Die hard

For the Week of July 27, 2009
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Die hard
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At times when all of the adults are running around swapping babies and feeding each other poisoned apples, at least we have one storyline that is realistic -- the teen scene!

I love summer on soaps. I really do. Maybe it's the fact that the writers package up these perfect portions of storylines for the kiddies who are home from school to take in. Or, maybe it's because due to the (much deserved) mini vacation that the actors get in July, a lot of shows have to be taped in a short amount of time so the acting and overall pace of the show is more consistent than other times in the year. Or maybe it's because there is an absolute embarrassment of riches in the casting department coming our way in the late summer/early fall so any minor annoyances present right now just roll right off my back as I look towards the future. Either way, I look at the summer on soaps the way a fat kid looks at a cupcake. Hey, if 50 cent can do it, why can't I?

At times when all of the adults are running around swapping babies and feeding each other poisoned apples, at least we have one storyline that is realistic. Thank God for the teenagers! That's right, I like all three of them. True, Will can teeter on annoying for me, but this week he pleasantly surprised me by not giving Mia a hard time about having a boyfriend before him. Errr....friend....hanging out....talking...whatever. Mia and Will have been "whatevering" long enough for me to consider them a couple, even if they haven't "whatevered" like Mia and Chad did.

I don't think that Chad is a bad guy at all. A little full of himself? Maybe. But he has good reason to be. He's one of the few soap characters who can tell when someone else is lying, (guess the guy isn't as much like EJ as we thought- OHHH!!! snap.) and that trait will take him far. I would like the writers to straighten out a bit more about his parents (The honorable Judge and Mr. Petersen- aka Marsha and Bill) because it sounds like they were really the reason that Chad bailed on Mia. If there's more to the story, I hope Mia will get to it soon. Maybe another coffee date with Nicole will shed some light on this story. But right now I'm left with three basically good characters that are caught up in a web of misunderstandings and outside manipulations and I can't wait to see how this plays out. Basically, it's much easier for me to watch a love triangle when I actually like all three parties and in this case, I do.

Luckily for me I only had to put up with a few doses of the comedy of errors otherwise known as "Safe chemistry". In what I can only deduce was an attempt to remind me that, yes, this is a romantic pairing, Rafe pronounced, "I'm going to take my shirt off". I half expect Sami to appear wearing a sandwich board in her next scene that reads, "We've got chemistry, yes we do! No, REALLY we do!!!" And, there were also a few head-slap moments in the whole secret spot stuff. I couldn't help but notice that Sami and Meredith both claimed to come to this secret spot for years, yet Sami and Rafe never ran into each other before. Also, Rafe arrived at the secret spot a split second after Meredith left and they didn't meet, so apparently this spot is soooo secret that it has more than one entrance/exit. It really is getting funny at this point.

I got a lot of email from those of you who believe that this Safe pairing is really making Sami boring; and that basically amounts to blasphemy for Days fans because love her or hate her, Sami's never been boring...until now, that is. But hopefully that has come to an end. I enjoy Rafe and Sami about as much as a midnight charlie horse, but maybe, just maybe this Emily storyline will let Sami actually figure out someone else's secret- and we all know what happens when Sami has dirt on someone else. Sami was justifiably disturbed by how easy it was for Rafe to lie to her face and act like nothing was out of the ordinary about being in the exact same "special spot" that his dead fiancé used to take him. So, she went right to Roman (you remember him, right?) and asked him to investigate Meredith Hudson- and her family. Roman's efforts should last until he uncovers a crime involved, in which case, as a member of the Salem PD, he will be contractually obligated to not solve it, or at least blame Stefano for it. Still, progress is progress and I'm not complaining about that.

Well, now I'm in trouble. I thought that I wouldn't like this quad a few weeks ago. But, I'm starting to warm up to them a bit- well, to 75% of them anyway. My main problem is that while I don't want Philip and Melanie in a relationship, I do like it when they share scenes together. And in the right context, they could have a good love story. But as Melanie so brilliantly pointed out, she's no one's rebound. (I wanted to hug her when she said that.) And no matter how many dimples or kisses are involved, she's not changing her mind.

For their part, the more angst that Philip and Stephanie go through apart, the more I'm convinced that they should be together. Philip is so clearly upset about losing Steph, that he's getting plastered at hospital board meetings and throwing glasses at the fireplace. Apparently in his free time since the break up, Philip has been taking etiquette lessons from Sonny Corinthos. But his pain is palpable. Even Nathan picked on the fact that Philip is faking being "okay". And Stephanie has taken to gossiping and desperate flirting. I never thought I'd say this, but Steph's behavior this week made me miss the days when all she did was slut it up in hot tubs and dangle her body out of sunroofs. If Steph isn't careful she's going to lose the few friends she has left. She's already lost me.

The end result of this math equation SHOULD be Melanie/Nathan and Philip/Stephanie. Did you see how excited Maggie was when she found out Mel and Nathan were going on a date? I'm not one to argue with Big Red! And Philip and Stephanie can only go around town telling everyone else that they still love each other for so long before someone locks them in a vault together again, right?

More of the same here. Nicole and Stefano talk about Rafe being a problem but neither actually did anything about him. And EJ is the designated schmuck who acts like he heard what they were talking about. No big progress. But there was one string of events that I couldn't help but notice.

On Friday's episode, Nicole arrived home and sat down in the middle of the DiMera living room to leave Mia a message recapping the whole pregnancy/adoption/threatening Chad thing. Right next to Nicole was Sydney's playpen. And in said play pen was a baby monitor. I know there was a baby monitor because the show spent the better part of 20 minutes having EJ convince Nicole that it was ok for him to leave Sydney alone since he had the baby monitor and thus could HEAR EVERYTHING HAPPENING IN THE ROOM! And just for good measure, EJ told us that the batteries were always working in those things. So, EJ had to overhear Nicole, right? Right?! If not, I'm reserving my right to kick the writers in their collective teeth for assuming we're too dumb to realize this blatant screw up.

Last time it was "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" and this time it is "death by chocolate". Gotta say, of the list of ways to die, eating brownies and falling into Shawn Christian's arms doesn't sound too bad. Besides, the performance that Shawn Christian gave when Chloe finally told an overjoyed Daniel that she was going to leave Lucas reminded me why my partner, Tony, insisted that Shawn was such a "get" for Days. And for her part, Nadia played the part of a victim to a "T" and made those seizure scenes in the hospital surprisingly visually disturbing- especially for a gal as visually pleasing to look at as Nadia is. I'm also enjoying how much Maggie, Bo, Hope, and Lexie are getting involved in this storyline. Don't look now, but Bo, Hope, and Lexie are all getting to be at WORK and be in a storyline at the same time. Woot! If Mickey shows up as Daniel's defense attorney, my heart just might go into overdrive. I know that the writers love to get their hands on new characters and form them into whatever they want, but the beauty of veteran characters is that they have established careers and histories which can lend themselves so easy to plots. Kudos to the writers for using these vets!

What's that? I didn't talk about the actual crime? Oh yeah, I guess that happened too. Truth of the matter is that I was a bit too distracted by Lauren Koslow's slightly comical portrayal of the "grieving" mother-in-law. I can't help it, but the way she smirks makes me hard to really connect with this over-the-top storyline. Well, that and the way Daniel was channeling his inner Stanley Kowalski. (See: "SteeeLLLLAAA" "ChlooooEEEE")

.... and LUCAS
You remember him, right? He's the one whose wife cheated on him, aunt lied to him, and mother tried to destroy his life. HA! It's a good think the writers sent that clown to Hong Kong. There's no reason at all he should be in Salem right now! Can you imagine if he were around? Why, viewers would actually have to remember that Chloe had been completely unfair to Lucas for months; and we can't be having that when the poor dear is fighting for her life. Plus, what if someone actually caught on that Daniel's statement about Chloe being faithful since she married Lucas is in DIRECT contradiction with the passionate lip lock Danloe shared just a few minutes before? And can you imagine if we really had a reason to look at this storyline differently than the other tons of times that Kate has tried to kill one of Lucas's paramours? We might really feel like Kate is hurting her child. Whew! Good thing we ran that joker out of town.

The kissed! It was hot! Brady is hot! Arianna is mysterious! I like where this is going! I appreciate the way that the writers have handled Arianna. Unlike Rafe, the writers made the smart move to start hinting at her back story right away. I'm interested to know why she lied to Brady about dating an addict and why she goes and visits Emily's grave. I can't wait to find out who she was talking to on the phone and why getting the manager job at the pub was part of her "plan". Since Brady is second runner up to Claire for "most related in Salem" (he is a Brady/DiMera/Kiriakis/Toscano), Brady will have to be romantically involved with an outsider. And if Arianna is a bit of a schemer, I'm even better with it because Brady is much more interesting when he's paired with someone who isn't as silver-spoon, squeaky-clean as he is.

My only gripe is that they tend to write Arianna a little bit towards the bitchy side. I cannot believe that she told Nathan that Melanie left with another guy. Call me crazy but "she left with another guy" isn't the same as "she drove a drunk friend home" and Arianna knows that. Plus, the way Arianna ducked into the back when Melanie was looking for help with Philip was not cool at all. It almost makes me wonder if Ari is trying to use Melanie (or, perhaps Nathan) in her plot. Hmmm.....

I love Brady, but who the heck orders a protein shake from an Irish Pub? Order a Car Bomb like any other self respecting bar patron, Brady!

Wasn't there a gym in Salem at one point? If I saw two dudes doing pushups on the park bench, I would think they are total douchebags. I don't care if they were Jay Johnson and Shawn Christian.

Characters who have had great love stories (See: Sami, Chloe, Nicole) in the past need to stop starting sentences with "I never knew what love was until you" or "I've never loved anyone else the way I love you". Likewise, characters that haven't been on screen that long (Hi Daniel!) should not say things like "You have no idea how long I've waited to hear...."

Arianne Zuker is starting to show. The hunt for big purses and oversized folders begins!

Does anyone think Chloe will wake up with amnesia? It would fit into Classic Soap Story Telling 101. Just a thought....

I want to know what kind of coffee Henderson makes at the K-Mansion, because Philip went from raging drunk at home, to perfectly sober at the hospital in the span of about 10 minutes. Do you know how much college kids would pay for that sort of stuff?

Will and Nicole. Their scene was brilliant and needed on so many levels. For those who weren't watching during Nicole's first stint with the show, Nicole basically gave up any chance at real happiness to go along with a scheme to keep Will from Sami (there was money in it for Nicole). Will gets major points in my book for showing that he does love his mother by thanking Nicole for saving Sami a bunch of heartache. He's able to look back on painful events from his past and appreciate the lessons he learned. Only the massive irony here is that the only thing Nicole has learned is to make her schemes tighter and better. And Nicole knows it too. What's even more brilliant is that Arianne Zuker nailed that moment where Nicole breaks down knowing that even if she'll be able to lie to everyone else, she'll still always know the truth. I found that moment different from any other moment that Nicole has cried before. This time it wasn't about her grief over losing her baby. It was grief over realizing that she hasn't changed enough to change her ways. It was a truly poignant, heartbreaking, beautiful, character driven scenes.

Stephanie is still on drugs, right? I mean, she just has to be. That's the only reason I can come up with for her being a self-righteous, busy-bodied MEGA witch this week. She's known Nathan for what, a few days? Yet she feels it is appropriate to tell him what to do with his love life? If I were Nathan, I'd be sounding the stalker alarm. Since you asked, it sounds like this, "WARNING! WARNING! Step away from the crazy ass bitch!! WARNING! WARNING!" Then, not only did Steph have the nerve to accuse Melanie of sleeping with Philip, but actually had the audacity to suggest that Melanie only rescued Steph from the morgue as a way to get Philip's attention. Riiigt. Because that's how I always get a dude's attention. Even the sight of Shelley Hennig in those wonderful trivia bits made my heart flutter with rage because I am so mad at Stephanie. And as far as I'm concerned, Steph's apology was not good enough either. She'd better march herself over to Nathan and make a full confession- preferably in Melanie's presence- about how wrong and childish it was for her to spread rumors about Melanie. The only gal with something wrong with her in Salem is Stephanie for being too immature to deal with her own decisions.

EJ (to Nicole): "Nicole I've never known you to be irrational....when it comes to Sydney." Way to qualify that one EJ, but you're wrong on both counts.

So there you have it, Days fans! Are you enjoying the summer? Am I the only one who likes Chad? Who else thought Melanie's apology was totally unwarranted? Tony will be back next week to take another dip in this summer storyline pool. If you're all good, he might bring you pina coladas and snacks!

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