Extreme soap makeover

by Tony
For the Week of April 11, 2011
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DAYS Two Scoops: Extreme soap makeover
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As a teen, Sami took on mega-diva Kate Roberts, and those battles pretty much ended in a draw. Remember when she went into a war zone, dressed as a man? Sami needs to become Must-See-Sami again.

In my last column I preached about patience. That same week Laurisa and I -- your faithful DAYS' Two Scoopers -- appeared on Soap Central Live and graded DAYS on how the show performed during the first quarter. Wow, I sounded so corporate there for a second. Hmm, I wonder if Victor would be proud of me. Anyway, this week, I thought I'd follow up and give my favorite soap some much-needed TLC. And by "TLC" I mean some tough love.

You see, last week I did something I haven't done in some time while watching DAYS. I dozed off. Now, it could have been my long work week catching up with me or the fact that I stayed up way too late the night prior to my Friday morning DAYS-o-thon viewing, but I totally conked it on the couch. I even had to rewind the DVR a few times and prop open my droopy eyelids with toothpicks.

Granted, it wasn't a bad week, per se, it was just one that seemed a little longer than normal. It had a repetitious Groundhog Day feeling. So, let's take a look at what needs to be spring cleaned to make the upcoming May Sweeps wide-awake, can't-wait-to-see-what-happens-next watching in this week's "Extreme Soap Makeover" edition of Two Scoops.

Last Week: Okay, you really -- REALLY -- had to be hardcore sleeping to miss the part (or the zillion flashbacks) of Fafe pushing Fay down the stairs. She trembled then tumbled and ended up a bloody mess. Nicole and Taylor were distraught, and Fafe was ticked that Fay just didn't die upon impact. So, Fafe decided to don Dr. Overman's scrubs and finish the job. Cue cliffhanger and fade to black.

The Scoop: I feel bad for Fay! Little Orphan Annie doesn't have anything on Fay in the hard-knock life department. She was an abused wife, lived most of her life in near poverty, and hasn't caught many any breaks. Hell, her shining moment was a brief affair with a good guy who she ultimately couldn't be with. Yep, it sucks to be Fay.

The writers having Fafe target Fay just seems kind of mean. It's also contrived. I mean, really, who didn't suspect Fay would suffer from some sort of tragedy the moment she was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition and then moved into the mansion!? You don't have to raise your hands. We all saw that one coming.

The only positive spin on this storyline is that it's giving the actors involved some awesome material. Ari Zucker and Natalia Livingston really did a great job with their parts. And Galen also showed his comical sinister side and that was an interesting switch from Rafe. Plus, it's meshing a lot of characters together, and that's never a bad thing.

Makeover Suggestions: The writers need to keep focusing on Nicole's drive to find out what happened to Fay. Last week was the first time in a long time that I got to see Nicole's M.I.A. chutzpa, and I loved it! She was intent on discovering the truth. This needs to keep going. Nicole may be scared to lose what she has, but she also needs to remember she can Mary Taylor Moore it and do it on her own if need be.

Second, Fafe needs to fizzle out. He attempted to kill someone. There's no going back. Well, unless your name is Sami Brady-*dry heave*-Hernandez. The writers can let him go out in a blaze of glory if need be, but he needs to go out nonetheless.

Third, and listen up, writers! Tread lightly with flashbacks. Too much. Way too much. Although, I'd like to make a comparison between the repeated flashback of Fafe pushing Fay down the stairs and the scarf flashback. You could easily replace Fafe with the scarf and me with Fay. Every time I see the scarf flashback, I feel like it's pushing me down a flight of stairs. Make it stop, please.

Finally, keep Fafe away from my Maxine. If he hurts one hair on her sassy head, I'm jumping in Victor's private jet, flying to Salem, and showing him what's what. Got that, writers? Good!

Last Week: Um, this may have been the part where I dozed off. I seem to remember something about...oh, I don't know. It's a pretty safe bet they blabbed about their love that can never be, and those scenes were probably peppered with guilt.

The Scoop: I have PTSD -- Post Traumatic Scarf Disorder complete with chills and night terrors.

Makeover Suggestions: I'm sure the writers see E.J. and Taylor's romance as their cute, little puppy. Unfortunately, most of us see them together as a snarling, rabid dog. They need to Old Yeller this beast by taking it out back and shooting it. It's contrived. It's nauseating. And it's not doing favors for any of the characters involved.

Honestly, the only way I can even fathom this semi-working is if the writers call it what it is -- they're hot for each other. I'm not buying the insta-love card. We know that Taylor hated E.J. before she even met him for what he did to Nicole. So, you're telling me, a scarf made that all go away? Uh-huh.

Last Week: Sami's frustration over "Rafe" continued. She was pretty much a hot mess. Caroline got involved and told her to 86 the guy, since he's not the same man she married (figuratively speaking).

The Scoop: I get Sami's frustrations. The Fafe stuff is just as exasperating for her as it is for fans. Sorry, Samantha, but at least we're in this together -- like it or not. I'm going to go with "not."

There's also part of me that remembers this is ultimately just another round of E.J. and Sami's game of Love, Hate, and Revenge with Rafe, Nicole, and, now, Taylor caught in the middle. At some point, the madness has got to end. Fans either need definite closure or hope, but frustration just isn't cutting it anymore. James and Ali's chemistry is being wasted, and that's possibly the most frustrating part of it all.

Makeover Suggestions: Overall, the writers need to remember who they're writing for. That is to say, I'm talking about Sami Freaking Brady here. As a teen, the girl took on mega-diva Kate Roberts, and those battles pretty much ended in a draw. Do you remember the time she went into a war zone, dressed a man? Yeah, I do, too, and I can tell you -- this chick is not the Sami I love.

Also, Sami thought John was Roman for years, so maybe she could draw on that to put the Rafe/Fafe two-and-two together. Anything is better than the status quo. Sami needs to become Must-See-Sami again. It's as simple as that, and I won't keep settling for less.

Last Week: Rafe read The Art of War, bulked up with some pushups, and remained determined to remember his past.

The Scoop: Um, Rafe's scenes seemed like an excuse simply to remind us the real Rafe is still out there. Oh, gee, how could we forget?

Makeover Suggestions: If Rafe wants to remember his past, fine, but he needs to remember his entire past. I'm still waiting to find out what happened with Emily Hudson. Exploring what makes Rafe Rafe, might give us some much-needed insight on why viewers are supposed to care about him so much.

Every great hero has a backstory (see: Batman and Superman). Those backstories caused them to become heroes. Rafe was shoved in our faces, and we were expected to shine his armor while he grunted and pushed people around in the name of doing the right thing. I need more. I expect more. And I'm even willing to give the writers a free do-over if they can fill in some blanks.

Last Week: Dario approached Steph for more dirt on Melanie. Steph bashed Mel for a millisecond then got up and walked way.

The Scoop: Quick Mel bash aside, I'm glad that Stephanie knew when to fold 'em. If I didn't think she was a mean-spirited skank, I would have felt bad for her that the only thing a handsome guy wanted to talk about was her worst enemy. That's like a sucker punch to anyone's ego.

With that said, Shelley Hennig is gone. Her last day was April 6th. I won't miss Stephanie, but I will miss Shelley. She made Stephanie the girl you love to hate. It was great to see Shelley grow as an actress over the past few years, and I wish her nothing but the best!

However, Stephanie's last scene being with Dario was all shades of WTF!? Granted, there were no uncles around for her to jump on, but she should have shared a goodbye scene with Caroline, Sami, and/or Adrienne. In the grand scheme of things, having Stephanie want to start over in some exotic location would have made sense. She crashed, burned, and fell out of a sunroof in Salem. Therefore, I would have bought a new start, but I won't buy Stephanie simply fading away even if it's a dollar in the bargain bin.

Makeover Suggestions: DAYS fails miserably in the Character Exit Department. Steve and Kayla's exit sucked. Tony's exit double sucked. Anna's exit -- okay, this could go on all day. Point is, DAYS needs to step it up and stop fading characters into the background. It's a slap in the face of fans who've watched these characters for years. We need more, "OMG, remember what happened to so-and-so!" and less, "Whatever happened to so-and-so?"

Last Week: Banter. Check! Awkwardly forced-flirty encounters. Check! Her proclaiming she doesn't like him. Check.

The Scoop: Ugh. I'm pretty sure I've covered my feelings about these two in Scoops past. To avoid redundancy, let's talk makeovers.

Makeover Suggestions: They both need to cool their jets. Less hate and more commiseration, please. Given they both have the same goal and they share a similar pasts, they eventually need to have an actual conversation. Sooner would be appreciated rather than later, thankyouverymuch. Once that happens, we can reevaluate the situation.

Last Week: Maggie urged Melanie to try to play matchmaker for Brady and Victor. You know, to help them reconcile because they're both proud, but stubborn miserable bastards. Brady said thanks, but no thanks and then swooned over Melanie.

The Scoop: I love Brady and Mel: BFFs. They make me want to have a drink with my best friend and catch up on life. They're two lost souls bonding, but the bond should end at surrogate siblings and besties.

Brady and Mel: Potential Lovers creeps me out. They just don't seem to fit romantically. It also seems like an easy out for the writers. They're both in bad places, so why not pair them up? Dear writers, please read the first part of this Scoop for that answer.

Also, with a streamlined, smaller cast DAYS is verging on Melrose Place territory. Bed-hopping worked on a glam '90s primetime soap, but it doesn't bode well for Salem. Us daytime folk want romance, not revolving beds. When a character walks into the Java Café, their first thought shouldn't be, "Wow! I've slept with everyone here...oh, and so have you!" I'm just saying it's getting a little incestuous in Salem these days and, given Stephanie's gone, that makes it even scarier.

Makeover Suggestions: Keep them as friends. Keep them as friends. And, oh, yeah, keep them as friends.

Last Week: A troubled Victor asked Maggie to run away with him to Paris! Maggie turned him down because, after all, Salem is her home.

The Scoop: This was handled well! I never once thought Maggie would go, but I'm glad the writers gave her a valid reason to stay. I'm also glad she and Victor are still so in love. Simply put, they're too damn cute!

Makeover Suggestions: I think the writers are hitting their mark with Magic! In fact, they need to study what they're doing with this couple and apply it to other areas of the show. Wishful thinking? Perhaps, but I'm being optimistic with this one.

Last Week: Doc Manning had another rough week including, but not limited to, another round with Auntie Viv, a hurtful conversation with her son, Nicholas, over the phone, and contemplating taking more drugs.

The Scoop: I love that Crystal Chappell is getting to tackle this storyline! She's flexing her acting chops and making it easy to see why she scored an Emmy and all those nods. More, please!

I also love that they're bringing Nicholas into the fold. DAYS has a bad habit of not mentioning off-screen characters that have significant relevance to an on-screen character's storyline (Please reference John and Marlena, Shawn Douglas, Belle, and Claire, and Peter Blake). It's brilliant to have Nicholas' relationship with his mother as another catalyst in Carly's decision to use and abuse.

Makeover Suggestions: Right now, the writers are doing just fine. They need to keep pace. They also need to keep Jennifer, Daniel, Melanie, and even Justin and Adrienne on Carly's side and explore her past relationships with Lawrence and Nicholas more deeply. It also wouldn't hurt if said gang of Carly supporters ganged up on Vivian (she can take them on, after all). Provided that, we should have one hell of a powerful storyline to watch unfold.

Last Week: Dr. Dan and Jennifer bonded over their concern for Carly. Dr. SuperDAN also caught Jennifer when she fell from a stool.

The Scoop: I'm very excited to see where these two end up. Aside from Magic, I haven't been this excited for a potential couple in a while. I repeat, "More, please!"

Makeover Suggestions: The writers just need to continue at a nice, steady pace -- don't rush -- and let nature takes its course. Shawn Christian and Melissa Reeves have great chemistry. Therefore Jennifer and Dr. Dan don't need too many "fall and catch" type gimmicks to make a potential paring work.

Last Week: They talked about Chad moving into the DiMera Mansion...again. Abigail's against the idea, but ended up supporting a vulnerable Chad.

The Scoop: This stings, but I haven't warmed up to Abigail yet. I know Chad better. I like Chad better at this point. Abigail? Well, she's coming off a little strong. Mind you, strong female characters rock, but strong know-it-alls are kind of annoying.

Makeover Suggestions: Remember the past! Abigail was Peter Blake's stepdaughter for a time. That means she was Stefano's foster-step-granddaughter, too. Even if Abigail was too young to remember, she could still ask Jennifer about those days and report back to Chad. Proof would make all of her forbidding warnings much more palatable and give Abigail a better grade on her next Scoops report card.

Stefano and Kate crack me up! I mean, really, I want to live in their world just for one day. It will certainly be interesting to see Chad as part of their famiglia.

E.J. and Sami arguing about violence was just hysterical! Sorry, it wasn't meant to be, but it just was. That's like the Joker and Lex Luthor being keynote speakers at World Peace Day. *Buzzer Sound* Try again, DAYS! Next time, you might want to kick off their conversations with, "We're pot and kettle, but we learned the hard way..."

It's hard to forget Jay Ken is leaving! That sad fact just makes every nice Philip/Chloe moment seem like the writers are dangling a pint of Ben and Jerry's in my face, but refusing to let me eat it. At this point, I'm just hoping that Jay Ken/Philip gets a good exit storyline and that Chloe doesn't become annoying again once he's gone.

Aw, Bo and Hope "made love." And it came complete with a power ballad. I'm in. I'm a sucker for those two. Plus, they're going to need a good memory or two once Ciara grabs Tommy Bear and puts her plan into action.

By the way, who did the geek glasses better -- Peter Reckell or Galen Gering?


I loved Abe's scenes with the Walker sisters, especially Nicole! It's about time the writers remember Abe has a vested interest in the Walker family. Sure, they were a bit awkward, but they were supposed to be given the characters' histories. Plus, we got another Brandon mention. It's amazing that the writers are keeping Brandon in this loop, but Marlena never calls to check up on trouble-prone Sami. But I digress; all and all, I give Nicole and Abe (and the hope we see more of Abe's involvement) a big thumbs up!

No. No. No. And NO! Writers, if Justin and Adrienne get married off-screen I will blow a gasket. I mean, seriously, just, no! If Jeremy and Stephanie can be shown splashing around in a freaking hot tub in Sin City for an entire summer, than I want to see Justin and Adrienne in Vegas getting married. Move over, Carly, because Tony needs a chill pill, too.

Makeover Suggestions: Give Justin and Adrienne more flipping screen time! Fans love them. We want to see more of them. Can I spell that out any clearer!? And, they have teen sons. The summer is coming. In my book, that's called potential, dear writers. Plus, doesn't Carly need friends, doesn't Titian need an insider to mediate the turmoil, and couldn't half of Salem use a lawyer or more drinks at the Cheatin' Heart? I think the answers to those questions are yes, yes, yes, and, hell yeah!

Fafe (to Sami, on why he can't stay and argue with her): "Sorry. I got a job to go to, you know. Remember what that is?"Oh, Fafe! You're a goon but you speak the truth.

So, friends and DAYS fans, that's Two Scoops for the week of April 11th. Laurisa will be back next week to find out if the writers did their homework or if some soap detention will be in their future. In the meantime, I'm going to move my Warhol from the study and into the lounge. I mean, I'm tired of looking at the Picasso I have in there now and, ick, that da Vinci scribble is definitely being removed from the billiard room. Hmm, I think it would look good in the conservatory. Ah, well, I'll make up my mind when I get back from Monte Carlo. And, "That's a fact!"

As always, thanks for reading!

Need more Two Scoops? Head over to read blogs by Laurisa or Tony for more ranting, raving, and all-out randomness

Tony S
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