Days should have been smooth sailing last week. There was a huge reveal. There was a celebrated return. And, in general, great things have been shaking and baking the last few weeks. What could go wrong?
Well, somehow things seemed a little rocky, and I'm not just talking about Carly's flight. Conversations seemed a bit stale and frustrating. Motives seemed predictable. And, like Stephanie's proposed balloon ride, a lot of people in Salem seemed to be full of hot air. It wasn't a bad week, but, as my last evaluation said, "There's room for improvement." Let's discuss...
Laurisa and I have been co-Scooping together for two years now, and if you've ever wondered why I say things such as, "I have the best partner ever," let me share the first few lines of an email she sent me last week. "Oh, hey, did you hear that Carly killed Lawrence? Apparently she didn't know she married such a monster and he didn't know he married such a bitch." Hilarious! Yet so true.
Wow, yes, that flashback is already tapped out. I can handle the writers telling the back story via flashbacks, assuming we don't have the same one constantly crammed down our throats. Just a warning. Otherwise, I did enjoy the vintage one. But I actually remember the Muppet Babies versions of Carly and Lawrence. I'm curious to hear what new fans - and by "new fans" I mean ones who have started watching over the past sixteen years - think about this bitchy chick that stabbed her monster of a husband.
My take? Well, I'll be honest - I wasn't doing back-flips when I heard Dr. Manning was being paged. Sure, Crystal Chappell is amazing, and, sure, her return is a big deal for the show, but Carly and I never entirely meshed. But I think that had a lot to do with the fact that I was young and use to posses what I call the "Sami Brady Gene." That being the inability to deal with changes in Salem. Just like Sami couldn't accept Marlena and John, I couldn't accept Bo and some chick that wasn't Hope (whose "death" by vat of acid was still fresh in my impressionable, young mind). But, like Sami, I've grown and I'm willing to give Carly a second chance. And, so far, so ok.
Perhaps a little more than "ok." While I'm being honest, I will confess that when she said, "I'm going home to Salem," I did get a little giddy. Granted, I think a lot of my giddiness stems from the fact that because Carly has returned, Auntie You-Know-Who's return isn't far behind! That still has me doing back-flips...theoretically speaking, of course. Now, if only someone would introduce Judi Evans' As The World Turns contract to a paper shredder, thus paving the way for her to return as Adrienne, I'd be an even happier Scooper as the old gang would be back together!
In the meantime, we have Carly's mystery. And Lawrence's mysterious final words, "...you...never...find..." and then he died. What does that mean!? What won't she "never...*wheezy gasp*...find!?" Anything's possibly, but I hope it's not a missing kid. A lot of Carly's first stay in Salem revolved around a presumed-dead son, Nicholas, so I'd like to see something new. In any event, I'm intrigued. Again, so far, so ok.
BO & JUSTIN
Speaking of "ok," Bo and Justin made me happy last week, too. Granted, the situation surrounding their meeting still stinks, but the fact that they played nice the entire time was great. As I mentioned in my last column, the two of them never seemed to have problems before, yet I was having a real problem with Bo being so irrationally cantankerous towards Justin. In fact, Bo was acting a bit Victor-ish. But that seems to have been resolved, for now, at least, because they bonded over martial woes and missed calls. Crisis averted.
However the real crisis is that "Bope" are still broken. If this storyline had been more thought out, it could've been compelling, but it's simply irritating as is. It's done nothing but paint Hope as a royal bitch which, on the whole, she's not...normally. I do have faith that my overall adoration for Fancy Face will win out in the end, yet it's going to take some convincing for me to forgive the writers for carelessly messing with Bope.
STEFANO & KATE
These two are standing in as my favorite couple while Bo and Hope act like fools. But, say what you will about Kate, I really don't think she had anything to do with Stefano's heart attack. And that's not me sticking up for Kate, that's just common sense. She probably explained it best herself, "A middle-aged diabetic who eats like a horse and drinks like a fish."
Agreed, and let's not forget Stefano has had at least one heart attack in the past as well as a stroke and, in general, has to be running out of lives. Plus, he was binge-eating fattening foods at Chez Rouge like a freshman in college moments before he collapsed. I could actually hear the guy's arteries clogging. Not good.
Also "not good" was seeing Stefano unconscious in a hospital bed - that's becoming an all too familiar fallback the past few years. The annual "Stefano in a Coma Week" is like Days' Oktoberfest, yet not as much fun...and no beer. But we are talking about "the Phoenix" - I'm sure he'll live to fight another day.
Kind of like how Kate fought with everyone last week. And you know what? I loved it! Lauren Koslow is at her best when verbally sparring with other actors. You can tell she has a ball playing bitchy Kate, and you can tell the other actors enjoy letting their characters be bitchy right back. Maggie vs. Kate was especially amusing. As was Mel vs. Kate. But it was Victor and Kate I loved the most. Those two are always like Clash of the Titans, yet it looks like Titan might have a little extra threat now that Kate is temporarily in charge of DiMera Enterprises. Let the games begin!
MEL, NATHAN, STEPHANIE, & PHILIP
While on the topic of fatty foods, this quad is like a cheap hot dog - it's just bits and pieces of leftover mystery meat lumped together. Sure, it can be edible when at a picnic where other foods can mask the mediocrity, but on its own as a main dish, it's not so appealing. Given that last week had a lot of mediocre parts, I found this quad not so satisfying.
First, we had to watch Stephanie ask Nathan out. Yawn. Then we had to watch Phil and Nathan size each other up some more. Again, yawn. Next, we had to sit through another stale "breakup" speech between Philip and Stephanie. Yawn to the max. Finally, we had to watch Maggie get dragged into the mix. This wasn't so much a yawn as it was frustrating.
Now, I love me some Maggie, but I thought it was a little odd that she warned Nathan to stay away from Mel because she still has feelings for Philip, yet Stephanie said she's still in love with Philip, but Maggie acted like it was alright for her to go after Nathan. That didn't add up, and it's a huge injustice to have Big Red so wishy-washy. Bad, Higley, bad, bad Higley - leave Maggie out of this quad.
The part I actually enjoyed was Nathan and Mel. I think they're fun and refreshing together. He also garnered some much needed "cool points" back by letting Mel describe her perfect date then taking her on it. And he's been consistently nice to Mel for a few weeks, which is a record, I think. More, please! Now, if we can just find Stephanie a man who isn't Nathan and Philip a gal that isn't all-wrong for him, we should be good. And, yes, that's probably a tall order. Moving on...
MIA & COMPANY
Was I the only one who was amused with Brady and Mia's talk? I probably shouldn't have laughed, but when she rattled out the list of everyone she told about the her baby, I did, I laughed. She was like, "Um, yah, I only told Will...oh, right, and Maggie...and Sami knows...Chad, too...and I might have mentioned something to a reporter from the Spectator, but that was when I was telling the DJ on the radio, so who knows who knows?" Whoopsie!
Later, she, Chad, and Will had an awkward moment. At first I was really torn by this triangle, but the more I see of it, I'm leaning towards Team Will. I never thought I'd say this, but he's turning out to be pretty likable these days. Wow, "Will" and "likable" in the same sentence - wonders never cease!
SAMI & COMPANY
I was divided on Sami last week. Here are the things I loved. Sami and Will bonding - excellent! Those two acting civil to each other is doing wonderful things for both of their characters. Also, Sami looking for a job is a wonderful thing. I'll try and resist the urge to say, "It's about time," and just say it's a good start. More, please! I also enjoyed Sami talking to Philip. There's something there I can't put my finger on, but I'd like to see them be friends (or perhaps she could work for him at Titan now that his company could be at war with his mother's, DiMera Enterprises, that is). Finally, I was intrigued by the interaction between E.J. and Sami. As always, James Scott and Alison Sweeney played off each other perfectly - at times it was raw and uncomfortable, but that's just normal, amusing, yet dysfunctional E.J. and Sami communication. Again, more, please!
The Sami part that had me utterly annoyed was the way she handled, or didn't handle, Sydney's screaming. In her defense, that entire situation was jive - Chloe was an inconsiderate flake for running out like that, but I'll move on. I'm simply shocked that Sami, the mother of four, let Sydney cry for as long as she did. Maybe I'm just making a mountain out a molehill because Sydney's cries were a bit shrill and headache-inducing, but letting a baby cry just doesn't seem like something Sami would do. Marlena, maybe. Sami, no. All in all, it was just an odd scene I'm glad is over (sans the lingering ringing in my ears).
Last week Rafe really - oh, that's right! It was a Rafe-less week! As Laurisa would exclaim, "Woot!" That made me very happy. But I guess someone should go ladle him out of the soup sooner or later. I would, but I have to...um...do a thing which...you know...I don't have time right now...maybe next week, sorry, Rafe.
Now, if only I could say I got to Scoop a Dr. Dan-less week I'd be really happy. Ironically, I give Rafe a hard time, but, compared to Dr. Dan, Rafe is awesome. If Higley was smart, she'd kill off Dr. Dan, but let Shawn Christian stay on as Dr. Dan's equally as hunky, yet amazingly less annoying unknown about twin. But I don't have to shake the Magic Eight Ball to know the outlook is "not so good" for that theory.
Therefore, I decided to take my beef with Dr. Dan to the streets. And by "streets" I mean my blog. Click here to get an uncensored, uncut rant about my least favorite Doc in Salem, and why I think he's hit an all-time low (no, not Chloe, his Lucas-bashing)!
CHLOE & NICOLE
I should start out by saying that I normally have the exact same reaction E.J. did when Chloe shows up. "No, sorry, not a good time," he said with annoyance. Yep, that's pretty much my feelings, too. Moving on...
It's sad when Chloe "Smart-As-A-Pet-Rock" Lane is the voice of reason. But, interestingly enough, she was. She did give Nicole good advice. Although I cracked up when I noticed Chloe kept saying things such as, "I don't get it," and "I don't understand." We know, Sweetie, just stick to being pretty. Now, go somewhere and sing something.
Also interesting is that I don't mind Chloe as much when she's away from, and not talking about, Dr. Dan. Don't get me wrong, I still think she's a serious contender for the most boring character in soap history, but I don't completely hate her. When she was playing with Nicole, I thought that was ok. And by "ok" I mean slightly less grating.
NICOLE & BRADY
I share the same concerns that Laurisa mentioned in her column last week about these two. Despite their smoldering chemistry (and the fact that I do want to see them in a "Part Two" someday), I think it would completely stink if Nicole got Brady as a consolation prize right off the bat. She needs to suffer. But, if the writers need to have her in a relationship, fine, but I suggest Dr. Dan - his annoyingness would be the perfect punishment for any serious crime.
However, I think my concerns will be squashed once the other baby-swap bootie falls. Something tells me that Brady won't be overly forgiving about the part of the plot he doesn't know about (at least not right away). Yet I'm sure Nicole will find a way to blame him for her swapping actions. Funny how that works out. It's also funny that Nicole continues to talk to herself aloud in a public forum where someone recently recorded her conversation. Not so smooth there, Nikki.
E.J. & NICOLE
As expected, James Scott and Ari Zuker had their acting chops brushed and polished for the big baby-swap reveal...the faux-pregnancy portion of it, that is. They were both great. I'll wait for everyone to give them a round of applause. Bravo, bravo! Three cheers! Hip hip ho - ok...ok...enough clapping. No, really - stop clapping because, while James and Ari rocked their scenes, I found the entire reveal a bit boring.
Well, the part of the reveal that was revealed, that is. Something tells me the rest will come out in a month or so right in time for November Sweeps (and Ari's maternity leave). Which, I can wait as long as Part Two is more exciting than the first. I found Part One lacked one important element - impact!
I loved the way E.J. set up Nicole. He was slick. He had his bases covered. He was acting like the smart E.J. we all remembered (and haven't seen in a long, long time). He had her where he wanted her - she couldn't deny the truth. And she didn't. That was all fine and dandy, but, even though she did admit her deception, none of it had a major "OMG! I can't believe he found out!" vibe to it. Good acting, yes, but, nope, no impact.
It think part of that is because what I feared would happen happened - the writers (and directors) overused "Outburst E.J." Over the last year Elvis Junior has flipped out about everything. He's yelled about Nicole wanting to leave the house. He's screamed about honeymoons. He's barked about breastfeeding. You name it and he's flipped out about it. And that's what really hurt the reveal - E.J.'s reaction didn't really cause me to have any reaction other than, "Yep, been there, done that. Saw you flip out about a glass of spilled milk earlier." I wasn't even that surprised he kicked both Nicole and Sydney out.
Maybe I'm missing something, but I just wanted a little more of a payoff after the year plus we've watched E.J. become irrational and dumber, Nicole become a needy, clingy hot mess, and Sami get so de-clawed that she became best friends with her sworn enemy. Something's just not adding up. But, believe it or not, I'm a Days optimist. I know, more so hope, next week will be better. Besides, there's still the baby-swap reveal to be revealed and, if nothing else, the great acting that is sure to accompany it. So, stay tuned!
HOT & NOT
Hot: I've really enjoyed all the bonding done by various characters lately! Sometimes Days is frustrating because we don't see bonding when we should (I'm still waiting for Marlena to call Sami to "check in," you know, because Sami lost a child and Mar-Mar was barely mentioned). But, I digress. The bonding seen lately has been spot on. From Brady and Sami a few weeks ago to, most recently, Sami and Maggie and Sami and Will, not to mention E.J. and Lexie - all excellent scenes. More, please!
Not: I realize that every head writer likes to make his or her own mark on a show by nurturing new characters, but Higley needs to let go of Dr. Dan - stat. Sorry, he's just not working on any level. He's not even enjoyable on a "love to hate" level. And, if he'd just stop talking, I'd stop giving him the "Not" of the week. Make sure to check out my blog for my latest Dr. Dan rant, and why he was specifically nominated again this week!
Line of the Week:
Kate asked Maggie for some sympathy after Stefano collapsed. Maggie gave it to her: "Comforting words. Let's see. Kate, don't be sad. Just because Stefano didn't actually drop dead doesn't mean you didn't do a whole lot of damage." Snap! I love sassy-pants Big Red!
Honorable Mentions go to both Mel and Sami. Mel for her brilliantly delivered line to Kate, "What are you accusing me of, lady?" And Sami for her good advice to Will, "Never dump a girl via email."
Wally Kurth gave the trivia question on Tuesday. He was talking about Justin's first crush in Salem - Melissa Horton. Melissa is Nathan's mother, but we still don't know who is father is. Hmm...do I smell a re-write coming on? They do have dimples in common. Again, hmm...
Bo complained that he didn't know where Hope took Ciara. Uh, didn't Hope tell him they were going to Doug and Julie's vacation house? I'd check there, Commish.
Salem is like the Bermuda Triangle for flights. Actually, I'm shocked the Salem Airport is still in business. It seems like two out of three flights that depart or are set to arrive there have some sort of catastrophic problem. Maybe Rex and Cassie's spaceship wasn't such a silly mode of transportation after all.
Dr. Dan gave Chloe a "love" key. I didn't know Tacky R' Us still sells those.
Also, Higs, please keep Dr. Dan away from Stephanie, thank you. How about trying Steph and Pete, the bartender, or Steph and Evan (from the Java Café)? Just a thought.
Did anyone else catch Ralph Waite's (Father Matt) amusing guest stint on Grey's Anatomy? His, um, part was a little different than on Days!
So, friends and Days fans, that's Two Scoops for the week of October 12th! I hope everyone has a great Columbus Day! And Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian friends! Laurisa will be back next week to Scoop on Salem's latest monsters, bitches, baby-swap reveals, and bumpy flights. Hopefully her ride will turn out a lot smoother than mine, and "That's a fact!"
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