To the extreme...

For the Week of December 14, 2009
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To the extreme...
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The instant that she got to Cleveland, Arianna started a fight with Brady about Nicole. Good move, Ari. Men always fall into your arms when you tell them how stupid they are.

DAYS taught me two things this week. First, in lieu of Christmas gifts, I propose that we all just send donations to the "Future Therapy for Sydney DiMera" fund. The kid is going to need a lot of it. Because, like it or not, the kid is stuck with being raised by the band of misfits who set out to "rescue" her. Second, Salem is going to be just fine once the baby swap wraps, because there is some GOOD stuff on the horizon.

Rafe has been working overtime to secure his spot as Sami's keeper and protector. But even Super Rafe couldn't crack the case of missing Syd. Still, it wasn't for lack of effort.

He used his non-existent FBI status to somehow weasel his way into sitting in on suspects' questioning and strong-arm a cop. He told Brady and Ari to just let him "do his job" when he was confronting Nicole. (What job? Is he on retainer with John Black or something?) And, he promptly ordered E.J. not to tell Sami anything about Nicole escaping the hospital, which he really shouldn't have done because we all know by now that any requests to relay information to Sami must be submitted, in writing, to Rafe and then HE will decide when Sami gets information*.

A quick note- All except the Sami filtering could be fixed by just giving Agent Intensity a spot on the Salem PD. At least then he'd have legitimate authority. Although I do worry about what real, actual power will do to his spiky-haired head.

*Please allow 8-10 weeks for processing, unless you are E.J. DiMera, in which case you can just let Rafe worry about ol' Sami here and you can go back to your fancy house with all your money and stuff and not bother us again.

Sami is a professional schemer. She boasts a resume of ample experience in both kidnapping and custodial interference. Yet, instead of trying to think like Nicole and get a lead from that psychological profiling thingy, Sami paced around the hospital waiting for one of the men in her life--boyfriend, ex-husband, step-brother, or father--to do something to help her.

Oh well. At least she was there to back down when Faye went off on her or Nicole clammed up! Not so much.... If this is the new "mature" Sami, I'll pass. Big time.

I know E.J.'s plan to have Sami spend tons of time with him so that she can ruffle Stefano's Phoenix feathers. I also know that it is a poorly veiled attempt for the writers to give Ejami fans some E.J.andSami without actually giving them Ejami. But I'm thrilled that maybe for a few scenes a week, I'll get to see the Sami who actually entertains me.

Nicole was hauled off to jail. Amazing that the Salem PD actually caught a criminal and punished her! But it took way too long and this whole week did zero favors for Nicole. Other than Arianne Zucker's strong performance, nothing about Nicole impressed me this week. First, if she was hit in the head, why was she having back and leg problems? The writers should have gone with blurry vision or hearing problems.

Second, Nicole got way too distressed over people telling her that they don't believe her. Oh course no one believes you, fool! You're a lying liar who lies! To everyone! For the last YEAR! Her sobbing hysterical outbursts did nothing for me accept made me realize that the character of Nicole needs to be given a break.

Rather than seeing more scenes where different characters don't believe Nicole, let's see Nicole in some serious therapy. She never allowed herself the chance to grieve for her miscarriage and it's all been downhill for Nicole and her mental state from there. Her noggin needs some serious shrinkage. Preferably, by someone who has never met Nicole and has little connection with either the Brady or DiMera family. What's Mark (Chelsea's hunky ex-boss) doing these days? We know he's a therapist!

When Nicole left for jail, she took Brady's storyline with him. And now, he desperately needs a brand new one for Christmas. Because, if the writers intend to have Brady go to the jail daily to visit Nicole and have them do the hand thing on different sides of the glass divider while they look longingly into each other's eyes and whisper sweet nothings over the prison bat phone, I'll be ticked.

The further and further we get from Nicole's miscarriage and the more of her lies that she piles up, the harder it is to believe that Brady fell in love with Nicole when he came back to Salem. I got a great email from a viewer who believes that Brady actually turned to drugs because he realized that he never should have married Chloe in the first place. Anything is possible. But, the problem is that the writers showed us nothing of the addiction from Brady's point of view.

The time to do so is now. Arianna and Sami both told Brady that he was addicted to Nicole. Thankfully, I don't have any personal experience with addiction so I don't know much about it. But the idea that addicts can transfer their addiction from one vice to another seems very storyline-appealing. I'd like to see more.

What the heck was she doing in Cleveland? The writers should have left her at home. We don't need another character standing in the corner giving distraught looks. The writers had Sami already covering those duties, quite nicely.

Also, the instant that she got to Cleveland, Ari started a fight with Brady about Nicole. Good move, Ari. Men always fall into your arms when you tell them how stupid that they are. On the good side, the writers gave Ari the prestigious task of saying what I've been screaming at my TV for months. Amen to Ari's rant ending in, "That bitch took another woman's baby and ran, and Brady is making it sound like she's the victim!" I'm totally with you, Ari!

Not only is it tough to see the guy you like drooling over another girl, but it has to be infuriating to see someone screw up SO BIG and still have people on her side. It's been hinted at on numerous occasions that Ari caused Emily's death. We know for sure that Ari's drug use cost her everything--her freedom, family, and any Brady stand-in that she had at the time. She had to hit rock bottom and claw her way back up, so I can see how it's a gut-puncher for her to see Brady trying to soften Nicole's fall.

E.J. was the only character who really benefited from Adventures in Cleveland. He's fully turned against his father, so much so, that he's actually plotting against him. I don't remember E.J. ever doing that before. It's going to be interesting to watch. E.J. and Sami, no matter what the task or relationship status, always make a great scheming team. I'd watch them try to fix a Bayside/Valley tic-tac-toe meet if they'd let me.

But as for E.J. himself, he is painfully alone. Sami has Rafe. Brady and Arianna have each other (well, Monday through Wednesday and every third Saturday of the month). Stefano has Kate. And E.J. is alone. Or is he?

Not to brag that I can read a family tree or anything, but E.J. does have a wonderful sister. That sister happens to know a thing or two about Stefano thinking he can distribute grandkids like pizza flyers. And, that sister is sitting right there in Salem without a storyline right now. I say, give Lexie a call!

And, to check off an item on my "little details that have been irking me" list, it turned out that E.J.'s delayed divorce papers were for a super sneaky purpose. Since he was still legally her husband, he had no problem walking right through the "immediate family only" rule at the hospital to visit Nicole. It's a slight comfort to me since the real E.J. would have filed divorce papers quicker than Nicole can tell a lie.

SYDNEY and ANNA?!?!?!?
Here's what we know: Sydney was taken by a woman. That woman sings with a sweet higher voice, has blonde hair, and has a wonderful jaw line. All the above foolishness sponsored by Rafe, Sami, E.J., and Co. will be forgiven if my guess is right and the kidnapper is none other than one Anna DiMera!

She fits all of the clues we've seen before. And we know the chick can rock a cloaked woman role. I spoke to Tony and we are in agreement that Leanne Hunley's return (even if just for a short time) will qualify as our personal "Christmas Miracle" for the year.

Whoever the kidnapper is, she's working with some sort of accomplice because she was on the phone with someone talking about Sydney. There's no way (short of a brain chip) that Anna would be working with Stefano. And while the idea of Anna being the new pawn does have its own elements of brilliance, I don't think that is the case.

Last time we saw her, Anna was slapping the crap out of Stefano for causing Tony's death. It's entirely possible that Tony told Anna about Nicole's fake pregnancy. With just a little digging, Anna could have found out about the baby swap, as well. And in one move she could stick it to Stefano and avenge Tony's death. It sounds like a win-win to me.

There are only two people in the world that Anna could be working with, and they both have personal interests in Sydney. One is Carrie and the other is Roman. Carrie seems less likely. While I'm sure Carrie would want good things for her niece, I don't think Carrie would risk her neck for Sami.

That leaves Roman. He and Anna share a deep trust for each other and an even deeper hatred for Stefano. I'd love it to turn out that Grandpa Roman stepped in to save the day. A side of Anna would just catapult this storyline into the atmosphere of awesome.

If I were Santa, I'd give Bo a break for Christmas because we all know that he's not catching any from Hope. She is delusional. Maybe she caught it from standing too close to Nicole. Maybe she suffered a head injury while ice skating with Ciara. But her latest move to uncover Carly's secret is the most puzzling yet. Where, how, when, and on what planet is uncovering a 19-year-old secret easier than just moving back in with Bo, who wants her back?!?!? I guess Hope's new job is to pick up the Horton Drama Queen Torch from Lucas and run with it. Part of me hopes she catches herself on fire.

Carly's secret has jack squat to do with Hope. It barely has anything to do with Bo--other than the fact that he knows it. And unlike his cousin-in-law, who decided to spill some baby beans to his lady love in an attempt to prove that his ex is out of his life, Bo is rightfully keeping quiet about Carly's child. I saw what happened after Lucas opened his big mouth to Chloe. So, I can't really be mad at Bo for staying quiet, especially when there is a very real and immediate threat in Salem....and said threat happens to be Hope's new roomie.

I did enjoy Carly and Justin's scene at Java Cafe. Wally Kurth and Crystal Chappell are great together. And, it was nice to see Justin in a scene with someone other than Hope. However, I do have to mention one thing before we go further down this Carly/Bo and Justin/Hope accusation road. If either Carly or Justin actually does have feelings for anyone else at this moment in time, it's ridiculous. Carly just killed her husband. Justin's wife just divorced him. To think that either of these two are emotionally available to anyone one right now--much less part of a married couple--is too much for me to swallow.

In the future, maybe. But right now there's nothing standing in Bope's way except for Hope. And to be fair, if Bo and Hope were to get back together tomorrow, there's no way Carly would pack up and leave town. She's there for a reason that has nothing to do with Bo.

Oh, that reminds me, it's probably best to give Justin a reason, other than Hope, to stay in town. Last time I checked, he doesn't have one.

I'm not trying to be mean, but the absence of Stephanie this week did wonders for Nathan. We got to see him actually reflect and react to his relationship with Mel without having Steph spoon-feed him answers. It's clear that he still cares about her, yet he knows that no matter what he does, Melanie's going to have to get Philip out of her system all by herself.

That's not going to be an easy task, considering that Philip is very convincing at selling his particular brand of logic. Philip appeared at Maggie's house with flowers for Mel and a heaping new pile of crappy theory.

Get this--he actually made Melanie think that Nathan would never accept the bad parts of her. Really? Because I'm pretty sure that Nathan saw the sex tape, helped Melanie break the law, and knew about her run-in with the Euro-trash Horseman. Yet, he still wanted to date her after. That doesn't sound like a guy who's in the dark to me.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not mad at Philip for trying it. He's a man on a mission and he'll use all the tricks in his bag. I just think he's dead wrong about Nathan. And, I'm a little upset that naÔve Melanie is buying it.

Here's what it boils down to: Does it really matter that Mel and Philip are perfectly matched baddies if Melanie doesn't want to be bad? Some characters--like Nicole and Sami--I find utterly boring if they are being good. But other characters--like Julie and Chelsea--are pretty dang interesting as reformed bad girls. It doesn't mean they lose their spunk, it just means they harness it in a different manner. I'm starting to think that Mel fits better into the latter group.

I've always found it odd that Mel and Mia didn't interact more than they do. They're only two years apart in age and they live together. So, I was glad to see them in the same scene this week!

Mia didn't want Carly to move into Maggie's house, but was too afraid to speak up. Enter: Melanie. Melanie's not afraid to say anything. I loved Mel's "Stay strong, McKormick. We won!" comment. I love it even more that this whole strength streak stemmed from Mel's desire to protect her friend.

Of course, it was all to get Mel, Mia, and Carly in a scene so that viewers can wonder a little more which one is Carly's daughter. I agree with my partner, Tony. All of the tension between Mel and Carly means that Mel is probably the chosen Manning.

Whichever girl it is, I worry most about how Maggie will take the news. Mickey has been gone so long that he's crossed the time/space continuum to turn back into a past actor. So, Mel and Mia are Maggie's family. If Vivan is after either of those girls, Maggie will throw herself and everything she has into protecting them. We're seen DiMera vs. Kiriakis. Get ready for Horton vs. Alamain. (Pause for applause...and...scene!)

Thank goodness someone started the Vivian train. I'm all aboard, riding first class, and I'll even meet you in the dining car for a rousing rendition of "Snow" if you'd like.

Ivan 2.0 popped back up to tell Vivian that she had been named executor of Lawrence's estate (really? Not Carly or Nikki?), giving her access to his secret safety deposit box in Switzerland. A not-so cryptic letter about how Carly is going to pay for her betrayal is now in Viv's hands.

Bad news for Carly is great news for me. I can't wait to see how deliciously evil Vivian and Victor are going to be together. They both think that Carly cheated on Lawrence with Bo. They are both, of course, dead wrong. But, Bo's "no comment" stance on Carly's secret isn't going to go too far in proving his innocence.

I know that Victor won't let anything happen to Bo. But if the baby secret comes out before the baby daddy news breaks, and Bo is still the leading candidate, how will Vivian and Victor's partnership change? Will Victor put a stop to Vivian if he thinks that Vivian is going after his granddaughter?

I'm glad that Lucas is back and that he made amends with Mia. But, he should have stopped short of telling Mia that she needs to get back together with Will. It makes it hard for me to be mad at Kate for meddling in Lucas' love life when he turns around and does the same exact thing.

Lauren Koslow is one talented lady. She held the lead role in a storyline for a good chunk of the year. And now, she's stepped seamlessly into a pitch-perfect supporting role. Seeing Stefano cry over his missing granddaughter was sad. But, seeing the single tear run down Kate's face was shocking. It turns out the Ice Queen is capable of caring about a situation that doesn't have anything to do with her own kids. Who knew that marrying Stefano would soften Kate?

Justin's efforts to ruin Carly's interview at the hospital failed miserably when we learned that Dr. Dan and Carly are old buddies. Hmmm...all that stuff I said about Victor and Bo earlier? It definitely applies to Daniel and any children he may have, as well.

Daniel nominated Nathan and Melanie for a special commendation at the hospital for their efforts in saving Chloe's life. That's the good news. The bad news is that Chloe also got them a romantic trip for two at the Green Mount Lodge. First of all, no one goes to the GML and has a good time. Nicole miscarried there and Philip/Belle/Shawn/Mimi had a terrible weekend there, as well. Second, Nathan and Mel aren't dating anymore, so a romantic getaway for the two of them isn't happening. Whoops!

Extra Scoops:

If Melanie does end up being Carly's daughter, doesn't that make Mel some sort of heiress/duchess/princess of some faraway land? Also, how will the writers explain that Mel is both Max's sister and Carly's daughter?

Can Vivian please mention John Black!?! She's living in the same house as his son, yet not a word about her long-lost nephew. The way she oogles over Philip, you'd think she would have something to say about Brady's beautiful square-jawed face, as well. Boo.

I cracked up when Brady asked to talk to Nicole alone, and Ari and Rafe just turned around. I guess in Salem, people can only hear in the direction that they are facing.

I am very pleased with the amount of Christmas decorations up around Salem. The pub, especially, looks great!

Although it was short, Valerie Wildman's return as Fay Walker was very well done. For those of you who didn't see her first stint on the show, Fay pretty much walked around Salem with an "Apply Foot Here" sign on her butt. Her situation was so truly tragic that she really did need someone to save her. To see her return and be able to stand on her own two feet did my heart good.

It also snapped me out of my Nicole trance and made me realize that Nicole is deeply disturbed and needs serious help. Nicole played the "I'm a battered woman" card to a woman who actually was battered for the sole reason that Nicole knew it would work! Add in the layer that Nicole scammed her biological mother for the sake of a non-biological daughter, and Faye's return was incredibly important in solidifying Nicole's descent into madness. So very well played, writers!

It's about time that someone go tell Hope to pound sand. If Bo or Carly isn't going to do it, I'll be glad to volunteer. All of the following happened this week. I'm not making this up at all:
- Hope told Ciara that they can't go home because "someone else is staying there." Way to saddle your daughter with unnecessary stress, Hope!
-Hope stormed out of Christmas decorating and then told Justin it was because of Carly. Sorry Hopers, it was because you're a spaz and wanted to make a point.
- After Hope stormed out of Christmas, she went to milk Mia for information about Carly. Mia offered up this gem: "I don't think it's very nice to talk about people that you don't really know." HA! From the mouths of babes!
-When Ciara sees Carly she says, "Mommy, what's she still doing here?" which makes me want to punch Hope in the throat. Ciara is too young and innocent to put together any guilt assessment on her own. Hope's the only one would could have poisoned the kid with that type of hate. Well, either Hope or Victor, whom Hope chose to allow Ciara to live with.
-Hope complained to Justin that Carly didn't check with Hope first before asking to move into Maggie's house. Hey Hope, Mia or Mel didn't run it by you first, either. Where's your anger at them?

EJ (to the bonehead security guard who let Nicole get away): "If it makes you feel any better, you're not the first man she's taken advantage of."

That's it for this week! And in case you're wondering, Tony and my picks for best and worst for '09 start next week! If you want to get a scary peek at how our twisted minds are working, be sure to check out Tony's blog where we reviewed the damage we did last year with our Alex North Memorial Awards: The Worst of '08. Is anyone in the running for a repeat title? Check it out and see!

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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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