No business like snow business

For the Week of February 7, 2011
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DAYS Two Scoops: No business like snow business
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Team DiMera kidnapped the real Rafe and planted a fake Rafe in his place. Fake Rafe is really a DiMera soldier who's had plastic surgery and has been briefed on all things Brady.

There is 20 inches of snow in my backyard. I couldn't leave my house for three days. And, the main highway through my state was shut down. That means I got to stay in my jammies and watch DAYS live for three days in a row! Well, most of it anyway. There was a fair amount of my screen covered by school closings and blizzard warnings. So, I played close attention this week and have a few observations and history lessons to share with you. Hopefully you'll email me and let me know what you think too!

The secret is out and, hopefully, this storyline is almost over. It was a cool way to get Hope out of prison, reconnect Bope, and throw in some good Carly and Jennifer time. But, the main players here never won me over.

Jane, Lee, and Ben fell terribly short of the standard for sweeps villains set by greats like Ava Vitali and Owen Kent. Heck, even creepy Kyle (the teddy bear smelling weirdo) fit the bill better than Jane and company. I would have liked to see Ben interact with Stefano more or Jane and Lee get in some sort of lovers squabble over Jennifer. But instead, the characters were one-note, crazy for the sake of being crazy.

Luckily, the dénouement of the storyline brings up some interesting discussions that you've all been wonderful enough to send me emails about! Here's what the organ trafficking and prison Hope storylines have left us all wondering about.

I know that some of you think Melanie needs to tone down her daddy praise. Your point is well taken and supported none better than by the fact that these two literally got to bring Jennifer Horton back to life. The show isn't shy about making their relationship a key part of multiple storylines. So I can see how it would be overkill for those who don't like either character.

But, I love their relationship. (I'm one who thinks that my own dad hung the moon, so perhaps I'm a little biased when it comes to awesome TV dads. I have a special fondness for Cliff Huxtable and Tony Micelli.) In Mel's case, it makes perfect sense for her to be tripping over herself to erase the memory of the dad that pimped her out to cover his gambling debts.

Furthermore, the people that she loves -- Max, Maggie, Brady -- she loves fiercely. There have been a large number of people who've hurt Melanie in her young life, so I understand her need to stockpile support. I think her habit of putting of people on pedestals balances out her streak of lashing out at people who hurt her.

Finally, until the writers actually think to give another gal a JOB, I fully support Melanie's use as the go-to nurse. The alternative is watching Sami, Nicole, or Chloe, do...what, exactly?

I absolutely adore these three. I'd have walked up and hugged my TV each time they were on, but I worried that would make me realize how badly I need to dust. So, it's better to sit back and admire them from afar. And there were oodles of things to admire!

History lesson #1: Carly knows nothing of Hope other than the irrational woman who moved Bo's daughter out of his house and then acted out under the influence of sleeping pills. Carly showed up in Salem when Hope was being downright hateful and unfair to Bo, so I can see why it was easy for Carly to fall for Bo. Do I wish she would have insisted that Bo get a divorce before shacking up with him? Sure. But that's on Bo, not on Carly.

For her part, Hope deserves piles of credit. She knew that she screwed things up for Bo, and rather than waste her energy catfighting with Carly, Hope took a step back and looked at Carly as a complete person. I loved that Hope asked Carly for medical advice when it came to Jennifer. And, I loved that Hope thanked Carly for all of her help in the investigation.

Team DiMera kidnapped the real Rafe and planted a Fake Rafe in his place. Fake Rafe is really a DiMera soldier who's had plastic surgery to look like real Rafe and been briefed on all things Brady. I have two words of caution for all involved with this storyline: 1) Thaao 2) Phenglis.

Thaao Phenglis' brilliant portrayal of Anthony/Andre is the gold standard for all things double role in Salem. I'm glad to see Galen Gering given a chance to play another role, but TPTB gave him a near impossible standard to live up to. Fair? Probably not. But who ever said soaps were fair?

If I make myself ignore the glaring similarities between Fake Rafe and Andre, there are a few interesting parts about this storyline.

I do like that E.J. is focusing his revenge on Rafe this time. Rafe has gotten off far too easily in the whole Ejami mess, considering that he forged birth records so that he could illegally adopt E.J.'s daughter and then orchestrated a master cover-up of E.J.'s attempted murder. No matter what side you agree with, the point is that there have been many DiMera revenge plots that were far-fetched, but this isn't one of them.

I also like the potential for Fake Rafe and his libido. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking forward to him sleeping with Sami. And, so help me, soap gods, if Sami ends up pregnant, I will punch someone. But I'm talking about the potential between Fake Rafe and Nicole. Galen and Ari have some good chemistry and if Nicole fell for Sami's man/E.J.'s pawn, there could be some interesting storylines.

Finally, the accident is a pretty genius catch-all for any mistakes that Fake Rafe makes while trying to fool Sami. And, if Sami happens to get on the phone with her mother for some advice on brainwashing DiMeras, well, that wouldn't be so terrible either.

I like how this storyline is spliced in between all the Fake Rafe stuff. It's interesting to see Stefano twist his mustache with E.J. and then turn into Papa Bear around Chad. Surely after Chad finds out what Stefano did to Rafe, Chad will have reservations about joining the family again.

I'm also enjoying the interactions between Chad and Lexie. I'll go one step further and wish that Chad would have a heart-to-heart with his brother-in-law, Abe. Not only does Abe know D.A. Woods and can commiserate with Chad over what a turd the guy is, but Abe can speak to the good side of the DiMeras, since he married one. Plus, it would be cool if Chad started to see Abe as more of a father figure than Stefano. How would Stefano handle that, especially if Theo and Lexie become attached to Chad?

No sense in beating around the bush here -- Talyor gave me a toothache. Her entire demeanor suggests that she just escaped a Saturday morning kid's TV show where she taught all the little boys and girls how super-fun it is to share and hug!

Sweetness overkill aside, I am glad to have Taylor in town because she has a real shot at redirecting Nicole's character. I adore Nicole, but I'm a little over her Sydney infatuation, especially since Nicole went months not mentioning the tot at all while trying to ace Arianna out of Brady's bed.

Since Taylor's previous stint on the show consisted of the men in Nicole's life paying close attention to Taylor, I imagine that it's only a matter of time before Brady and/or E.J. meets the beautiful Ms. Raines and Nicole will refocus her energy somewhere other than Sydney. *fingers crossed*

In the meantime, Taylor is staying at the Carver house. History lesson #2: Abe is the father of Nicole and Taylor's half-brother, Brandon, thus making Abe some weird form of honorary uncle to Taylor. Anyway, I imagine she'll stay there until Nicole convinces E.J. to let Taylor move into the mansion or the Care Bears call to tell Taylor that her cloud condo is ready.

One word of caution before I gush about how adorable these two are together: Maggie might want to chillax a little bit with the threats. The whole, "If you don't do X then I don't go out with you" schtick isn't my favorite thing for Maggie to do. I want Maggie and Victor to naturally find a way to work together, not have Maggie boss Victor into the role. Other than that, these two live up to their nickname -- Magic.

I smiled when Maggie reluctantly asked Victor to pull strings and find information on Jennifer. And I loved that rather than jump on the phone, Victor responded by just comforting Maggie. I have no idea how he did it, but John Aniston managed to make a string of cheesy compliments including, "You're the best person I know" sound downright swoon-worthy. Again, Maggie and Victor have everything going for them if the writers just stay true to their characters and let things happen organically.

I get that Chloe is depressed because her life just fell apart. And, it's not that I don't love a good Kate scheme or that I don't adore Maggie's urge to take in strays. But, where the holy heck is Philip?

The writers need to get his butt into this storyline ASAP and take care of his son. Philip genuinely cares for Chloe, and he would be worried about his friend even if she wasn't raising his child. Furthermore, I refuse to believe that the man who chased Claire around the world isn't anxious to get more acquainted with a child that he's already bonded with.

Let Kate tangle with Vivian for a while and let Lucas Philip deal with his baby mama on his own.

I feel bad for Gabi. Both her siblings have been in major accidents, and I'm surprised she's not having a little bit of a breakdown. I'd rather see that avenue explored than watch her suck face with Will.

Melanie's had a lot thrown her way in the last few weeks, so it will, and should, be a while before she trusts a man again. Nathan should tone down the pressure a bit. He's acting like she's the only other available woman in his age range in all of Salem. Wait a minute...

Call me crazy but the fact that Rafe got into an accident because he was driving too fast on his way to make another one of Sami's decisions for her, might just be God's way of saying, "Back off, dude. I got this." So, I'm less than thrilled with all of Sami's groveling at Rafe's bedside. Thank goodness Daniel reminded Sami that she doesn't need Rafe to be strong. I hope she listens.

Did you notice the Brady 101 bulletin board in the DiMera basement? I assume that since Fake Rafe got the accelerated course, he didn't get any info on Cassie, Rex, or why Steph and Max shouldn't have dated.

Peter Reckell and Crystal Chappel's performances during the Barly breakup scene were nothing short of brilliant. I knew this scene was coming eventually, and yet it still made me shed a tear. The best part was that it wasn't a scene that came with built-in, show-stopping drama. No one was on the witness stand, recounting a crime. They weren't saying final farewells to someone on life support. It was just two characters going through something that regular peeps experience in their ordinary lives. Yet, these two actors made the scene extraordinary.

Did anyone really believe that Jennifer was going to die? Did anyone really believe that Daniel "Wonder Doc" Jonas wasn't going to be able to save her? Me either. So, why in the world anyone thought that taking Jennifer's heart would be "good entertainment" is beyond me. It felt like TPTB were trying to exploit the fans' love for Jennifer in hopes of getting a sweeps rise out of us. That didn't happen. Instead, I'm somewhere between annoyed and insulted that the producers thought that fans would be into this crap.

Nicole (to the bartender who's apparently not fast enough for Nicole): "Are you growing the juniper bush? Where is my martini?!?!" History lesson #3 -- Gin's predominant flavor comes from juniper berries.

I giggled at Stefano's amusement with himself over his pillow joke.

I LOVE that there's a mini-bar outside Rafe's jail cell.

Peter Reckell is always scary when he yells at someone, but the cuts on his face just added to his tough-guy credit.

Melanie's love for Parker ranks right up there with Nicole's love for Sydney. I appreciate that they bonded with a baby, but neither bond is believable enough to substantiate a storyline where the characters settle for a man that they don't want.

Little did the writers know that when they wrote the bit about Taylor's bus being trapped in Chicago snow, there would literally be a record-breaking snow in Chicago.

That's all for now, kids! Tony will be back next week to scoop the Bope reunion. (That guy gets all the good weeks!) I'm off to let Julie make me tea and oatmeal cookies. I figure that's a good way to unwind from the snowpocalypse that hit my town. What did you think of the week? Did anyone else notice that Melanie and Daniel are still wearing their wedding rings? Any news on why Allie wasn't seen at the party? And, did you all remember to cast your vote for your favorite and least favorite in the 2011 Dankies?

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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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