Balancing act

For the Week of September 15, 2008
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DAYS Two Scoops: Balancing act
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This past week, Philip said that Daniel and Kate's relationship was stupid, dysfunctional, and disloyal. Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

Happiness is a funny thing. Sometimes you decide what it means when you're lying in a coma. Sometimes you realize that you had it all along but a certain custody arrangement changes everything. And, if you're like me, you find it in that hour each day (42 minutes if you fast forward through the commercials) that you can escape into the fantasy world of soaps and forget about that list of responsibilities that clog up your "real life". Yep, it was weeks like this that remind me why I'm a soap fan. With the fall primetime schedule about to launch, daytime shows really need to step up their storylines to keep a spot on TiVos and DVRs. For the most part, Days is answering the challenge.

Morgan is still having a hard time reconciling her feelings for Philip with the knowledge that Philip threatened her father. But as soon as she saw a softer side of Philip, mainly how horrible his family problems are too, she was willing to give them another shot. Then, they actually have a conversation about past relationships and how they've both been hurt. This type of storyline is very promising. Why? Each individual character is independently strong.

First there's Morgan. She's got a life outside of a relationship. Tell me that hasn't been missing from practically every other lady in Salem! She talks about going back to class, starting things back up with her sorority, and (shock!) getting another job. Not only talk about it- but she does it! Morgan lands a job working for Kate at "Hearth and Home".

Philip is becoming a leading man too. In addition to his work at Titan, he's starting to stand up for himself. I loved it when he tore into Kate for being over protective. And, I super loved it when he worked Victor over to get him to interfere with Kate's love life. Smart move, Philly. Mom would be impressed.

More people are finding out about "granny-gate". Stephanie looked like she was going to throw up when Chelsea told her about Daniel and Kate, and you know it must be bad if Stephanie is disgusted by a relationship. Victor pointed out that Chelsea went half way around the world to get away from Kate. And, Philip called Daniel and Kate's relationship "stupid, dysfunctional, and disloyal". Yep. That pretty much sums it up.

At least Kate has one thing going for her- her awesome assistant Chris. I love him. He's such a hoot. Sure, he's kind of a caricature, but at least he's a positive character. Mix that in with some much needed comic relief and I'll take it any day!

Kate's obviously heading for some rough health waters soon. Anna, Kalya, Daniel, Philip, Morgan, and Victor have all gotten onto her about getting that nasty cough checked out. She refuses to listen, which pretty much means she's headed for some mysterious illness. I like Lauren Koslow so I'm excited to see how this plays out. The only thing that bothers me is that if Kate has such a bad cough, why isn't her speaking voice affected? I know that when I have a bad cough I walk around sounding like a prepubescent frog.

Despite Lexie's warning, Tony continues his quest to regain control over the DiMera Empire. Tony even mentions that he wants to make the DiMera name better for Theo and Johnny. (Yeah! I love it when people remembered who they are related to.) Tony asked Philip to join him and EJ in their fight against John. Good move in theory, but Philip teaming up with the DiMera brothers probably won't compliment Victor's alignment with Stefano.

But, Philip isn't the member of the Roberts family that Stefano is concerned with. He's more interested in Kate. Apparently one of the side effects of his coma is that he awakes with the need to get married. And, he wants to marry Kate. What could his ulterior motive be? I think Stefano knows that Kate is the owner of a huge company and that she is sick. Put 1 and 1 together and it means that Stefano, being Kate's next of kin, could gain control over Kate's company if she were suddenly incapacitated. That might hold his power appetite over while his estate is still stuck in litigation.

Or, could we possibly be in for a new high powered love triangle between Stefano, Kate, and Victor? I have to admit, that sounds interesting! We've seen how the immature and the unemployed fight it out. What happens when the high and mighty fight?

I don't think that Steve's PI business is going to last very long. Sure, he's got the "investigation" part down, but the "private"....well, that went out the window when he and Hope discussed Trent's background check in a public place, with Trent sitting at the next table. To quote my all-time-favorite line from my partner Tony: Extend arm palm up and slap forehead. Quick nod to the past in case you missed it- Hope mentioned that Trent Robbins used to go by the alias "Trent Becker".

The artist formerly known as Trent Becker is in debt for $20,000. Yikes! He asks Nicole for the money. She rightfully gives Trent a "hell-to-the-no". But then she reconsiders and tells Trent that if he gives her a divorce, she'll think about giving him the money. I'm not quite sure what to think about this. Yes, getting a divorce is a good move for Nicole. But, if she really wants to keep her marriage to Trent private, is it a good idea to make it public record again? I wouldn't think so.

Nicole may not have too much time though, because Bope figured out that Nicole Walker is married to Trent. Actually, "Misty Circle" from Locker Room Lolita is married to Trent "Becker". Hmmm....two people who were married under aliases a.k.a not their legal names....sounds like a loop hole on the ol' marriage license to me.

Side note, who's porn star name is Misty Circle? Doesn't everyone know that the proper formula for picking your porn star name is: first name=name of your first pet, last name=name of the street you grew up on. For the record, mine would be "Hershey Green". Wait...mine sounds like a flavor of holiday candy, huh? Dang! There goes my career as a porn star.

Marlena reiterated her position that she wants a divorce. John continued to protest. I saw this coming. But, what I didn't see coming is that the writers actually thought to address John's relationship with Ava! Hot DOG! I'm so glad. I thought the writers were going to sweep this one under the same rug that smothered Steve and Kayla's relationship. But no, Marlena brought up that John cheated. And John correctly pointed out that Marlena told him to see other women. It's a tie, but I'm still glad it was addressed. I do have to wonder though, if John and Marlena do actually divorce, is Marlena entitled to any of the DiMera Empire?

My question might have to wait. For now, John is set on taking out Trent. Trent tries to "trick date" Marlena. He walks up to her table at the pub and invites himself to dinner. But Marlena isn't having any of his advances, and neither is John. Marlena reminds Trent that she won't date a man who is so mean to his own son. John just punches Trent in the face. Oh yeah, and then kicks the living heck out of him. Then, John has a bad headache/seizer in the middle of the attack. It seems like he's short-circuiting. Something in his scrambled brain isn't working right and we don't know which side of the mercenary fence he's going to land.

EJ needs a nap or at least a stiff drink! In addition to the civil war brewing in the House that Stefano built, Sami had an emotional break down, and Nicole had a mental one. I gotta agree with him. No matter what these women think, "he wasn't put on this earth to solve their problems". I second Tony's sentiments last week, WAY TO GO EJ! Unfortunately, I don't see his bloody headache going away anytime soon.

Sami didn't have an easy week either. I know that I'm going to get hate mail for this, but Sami actually gets a lot of sympathy from me. I felt bad for her when she said goodbye to Ali (Proper kudos to Alison Sweeney for working with an energetic child actress during that emotional scene!). Sami is worried about Lucas not knowing Ali's schedules, about Ali being scared, about Ali being around strangers, and about Ali being away from Johnny. You know what? I get it. Unfortunately because she is Sami, I don't think viewers are going to actually consider the circumstances. Instead, too many people will jump to the "Sami being Sami" conclusion and write her off as being irrational. I don't buy it at all. Sami is stressed out because her daughter, whom she's never spent a night away from, just got ripped away from her without much notice. Is she acting on emotions and no brains? Yes. But so is Lucas. And honestly, I can't blame either of them. Sami showing up at that Horton cabin unannounced was no less jerky that Lucas showing up at the mansion unannounced to collect Ali. In a town where Lexie stole her best friend's baby because she couldn't deal with the idea of being apart from her child, I'm a little shocked that so many people are ready to string Sami up. I'm just saying.

Ok, back to my happy place. In the midst of all the fighting and accusation slinging, I couldn't help but notice how alike EJ and Sami are. I frantically tried to keep track of how many good points EJ made vs. how many good points Sami made. Finally I just threw my hands up and thought "The hell with it! You're both right!" Albeit in a completely counterintuitive way, they balance each other out. I couldn't find the words to explain it, so since I am the daughter of two teachers, I decided to look up the term "balance". This definition is so perfect for Ejami that I wish I would have written it myself (note- the part of "Law" is being played by EJ and the part of "Chaos" is being played by Sami):
"In the metaphysical or conceptual sense, balance is used to mean a point between two opposite forces that is desirable over purely one state or the other, such as a balance between the metaphysical Law and Chaos - law by itself being overly controlling, chaos being overly unmanageable, balance being the point that minimizes the negatives of both."

Lucas, Ali, and Chloe arrive at the Horton cabin for a little bonding time in the great outdoors. There's a lot I like about this storyline. First, Lucas gets to spend time with his daughter. I've been critical of Captain Pompous before, but I have to admit that he loves Ali and is a good father. So, I'm glad to see that he got joint custody.

I'm also a big fan of the writers showing that Chloe isn't exactly thrilled about the idea of being a step-mom. This is one of those cases where soaps actually have a practical, real life concern. Sure, Chloe was around Joy as a baby and coddled over Claire just a few months ago. But that's totally different. Those weren't her kids. She could return them! But if she's going to be an important part of Lucas's life she's going to have to make an attempt to bond with Ali. For the most part, she did a good job. I loved it when she sang to her! And, I totally related to that look of accomplishment on Chloe's face when she got Ali to stop crying. (BTW, I'd like to take this opportunity to publically apologize to my cousin Luke for torturing him with my singing voice when he was a baby. Also, I apologize to him for not looking as pleasant as Nadia Bjorlin. Sorry, bud.)

The Lucas and Chloe pairing is very positive. However, their actual relationship needs some work. Step 1: Show us some actual dates. Going for a weekend to the wilderness and alternating between diaper duty and romps in the shower is hardly a good first date. How about they rent a movie, go out to dinner, or better yet, go to the opera together? I'd love to see Chloe share her love of music with Lucas! Step 2: Keep Lucas away from Sami. Lucas is unbearable when he's around her. But once Lucas stops spouting off from the top of Mt. Superior, he's actually a pretty likable character! When he's with Chloe he (read=Bryan) actually has the capacity to bring some humor into the performance. Don't know about you, but I prefer my Lucas with a side of comedy.

In case you didn't guess, I'm not too pleased with this Sami/Lucas custody crap. I sympathize with both of them. It's a tough situation for couples to be in and I don't blame either of them. This week was an excellent example. Lucas and Chloe should never have left Ali alone. If EJ and Sami were both able to come to the cabin, enter it, and have a full discussion about Ali being alone then yes, Ali was alone too long. But, Sami has no business demanding that EJ help her sue for full custody knowing that her own history is just as spotted as Lucas's current record. In the end, I'm very upset that the writers are dragging out Lumi with this stupid custody storyline. They need a clean break. And viewers need a break too. Please. I'm begging.

I think that Commissioner Carver needs to join his brother-in-law for that stiff drink. I feel bad for Abe. His department couldn't put Stefano away. His wife is showing signs of cheating. And, his son has autism. Not that Lexie is having a much easier time. She's missing meetings at work and now has to appear in front of the hospital review board.

I still like this storyline. Since we started seeing Abe and Lexie's counseling sessions, I've noticed a difference in how they communicate. Lexie isn't as smug and Abe isn't as stoic. I know that a lot of viewers are bored with their storyline, but I think it brings some good balance to the show. In the midst of brainwashing, porn star marriages, and intergenerational love triangles, this storyline is actually realistic. Most people have gone through times in their lives where it seems like everything is going wrong and the stress of life is just going to eat us alive. Seeing Abe and Lexie pull together to get through this situation really resonates with me.

Wow. Talk about a bomb shell. Trent pimps out his daughter to pay off his gambling debt. WOW. I mean, wow. I'm at a loss for words. Trent needs to be taken down. Fast. And hopefully painfully. Aside from learning that Trent is a big time creep, we watched Nick try to rescue Melanie only to get shot (He's ok though, he's got street cred'!) and Chelsea have a cool relationship talk with Nick.

I liked Melanie before, but I'm completely mesmerized with her now. All things considered, how is it possible that she has that light-hearted spunk that drew me to her in the first place? It's amazing that she joked with Nick and Max just a few minutes after leaving the police station. She even agreed with Chelsea's harsh, but spot-on analysis that Melanie's party girl lifestyle wasn't the most responsible choice. How does this girl not live in constant fear? Her father was able to sexually assault her from half way around the world! If the writers play this right (and I sincerely hope they do) Melanie can be one of those heroically dynamic characters. The actress, Molly Burnett, is great. Melanie's relationship with Nick is interesting. And now that she's coming back to Salem, we'll get to see her interact with some of Salem's finest. I can't wait.

This storyline opens up new potential for Nick too. The revelation that Trent pimps out his own daughter sorta means that Nick works for a child molester. How will this news effect the physics department, Nick's job, and Nick's grant? The University has a PR nightmare coming their way and I think it would be interesting if Nick could be the one to hold the department together! Of course, there's the other shoe- Melanie is a minor. While I admit that, yes, that slight chronological problem does make their kiss a little sketchy, I still have hopes that Nick and Melanie will work it out. An easy out? Trent forged Melanie's birth certificate to make her younger than she really is so that she would stay under his control longer.

Max needs to be careful that he doesn't regress into Mad Max again and try to kill Trent. That would be bad. I don't want to watch Roman have to arrest another brother. Nope. I'd rather see more Mel and Max bonding time. I love it when my favorite M&M's spar. How funny would it be if Max got Melanie a job waitressing at the pub? Do you think she could balance her tiara and a tray of chowder at the same time?

Since I was so tough on her before, it's only fair of me to say that Stephanie didn't get on my nerves this week! I think that's probably because she finally got off her high horse about Melanie and she shared so many scenes with Chelsea. Basically, anyone is a better on screen partner for Stephanie than Max. I really like the best friend/cousin relationship between Chelsea and Steph. It's very Hope and Jennifer 2.0- and I like it!

How much do you love it when Tony calls Lexie "Alexandra"? Something about it makes me smile.

I think Kate's cough is an allergic reaction to that horrible hair cut she got last week.

Similarly, I think Nicole's stomach ache is a reaction from her unfortunate hair style this week. That awesome dress and those earrings did not deserve to be treated like that. I love Lucy just as much as the next gal, but not on my head.

EJ's phone rang and then I swear I heard him say, "Daddy's phone is ringing" to Ali. Slip up or foreshadowing? Hmm.....

Tony and Anna are hilarious. In case you missed it, they spied on Stefano and Kate's date, first by listening at the door and then by posing as the waitress and the wine guy. Lesser actors could not have gotten away with such a silly scene. But, Thaao Penglis and Leanne Hunley pulled it off. If they can keep my attention playing Keystone Cops imagine what they would do if given a main storyline! More of these two, please!!!

EJ told Nicole that he's attracted to her because "it's a matter of biology". ouch! Not because she's pretty, smart, or gutsy. Nope. Biology. Isn't that the same reason that people belch and throw up too?

SPOILER ALERT ...There are rumors going around that Kristen Renton has been let go from her contract. There's no word on whether the part will be recast. It makes me so sad to watch her great storyline, not to mention her awesome chemistry with Jay Kenneth Johnson, knowing that it will soon be taken away from me. I watch their scenes with the same combination of desire and guilt that I do when I walk by that pint of chocolate brownie ice cream at the grocery store. I know I shouldn't get involved, I'll be sorry in the end. But it's so good that I can't help myself.

Extra Scoops:
Nick and Chelsea. I don't think I've ever been more thrilled with Nick and Chelsea's relationship- as friends- as I was this week. I watched their scene on Thursday where they both accepted blame for their failed relationship about four times. I know this is going to sound corny, but it actually gave me hope for the future of Salem. It took way too long for Bo and Billie to get past their history and arrive at a friendly point, but I was so glad when they did. The fact that Nick and Chelsea are so over their break up that they can talk to each other about their current relationships shows a lot of maturity on both of their parts. And, it didn't take sixteen years and three recasts to get there, thankyouverymuch.

Nicole. She called the police to report a "possible" kidnapping when EJ ran out of the house to help Sami. Normally I would LOVE a move like this from feisty Nicole. But, not when she stoops so low to use someone else's child as leverage to get a man's attention. Scam Victor out of money? Cool. Sabotage Chloe's surgery? Fine. But, corrupt a raw custody situation and risk the health and happiness of an innocent child just so ol' Fish and Chips will pay her some attention? Disgusting. Nicole needs to step away from the EJ right now. Has she met Dr. Dan?

Bonus: It's a personal pet peeve of mine, but I cringe every time Nicole gives Sami crap about having children from different fathers. Considering Nicole's history of sexual abuse and exploitation, she should be the last person blaming Sami for having been the victim of sexual assault. Nicole a beeotch, but she's not this cold. Stop ruining my favorite hell-cat, writers!

Anna to Kate upon learning about Kate's date with Stefano: I know you've been going through a dry spell lately, sweetie. But, maybe if you're that lonely you should try speed dating.

There you have it Days fans! Another action filled week in Salem, USA. Tony will be back on Monday to help Scoop up another five episodes. Until then, here are some fun questions to ponder: Who would serve as Kate's maid of honor? Which DiMera kid would be the first target for Kate's motherly adivce on relationships? Finally, what "hide Alison Sweeney's pregnancy" tactic is your favorite? Personally, I'm partial to the sparkley red/pink/gold tank-top that she wore at the beginning of the week.

Happy viewing!

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