Rockin' around the Christmas tree

by Tony
For the Week of December 12, 2011
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DAYS Two Scoops: Rockin' around the Christmas tree
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Will doesn't realize that he's surrounded by people who love him full-heartedly. They want to help, but he's so blinded by hatred that he can't see that, and it's completely compelling.

'Tis the season, DAYS fans! 'Tis a little earlier than usual, but it is nonetheless. In Salem, Christmas trees were decorated. Sparkly gifts were purchased. Doug and Julie showed up to hang a few bulbs and sing a few carols. Ciara came home from hanging out with Stephanie. And Nicole put on her naughty Santa outfit. If that doesn't scream holiday cheer, I don't know what does.

Coincidentally, there was also a lot of screaming last week in general. And some Salemites brought new meaning to decking the halls. Austin certainly proved his boxing days aren't that far behind him!

But before we get soused on eggnog and punch our way into last week's action, I'd like to share one of my favorite parts of the season. No, I'm not only talking about SantaCon, but those merry drunkards surely raise my spirits, too. I'm talking about the Fifth Annual Golden Donut and Alex North Memorial Awards! Even though you'll have to wait a few more weeks to see just who snags our coveted cyber statuettes for 2011, Laurisa and I are keeping with tradition and taking a look back at all of the previous recipients.

This week, we're paying homage to all the winners of the Golden Donut Awards since we began our spin on the "Best of DAYS" back in 2007. Links to this two-part blog can be found below. But don't worry, we're too snarky to leave past Alex North Memorial Award winners off the hook. We'll review those losers next week!

      Click here for The Golden Donut Awards: A Look Back! [Part One]
      And then click here for The Golden Donut Awards: A Look Back! [Part Two]

Of course, you should do all that clicking after you read this week's Two Scoops! With that cheer spread, let's get back on topic and talk about DAYS last week. It. Was. Great! And there is certainly a lot to discuss, including a whole lot of over-the-shoulder-looking action. So, let's grab some of that previously mentioned eggnog and go for broke.

The Hortons decorating the tree with their namesake bulbs is a DAYS staple. It's pretty much as beloved as hearing MacDonald Carey proclaim, "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of our Lives." The DAYS-o-holic in me lapped up every minute of that montage, but the Scooper in me raised a Hope Brady-eyebrow at the changes.

For starters, the tree was trimmed a few weeks earlier than normal. Now, I hesitantly bought the reasoning that it gives their family and friends (and viewers) more time to enjoy it, but, I'm warning the writers now, we better be rewarded come the week of Christmas with a nice, juicy storyline shocker in our stockings. Given that the truth about Baby Parker exploded last year during that week, I'm giving the writers some leeway.

However, I'm not sure how much leeway I can give them on the new additions to this year's bulbapalooza. One on side of the tree, I can certainly see why some fans are upset. Traditionally, ornaments are reserved for Hortons and Horton spouses. Extending ones to non-family members is a tiny bit sacrilegious. What's next? Does Quinn get one, too, since he offered Abigail a free rubdown? Hmm.

But when you circle around to the other side of the tree, I can see why the Hortons would accept Maggie's newfound family amongst the garland and lights. Technically, Maggie was Alice's daughter-in-law, but I believe she loved her like a daughter. Gran's heart didn't discriminate. So, following that reasoning, I'm sure Alice would have included Maggie's new family, too. Mrs. H was classy like that.

Ultimately, though, it was the remaining Hortons decision to include Dr. Dan, Mel, and Victor. As sad as it is, Alice is gone, and the Hortons had to follow their convictions. They had to ask, "What Would Alice Do?" One thing I'd do differently is place Maggie's bulb between Mickey and Victor's, as it looked a little wonky to have Mickey's beside Victor's with Maggie's off to the side. But I'm fussy like that.

In other Horton news, Jennifer, Jack, and Daniel had some awkward moments while Abigail decided to play doctor, um, teacher with Austin. He asked her to be the Anne Sullivan to his Helen Keller and navigate him through the hazardous teaching waters at Salem U. I think I saw a similar plot develop in a Lifetime movie once. Spoiler alert: it ends with a whole lot of crazy and more than a few uncomfortable moments.

Finally, Hope and Bo found more clues linking Alice and Stefano, including some sort of spiffy voucher that puts my buy-ten-get-one-free card from the deli around the corner from where I work to shame. Supposedly, the voucher is the ultimate Get out of Jail Free card. I wish I had one of those during E.J. and Taylor's relationship, but I digress.

I'm still stumped over Alice's DiMera connection! We know Alice helped Susan find a specialist for a sick little Elvis J. Hmm, maybe he had Jungle Madness? Anyway, Stefano knew everything about it and approved of Alice's help. He even knew that Bo and Hope called Susan, like, five minutes after it happened. Which leads me to the return (sort of) of Susan Banks!

I know you'll think I'm mean, mean, mean for saying this, but I was a tad disappointed. Don't get me wrong, I loved that DAYS brought her back for a cameo. I actually wish they'd use that technique more often (hello, Martha Madison as Belle, I'm talking to you), but Susan's brief stint didn't really resolve anything nor did it really add to the mystery. She basically clammed up when she heard Stefano's name and that was that.

My biggest gripe is that her cameo could have lasted longer, and she could have interacted with more characters. Besides, I wanted more of Susan Banks's wackiness. I wanted to know what she's been up. I also wanted to know if she was keeping in touch with Kris-tan. I guess we'll have to wait another decade to have those questions answered. Boo!

It's official! Ross the Intern's Chris the Assistant is officially the Where's Waldo of Salem! He pops up at the most random times, but I enjoyed every over-the-top moment of it. I just wish he'd stick around longer, as I'd love to see him interact with not only Kate more often, but the people she's targeting. And I'd like to know if his cryptic call was him being a drama queen about something silly or if it was related to a current storyline. Oh, oh! And I want to see Chris meet Stefano. That would be legendary!

Speaking of "legendary," Stefano and Kate rock! I love that they agree to scheme separately, but I wish they would compare notes. It would be entertaining to watch them give each other pointers. "No, no, Katarina, dear, you should use a look-alike, not brainwashing, for this revenge plot." And she would advise him on all sorts of non-traceable toxins he could slip into his enemies' holiday cookies. The treacherous possibilities would be endless.

Elsewhere in the mansion, E.J. invited Nicole to move back in. Ms. Thang said yes. I say, "No!" but nobody's listening to me anyway. And as much as I hate to admit this, Marlena was right about Nicole. She's not as smart as she used to be. Girlfriend needs to open her eyes and stop calling the DiMera Mansion her home sweet home. It's not. Her mother died in the foyer. Her beloved E.J. was shot in the head upstairs. And her sister and said beloved E.J. bumped uglies all over the grounds. Not to mention her dirty secrets were spilled in the living room time and again. It's not home. It's a like a bad memory hall of fame shame.

Across town, this clan had a not-so-silent night! This holiday gathering was a total hot mess. And, oh, yeah, I loved every minute.

In fact, I kept cracking up. Inappropriate or not, Sami's reaction to Marlena's presence kept me in stitches. When she told Carrie, "Instead of trimming my tree, now I have to go kick my mom out of my apartment. Thanks a lot," I lost it. Alison Sweeney was great throughout all of her scenes.

I also fond Abe and Lexie's reaction to everything hysterical! I was waiting for Sami to channel her inner Clark W. Griswold and exclaim, "Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here."

And then there was Will! Drunk, disorderly Will. Chandler Massey, well, the kid's a rock star, plain and simple. He was absolutely hilarious, especially his "I'm sorry" rant to everyone. But he also broke my heart at the same time. Through Chandler, you can see that Will doesn't realize he's surrounded by people who love him full-heartedly. They want to help, but he's so blinded by hatred that he can't see that. It's completely compelling.

All in all, Sami laid into Marlena. Will laid into Sami. Oh, and Will also laid into the rum. All of those scenes were a well-acted mix of awkwardness and angst. Like a bulb on their tree, I was hooked.

When I read "Previously on Days of Our Lives" at the beginning of Thursday's episode and then watched the clips recapping the website storyline, I immediately had some reservations. I was like, seriously, writers! If they had to recap a storyline that's been going on since the early summer, then maybe -- just maybe -- it's been dragged out a little too long. But then I forgot my initial fussiness when all the action began!

Thursday and Friday's episodes had a very "primetime" feel to them. Dare I say, like one of those fancy DAYS primetime episodes from the early '90s. And when I read "Six hours earlier," I was completely into it.

Now, before I go on about what I enjoyed, I had another initial bout of fussiness when I found out the bad guys were simply "bad guys." Nameless bad guys who ran the gambling ring. Nameless bag guys we've never, ever been introduced to. To be fair, the bad guys didn't give a flying gigabyte they were messing with a DiMera and a Kiriakis. That did give them some street cred.

But, at first I was still like, really!? But then I was like, "Hmm!" I thought about it, and it was kind of genius and altogether creepy. After all, the Internet is the one place where people can be completely anonymous. To be targeted by someone you had no idea existed is an unsettling feeling, but can happen. It worked. And it was better than the default "the DiMeras did it."

With that said, I actually enjoyed the action for what it was. It was a tidy wrap-up of a filler storyline that most writing regimes would have simply let fall to the wayside. I like resolution, so I didn't mind the two-day detour. The action was corny, but fun. There were moments of utter eye-roll inducing silliness and some major loopholes, but some of the scenes were pretty powerful thanks to the talented cast. We got to see several Salemites kick butt and act all heroic. Plus, I'm a sucker for happy endings, and all the hugging was like a sign that we've all made it through in one piece.

However, like Johnny's disappearance, this storyline has spawned storylines to come. Chad and Melanie kissed again and admitted they have feelings for one another, so what does that mean for him and Abigail? Gabi looked at Chad with stars in her eyes, which makes me think she'll be chasing Chad, too. And Jack and Dr. Dan formed a newfound respect for each other. These are definitely plot points that made me go, "hmm!"


Last week was amazing all-around! But, I especially loved Kate and Sami's scenes. I don't doubt for one minute that Kate's pep talks are completely self-serving, but I like what this is doing for Sami. She was feisty, retro-Sami again for a moment, and that's always a good thing! Not to mention that Al-Sween and Sarah Brown make good brawling partners. I can't wait to see where this one goes!

I'm being a persnickety little Scooper with my "Not" this week, but I have a bone to pick with the mean, mean, mean Mr. Stefano DiMera. If he knew Susan was Susan and not Kristen as she was pretending to be when she left Salem, then why-oh-why didn't Stefano rescue Kristen!? My heart broke a little knowing my favorite villainess is still locked away in some dungeon. Eileen Davidson, I miss you!

Nicole (to E.J. regarding him and Sami): "Why, I guess you guys realized you weren't a match when she shot you in the head."

Drunk Will: "I'm just pointing out that she's a bitch. Which I guess that makes me a son of a bitch."
Sami (to Marlena after Marlena said the kids made John paper snowflakes): "That's sweet. He'll be able to decorate...his cell."
Carrie: "Oh, shut up, E.J.!" Hysterical delivery, Ms. Clark!

Click here for awesome casting news!

I want Sonny on my side during a crisis. He stays calm and can save a damsel (or dude) in distress when needed. I'm now convinced that there is a "cool gene" that Kiriakis men possess.

Cry me a river, Batman! Why are the weeks I cover always filled with bawl-fests over Zack!?

Marlena mentioned pictures of Shawn-Douglas, Belle, and Claire-Bear. I'd love to see those!

So, if you go to the Intensity Day Spa and say you're a student, Quinn Hudson will give you a massage for free? Um, yeah, that's what you call a win/win, folks.

Didn't Sheryl Kerrigan, the subject of E.J.'s sob story, kind of look like Alice's attorney, Erin Hewitt?

I forgot Hope and Melissa were the same age! She needs to make a cameo ASAP.

Wowza! Carrie looked lovely in lavender. Er, pretty in purple, perhaps.

Thumbs-up to the awesome tree in Horton Town Square! I liked the nod to the Horton Tree.

LOL! The kids looked thrilled to see Uncle Austin.

I was surprised Maggie didn't bring up her kitchen when she saw Will.

I don't say this often, but poor Rafe! He was sitting in the town sqaure, minding his own business, when Carrie and Austin came over, started to fight, and then told him to leave. Who knew it was that easy to get rid of him!

A TWO SCOOPS CONGRATULATIONS...: founder Dan J Kroll is an amazing guy (and, no, he did not pay me to say that). His contribution to soaps and soap fans is unparalleled! He's been my boss since 2007, and I've always been proud to be part of the family, but last week, there was an extra reason to celebrate. Dan aired his 100th episode of Soap Central Live! And as if that isn't awesome enough, his guest was none other than Crystal Chappell! Be sure to listen to this landmark episode by clicking here! Let's raise a cyber glass of bubbly to toast Dan -- thank you and cheers to another 100-plus episodes!

So, friends and DAYS fans, that's Two Scoops for the week of December 12! Laurisa and I tried to make one last bet through Will's website, but, alas, it was shut down again before our wager could be determined. Instead, we played Rock-paper-scissors. My paper covered her rock, so I'll be back next week while she's stuck polishing this year's trophies for the Fifth Annual Golden Donut and Alex North Memorial Awards. In the meantime, don't forget to head over to my blog to check out the list of past award winners by clicking here! And, "That's a fact!"

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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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