Seasons of love

For the Week of September 19, 2011
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DAYS Two Scoops: Seasons of love
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Maggie is a standout character in a world filled with silly women who offer themselves up at the slightest inkling of interest from a man. (Looking at you, Nicole!)

It really is the little things that make a soap fun. And over the past writer's tenure, we lost sight of the characters themselves and the traits that make them great. But, we're getting back on track. And I like it. You know what else? I like that Hope can't cook. I like that Mel calls herself dramatic. I like that Rafe and Sami acknowledge the crappy job economy. I like that Bo misses watching baseball with Shawn. I like that Carly enjoys pumpkin muffins. We learned all that last week. Let's chat about what else we learned.

Maggie is my hero. I know I've said that before, but it bears repeating. The woman is a standout character in a world filled with silly women who offer themselves up at the slightest inkling of interest from a man. (Looking at you, Nicole!) She somehow managed to turn down Victor's offer of cohabitation before marriage, without sounding like an old-fashioned shrew. Not only that, but she did it in a way that didn't make me think Magic is over. In fact, I think they are going to be stronger than ever now that Maggie threw the word "marriage" out there and neither of them ran off to hide.

Sydney Penny is doing just fine as Dr. Norman. But, that doc seems very judgmental! She actually used the same tone and questions with Carly that my mom did with me when trying to get me to admit that I got a "C" on my spelling test. *Shudders*

Other than that, the therapy sessions went well. It was so nice to see characters get to say what the viewers have been thinking. Carly was crazy reckless for going into the operating room while stoned. Daniel was right for calling her on it. But, the scene didn't play as a "dump on Carly" party. Despite being angry with her for breaking her professional oath, Daniel made sure to point out that it would be a huge loss to the medical community if Carly were to hang up her stethoscope for good.

The best part was when Carly admitted that her feelings for Daniel were just a manifestation of her obsession with a fantasy. That couldn't have been easy. But, whether Daniel ends up with Jennifer or Princess Toadstool, Carly needs to deal with the fact that it won't be her. She's on her way. And, with Melanie and Nicholas by her side, I'd say that she has a fighting chance.

Honestly, the Gus part storyline is a hot honey mess. For starters, it shouldn't be news to Gus that Vivian obsesses over her family. The second that she got to town, she fell all over herself to endear herself to the man she stole as an embryo. So, of course she's going to love her honest-to-goodness biological son even more! Sheesh! No one tells Gus that Victor makes power-hungry business deals or that Daniel knows a lot about medicine. Who knows what evidence Gus will plant in their rooms.

Second, why is he a whimpering child one minute and an obsessed beast the next? Did he get into Hope's stash of meds and we're dealing with some sort of split personality here? Of course I realize that these are all rhetorical questions and the real answer is: the writers needed a speedy wrap-up for this storyline before the bus comes to pick up Gus and Vivian. Oh well. At least I enjoy the fact that Bo, Hope, and Rafe are doing some actual police work.

And then we hit a bright spot! The scenes at the police station were great. They looked for evidence, tried to figure out the criminal's motivation, and even questioned the ease of finding certain pieces of evidence. They arrested Quinn based on actual police work. So, even though they've got the wrong man, I'm not mad at them because it was entertaining to watch them go about the investigation.

I feel bad for Bren Foster. He's a pretty good actor and -- let's be honest -- that accent will take him miles. But, his character has gone through more changes than an Oscar host. He's a handsome stranger. He's a slimy drug dealer. He's a despicable pimp. Holy s*&%, he's Vivian's son! Wait, he's got a soft side for drug addicts. And now he's in love with Taylor. For the record, he's been on the show for 16 weeks. I have food in my fridge that it older than that.

But it could be worse. He could be Tamara Braun and encounter the unfortunate circumstance of finally getting good material to play just as your character is headed out the door. And yes, I dare say that if the show were to continue with this version of Taylor, I'd be a happy, happy scooper. Maybe it's a lingering effect from Sonny Corinthos/John Black DiMera, but I like seeing Tamara Braun's character on the arm of a slightly nefarious fella.

Futile as this pair may be, Quinn and Taylor rock. The actors have good chemistry. And this pairing suddenly makes her whole tryst with E.J. understandable. The girl who lost a guy (Quinn) because he wouldn't change for her would absolutely be drawn to later suitor (E.J.) who proclaimed to make a change. Heck, I even like Taylor and Vivian as friends because it means that Louise Sorrell and Tamara get to share scenes! I'm proud of my Samsung TV for not falling over due to all the heavy weights on-screen.

Now that she's going to be fine, I can safely say that Sami's cancer scare was the best thing to ever Rafe. He finally had to be in a position where he couldn't use his gun, badge, or general intimidation to get his way. And for a moment, we got to see Rafe be a relatable human being, not a platinum superhero who leaves a train of gold dust under his feet. I like Agent Average Joe so much better.

And in the aftermath of the scare, I genuinely enjoyed parts of their celebration. Sure, I thought it hurt Sami's credibility that this self-proclaimed "devoted" mother of four opted to celebrate her new health sans kids. But their talk of money, or lack thereof, was eternally endearing. And I loved that Rafe and Sami talked about the challenges of her going back to work -- listing the chores around the house for the kids and the need to make time for each other. It was very indicative of the little things that the new writers have been getting right with these two.

I really hope that the new writers continue with this pattern, and avoid potholes like Thursday's show. First, Rafe ordered Sami not to apply for a job until he checked it out. Then, Caroline admonished Sami for not telling anyone about the cancer scare. I firmly feel that both decisions were up to Sami, who despite all evidence to the contrary is a grown woman. There's no reason for her to spend an entire episode looking like a puppy who just got scolded for doodling on the carpet.

That brings me to a point that I've been worried about for weeks. I can discuss it here because I'm among friends. I'm certainly willing to give the new DAYS a chance, but (*deep breath*) these vets had better be written in character. The point of bringing vets back is to bring them back as the same characters, with the same motivation and behaviors that they had when they left. I will lead the riot with rotten vegetables and slingshots if these returns fizzle out because these characters have been inaccurately written.

My lovable doofus Dario is being sent to Argentina. The area is great for wine but bad for relationships. Mel and Dario decided to leave everything up to "if it's meant to be, it will be." We all know what that means. They're dunzo. And being one who had my own heart broken because of a long-distance relationship, I felt Mel's pain when she realized that their relationship was coming to an end.

Still, I'm glad that Dario got the job on his own merit. It's nice to see soap characters working hard and being rewarded for it. Plus, Dario stills works for Titian, so he's still part of the Salem family.

As a bonus, this move was totally believable! My husband is a project manager for a large company, and he works some crazy hours. (Why do you think I watch three soap operas? Anyway...) According to my hubby, a lot of project managers are younger people who don't have kids and thus can handle the rigorous schedule. Furthermore, Argentina is the new India when it comes to tech, and it's a big-time bonus to be a project manager who speaks Spanish. Sounds like Dario is the perfect candidate for this job. Hopefully he'll send me a case of Malbec once he gets settled in.

If I ever get sick, I want Brady to give me a pep talk. Man, that guy is good! And when he played the opera for her?! Major points, Brady! I love that these two are reconnecting and that the show is paying tribute to their history. As my partner, Tony, mentioned last week, it is doing wonders for Brady, which is good, since Brady is going to be onto new things soon.

I have severe doubts that the new thing will be Nicole. She got the message when she saw him standing over Chloe. No amount of lingerie and afternoon delight will make Brady ever look at Nicole that way. She knows it too. She doesn't have Brady's attention anymore, and truth be told, she knows that she doesn't deserve it. That's why she agreed to dance with E.J. Lord, help us all.

I think the majority of fans can agree that James Scott and Arianne Zucker are fine actors and generally entertaining to watch. And, being the musical fan that I am, I was totally down with the whole spontaneous tango thing. Yes, it's a direct copy of E.J. and Sami's dance on the pier a few years ago. But maybe that's E.J.'s best pick-up move. It's a heck of a lot better then, "Come here often?"

However, we've tried E.J. and Nicole twice before, and neither time worked out. The sole reason is because the writers had one fall in love with the other. Thus, the lovestruck fool got played for a, well, you get the idea.

So, I'm urging the writers to learn from past mistakes. Nicole and E.J. are at their best when they both have their guard up around each other. Trust me, writers. We've tried it your way twice before and it didn't impress. Let's try it my way and keep E.J. and Nicole as partners, but not lovers. We can revisit the romantic pairing way down the road. But Nicole needs to have some time away from E.J.'s bed so she can get over the whole "you slept with my sister" thing.

Bo and Hope were busy planning the big unveiling of the Horton Town Square! I like how everyone knows about the surprise, but no one actually knows what it is. Even Kate can't find out, so you know it must be good! In any case, it will involve fire-roasted pizzas, which is a sure way to a win.

We've all seen the previews of John, Marlena, Carrie, Austin, and Jack. In the same preview, E.J. announces that he's running for mayor, and Victor proposes to Maggie. So, is it selfish of me to hope that DAYS has some little trick up its sleeve? Some secret that has been under lock and key, not leaked to the public? A girl can dream!

Abigail pouted about not having a happy family, despite being a member of the Horton clan. Later, she falsely accused Chad of thinking about using DiMera money on the website before he could say anything at all. Okay, universe, you win. I miss Stephanie.

The understatement of the millennium news: E.J. explained why he had an affair with Taylor. His answer was, "I have no earthly idea." It turns out that I wasn't the only one who hated that storyline. The new writers did too. Normally I'd hate this kind of phone-in explanation. But the bizarre ending seems fitting for the entire debacle.

Sonny's website got approved. Chad is taking over the financial end while Sonny handles the legal stuff. Abigail and Gabi are writing up profiles for the athletes. And someone needs to be in charge of keeping me awake during this storyline.

Kate and Stefano reunited, and Joe Mascolo looked mighty tan! Hopefully he got some fabulously enjoyable time off.

Gabi tried to seduce Will by beating him at pool in front of his friends. Good move, Gabs. If this doesn't work, try asking him to take his shirt off and then point and laugh right at him. Guys love that!

I loved Kate and EJ's scene. We're completely safe on the romance front. Every other sentence out of her mouth was, "I love your father." But in between those declarations of love, Kate strongly encouraged E.J. to settle down with a nice little corrupt Italian girl. Isn't that what every stepmother wants, after all? And even better, E.J. told her not to treat him like one of her sons. He's not as easily manipulated by Kate's tricks. I can't wait to see where this relationship goes. Much like Victor and Hope, I wouldn't mind seeing Kate and E.J. form an uneasy, yet comfortable alliance.

I understand that Nicole and Brady don't want Chloe's secret to get out, but Chloe is in a flipping coma! Someone has to be making medical decision for her. Craig and Nancy NEED TO BE CONTACTED. (Yep, that is me YELLING!) When Mandy was sick, Taylor dug up sister Gina from the back room in Salem. There's no reason that Craig, Nancy, and Joy can't get a phone call. And while I'm at it, Philip is in Europe on business and can't be reached. Really? The vice-CEO of a major company that bears his last name can't be reached? Bologna.

Brady (about Stefano, EJ, and Kate): "The axis of evil is shooting death stares at us with their magical powers." Thank you, Brady, for giving me an idea for this year's Halloween costume blog.

Honorable mention:
Bo: "What ever happened to the guy who thought a perfect dinner was a beer in one hand and dinner in the other?"
Hope: He got married.
Game, set, match, Fancy Face!

Someone tell me that there's really a site called Wait! Don't Google it. That URL sounds a bit suspect.

The camera angle through the fireplace was cool (hot?), but it was used a bit too much.

I want Chad and Lexie to have another scene. I get where Chad is coming from with his "I don't want to owe you anything" stance. But the collective DiMera "you" includes good people like Lexie, Theo, Johnny, and Sydney. Saying that he doesn't want to be associated with E.J. or Stefano doesn't mean that Chad has no family at all.

E.J. needs to see his kids. I love me some Sami, but it's ridiculous to say that she's a better parent than E.J. Both are equally rotten, so I say let the kids have exposure to both of them and then they'll decide to move to Switzerland like Will did.

I laughed when Viv decided to cheer Gus up by taking him to the pet store to watch the fish swim around.

I love Lauren Koslow's style. From the blue streak in her hair to the scarf tail to the 90's pantsuit, she's spectacularly her. I could never pull any of it off in my wildest dreams, but I'm so glad she does it.

And that's it for this week! Tony will be back next week to tidy up Salem for Doc and John's return. He's been busy helping Hope plan the party this week. Turns out he picked the pizzas too. In the meantime, I have a few questions. Do all FBI agents get lifetime access to the database, regardless of whether they still work for the bureau or not? How awesome were Nicole's tango shoes? Anyone else love that Hope can still stifle Bo's temper with one eyebrow? And, what do you think we all should wear to the Horton Square dedication?

If you missed Soap Central Live this past week, Dan had three of our favorite DAYS stars on as guests: Matthew Ashford talked about Jack's return to Salem, Deidre Hall previewed her guest role on Drop Dead Diva, and Eric Martsolf talked about his character's reboot with Madison - the new character played by Sarah Brown. Check it out (for free) by clicking here.

I'd love to hear what you think so click here to share your thoughts with me!

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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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