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Applause, Applause
By: Robert Schork
Soap Opera Weekly Magazine
Dated: January 18, 2000

Outstanding Performer for the week of December 20, 1999

It took a while, because of his show's original focus on Harmony's ubiquitous teen scene, but Ben Masters has gradually been given his airtime due – and not a moment too soon. As Julian slowly crept into the show's (melo)dramatic core, Masters has delighted viewers with his flair for portraying a decidedly politically incorrect bastard of a guy you just love to hate – and loathe to admit you're quietly rooting for.

This week, Masters ratcheted up his character's already infamously dour disposition to new heights (or is that lows?), as Julian humorously grumbled his way through a week of holiday celebrations and mishaps.

From his watch-ogling, "it's time to go!" attitude during the calamitous tree-lighting ceremony, which nearly electrocuted Charity and Miguel and zapped the life out of the town's collective yuletide spirit, to his precision comedic timing during Ivy's disastrous party and the unexpected delivery of Alistair's sadistic gifts, Masters' Julian showed himself to be refreshingly unlike any other comic relief on daytime. Masters skillfully mixes the right proportions of blustery, WASPy pomposity, blue-blooded eccentricity, spoiled-rich-kid ego, inferior-to-one's-father insecurities, and scotch-and-crotch-activated impulse in his acting choices – mining the deliciously over-the-top material handed to him by series creator James E. Reilly and his writing team for every nugget of satire, camp and farce that it's worth – and then some.

How apt that Passions fully unwrapped Masters' comic gifts just in time for the holidays. Like other cherished Christmas presents, we dare say it was worth the wait.