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 Two Scoops: June 19, 2006 columns
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Mary Beth Evans
Light at the end of the tunnel
For the Week of June 19, 2006
The fact that the character of Steve Johnson has also returned to Days of our Lives makes Kayla's return all the sweeter.


James E. Reilly, who rejoined "Days of Our Lives" in 2003 as head writer and consulting producer, is leaving the series. Reilly, whose first run as head writer was from 1992-1997, was most notable for Marlena's possession storyline in 1994. When he rejoined the show in 2003, he wrote the well-known Salem Stalker storyline, in which many long-time castmembers' characters were killed off. They were later found all to be alive on an island in the summer of 2004. Reilly, who turns 58 in July, currently holds the record for the longest (combined) tenure as a head writer for "Days." Reilly was head writer for a combined eight years, edging out both Sheri Anderson and the late William J. Bell who each were head writers for approximately seven years. During Reilly's time away from "Days", he created the only other current soap opera on NBC's schedule, "Passions", in July 1999. As he has done since its inception, Reilly will continue to be head writer for "Passions", which was recently renewed for another season.

Buzz says that head writer Hogan Sheffer will take over as the new head writer. I've said it once and I'll say it again. I consider Hogan Sheffer to be THE savior of As the World Turns. So to me…this means incredibly exciting times are ahead for Days of our Lives. And I am incredibly excited. Jeez…I guess I shouldn't be this excited over a soap opera…but you know what? I totally am! =D Welcome, Hogan Sheffer! This fan is THRILLED that you have taken on the job of reconstructing Days of our Lives and has complete faith in your ability. Don't let me down!!!

So…I read an email recently that was sent to someone by a writer on the DOOL writing staff. I know that might raise a few eyebrows but I believe the email to be legitimate mostly because the author of the email was very sympathetic to the fans' feelings about the state of Days of our Lives; even stating a wish to restore the characters back to their original personalities. Though I cannot share the email because it was not sent to me personally - I can share some of the details. The person expressed that the writing staff have also been unhappy with the storylines over the past few years and said that though they have been well aware of the fans complaints; there was nothing that they could do about it. They were simply following their Head Writer's directions. The writer urged the fans to hang in and give Days another shot now that a new HW was on the verge of being installed. The writing team has been made privy to Hogan Sheffer's story ideas and they are very excited. Apparently, Sheffer has installed a few new writers to help transition the storylines from Reilly's era prior to his officially assuming the post of Head Writer. Here are a few things we can expect to see in the upcoming future: Veterans getting more air time (hallelujah! It's about darn time!); Sami finally gets a new storyline and EJ is just the first part (Apparently; the character of EJ is Hogan's creation - not Reilly's. This can only be a good thing); less teen oriented storylines; Patch and Kayla's return without a love triangle (originally - JER had envisioned having Steve involved with another woman). Yes…I truly believe that Hogan Sheffer will do a better job at creating a storyline for Kayla and Steve than JER ever could have. I know I've said this repeatedly but it's true. I can't even think of a better choice for the job than Hogan Sheffer. If I had to pick someone - it would be him. Okay so...moving on from my fawning… Reading that email made me feel hopeful again. I know that there are a lot of unhappy fans out there and I wanted to share the message so that you guys could feel hopeful again too. All I know is; I've stuck with the show this far, I can hang in during the transition period between Head Writers. And if this past week is anything to go by; I think we can expect good things to come as our new Head settles in to his job and takes a firm grip on the reins.

Yup; the past week has been SO exciting from a storyline progression standpoint that I don't even know where to start with my commentary. For the first time in a loooooooong time, I find myself feeling very optimistic about the show and consequently, I really don't have much negative stuff to say this week. What a switch. It's so refreshing! ;) It goes without saying that the return of Kayla Brady is definitely at the top of my list of favorite things that happened this week. It has been fantastic to see this character again after such a long absence. She was always a favorite of mine - and everyone else's - and her return has been very special to many of us. It was GREAT to see her return to the Brady pub and interact with her family again. And of course, the fact that the character of Steve Johnson has also returned to DOOL makes Kayla's return all the sweeter. Mary Beth Evans is still as gorgeous as ever and Steve Nichols is as hot as he was 16 years ago. Just seeing them onscreen made me do the happy dance all over my living room. YAY! Both actors have slipped back in to their characters like it was only yesterday and did not miss a beat. I think the writers are doing a good job at ensuring that the original character traits are being maintained. So far; the character of Steve "Patch" Johnson has been behaving exactly the way he used to. When Steve said "dude" and called Jack "Jackson" I clapped my hands with glee! It might sound dumb to some people but I don't care. It makes me happy and that's all that matters. I can't begin to express how happy I am that Steve and Kayla are back on the show. I guess that for the most part - it is the hope of what is to come that spurs to me to such heights of delight. Seeing all the veterans gathered together at Jennifer's shower brought back so many great memories. Quite a few times this past week I've been brought to tears as I watched Steve and Kayla interact separately with their friends and family. Bo and Kayla's reunion was so special to see, knowing their history - they had a very close brother/sister relationship and shared many adventures together. I think it even brought tears to the actors' eyes. Another great scene was Friday's girls chat with Kayla, Jennifer and Hope. These three have always been close so it was awesome that Days honored this history and had the girls come together just like old times.

The Jack/Patch scenes were especially wonderful to watch. Their old chemistry/banter was exactly the way I remembered. It's amazing what a difference it makes to the watch-ability factor of a show when two fantastic actors who history and chemistry share scenes together. I was literally glued to the screen whenever these two were on. In addition to the great scenes, we were treated to something we haven't experienced in a long time; fast-paced story progression. In the space of one week; Jack realized that the orderly "Nick" was really his brother 'Steve' and did everything he could to convince Steve of that fact and tried to jog his memory at the same time. When that failed, Jack suggested a DNA test and Steve agreed! The results came back at warp speed (which, surprisingly, didn't bother me) and the test actually PROVED that the two were related!! Imagine that! Jack then managed to convince Steve to go back to Salem and Steve said he would only if Jack did. By Friday; the two of them were in the car and on their way home. Wow! I am still flabbergasted by how quickly this has all come about. I'm not complaining - I truly, truly appreciated the story pacing. I'm just a little shocked because this type of movement hasn't happened on Days in YEARS. I couldn't get over the fact that Jack got right to the point and asked Steve to do a DNA test with him. I even did the 'YESSSS' arm movement! There was none of the usual dragging-out of Jack's suspicions! It was "you're my brother and I AM going to prove it". I had totally prepared myself to suffer for a few months while Jack worked to convince Steve of their family ties. But surprise of all surprises - they took a DNA test right away and the test results showed that their DNA was a match. I was literally like, "did I just hear that right?" Seriously. I thought for sure their DNA wouldn't be a match and that we'd have to deal with some implausible reason why not (like somebody or other switching the test results). But I was pleasantly surprised; High-five to the writing team!! Can I heap more praise on them? I guess that after being starved for some quality writing for the last couple of years, I am falling all over myself happy at the smallest sign of a change. Obviously I am easy to please. Ahhh, who cares!!! I am just going to revel in the fact that SOME piece of reality is finally creeping back in to DOOL. The only thing that now remains to be seen is how long Jack and Steve will hide in the shadows before revealing themselves to the people who think they are dead. If JER was writing…we know that the reveal would take the better part of a year and be chock full of torturous near misses and come only after all the "wrong" people knew that the two were really alive. And it goes without saying that it definitely would have come after Frankie and Jen's wedding. But all bets are off now and it's anyone's guess what will happen next. At last, I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel. Not knowing what will come next is a wonderful thing and is the thing that will keep us all coming back for more. After all, it's one of the reasons why we all got hooked in the first place.

So…I'm still talking about Steve and Kayla. Like I said, they were a special couple. I was a teenager during the development of their romance and to me; they were the pinnacle of romantic love. They were the ultimate "good" girl - kind and generous but strong when she needed to be; and the devilish "bad" boy - tough and dangerous but with a heart of gold. I'm sure that if you were watching Days 20 years ago; you know exactly what I'm talking about. I LOOOOOOOVED all the flashbacks of Steve and Kayla. I remembered every single scene that was shown. The one that stands out the most (and the one I was most happy to see) showed Steve singing/acting out their song "The Rose" using sign language for Kayla when she had lost her hearing. I remember how much that scene affected me way back when and I remember thinking at the time that "THAT" is what 'real' love was all about. And I remember promising my teenage self that when I got married - it would be to someone who loved me that much. Ahhh the naivety of youth! Ha ha. Anyway; seeing the flashback reminded me of how much I missed the couple and how great the show was during their tenure. Steve's death scene still ranks as one of the saddest moments in Days' history. I remember being SHOCKED to the bone when his character was killed off and I also remember how devastated Kalya was during the funeral scenes. She had me crying like a baby - it was that great. ;) Oh the memories… I CAN'T wait for Steve and Kayla's reunion - get your Kleenex ready folks! However …Steve will have to have regained his memory for it to be a 'true' reunion. Until he truly remembers his "sweetness", it won't be a real reunion for me.

Poor Hope and Bo…what a mess. Their storyline sucks but at least they're both in the same city again. Now maybe we can get on with their reunion. You know…I understand Hope's anger toward Bo but come on now…she has loved Bo her entire life! She knows him better than anyone. How can she believe that Bo would do something so underhanded as to steal evidence??? Especially since there's nothing more to go on than circumstantial evidence. He has never done anything like this in the whole time she has known and loved him. I realize that Bo has betrayed her trust, but believing that he'd break into the PD and steal and destroy evidence is ridiculous. Oh well, I'm sure this is a remnant of JER's stories so I'm just going to cross my fingers in hopes that it gets wrapped up Pronto. Can there be any doubt that Bo is the 'gloved hand' that kidnapped Hope? THAT is something the 'old' Bo would do. He would never allow Hope to just walk out of his life without moving heaven and earth to prevent that from happening. The 'real' Bo would definitely kidnap his Fancy Face and do everything in his power to prove to her that she is the one he loves and wants. This is the character that searched a mountain, at night, during a snowstorm, for his beloved wife. Never in a million years would he have so much as stood beside Billie if he knew that it would hurt Hope. All we can do now is hope like hell that he gets through to his wife and that they can get past the crap they have suffered over the past 6 months.

Has Hell frozen over? No? I thought it might have…Chelsea finally had her day in court and I really thought that we would never see this day come. Okay so…yes, her sentence was nothing short of ridiculous (even without the DVD, she confessed - doesn't that count for something?) but I'm hoping there's a reason for all this. So far; we saw Chelsea feel remorseful for all of five seconds and then it was off to "celebrate". The little brat had the nerve to complain about the paltry community service sentence she was given! She should have gotten down on her knees and thanked god that she wasn't going to jail. Talk about ungrateful. And now she wants to party with Max and is busy hitting up her handy-dandy flask. WHERE does she get the liquor? I doubt that she's stealing it from the liquor cabinet. Billie doesn't drink and likely does not have the stuff lying around. And what 18 year-old girl drinks hard liquor without mix? I've never seen that happen. Oh and by the way…in case anyone has forgotten…I HATE KATE (oooooh! That rhymes!). For many reasons. Paying off the female cop to steal the DVD is just the latest in a long list of reasons 'why'. Note to the new Days writers…PLEASE make sure Kate gets a really really good payback for all her evil deeds. Every time she opens her mouth to defend Chelsea or urge Billie to "go after" Bo, I just want to scream. Please get her off the show or give her a storyline that does not include meddling in her children's lives.

EJ is now the new star in my books. For one; He seems to genuinely care about Sami (though "why" we don't know) and for two; he neatly manipulated Lexie into being retested without revealing Sami's bad bad thing (going along with Alex's idea to change the test results). Not only did EJ accomplish that deed but KUDOS to whoever wrote the story - it was very neatly and plausibly done. I really like EJ and I really like him with Sami. I feel bad saying that because I am a fan of Austins' but…the chemistry between EJ and Sami more than blows away anything Sami has with Austin. I am really happy that Sami might have a brand new love interest and I am very curious about 'who' EJ is and what his motives are. I'm also happy that Kate is not actively doing anything to screw with Sami. She claimed that she's going to sit back and let nature take its course. This means that she's convinced that Sami will fall for EJ and dump Austin. Maybe she will and if that makes Kate happy - so be it. I for one am just happy that Kate is not setting up some elaborate scheme to force the situation. As I watched the photo-shoot scenes with EJ and Sami (gosh Ali Sweeney is one gorgeous lady) it became so obvious that Austin is only with Sami as a rebound relationship. Anyone with eyes could see the chemistry and attraction between Sami and EJ (EJami?) - Kate noticed it - but Austin just stood there smiling like a clueless hick. I was like "hello Austin? Open your eyes dude!". While I still believe that Sami truly belongs with Lucas - I am happy to watch her have an interlude with EJ before re-claiming her rightful soul mate (Lucas).

Lexie and Tek are caught. HOT DAMN! It's about time! Was I the only one cheering folks? I think not! Lexie just could not resist the ultra-hot Tek one last time and it proved to be her undoing. Abe received a secret note (claiming to be from Lexie) and he arrived at the No-Tell Motel to witness his beloved wife rolling around on the bed with Tek. The question now becomes…who ratted Lexie out? Who does the gloved hand belong to? Most of the possible/usual suspects were all elsewhere during the timeframe. Popular opinion on the Internet boards says it's Celeste. I'm not sure about this theory though…I mean; I know that Celeste wanted Lexie to break it off with Tek - believing that he would be Alexandra's undoing - but she's also the person who warned Lexie that she risked losing Theo if Abe discovered her affair. So…why would Celeste put Lexie in that position? I don't know who else it could have been (other than Stefano - he has always felt that Lexie deserved someone 'better' than Abe) but - it doesn't really make sense for it to be Celeste. Besides; I assumed that Celeste was babysitting Theo. If she wasn't…who was? Well, the upside to all of this is that: 1) Lexie has finally been caught and I don't have to watch her suck face with Tek anymore and 2) A new mystery is unfolding. Who is the owner of the gloved hand and why do they want to break-up Lexie's marriage? For once…I am looking forward to what will happen next with this story.

Mimi, Shawn, Belle and Philip's storylines have also been moving at warp speed this week. Mimi lost her baby and she and Shawn immediately decided to give surrogacy a try. Within minutes; they had met the potential surrogate (who just happened to be at the hospital) and going on nothing more than a 5 minute conversation - they selected her as the woman that would carry their child. 20 Minutes later - they arrive at the Brady pub to see their new surrogate swigging beer and smoking cigarettes. They then fired her on the spot (shocker). Belle and Philip were at the hospital to give Shawn and Mimi moral support and on a whim; decided to have a fertility test. They had been trying for all of a month now…and no baby. Naturally, they both thought this was strange considering they had no problem 'conceiving' Claire and - even though in the real world, most couples are advised to try for at least a year before consulting a doctor - Lexie agreed to run a fertility test. They received the results in record time (I think Mimi and Shawn were still talking about giving surrogacy a shot) and it showed that Philip's sperm has low motility. Both are now scratching their heads as to how this could be. It's really hard to predict what could happen with these four considering that Hogan Sheffer is now on board. I've read a few spoilers but it's impossible to say what will happen now that JER's storylines are being scrapped. All we can hope is that the truth of Claire's paternity will finally come out and that Shawn does not dump Mimi as a result. I really hope that Mimi is the one to tell Shawn. To me, the storyline is crying out to have Mimi redeemed. She really needs to trust in Shawn's love and trust in their marriage and come clean with her husband.

Reader Feedback: Thanks to everyone who wrote in and provided their feedback!

From Dolores DiBlasi:"Pamela, I couldn't agree with you more. I like the combo of Belle/Philip and Shawn/Mimi. They are finally giving Belle/Philip some good scenes together. But I wish they would stop giving Belle a split personality. She says all the right things and does all the right things with Philip, then the next scene she is telling Claire she wishes Shawn was her Daddy. And constantly day dreaming about the past with him. Nobody dwells on their past like that. What writers!!! Ugg!!! Mr. goody two-shoes Shawn, makes me want to barf, with his wanting to be a Daddy, all his life. That sure has been over played. Give me Philip any day. All for this grip session. Dolores."

From Arkinee Thompson:"I have been watching DOOL for a long time and I have to say the last 3 or 4 years have been the worst. I am glad they are replacing the writer because he needs to get with this day and time. I hope they get the writer from Y&R. That soap is now my favorite. I hope the Shawn/Belle/MiMi/Phil storyline comes to an end real fast. Bo and Hope belong together and that storyline is getting old also. They need to bring back some more of the old characters like Kristin, Stefano,Orpheus,and others. Patch and Kayla coming back should add excitement. They even could bring back some of the children of former characters. Something to keep the old fans watching. I love your scoops."

Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of soapcentral.com or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen, what has happened, and to take a look at the logistics of it all. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same view point.
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