Stuck in the middle

For the Week of June 13, 2011
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DAYS Two Scoops: Stuck in the middle
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It was a bad week to be a vase at the DiMera mansion, but it was a good week to be Nicole and E.J. The more they fight, the better they get.

In case you've been living under a rock for the last week, DAYS is undergoing some massive reconstruction. Like, Joan Rivers and Heidi Montag combined haven't seen this much rearranging. It's such a big story that you have your choice of coverage. You can do the news version here, here, and here. And, the hard-hitting journalists should totally avert their eyes from my blog where I list "Why" and "Why Not" for each casting change. (Let it never be said that I'm not an equal opportunity complainer.) Additionally, there are behind-the-scene changes, too, with new head writers and new executive producers.

So, with this complete overhaul, I have a confession to make: DAYS is very tough to watch right now. It's not because the acting isn't great. The essential element of soaps is that you know the storylines don't really end. But in this case, they absolutely will! It's strange to be stuck in the middle between the casting changes that we know will happen and the already produced shows that we are watching right now.

Sami and Rafe flapped around Salem a lot in what I can only deduce was an attempt to generate a new type of wind energy. While I still greatly adore their newfound dynamic -- the one where they work together -- I still have a hard time getting behind their cause here.

I guess I need to remember to forget things (he! he!), but Sami and Rafe brought 100 percent of this pain on themselves. They made the decision together to keep Grace from E.J. I think it's fair game for E.J. to retaliate for that. You can't start the ball rolling and then get mad when someone wants to fight back. More specifically, you can't shoot someone in the head and expect them to forget about it, especially if he's a crime lord.

Yet, Sami and Rafe can't stop until they have the last laugh. Sami even lamented that since Fafe isn't going to help them, E.J. and Stefano are going to get away with what they did. Um, no, Sami. If you live a happy life with Rafe, they won't. The DiMeras don't fear jail. They fear failure. And the happier you two are together and the more Sydney and Johnny love Rafe, the more E.J. will have failed.

I'm trying to decide if I'm buying the DiMera vs. Horton feud that Abigail seems determined to make happen. Sure, Stefano's set his sights on Hope before, but I always felt like he was after Hope Brady and not Hope Williams, if you know what I mean. The only logical way to connect the dots is to open the Peter Blake box, but for some reason, the show refuses to do that.

I did like seeing Chad defend Abigail when E.J. tried to go after her. Chad wasn't playing E.J.'s mind games, and that could bode well for Chabigail. And I appreciated that Bo didn't jump on the "bash a DiMera" train out of respect for Lexie. But Chad and Abigail need something other to do than talk about their parents. Don't these two have friends from college to hang out with?

Note: Here ends the scooping for sections that are seemingly safe from being rendered invalid by the casting changes. For you non-math majors out there, they add up to two. Yup, two. Moving on...

It was a bad week to be a vase at the DiMera mansion. But, it was a good week to be Nicole and E.J. The more they fight, the better they get. And I mean that in the most anti-domestic violence way ever. These two have more power in one argument than E.J./Taylor could manage if they were asked to reenact the scene from "Gone with the Wind" where Rhett leaves Scarlet in the middle of that barren field to go fight for the Confederate Army.

And, while I still think Nicole would be better served to take the divorce settlement and visitation rights, I can't argue with her disgust towards Taylor. The fact that Taylor thinks she's actually doing Nicole a favor is classic. I'm not sure if E.J. would have ever fallen in love with Nicole. But that still doesn't make Taylor right. You can't rob someone and then claim, "Well, with your investments, you were going to go bankrupt eventually."

At first it seemed that Carly was taking the pills because she was stressed out over loosing Bo. Then, I got excited at the idea that the pills were a side effect of Carly finally dealing with the fallout of killing her husband. Imagine my disappointment to realize that Carly is taking the pills because she can't be with Daniel. Umm, okay...

Carly's had many chances to be with Daniel, starting with telling him that they had a child together. Or, she could have sabotaged his relationship by telling Daniel that Chloe had cheated on him, rather than protecting his unfaithful wife for months. Or, perhaps she could have just let Jennifer's matchmaking work and confessed her feelings to Daniel. Yet, Carly maintained that she and Daniel were just friends all along. Too much time and history has passed between Carly and Daniel for me to believe that she's suddenly so smitten with him that she needs to snort lines of painkillers.

This storyline is only compounded by the stellar performance that Crystal Chappell is putting in. She's not afraid to get ugly with the material and take us all with her. Why on earth the show is letting an actor of her caliber get away is beyond me. I plan on enjoying every last scene she delivers and hope that the show will bring Carly back once she's out of rehab and set her up on a nice date with Roman. (total speculation on my part)

Let me just say that the "too fast" arguments here are laughable when the Jen/Daniel scenes are spliced in between the E.J./Taylor scenes. We get it. Jack's coming back, and now the show has to backpedal in order to make room for Mr. Deveraux. But, Jennifer and Daniel are the slowest moving couple on the show. So, let's try another argument. Here's hoping that the show won't retard either Jennifer or Daniel back to where they were a few months ago in order to accommodate a Jack/Jennifer reunion.

Jennifer is stronger than she's been in years. Maybe it's the new clothes or the super cute green wedges. But, I can't help but remember that Jennifer went through Alice's death without Jack. That had to change Jennifer.

As for Daniel, I can't remember a time that I didn't hate him less. That is soley because over the last few weeks, he shows regret about how he and Chloe treated Lucas. I don't know what it is about Jennifer that makes Daniel inhale humble pie, but I'm crediting her with the change.

Louise Sorel is good. I mean really good. She can steal a scene with the best of 'em. And that's exactly what she's doing in this new storyline.

I'm willing to accept that Vivian had a child that we didn't know about. She's been off-screen for a long time. I'll believe that she had a whirlwind affair with an (now deceased) Australian businessman that produced a son. I'll even buy that Quinn showed up in Salem for the sole reason to torture Vivian. But, I have a hard time believing that Vivian was scared enough of a man (Ha! As if!) to leave her child behind and never look back.

I need more. I need to know who this man was and how in the world he could overpower Vivian. Did he hold Lawrence hostage? Blackmail Philip? Force Vivian to eat Cheetos and drink cheap merlot? (coincidentally, my favorite supper)

And I have to applaud the great job Bren Foster is doing switching back from charming to diabolical. Since he's only on for a short time more, I hope he gets a chance to be super sinister. I want him to be the type of villain that causes us to rejoice when he's finally caught, yet we're still a little scared that he could come back.

Main Exhibit: Quinn pulled no punches in forcing Chloe into prostitution. He had an answer to everything. He taped their tryst and left the camera running long enough to capture Chloe picking up the envelope of money. Now if she wants him to keep quiet, she needs to work for him and show the kind businessmen of Salem a good time.

Sure, Chloe could go to the police and get Quinn arrested. But any negative attention that Chloe brings her way won't be good for her. So Quinn's got Chloe exactly where he wants her. Brady is about Chloe's best hope. He has experience making sex tapes disappear without anyone knowing. Plus, he's gone up against an Alamain and won before.

Normally, I'm all for the "tell me now" confession, but I really don't think that E.J. could have pulled off the, "Now that you mention it, I sorta brainwashed Sami's husband and replaced him with a double." So, I'm not too surprised that E.J. danced around Taylor's direct question.

But I'm thinking about making one of those paper chains where I can remove a loop each day we get closer to Taylor's exit. Taylor actually seemed shocked when Lexie suggested that E.J. might hurt Nicole. Just how many times does Taylor need to be told things that she already knows?

The only things I had written in my notes about their storyline were:
1) They really need to give Chandler Massey more to do. He can deliver a heartfelt speech way far good.
2) Really? Sami's not there to snap a million pictures of Will at his "prom?"

Theo is on a gluten-free diet. I assume this has something to do with managing his autism, but I'm not sure, since the Carver family gets less screen time than it took me to write this sentence.

Caroline is becoming the Gladys Cravits of Salem. She only shows up to give a Chicken Little warning about some new piece of gossip that she picked up. I get her concern for Sami, but why did Caroline go to Bo and not to Roman? He's also a cop, and, oh yeah, he's Sami's dad!

Dario can't say that he wasn't warned. Mel's extended blabbering was a showcase of what a headcase the chick is -- and she didn't even get into the whole "my dad pimped me out to pay his gambling debts" era of her life.

Victor and Alicia the Skank were the only ones who noticed a difference in Rafe.

Brady was my hero. Taylor may have downed that shot of vodka, but Brady made her chase it with a big gulp of get a grip, girl! He told Taylor that he's not going to pick up the Nicole pieces, so Taylor can feel less guilty about swapping spit with E.J. He went further to suggest that Taylor have a discussion with Sami about the actual probability of E.J. leaving the dark side. She didn't listen, of course. But I did, and I applauded the whole time.

In a scene that my mom dubbed as the stupidest of the week, Hope pretended to be a Brownie leader. Only in Salem, being a Brownie leader means leaving four kindergartners in the kitchen to take cookies out of a hot oven, clean up dishes, and play with glue while you stay in the other room and gossip about your cousin's love life. Then, for further explanation of why the Salem PD can't solve any crime, Hope couldn't figure out how to get a picture into a Popsicle stick frame. Finally, she demonstrated self-defense, wearing stiletto heels!

Jennifer (about herself): "There isn't a man good enough for me...the liabilities of being a goddess!" Finally! Someone else who feels my pain!

Abigail is not Bo's cousin. They are related on both sides by marriage, but not by blood. Simmer down, there, E.J. Otherwise I will have to remind you that you and Brady Black have the same grandfather.

Will's kitchen towel-inspired shirt was so not cool.

Dude, can the doctor really order, "No prom"? That sucks!

It's strange that we haven't seen Mama Hernandez make a visit to Salem yet.

Carly's line to Daniel, "No, you put your stethoscope away!" was funnier that it was probably meant to be. The guy has made a history of hitting on his patients, so you can't blame a girl for being cautious when he whips out his stethoscope.

They happen this Sunday! Tony and I are getting ready to cover all the hits and misses when it comes to our beloved DAYS. Be sure to check back next week for our Emmy extravaganza!

And that's a wrap for this workout session! Let me know what you think about DAYS. Is it strange to watch so many storylines that you know are getting thrown aside? Whose departure bums you out the most? And, which return are you most excited about? Have a great weekend and don't forget to watch the Emmys and cheer for Chandler, James, and the writing team!

Happy viewing,

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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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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