I thought about beginning this week's column by exclaiming, "Ho-ho-ho!" But then I didn't want anyone to think I was talking about Stephanie, therefore offending Kayla now that she's back in Salem. So, I'll simply shout, "Happy Holidays, everyone!"
Not only are we one week away from an assortment of various merry days like Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanza, we're also one week away from the Fifth Annual Golden Donut Awards! Last week, we strolled down memory lane by looking back at the past four years' worth "Best Of" winners, and as promised, this week we're reviewing the lowest of low -- the recipients of the Alex North Memorial Awards!
Those Salemites who've received those dubious honors have met with a lot of flak from Laurisa and me over the years. And by "flak" I mean a whole lot of snark and all-out ravings like only fired-up soap fans can dish out. Have those wrongdoers improved over time, or are they just as dysfunctional as ever? Let us know what you think by leaving some comments. The links to the reviews are as follows:
But before you all get click-happy, let's talk about DAYS last week! It was an interesting set of episodes. They were like the calm after the storyline storm. It was a nice, even-paced week that gave characters a chance to catch their breath and reveal their true natures while dealing with the fallout of various plots. I enjoyed the character development aspect, but there were a few parts that made me stop and go, "hmm." Let's discuss!
GABI, MELANIE, CHAD, ABIGAIL, and AUSTIN
The fallout from the hostage situation is officially upon us. I was impressed that the writers have so many characters promising to see Marlena for a little head-shrinking. It's a responsible step, and I wouldn't mind watching the drama unfold as they spill their guts to Mar Mar. However, someone may also want to suggest a relationship consoler, as this gang certainly needs one.
Let's start with Gabi. It seems she wants Chad again. Her brush with death and his heroic actions have her all hot and bothered for the tall drink of water. She even brought up their brief relationship back in high school. Conversely, Chad didn't pick up what she was putting down as he remained torn between Abigail and Melanie.
Ironically, Abigail remained torn between Chad and her crush on Austin. She went as far as admitting to Jennifer and Melanie there was another guy in the picture. She didn't say who, but Gabi's Spidey Senses were tingling when she spotted Abigail and Austin together at the spa. Nevertheless, Melanie's wheels also seemed to spin at the potential as a clear line to the Chad-Man was drawn.
In the end, Melanie remained torn between bro and ho. Er, perhaps, sis and stud? Anyway, she wants Chad, but she wants to be a good friend to Abigail, too. She even lamented to Dr. Dad about her dilemma, in not so many words. Mel's not a saint, but I enjoy watching her conflict. It proves just how far she's grown over the years. She's not willing casually to throw her BFF under the bus (yet), and that says a lot about a gal who once dated guys for jewelry and then bragged about it on the interweb.
Finally, there's Chad. He's the hottest thing this holiday season for the under-25 set. Not since '96's Tickle Me Elmo-mania has there been so much interest in a guy. He's with Abigail, he knows Melanie has feelings for him, and he's surprisingly unaware that Gabi does, too. There haven't been three women clamoring after one man since Kristen, Susan, and Marlena were out to land John. In any event, I'll have to wait to see if I'll like Chadapalooza, but I already enjoy Gabi's newfound personality.
Ms. Hernandi was perceptive to Mel's glances at Chad and Abigail's glances at Austin. Methinks she might end up scheming to get what she wants. Having her turn to the dark side could be an interesting way to use an underutilized and somewhat boring character. For now, I'm in!
DR. DAN, JENNIFER, and JACK
As predicted when they set their date-two-dudes plan in action, everyone in the equation is brokenhearted now that this threesome has become a twosome. Hmm, perhaps "onesome" is a better choice of words. At the end of the day, Jennifer didn't choose either bachelor. And that was somewhat of a shocker.
I think nearly everyone, myself included, placed bets on Dr. Dan being the biggest loser in Salem's very own version of the Bachelorette. Now, for the first time since this silly saga began, the writers have me curious because the fat lady hasn't been called to the stage yet since Jennifer is "free" to reconcile with Jack. In fact, she actually put the kibosh on Jack's dream of reuniting with her just because Dr. Dan bowed out gracefully. Coincidently, Jennifer is just as torn as ever.
However, now that the maddening dating game aspect is over, I can actually take things more seriously. Jennifer doesn't seem ready to let go of Dr. Dan. I don't think she's as worried about Jack, as his interest in her is unwavering. Not that Dr. Dan isn't still interested, but he's doing what he needs to do for himself. I admire that as much as I admired Jennifer realizing that her deep-rooted problems with Jack are far different from the compassion she feels for him because of what he went through in Afghanistan. Self-awareness is a good thing.
Whereas I can sympathize with frustrated Jack and Jennifer fans, the Jennifer and Dr. Dan fan in me is remaining blindly optimistic that this duo may have a fighting chance. The end game will be interesting. Will Jennifer go back for one last try with Jack, or will she move forward with Dr. Dan? Hmm!
E.J. vs. ABE
Nicole is good. She's very good. That is, she's very good at being bad. She even impressed E.J. with her cunningness, and that makes me happy.
The only way E.J. and Nicole will ever work as a couple is if they scheme together. Their combined shadiness is what needs to bond them. As long as they stay away from acting like their love will reform them from sinners to Hortons, I may find a way to get behind this couple. And if they need role models, they need look no further than Stefano and Kate. Wow, Stefano and Kate as role models! That's a sentence I never thought I'd write, but I digress.
Nicole played dirty and disgraced Abe. Now Mayor Carver wants to "do what it takes" to get elected. I doubt this will sit well with Lexie, but I'm anxious to watch Jennifer go after Nicole. It's fascinating. It's like watching a Care Bear freak out on Godzilla.
JOHN and MARLENA vs. STEFANO and E.J.
Okay. Here's the thing. My gag reflex prevents me from covering John and Marlena's strawberry-licking jail cell picnic as, um, romantic as it was. So, I'll move on and cover their sit-down, showdown with E.J. and Stefano.
Basically, the DiMeras came to present John an offer. He could sell them Basic Black, and they would help the employees rebuild their lives and, in turn, E.J. would drop the civil suit, but John would remain in jail. Or John could refuse the offer and remain in jail. It was a lose/lose for John, and he told them to take their offer and stick it where the phoenix doesn't rise.
The interesting part, aside from watching those four brilliant actors going tit for tat, was that John and Mar Mar pretty much nailed Stefano and E.J.'s entire plot against them. They even fingered some executive assistant named Holly as the mole that infiltrated Basic Black. I enjoyed watching Stefano and E.J. squirm a bit. And I also enjoyed watching John and Mar Mar working together instead of him trying to put baby in a corner.
John is well-meaning, but Doc is right. She can stand on her own with Stefano. Hell, she kicked Satan's butt, and he's a lot meaner than Stefano! So, John, props for worrying, but Marlena will be just fine.
KATE and SAMI
Whoever decided to have Kate and Sami interact deserves a Golden Donut Award. Yeah, that was a shameless plug, whatever. The moral of the Scoop is, Al-Sween and The Kos are amazing together! Those two just go for it and make their scenes incredibly fun to watch.
The writers also are doing a bang-up job at capitalizing on Sami and Kate's inherent animosity. They have such a rich history to play off, and that hasn't been forgotten. However, it's interesting to watch Kate and Sami interact without competing for a third party. For the most part, Austin and/or Lucas were simply door prizes to be won in Kate vs. Sami's boxing matches. Now, Kate and Sami aren't fighting over someone, they're only in separate corners because of cosmetic companies.
Ultimately, Kate's goal is revenge on Madison, Brady, and Victor while Sami's goal is simply employment. And, whereas it seems obvious that Kate is playing Sami, I can't fathom that Sami doesn't realize this. That leads me to wonder who is playing who and, more so, what would happen if they end up playing on the same team!? If that should happen, Poor Little Maddie will end up as road kill for sure.
MADISON and BRADY
In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not overly invested in Brady and Madison. Both actors are fantastic, and both characters are fine enough, but they seem to exist in a contrived, convenient little storyline vacuum. It's kind of boring. Sure, I can give them props for talking out their issues, but I'm not on the edge of my seat with these two just yet.
But I'm not too proud to admit that, in a chick flick kind of way, Brady is more than a little swoon-worthy. He certainly knows how to romance someone! He put Richard Gere's fire-escape-climb at the end of Pretty Woman to shame. However, I also enjoyed that he knew he was being a bit cheesy and even laughed about it with Madison by asking if the rose petals were too much. On that note, let's make Brady and Madison's New Year's Resolution to become more interesting. Deal, writers?
Hold the phone! Carrie sent a text to Anna. I hope it read, "Come home...now!" We could all use a little Leann Hunley in our lives. Nevertheless, I thought Anna was either on the run or kidnapped by the DiMeras!? Dear writers, I could use a little clarity on this one. And if that clarity ends up being Anna is off the hook for the Sydnapping and can return to Salem, then I want that to happen, like, now!
Bo and Hope shared Stefano's infamous I.O.U. voucher with Rafe and
Sami Carrie. They've decided to go to Stefano in hopes of getting John off the hook. I hope it works for no other reason than I want this storyline to end. It's been entertaining to a degree, but we already know the DiMeras did it, so what's left to "wow" us with?
I totally enjoyed Dr. Dan, Austin, and, later, Jack's male bonding time at the pub! It was such a fun way to end the week! DAYS has been missing good bromances lately. I'd like to see more of these three merry drunkards, and they can even invite Brady!
Lo and behold, Gabi's finally getting her very own "Hot!" From the way she handled her breakup from Will last month to her perceptiveness last week, Little Hernandez is growing on me. Mostly, she's finally developing a personality, and I suspect she may even have a wily bone tucked away under her layers of boring. Yep, she could certainly get more interesting. Stay tuned!
This is a bittersweet "Not." On one hand, I was absolutely thrilled to see Kayla back! A former Golden Donut Award Winner, Sweetness is always a welcome sight. Simply put, I adore Mary Beth Evens. However, Kayla's entrance was a little underwhelming. In fact, I felt like a missed a beat. There was no Brady Hug Fest. She didn't burst through the door and yell, "Surprise!" She simply walked over to Sami as if she'd been there forever and asked why she didn't touch her food. In fact, I'm not sure why Caroline doesn't "just say no" to babysitting all the time and run the pub herself. With that whined about, I'm not going to look a gift casting horse in the mouth, but I hope that Kayla's latest return yields more surprises than her simply slinging chowder.
LINE OF THE WEEK (TIE):
Kate (to Sami): "I wish I was that devious. [Brief Pause] Okay, I am that devious."
E.J.: "That's really touching, Abe. I think the only thing that is missing is the unicorn ride through Lollipop Land."
EXCHANGE OF THE WEEK:
Sami: "Things are great with Madison since I told her off, at your suggestion. So, I guess I owe you a 'thank you'."
Kate: "Well, I would say that I was glad to help, but that would imply a certain level of caring."
Sami: "Which, of course, yeah, we wouldn't want. Um, anyway, I would love to stay here and trade barbs with you like vultures picking over road kill, but I don't have time."
Jack and Kayla's uneasiness when running into each other was a nice nod to their tumultuous past. More, please!
After seeing Stephanie and Joey side-by-side I can certainly see the family resemblance. They both kind of have that invisible coloring that runs rampant in the Brady family.
Kate babysitting was thoroughly amusing.
Wow! Brady has a remote control for everything.
E.J. certainly made himself comfy in Santa's throne.
Cheers to the directors! The shots of E.J.'s speech at the children's charity luncheon were amazing. Very political thriller!
Hmm, I wonder... why didn't DAYS bring Sarah Brown on as a recast of Sami's teen friend Jamie Caldwell?
Snap! Austin isn't going to score points with Laurisa by admitting he's a Yankees fan.
Thai coconut soup!? Yes, please!
I totally forgot Hope was an accomplished ice skater. I guess that fact must have been buried on her résumé between "Former DiMera Pawn" and "Doped-Out Man Basher."
It was clear after one short scene that Kayla knows more about and is more invested in Sami's life than Marlena.
I thought companies that donated to charity and soldiers were the only ones who received bulbs for the Horton Town Square tree, but last week it seemed like they were handing them out to anyone who made a donation and/or any stray non-Horton Salemite. A tad too much, writers.
Oh, Kate's going to be pissed that Marlena dipped into her closet again. Maybe she'll bake her some special brownies. In the spirit of the season, I'll even deliver them for Kate.
Thankfully, John didn't have to call Carrie to come to his aid. She would have been laughed out of court in that reindeer blouse. And, yes, it was so bad it was good.
And while on the topic of fashion, did anyone else think Melanie was a little underdressed for her interview with Quinn? Granted, if she had looked toogood, he might have wanted her to hook for him.
Aw! Kayla brought up Shawn, Sr.! It's been a while since anyone mentioned Pops.
Kristen Blake was mentioned twice in the past two weeks! Don't toy with me, writers; bring her back. Too bad Dr. Walters and the gang at Statesville aren't still around because I have a spare kidney I'd be willing to sell to put towards the funds to lure Eileen Davidson back to DAYS.
So, friends and DAYS fans, that's Two Scoops for the week of December 19! As this is the last regular Two Scoops of the year, I'd like to take this time to thank each and every one of you for reading and all of the kind feedback I've received throughout 2011. It's an overwhelming feeling to know that people other than my relatives, friends, and the Jones family of Oglala, South Dakota, whom I pay via an offshore account to read this column, take the time out of their lives to come back week after week. For that, I am genuinely humbled and grateful.
Of course, I hope you all put on your
Sunday Holiday best and join Laurisa and me next week as we team up to present The Fifth Annual Golden Donut Awards! It's the week of weeks to celebrate all things DAYS! With that, I'm off to pick up my tux from the cleaners and then to help Laurisa pick out the perfect bottle of bubbly for the occasion. And, "That's a fact!"
What are your thoughts on Days of our Lives? What did you think of this week's Two Scoops? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.