How the other half lives

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October 5, 2009 columns
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I was talking to my partner in Two Scoops crime, Tony, the other week, and I came across a strange realization. Right now, as the current storylines sit on my beloved Days of Our Lives, I am experiencing the absolute opposite reaction that the writers are striving to achieve. Don't get me wrong, there are parts of Days that I absolutely love. Problem is, I'm probably not supposed to love them. And the reverse- parts that I'm supposed to be happy about- either make me nervous, confused, or flat out disgusted. It's strange, but it got me thinking about how soaps really do try to appeal to two different camps at once. So, read along with me and then let me see which camp you belong to. (Note- I've made cyber t-shirts for anyone who wants to join my camp.)

What I should feel- Hot DAMN! The secret is out and now Nicole is finally going to get what's coming to her. WOOT!
What I actually feel- This is an awesome start, but he doesn't even know the half of it......and I'm not so sure she's really going to be that sorry.....

One of my biggest complaints with this storyline is that the two protagonists- Sami and EJ- have hardly been a factor in it. But that started to change this week. I am so pleased to welcome back the non-dopey version of EJ DiMera. (hold for applause) How awesome was EJ when he heard the recording of Nicole's confession? I loved that the writers had him sleep on the information so that he could properly calculate his retaliation. It was classic DiMera, and truly the only way to deal with a cunning schemer like Nicole. I love that he snuckered her into a confession by showing her that fake baby belly. And, it was so satisfying to watch him shoot down a month's worth of excuses faster than Nicole could come up with them. Indeed, welcome back Elvis J. We've really missed you.

Now that EJ knows that Nicole miscarried their baby, it's only a matter of time before he dumps her. I'm happy about that. But, I can't help but notice that there is a HUGE chunk of the storyline missing. You know, that teeny little detail about Nicole swapping Mia's baby for Sami's baby, thus allowing EJ to grieve for a daughter that was never his and now letting him dismiss a child that actually is his. I don't think that will come out quite yet, and that's really the unforgivable part of Nicole's schemes.

Also I really didn't need to see that spark of chemistry between Nicole and Brady. But I saw it. Personally, I blame Eric Martsolf and his oozing romantic leading man scent. Homegirl deserves to be A.L.O.N.E. and miserable for a while. Sorry. That's the way it works. Nicole's whole character is based on her hitting rock bottom and then clawing her way back up. It doesn't count if she lands on Brady.

What I should feel- NO! Mia can't get back with that jerk Chad. She loves Will!
What I actually feel- Wow. Mia and Will actually have the most mature relationship on the show and they'll be back together very soon.

Speaking of baby drama, Mama Mia let almost all of her secrets out in one unfortunate conversation. In her defense, how was she supposed to know that Chad was the one person on soap operas who actually hears conversations that he walks up on? Go figure.

Mia made a deal with Chad that if she dumps Will, he'll stop asking about the baby. I know I'm supposed to feel sad that Mia and Will are no longer a couple. Truth of the matter is that I don't see this Chad/Mia arrangement lasting very log at all. Mia is way too hung up on Will and the Chad/Mia ship has sailed. Really, chances are that Chad's interest in Mia is going to fade away. When that happens, they still will have had a baby and he'll still be a smart cookie. It's just not realistic to ask a kid to give up on that big of a secret for some babe.

As for Will and Mia, I am constantly impressed with how they handle their relationship. Rather than plot to get revenge on Chad, Will just told Chad that he's crazy if he thinks that Mia is back with him because there's love left. It hinted that Will might just trust Mia enough to give her time to come around. It makes me wish that Will could spend some time with his Aunt Hope and teach her a few things.

What I should feel-Come on Rafe! Save the day! You're Sami's only hope!!!
What I actually feel- Hit him again, Meredith! Harder! HARDER!

For the record, I don't think that Rafe is a bad guy. If I were going out of town and I needed someone to watch my house, pick up my mail, and yell at the neighbor kids who drive too fast and throw things on my lawn, Rafe would be my #1 choice. But, his character is still so undeveloped that I have a hard time feeling any connection to his storyline. As a result, I'm actually offended that he's been blessed with the biggest secret on the show right now. (And don't EVEN get me started on the fact that Tony DiMera was killed off right after he found out Nicole's secret, yet Rafe is going to stay around. Grrr...) I'm a little put off by how Rafe keeps mumbling, "Sami's baby is still alive...." I know that it is very good news. But, he keeps saying that like Sami is going to jump up and down for joy and say, "Oh goodie, goodie, goodie! So much for grieving over what's-her-name. Psyche! She's not even my kid." For all the reasons that count, Grace was Sami's baby. Sami never knew or acted differently. I actually think the truth about Sydney should compound Sami's grief over losing Grace, not lessen it. I sincerely hope the writers aren't going the way of the latter.

Like Officer Dean before her, Meredith is quickly becoming a not-so-off-base crazy person. It's way past the point now of me understanding what Rafe's reason for lying about Emily's death was. It's been too long and I know too little about the character for me to care about this storyline. So, the fact that Meredith wants to kill the guy off is a-ok with me! And in the mean time, I'm sorta intrigued with Meredith. I wasn't a fan of Rachel Kimsey's first stint on Days as Meredith, but I think she shines as a crazy-pants Meredith. The difference between Crazy Mer and your run-of-the-mill bad guy is most bad guys focus on getting away with the crime. Meredith focuses 100% on completing the crime and, quite honestly, doesn't care whether or not she'll be able to get away with it. It's an interesting switch. And her plan to brick Rafe up in a wall in the basement was brilliantly scary! I loved it! I thought it was very soapy! I only wish it could have worked, because we all know that throwing someone into the Salem River is a sure fire way to save their life. Something tells me that Rafe will follow the same Paul Hollingsworth route and be fished out soon. And when he does, Tony, Meredith and I will have to drown our sorrows in a boat full of martinis because that boob will once again be all up in Salem's business.

What I should feel: Fight for your man, Sami! Go find Rafe!
What I actually feel: You are doing so great, Sami! Don't turn back now!

Call me crazy, but Sami-sans-Rafe is an awesome character. Funny thing, when the writers don't have Sami shoved up Rafe's storyline hole, she actually has time to interact with the rest of Salem. She had scenes with THREE generations of Brady men (Roman, Brady, and Will); she looked for a real job, turned down Brady's offer to find Rafe because she knows how desperate that looks, AND she was there for Will when he needed her the most. Throw in the comic relief she provided by recounting her interview at a Doggie Day Spa (the bitch and doggie paddle metaphors were awesomely cheesy) and I'd say Sami had a fantastic week.

I've said before how much I enjoy Sami and Brady being friends. It is so much more enjoyable than watching them bicker like kids. I hope this continues because I feel like Brady and Sami's bond needs to be firmly in place when the baby swap bomb drops.

And in that same spirit, Will and Sami are embarking on a stage of their relationship that is a very refreshing change. Unlike some mothers I know in Salem, she just listened to Will's problems and didn't try to....I don't know....frame Mia for murder so she gets sent away to death row or something. (Just off the top of me head) It's interesting to see Will walk in Sami's shoes. Dare I say it, but he might just understand his mom a little more now. He knows what it's like to break someone's trust and have them be so furious with you that they end your relationship. All he wants to do is figure out a way to get a second chance from Mia. I LOVED when Sami confessed that that is the one step she never got right. It's not about Will making the mistakes Sami made, it's about him understanding how she got to that point. I am thrilled that their relationship has this layer now.

What I should feel: You can do it, Ari! Go find Rafe!
What I actually feel: What the heck happened to your good storyline? The one where you were smooching Brady while posing as a drug dealer to catch Salem's biggest drug lord who just happened to be Brady's granddaddy!

I'll be the first to admit that I was looking forward to seeing Lindsay Hartley and Alison Sweeney interact- even if it was centered around Rafe. But, the whole scene fell flatter than flat. Maybe it's because I watched Monday and Tuesday's episodes back-to-back, but Arianna came across as looking like a manic witch. One minute Sami is an idiot for not realizing how much Rafe loves her and the next minute Ari is suggesting that they team up to find Rafe. Grr... I'd like to see these two team up to kick Nicole's collective butt for suggesting that Brady lie about his sobriety, but I digress.

In reality, the whole interaction was a way to throw another crumb of information about what may or may not have happened in Rafe's past that may or may not have involved Arianna and may or may not have caused Emily's death. I worry that the writers are hinting that Arianna killed Emily and Rafe is covering for her. I'm not really sure how that is all going to shake out, but I'd best my last Klondike bar that the writers won't bother to explain how it ties in with Arianna warning Rafe that "It's all happening again" when she first met Sami. What's all happening? Does Arianna have some Cruel Intentions disease where she has an inappropriate attachment to her brother and thus kills off all the competition so she can have him for herself? Please, no. Throw Arianna back into Brady/Victor/Roman land where I actually found her interesting and spunky.

What I should feel: Chloe and Daniel are finally reuniting. It was his love and devotion that brought her from the depths of a coma and now they can enjoy their much deserved happiness.
What I actually feel: Chloe and Daniel are both so lost as individuals, that their coupling doesn't stand a chance.

As Tony so brilliantly pointed out last week, Chloe has an odd definition of cheating. This week she went a step further to include "accepting a marriage proposal from another man" as non-cheating behavior. Got it. What bothers me most about this move is that it just continues Chloe's strange pattern of overlooking major catastrophes in her life and just stock piling one man on top of another. She slept with Philip when she was still married to Brady and then she hooked up with Lucas when her friends-with-benefits thing with Philip didn't work out, and then while she was still with Lucas, she moved onto Daniel. They way I see it, Daniel has about five minutes until Chloe sees something else shinny and desperate. It's an infuriating cycle for a character that actually has some good history with the show. She might not be the malicious witch that Victor makes her out to be, but she's so daffy that she can't recognize a good decision if it bit her in the butt and in the long run, those types of accountability-phobic people are just as dangerous as the intentional bad guys.

And now Daniel has caught a case of dumbass from Chloe. He used to be a smart person- at least I thought he was smart since he can save lives and everything. But he's starting to lose battles that, on paper, I think he should win. Take, for example, his conversation with Victor. Victor pointed out that Philip, Brady, and Lucas all went downhill after their relationships with Chloe. I'm totally with Daniel when he argues that those men bear accountability for their own actions. But, then he went further to suggest that all three of those men were screwed up before they met Chloe. Ummm....actually, they weren't. Philip was a good kid. Brady was certainly not a drug addict. And Lucas was doing better than I've ever seen him do- no scheming what-so-ever to get this chick to love him. The fact that Daniel was so blatantly wrong about his assessment of others, leads me to doubt his judgment. A lot. And for the record, I like Victor way much more than Daniel and his skankalicious girlfriend so if I have to chose between Victor Kii-dee-ah-kis and those other two knuckleheads, there's no contest. Team Vic all the way.

What I should feel: Philip/Mel and Steph/Nathan would be the best pairings. They are so suited for each other because they are two of a kind!
What I actually feel: Opposites attract. It happens with magnets, electricity, and Paula Abdul songs.

Nathan asked Mel out on a really, for real date. Eeeeeee!!! But not to be confused with actual storyline progression, Philip and Step renewed their break-up vows, sending Philip back into Mel's world and Steph back into Nathan's. Just for good measure, Maggie started worrying that Mel's feelings for Philip are too strong for her to really focus on Nathan right now. Ugh. Let me do some 'splainin' about how this quad should work.

Melanie does not need to (read = should not if she has any self-respect at all) give Philip another chance to screw with her head. Philip is completely dysfunctional when it comes to Melanie. I appreciate that Philip has a bit of en edge. He's Kate and Victor's son after all, so I don't expect him to be a boy scout. BUT, the way he's using Melanie and Stephanie right now is a little jerky. He begs Stephanie for another chance and then a second later he goes crawling to Mel for attention. Once he had his fill of her, he'll go back to Stephanie. I don't care if Philip thinks that Mel appreciates him for who he is. That's not the point! Philip should not go after Mel until he appreciates her for being something more than a way to forget about Steph for a night. He's so not there yet. And for the record, I totally second Tony's assessment that the age different between Mel and Philip is inappropriate at this stage in their lives. Philip is a brandy drinking Titan. Mel is a nursing student who has Cheerios for a night cap. I get a very uneasy feeling when they are together.

And just so you don't think I'm totally Mel-biased, this Steph/Philip yo-yo business is completely unfair to Steph as well. It makes my blood boil to watch her berate Philip for going to back to work at Titan when just a few months ago she herself was a proud Titan employee. And I know that Victor is supposed to be snarky, but his comments are starting to be pretty relevant. How many times can Steph come back in Philip's life, claim she cares about him, and then shove him away the second that he mentions his family? And just like Philip does with Melanie, Steph immediately runs into Nathan and starts making googley eyes at him. Come on writers, give Steph a break. Let Shelley and Jay capitalize on their smoldering chemistry and give them a different storyline to try- just once.

As for Mel and Nathan, well, I just like them. Maybe it's because Mark Hapka is getting better at playing off the other actors he's in a scene with rather than being in his own hunky world. Maybe it's because I want a Phil/Mel pairing as much as I want a bad hangover. Or maybe it's because Nathan is the first person since Maggie to actually see the good in Melanie. I am not saying that I'm sold on them as the next supercouple. But, it would be nice to see these two make an honest go of it, at least out of respect for the characters. Nathan is a new character so the writers need to establish him a little better and stop changing their minds on who he should be with. And, Melanie needs to follow through on her path towards success and not make a U-turn (I really want to make a "Phil-ing" station metaphor here, but it seems all too inappropriate) every time Dimples gets his ego hurt.

As for Maggie, I was hot and cold with her interference with Nathan and Melanie. Her fear is logical and I thought that she came across as genuinely concerned for both Mel and Nathan. However, I feel like Maggie is missing a two very valuable pieces of information in her assessment of Mel's feelings. One, Maggie has no idea that if Nathan hadn't made a date with Stephanie while on a date with Melanie, Mel never would have gotten the idea that maybe Nathan was jerking her around a bit and turned to Philip. Second, Maggie isn't privy to the world's fastest take-back that Philip pulled regarding the promises he made to Mel. If she was, I think she'd be a bit more forthcoming in her advice to Melanie about Philip. After all, Maggie does have some experience in picking the wrong man over a very right, nice man. I'm just saying....

What I should feel: Oh no! Now Carly is single and going to come back to mess up Bope.

What I actually feel: My dear Carly, your presence is strongly requested in Salem. May I help you pack?

Crystal Chappell is one hard working lady. The way her fall is shaping up, she's going to play a lesbian on the Internet, buddy up to Bo Brady on TV, and then go home and sleep with Lawrence Alamain in real life. Talk about a full schedule!

We only saw a few seconds of Carly and Lawrence but they were intense. We heard voices (which I initially mistook for Chloe and Daniel) fighting and then Carly stabbed Lawrence. She stabbed him good- right in the stomach! I'm assuming that scene was to put a nice little bow on the Carly/Lawrence pair and send her to Salem solo. But, we'll see. I can't wait to see what Carly brings with her when she arrives. Hopefully, it will be a swift kick in the rear for Hope Brady. Yes, even though Hope didn't show her fancy face during my week, I'm still mad at her for deciding to take Ciara and leave Bo. Hope needs a reality check and Carly is just the gal to do it!


The hospital reinstated Melanie and Nathan, so they will be back at work soon.

EJ warned Kate that if she hurts Stefano, he will make her pay. EJ threatened that whatever Stefano made disappear for Kate, EJ can make reappear. It begs the question- could EJ really go behind Stefano's back and dig up a secret on him? He's done it before, but I'm not so sure if EJ is on top of his game enough right now to do it again.

Extra Scoops:

I love how the prop people put snacks in all of Arianne Zuker's scenes. It's probably to help her with her uneasy stomach during her pregnancy. I remember them doing something similar for Alison Sweeney and placing a jar of pickles in all of her scenes to help her with her cravings during her pregnancy.

Flashbacks of long haired EJ was something that I really didn't need to see. I fought so hard to put those memories behind me.

Diabetes must cause instant memory loss. Stefano made a nice toast to all of his grandchildren, but forgot to list Stephen, Benjy and Sonja's son. Whoops! Strange....he remembered Stephen in last week's trivia bit.

Shouldn't there have been a Chloe/Nicole scene by now? If I woke up from a coma, I'd be glad to see Shawn Christian, but I'd also want to see my friends too!

Before Nicole gets tossed out on her rear, can we all just stop for a minute and take a DiMera family picture? I really want to remember this moment. I love everything about Kate and Stefano being married. It means that the writers can come up with surprising entertaining ways to have Kate and EJ address the fact that they used to be bed buddies. It means that Nicole actually gets protective of Stefano. And it means that Stefano and EJ can bond over whose wife is more dangerous. Can it get any better than that? NOPE!

The use of Father Matt in the Danloe storyline. I'm okay with soaps taking generous liberties with religion. Want a whole town full of Catholics who lie, cheat, steal, covet, and divorce multiple times? Sure. I get that it's just part of the deal. BUT, to have a Priest placate Chloe's fears right now with a Daddy Walton smile and a reassuring nod is pretty sorry. Have another character like Lexie, Salem's resident expert on affairs, be a sounding board for Chloe. Quit making blatant mistakes by having a man in a collar give Chloe permission to get a drive-through annulment and marry a guys she's committed adultery with. Maybe after their marriage, Chloe and Daniel can attend Rabbi Efran's Christmas party.

Stefano (about Kate): "We're soul mates"
Nicole: "I would be very careful where I put my soul when she's around"

And with that, the fall us upon us. Not just the season, but the fall of our very own Nicole Walker Robbins Roberts Kiriakis DiMera. How far will she go? Will she have company at the bottom (Stefano)? And, what snazzy new wardrobe technique will they come up with next to hide Ari's adorable baby bump? Personally, I'm a fan of the "let's draw attention away from her stomach by putting her in awesome statement necklaces" technique. Tony will be back next week to give you his vote, as well as recap another exciting week in Salem.

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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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