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 Two Scoops: December 5, 2011 columns
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Matthew Ashford
Baby, it's cold outside
For the Week of December 5, 2011
Jack's storyline is hitting home with a lot of fans, but giving him a handful of scenes to deal with such a traumatic issue is irresponsible on the writers' parts.
I truly love my husband. I really do. But, I don't think we have to share everything. For example, he could have kept his head cold to himself. But, he didn't. And now it hurts when I talk or breathe. I'm not sure which one I would rather give up.

My illness left me sidelined for a good chunk of the week. Thus, I spent Friday night sipping hot tea and catching up on a week's worth of episodes to write my column. It was possibly the best week ever to watch back-to-back. Let's chat about it! I promise to cover my mouth if I cough.


ALICE
I'm glad that Alice and Stefano don't have some secret baby, but I'm still a little uneasy with this connection and the use of Alice's legacy in general. The previews from next week show a clue hidden in a Horton Christmas ornament -- the one thing possibly more sacred than Alice herself. I will need to have smelling salts on hand for that episode. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Last week we learned that Susan Banks, E.J.'s mom, reached out to Alice when E.J. was a very sick baby. Alice used her connections to secure a doctor for Little Elvis and saved the little tyke, allowing him to grow up to be the villainous gangster we know and love today.

I'm sure that E.J. haters will despise this development even more than usual. Honestly, I don't blame them. This revelation is out-of-the blue, and it's certainly not like E.J. needs a storyline right now. But since this is the hand we were dealt, I am cautiously interested to see how it will play out. I agree with Bo that once Stefano took E.J. back, there was no reason for Alice to keep quiet. Something tells me that Bo and Hope should book a flight to London to see Susan rather than go talk to Stefano again.


JACK
Jack's storyline is hitting home with a lot of fans. There isn't a person watching this show that doesn't feel terrible for the torture that Jack suffered, myself included.

Yet, because this topic is so real to so many viewers, it needs to be handled very carefully. More specifically, it needs to be handled better than it is being handled right now. Learning that Jack heard his captors cut out his friend's tongue was shockingly gratuitous, and not something that DAYS does very often. I'm surprised because it seemed like the writers were trying to swap out screen time for shock value. I'm not willing to make that trade.

Giving him a handful of screen time to deal with such a traumatic issue, much less making him play this silly bachelor game at the same time, is irresponsible on the writers' parts. Personally, I want to see progress and resolution on this storyline right away, not these little appetizer bites we're thrown once a week.

We got a good start when Marlena actually got Jack to open up to her. I just hope that we get to see Marlena help Jack through it, not just cut to the next scene where Jack is chasing after Jennifer again, followed by another scene a week later where Jack drops another bombshell about his time in captivity. Jack fans deserve better than that.


WILL, CHAD, and SONNY
The hacker came back to wreak havoc on SalemSportsFan.com. So, rather than just decided to disable their message boards, Chad, Will, and Sonny (Chillson?) made the decision to shut down the whole website and come up with the next big idea.

I guess Sonny or Will couldn't get a hold of cousin Stephanie to get Ian's number. Or heck, perhaps Caroline could have fought the good cyber fight. But either way, this storyline is out of the cyber space. But, considering Will's blink-or-you-missed-it line about being followed, I'm not convinced it's over yet.


CARRIE and AUSTIN
Carrie and Austin are staying in Salem! Whoo! I honestly never thought that I'd be this pleased to watch either of them. But, they might be one of the healthiest couples in Salem since they actually talk about decisions and make them together. That's refreshing to see right now.

Also, I liked that there was a part of Austin that was mad at John for pleading guilty because Carrie worked her tail off for John's defense. She certainly did, including flying to Switzerland to track down that orderly for his testimony. Mickey would be proud of her putting her lawyer skills to use for good.


MADISON and BRADY
Madison told Brady that she's never going to be able to make money in Salem, so she's taking back her company and going home. That type of bratty behavior from Madison is not appealing, and neither is her consistent spouting that she runs her own company. No you don't, sweetie. You sold your company to Titan. And if you were dealing with someone who didn't want to sleep with you every ten seconds, you would have been tossed out already.

But, I'm hopeful that we may be seeing the edge that Madison is so desperately missing. After Madison humored Brady by praising his ideas about free samples or something like that, she asked him to lunch and then mumbled something about having a back-up plan. A few desserts later, they were getting half-naked together at Madison's place. Then, Madison stopped it and kicked Brady out of her room.

I'm not sure if her backup plan was to sleep with Brady or just tease him that she would, but either way I'm excited that Madison may finally be getting the edge that I've been wanting her to have.


JOHN
John's time in jail is doing wonders for his exercise routine. First sit-ups and now push-ups! Good job, John!

Of course, it wasn't all Sweatin' to the Oldies type fun for our favorite pawn. Nope, he had to engage in rounds of "Go on! Save yourself! LEAVE ME!" with Brady, Abe, and Carrie, who all came to offer support. I have to say, it got a little old.

The only visitor that was worth much airtime was Jack. Sure, Jack came to offer to write a piece about John's side of the story, but it really turned into a moment for yet another person to encourage Jack to get therapy. John was the perfect person for this job, not just because he's married to Salem's best shrink, but because no one can top John when it comes to dealing with mental health issues. In fact, is there a character in all of soap history that has had more brain scrambles than John?


SAMI and RAFE
Sami's grief is taking her over, and that makes me worried for Sami. She's gone so far from the Sami that we used to know that I worry this Stepford Sami may turn her hate towards herself. Sami hasn't been proud or confident in years. Sami's sure to do something drastic, but I worry that this time it might be to herself.

Rafe is doing all of the right things. I loved the candles, red wine, and massage certificates. Add in the fact that the dude made a non-burnt dinner, and he pretty much gave a master class in romance. Trust me, fellas, making a decision about where to eat and avoiding the "what do you want/I don't care, what to you want?" discussion is possibly the most romantic thing that you can do.

I just hope that Sami tells Rafe what happened with E.J. because this is beyond Safe vs. Ejami. This is about Sami herself. If she thinks the guilt of the act is tough, wait until she gets a feel for the weight of the coverup. No vow-renewal will save her from that pain.


E.J. and NICOLE
I don't care what Patti Stanger says, I don't buy E.J.'s proclamation that he's never wanted anything or anyone more than Nicole. Not only did he cheat on her with Sami, but he's keeping the secret from her about framing John Black. It's the latter secret that I think will give her the most heartache. She would have gladly gone along with the plot if E.J. had just trusted her enough to let her in on the secret.

Trips to New York and Broadway shows are fantastic, but that's not what Nicole is really after. She wants E.J. to look at her as an equal, even if it is an "equal" on his criminal level. As she pointed out to Quinn, "The day I decide that I need advice on my life from a low-rank criminal, you'll be the first one I call." Clearly, Nicole prefers high-ranking criminals! She's a lady, after all!

The actors are talented and the chemistry is certainly there. But I've been twice fooled by this pair before, and I just don't have any reason yet to believe that this time will be different. Ejole fans, let me know, what makes this time different?


ABE and E.J.
Their campaigns picked back up after Johnny came out of hiding, and that meant that Abe went right to see John, and Nicole told a few reporters about it. Jennifer didn't take too kindly to this move, and warned Nicole to play nice, else risk airing all of the DiMera dirty laundry.

I appreciate that Abe was supporting his friend, but it was a pretty smart move on Nicole's part. As far as Salem knows, all of the community money was lost on Abe's watch. I agree with Jen and Lexie that Abe should be a little more discrete with his prisoner visits until after the election.


WILL, MARLENA, SAMI, and GABI
After Marlena corrected Will's grammar (such a Grandma thing to do!), she sat him down for a heart-to-heart. Will unleashed his anger on his mom, lashing out about everything from Sami yelling at Marlena to being at the loft and seeing things. Marlena made good points about her relationship with Sami, but then quickly realized that the problem was deeper than Sami. I'm glad, because Marlena needed this outlet to show her more tender side. She needed a bit of humanizing.

Later, Sami ran into Will at the loft, and he couldn't hide his hate. He couldn't come out and confront her about what he saw at the DiMera mansion, so he blamed her job and told Sami that he's moving in with Gabi. Rather than flip out, Sami just gave Will some unsolicited relationship advice that he shouldn't rush things with Gabi. It was sage advice coming from the teen parent, but she's in no position to give relationship advice right now, and Will knows that.

It didn't matter much, anyway, since Gabi turned down Will's offer to move in together. On the bright side, I'm pretty sure that move saved Will from a major butt-kicking at the hands of big brother, Rafe. But that was about the only bright spot for Will. Gabi didn't just decline his offer to move in. She broke up with him altogether.

For her part, Camila Banus did a bang-up job with Gabi's role in the breakup. The dialogue was wonderful and cleverly stayed in the lines of being genuine and honest. Gabi said that she was tired of being "respected" and wanted to be treated like a girlfriend. She had very valid points and made them in a heartfelt way. Anyone would have a problem dealing with constant rejection of any kind.

Yet, Will couldn't hold his multilayered heartbreak together for another second. He trashed Maggie's kitchen and screamed out in pain, although it's unclear which demon was leading the charge. Was it the one that cursed him with witnessing his mother's betrayal? Was it the one who wouldn't let Will deal with Gabi's requests? Or, was it the most sinister of them all, who is filling Will with such self-doubt that Will could feel so alone, despite being physically and literally surrounding with people who love him? I'm not sure which, but I know that I'm not going to miss a minute of next week's shows. He's bringing back the "rush home from school to catch every minute of you can of DAYS" days again.


LOOSE ENDS:
E.J. and Sami seem determined to make their respective relationships work with Nicole and Rafe, despite the fact that they talk about their own affair repeatedly and in the most public place of all of Salem. That should work out well for them.

Jack submitted Abigail's article to a journalism contest, and it won! I'm sure it was a great piece, but the most important word she used was "daddy." She's come a long way since last week's pedicure "bash Jack" session.

Carrie and Rafe decided to team up again to prove that John is not guilty in the civil case, so that Marlena won't lose all of her money too. I would think they would start by getting that star witness from Switzerland back on a plane to Salem.

Jennifer still hasn't decided which bachelor is going to get the final Jennifer Rose. I want Jennifer to be happy, and I believe her when she laments about the position that she's in; but I don't know how much longer I can watch her string both men along. It comes to a point that if you can't pick between two men, perhaps neither one is right for you.

Madison was dead right to tell Sami off for taking a long lunch. When you've missed five days of work, you eat a tuna sandwich at your desk, not patronize the business that has the competitor's products. Sami and Rafe need to remember that they have no other income other than Sami's job, and need to be more careful. Also, Rafe should probably pull back on encouraging Sami to talk back to the woman who hired Sami for such a cushy job.

Roman got orders from someone not to touch Quinn. This means that Roman may need an unlikely ally. Neither Nicole nor Roman trusts the muscularly gifted Aussie, no matter how great he looked in that Best Buy Blue polo shirt. I can see the two of them comparing notes (no, not that way, get your minds out of the gutters!) if it will help bring Quinn down. Roman's hands may be tied, but Nicole's aren't.


HOT:
The divine Chandler Massey has taken this storyline by the horns and is giving it everything he's got. I would urge anyone who's got a free second in their day to watch his performances as he's elevating everyone around him with his work. Yes, that even includes Deidre Hall and Alison Sweeney, who were both challenged to come up with something fresh and new to counter Chandler's guarded rage that he's let Will simmer in over the last few weeks.

NOT:
Sami is not my favorite person right now, but even I don't think that she should be subjected to more "this is family" arguments anytime someone brings up Marlena. Sami has been through a lot since Marlena has been gone, and Marlena was never there for Sami. I know that it was multiple writers ago, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. Sami shouldn't be pressured into things that she doesn't feel comfortable with, like going to see Marlena, when Marlena wasn't mentioned at all when Sami needed support.


LINE OF THE WEEK:
Kate (to and about Quinn): "Just so we're clear, women like me rarely take a step backwards down the food chain." Comments like that make it hard to decide if Kate's married to, arguably, the most powerful person in Salem, or if it's the other way around.

In second place, this exchange made me giggle:
Gabi: "Will asked me to move in with him."
Melanie: "At his mom's?"
To be fair, Gabi is about the only person who hasn't lived at Sami and Rafe's ever-expanding loft, so it wasn't a terribly stupid question.


RANDOM THOUGHTS:
Arianne Zucker looked amazing last week. Did she go somewhere sunny on a mini-vacation?

I'm trying to think of what type of white wine would go with pineapple and coconut. A muscat, maybe?

I would have thought that that Madison James would give a real handshake and not the girly one.

I'd like to hug the person who decided to start using more montages! I'm such a sucker for those things.

REWRITE ALERT!!! Will says he went to live with Carrie and Austin because he couldn't stand the way his parents were treating each other. As I recall, Roman showed up at Sami's door and suggested that it would be a good idea for Will to go stay with Austin and Carrie until things settled down after EJ's (first) shooting. Will was thisclose to becoming a suspect at the time.

I liked the little touch that Quinn's spa carried Countess Wilhelmina products. Considering E.J. did give Quinn the money to start the business, and DiMera Enterprises also funds Countess Wilhelmina, it made sense.

I call shenanigans on Carrie saying that Austin "finally" thinks that John is innocent. Austin never thought that John was guilty. He just thought that the evidence made John look guilty. Those are two different things.

How cute was Bo referring to an eavesdropping Hope as "Mrs. Kravitz"?

Kate didn't fall for the old "you have a lot of tension in your palms" move. You only make that mistake once.


I'm off to email Santa to let him know that I would like Madison's cocoa-color gold-flecked coat. Tony will be back for the next two weeks to take us through to the end of the year awards! There are just a few episodes left and so many questions to be answered. Do you think Quinn was telling the truth about seeing Marlena? Were you surprised that Abigail hugged Carrie? What would you name the Sami/Carrie/Lexie/Jennifer breakfast club? Do you think Marlena should have tried to see Johnny by now?


I'd love to hear what you think so click here to share your thoughts with me!

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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