The last week in October welcomes Halloween, but in the daytime circuit, there's another guest who shows up. His name? Mr. Sideshow Barker. He hollers, "Come one, come all!" in hopes that we're so enticed by his spiel that we buy a ticket to the main attraction - November Sweeps.
Well, I can officially say I'm enticed and I have my ticket to the show in hand. And that's not because I'm contractually obligated to watch Days or the fact that I can expense the ticket. Nope, Mr. Sideshow Barker did his job. And, whereas he may have been a little repetitious in his sales pitch at times, he sold me. He's why...
THE VIVIAN ALAMAIN!
Many of you might have heard some high-pitched, indescribable squeal last Friday afternoon around 1:56 P.M. when Vivian was "revealed" to be the woman tearing up Carly's picture. Yep, that was me. Sorry if I scared you, but I just couldn't contain my excitement - I've been waiting nine years for the legendary Louise Sorel's return!
And even though we only saw her for a second, that was enough - she's back and it's going to be great, I'm convinced of that. Simply her first words were proof of great things to come. "This woman, Carly Manning-Alamain, I want you to find her...and then I'll deal with her - personally." Are you kidding me!? THAT was worth the wait alone!
In fact, the "tease" of seeing Auntie Viv for just a moment already has me ten times more excited that Carly's back in Salem. Katharine Hepburn once quipped, "Enemies are so stimulating." I completely agree, and I'm beyond thrilled to see those two face off again!
CARLY & BO
You know what I find interesting? When I walk around town talking to myself, I get all sorts of strange looks, yet no one even seemed to notice Carly's running commentary as she strolled around Salem. Go figure. But here's a confession - I actually enjoyed those scenes...even the flashbacks. And, yes, I'm always shocked I write "enjoyed" and "flashback" in the same sentence. Moving on - Carly and Bo.
She broke into his house. He tackled her. She shot back with some tough-talking Rizzo-from-Grease-like dialogue, "Hey, yo, Bo, it's me, what's up?" On a whole, I really enjoyed their interaction. But there were a few things that threw me off a bit. Let me get them out of the way first, before the praise begins...
During their scenes, it sometimes I felt like I was watching a rerun of ALF. Every time someone knocked on the door I was waiting to hear, "Hide in the kitchen,
ALF Carly!" I figured at some point Carly would explode out of the swinging doors chasing the family cat with a bib around her neck and a bottle of barbeque sauce. If you're too young to get that, Google ALF...he liked to eat cats...anyway...it was a combo of that and the sitcom-like witty banter that had me a little skeptical at first.
Plus there was a somewhat annoying, yet semi-warranted peppering of, "Oh, Bo, I'm sorry to put you in this position," "I'm such a burden," and "You're risking a lot for me." Carly - you should be sorry, you are a burden, and, yes, he is risking a lot, but you went to him anyway. Get of over it because we're happy you're there, if for no other reason than that we get to see Bo on-screen not arguing with Hope. That in itself is a pleasant change. Although at some points I was waiting for Bo to start singing, "Nothing's gonna harm you, not while I'm around," from Sweeny Todd. But I digress...
As I mentioned, I did enjoy their scenes on a whole. However, one thing I'm fairly sure of at this point is that I don't want them paired up romantically. That could change over time because the Magic 8-Ball's prediction was, "Reply hazy, try again," but we'll see. My thoughts right now are that, aside from the fact the writers shouldn't continue to mess with "Bope," Peter and Crystal have amazing "friend" chemistry much like Bryan Dattilo and Alison Sweeney. It would be a shame to see that mucked up for an easy reheat of ex-lovers nuked in the storyline microwave.
Here are some other praise-worthy things in my humble opinion...first, the writers didn't take us on a prolonged gooey stroll down Bo and Carly Memory Lane. Like Carly's new attitude, their reintroduction had an edge. "Nice to see you, but what the hell are you doing here!?" Exactly! It didn't ignore that Bo's wife JUST walked out on him. It didn't ignore the fact Carly had murdered her husband and fled the scene. And, most of all, it didn't ignore the absurdity that after so long she showed up in his living room. It was awkward and hesitant, yet stayed true to the current state of the characters - not how they were however-many-years ago. Good!
Second, we got somewhat of an explanation about why Lawrence went from Carly's dream man to her worst nightmare. He had some sort of "Degenerative Craziness." He started doing "evil things." Right, sounds like Peter Blake's "Jungle Madness," if you ask me. And I'm still curious as to why Carly, a doctor sworn to help people, didn't try to find a cure, but at least we're getting the beginning of a reason, and I'll take it for now. Besides, I still want to know what "evil things" he did!
Third, even though the audience didn't hear the complete story, Carly trusted Bo with it. Bo's a "go with the gut" type guy. If he thinks it's a just cause, he'll stick up for it. Granted, that got him into trouble with Hope, but that's who Bo is. And I like it!
Finally, I was reminded why Crystal was such a casting coup for Days and, after my initial hesitance, why I'm glad she's back in Salem. She knocked Carly's breakdown out of the acting ballpark! Amazing! But on another level, that breakdown had to happen for the integrity of the storyline. It reminded us that, yes, Carly loved Lawrence. Yes, she feels guilty. Yes, she misses him. Yes, she's sorry. All those "yeses" are adding up to the conclusion - Yes, this is an interesting storyline after all.
BO, HOPE, & THE SINGLES-ONLY CRASH PAD
I'd like the people who are actually enjoying the Bope storyline to raise their hands. And, no, Higley putting up both of her hands doesn't count as two people, which I assume would be the outcome. But I'm not going to harp on the negative... ...I mean...I think Hope's being an idiot. In fact, instead of blowing off Maggie when she found out there was another hen in the hen house, she should have hung out with Big Red, explained the situation with Bo, and listened to what I assume would be standard good advice coming from Mags. And if Maggie couldn't help, she would've at last dragged Hope to either Alice or Caroline - Salem's big talking-sense-into-someone guns. But, like I said, I'm not going to harp on the negative...nope, we're going to look at the positive side of this train wreck.
Now, you might be wondering, "Is there any positive in this storyline?" I had to really get creative here, but I found some. First, this material is letting Peter Reckell flex his acting chops. That Emmy nomination last year - yep, that was warranted. He's been great!
Second, I don't like the circumstances, but I do like seeing Hope interact with the Kiriakis boys. I often feel the Kiriakis connection is overlooked in Bope-Land. And that's a shame because her interaction with Victor was great. Kristian and John managed to create a skeptical yet mutually respectful relationship between Hope and Victor. It's interesting. Plus, simply seeing Victor being nice to someone one of his sons is involved with is a shiny new object I can't help but touch.
I also enjoyed Hope's chat with Philip. Sure, they've had some bad blood between them, but out of all of Bo's relatives, something tells me that spoiled princess Fancy Face might actually have a reason to bond with spoiled prince Face-Was-Blown-Off. Just a hunch, but I'd like to see them bond a little more while she's staying at Salem's most populated "singles crash pad."
Finally, I do actually like Hope and Justin's friendship. But, as with Bo and Carly, I'd rather see them remain in the "friends only" club. One of my favorite Days friendships has always been Hope and Steve. She and the Patchman were fun to watch. They sparked and managed to team up for some fun times, but I never once noticed them headed to Adultery-Ville. If they can go that route with Justin, I'm all for it. However, I'm a little hesitant to be optimistic about that one...and I think Victor picked up on that, too.
Random Note - When Justin made his remark about "life moving fast" did anyone else think Ferris Bueller? Just wondering.
BRADY & ARIANNA
Speaking of Kiriakis men, Brady and Arianna continued to be secret lovers. It's nice to see a woman praise Brady for a change. Nicole basically kisses up to him only to end up blaming him for everything from baby-swaps to global warming. So, good, Brady's happy.
However, I'm not sure what to think about Arianna - the former-current drug dealer! Sure, now she's pretending, but, according to that flashback, she was a legit drug dealer. Um, I'm sure of the phrase "legit drug dealer," but I think everyone knows what I meant - she sold nose candy.
At this point I think Arianna should suck it up and stick with Roman's deal. She might be sweet and bubbly, but Nancy Reagan warned us about people like her. She was a dealer. True, we don't know her back story, although is there ever a good enough reason for someone to become a drug dealer? I don't think so. Therefore, Ari better start working a little harder towards a lot of redemption. Watching how the writers explain this will be interesting.
E.J. & TROY
Wow, I'm somewhat sure Troy is the male equivalent of Chloe - so pretty, yet so dumb! I mean, really, who writes down a list of things that could implement them in illegal activities!? Again, wow. Dumb move, Troy. But on the plus side, I doubt many people are complaining about a little Erik Fellows (Troy) screen time.
However, E.J. is now a drug lord and Troy is his exclusive right-hand man. Interesting! I would think he'd pick someone a little brighter for his "lieutenant," but I think selecting a bumbling sidekick is in the DiMera Family Illegal Business Handbook...I'll wait while we all share in a moment of silence for Bart.
Yet the big interest here is E.J. reiterated Troy only works for him - NOT Stefano! I read that as E.J. is losing faith is his father...big time. He mentioned again that he suspects Stefano knew more about the Sydney situation than he let on, so perhaps he's not as dumb as he's been acting the past year. Well, not as dumb, but not smart enough to stay away from dealing drugs. Oh, E.J., whatcha gonna do when officer Roman Brady come for you?
STEFANO & THE BABY SWAP-CREW
This storyline basically circled the airport awaiting its permission to land at November Sweeps International Airport. There weren't many new developments other than Nicole and Stefano's newest lie, which we'll discuss shortly. But, I do have a ton of praise for it because, whereas it did circle, it was greatly entertaining and it all had to do with Stefano, his guests, and a lot of brilliant acting!
To begin with - Sami! At first I shared Stefano's thoughts, "Maybe I ought to call the nurse so she can increase my morphine." Yes, I needed some numbing after listening to Sami go on for what felt to be eternity. It's called a point, Sami - make one. And it's not that I didn't agree with what she was trying to say, but the gal was giving me a migraine That is, until valid points started to be made...
The big one - it proved that Sami's problem is and always will be with Stefano. But, the great part, her argument was actually backed up with valid reasons, namely the seldom mentioned fact that puts everything in perspective - Stefano kept Marlena away from her family for years at a time. Yes! That's the point. That's one great reason why Sami should hate Stefano. Call me crazy, but I love it when we get a little legit back-up with our rants and everything's not chalked up to those mean, whacky DiMeras simply getting their Brady hate on. Of course, Stefano made legit arguments, too. And that's why it was great - it was an argument based in facts. Filler? Sure, but totally the good kind once the action kicked in!
Next, as always, Joseph and Arianna were great together! Their comedic-yet-sinister timing is impeccable. However, I'm sort of disappointed that Stefano and Nicole, two seasoned scheming superstars, couldn't come up with a lie other than, "Mia - tell 'em you're a whore!" Really - that's all!? I'd think Nicole of all people, who was very sweet to and protective of Mia when she met Stefano, would come up with something a little less traumatizing. Nope, and now Mia can add "whore" to the whispers of "ex-junkie teen mother" when she walks down the halls of Salem High. Lunchtime should be fun for her!
My question - why not blame things on Dr. Baker? Dead men don't tell tales. I'd think that would be the safest way around things. Why not say Dr. Baker switched the babies, Stefano tacked down Mia's baby, but it had died. It's kind of the truth, yet there's less chances of things backfiring. Just a suggestion.
Finally, it was Stefano's interactions with the ladies in his life that made me enjoy the storyline stall. I think Laurisa was right last week when she remarked Kate has a little crush on her husband. How cute...well, "cute" in a slightly frightening way. But how about Kate's entrance!? Hysterical! As were Stefano's scenes with Nurse Maxine! "You're pulse is racing, Mr. DiMera. You got a crush on me or something?" HA! I love that sassy gal.
Baby-Swap Odds and Ends...Chad and Nicole's scene was brilliant! I loved her strategy. Yet it only proved that he's an unfit twit who only wants, and I quote, "what's rightfully mine." That made Mia punching him in the gut with her "big whore secret" all the better. Although, poor Will and Mia.
Also, Sami and E.J. went a few rounds. Great acting, lots of filler. Sami and Brady talked about Nicole. Great scene, lots of filler. And Sami and Nicole played, "No you're MY best friend." Great acting, redundant filler. Let's get to the good stuff, Higs - Rafe you're on in five...four...three...
PHILIP, MELANIE, NATHAN, & STEPHANIE
You know how I just mentioned "getting to the good stuff?" Well, this isn't it. I tell you, this crew is something else. Stephanie telling Philip not to interfere with Nathan and Melanie was like Ty Pennington yelling, "Good morning, So-And-So Family!" Well-meaning intentions, obnoxious results.
However, whereas Philip wants what Philip wants and isn't afraid to pout until he gets it, the more I see of Stephanie, the more I'm beginning to think she has a touch of the Crazies. Given all of the trauma she's been through the last few years, I could buy her being a little off in the noggin. There was the morgue abduction, rape, incest, dating Jeremy Horton, and, my favorite, a fall out the sunroof of a moving car. Sorry, the rest are serious, but that last one always cracks me up. Point being, I think the writers should let Stephanie have a total breakdown. Wipe the slate clean. If that happens, they can start from scratch and, hopefully, save the offspring of super-cool supercouple Steve and Kayla who, by all rights, should be a lot cooler than Steph is right now.
Philip isn't blameless, either, and I'm thrilled Mel pelted him with cranberry muffins! The scene was not only hysterical, but it needed to happen. Mel's self-awareness was great, but Philip's lack of respect was appalling - which is not a good look for such a good-looking guy. However, whereas I wore my "I Heart Mel" badge proudly during those scenes, I don't have to channel my inner Celeste to know a bad sign when I see it. Mel went right to Nathan afterwards and put the moves on him. Bad strategy, Mel. I want these two to make it, but something tells me she's going to pull an "E.J."...I.E. just like when he called out Sami's name in the elevator while he was "with" Nicole, I have a feeling she's going to be moaning "Philip" while with Nathan. Poor guy, he'll need more than Maggie's newfound support and Lucas's single's crash pad to get through that one.
HOT(S) & NOT
Hot Note...I normally like to avoid picking more than one "Hot," but last week was like a bag of Lays Potato Chips - it was nearly impossible to pick just one!
Hot One: I'm now convinced that whenever someone talks about "The Man," they're referring to Joseph Mascolo. He's simply brilliant! He can kick the stuffing out of a dramatic scene while totally cracking me up a second later (if not at the same time). And the man delivers a line like nobody's business. In fact, he basically stole the show last week...while acting out of a hospital bed! Ah-mazing!
Hot Two: I want to give a great big gold star to the writer who pulled the name "Norm de Plume" out of the history books. Wow! What a pleasant blast from the past. We miss you, Dr. Tom Horton!
Hot Three: You guessed it - Vivian Alamain's return! I couldn't let a nine-year wait and the return of one of my favorite actresses playing one of my favorite characters go un-Hotted! And here's a testament to how great Vivian is - she buried someone alive, stole an embryo and carried that baby to term, actually killed people, and a bevy of other highly illegal crimes, but still got a happy ending when she left Salem in 2000. Who else does that!? Brilliant! Welcome back, Louise (and Vivian), you were both dearly missed!
Hot Four: A week without "Danloe," but with Vivian!? Thank you, soap gods!
Not: Stephanie's arrogant "good girl" routine isn't fooling me. Nope, not all. She tries to be the "cutesy," but I think she's a hot mess. Here's a little backup as to why I think Steph needs be on Extreme Makeover: Unbearable Character Edition..."Whoops, I didn't mean to spill the beans to Maxine. *giggle giggle giggle* aren't I cute?" Right. She knew what she was doing. Nobody's that dumb. Not cool, Steph, so not cool at all. But at least she admitted to not being a good friend to Mel and Nathan lately. A little truth is better than nothing, right?
Line of the Week:
Kate (upon her whirlwind entrance to Stefano's room): "E.J. - ugh, Nicole. You're back. What a horrible, horrible surprise. (She turns to Stefano without missing a beat) My darling! I came as soon as I heard. You're alive - again!"
I hope we haven't seen the last of Omar. He seems like a good supporting character to have floating around Salem harbor.
During her trivia bit, Renee Jones stated that Lexie and E.J. are Stefano's only living children. Hmm, I think whoever wrote that forgot about Kristen and Peter. Whoops!
Hope ate something...and it was ice cream! Was I the only one shocked by that?
Last week Laurisa and I celebrated our second anniversary. Well, that's nothing compared to the anniversary that will happen on November 8th - Days turns 44 years old! To celebrate, Laurisa and I joined forces again to come up with 44 Reasons To Watch Days, which is posted on my blog! We hope you enjoy it and also leave us some comments telling us why you tune in! Happy 44th, Days!
Parting Thoughts ...
So, friends and Days fans, that's Two Scoops for the week of November 2nd. I hope everyone had a great Halloween (and remembered to set their clocks back)! Also remember to check out soapcentral.com's very own Dan Kroll's weekly Monday night radio show. It's a ton of fun, and you can call in to voice your opinion - a win/win! Now, as Laurisa will be "in Chicago working on a case with Mickey Horton" next week, I'll be back on Monday to take a crack at November Sweeps, Week One! And "That's a fact!"
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