The grand prize game

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I'm a happy camper. Last time we met, I was shell shocked at the tomfoolery going on in Salem. This week, I have a sparkling new recast, a few happy couples, and two (count them TWO) shinny new Emmys to celebrate. WOOT!! Of course, it means that next week the poo is going to hit the fan, but for now I am hitting pause to celebrate a great week on Days. Here's what we have to party about.

Nicole and Stefano are perfectly entertaining together. I so agreed with Stefano's argument- Nicole should have known that Stefano would have Baker killed. Why else do you go to Stefano DiMera for help? Because of his great arbitration skills? No! So, shame on Nicole for not mentioning that Baker's death triggers the release of his tell-all letter. So it seemed only fair that since Nicole caused this mess, she try to take care of the letter.

I know it won't last, but I really do like Nicole and Sami as friends. Both actresses are great and it's refreshing to see the two of them in scenes where neither of them is crying after some bloke. All of this Nicole/Sami bonding is just setting Nicole up for an even bigger fall. I love watching Nicole squirm in her scenes with Sami. It's just another layer of betrayal on top of all the others that Sami is going to tear through once the swap comes out. It's a very soapy plot and I love it all.

Nicole intercepted the letter from Baker at Sami's house, which is good because the last time Sami received a tell-all letter, she didn't end up too well. But, Mia's letter is still out there. And I'm floored that it fell into Chad's hands!

Chad is quickly becoming one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Casey Deidrick can use some more time to polish up his acting skills, but the guy's got an inherit charm that comes through in every scene and he's just going to get better. It's a good thing that I like him because I have a feeling that he's going to be a key piece in the swap coming out. And when that does, I will have so much sympathy for Chad that I might send him a whole case of Cheerios. He's a dad who never knew that his daughter existed. As bad as EJ felt about not getting to hold Grace, multiply that by 1000 because Chad never even got to know about Grace. I'll be surprised if Chad is brazen enough to open the letter and read it right now. But, the memory of it will rattle around in his cute little punk chic head, and he's keen enough of a character to do something about it.

In other news, it's time for Kinsey to either have more meat to her character or move on. As my brilliant partner Tony mentioned, Kinsey is difficult to enjoy. While it's fun to watch Chad mock her and I giggle every time I see her in that neck brace, those minor comical moments can't substantiate a character. If she's going to be around, I suggest that we find out who her family is. Maybe she's a long-lost Hernandez sibling too? It would certainly explain how she was able to get away with getting booze so easily. Kids with no parents follow less rules.

Speaking of parents, Will brought up Mia's mom again and Mia shut him right down. I'm not sure why the writers are doing this. I feel like Mia has enough drama going on right now without involving her parents. She's got a new official boyfriend, now that she and Will made it "official, official"- a scene that I found incredibly charming. She's got her job at Java. She's going to be on the cheerleading squad. And, she's got to deal with DID Nicole who will yell at Mia for coming near Sydney one day and then call Mia up to join them for a play day the next day. The chick's got enough on her plate.

Just to throw my two cents into the debate- I have no problem with Sami, EJ, and Lucas letting Johnny and Ali go with Doug and Julie to visit John and Marlena. I actually think it's much better than having them always be taking a nap at Caroline's. Plus, we all know that children and soaps are heard about but not seen. The only reason we see kids on soaps at all is when they are pertinent to a current storyline. Right now, Johnny and Ali don't have a storyline so they are given one that leaves them off-screen indefinitely. Wait....I wonder if Roman has been visiting John and Marlena too....

Sorry, back on track... Will told Sami that she needed to get a life, but he did it in a way that was actually caring. I am so glad that someone told Sami that she needs to get a job and start occupying her time with other things than grief over losing Grace and Rafe. I totally agree. At this point, I don't care if she picks up Mia's extra hours at the Java Café. Since the writers aren't going to let her be actively involved in her own storyline, at least let her be involved somewhere else. Maybe she could get a job as Justin's secretary. No one has more experience bringing down Kate than Sami does.

Gosh darn that, Maggie! She has an uncanny power to make me turn into a grinning fool and nod my head in agreement with practically everything she says. So, since she is so in favor of a Mel/Nathan pairing, I'm going to give them another shot. You all know about my well-documented affection for Miss Melanie, but Nathan hasn't been a regular on my good list. But, when he is paired with Mel, he gets leaps better. Bottom line, she demands that he be lighthearted and doesn't let him get away with an ego thing. Outside of Melanie, he's dreadfully stuffy so I appreciate that she makes him be a little silly. I also like that he's not totally into Mel right now. You know....he doesn't "like her like that". I know that sounds weird, but Maggie is right. If Mel waits to let the guy make the first move, something I have yet to see her do, she might just be surprised about how things turn out.

She might end up- -put your crash helmets on for this one, readers- -as lucky as Stephanie did. Really, Philip does not need to put up with Steph's constant wishy-washyness, but at least she did right by herself for standing up for what she wants. And, I'm so glad he does because Steph and Philip are a pleasure to watch when they are happy together. I loved everything from their pool date to their nachos with jalapeños "step" to their quirky post-coital popsicle. Wait...that sounded much dirtier than it really was. Anyway, as much as I like Victor, I did smile a bit when Philip just told Victor that he's happy with Steph rather participate in Victor's ego joust. Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, but since hardly any of the couples that I want to be together actually do end up together, I try to enjoy what little time the writers actually let my couples be happy.

Continuing my plunge into denial, I am really hoping the sex tape doesn't make trouble for Melanie. Don't get me wrong, I put money on Steph tearing into Melanie, mainly because Philip isn't around to take the blame that should actually be on him. But, I'll be interested to see how Nathan will react. I wonder if the cavalier attitude that he grants himself when dating extends to other people too. If he can make a date with one girl while on a date with another, can he really be that mad at Mel for sleeping with a willing free man on her own time?

Bo and Hope need to stop fighting. Correction: Hope needs to learn how to deal with her grief in a way that doesn't involve pushing Bo away. I am tired of seeing Hope totally dismiss any of Bo's parental rights to grief so that her grief can take center stage. I'm tired of seeing Bo fall all over himself to prove himself to her...AGAIN. And, I want Justin to stay away from Hope because I'm tired of seeing her act like a total brat, only to be consoled by another generous, good looking man....again. As much as I don't like to see Bope break up, I wish just once it would be Bo who leaves and then Hope has to prove that she wants to fight for this marriage just as much as Bo has in the past. When Ciara asked her parents, "Why are you fighting?" I wanted Bo to respond with "Because at least once every 18 months, your mom has to act like an irrational fool. But, last time she did that, we sorta got you out of it. So, let's hope a puppy this time!!"

I'm starting to find Daniel very comical and I know I'm not supposed to. But how can you not? He's supposedly the only doctor on the planet who can perform these cutting edge surgeries; yet he can't figure out how to sneak into a room that has two entrances and only one guard without enlisting the help of Mel, Nathan, and Brady. He can diagnose patients just by looking at them, yet his grand plan to expose Kate tragically involves him luring her in for just one more dose of his high-powered man juice because then Kate will surely melt to mush. She'll end up confessing her deepest, darkest secret, just for one more chance to run her fingers through his perfectly coiffed chest hair. It reminds me of the scene in Austin Powers when Austin destroys all of the fem-bots by thrusting his pelvis at them. Daniel, Daniel, Daniel.....hasn't your wiener gotten you in enough trouble? Now you're going to enlist it again to help solve a problem? Try something else, man!

Try...listening to Justin! Justin has the right idea. They need to work on proving Daniel is innocent, not proving Kate guilty. But Kate did such a bang-up job framing Daniel that I don't know how he's going to do that. Those gloves are not the answer. First, how are those even going to be sorta admissible in court? Even for a soap trial, can the defendant really come into the court with incriminating evidence and then claim that "he found it" in someone else's closet? And, Kate's been so crafty that do we really believe that she would keep the gloves? I don't.

Kate's beaten much better foes before and, for the record, her weakness has never been her libido. Her kids, power, control- all those are weaknesses when it comes to Kate. Finding a date has never really been a problem. And, I have a hard time believing that this Kate, who's come so far, is willing to kiss and make up. This time Kate is more dangerous than ever. I can NOT believe how she was trying to convince Lucas to go ahead and pull the plug even though Chloe woke up and spoke! That was shocking, even for Kate. But, at least Kate knows what she's doing is vindictive. It's much more entertaining to watch than someone like Daniel who acts like he's Captain Perfect.

Kate might have some company in her mad world. Lucas looked downright scary when he hissed at Chloe, "You love him....and I hate you." Can I just say THANK YOU!! This has nothing to do with Chloe. She's hardly the first gal on a soap to cheat and she won't be the last. But I am tickled pink that the writers aren't having Lucas golly-gee it over and fall down at Chloe's feet. The writers have been entirely unfair to Lucas throughout this whole storyline. He's the only innocent victim in this whole gang of misfits, yet the plot is not showcasing Lucas enough. He made the decision to pull the plug just like that? The only person he consulted about it was Kate? He can't at least call Billie and talk to her? Philip is right there in town! How about grabbing a coffee with Doug and Julie when they came by to pick up Ali? It's a shame that the writers have emasculated Lucas so much that the only confidant he has in this whole world is his mommy. Lucas needs some support right now. I can't even imagine how crushed I would be if my husband cheated on me. Then, if he woke up from a coma and spoke her name, I would go mad. Finally, if I had to listen to my father-in-law tell me how it's my responsibility to make sure the chump gets the best care, I would break. I feel horrible for Lucas.

HOLY COW! Victor is the drug boss? Really? Really?!?! I know that once upon a time, Victor was a big time drug lord in Salem, but that was a long time ago. It was at least one recovering addict/grandson ago! What about all that mud he slings Chloe's way for not helping Brady with his drug habit? What about kidnapping Brady in the middle of the effing night to drag his butt to rehab? What about admonishing Philip for planting drugs on John Black DiMera's ship? Wha-wha, what the Greek is going on here?!?!? I'm not sure I want this storyline to go any further. There's too many possible ways for it to end up with Victor looking like a fool and that is just not something I want to sign up for. I highly doubt that Victor is working as an undercover informant or anything. And, for the reasons listed above, I will be ticked if he is a legitimate drug lord. So what's left? Maybe he's trapping all of the best drug dealers in the market and then forcing them to quit peddling drugs and then sending them to work on the Kiriakis compound in Greece? Any guesses, please let me know!

I knew that Lindsay Hartley was a good actress and that she has great chemistry with every leading man she's ever been paired with. But, I was a little nervous about seeing her take on the role of Arianna. Felisha Terrell had crafted the role of Arianna to be mysterious and guarded. I was worried that Lindsay couldn't pull that off. And I was right. Lindsay didn't. In my opinion, what she did with the role was even better. This week, Arianna had more of a gutsy firepower than I've ever seen and that makes me react to the character, rather than just watch the her. Lindsay's completely different acting style is just what I think this character needed. I feel like I'm finally invested in the character.

Victor may not be an informant, but I'm pretty sure Arianna is. Why else would she be so adamant about meeting a boss? How else would she know right off the bat that she hasn't met the boss? Since they're both storyline-less at the moment, I am waiting for a scene between Ari and either Roman or Abe. It would make sense if either of those two had been spear-heading an operation to get drugs out of Salem. Plus, Ari was brought to town by someone and set up with a job at the Brady pub. Those two things lead me to believe that it was Roman, but I'm not sure yet.

As for Brady and Arianna (*blushes*) they got rather close rather fast, didn't they? It's a good thing that Eric and Lindsay are comfortable with each other because they basically hopped into the sack their second day of working together. Both Brady and Arianna were a little too much alike for me to see the chemistry before. But, now that Ari is feisty and Brady is (still) an over-thinker, they mesh much better- both in and out of the bedroom. Their love scene was hot, without being dirty. And I loved the way that worked together when tricking Mr. Creepy Hotel Manager Guy. Not only were they standing up for Melanie, but they were bringing down a sleaze ball.

And for the record, any Ethan/Theresa hangover that I had cleared up as soon as I saw Arianna point her finger and snark back at Brady. Arianna knows that she's good enough for Brady and isn't afraid to act like it. Theresa never did that with Ethan.

I feel bad for all the times that I complained about Safe. As bad as Sami and Rafe were as a pair, they are far less annoying than Rafe all by himself. The dude has all the couth of a drunken frat boy. I get why he was rude to Nicole, and on many levels she deserved it. But what did that lawyer ever do to Rafe? It is thoroughly repulsive to watch Rafe smug his way into the lawyer's office and threaten Mr. Hynes- at gun point, no less! This gem is just another rotten tomato in the crap salad that is Rafe's character. He "loves" Sami so much that he'll rush to another country, commit all sorts of crimes to uncover a secret he's still not sure has anything to do with Sami; BUT he won't tell Sami what happened with Emily, when she already knows half the story and she keeps asking Rafe for the rest of the info. If he really wanted to make Sami happy, he'd just tell her what she asked. Even if he uncovers the truth about the baby swap, they still aren't getting any further towards solving the actual problem in their relations- Rafe knows everything and he determines what and when Sami gets any information. That seems very one-sided.

Dirty cop, Dean (who I am beginning to see eye-to-eye with more everyday thanks to our mutual stance on Hope Brady) showed up and Bope's house to ask for his cut of the reward money. Bo said no. Hope said yes. Dean might have been better to go straight to Victor and ask for the money.

Stefano told EJ that he's about ready to hand over the reins of the DiMera Empire. EJ told Lexie that he's basically been running the whole company for months. Strange...then why didn't EJ notice the missing 100 grand? Oh wait, this is EJ we're talking about. Never mind.

Extra Scoops:

When/if Kate gets shipped off to a mental institution; I think it would be great to see Lucas in charge of Kate's Hearth and Home. Think about it: the guy who's proven that he can neither read nor understand women is now in charge of an entire company that putts out products that appeal specifically to women. Who doesn't see the potential for some good comedy with that storyline?

If the writers were going to have Abe call Lexie a few episodes later and tell her Baker died, what was up with the finger twitch? They should not toy with my emotions when it comes to my delightful Dr. Baker.

Why does Philip have to fly to Chicago when other characters like EJ drive there in a morning to deliver papers and Chloe and Lucas drove there last winter to look at Christmas lights? I guess if I had my own private plane, I'd fly everywhere too. Think it would fit through the drive-thru at Arby's?

On Monday, my TiVo froze on a still of James Scott's face. It was perfect....until, my husband made me reset the TV. Boo.

Nathan gets points from me for calling a "date" a "mutual dining situation".

Did anyone else notice that Mel curled her hair on the way home from the bar?

The sight of Kate's closet makes me totally jealous.

What else can I pick? I'll go with Tamara Braun and Darin Brooks winning Daytime Emmys! WOOT! If you didn't see the show....well....I wouldn't say you missed a great show. Not the I'm biased or anything, but Tamara and Darin were the best parts of the show- her with her heartfelt gratitude and him with his genuine shock. Score two BIG WINS for Team Days! If you want to read more about the Emmy night, check out my blog for the "Hits" and Tony's blog for the "Misses".

While, I though the scene between Craig and Lucas was amazing, I felt like Craig's stay in Salem was totally misplayed. He had a few tiny scenes with Chloe where he just looked at her with his sad face on. He should have had some extended monologue about all the things that she's beaten in her life - from leukemia, to being the adolescent outcast, to being raised in an orphanage- and remind viewers that this character used to be more than just a bimbo. Next, Craig is the former Chief-of-Staff at Salem U so I'm shocked that he couldn't call to confer with one of his old co-workers....say like....Mike freakin' Horton who was Chloe's freakin' oncologist. Then, no Brady and Craig scene!?! BOOOO!!! It would have given the Craig and Lucas scene even more weight. Craig would have to forgive his ex-son-in-law for hurting his daughter and then immediately turn around and beg his current son-in-law to forgive his daughter for all the pain she caused him. That's meaty stuff! Finally, I'm shocked that he just left because Nancy and Joy needed him. Really? What kind of situation exists that 1) Nancy can't handle on her own and 2) would cause a father to leave his comatose daughter's life in the hands of a man who he knows hates her? I didn't get it.

Justin (to Victor): "It seems nicer than telling you, 'It's none of your- explicatively deleted- business.' " That Justin is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

Well, that's all for now! I'm on tap next week to cover sex-tape-gate with you. So, let's meet back here- same bat-time, same bat-place- to see who is left standing after Hurricane Stephanie hits Salem. I'll bring Cheerios for the whole class.

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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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