Well folks...the exodus has begun. Over the next couple of months; expect to lose a few characters and/or the actors that portray them. Matt Ashford (Jack Deveraux), Melissa 'Missy' Reeves (Jennifer Deveraux) and Jason Cook (heretofore known as "original Shawn D") made their departure this week. The characters of Jack and Jen had a grand send-off with the majority of their friends and loved ones making an appearance at their going away party. Jason Cooke's last air date was Friday (according to his web site) and though he did not receive the same kind of send-off because TPTB are recasting the role of Shawn Douglas Brady; his absence from the role he originated (not counting the previous child actors) will definitely be missed. DOOL has hired an actor to fill the role and his name is Brian Beemer. I've seen a picture of Brian and he does seem to resemble Jason so hopefully the transition between actors won't be too jarring. I will really miss Jason Cook, he has done a great job with the role of Shawn Douglas Brady. As any regular reader of this column knows...I have never been a big fan of pairing Jason's Shawn D with Martha Madison's Belle so...hopefully this 'new' Shawn will have more chemistry with Martha because the spoilers indicate that the two characters will begin reconciling now that it has been revealed that Shawn is Claire's father. For continuity sake, I'm glad that Jason Cooke was still in the role when Claire's paternity was revealed; it's just unfortunate that he will be gone when (and if) the truth about Mimi's knowledge of that fact is revealed. Let's hope this new incarnation of Shawn will also go a bit easier on his father...I'm very tired of seeing a sanctimonious Shawn Douglas Brady lecturing to Bo.
Though I will miss Jason Cook; I will definitely miss Matt and Missy much more. Their quirky and fun storylines - sadly missing since their most recent return - will be a definite loss to Days of our Lives. Though the interim writers made an attempt to slap together a storyline reminiscent of their original storylines in the last weeks of their tenure on Days; I understand that a lot of viewers felt the storyline was silly and a waste of time. I respectfully disagree though. I think that most long-time viewers who have been watching since the time that the characters first came together can probably appreciate what the writers were attempting to do. Okay so they didn't exactly pull it off and a there were more than a few holes - when Jack and Jen got back to Salem they never mentioned to anyone (let alone Hope) that Patrick was on the list of registered gun owners acquired from their Pawn Shop contact - but at least they tried. I give the writers huge kudos for trying and personally, I think they did a pretty good job with the time frame they had to work in. A big Thank You to the writers for giving these two fan-favorite characters a wonderful and fun exit. I don't think we could ask for more than that.
From what I hear; Frankie will be the next character to exit. I am very sad to hear that Billie Warlock will be leaving as I had hoped that Hogan would find something for him to do once Jennifer left town with Jack. Frankie is a very popular character and he has won many fans since his re-appearance in Salem. I know that Sheffer has decided to thin out the amount of Bradys in Salem but there are many characters that I would prefer to lose over Frankie (Chelsea comes to mind). Given that both Jack and Jennifer have left - I don't think it will be long before Frankie flies the coop as well. Carrie and Austin are also slated to be leaving very soon and given that Lucas caught them making out on the roof...I expect them to be gone within the next week or so. Though initially I was happy about both characters' return; their storyline has been so inane since they were brought back that I am now very happy to see them go again. Pair them together and have them ride off in to the sunset of their perfect life together; Buh-Bye. Brody Hutzler (Patrick Lockhart) is also expected to be written off but from what I gather, the "how" and "when" part is still up in the air. Further down the road; both Farah Fath (Mimi Lockhart) and Kyle Brandt (Philip Kiriakis) are expected to make an exit from their respective roles. There's been no word about whether the part of Mimi will be recast but I have it on good authority that the part of Philip will definitely be recast (see excerpt at the end of the column). Given that Mimi is essentially standing in the way of a Belle/Shawn reunion; I expect her to leave DOOL in search of a "fresh start" (all departing characters' motivations). From what I understand about HS's plans for Phil - the whole baby-daddy debacle will push him in to realizing his darker 'Kiriakis' side. I wouldn't mind seeing Phil follow in his father's footsteps and maybe, just maybe - it will give Victor a story that he can sink his teeth in to. Where is he anyhow? Shouldn't he be around now that the truth about Claire has been revealed?
Break out the party hats and noisemakers Scoopers - the "Surprise" factor is back on Days. Of course I am referring to Billie's explosive admission in court of her part in breaking up Bo and Hope! Wow! What a freakin shocker that was! As my esteemed co-writer Melissa said in her column last week; that was some Classic Soap Stuff. I had been expecting Billie to admit her part in engineering the demise of Bo/Hope at some point but I totally didn't expect the dramatic fashion in which it happened. I gotta give Billie her dues though...it is one thing to admit something privately and quietly but it's quite another to sit in a court room in front of family and friends and admit the evil things you've done. Good for her!
The truth is out! Shawn really is Claire's father (they ran the DNA test twice) and he has broken the news to Belle and Philip. Philip did not react well to the news (well no shocker there) and reacted by racing out of the apartment with Claire tucked under his arm like a football. Thankfully, he didn't crash his car this time and simply ended up at the hospital to berate the poor lab technician (who's had quite the day dealing with Mimi, Shawn, Bonnie and now an irate Philip). Unfortunately for Phil; the cops were called and they removed Claire from his arms and handed her to Shawn. That took me by surprise because really...what cop would do something like that in the absence of a court order? Police Officers don't make those types of determinations (who the legal parent is) they leave that up to the courts to decide. Oh well...I feel really bad for Philip. How terrible to find out that the child that you have fussed over, loved, cuddled and bathed for the last 8-9 months is not yours; and then to have her ripped from your arms? That's really tough man! I expect that it will take Ding-Belle all of two seconds to move back in to Shawn's life considering that she's all ready fantasizing about it. I also have a feeling that Mimi is going to burst with the news that she has known the truth for some time. At least I hope she comes clean anyway...I would prefer that scenario because we need to see Mimi admit her fore-knowledge in order to help redeem the character a wee bit. I love Farah, the actress, but the character of Mimi has become quite selfish. She started her marriage on lies and deception and now all she says is "poor me, poor me". The hypocrisy is totally annoying. Philip is the only one who is really innocent in this whole baby thing, although he knew that he married a woman who loved another man - he really doesn't deserve the storyline he's been given. Given how this storyline has twisted and turned; I just can't be happy about a Shawn/Belle pairing at this point.
I know that many people thought the lab scenes with Bonnie and Mimi were dumb but I thought they were hilarious personally. I love Judy Evans (Bonnie) and I think she has a great talent for comedic acting. Yes; I will admit that the idea that she wanted to break in to the lab to change the DNA results was silly. But it was funny. Silly is okay as long as it makes me laugh. I thought it was a great nod to past storylines that Bonnie ended up deciding on this course of action because of others who did the same thing; with successful results. Come on...her thought process must have given some of you a giggle. Other than the silly/funny factor - the fact that Bonnie would actually know how to log on to the system and access the correct programs/files is just plain ole dumb. But as Bonnie wasn't successful and didn't manage to change anything...I'll let it slide. Plus; she did babble on about how she didn't know what she was looking at yada yada; so there was a tiny bit of realism there. And okay...while we're talking about this and because the "changing of DNA results" is a recurring theme on DAYS...AND being a Systems Analyst myself...I have to tell you "what" irks me about this kind of stuff. I don't believe for a second that something such as DNA results would be accessible to edit through the front end of an application because it is information of such a sensitive nature that the input field would be locked down. What that means is that when you're looking at the results on your computer monitor - the field would be a displayed value only; meaning you could not change it! So...in order to change the DNA information; one would need specialized knowledge of how to access the database where the information is stored, as well as knowledge of how the database is organized. And even if you knew all of that (highly unlikely if you are not the database administrator for the application)...you would still need special rights to be able to edit a database table. Edit rights are strictly related to system administrators and again; one would need very specialized knowledge to know how to assign themselves administrator rights. So okay...the whole notion of being able to change the test results was so far removed from reality that it's almost not worth the bother to comment on it but I felt compelled to make the above points because I know people who watch this stuff and actually believe that computer systems are this vulnerable and easy to manipulate. Okay...stepping off my lectern now...
Go Alice, Go Alice, Go, Go, Go! Holy Wow! How I LOVED her scenes last week when she was giving Patrick the cold shoulder. I loved the look of surprise on Hope's face when she caught some of the remarks and I loved it even more that she didn't stand up for Patrick in front of her grandmother. Alice also had some wonderful good-byes scenes with Jennifer and I would bet that those were 'real' tears shed by the two actors. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Beth Milstein and Hogan Sheffer for giving this much loved matriarch some dialogue with substance! How long has it been since we've seen Frances Reid do anything but be a fixture on the sidelines saying "there, there dear; it will be okay"? Too long! Frances has such a wonderful gift for emoting - even when she doesn't have lines, you can always feel her presence in the room - but to give her some actual dialogue...well that has certainly been the icing on my cake the past two weeks. Give us more!
Top on my list of "WOW - I can't believe the length of time between screen appearances" is the Lucas, Sami, Will-is-missing storyline. The last time we saw this crew; it was 2 weeks ago Wednesday and Will had just been discovered missing. In all that time, we've seen Roman, Kate, EJ and others mention Will and the search for him with Kate even offering to stage a press conference (hello? Why didn't you do that instead of holding a press conference about a car race?) But we haven't actually seen any of the primary people involved in the story. I'm guessing that means that only a day or so - Salem time - has passed since Will went missing? Anyway; the thread was picked up again on Friday with an anxious Sami and Lucas; desperate to find Will. Unfortunately, the day ended with Lucas catching Carrie and Austin kissing on the roof. Going under the title of "Oh No She Di'int"; Carrie just won herself the hoe-bag of the year award for having sex with Lucas mere moments before joining Austin on the roof to engage in a make out session with him. Nice! Yup...the writing is on the wall and I expect Carrie and Austin to leave town fairly quickly now. Poor Lucas - heart broken again.
Hey....what happened to Mar-Mar? (My new nickname for Marlena). Last we saw...she was saying good-bye to John because she was leaving the next day. As some of you may recall from my last column - I had been wondering if she'd postpone her trip to 'Jersey due to the fact that her grandson has gone missing. I guess the writers decided to hustle her out of town and pretend that she left before Will was discovered to be missing? Hmmmm. Bad continuity people...Bad!
There was something in my last column that I mean to comment on. It was a remark made by Hogan Sheffer in his interview with Soap Opera Digest (from the excerpt I included). He said "There has been so much back and forth [between the couples] that it loses meaning because you're missing out on the angst and the longing, the ache for somebody." Right on brother! That is exactly what I've been thinking over the past couple of years. Especially where Bo and Hope are concerned. They are "THE" Super-Couple of Soap Operas (and are voted as such every year by the soap viewing audience) but yet...because Reilly has f*^@ed around with them so much...many people have stopped caring about the couple or plain ole given up on them completely. As much as that irritates me, I completely understand why many viewers feel this way. I think that Hogan has a big job ahead of him in returning this couple to their former golden glory. Given the excellent conversations between the two characters this week; I am hopeful that they have begun to travel down the road that will repair the huge rift between them.
Oh and before I forget...I've heard that Hogan's first script for the actors was filmed on September 15th and apparently, the episode will air on October 9th. I have marked that day in my calendar folks. Luckily for me - that Monday is a statutory holiday for the Canadian Thanksgiving Holiday so I will be at home; curled up with my turkey leftovers (can we say yummy turkey/gravy sandwiches!) and watching Hogan's first episode. Yay!
Reader Feedback: Thanks to everyone who wrote in! I love reading your comments and feedback about the show and this column; so keep them coming!
From Tommie:"The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Billie's testimony at the divorce hearing was superb. This was writing and acting at its best for a soap. Jennifer and Jack getting tied up, kidnapped, and lost in the woods was as bad as it gets. Who would banter and carry on like they did when they were in such dire straits? No one would - almost made me wish for JER to return. And Enid - what a stupid character she was. The scenes in and around her cabin were completely unbelievable - and the bit about the telephone: wouldn't she just unplug it, so what was Jack doing splicing the wire? Then the cave. This was all so bad I wanted to throw up. The ugliest was TEK's diatribe with Abe and Lexie. It may have been more believable than the Jack and Jennifer story, but ugly nevertheless."
From Marsha:"I am in agreement with your comments of the past few weeks episodes and the improvement of the dialogue. It is refreshing to watch and to listen to DOOL as it should be. I used to record all of the weeks programs because I could fast forward through all of the flash backs, repeat dialogue, and the Yada,Yada,Yada junk. My viewing time per episode usually only lasted about 15-20 minutes as the rest was junk and commercials. I am looking forward to the fast paced stories and interesting dialog. I want Salem to be a place where you would want to live, visit or have family and friends."
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