We've put together a special year-end list of the top ten most-read Two Scoops columns over the past 12 months. To check out the list and see what came out on top, please click here.
Happy New Year, fellow DAYS-o-holics! It seems as we begin a new decade, "Hope" is still acting bizarre. Although she did take a brief break from her breakdown to show some concern for Bo, I still don't know what's up with her these days. It's like she's brainwashed or is a completely different person or something. Well, at least she has Doug and Julie in her corner.
Yet last week wasn't all about "Bope." We got to enjoy some Kate and Vivian screen time, too! Those two are always a hoot, even if they are lunatics. Of course, I liked that Victor and Vivian got to spend New Year's Eve together - take that, Kate! Speaking of dysfunctional pairs, Chloe got to spend New Year's Eve with a new man watching the fireworks. Let's discuss!
And welcome back to 2010! Sorry, folks, I forgot to make squiggly lines with my fingers and play dream-sequence music, because that opening actually applied to the year 2000! It's amazing how time flies yet oddly stays the same in Salem. Ten years later, Hope is still acting strange, Doug and Julie are still concerned, Kate and Viv are still battling it out, Victor's still in the middle, and Chloe's still celebrating New Year's Eve by watching fireworks with a man at her side. Although back then, Chloe was still a growing "Ghoul Girl" and was watching them with Craig, a man she barely knew who would later turn out to be her father.
However, before I jump into what actually happened over the past few weeks (focusing mainly on last week), I'd like to take a second to thank everyone for joining Laurisa and me when we celebrated the Third Annual Golden Donuts and Alex North Memorial Awards! As always, we had a blast preparing the end-of-the-year festivities and were grateful for all the feedback. Special thanks go to soapcentral.com message board moderator, Mahdi, who nicely started a thread about the awards. Her kind post, and the subsequent ones, were much appreciated - thank you all!
And just like Laurisa and I teamed up to take a look back at 2009, we've also teamed up to take a look at what might happen in 2010! Check out our predictions after the "Extra Scoops" section below! Now let's discuss some present-day DAYS!
THE KIDNAPPING CREW
Cats Scoopers Were Away*: It's been three weeks since our last "regular" Two Scoops, so please bear with me while I update you on all the changes in this storyline. Let's see...Sami, uh, um...well, there was...well, then...no...*crickets chirping*...and I'm done. That's right, not much has changed since we last parted ways.
To sum things up quickly, there was a lovely candlelight vigil held for Sydney's safe return and a lot of the delightfully ditzy Anna pacing around while talking to Sydney and Tony. Some strange guy showed up. There were some scenes of Nicole nearly having a memory breakthrough, and a generous heaping of Rafe playing hero, Sami stressing, and E.J. trying to keep it together.
The Scoop: All in all, nothing groundbreaking happened. However, it wasn't altogether boring because of strong performances and a higher tolerance for schmaltzy scenes that come along with the holiday season. But of course, it wouldn't be Two Scoops if I didn't get nitpicky for a second or two.
My first mini-rant goes to Rafe. While I enjoy him most when he's being a super sleuth and appreciate his efforts, Agent OMG! needs to reel in his reactions - his over-reactions, that is. Every phone call he received seemed to end with ambiguous astonishment. Call me crazy, but I don't think further fraying the fragile nerves of everyone around him during a crisis is the best course of action. If someone could please hand Rafe a dictionary, I'll wait while he looks up the word "tact."
Of course, Rafe's possible reinstatement into the FBI has me a little conflicted. On one hand, he's a competent agent. Plus, he needs a job to pay for all those "fun boxes" he has tucked away. Those are two of the pros.
On the flip, I worry Rafe might turn into a full-fledged busy-body once he can research things himself in the FBI databases. As it is, he seems to call in one favor after another. So, I wonder - will there be any privacy left in Salem once Agent Up-In-Your-Biz becomes official again? We'll see.
The other nitpick I have falls on Sami's shoulders. Everyone's upset, so there is a lot of slack to be given. And I don't blame her for distrusting E.J. (and vice-versa). However, I think it's odd that she didn't buy E.J.'s explanation that he hid the letter until he could authenticate it, but she buys similar stories from Rafe in bulk. It's almost like the writers have to balance each "EJami getting along" scene with one of them arguing. It's tiring.
All in all, this storyline is at an odd place. Three weeks later, nothing has happened to advance the storyline or explain some of the characters' actions. It's not utterly boring, and I sense there is something major brewing, but I think the writers need to turn up the heat again now that a new year is upon us.
LORD OF THE DRUGS
While the Scoopers Were Away: Victor ratted out Arianna to some family. Brady pouted and said, "You don't know what you're talking about." Brady and Ari fought over Nicole then had make-up sex. She gave him her grandpa's cufflinks. He hired a lawyer for Nicole. She was mad about that. They had make-up sex again.
Meanwhile, Troy's I.Q. was lowered, and he's now a "bumbling henchman." E.J. was annoyed with Troy, especially after he lost his phone (which Ari found and Roman, impressively, nearly hacked into). Now Troy wants to destroy Arianna because he lost his golden-boy status with Elvis, Jr.
The Scoop: I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I don't think Brady understands the term "undercover" that well. First, Ari's working with the cops. They're her backup. Hero to the rescue is hot at times, but the guy needs to take a step back and let her do her job. Sure, he means well, but his track record kind of sucks. The last few times he's tried to help someone, he ended up locked in a mausoleum and bailed a kidnapper out of jail. Whoops!
And, second, Brady's a tad Caption Obvious. His "You don't understand" speech is a little suspect. He might want to elaborate on that some more if he doesn't want to blow her cover. Or, better yet, he probably shouldn't say anything at all. And he should also remember "undercover" doesn't just refer to the previously mentioned make-up sex.
As for Ari, I think she's becoming a lot more interesting. I like her "mother hen" approach with Gabi, and, in general, she seems ballsier. For example, most soap gals would scheme to steal their man's attention back, but Ari simply calls Brady out on his Nicole addiction. It's refreshing.
However, I am concerned about her. Not only does she have Brady's "good intentions" to worry about, but E.J. could find out about her work. Plus, now a scorned, jealous Troy is ticked at her. Nope, it's not a good time to be Ari.
Finally, I like the fact that Troy is going rogue, although I do have a bad feeling about it. I suspect that he'll either end up dead, a scapegoat who gets blamed for the drug ring, or the fun combination of a dead scapegoat. However, one thing is clear -- E.J.'s drug-ring tech support puts Dell's to shame.
VET LOVE QUAD AND VIVIAN'S REVENGE
While the Scoopers Were Away: Hope remained indecisive and generally pissy. Bo remained annoyed that Hope is indecisive and generally pissy. Julie wanted to help. Doug warned her to stay out of it. She didn't stay out of it, but also didn't help the situation. Bope is still broken up.
Also, Vivian tormented Carly, who's been reeling from horrible memories. Carly confessed her feelings for Bo. They kissed. Justin confessed his feelings for Hope. They were found kissing, but I suspect it was a cover-up kiss. Hope decided to help Carly!? Dr. Dan stood up for Carly, yet still looked confused. And Vivian and Victor plotted and found out Carly has a kid!
The Scoop: When it boils down to it, I'm a "Bope" fan. But that's when Bo was Bo and Hope was Hope. Now it's more like Semi-Normal Bo and Nonsensical Overreacting Hope, or N.O. Hope. But at least the writers had enough wits to pen in a Hope monologue where she prattled on about "Old Hope" and how different she is now. Really!? Well, geez! Thanks for explaining that, writers. I hadn't noticed.
With all that said, the only thing shocking that happened the past few weeks is that I didn't exactly mind Bo and Carly's kiss. It was obviously going to happen sooner or later, and I suspected all along Hope would see it. It did and she did. But I'm okay with all that for now if for no other reason than it beats the alternative - Bo and Hope heading to a third-world country to de-worm a rare breed of jungle cats with Steve and Kayla.
However, I am interested to see Hope on the case. Sure, she probably wants to get the scoop more than to save Carly, but why split hairs? Hope the detective is already proving much more enjoyable than Hope the hissy-fit thrower. And call me sentimental, but I enjoyed the fact that she has to solve a puzzle box to find the answers. It was a nice little nod to the past when she figured out Tom Horton's puzzle box, thus proving she was really Hope and not some chick named Gina. Besides, at this point I'll take what I can get...sort of like Justin.
In an interesting twist, I don't hate Dr. Dan when he's involved with Carly and the Kiriakis Clan. I like his role in the family and as Carly's friend. In fact, I think aside from seeing him operate now and again - and by "operate," I actually do mean operate on patients...surgically, that is - it's nice to see him do something other than a patient - non-surgically , that is. Anyway, I like this side of him and that Victor still supports him. The big guy is crazy, but he does love his family...even the sleazier members.
Finally, there's Vivian and Victor who are plotting and planning away. Louise and John are simply hysterical to watch! Add in Joseph and Lauren and forget about it - the show is officially stolen by this foursome. More, please!
LOVE QUAD, PLUS VIVIAN AND KATE
While the Scoopers Were Away: Mel and Philip got engaged. Stephanie acted supportive. She and Nathan kissed a few times. He still wants to be kissing Mel -- sorry, Steph. Dr. Dan gave Nathan some ironic advice. And Phil and Nate were sent to the slammer!
The Scoop: Philip, Melanie, Nathan, and Stephanie who!? Surprisingly, I didn't mind their storyline last week. Well, mostly the parts they weren't heavily involved with, that is. Just like when Chloe went into a coma and that storyline became more interesting, this storyline is being rescued by a nice, healthy injection of Kate and Vivian. Those two not only saved the day, but cracked me up with their wedding-planner tug-of-war. Hilarious!
I also enjoyed Mel and Kate's face-off. Mel fared pretty well. In fact, as much as I hate to admit this, I enjoyed seeing Mel take a solid stance and stand up for something, even if that something is Philip. She's been so back-and-forth, wishy-washy between Dimples and Dr. Adorable that I'd almost forgotten how feisty she can get when protecting her loved ones. You'd think Kate would have appreciated that tenacity, but not so much. In any event, I appreciated seeing Feisty Mel, even if I don't appreciate the rest of the storyline.
However, I shouldn't ignore all the other drama going on. Most notably, Philip and Nathan got arrested for fighting over Mel. HA! Take that, Stephanie. Once upon a time, Ms. Johnson had men fighting over her, but, oh, how times have changed! Simply watching Stephanie's ego get kicked in a little will be worth putting up with the rest of the nonsense.
THE TEEN SCENE
While the Scoopers Were Away: The gang went to the winter formal. Mia was jealous because Gabi went with Chad. Will tossed his hair around some. Kinsey tried to cause trouble. Tad pretty much laughed at everyone. And thanks to her grandmother's broken hip, Gabi announced she's staying in Salem because Mama Hernandez moved to Chicago. Oh, yes, and Kinsey made fun of Gabi's grandmother's broken hip.
The Scoop: In case you're keeping score, Kinsey's still a bitch. Although I have a feeling Mia is channeling her inner demons, too, because she was more than a little green-eyed that Gabi's sticking around Salem - and around Chad. I have to admit I'm interested to watch this play out.
Until now we've only really seen "Victim Mia" and her various dealings with all the baby drama. Now that that's swept under the rug, I'm curious to see how she reacts to "normal" teenage life. Something tells me Mia might end up going back to Nicole for a little TLC - Total Liar Consoling. Okay, my apologizes for that bad joke. Moving on!
Now, I'll come right out and admit it - I like Gabi. But I do have one question. What is Pre-Med Club!? Is that like a bunch of teens sitting around playing "Operation?" Congratulations to her old high school for being so progressive. I'm fairly sure the most involved club we had was ski club...and from what I heard, people only joined so they could make out on the dark bus ride back to town.
Moral of the story, I like Gabi. She's a cool gal. But I am a little nervous that the writers will make her TOO much of a goody two-shoes. So far, she's flying under the Annoying Self-Righteous Over-Achiever Radar, but with a little push she could soar off-track and end up in Stephanie Land. Let's cross our fingers and hope that doesn't happen.
*Miss a few episodes over the holidays? Worry not! For a more detailed breakdown of what happened on DAYS, check out the DAYS Daily Recaps Archive.
HOT & NOT:
Hot: While I enjoyed seeing Kate and Vivian sparring again and was thoroughly amused by Vivian insulting Chloe, I loved the Maggie and Julie Show! They sang. They danced. The talked about boys. It was a pair of footed-pajamas away from being a sleepover. Good times!
Not: Oh, poor Dr. Dan! The first Two Scoops of the new year, and he's already made the "Not" list. Whereas I enjoyed "Kiriakis Fun Dr. Dan," "Free Advice Fun Dr. Dan" needs to shut up. He told Nathan to go after Mel because "there's no ring on her finger." I simply laughed and waited for him to add, "And, hey, even if there is a ring on her finger, that's okay, too." The guy's such a sleaze-bag. Not only is that horrible advice, but, should Nathan succeed, his "bro" Philip will be crushed. I can see he really thought that one out.
LINE OF THE WEEK:
Kinsey's overly-perky response to Gabi's grandmother's broken hip news: "You're kidding!? My grandma did too! She slipped on the ice, and it was all over." So wrong, yet somehow hysterical.
Honorable Mention: Victor's deadpan response to Vivian's excessive gushing, "Rein it in, Viv. Rein it in." HA!
I hope someone told Alice and Mickey that Mrs. Ochmonek left and it's safe for them to come out of the kitchen.
This one's from Laurisa (and I concur): Why do characters carry their coats as they leave somewhere? If it's freezing outside, I put my coat ON before I open the door. Don't you?
Those were plastic martini glasses, not champagne glasses.
Tony and Laurisa.
Last year Laurisa and I relied heavily on Bo's psychic visions to help us out with the predictions. However, since he seems to be cured, we took matters into our own hands by knocking each other off the top of a ladder. Sure, we got concussions, but we also got some semi-hazy prophecies. And here they are:
Bo and Hope reunite, but not until the end of the year. Hope spends most of 2010 on a cross-country journey looking for her eyebrows after Carly slaps them off during February Sweeps. While she's gone, Bo learns to speak the rare language of ICB, Irrational Crazy Bitch, and begins to understand Hope's newfound attitude. Upon her return, they have yet another vow renewal.
Maggie invests in a neon sign for the front of her house which will read, "Hotel Horton." Unfortunately, the "No Vacancy" portion falls off during a windstorm and crushes Mickey. Even worse, everyone thinks he's in the kitchen and no one looks for him. His body won't be fond until the spring thaw, but Maggie decides to still charge him rent anyway.
It's revealed that Dr. Dan and Carly shared a steamy past (and a daughter named Mel). Because of his new "one and only true love" and that since he's "fated" to be with Carly now, he dumps Chloe. Sadly, the beautiful-but-dim songstress doesn't understand she's being broken up with until he has the locks changed. Even then she still doesn't get it and simply thinks the apartment was moved. She starts trying her key out in every lock in Salem. She finishes up next year around the holidays.
Subsequently, Carly laughs at Dr. Dan's lame lines. She then turns him in to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. He's last seen locked into a cage with a smitten orangutan who he calls his "true love" he's fated to be with.
Sami purchases several pink jumpsuits, starts to cry a lot, and eventually becomes possessed by the devil. Fortunately, Rafe was a priest before he was an FBI agent and tries to save the day, of course. By the end of the storyline, the devil is so bored with "Safe" that he leaves on his own accord, finds Chloe wandering around Sami's apartment building trying out locks, and proposes. They move to Piscataway, New Jersey, and open up a florist shop.
E.J. is busted when Troy accidentally mixes up some mailing labels and ships a brick of cocaine to "Roman Brady" instead of the "Brady Pub." They are sent to jail and end up sharing a cell with Patrick Lockhart and Dean Hartman. They form a Barbershop Quartet, called Elvis and The Black Gloves, and become very popular in the inmate circle.
Sydney is safely returned to Sami and E.J. by February Sweeps. However, knowing a thing or two about dysfunctional parents, Johnny, Allie, Ciara, and Theo kidnap her (again). They hitchhike to Colorado to live with Marlena's mother, Martha. By the beginning of June, they all return to Salem happier, healthier, and in their mid-teens.
Justin is hired as Nicole's lawyer despite Victor's disapproval. But what starts out as a court case turns into a heated affair. Brady is upset that Nicole is with Justin, and Arianna is upset that Brady is upset that Nicole is with Justin. After fighting about this, Brady and Ari have make-up sex.
Caroline is kidnapped by a wacky
gardener clam salesman and locked away in a morgue drawer. Victor rescues her, but she claims they still can't be together. He hits the bottle and ends up in bed with escapee Anna. He finds her whimsical and they elope so he can save her from prosecution in Sydney's kidnapping. Victor, Anna, AND Vivian must live under one roof and fight off the combined evilness of Stefano and Kate, who are out to get them because of a nasty feud over a botched game of couples' canasta.
The Teen Scene heads to Puerto Rico to find Caroline's missing
ruby sapphire. Kinsey becomes pregnant after an attack, and Will pretends to be the father. Mia is ticked about this and turns to Chad, but he's already interested in Gabi. Tad makes fun of them all.
Lucas is thrilled when he finds out Kate is not his biological mother! In fact, he's so happy he accidentally dances off the pier while celebrating. Poor Lucas.
While running on the treadmill, Philip's prosthetic leg falls off, which causes him to trip and fall, which causes his prosthetic face to fall off. As it turns out, he was actually a cyborg, and the real Philip is later seen chained in the DiMera basement not proposing to a teenager. Melanie marries "Cyborg Philip" anyway but is electrocuted on their honeymoon. Nathan resuscitates her, and they temporarily reunite.
Sadly, Nathan is run down by Allie Horton on her Big Wheel prior to her escape to Colorado. She was competing in the new reality show, Last Horton Standing, and simply wanted to eliminate the competition. Donations, in lieu of flowers, can be made in to the EHF, Endangered Horton Fund.
Nicholas Alamain returns to Salem and begins to date Stephanie. Melanie is "thrilled" to have yet another half-brother dating Steph.
The real Philip is rescued from the basement but has to go to therapy because of the ordeal. While at the hospital, he runs into Nurse Maxine, and they fall in love. Unfortunately, she leaves him when her shift is over.
Abe and Lexie realize they haven't seen Celeste in years, then shrug and carry on with their daily routines.
Roman falls in love again and, here's the kicker, the woman's in love with him, too! Okay, we're just kidding. Roman spends another year alone, but he does get a new blazer from Bartlett's Department Store at an incredible sales price. That has to count for something, right?
So, friends and DAYS fans, that's Two Scoops for the week of January 4, 2010. Laurisa will be back on Monday with several weeks' worth of pent-up ranting and ravings. You've been warned! But also make sure to tune into soapcentral.com's newest venture - Soap Central Live! Site founder, and all-around soap guru, Dan J Kroll will host this hour-long radio program which premieres this Friday (January 8) at 6:00pm Eastern time. And, "That's a fact!"
As always, thanks for reading and happy viewing,
Tony and Laurisa