that between all a show’s nominees would easily have performed in hundreds of episodes.

So, for this year, we are still stuck with this single-episode format. Keep in mind that with a 10-15-minute reel, 14  pre-nominees per category (not just the 5 eventual nominees), 6 categories, that’s still 840 minutes (14 hours) of footage. If judges only judge their own category (e.g., Supporting Actor), that’s a lot more reasonable (140 minutes). I’m not sure who gets to vote on what, so I’m trying to get confirmation on that.

So given that the Emmy voters won’t be familiar with the show, in this single-episode format, there are two possible scenarios:

  • The judges take their responsibility seriously, watch all 6+ hours with equal attention and vote for the best acting they see!
  • They give the videos a superficial viewing and vote for their favorites based on any of a number of set of rules (bloc-voting actors from their own soap, voting for their best friends, you name it).

The paring of the pre-pre-nomination list (everyone who submitted) to the current pre-nom list was done without viewing any footage from the current year. But comments from by TV Guide Canada’s Nelson Branco, Daytime Confidential’s Jamey Giddens, and even generally non-sensationalist Michael Fairman, it sounds like there will inevitably be some questionable votes cast.

[/spoiler]

So, given that we’re stuck with the single-episode format this season, what ONE episode should Eric submit? The challenge is finding one episode that best shows range and quality. Historically, pundits have argued that the really soapy stuff tends to win (one reason so many thought Van Hansis was a shoo-in, and many in the soap press have named Jonathan Jackson as the frontrunner in the Best Supporting Actor category) – deaths, confrontations, professions of love, etc.

Daytime Emmy Reel Submission Guidelines

Basically, Eric will have to submit a DVD containing scenes from at most ONE episode that aired in calendar year 2010. I believe, but am not sure, that he must include all of his scenes with dialogue from that episode. This is due March 11th and will be accompanied by a 200-word synopsis of the context around the clips selected. More detail below on the official rules.

[spoiler name=guidelines]

From the official Daytime Emmy site submission guide,

Series and Specials (depending on the category), and their related craft achievements must have originally aired or been made available for viewing, downloading or streaming by more than 50% of the US national market between the dates of January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010 within the hours of 2:00am and 6:00pm.

For performers who make the official pre-nomination list (like Eric), they then are required to submit:

DVD Submission for Performer Pre-Nominees Only – due by or before March 11, 2011

DVD Submission Detail: For both One Hour and Half Hour Programs: You may submit a clip reel with an unlimited number of scenes from One Episode. You may exclude scenes with no speaking role. No internal editing. No more than 25% of submission may be from material prior to 2010.

I am not sure what the “25% of the submission may be from material prior to 2010” part means, since the award covers episodes that aired only 2010, and all scenes must be from one episode (how can you air 1/4 of an episode prior to 2010)? The only exception I can think of is that they’re trying to avoid flashback-heavy episodes?

The other clause that’s interesting is “no internal editing” (especially after they specify that you can exclude scenes with no lines). This suggests that whatever episode you pick, you must submit ALL your scenes from that episode. There’s a really thoughtful post on the ESS.com forum thread I started on this topic that makes a really good point about this – that is, with Trent also in the running, it doesn’t make sense for Eric to submit scenes with Trent because it just gives the judges more of Trent to see (and he and Eric are great playing against each other).

The other thing the rulebook specifies, is that in addition to the scenes on DVD, each nominee must submit a:

SYNOPSIS (for Pre-Nominees Only): Due by or before March 11, 2011. You must submit a “Plot Summary” Word Document attachment for each pre-nominated performer that includes the following:

  • Category Number and Name (23. Supporting Actor in a Drama Series)
  • Performer Name, Character Name, Episode Number, Air Date.
  • A synopsis of events/plot summary, defined as a description of contextual character placement and story arc within the season and series, limited to 200 words per episode. Synopses will appear on the ballot as typed by entrant. Please remember to proof read and spell check. Any submitted material that aired in a year previous to 2010, must be acknowledged in this document as well.

Incidentally, I believe the part about things appearing “on the ballot as typed by entrant” applies to the submission process, so I think it’s interesting that, at least on the official press release, Julie Pinson’s character’s name is misspelled as Janet Ciconne (not Ciccone).

[/spoiler]

How are Emmy reels judged?

As you’re thinking about best episodes to select, it might be helpful to take into consideration how these clips will be judged. It used to be that category submissions were judged in mass viewing sessions, but that procedure changed a few years ago so now and are now done at home by judges via DVD. The good news is that means judges can break up the viewing. The bad news is, unless they’re really dedicated, they could be distracted by kids, phone calls, or you-name-it.

I almost forgot this myself. It’s important to remember that they’re screening on average, at a minimum, 14 clips. I say on average because there are 7 shows x 2 nominees per show per category, though some shows have 3 in some categories due to ties, or fewer than 2 if there weren’t enough submissions. I say “at a minimum” because I’m not sure if NATAS considers peers to be “supporting actors” (14), “actors” (14×3), “performers” (14×6), or some other combination thereof.

I’m also not sure exactly how drama performers are judged, but it’s either on a 1-10 scale for “Creativity and Execution” or ranked in order of preference where 1 is best and 2 is second best, etc. Either way, the top 5 cumulative scores are the nominees, of which the top 1 is also the ultimate winner. There is no second round of judging, so the whole “nominees” part is purely ceremonial and pragmatic (they can’t very well name all 14 pre-noms during the awards ceremony – it both sounds ridiculous, and would take DAYS to complete!).

[spoiler name=judging]

According to the Daytime Emmy rulebook:

All entries of all genres are viewed and voted upon in a single round of at-home DVD
Final judging….Performers and Crafts will be evaluated using a 1-10 scale for Creativity and Execution. All Drama categories will employ a 1-5 preferential scoring system (wherein all DVD submissions are evaluated in order of preference ie. “1” for the best, “2” for 2nd best, etc.).

Where a category is found to have a large number of entries which would result in
screening sessions that would exceed what is deemed a reasonable viewing length, a
Preliminary round, utilizing split panels may be employed. The Daytime Online system
randomizes all entries in a particular category and creates a split panel based on the
criteria of total viewing hours contained in that category. Daytime Administrators
quantify a) the total viewing hours within each split panel, b) the number of individual
entries contained in each panel, c) like networks and subject material and d) judges not
having direct conflict with the material they are viewing, in order to create a balance of
entries and panelists. Each entry is scored via a ratings system (where each entry is
judged on its own merit) and a generous raw score-based evaluation and review by the
Awards Committee will determine advancement of entries to a Final judging round.

Drama Performer Category Judging (Pre-Nominations): For Drama Performer categories preliminary ballots will be assigned to registered, eligible peer judges. Only registered Judges may participate in this process. Two performers per show, per category, receiving the most votes advance to the Final Round at-home screening. (There is no viewing of clips, so this is exclusively based on advanced knowledge of the actors, favoritism, or any research the peers choose to employ).

Final Judging Round: This round contains any….Drama Performers who advanced from the “pre-nomination” vote. In this round, entries receiving the highest tabulated score will determine both the official Nominees AND the Winner (or winners in the case of a tie). At the time of the Nomination Announcement and until the winner announcement

I’m not sure if the Performer categories count as big enough to warrant splitting, but it’s an interesting question.

[/spoiler]

Some observations on good reels

The Gold Derby forum has a particularly interesting discussion thread analyzing all five of last year’s Supporting Actor Emmy reels. They give the lengths of the reels as:

Bradford Anderson 8:13
Ricky Paull Goldin 6:51
Jonathan Jackson 9:04
Brian Kerwin 10:12
Billy Miller 32:03

Plus, they have some interesting commentary on the reels that are interesting to take into consideration when thinking about episodes for Eric. Said one reviewer (who was spot on in the outcomes, if not their causality):

Ricky is fantastic in his submission, but I feel like the lack of screen time is gonna hurt him in the end, his reel end just when it really should be beginning and I think that in the end, it is gonna make voters not want to check off his name.

First off, let me just say, welcome back Jonathan Jackson! So happy to see him back on General Hospital. This isn’t your normal Emmy submission, when I say that I mean there is not BIG moment. So far out of the tapes that I have watched you have had two men dealing with the women in their lives betraying them, but with Jonathan’s tape it is the complete opposite. It is a very quiet tape and it allows Jonathan moments to just be a great actor. The moments with Luke on the Haunted Star are pretty fantastic. In the hands of a lesser actor, those moments could have been lost, but Jonathan has the chops to portray every moment perfectly.

Brian is a brilliant actor that can convey so much with his eyes. The pain he is feeling for the lost of his son, the urge of his character wanting to take a drink and the feeling that he is the reason his son is dead. Its [sic] all there and Brian takes all this material and runs with it. Overall, this reel is an actors dream except for the ending, I feel like it is just missing that final moment that would put the cherry on the top of his Emmy sundae. That ending could make or break his chance at winning this category.

Can I just say how much I hate these stand alone episodes! They just scream GIVE ME THE EMMY and normally it works. This tape is just terrible. Billy Miller is a great actor, but for some reason most of the time during this tape he is so over the top, s [sic] laughable. This could be something that the voters fall all over, but I hope not. For 24 minutes, Billy is horrible, for the last 6 minutes of his tape he is amazing. If I was a voter, I would probably turn off his tape by the 15 minute mark, but even if I made it all the way to the end, I dunno if the last part could overcome the horrible ¾ of the tape. 

Jonathan Jackson’s confrontation scene

Last, not to be a downer, but I think we all need to keep everything in perspective. I am above all a Van and Eric fan, but I am also a realist. And I spent enough time buried in the basement of my college newspaper to have some journalistic instincts that make me ask, “So what is he up against?”

Yes, we all think Eric is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I’m not sure we’re the most objective observers! Nor do I think the soap press or judges are necessarily, either – and that’s part of the problem – they could just as easily be biased for someone else. And if there’s anyone else to look out for, to me, the obvious benchmark is Jonathan Jackson. (His most talked-about scene of the year is embedded below inside the collapsed section).

[spoiler name=Jonathan Jackson]

For starters, I’m sure GH fans can probably match our Eric/Van gushing, word-for-word, tweet-for-tweet. But what really got me interested/concerned was when the year-end “Best in Soaps” lists started to come out. In addition to noting Eric’s omnipresence, and Van’s glaring omission, what caught my eye was the and the near-universal and superlative accolades for Jonathan Jackson, whom I didn’t know him from Adam. Notably, Michael Fairman’s list included: “BEST SINGLE PERFORMANCE MALE: Jonathan Jackson – Lucky rips into Nik and Liz for their affair – GH.” And Nelson Branco’s included: “BEST PERFORMANCE IN A STORYLINE — MALE: Jonathan Jackson, General Hospital” (though not sure what a performance not in a storyline would be?).

So, when Van conspicuously left himself out of the running, I decided to take a look myself. For starters, the fact that Jonathan has THREE clips in one episode is telling. Why? Because YouTube puts an arbitrary time/file size limit on clip size (I think it’s been 10 minutes/2 GB, though I know that’s constantly changing), so most fan channels split the clips before posting. Jonathan’s clips total more than 22 minutes and the camera is on him for virtually all of it.

It is one MASSIVE soapy monologue. I found myself jealously wishing that ATWT had given Eric the chance to tackle something like this (I think Van’s equivalent were the scenes on the day of Reid’s death). I don’t think Eric or Van has any episodes that had to be split into three clips. The other thing that Jonathan has working to his advantage is the fact that this episode stands alone. The writers did him (and the judges) a huge favor by including references to the storyline and timeline, so we know exactly why he’s pissed, and his motivations.

LuRe’s storylines unfortunately, were so choppy, with serious continuity problems (remember “I quit”/”Then I quit” again, in back to back episodes?!) that often there is serious explication required to really “get” what’s going on in the clip – and that’s hoping the judges are paying attention to their written synopses at all. 🙁

Apparently I can’t embed YouTube videos inside this spoiler tag, so they’ll follow Eric’s clips at the bottom of this post.

[/spoiler]

If I ever finish this post (and two other Emmy-related ones in process) I’ll add my best guesses for Trent Dawson as well.

Scenes with Trent Dawson, and what it might have meant for Van Hansis

There is a really good post on the ESS.com thread I started on this subject that argues that it’s not a good idea to include your competition in your reel. Unless he chooses an episode where Trent looks bad (and I don’t think that exists – Trent and Eric were great playing off each other), then it won’t hurt Trent and can only help.

But this raised an interesting thought: can you imagine how hard it would have been for Van AND Eric to choose scenes if they had both submitted? As I thought about this, I realised that theirs might be the only time ever, that performers might have to contemplate whether or not to submit scenes including their competition?

Think about it, for this situation to apply, all the following conditions would have to be met:

  • Both performers would have to be the same gender! (that already narrows the list down to….well, not much!); yes, it’s possible to submit scenes with family conflicts or other storylines (e.g. Lucky’s brother features in Jonathan Jackson’s scenes and I just watched one with Jerry Ver Dorn and his on-screen brother), but these are soap operas, and it’s a fair bet that on-screen pairings feature prominently in many submissions
  • Both performers would have to submit in the same category (Lead/Supporting/Younger)
  • Both performers would have to be good enough to receive pre-nominations

Prior to Reid’s death, I would have said the top candidate for BOTH actors was the post-surgery scene. Wouldn’t that have made for interesting viewing (twice!) for the judges?!

Speaking of Trent, clips of his most talked-about episode (where he learns about Vienna’s fake baby and fake miscarriage) also follow at the bottom of this post.

ESS Emmy Episode Poll

The awesome Trent Dawson (ATWT’s Henry), known for his comedic chops has three nominations already – and no wins. And one forum poster mentioned other actors and actresses in the past have regretted submitting humorous episodes. Much of Eric’s stuff is funny, subtle, or much better understood in the context of his character and the show. No knock on Eric’s abilities – he did amazing things with what he was given. But it makes the task of finding a single standout episode harder.

As soon as I finish this post, I’ll post a poll with these options to choose from. I’ve since posted a poll of the episodes suggested and linked to below. As a reminder, this is a poll of the episode that best shows off Eric’s acting abilities, not a “favorite” episode poll. While there’s obviously a lot of overlap between the two, there is a difference.

The poll is definitely spammable (not that I would have thought anybody would bother spamming polls on this site, but I actually read that Nuke fans spammed the Best Episode poll by voting for the train episode and Best Kiss by voting for the one Bob interrupted; yeah, I know, the numbers aren’t all that large, but don’t get me started). So, while I’d ask you not to vote for your preferred episode twice, if you just cant’ decide and want to vote for more than one, do so with my blessing. In the meantime, comments encouraged!  Thanks for visiting!

Clips from the episodes suggested so far follow the jump. I’ll add to the list as more credible options are proposed. I will do my best to add episodes to the poll as well, but the poll widget I use restricts the number of options, so at some point, we may have to go with “write-ins.”

Best episode suggestions

After spamming LRO, ESS.com, the Reid Oliver FB, and atwt_lure community, I have seen a bunch of suggestions, which I’ll post here for your viewing pleasure. Thanks, but no thanks, to everyone who voted for “any episode Eric is in!” or “any episode in which he ___” (fill in the blank – smiles, flirts, snarks is vulnerable, blah, blah, blah). While I agree (!), the problem is that these 20-seconds of highlights are accompanied by 10-15 minutes of wonderful “small moments” may have a hard-time against Jonathan Jackson’s super-soapy confrontation scene.

Much as I adore the Reid Oliver Story YouTube channel, I’m going to embed clips from ADL’s because he uploads his clips by date/episode – and that will be important because some of the mini-arcs people have proposed (e.g., Dallas, Molly/Holden wedding) actually took place over two different episodes, and that’s much easier to see on Anthony’s site. Sorry, Meggie. 😉

January 25th Courtroom: Reid hits Kim’s car and then tells off the officer on the scene, getting himself a trip to the county courthouse. Reid basically insults everybody in Oakdale and gets himself sentenced to work at Memorial. Luke gets a kick out of Reid’s predicament.

[spoiler name=commentary]This is a Reid classic episode, but in all honesty, I don’t think anyone actually talks like this. It feels false to me, so personally, I prefer the more realistic episodes.[/spoiler]

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February 25th I’m With a Patient, Mr Synder – ”I’ve been waiting for a case that was so hopeless it paid to give it a shot.” Luke tries to talk Reid into testifying, then Noah does. Reid asks himself why he’s thinking of a Maltese corpse then shows up at OPD. Luke is grateful and Reid expects payback in the form of Luke’s testimony to get him released and they share an EPIC eyesex as they watch the video of Molly.

[spoiler name=commentary]Like most of the suggestions, I loved this episode, but I don’t believe any doctor would actually survive saying what he says to the patient at the start. Again, bad, writers, bad. Funny as hell, though.[/spoiler]

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March 11th I Also Happen to Be Gay – Interesting episode. It starts with Reid letting Bob sweet-talking him into staying. Then there is the “lucky you have a spare (dad)”/wall push scene at OPD with Luke. Then great Reid/Chris snark and the epic coming out scene with Reid/Katie/Chris/Henry.

[spoiler name=commentary]A lot of great Trent Dawson in this one and he’s integral to the “outing” scene. But the FOUR of them play off each other so well! Lots of great variety, though.[/spoiler]

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March 12th HWTWE – Reid shares a really sweet goodbye with Katie, snarks at Luke, and then shares a flirty moment when he announces he’s gay.

[spoiler name=commentary]One of my top picks because there’s great range from really tender and funny with Katie and Jacob, to snarky and annoyed with Luke to playful and flirty.[/spoiler]

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March 17th Tense moment at the Lilypad – Mr. Judd whales on Reid and he leaves Luke wondering WTF? Reid then goes to Luke’s to tell him to forget about it. He can’t resist giving Luke a little jab (not that kind, though he wishes!) and Luke shoves him towards the door. UST ensues. Super-short. Anthony’s full clip is only 7:51.

[spoiler name=commentary]At 7:51 including credits, this is probably just too short to use. But some great intensity, not so much of the humor Eric and Reid are famous for.[/spoiler]

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March 25th Reid Asks Luke to fund the wing – Bob redlines Reid’s budget and then Reid whines to Katie that Henry’s funding won’t be enough and Katie asks if he knows anyone who’s loaded. Reid asks Luke for money in a hilariously awkward scene at Java. Bob reminds Reid there are more important things in life than work, and Luke says he’ll do it.

[spoiler name=commentary]This to me doesn’t show Eric’s range as much as other episodes, though awkward Reid (caught thinking about what we all know they were both thinking about!) is adorable.[/spoiler]

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March 29th Elevator – Luke reminds Reid about the meeting at the Lakeview and they talk about the wing as they get on the elevator, before they get stuck. When they’re finally released, Reid hands Luke his coat and goes to save Dusty, leaving a shocked Janet and Carly in his wake. After Dusty’s successful surgery Reid and Luke share a moment before Reid gets served with papers.

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April 8th Eyesex/Katie Figures It Out – Reid and Luke flirt – big time, and then Reid tests the waters during an examination with Noah. Noah sees a little light. Reid vents to Katie and she figures out that he has a “thing” for Mr. Snyder. After describing Luke and Noah as the gay “Bob and Kim” he calls Luke to tell him Noah’s had a breakthrough.

[spoiler name=commentary]This is just everyday great Eric to me – nothing that stands out and screams “Emmy!”[/spoiler]

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April 15th Dallas – Before the Hearing: Luke prepares Reid for his hearing and gets him to open up about Annie Judd. After Luke “asks what does that make us then?” Reid bolts before he gives himself time to really think about that. The next morning Reid shows up to find Luke in a towel. He nervously thanks Luke and reacts infinitesimally to Luke’s “I Care” before @$*#@&^%@ing Noah interrupts with a call.

[spoiler name=commentary]I love this episode for where it fits in the storyline, but I just don’t feel like there’s enough comedy or drama in this one – highs, lows, ebbs, etc – to pick this over the others.[/spoiler]

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April 22nd Dallas – After the Hearing: Luke drags Reid to the bar, they ride the bull (FTW!), and Luke and Reid share a nice moment before he calls for the verdict. And oh yeah, Reid kisses Luke and calls him Luke.

[spoiler name=commentary]Same here. What LuRe fan can NOT love this episode? But it’s too evenly paced to me and doesn’t show much range.[/spoiler]

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May 5th Post-Surgery: Reid tells Luke there were “complications”, questions whether he could have done more and gets sent home, and takes a shower before Luke shows up and yells. Oh yeah, and they kiss.

[spoiler name=commentary]My frontrunner. There’s been some lively debate over the many months and it’s going again about “who was better” in this episode. I don’t know about who was better, but when Van starts literally shaking before the kiss, I can’t take my eyes off his vulnerability. Such a tough call.[/spoiler]

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May 28th Babbling – Reid releases Noah from the hospital and notices Richard. Then he and Luke wander around Oakdale, look for Gabriel, flirt, and play chess. Oh yeah, then Reid babbles and Luke kisses him. Thank you, Luciano.

[spoiler name=commentary]Perhaps my favorite LuRe episode ever (so hard to choose), but again, not so much range.[/spoiler]

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June 30 Over-reacted: (Before this episode, Reid quit his job, then saw Luke and Noah at Java). Reid negotiates an offer at the Mayo but tells him he didn’t do it for him (bad, Reid, bad). After Luke tells of Bob and Mona, Bob and Reid have a heart to heart, Reid drinks lemonade and Luke suggests they figure things out together. This is a short episode for Eric (10:52 including credits).

[spoiler name=commentary]My biggest concern for this one is the length. Anthony’s total clip is 10:52 including credits. A lot of it is Luke telling off Bob and Mona. So I’m not sure there’s enough meat here.[/spoiler]

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July 26th Playing Doctor – Reid makes Nurse Gretchen cry, sticks it to Chris about Bob suggesting him as COS, flirts with Luke and shows his soft underbelly. This is another short episode, though (only 10:25 including credits, so that might work at his disadvantage).

[spoiler name=commentary]Another short one, but also without many highs and lows[/spoiler]

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August 2nd Wedding Part 1 – Luke sweet talks grumpy tired Reid into attending the wedding. Abigail mistakes him for Noah and he has that great scene with Molly.

[spoiler name=commentary]Cute cute cute cute cute. Did I say cute? But I’m not sure it will stand out as Emmy material.[/spoiler]

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August 9th Stuck-up Brain Surgeon – Reid confronts Chris after catching him drawing his blood. With a little prompting from Bob, Luke offers to help Reid prepare for a meeting with the hospital union leaders, suggesting he wear chinos (does anyone still use that term? that’s so ‘80s. Even khakis are so ‘90s). Reid impresses the union and returns to the hospital to find out why Chris no-showed. Luke suggests they go celebrate and Reid kisses him (life is short).

[spoiler name=commentary]Personally, for me, I just feel Eric has stronger episodes. This one doesn’t show as much dramatic range and personally, if I were one of the union leaders, I would be all over him like flypaper knowing the way he treats my staff (see Exhibit A: Nurse Gretchen). He was being honest, but though his frankness is refreshing, I doubt it would have played out the way it id. This lack of realism kills this episode for me. It makes me feel like he’s acting. For that, I blame the writers.[/spoiler]

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September 1st Golf – Reid suggests a doctor for Noah who blows him off. Reid and Luke snark a bit about Noah. Reid says something nice about Nancy then finds out Chris is out playing golf (scenes with John, Bob, and Kim). Reid plays golf (no additional detail necessary here). Chris sucks wind and Reid has to rush him back to Memorial. Reid sends Katie home and Luke isn’t pleased. Reid goes to walk away and Chris flatlines.

[spoiler name=commentary]I’m not sure this episode is as strong as some of the others when viewed in isolation. This episode is so much better really understanding Reid’s relationships with Bob and Kim, Katie, Luke AND Chris. I don’t think 200 words is enough synopsis to give enough context to make this make sense. Unlike other episodes where he interacts, in many of those cases the relationships are much clearer and more obvious.[/spoiler]

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September 2nd Hold the Phone – Reid and Luke discuss Reid’s advice to Katie (‘”go home and pull yourself together”) and Luke lets it slip that he’s in love with Reid. Bob tells him off for keeping Chris’s secret. Kim snarks at him for undermining Chris so he can get the COS job and Bob defends him. Reid has a change of heart and tells Katie to be with Chris. Nice moment with Luke when he tells him what he did.

[spoiler name=commentary]I’m not thrilled with this one because like in the Wedding Part 2, he does not come off as a hero. When Bob and Kim tell him off, he does the stoic thing we all know and love about Reid. Not knowing Reid, you want him to stand up for himself and I think it makes him look weak. Similarly, while his “you wouldn’t believe me now” in response to Luke’s declaration of love was 100% in character, but just looks SO unromantic in isolation. Can that be a good thing in a soap award?[/spoiler]

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Episodes I omitted from the poll

There were a few suggested episodes I haven’t included in the poll for a few reasons. Among these are too little footage, too many scenes featuring Trent, and episodes that to me are hysterical and classic Reid, but don’t “feel” like soaps. I know that’s one reason we loved them so much, but I wonder if the judges will as well since it’s so atypical of the genre. OTOH, I think there ARE episodes that are funny AND in-genre (like the Reid/Henry “I am perfect. I always happen to be gay” scene which I think is in-character for all FOUR characters involved (Reid, Henry, Katie, and Chris) AND is super funny and sounds natural – like stuff real people might say.

These are:

February 10th I Save Them – Reid loses a patient and callously tells someone else to deal with the family. Katie wonders how he does it and Reid and Henry snark. Luke whines about the no-contact-with-Noah conditions and Reid snarks back. Noah has an appointment with Reid, who barks at him about Luke having “a bad hair day.” He then tells Katie to man-up and have Jacob’s bone marrow tested to see if she’s a match for Liberty. Reid has Henry quarantined for TB and later he and Katie share a nice scene where she asks him about the patients he’s lost and he gives her a hug “absolutely not”). The hard part about this episode for me is that Trent (“That guy gives rude and insensitive a bad name”) and Van (“The only thing that you’ve ever lost is a fee”) to me, have the best lines in the episode. Plus, this episode is so much better with the final scene of Hank in the hospital gown and somehow that just doesn’t seem fair to include in Eric’s Emmy reel! FYI – I had to use clips from Meggie’s channel for this one because I think Anthony didn’t upload Reid scenes before it was official that he was gay!

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April 9th I Need You  Bob tells Reid he’s been suspended. Luke drags him away before he can get himself canned by Bob and Reid tells Luke he needs his help to get his license back. Luke agrees to help, and as they head to the airport, Reid looks longingly at Luke who is watching Orchard through the window of Al’s. I know it’s not quantity, but quality that counts, but this episode has only about 6 minutes of Reid.

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August 3rd Wedding Part 2 – Reid stuffs his face and then offers Carly little help when she fakes a sprained ankle. Great scene with Ethan and Natalie, then the scene in the honeymoon suite. Although I think the scenes with the kids are adorable and the strong hinting and closing scene are great, but I can’t get over Luke’s rejection of Reid’s kiss. To me, it emasculates Reid in a way and makes him look like a bit of a sucker (especially taken out of context and knowing how Luke really feels – the kiss wasn’t enough for me to get over the bad taste left in my mouth after Luke says everything reminds him of Noah). I look at soap characters as being heroes or villains. Reid is a hero (not a CG/JP “HERO”) but a hero in the classical Greek sense of the word. He doesn’t look like a hero in this episode. Plus there are only 7 minutes of Reid scenes in this episode.

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Jonathan Jackson’s clips

January 25th Among other advantages (i.e., soapy scene, and LOTS of screen-time) he has, these clips need no introduction and speak for themselves.

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Trent Dawson’s clips

I didn’t see all that many Trent scenes, but I saw this one live and was blown away. I was even more impressed watching it the second time around. I think this is widely being discussed as Trent’s most likely Emmy episode. It’s shorter than Jonathan’s but it’s again super-soapy, and what’s going on in the clips is self-evident. He also shows a TON of range at the beginning starting from genuinely sad about the baby he thinks he’s lost, to confused/worried for Katie, then angry, scared, and just plain sad about the turn of events.

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Incidentally, while I was searching for the above clip, I came across this one at first from elle1406’s Katie fan channel. It was really interesting watching Chris (of all people!) in this episode as he’s actually likeable! If they’d written Chris this way, I could have actually liked him. Chratie will never match LuRe (DUH) but at least they would be likable and people I would cheer for. It was particularly ironic that Chris tells Vienna off for lying to someone she claims to love, and telling her that Henry should run, not walk, away as fast as he can. If only THIS Chris had stayed on-screen. I would have liked to see this Chris either stay healthy or get someone else’s heart, and give Reid a legitimate run for his money. Ultimately, I think poetic justice would leave a young Hughes as the moral center of the show (Daniel, and even Casey were too young for this role, and let’s not even get started on Adam), so Chris was the logical choice. It’s too bad they didn’t make him worthy of the role.

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10 Responses to “Eric Sheffer Stevens’s Emmy-Worthy Performances?”

  1. mmc says:

    I seem to be going through the same kind of sadness and disbelief by Van not submitting himself for the Emmy as i had when Reid died, Luke was devastated and left alone and ATWT ended.I read what Van said and my head agrees that it’s his choice but my foolish heart doesn’t.i and so many others wanted him to be nominated and there was a good chance he’d win.He deserved to be there and to have his wonderful body of work shown.i know what’s done is done but I can’t get past it.I’m happy for Eric and Trent but it will never make sense to me that Van , who deserved to be nominated more than anyone else, chose not to.Somehow not seeing Vans name on the list just doesn’t seem right and sad to say I don’t really have much interest in the Emmys anymore!I’m sorry to be such a downer because usually i’m such a cock eyed optimist.and i hope this too shall pass!

  2. Karen says:

    I am very excited that Eric submitted for the Emmy. It’s going to be a rocky ride.
    When I saw Jonathan Jackson’s name in the Supporting Actor category as well, my heart dropped. It’s been my experience that the Daytime Emmy’s seem to favor the ABC soaps, but I could be wrong.
    That being said, I think the post surgery kiss episode might be the one to go with. It shows a wide range of emotions and feelings from anger to bewilderment to indignation and tenderness among others.
    I just wish Eric all the best and I really hope we see him win this award!

  3. mmc says:

    Thanks LL for all the great information.While I think Eric really is a terrific actor, to me his best scenes were with Van.Whether he was angry at him, or sticking up for him, or flirting with him, or kissing him, It seems that Van was always there. One time he was without Van and it was when he was writing a prescription out for Noah and Noah asked when he started having feelings for Luke and he said” the second or third time I laid eyes on him”Then Noah said he was no longer his Dr. and Reid laced into him and told him off about the way he treated Luke and that now he could see the door now use it!I’m sure there are other scenes without Van but i loved them best when they were acting together,Then you saw all the emotions surface.i still can’t accept that Van did not submit himself ….He had so many scenes , mostly with Eric and some without!i do love Eric but having said that you know that I love Van and I’m such a Van Fan!But I do wish Eric good luck, and Trent too.Trent is a great actor too!

  4. fandeck says:

    LoveLure–was talking with Kim (kwb) and she suggested the elevator episode. Can’t remember how long that one was without checking my disc, but that did show quite a bit of range and did have an easy to follow arc–although all that sweating was a bit distracting, LOL.

  5. fandeck says:

    LoveLure asked that I post my comment from ESS.com over here–so I’ve included it below. And LoveLure I really agree with your analysis in this phenomenal blog post. In thinking about what makes sense for submission, it is really important to step out of what we know and love about Reid and Eric’s portrayal of him and experience the episodes in isolation. Viewing things this way really changes one’s perspective and IMHO leaves a very limited number of options for Eric to submit. You did a great job of capturing the issues related to a choice for submission LoveLure!

    OK, so here’s my original (and long) post:

    Hi everyone–don’t post much over here but I’m obsessed about this topic! I’m going to be lazy and copy my insanely long post (with a few additions) from ESS.com over here. By the way, count me in that minority who thought Eric was better on the post-surgery day episode than Van. I thought his scenes show much more range without ever going over the top (sorry, I’m sure that isn’t a popular opinion).

    I think Eric should choose the post-surgery kiss episode. Given what seems to win over the judges, I think it is the only choice that really makes sense. And it does still have some humor/snark with the comment to Bob about getting his wife to “embroider that on a pillow.”

    Several years ago Rick Hearst and Nancy Lee Grahn were up for Emmy awards (this was back in the day when you could pick two episodes). They were both stellar that year and they had a fabulous episode together that featured a lot of comedy. They both picked it as one of their two choices—and they both lost—and they both talked a lot about how much they regretted choosing comedy and how they would never make such a choice again.

    I don’t think ESS EVER gave a bad performance—his consistency was nothing short of amazing. I remember often reading a spoiler and thinking “how is that going to work–it seems way too out of character for Reid,” but Eric pulled it off every damned time. The judges really seem to love the scene-chewing type of dramatic performances, but Eric is a much more naturalistic actor (amazing given the daytime context). In his beginning years, Van was much more naturalistic as well—and while Van was head and shoulders above the competition for at least two of his nominated years, this naturalism probably robbed him of the Emmy against some others with scene-chewing footage.

    The post-surgery day is Eric’s most dramatic footage by traditional soap standards and, thus, likely his best option. If I remember correctly, there is also a preference for episodes that have a more cohesive story arc so that viewers who don’t follow the show can easily understand what is going on in the context of the episode. The post-surgery day holds up welll on this dimension. It’s astounding how the boys got from point A to point X 😉 given how that episode began; I remember a lot of us wondering how that start would ever end with a kiss, but they sold it. Eric took Reid through an impressive range of emotions in scenes with Bob, Luke, and Luke’s family—he was by turns devastated, defensive, curt, deflated, sarcastic, sincere, shocked, angry, incredulous, hurt, concerned, tender, and sensual—just to name a few.

    I think he showed a lot of range on the Feb. 10th episode (the one where he “hugged” Katie and quarantined Hank), but that was not a very cohesive episode. Yes, he was in a lot of scenes with a lot of folks, but there wasn’t as much of an overall story arc. And I also think that since Trent is one of his competitors, it would make sense for him to choose an episode that DOES NOT include Trent. Why give the voters additional footage featuring his competition?

    I think a lot of the episodes we love–HWTWE, “I’m not,” etc., wouldn’t be as effective for voters who are viewing them as one-offs and are unfamiliar with the character—and most of our favorites don’t have the time length that the post-surgery day does. I love the Mayo Clinic episode that ltklo suggests over on Livejournal, but it’s probably too quiet (if that makes sense) for the judges and it is also very short in terms of actual airtime.

    My only concern with the post-surgery day is the ending kiss, if any judges are homophobic (if so, they shouldn’t be in this business, lol). Of course, as a straight actor selling a same-sex kiss, I’d give him the Emmy for that alone!

    My apologies for the long post—as you can tell I’ve spent way too much time thinking about this. I just can’t imagine that anyone turned in a performance last year that was as consistently superb as Eric’s—I really don’t remember him hitting a false note in eight months. Too bad the judges only see one episode and tend to eat up the uber-dramatics like Jonathan Jackson apparently served up on GH (not meaning to discredit him—I know he is an excellent actor as well). Here’s hoping for a year that breaks that trend!!!!

    • lovelure says:

      Thanks, fandeck – your post really stood out for me when I read it originally and I think it captured many of the key issues. If only I could find a way to make a living out of blogging about LuRe! 🙂

  6. Love Lure says:

    Okay – i’ve reposted it and it includes clips of some of the most likely candidates plus a poll so you can vote. Thanks.

  7. Love Lure says:

    FYI – I posted this by accident a few hours ago (it wasn’t done, so I removed the original post) but I’m almost there. Just 1 or 2 episodes left to find and it’ll be back up again. 🙂

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