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Zack's death is just a horrible accident that touches all of us, because we know that it could happen to us, and it isn't some farfetched circumstance.

Happy New Year, for the thousandth time for everyone I'm sure, but I haven't had a chance to tell you yet, so here's just one more.

And Happy New Year it is. I can't say with any amount of honesty that 2005 was my favorite year of DAYS ever. Things seemed to drag on a lot, sometimes to great effect, and sometimes like a butter knife slowly grinding at your wrist. The absolute best example is Sami and Lucas, take two. Even after Sami exposed Kate you just waited on edge for that other shoe to drop. Every time Sami said "Nothing will stop this wedding now," I felt just a little more uneasy for her, because for every vow Sami makes it guarantees that it will blow up in her face times five. And it did. And it was spectacular.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Chloe/Brady saga. Not to get up on my soapbox, but I think it's a really bad idea to have a character who escaped a horrific car accident with her life to state over and over (and over, and over some more) that if you're not beautiful you are not deserving of love, especially on a show where most of your viewers are young women. And to have her face be magically fixed? I think it would have been a much more powerful story if they would have showed a man loving a woman that isn't physically perfect for who she is rather than have everything go "Poof, all better!!" And the blurry, almost alcohol induced-looking shots of Brady looking at Chloe and seeing her face without the scars? I really could have just done without the whole thing.

But, onto 2006. I'm going to start with the elephant in the room and one of DAYS most shocking storylines to date. I think DAYS is making a move in the right direction in having a real, true to life story, albeit so tragic and heartbreaking. This time there are no DiMera's, no secret sub-Salem islands, no computer chips. Zack's death is just a horrible accident that I think touches all of us, because we know that it could happen to us (God forbid) and it isn't some farfetched circumstance. Speaking of farfetched circumstances, where is Jack hiding out while perpetrating fake death number nine? Jack now officially has more lives than a cat.

I can't believe we are revisiting the Austin/Carrie/Lucas/Sami rectangle, even with Nicole thrown in for spice. Alison Sweeney's Sami is one of my all time favorite characters on TV period, but I really don't like her when she is scheming to get Austin away from Carrie. I didn't like it last time, I don't like it this time, and I don't think I ever will.

As for this week, the first week of the new year, DAYS certainly hit the ground running. But one story I want to run away from is the Alex North, and now for our added pleasure, Lois Banks storyline. In my perfect world, Alex and Lois would vanish into thin air, or even better end up on Melaswen or Aremid in a Stefano DiMera version of "The Most Dangerous Game." Now that I would watch. One of the biggest highlights for me this week was when John shot Alex and he fell a bunch of stories. Stupid awning breaking his fall. Has anyone else noticed how much the amnesia (oh for goodness sake!) has changed Marlena's core personality? I'm sure some of it has to do with the brainwashing that Alex did (I will never believe he's a good guy. He could turn water into champagne for all I care) but I want my Marlena back. I want the brave, strong, logical woman who was a loving wife to John (even if he kinda gets on my nerves) and good mother to her kids. The old Marlena would have never let John talk her out of seeing her dying granddaughter, no matter how "rough" of a night she had. It just doesn't make sense.

I have to say, I actually really like Jennifer and Frankie together. Of course what will happen is that just as Frankie and Jen get really close and she begins to move on, there will be a miraculous cure for Jack's "incurable" disease and then much drama will ensue. If Jen is smart the first thing she will do after learning Jack has been alive the whole time is punch him square in his jaw. I'm serious. I think Jack has been very selfish in this whole thing. And really, if he is stalking Jen so adequately, he's not that sick yet. Even if he was really dying, letting everyone think he died scared in a frozen river is just a really cruel thing to do. I hope she stays with Frankie.

Sami. Get off the fire escape. Right now. But I do have to say, at least they used a voice over for her while she was spying on Austin and Carrie instead of the usual Salem stage-mutter. Sami and Lucas's scheming by omission is just as unbecoming as all their concentrated scheming the last time. I loved Eugenia at Sami's party. I thought Arianne Zuker played one of the best drunks in daytime, but Eugenia as played by Daphne Bloomer is giving her a run for her money. I thought she was great in the scene when she is leaving the party. I'm glad they kept her character around.

I am so glad to see more of Victor, but oh how I wish that he would just stop talking to Kate. Or rather letting Kate talk to him. Every time she comes around and starts talking he should whip out a strip of duct tape and put it over her mouth. Kate just makes me want to choke her. She is always scheming for the good of her children and all she does is cause them more grief. And what drives me so nuts is that she will never admit when she is wrong, because she is convinced that she isn't. She should thank her lucky stars that any of her children still talk to her and stop interfering in their lives. Let Philip and Belle work out their marriage based on the truth (the truth Kate, grab your dictionary and look it up) and let what happens, happen.

Speaking of Philip and Belle, someone should honestly give Martha Madison an award for the Most Consecutive Weeks Spent Crying. I mean, I really hope that she is drinking plenty of water, because that poor girl has been crying for the better part of 18 months. First she thought her mom was a serial killer, then thought her mother was dead, then Shawn disappeared, then Shawn came back in a real bad mood, then Philip went to war, then her whole family went after him, then he lost a leg, then she had postpartum, and now her baby is deathly ill. Whew!!! I'm tired from just typing it. Martha, honey, I hope that after Claire's transplant is over The Powers That Be let you have a long vacation. Somewhere nice. With plenty of fluids.

I really like Mimi and Shawn together (sorry Shelle fans) but aren't they kinda moving at super-hyper-warp speed? I understand that they have been friends since they were kids, but engaged? Already?? We know that's going to get blown out of the water, but I'm curious whether or not Mimi will end up pregnant when the truth about Claire comes out, especially after her comment about not having to worry about birth control (um, still not a smart idea unless everyone has been tested for STD's. He slept with Jan for goodness sake). I also wonder exactly how close Mimi and Shawn will get to the altar before someone drops the bomb. If I know DAYS, it will be at the wedding. Mark my words.

DAYS certainly didn't waste any time jumping into the New Year with the Zack storyline. Now I am not a TV crier. I talk to the TV, shout, roll my eyes and maybe occasionally throw things, but very rarely will I be so moved that I cry. I truly believe that this is the performance of Kristian Alfonso's career, point blank, period. I went into this week knowing exactly what would happen (I read all the spoilers and magazines, too), but I never expected to see such an honest, soul wrenching performance. Hope made my eyes fill with tears every day this week and when she let out that scream on Friday's show I just cried my eyes out. I know that this has to be a hard storyline for her, but she is playing the hell out of it. If she is not nominated for an Emmy for this, there is no justice in the world. I am so brokenhearted that this will most likely be the last straw where Bo and Hope are concerned. Bo's inclination will be to protect his daughter, no matter how angry he is with her and I just don't think Hope will be able to accept him standing by Chelsea. even if the whole thing was an accident. Why, oh why Bo did you lend Chelsea your big, huge, monstrous truck? If she couldn't keep control of a little itty bitty sports car, why give her a bigger weapon? I don't think Chelsea is evil, but I hope this eats at her and eventually makes her a better, less self involved person. Really, everyone involved in this story is playing their part to perfection and as sad as it is, I can't wait to gear up with my boxes of tissue after work next week and see how it all plays out.

Well, that is my audition column, I hoped you liked it. Thanks for giving me a shot!

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

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