Hey, soul sister

For the Week of March 21, 2011
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DAYS Two Scoops: Hey, soul sister
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Dario already has one gigantic point in his favor -- he's in Salem to investigate Arianna's death. He's so serious that he's hired a private investigator.

Ask any self-respecting soap fan what they love about their show and the answer will be the same. No, it's not the awkward towel scenes. It's family. It's the one constant in that crazy, baby-swapping, evil twin world. Lovers will come and go, but family is forever. (Unless you're Stephanie, in which case you combine the two. D'oh! Sorry. Too easy.) And in case you didn't notice, this spring is throwing new members into almost every family in Salem! That means a whole glorious set of possibilities. So, in addition to the regular scoop, I wanted to include some thoughts about the future of our favorite Salem families and how TPTB can handle all of the fun shake-ups.

I didn't adore everything about Dario's Salem debut. The dude has terrible houseguest manners. I never answer the door in a towel, much less of a home that isn't mine! But Dario already has one gigantic point in his favor. Dario is in Salem to investigate Arianna's death. He's so serious that he's hired a private investigator to help. And right now, that's enough for me.

However, there's going to be controversy. The only way for Dario's storyline to retain any integrity is if it results in Sami, Rafe, and (this one hurts) Will getting some comeuppance for their parts in Arianna's death*. That's not going to be popular with a lot of fans, but it has to happen for a couple of reasons.

One, all three played a role in keeping Arianna's case cold. I felt so bad for Gabi when she told Dario that Rafe did everything he could to find Arianna's killer. The poor girl is clueless. Rafe only went so far to investigate Arianna's death, as to make sure that it would not interfere with Sami's cover-up.

Two, investigating Arianna's death is a believable reason why Dario was MIA from Safe's wedding. The wedding made perfect sense for November sweeps and all, but it was highly insensitive, especially since the whole thing was pushed up so, again, Rafe could help Sami cover up her own crime. If I were Dario, I wouldn't be jumping at the chance to attend a party for my cop brother who doesn't have time to solve my sister's murder, but has time to plan an elaborate wedding in the woods.

Finally, Dario's investigation is a believable premise for Dario and Melanie to stay in each other's orbits. Melanie loved Arianna, and I'm sure she'd jump at the chance to find out what happened to her. Plus, she seems to be the only non-DiMera in Salem who doesn't worship at the church of Rafe, so I can see Mel relating to Dario and his non-idolized view of his brother.

Let's all have a collective eye roll about the ridiculata that is Sami's advice to Johnny. Really? The woman who shot the kid's father in the head has the audacity to tell her son that violence is not the answer. Riiiiiight. It's not that I don't agree with what Sami's saying, it's that it just doesn't make sense coming out of Sami Brady's mouth, unless prefaced with, "I learned the hard way that..." But, Sami's always been a "do as I say, not as I do" type person, so in that respect I didn't have a problem with her telling Johnny to sing "Kumbaya" with Ried.

But let's back up here and not overlook a great storyline. Johnny is a kid with a glass eye who had to wear an eye-patch for weeks. Kids at school will absolutely pick on him! Heck, Fafe and Will both told Sami that sometimes little boys need to fight. I don't know about that, being that I never was a little boy; but, I do know that as a DAYS fan, it makes me insane to watch writers miss a chance to do an interesting bullying storyline. Add in the fact that Dankie Winners, Aaron and Griffin Kunitz are absolutely amazing in their role as Johnny, and I am pleading with the writers not to let this storyline get away. All the pieces are there!

I'm all for more DiMera kid time. Being a DiMera isn't always limoncello, cigars, and chess matches. And, I appreciate that Chad points out the absurdity of having an instant mob family. These types of scenes need to happen. But, a word of warning, they don't need to be repeated over and over again.

Now that Chad's stated his objections for the record, he needs get involved with the people in his family. Why not let Chad know that kids are picking on Johnny? Surely the ex-druggie/teen parent knows what it's like to be the different one at school. Or, why not let Chad be the one to pick up on the tension between Taylor and E.J.? As I recall, at one point in time, Chad could relate to choosing between multiple gals.

It's been almost two weeks since we saw Abby pressure her mom to move on, and I feel that if there had been less time between that scene and last week's when a hurt Abby started dealing with her parent's divorce, it would have been better for the character. High-spirited girls who blow into town with take-no-prisoners attitudes don't do well with a section of soap fans. Just ask Melanie or Chelsea. But I feel like the scene with Jennifer gave Abby some balance. And don't worry, Abs, I still like you!

Better yet, the writers are also building a foundation for Chad and Abby's relationship. The girl with serious daddy abandonment issues would fall for the guy who regrets not spending time with his daughter. Plus, it gives this pair a fighting chance when they are honest with each other about their past before jumping into a relationship with each other. What a concept!

Speaking of couples who are basing their relationship on actual substance, Daniel and Jennifer are quickly becoming a believable pairing. Daniel went to see Jennifer because he got her divorce papers by mistake. Sure, the move was gimmicky, but it did bulldoze a way for Jennifer and Daniel to talk about their past relationships and mistakes -- a move that will go pretty far in solidifying them as a viable couple. I'm not sure if I want them to be a romantic duo yet, but if the writers decide to go there, that adorable dart game proved to me that there's workable chemistry between the actors.

And, I loved that Jennifer set Daniel straight about Chloe's cheating. She did it in a way that didn't bash Chloe, avoiding the word "bimbo" or any of its substitutes. Instead, her sole purpose was to support Daniel and remind him that he is not responsible for Chloe's decisions. I can't argue with that. Plus, since Jennifer is the current expert on spouses who are selfish, she seemed like the perfect person to address this issue.

Adrienne told Justin that the boys are onboard with the wedding, but they can't make it to Salem until December or January. (Because they're busy doing...I have no idea.) But, Justin still wants to get married. Let me just say that if they get the "Tony and Anna off-screen wedding" treatment, I shall unleash a wrath never before matched in the history of ever.

The valiant effort that the writers are making with Jennifer/Daniel and Abby/Chad make the disaster of E.J./Taylor all the more terrible. What in the world do these two have in common? They had a glorified staring contest over a common accessory! That's not exactly storyline material. If so, I'd be in love with the Macy's clerk who told me that he didn't have my size in these cute blue heels I wanted to buy!

It was interesting to hear E.J. admit that he does love Nicole. (Note -- he's just not "in love" with her.) I buy it because Nicole did get his kids back for him, and family means something to E.J. But, his belief that Nicole doesn't want him to love her back is way off-base. Has he met Nicole? Did he notice what she did to make him love her back last time? She stole TWO freakin' babies!

As for Nicole, I'll give her this -- when she's happy, she wants everyone around her to join the party. She was one step away from whipping out the Twinkies and wine and bursting into a rousing rendition of "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" while Taylor unpacked her suitcase.

Side track for a second -- Taylor and Fay were moving into the guesthouse, but apparently, E.J. doesn't walk around topless enough in the guesthouse for that living arrangement to work. Also, I'm fairly sure that Taylor is sleeping in the bed where E.J. sat bleeding, with a bullet in his head. Does that give anyone else the willies? Moving on...

I've watched very closely these last few weeks and I did not see any aliens come down front planet Betrayal and posses Taylor's body. Thus, she is responsible for her lips and what they do. She has some nerve, kissing her sister's husband and then slapping him like it was his fault. They are both to blame.

The weak, "I didn't mean to do it, it just happened" excuse didn't work on my parents when I tried to explain why I backed my dad's truck into the side of the house, and it's not going to work when Taylor tries it with Nicole. Nicole already picked up on Taylor's slip of, "I don't want to take your husband away from you." Nicole is not about to play the fool for anyone, if she can help it. And, I'm dusting off my "Team Nicole" flag for this one, not because of E.J., but because of Taylor. Rainbow Bright can't glitter her way around Salem and then accidentally betray her sister.

Holy cow! Rafe's brain really is erased! I was totally wrong on that one. I thought for sure that the writers would have Rafe best Stefano and fake the whole thing. Mea culpa! Now, you've got my attention.

Following Stefano's instructions (which, really, why shouldn't we always do?), Rafe will only remember his past if he sees something that triggers a memory. He's still holding onto the key necklace that Sami gave him, but I'm hoping that this storyline will be more than just about Sami.

We never did get to hear what happened with Emily's death. I'm hoping that something will trigger Rafe's memory about the distant part of his past. This is the writers' chance to fill in some of the glaring gaps they've left in Rafe's history.

In an attempt to teach Fafe how to act like Rafe 1.0, Sami, Gabi, Dario, and even Daniel made some bizarre proclamations about Rafe. I just hope that my friends and family have the same rose-colored glasses about me if I ever get replaced with a look-a-like! Wowza! Their statements were so counter to what we've seen unfold on-screen that I wonder if the writers are finally addressing the fact that Rafe is still a mystery to many of our favorite Salemites.

Sami said that Rafe wasn't a bully and wouldn't abuse his power. We know that's not true because he told Arianna that there would be no proof against Sami and physically assaulted Dr. Baker's lawyer. Rafe absolutely is a bully when he needs to be and that trait has served him well during certain aspects of his job. Why hide it?

Next, Sami told Dario that Rafe is always hardest on the people that he loves. Hmmm...hang on there my lizard-tights wearing friend. Rafe went to Victor for help on how to get inside Nicole's head and use her deepest insecurities against her. Call me crazy, but that's harder than anything he's ever done to Sami. Better yet, that move was classic super agent stuff!

Finally, and most obvious of all, Daniel told Melanie, "Rafe's a good guy. He's not going to cover up a crime for anyone." For real. I had to rewind it to make sure that's actually what he said. Is it possible that Daniel is the only one in Salem who didn't know that Sami shot E.J. and got away with it because of Rafe?

Don't get me wrong, Rafe isn't a villain. But, it seems like characters are simply oblivious to Rafe's faults. It bothers me because I think Rafe is infinitely more interesting because of them! Who isn't, for that matter?

So, maybe the tides are turning. Maybe, just maybe, the writers are using dramatic irony to acknowledge that there's more to Rafe than superman signs and gold stars. Yup, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

I love that Philip gave Chloe tickets to the opera to cheer her up. As much as I know I'm setting myself up for disappointment, I wouldn't mind seeing these two make a go of it for Parker's sake and then find something more. It would be kind of like E.J. and Nicole's marriage, only neither Philip nor Chloe is a narcissistic crazy-pants.

Kate better start sniffing into what Stefano's been up to because if the show doesn't recast Philip when Jay Johnson leaves, Kate will be without a storyline child in Salem. That's quite a feat for the woman who has six kids. In related news, Gabi better start to look over her shoulder each time she's with Will.

Bo is still calling Carly to check on her. That's special. I'm sure Carly appreciates it. The call from the ex who moved on with a beautiful gal is always helpful. It's like the recently promoted coworker calling you to see how you're doing with all of her old accounts. I mean, who doesn't love that?

Gross. Gabi introduced Will as "family" and her "good friend."

I adore Brady's scenes with Melanie and Sami. It reminds me that I want Brady to be my big brother too.

Melanie is still legally married to Philip. She just got done breaking up with Nathan, no less than three times this week. Isn't it a bit too soon for her to be seeing Dario in his towel? Ah-yes. It is. Bonding over Arianna's memory is fine, but having Dario already comment on how cute she is was an overload.

Back at work, Fafe took offense to McCarthy's remarks that pre-op Fafe has a case of the crazy-eye. Not only did McCarthy's comments not say too much about Salem Police Department's "innocent until proven guilty" stance, but it could be some creepy foreshadowing of what could happen to McCarthy. In my soap opera experience, no random extra gets that many new lines.

I don't know if I could love Jennifer more if I tried. Any girl who considers burying her rage in cheeseburgers, onion rings, and a chocolate shake is my kind of girl. I love her snark about her new heart. I love that she almost burns cookies every time she makes them. I love that she manages a relationship with Jack's sister even on the brink of a divorce. Everything about her is super best.

Oh Nathan. No, no, no. Showing up at the door and crying is never a good look -- for anyone. Don't get me wrong, Mark Hapka was great in those scenes, but I was embarrassed for Nathan! What does Dena Higley have against Horton men? Your last name doesn't have to be DiMera or Kiriakis to have a little backbone.

Jennifer: "You don't seem like a dart kind of guy."
Daniel: "Why don't I seem like a dart kind of guy?"
Jennifer: "Because I didn't think you were a complete dork!" Are we sure that Jennifer isn't related to Victor?

It's with a heavy heart that I must report that nay a green beer graced my screen during St. Pat's Day in Salem. Fine, Bradys. If you want to risk the wrath of the Leprechauns, I wash my hands of you. I'll be over looking at a picture of the Horton Christmas tree. At least that family knows how to own a holiday.

Will bought Gabi $1000 earrings!?! It must mean that he's finally allowed to help Sami prune the money tree that she has growing in her closet.

Isn't it time for Fay to run into Abe? You would think that she would at least stop by to tell the father of her child that she's dying and thank him for being so nice to Taylor.

I love that Alice's picture is in the background of so many scenes in the Horton house.

How in the world do Sami and Rafe have an extra bedroom? Have you seen the size of their kitchen? There's no way that little thing supports a 5-6 bedroom apartment!

When Daniel asked if Rafe's brother was in town, Sami replied, "One of them is." Just how many Hernandezes...excuse me...Hernandi are in a single serving?

I forgot that Adrienne is Jack's sister.

I like that Carrie still calls Sami. I know I'm totally dreaming to wish for John and Marlena, but am I pressing my luck to wish for a call from Belle?

It seems that the writers are making Taylor the female version of Rafe. I wonder what would happen if Taylor discovered the latest guest in the DiMera basement and nursed him back to health? She does have a background as a physical therapist, and we all know that any training in the medical field qualifies one to render any and all medical services.

*Rafe's tragic Carlton Banks outfit satisfies part of Rafe's penance for his part in Arianna's death.

And that's all for this week. After you've cast your vote in the All Soap's Dankies here's a question for you. Since Sami and Rafe's relationship is based on a key; E.J. and Taylor's relationship is based on a scarf; and Melanie and Dario may have a relationship based on a necklace, what accessory would you like to base your relationship on? I'm torn between an ascot and legwarmers. What says you?

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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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