Children's hour

For the Week of October 19, 2009
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Children's hour
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Nicole doesn't miss a beat. She's created such a complicated web of lies, and yet with each lie that comes out, she regroups and scrambles to pick up what she still has left and hold onto that.

Last week in Salem was all about the kids- Nicole using Sydney to get back with EJ, Lucas yelling at Chloe for hurting Ali, Hope using Ciarra to further her vendetta against Bo, and Lucas reminding us all that he's Alice's grandson. In most cases, characters love to claim that they are doing what's in the best interest of the token child- so long as they get something out of it too. I think that the children of Salem are onto them. It explains why most of them stay in hiding. Shoot, if I were Ciarra, I'd forge both Bo and Hope's signatures on those boarding school papers. And, I'd attend the same SORASing boarding school that EJ went to. That way I could come back as a smashingly handsome, fully functioning adult who could take advantage of my own children! Muuuhhhaaaaa!

I'm going to start collecting money from all Days fans who are interested in thanking Arianne Zuker. I really think we should send her a fruit basket or something. For she, in all her infinite awesomeness, has been carrying the entire show for the better part of a year. And let's face it, we haven't had an easy year. Love Nicole or hater her, I have yet to see anyone who is bored with her storyline. Sure I'm frustrated with our towheaded anti-heroine. My sympathy for her has grown obsolete and I can't wait to see her pay. Still, I can't wait to see what Nicole will do next. She entertains me at every turn and I don't want to pass up the opportunity to say that if this storyline was given to any less an actress, I would have tuned out months ago. Not so, with Arianne Zuker. Well done, lady!

As for Nicole, I have to hand it to her. She doesn't miss a beat. She's created such a complicated web of lies and yet with each lie that comes out, she regroups and scrambles to pick up what she still has left and hold onto that. There's room for argument that she took Sydney so that EJ could raise his biological daughter. But, now that EJ's kicked Nicole and Sydney out, Nicole doesn't even think twice about telling EJ that Sydney actually is his daughter. If EJ doesn't want her- fine. But Nicole's not giving up Sydney. And, I can't help but remember that EJ was ever so insistent that Nicole not sign a pre-nup, giving her rights to a chunk of the DiMera money. Add in the fact that Nicole is literally pondering "What Would Stefano Do?" and I'm far from counting Nicole out of this battle just yet.

Sadly, her luck did not extend to the teen scene. I'm not sure if the scene with Chad, Mia, and Nicole was supposed to be funny, but I couldn't stop laughing at Nicole. She got so indignant at the idea of Chad raising a kid because he has (according to Nicole) no education, no job, and lives with his parents. Yet, Nicole has no education, no job, and lived with her father-in-law the entire time she's been raising Sydney. And, she's had a staff of servants to help her! Who is she to talk about the trials of raising a kid? And, at least Mia and Chad have a support system around them. Who does Nicole have now? Chloe? Oh wait....I forgot.....she has...

I'll be forever grateful to Eric Martsolf for taking the role of Brady from a sanctimonious do-gooder to a self-aware recovering addict who's just trying to take it day by day. However, Brady is starting to get a bit too martyr like for me and I do not like it. Brady feels bad for letting the news about the baby slip. You could tell he felt bad because he was wearing sweats and didn't shave for at least a day. It's admirable, but it is a little infuriating. Maybe it's because I know that he's been duped into helping the wentch steal his step-niece. Maybe it's because I just can't shake the feeling that the writers are going to let Nicole slide into the best consultation prize ever. Or maybe it's just aggravating to watch Brady show the genuine sorrow that Nicole should be feeling right now and isn't. It's unfortunate that Brady is saddled with the guilt just because he can look at the situation realistically.

EJ and Brady's confrontation was interesting. It needed to happen and I understand why EJ is mad at Brady. But both of them are big fat dummies. Neither EJ nor Brady realizes the Nicole has been playing them for fools. The longer they are preoccupied with chest bumping each other, the longer it will take them to realize that they should be directing their anger towards Ms. Walker.

Speaking of, I don't like that Mel, Sami, and EJ accused Brady of being in love with Nicole; and I REALLY don't like how Brady didn't deny it. It's an unnecessary plot point. Watching Nicole go through the miscarriage was reason enough to help her. As Brady so rightly pointed out, he was the one who had to tell Nicole that she miscarried. My heart breaks for Nicole just thinking about that scene. I would have helped Nicole and I'm definitely not in love with her. Why Brady has to suddenly have more reason than the fact that he saw a woman go through arguably the worst thing that can possibly happen to her in order to have sympathy for her, is beyond me.

But luckily, Brady has one reason to stay out of Nicole Land, and that reason is Arianna. She came back this week to apologize to Brady for spilling the miscarriage beans and tell Brady that he's the best guy she knows and that everybody loves him. Their scene was strange. Despite the chemistry between Eric and Lindsay, their scene felt forced. The writers took too long to get back to their actual storyline. For those who don't remember, it's the one where Brady and Arianna have the hots for each other, yet Victor blackmails Arianna into breaking up with Brady because he finds out she's a drug dealer; only she's not a drug dealer. She's really working undercover for the Salem PD and unbeknownst to her is after Victor- Salem's drug kingpin! (Or is he......) Sadly, that storyline was interrupted so that Arianna could go sniffing after Rafe and Brady could grow a grief beard. I sincerely hope that the writers will now return us to our much-more-interesting scheduled storyline- already in progress.

I'm glad that the show finally got these two to share some scenes. The reason the whole baby swap would work in the first place was because supposedly EJ and Chad looked so much alike. Seeing them in a scene together not only confirmed that they do resemble each other, but that they act alike too. Something tells me their bond will be greater. I wonder if EJ will represent Chad in the custody case against Nicole.

I give Casey Deidrick a lot of credit for stretching the character of Chad beyond what the writers give him. The way the character is written, Chad could easily be a spoiled brat who just does what he wants and lets his rich parents clean up after him. But Casey has taken little things- like the fact that Chad wants to have "everything on the table" with Will when it comes to Mia but neglects to tell Will that he was collateral damaged in a blackmail deal- and is careful to present them in a way to the audience that makes Chad interesting. Does Chad have a sinister side? He's much smarter than Will and Mia put together, and I think he could even take on Nicole. It's ironic that the kid is smart enough to realize how dumb he comes across and use that to his advantage.

Then there's EJ. In the context of this current storyline, I feel horrible for the guy. Sami and Nicole both made conscious decisions to deny him paternity, despite the fact that he was more than capable of being a good father. It's not that I don't feel bad for Chad, but his case is different. When Chad's life lead him back to Mia, the decisions had long since been made and I don't know that Mia was all that wrong to opt for adoption in the first place. But with EJ, Sami and Nicole both thought nothing about pulling a fast one on him. I love how James Scott plays EJ with such restrained pain. I really wish that Lexie would come over to check on her brother so that he has another outlet for releasing his sorrow other than looking at all of Sydney's things and getting sad.

I always appreciate it when Bo, Hope, Victor, and Justin get screen time. But the whole thing was very heavy handed. Gee, could it be that we're setting up for a Hope/Bo/Carly triangle? I wonder.....

All joking aside, I have to admit that I'm looking forward to this one. This triangle has two big differences than the times before that I sincerely hope the writers take into account.

First, there's not a bit of trickery with Bope's separation. Stefano didn't brainwash Hope. Chelsea didn't send any bogus emails. Bo doesn't think that Hope is dead. Both parties have all the information available and they flat out differ on the interpretation of that information. Even Justin, who the writers seem destined to baptize as the interloper, is a stand-up guy and is not telling Bo anything different than what he tells hope.

Second, Carly and Hope do not know each other. They were not on the show at the same time. So they have no history together. Unlike Billie and Hope, there's no hard feelings between the two to complicate a totally hypothetical situation like.....say.....oh....I don't know...just off the top of my head....Carly coming to Bo for help and Fancy Face flipping crap about Bo giving a minor fraction of his attention to someone else.

Lucas called Chloe to check on the annulment papers and to admonish Chloe for asking Ali out to lunch. I don't think Chloe had any malice in the gesture, but it was a dumb one. It's common sense not to promise someone else's child anything without talking to the parents first. But, Chloe isn't capable of thinking at all, so I'm not surprised. (See: Being annoyed when Victor made a lewd remark to her even though she opened the door with her shirt half off and he bra showing. D'oh! THINK, Chloe!)

Anyway, I did enjoy seeing Chloe upset over Ali. Honestly, it was the first time I've seen Chloe show genuine sorrow for her actions. I always felt that Chloe is sorry that Lucas got hurt, but isn't really sorry that she hurt Lucas. Does that make sense? She always qualifies her apologies with a "but" when it comes to Lucas. However, Ali is a different story. Chloe can't justify hurting Ali, and Chloe knows it. I got a little satisfaction out of that, which helps a bit. As a whole, I'm thoroughly disappointed that the writers piggy-backed Lucas's rehab storyline on top of the Danloe affair. The result is watching Lucas apologize and make amends with Chloe- which is SO backwards to me that I can't even believe that I have to watch it.

In other WTF news, Chloe suddenly wants children. Funny, I could have sworn that during her relationship with Lucas, Chloe had many a reservations about being Ali's step-mom. Now, Chloe's life-long dream is really to have a family. Sorry, but that about-face is a horrible fumble on the writers' part. They should have at least let Chloe take the stance that now that she met Daniel she realizes that she wants to start a family. But that's not the path they went. Instead they decided to try my nerves and put me in a position to prove that I actually pay attention to what Chloe says. Oh, the therapy I will need!

I guess it's all in the name of Danloe having a storyline now that everything that was interesting about them (meaning Lucas and Kate) is out of their orbit. So, their angst is coming in the form of when to have children. It's actually an important storyline and I think it could have some good drama. A lot of couples get caught up in lust, decide to be together, and then find out that they disagree on some pretty major things like when/if to have children. I'm probably giving Higs and Co. too much credit. More than likely, this is all setting up for Daniel to reveal that he's actually an alien and cannot impregnate an earthling. Either way, I'm just glad that Daniel is putting the brakes on having a Danloe baby. At least someone is aware of the fact that these two alley cats should not procreate.

I have to confess that I have a little crush on Crystal Chappell. This chick is impressive. We all know that Carly snapped, but what exactly prompted it? Is Carly a loose cannon? What happens if she snaps again? How do we know she won't? All questions that I'm dying to get answered. I can't wait to learn more about Carly and what she's been up to all these years. And, Crystal's performance has been pitch perfect for me so far. She's handling Carly with this intoxicating blend of strength and vulnerability and I want to see more!

We know that Carly was privy to some earth shattering plot that Lawrence had which would inflict great pain on a massive amount of people. From what I gather, Carly and Lawrence hadn't been seeing eye-to-eye for quite some time. That happens when your husband basically holds you hostage in your own house. And, with all this talk of "parents doing anything to protect their children", I have to wonder where Carly's son, Nicholas, is. I really don't believe that Carly's answer of "He's old enough to know the truth" is going to cover it. Ahh yes, the possibilities are endless when it comes to Carly. And we haven't even gotten to the best part- Vivian! Surely she will have something to say about her dead nephew and her MIA grand-nephew. I can't WAIT!!

In fact, I'm so excited for what Carly has to offer the show that I'm choosing to ignore the fact that she's on her way back to Salem to further the demise of Bope. I'm also going to reluctantly give her a pass on fishing Rafe out of the river and saving his life. Besides, I'm fairly certain that after spending 10 minutes with him when he's conscious, she'll do the right thing and chuck him back. I know I wanted to.

Rafe is on his way back to town, so that undoubtedly means that Sami must start breaking all ties with the rest of Salem and prepare to submerse herself in all things Rafe. It explains why after listening to EJ pour his heart out to her about how much Nicole hurt him, Sami scampers off to Grace's grave and asks Grace to look out for her "daddy". And by "daddy", Sami means Rafe- who might be in trouble- not EJ who actually IS in trouble. (Pardon me while I throw up in my mouth.) It also explains that rather than continuing to look for a job and counsel young William, Sami scrapped all that to trade ominous glances with Arianna and give Roman more reasons to put his hands on his hips and look confused. Thaa...rilllling!

Sure, I smiled my goofy smile when Sami and EJ went head to head over Sydney. A lot of on screen pairs have natural chemistry but no one has the ability to harness it and make it work within any type of scene like James Scott and Alison Sweeney can. And, I think it is very noble of Sami to stick up for Nicole. But, I'm just not convinced that any of this will matter once Rafe and Carly arrive back in Salem. Sami will be too busy worrying that Rafe is mad at her because she found out that he's been lying to her about the gimps that he has chained in his basement and had the nerve to ask him about it....or something like that.

Tony and I were throwing this idea around this week- what about Sami sharing more scenes with Philip? Sami could get a job running the day care at Titan. That way she can take care of the twins, have a job, and be privy to some of the Titan gossip. Plus, since we already love Sami and Brady's interaction, why not try out some more of Sami and the other Kiriakis men? With Kate being Public Enemy #1, Sami might not seem so bad to Philip and Victor. Add in the bonus that it might mean Sami gets some scenes with Justin and Melanie. Any takers?

Mia came clean with Will about everything- the "adoption", Nicole's stint as midwife, and Mia's deal with Chad about breaking up with Will. Everything. Again, I'm impressed by how upfront these two are with each other about their secrets. I like how Will is standing by Mia. The stronger the writers make this relationship; the juicier the reveal will be that Grace was actually Mia's baby.

Maggie stopped by the cemetery just to give Sami a hug. What's up with all the Mags/Sami bonding? Not that I mind seeing them interact, but it does seem that they are exceptionally chummy these days and I don't always remember Sami and Maggie being BFF's.

Extra Scoops:

Justin is still Stephanie's uncle. Why haven't these two interacted? I think it's very odd considering that Steph moved in with Adrianne and "the boys" when she was going through some growing pains with Steve and Kayla. I know we didn't see Justin, but technically he was roaming around Salem back in '07.

I'm totally going to start a rumor now. This is not fact, just my wild imagination at work. Ready? Okay. What if Chad is Nicole and Trent's biological son? The fact that Chad's parents haven't made an appearance yet makes me wonder if there is a secret there. Could it be that Chad's own biological father dumped him and that's why Chad is so determined not to let his own child grow up feeling the same rejection? We all know that any other male in his circle would corrupt Trent's pattern of surrounding himself with impressionable women to do his bidding. It wouldn't matter if that male was his own son or not. (See: Max) Maybe?

I loved the trivia bit where Lucas reminded everyone that he is Alice's grandson. I feel like the show is pushing Lucas off to the side a bit too much. Hopefully the reminder that he is just as much as Horton as Hope and Nathan will be just what the writers need to think outside the rehab box. HOT
As many of you smart feedbackers pointed out, Brady and Mel are a great pair. Not a romantic pair- mind you. But they are a perfectly enjoyable example of how men and woman can be friends. I loved Mel's counseling session with Brady. Mel told Brady not to feel bad for helping Nicole because if it wasn't him, it would have been some other guy who helped her steal a baby. People like Nicole don't give up. Point Mel. Not only does she bring up a valid argument, but it's one that I wouldn't have thought of myself. And that's because I'm regrettably not the scheming smartster that Mel can be. Brady isn't either. That's why it's imperative that Mel and Brady keep up this wonderfully layered friendship so that they can learn from each other, thus advancing their characters further.

I knew there was Princess Gina. And, of course, I know there's always been Hope. But imagine my thrill to realize that the talented Kristen Alfonso also plays a third character. Her name is Duchess Butthead. She is well named because she behaves like a self-entitled jerk who's head is actually shoved up her rear, therefore rendering her incapable of logical reasoning due to the lack of oxygen to the brain. Duchess Butthead returned to Salem with Bo's daughter and announced that she is not moving back in with Bo. She had a bevy of reasons which she claimed were "their problems", but in fact, they all stem from her sole inability to deal when she and Bo see things differently. Bo chooses to regroup, focus on the fact that he loves Hope and forgive these differences. But, Duchess Butthead trots out old problems- sometimes YEARS after they have been dealt with- just to make sure that she squeezed every possible ounce of blame from them. She's quite smart, actually. What better way to keep an otherwise reasonable man from pressing kidnapping charges against you for taking his daughter somewhere without notifying him than to bring up that this man let his daughter kill your son? Brilliant! And furthermore, Duchess Butthead insists that she loves Bo more than anything in the world, just to keep him from realizing that she is emotionally blackmailing him into stifling suggestions that she have a PLAN to deal with her damage (you know, therapy, counseling, something like that) and instead allow her to just run away. Because running away solves every problem. Oh, Duchess Butthead! You are AWESOME!!

EJ (to Nicole): "So, you're the arbitrator of what is sane and what isn't?" It's nice to see that tyrant EJ took dumb EJ with him. I much prefer my handsome Englishmen with a snarky wit.

So there it is! Another week in Salem down, and yet still so many more secrets to come out. The fast paced of the last few shows, the returns, the new couples, and a few more favorites on their way back is really upping the ante for the fall. Tony will be back next week to give you his thoughts and start planning handing out assignments for Auntie Viv's "Welcome Home" party. He's got a spread sheet of who is bringing what, so I suggest you check with him immediately. I'm in charge of bringing a cheese ball and crackers. Hope everybody likes corned beef!

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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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