Ninety-nine problems

For the Week of January 24, 2011
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DAYS Two Scoops: Ninety-nine problems
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Sami and Rafe do not have the type of everlasting love to withstand a brainwashing storyline. Bo and Hope did it. John and Marlena did it. Sami and Rafe aren't even in the same league as those couples.

A few weeks ago, my local NBC affiliate got in a pricing dispute with my cable provider and pulled their signal (including DAYS) from my cable lineup. I realize that it's a business and there are many hardworking people at that station and provider who deserve to be paid. But more importantly, at least 13 people read this column every week, and they need me, dang it! Did the power-hungry cable company and station NOT even bother to think of how this affected my DAYS viewing?!?!

After a few glasses of wine and a talk with (okay it was more like inappropriate whining to) my lovely husband, he reminded me that NBC puts episodes of DAYS online for free. Always marry a geek, friends.

So I logged on and watched a week's worth of episodes. And there, in my DAYS bliss, I stumbled across a buried treasure that I don't know why they don't advertise more -- classic videos from DAYS past.

They came in handy last week. I went back and watched Sami's near execution, Patch and Kayla's wedding, and the Last Blast dance. It reminded me why I love this show. And that's good, because last week's shows were rough.

There may not be 99 of them like the title suggests. (Shocker, I can be over-dramatic.) But there are a few big problems that need to change soon, else DAYS is running the risk of being downright disrespectful to fans. We're smart. And we want better.

I hoped (like a total fool) that Johnny's battle with cancer would actually make these super-sized children behave like adults for five consecutive seconds. Nope! Wrong again.

For the record, I don't care if Johnny can see, smell, or shoot gold dust out of his ears, Sami and E.J. should both be in his life, and Rafe and/or Nicole should have zero say in the matter.

Yet, Rafe and E.J. are plotting against each other. And Sami and Nicole are too daffy to do anything but cry. Please. I've seen this show be insanely creative before, and my expectations are higher.

There's zero creativity here. Not even the idea of Dr. Rolf appearing again to scramble Rafe's brains (just a hunch) is enough to calm me down. I love Rolf, but I want Sami and Rafe to break up because Sami realizes what a Boss Hogg he is, not because Rafe starts stealing artwork. (Bonus points to those who got that reference.)

I'll also go ahead and point out the obvious: Sami and Rafe do not have NEAR the type of everlasting/soul mate love to withstand a brainwashing storyline. Bo and Hope did it. John and Marlena did it. But, Sami and Rafe aren't even in the same league as those other couples. To be fair, none of Sami's pairs come close, but I'd argue that this one is the furthest because Sami knows next to nothing about Rafe's past or family. Neither do the rest of us, for that matter!

Mel's pregnancy irritates me to no end. My anti-Phelanie stance aside, this pregnancy does exactly what DAYS does not need right now. It keeps the same characters front and center.

Where're the storyline ebbs and flows? We just had a huge reveal about Parker's paternity, yet instead of getting a rest from Phil/Chloe/Daniel/Melanie, we had to increase our dosage of them! Only this round, it's a different baby. Like that matters. It's not that I haven't enjoyed all four characters at times. It's just that I need a break!

I'd like to see Maggie and Victor's blossoming romance get more attention than one scene a week. Instead, I watched Mel announce her pregnancy one-at-a-time to Daniel, Brady, Maggie, and Nathan. Then, we got to see Daniel announce it to Carly and Kate announce it to both Stefano and Victor -- in separate scenes of course. And in case that wasn't enough, Chloe tipped off Philip and had two conversations with Melanie about it.

By the way, Chad's adorable scene with Johnny lasted seconds. Bo and Hope got three scenes. Balance, writers. Look into it.

Okay, trying to be positive...

There were some nice things about the pregnancy scenes. Both of Brady's pep talks with Melanie were wonderful. I adored how he focused on her and simply told her that he'd be there for her, whatever she decided. Indeed, before every child there is a mother and the latter is often forgotten.

Furthermore, Maggie did manage to talk Melanie and me off the ledge for a brief second when Maggie pointed out that Mel's pregnancy might not be a deal-breaker to Nathan. How brave would it be for DAYS to follow through on a pair they've teased about for over a year, regardless of the new obstacle? A girl can dream.

I cheered when Chloe showed up at Stephanie's door to yell at Caroline. Chloe's got every right to be mad at them. Chloe may have royally screwed up, but it's her right to mess up her own life. I'm not sure where Caroline and Stephanie get off using Chloe as a pawn to keep Stephanie's life in pristine condition.

To be fair, Chloe's argument would have carried more weight if she didn't spend the rest of the week telling Daniel to "Go to your son" or pleading with Philip to stay away from Parker. I admire Philip for not throwing her into the water at that point.

But hey, at least Caroline tried, and she's really sorry, so Chloe should just shrug it off. Right? Sorry. Chloe's last name isn't Brady, so she doesn't have to look the other way. I'm not saying that Caroline should get hard jail time for this, but I'll be mad if the writers just let Caroline off the hook because she's old. Otherwise, Stefano and Victor better race to patent "Gangsters Gone Wild" because they can get away with anything now.

We're not entering the "happy place" of this column, a.k.a. the characters that should be given more screentime.

You know, that Jennifer is so smart. She should be an investigative reporter! *wink* I appreciate that her storyline hasn't been dropped and that she's still investigating all things associated with Statesville. I wish that she was given more than a minor role and (I'm so going to regret saying this) even consider going into cahoots with Rafe, but this little bright spot is worth celebrating. Here's hoping she and Carly team up soon because I have a feeling Bo and Hope will need some backup right away.

While Jane was busy injecting Bo with truth serum (which was funny) and then beating him up (which was not), Hope was in full-on detective mode. I love that Hope is still working to find out what Jane is hiding. I'm glad that Leo appeared again. I'm interested to see if Hope really believes that Nathan is a part of the scam, considering he is a Horton and all.

Just when I was about to get sick of her storyline, Vivian's excitement over the wine amused me. And I loved that she opened it with her teeth. Vivian is pure comedy, and she delights me. Somehow, she manages to be a serious villain and comic relief at the same time.

I don't know what I liked more -- Brady kicking Nicole out or Victor starting the slow clap. Okay, that one's not even close. Victor wins by a mile!

Still, I was glad that the writers didn't let Brady forget that Nicole dumped him for Sydney. She absolutely had a choice -- embrace the real man who loves her or continue to chase a past dream that hinges on the word of a crook. Oh Nikki, I love you, but you made the wrong choice. Brady's not the pushover he once was, and that's not good for Nicole.

Gabi and Will have no history together and thus have nothing to talk about, so they just make out. A lot. Oh, and sometimes they make cookies. I prefer the cookies.

Stephanie needs some serious help. She's still claiming that Melanie drove Max, Philip, and now Nathan away from her. Sweetie, no woman can steal your man if he's not willing to go. Well, unless Dr. Rolf was involved, but that's not the case here, so Steph is on her own in the land of bonkers.

For someone who wanted everyone to keep quiet about her life, Chloe sure spilled the beans about Melanie in a hot second. Maybe next week Chloe can call up the newspapers and tell them where Hope is hiding.

I applaud Maggie for being smarter than the average soap bear, but I again restate my position that it's silly for her to be all protective of Vivian. I don't like it. I like strong Maggie, but I don't like how the writers are making Maggie scold Victor for mistreating Vivian. It seems pretentious. Yet, I reserve my final judgment until after I see Maggie and Victor's dinner date. *squeal*

Carly's been everyone's favorite blame target for the last few weeks, so it was awesome to see her dish out some pain. First she made it clear to Chloe that their friendship is over. Then, she told off Philip by blurting out the words that I've been screaming at my TV for weeks, "Not every man who gets drunk and feels insecure gets to go out and cheat with his ex-girlfriend." Preach it, Carly!

The flippant stance the writers have on paternity needed to end yesterday. Soaps are about family. How are soaps supposed to continue if the writers keep crafting storylines where characters decide who should and shouldn't be a parent? It started with Sami and E.J. Then Rafe decided that he gets dibs on Sami's kids. Nicole somehow thought that she had a right to Sydney. More than one Brady lady brought up Tyler's adoption like it was a character flaw on Philip's part. And then Chloe did everything but shut her eyes, plug her ears, and sing, "LA LA LA" at the top of her lungs every time someone dared to suggest that Daniel wasn't Parker's father. DAYS should be playing up these awesome family ties -- not trying to fight them.

Stefano (to Kate about Philip):"Your son doesn't fool around, does he? Or actually, maybe he does!"

Who else laughed when Johnny reported 10 fingers, two up and eight down? You can tell that he was so proud of himself!

Thanks Nadia, for reminding me to match my shirt and bra.

Does anyone realize that Gabi is now living alone? She's what, 16?

I liked Philip telling Kate that she needs to wear heavier coats and forget about style. But, I loved Kate telling Philip to bite his tongue for that comment.

I need to buy some brandy decanters like Victor has.

Ha! Stefano called Kate out on her bogus sympathy for Daniel. Well played, Phoenix.

Carly saved Rafe's life and is the only reason he's back in Salem, yet it often seems like they're strangers. When they do interact (like after Johnny's surgery), it makes me wonder why they haven't stayed close.

Philip's hair is verging on a mid-life crisis. It reminds me of E.J.'s k.d. lang cut of '08. Both should be in a warning manual: When Bad Hair Happens to Good Hunks.

Okay, I'm off to doodle pictures of butterflies and rainbows in hopes that I return to my happy place. If that doesn't work, I'm calling in the reserves -- chocolate and Audrey Hepburn movies. Tony will be back next week with an enchanting view of Salem, a place that no matter how much I protest, I truly do love. In fact, I love it so much that despite some recent cast shake-ups (link is spoiler-ish), I'm personally starting a rumor campaign to bring some new talent into Salem! Let me know what you think!

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