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 Two Scoops: November 30, 2009 columns
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Casey Deidrick
Thank you for being a friend...
For the Week of November 30, 2009
The Mia/Chad/Will saga has continued to deliver a very strong, supporting, moving, and appropriate teen saga all the way through sweeps.
Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. Hopefully, you got to spend some quality time with your family and friends. And, I sincerely hope you took a break from all of the shopping/decoration/reheating leftovers (did I miss any Black Friday traditions?) to watch DAYS, because it's getting great!

Sweeps was a little rough for me at the beginning of the month. So to get me through it, I called in the reserves (a.k.a. my wonderful scooping partner, Tony) to help me tackle this last week of Sweeps. Since it is the season to give thanks, we thought we'd also tell you what we're thankful for in each and every storyline this week.

BRADY and ARI

Tony is thankful that Ari put her sassy pants on and called Brady out on his love for Nicole. I am thankful for Ari's j'adorable leather jacket with the awesome asymmetric zipper. Together, we think that Ari is one sharp-dressed lady.

I still don't get why Brady insists he's in love with Nicole. I think it would have been good to show some of the hard labor that Brady did in rehab. Wasn't he hauling hay and feeding goats or something like that? Perhaps if I saw him doing back-breaking labor for months on end, I could understand how hard-up he was for some female attention. Then, I might be able to believe that he has this great love for Nicole. Nicole may have done a lot of shady things, but I didn't see her ever give Brady the idea that she would dump E.J. for Brady.

If Ari and Brady's relationship has to end so that Brady can see what a dunce he's been with Nicole, then so be it. Sure, there were a lot of people joining the Nicole Has Changed Club. But Brady was pretty much in charge of new recruits. Ari saw that and--surprise of all surprises--walked away from Brady. I don't know what to think about a soap opera gal who doesn't chase after a guy who is emotionally unavailable to her. What is Ari? Some sort of alien transplant or something?

The only think I'm not thankful for is Ari's argument that she could keep secrets from Brady since he was keeping secrets from her. Ummm…no. Brady's secret about Nicole's miscarriage did not have anything to do with Arianna. On the other hand, Arianna's secret involves Brady's niece/distant cousin.

MIA, CHAD, and WILL

Tony is thankful that Will put aside his differences with Chad and agreed to send him the same Grace Portfolio that helped E.J. I'm thankful to Casey Deidrick for delivering the "Oh, crud…I've been a total jackass" look with brilliance when Chad learned his baby was dead. We're both thankful that Mia listened to Maggie's advice and baked the pies.

I wasn't ready for this year's teen scene to maintain such a high level of emotion. But, the Mia/Chad/Will saga has continued to deliver a very strong supporting, moving, and appropriate teen saga all the way through S weeps. The key word, of course, is "teen. " Kudos to the writers for crafting a storyline that is actually true to the spirit of being a kid. You're young and immature, but show signs of growing up every once in a while.

Kids having kids was hard enough. But, kids burying their kid is tragic. My heart broke when Chad returned to Grace's grave with flowers and said, "These were all they had at the store." Do Chad and Mia even know about funeral homes and how florists can put together beautiful graveside arrangements? No. I didn't, either, when I was 16. So, of course, Chad went to the grocery store and got flowers out of that bin by the entrance to place at his daughter's grave. It's so accurate, yet tragic at the same time. Life hasn't even taught these teens how to properly deal with grief and yet, they have to go through one of the hardest things life could ever throw at people.

The times when the clichés about teens are broken are probably never better conveyed than by young Will Horton. He used to be a character that wallowed in self-pity and threw blame at his parents whenever possible. Quite honestly, I was thankful the little brat spent so much time at Ski Camp. Yet, not only did he apologize to Mia, but he swallowed his pride and comforted Chad. I think that E.J., Rafe, Daniel, Lucas, and Philip could all learn something from Will. Sometimes there are things in life that are bigger than your own ego.

Mia got that lesson, too. Only her class involved Maggie and some delicious pies. I love what the show is doing with Maggie. With so many new and young faces on the canvas , someone needed to step in and be the backbone for the show's history. With Maggie, they don't need to club us over the head with history because they can have her bring it up in appropriate and subtle ways. I loved how Maggie related Mia's grief to Maggie's own struggle with addiction. In both cases, you can either hit rock bottom and stay there; or you can get up and climb your way out--one pie at a time.

NICOLE (and a little bit of Brady, too)

Tony is thankful that, albeit way too late, Brady revoked Nicole's bail. I'm thankful that Brady admitted that he's a crazy bad judge of character. We're both thankful that Nicole didn't let a little thing like criminal charges stop her from driving full speed ahead into Crazy Town.

Brady's started to get a little bit of a bad rep as a wanna-be-hero who gets his fix by saving all of Salem's damsels in distress. I can see where those detractors are coming from. However, the thing that saves him for me is that at least he's self-aware enough to OWN HIS PART of being taken for a fool. Rather than hang his hat on the "you lied to me" option, he goes for the "how could I be so stupid?" route, which is good, because that's exactly what I've been screaming at the TV for months. He immediately revoked Nicole's bail and told her to shape the heck up.

Nicole seemed to heed that advice. NOT. For some strange reason, she showed up at both E.J.'s and Sami's doors. WTF, crazy lady?!?! Why was she acting like she was just going to knock and say "hi"? We all knew that Nicole was going to take one look at baby Sydney and snatch her. (Not that we blame her, because Sydney is the cutest girl ever!) And that's exactly what she did.

Nicole kidnapped the baby, which is still legally hers…I think. I'm still not very clear. Rafe said that the DA hadn't filed charges yet for kidnapping, since no one had actually run an official DNA test on Sydney. I'm so confused. If Nicole had a bail amount, then she obviously had to have had some sort of bail hearing on some charges. If not kidnapping, then what charges were brought against her? Lack of creativity while coming up with a fake name? Walking while wearing too many scarves? Insufficient NBA knowledge?

SAMI

Tony is thankful that Brady's strong jaw can take one helluva Sami slap--wowza! I'm thankful that I've been a Sami fan for years because this week she needed all the past credit she could get. Buckle in, Sami fans, this section is rough.

First, Tony is totally right. That slap came with a vengeance. Alison Sweeney did a scary good job of turning panic into rage. In that moment, Brady needed to be slapped. Hard. Hopefully it knocked some sense into him.

Having said all that, however, I totally blame Sami for Brady bailing Nicole out of jail. Why? Because while Brady was busy springing Nicole from the big house, Sami was having a little family reunion to welcome Sydney into the Brady family. Yet, that party did not include Sami's step-brother and new BFF, Brady. Even if he didn't RSVP in time, it was Sami's job to tell Brady about Sydney. Not to mention, Sami and Brady could commiserate over their mutual gullibility when it came to Nicole.

Second, Sami had no business taking Rafe with her to talk to E.J. about Sydney's custody. I'm not blaming Rafe. He's just doing what Sami asked. But, Rafe is a pure irritant to the situation and Sami needs to realize that. If Sami wants to have Rafe in her life--great. More power to her. But, neither Rafe, nor any gal that E.J. is involved with, gets one shred of a say in the amount of time either child shares with their biological parents.

Next, I thought Sami looked like a complete fool for berating Stefano. What does she mean, "How dare you let your son grieve for a daughter that isn't his!"? Gee, Sami, I don't know. Probably the same way you got off thinking you could keep E.J. from bonding with a daughter that is his! Their methods were different, but both Sami and Stefano seem to share the same belief that E.J. makes such piss-poor decisions that they better step in and make them for him. They both need to get over themselves.

Continuing her climb to the top of Mt. Stupidity, Sami insisted that Sydney live with her because E.J. certainly can't take care of a baby while he's trying to figure out where to live. Umm…ever heard of a realtor? Or Craig's List? It's not like E.J.'s going to have to go out on foot and search through the frozen tundra of Narnia with Sydney strapped to his back in order to find an abandoned cave to live in. It's not like E.J.'s old apartment isn't vacant now that Steve and Kayla moved to another country. And, it's not like Sydney and Johnny can't just be on the same dang custody schedule.

Finally, what the heck was up with Sami's statement, "The worst part is that I can't even be judgmental after all the stuff I've pulled." Huh?? That's the worst part of this situation, Sami? That you can't behave like a judgmental jerk? Not the fact that your daughter is missing? Not the fact that everyone you care about is an emotional wreck looking for her? Heck, I'd even accept your twisted ankle as a valid reason why this situation bites. I never thought I'd say this but, Sami, JUST SHUT UP!!!

(Pausing for deep breaths…ten…nine…)

Okay, back to the happy place. Sami's one bright spot was recognizing that having Sydney back in her life was very complicated for Will. Not only does he have to handle the feelings of having his biological baby sister back, but he has to deal with the personal emotions of regret for how he treated Mia, and he has to relive Grace's death all over again by supporting Mia though it. I'm glad that Sami handled the situation tenderly, to prove that she can be a mom to more than one kid at the same time.

EJ

Tony and I are both thankful that E.J.'s brain has been restored to working status.

Raise your hand if you cheered when E.J. announced that he's moving out of Stefano's house. I did! I did! Now, raise your hand if you actually think he's going to do it. Sadly, I don't. I'm pretty sure that Philip and Victor had this exact same scene a few months ago and Philip never switched his mailing address. I do hope that E.J. follows through with his threat, but for now it's at least good to see that E.J. is capable of realizing that Stefano is Bad News Bears.

With his newfound brainpower, E.J. completed the rest of Tony's Thanksgiving List and acted like an adult on multiple occasions! E.J. called Sami to warn her about Nicole being out on bail. He took Sami into the foyer to fight instead of fighting in front of a sleeping baby. And, he calmed down enough to let Roman do his job (even if it came with the obligatory warning).

I'd go further to say that I'm glad E.J. brought up the custody situation so quickly. Sami would have stalled her little butt off if E.J. hadn't insisted on Sami and Sydney coming over right away. I think Sami is completely capable of caring for and loving a child, but E.J. has every right to be suspicious of her. He needed to nail down a custody situation sooner rather than later so that all three of them can go on with their lives.

GABI, ARI, and RAFE
Tony is thankful that that Gabi was smart enough to call Rafe as soon as she found Ari's drugs. I'm thankful that Gabi is a sweetheart. Basically, we're both thrilled that the littlest Hernandez came home for the holidays.

Three cheers for Gabi! She arrived in Salem just in the nick of time. I love a baby swap just as much as the next gal, but Rafe and Ari really needed a storyline that they could be involved with firsthand. So, it's a good thing that Gabi strolled into town (actually, she took a bus) to unite the Hernandez family around the truly interesting storyline--Arianna's drug bust.

Gabi found the drugs in Ari's room and immediately called Rafe to get his help. The action resulted in Ari telling Rafe that she is working undercover! I was so worried that Ari would lie to Rafe, prompting him to distance himself from her and bury his head even further in Sami sand. But now that Rafe is in on Ari's secret, the whole drug bust mission--which is centered on one E.J. DiMera--might get a very interesting ally.

As a side note, I'm so-far impressed with Gabriella Rodriguez. She has great sibling chemistry with Lindsay Hartley and Galen Gering. And, she's hasn't overdone her scenes, which is a refreshing change from most teen actors.

PHILIP, MELANIE, NATHAN, and STEPHANIE

We are not thankful for anything in this mess.

Nothing that I saw this week changed my mind about any of the romantic pairings. This current incarnation of "Phelanie" confuses me. Melanie should realize that she should be with someone who makes her want to be a better person, not just allows her to wallow in the mediocre level of her personality. I'm not sure if Nathan is the former, but I am 100% positive that Philip is the latter.

And I don't see why Stephanie is so into Nathan. They had one date, which was unceremoniously interrupted by Philip punching Nathan in the face, and then Steph and Nathan spent the rest of the night talking about her feelings for Philip. Not exactly Fantasy Date material.

So looking beyond all that foolishness, I want to concentrate on the pair that TPTB need viewers to buy into for this quad from hell to work. That pair is Stephanie and Melanie.

DAYS is no stranger to having great female rivals--Carly/Vivian, Carrie/Sami, and Marlena/Kristen were just a few of the best. So, if Stephanie/Melanie is really one that the writers are serious about, then the actresses need to get serious, too. In order for this to work, Shelley Hennig and Molly Burnett need to have the type of chemistry together that makes viewers crave these "frienemy" encounters.

Shelley needs to study Crystal Chappell, Christie Clark, and Deidre Hall. I don't mind seeing Steph go a little two-faced, but she needs to seem a bit more conflicted over it. She should struggle a bit more for displaying the EXACT same type of behavior that she stuck her nose up at Melanie for. Otherwise, the sudden switch makes Stephanie seem like an airhead.

While I'm at it, the editing department really needs to stop sandwiching their scenes together. It's almost like clockwork that every Phil/Melanie scene will be followed by a Steph/Nathan scene. I feel like this quad is incestuous enough, I don't need a constant reminder of how "close" these four really are.

BO, HOPE, and CARLY

Tony is thankful that Carly shared with Bo (and with viewers) that she has a daughter! I'm thankful that Bo rolled his eyes at Hope because it gave my eyes a break from those duties. Let's hope that Carly's news is going to refocus this storyline.

So, Lawrence's Case of the Crazies left him unable to have children. As a result, when Carly showed up pregnant, Lawrence knew that he wasn't the father. Lawrence was so mad about the affair that he grew his hair long enough to sport the same "interesting" hairstyle Tom Hanks wore in The Da Vinci Code. (Hehe! Thanks to Tony for that observation!) Actually, Lawrence was so mad about the affair that he told Carly that he was going to kill her daughter. And with that news, I firmly plant my tent in Camp Bo, where at night we sit around the campfire and tell stories about how stupid Hope is for mouthing off about Carly being a murderer.

I take back part of what I said about Bo not letting Hope in on Carly's secret. He definitely should have told her that Carly killed Lawrence because Lawrence threatened to kill Carly's child. But, Bo knows who Carly's daughter is, and since both Mia and Melanie (I'm assuming we can rule out Maggie and/or Mickey : ) have personal ties to the Brady family and to Salem, it wouldn't be right for Bo to go ruffle up their lives just to appease Hope. Carly may be a thorn in Hope's side, but Mel and Mia are innocent.

Hope, however, is guilty of trying my last nerve. I liked her explanation that she is free to go through Carly's things (and she's not ashamed of it!) since Carly is living in Hope's house. Yeah, I bet that reasoning would fly really well if Hope were to come home and find Victor going through her things, which of course, he would be entitled to do since Hope is living in Victor's house. Riiiiight.

I also found it wonderful that the economy in Salem is so great that Hope can call up the mayor and ask him for a shiny new job!

LOOSE ENDS
Vivian and Victor shared a short scene at the Java Café but it was a good one. Not too many people amuse crusty old Victor, so to see him chuckle his devious chuckle did my heart good. Add in the dash of Kate/Viv banter and I'm SO ready for this storyline to get cooking…seriously… anytime now…the ingredients are ready…I say we take some airtime away from crazy Steph and let these three start making some screen magic…come on…let's hear Viv's plan…I'm waiting…

We're continually thankful for Stefano and Kate's perfectly evil pairing. They actually look out for each other the way any loving, married couple would. You know--she tries to hold someone hostage and he cleans up the evidence. He gets strangled by his son and she rushes in to break up the fight. It's like A Very Special Hallmark Movie Event every night with these two! Extra Scoops:

RANDOM THOUGHTS:
People really need to STOP texting important news. Ari should have CALLED RAFE to tell him Nicole was out on bail. A text? Really?

Why does anyone go to the pier to be alone -- don't the residents of Salem know by now it's the throughway to everything in town?

I did not get a Passions déjà vu feeling when I saw Galen Gering and Lindsay Hartley playing siblings. And, I think that Arianna and Brady are miles and miles away from Theresa and Ethan. However, my ex-Passions watcher radar went berserk when I got a glimpse of a short black-haired Nicole smiling over a stolen baby and calling herself "mommy." Holy Doppelgängers! Arianne Zucker looked eerily similar to Kelli McCarthy, who portrayed resident crazy beyotch Beth Wallace from Passions.

Is anyone else looking forward to seeing Kinsey meeting Gabi? Something tells me that Salem's teen princess-in-her-own-mind is going to be no match for the smart Hernandez sibling.

Tony is thankful he turned on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade right before Kritian Alfonso and James Scott were shown in their little buggy!

HOT:
I know I praised the kids a heck of a lot before, but there was one moment that really hit home for me. Chad and Mia placed flowers on their daughter's grave, in quiet remembrance of her. On the headstone, was a name that neither of them selected for the baby. And, it was a headstone that E.J. had broken in half before because it didn't bear his family name. I'm sure that Mia would have liked to name her baby after some guy she liked. I'm sure Chad would rather see his last name on the headstone. But, neither of them said a word about it. Because to do so would make the moment about them; and they knew it was all about Grace.

NOT:
No Thanksgiving dinner? They couldn't keep Nicole in jail for a little while longer so that someone could sit down and share turkey? BOOO!!!! Soaps fans put up with evil twins, multiple deaths/resurrections, heck, even face transplants! So, how come every now and then…say…I don't know…around HOLIDAY TIMES, the writers can't put in some normal activities for viewers to enjoy? It would have been so easy for Sydney's Brady reunion to happen in conjunction with some mashed potatoes and cranberries. That's all I'm saying.

LINE OF THE WEEK:
Kate: "My children have said I was dead to them so many times I can't even keep track." HA! Brilliant, dry-humored, Kate. We are thankful for you.

EXTRA SPECIAL STUFF :

The end of the year is coming and that means it's almost time for us to post our picks for this year's Golden Doughnuts and Alex North Memorial Awards. To get us all warmed up, Tony and I will be taking a look back at our '08 picks to see how the new year treated them. Next week, we'll review the Golden Doughnuts (Best of '08). So, be sure to check back next week to see if Stephanie, Nicole, Sami, Victor, and Abe (just to name a few) have a shot at holding on to their titles.

Finally, don't forget to check out our 44 Reasons To Watch DAYS Anniversary month blog post and leave your reasons to watch DAYS!

With that, the Sweeps Month has come to a close. Personally, I feel like it's just beginning. I can't wait to see more of Carly and her secret daughter! I'm sure that Vivian has grand plans for all of them. Until next time, have fun decorating your houses. I have nine trees to put up. Yes, nine. Quit judging me. Some gals steal babies. I am crazy when it comes to Christmas decorations. Don't hate.

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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