We have to admit, we're fans of the Olympics. Shocker of all shockers, events involving pageantry and montages are right up our alley. And we've been enjoying all of the perks of week one in the Olympics -- Missy Franklin's adorable domination, Ryan Lochte's abs, the fab five's team gold, Ryan Lochte's abs, double-amputee Oscar Pistorius' inspiring run, Ryan Lochte's....anyway, you get the picture.
But of course, we couldn't let a week go by without talking about our beloved DAYS. So to pay our respect to the great summer tradition of the Olympics, we wanted to take a look back at some of the past summers in Salem and pick out the most bonkers (as in, "Really? Aly Raisman loses the bronze medal to a chick who fell off the beam?") and the best of the best (as in, "Cheers to you, Mr. Phelps") storylines and characters.
WORST SUMMER STOYRYLINE
Laurisa: Virtual Garden of Eden (1999) As a good little soap viewer, I am willing to suspend a fair amount of belief. Children age ten years in a single month? Sure. People come back from the dead? Practically expected. But even I have to draw the line at falling through space into a Virtual Garden of Eden. Alas, no one told Austin and Greta this.
DAYS is no stranger to the biblical shock value storyline. Marlena's devil possession storyline brought tons of viewers to the show. But this time around, the outcome was not so great. It could have had something to do with the fact that Greta and Austin had to participate in some truly bogus challenges that claimed to "test their virtue." Sami appeared as a witch at one point. (Okay, so maybe that part wasn't a stretch.) And, the whole thing culminated with Austin fighting a gladiator. Much to my dismay, there were no foam jousting sticks or hand bikes involved.
But most of all, this storyline was a stinker because it was ever-loving long. We're talking months. To put it in perspective, Hope and John spent two weeks in Alamainia as Gina and the Pawn. This Eden shiz went on forever, with a couple that weren't really a couple before or afterwards.
Oh well. At least we got positive confirmation that Austin Peck and Julianne Morris can rock some leaf swimwear.
Tony: Touch the Sky (2007) One could argue that there have been several suspect summer storylines in Salem over the past 46 years. Many actually came to mind, including Jan Spears and her magical cage where she kept Shawn-Douglas hostage. That storyline nearly snagged the, um, win, especially since it showcased Charity Rahmer's short stint as Belle, but there was still a worse offender out there. And that offender was Touch the Sky. It was so bad that it actually nabbed the first ever Alex North Memorial Award for Worst Storyline from both Laurisa and me.
So, just what made that storyline so bad? Well, how long do you have? The highlights of the lowlights were apparent from a quick glance of this Crapfest, but I'll run down a few against my better judgment.
First, the new characters introduced to tell this story were hardly developed and not very likeable. Characters like Jeremy Horton, Jett Carver, and lesser ones like China Lee, the bad guy with greasy long hair -- and his band of big-boobed, gun-toting Barbies didn't do much for me, but received oodles of airtime. Too much airtime, in fact, and that took time away from characters we wanted to watch.
Next, this storyline destroyed Stephanie Johnson. When she left Salem, she was a cool tomboy who drove racecars. When she returned, she was a self-conscious, trampy ditz who let Jeremy use and abuse her. Plus, she began to fall for her Uncle Max again. Yes, I said her uncle. I can't even go into too much detail as it gives me a headache.
Ultimately, this storyline simply brought out the worst in each established character and made it impossible to like the new ones. There were too many convoluted plot points, too many hot tub romps, and too many cheesy attempts to create action and adventure. As I once mentioned, Touch the Sky skidded off the runway from the beginning. Let's hope if the writers ever think about revisiting this storyline, the flight plan is headed over the Bermuda Triangle and quickly gets lost.
BEST SUMMER STORYLINE
Laurisa: Doug and Julie: Supercouple for the Ages (1970) It may not sound like a good idea for a storyline -- a love triangle between boy/girl/girl's mother -- but this one worked. Of course, it helped that the boy was actually hired to seduce the girl and, naturally, ended up falling for the girl, so we were rooting for the couple from the beginning.
So, when they shared their first kiss in the summer of 1970, we didn't bother worrying about what drama was ahead of them. We just squealed as they started on their journey. It's one that I'm thrilled to say still continues today.
Tony: The Cruise of Deception (1990)
By far, the Cruise of Deception was my favorite summer storyline! I could go as far as to say it was one of my favorite storylines ever. It was good. It was really good. It was a summer blockbuster before "summer blockbusters" were a thing. And it had something for everyone -- action, adventure, romance, comedy, game-changing reveals, and more drama than you could shake an hourglass at.
Plus, the Cruise marked the "death" of Hope Brady. Ultimately, everyone knows now she didn't die-die, but if there were spoilers in 1990, I certainly didn't know how to find them. Therefore, I was shocked and crushed when one of my favorites returned only to be dropped into a vat of acid. Hope was gone in the climatic conclusion of the storyline, leaving a young DAYS-o-holic just as heartbroken as Bo Brady and the rest of his family.
On the whole, DAYS/NBC went all out of this storyline, and it showed. The production value was great. The opening credits of the show were changed for the first time ever to reflect the Cruise. The entire saga was broken down into "chapters," and each of those chapters came with their very own nifty promos. All of the A-list characters on DAYS at the time were front and center for the drama.
In fact, long before "Magic," Victor almost nabbed another Horton gal when he and Julie kissed during the cruise. Legendary romances continued to bloom between Roman/John and Isabella, and Jack and Jennifer. Bo and Hope were as great as always. And the show wisely used the sinister Ernesto Tascano as the bad guy, giving Stefano some well-deserved time off. In fact, Ernesto was a great guest villain (and an example of what DAYS should do now with their baddies to take some heat off the DiMeras)!
The outcome of the Cruise was positive for the show. Not only did ratings go up during the summer, but storylines that unfolded then lasted years, especially Hope's "death." Indeed, without Hope dying, there would never have been a Bo/Carly pairing, or a Bo/Billie pairing. And without Bo/Billie there wouldn't have been a Chelsea. And without Chelsea, Rachel Melvin wouldn't have graced my screen. So, thank you Cruise of Deception! It's like the gift that keeps on giving.
FAVORITE BOY OF SUMMER
Laurisa: Eric Brady Teenage me would be super ticked if I chose anyone other than Eric Brady for this award. Truly, the best thing I did on my summer vacation was watch him Rollerblade with Nicole on that boardwalk. It was the perfect blend of cheese, spunky haircuts, and young love to create an awesome summer storyline.
As if Eric needed any help in the awesome department, he'd already spent the summer prior calling his twin sister out on her BS amnesia, yet still managed to not incur the Wrath of Sami. I don't know of anyone else who has that kind of magical power. I bet it comes from his golden locks and smooth skin.
Tony: Frankie Brady Long before he was adopted by the Brady family or turned out to be Carly's long-lost brother, François Von Leuschner, runaway Frankie Donner, arrived in Salem in July of 1986. He brought his little "brother" Max with him as they were escaping Max's abusive father, Trent. Years later Max would be a favorite "boy of summer," but Frankie was the trailblazer for this twosome.
From the beginning Frankie was one of the good guys standing up for what was right. A few of his good deeds were helping Max escape Trent on several occasions, working with a team to bring down a drug ring at Salem High, and volunteering at crisis hotlines. Plus, Frankie was as smart as he was cute. He graduated Salem High as the valedictorian, later went to Columbia University, and eventually became a lawyer. That's not too bad for a runaway from the wrong side of the tracks.
Of course, Frankie was a romantic, too. He stole the heart of one of Salem's sweethearts, Jennifer Horton. Although their love was ultimately never meant to be, their teen romance was perfectly told and managed to make Frankie swoon-worthy. And, hey, Billy Warlock was a Baywatch stud, so you know he looked good in a swimsuit, and that certainly screams summertime.
FAVORITE GIRL OF SUMMER
Laurisa: Chloe Lane It's never easy to be the new girl in class, but to be the new girl a month before school gets out is even tougher. Yet, there Chloe was, in all her dorky ghoul glory, capturing my heart, and soon the heart of our favorite Kiriakis heir. If you didn't smile that goofy rom-com smile when Chloe showed up at the Last Blast in that red dress, there's something wrong with you.
To make her even better, she brought a soft side to Nancy and Craig. The couple, particularly the former, was better known for being bumbling trouble-makers who wanted to take down Mike Horton. (I'll give you one guess on how that went.) Yet, when Chloe came to the picture, Nancy and Craig both softened just enough to make me adore this kooky family, yet still be entertained by them. Nice work, Chloemeister!
Tony: Kristen Blake
Believe it or not, when Kristen first came to Salem in the summer of 1993, she was as pure as Sandy in Grease. She was a social worker, headed the Horton Center, and volunteered at the hospital. In fact, Alice Horton was one of her biggest advocates and even played matchmaker for Kristen as she fought feelings for John Black. We all know how things ended between Kristen and John, but in the beginning, it was a lovely love story.
As time went on, Kristen became, as Susan Banks might say, a little mean, mean, mean. But that only made Kristen better in my opinion! Her transition from saint to sinner happened slowly, and we got to watch Kristen struggle between good and DiMera. And in her defense, being around Marlena can drive anyone a little mad.
Don't forget to watch DAYS, well, every day, but especially on October 11th when Kristen returns to Salem!
LEAST FAVORITE BOY OF SUMMER
Laurisa: Alex North -- He appeared in August 2005 and almost instantly, the entire viewing audience let out a simultaneous, "Hey, wait a minute..."
First, there was the lame-o storyline where Marlena suddenly had a past, including a pregnancy, that we'd never heard about during her previous twenty-five years in Salem. Trust me, storylines in Salem have been divided into two categories -- ones about Marlena and ones Marlena was in. If Marlena had another husband, we would have known.
Second, Wayne Northrup, the original Roman Brady, played the role of Alex North. I assume that TPTB were trying to capitalize on the chemistry between Northrup and Deidre Hall. Instead, they challenged it by having Northrup play a villain who dared to psychologically harm our beloved Doc.
The result was a character so bad that he's now become the standard for all things suck. He's basically the daytime equivalent of fat-free ranch dressing. Not only was he failing miserably to be what we all expected, but what he did end up being was spectacularly terrible too.
Tony: Jeremy Horton
When beloved Mike Horton's wayward son, Jeremy, returned to Salem, it should have been amazing. Please note, the "should have been." Instead, Jeremy was a total toolbox. He was arrogant, manipulative, and misogynistic, and his reasons for doing what he did didn't make a lick of sense. Truthfully, he was rather dumb, too.
To make matters worse, some of Frances Reid's last on-screen moments as Alice were spent with jerky Jeremy, telling him what a tool he had become. Sure, she delivered them in sweet, yet sassy Alice Horton style, but looking back, I think it was a downer that her limited time was spent with such a loser. I hope he eventually returns after taking his great-grandmother's advice to heart and becomes a better Horton man.
Ultimately, the only way to actually enjoy Jeremy was to mute the TV and simply bask in Trevor Donovan's yumminess. So, there's that.
LEAST FAVORITE GIRL OF SUMMER
Laurisa: Sami Brady I'll be honest, I'm not quite sure if this is the appropriate place for this award. I certainly love Sami, but one summer she acted especially strange. Stranger than I'd ever seen her before. She was almost unrecognizable. Because, for a summer, she turned herself into a man. Yup, "Stan" the man, to be exact.
The whole premise sounds like something the writers did on a dare: Work in maternity leave for one of your leading ladies by having her character go undercover as a dude and fool everyone in town. But that wasn't enough.
In addition to selling drugs to John (who was an addict at the time), Stan, err, Sami, got himself, err, herself in the middle of an overseas war, where Philip was kidnapped and lost his leg, and it almost resulted in Sami being declared an enemy of the United States and arrested for treason. It almost makes shooting E.J. in the head sound like no big deal. (I said "almost.")
Tony: Mimi Lockhart Although she was one of the original "Last Blast" teen scene members, Mimi and I were never exactly simpatico. Actually, I never really liked her. At all. Sure, I could sympathize with the hardships she suffered, such as being homeless for a time, but that's where my soft side for Mimi ended.
Not only was Mimi a total Debbie Downer most of the time, she was also a little dumb. She foolishly listened to her bone-headed mother's bad advice all the time. Then again, Mimi did dumb pretty well on her own, so I can't blame Bonnie for everything.
Generally, though, Mimi just bugged me from day one, and it never got better. The best way I can describe the way I viewed "Meems" is that she was a balloon filled with annoying whining and sheer stupidity instead of air or helium, and that balloon slowly deflated during her tenure in Salem, releasing her whines and foolishness in a steady stream of ear-piercing squawks. Oh, if I'd only had a needle to pop that balloon earlier on, I might have been spared some headaches!
Remember Caprice? She was Brady and Belle's trusted nanny. And she had a huge falling-out with Celeste. Whatever became of that, and why didn't they like each other?
In case you forgot, Roman once hooked up with Nicole and Billie (not at the same time, of course).
Although Nurse Maxine is our favorite MIA hospital employee, we still have to wonder whatever happened to the nefarious Nurse Lynn?
Remember when Sami's best friend was Jamie Caldwell? Scratch that; remember when Sami had friends?
Peter Blake had "Jungle Madness." Yeah, that still makes us laugh.
If you think something on DAYS is silly now, just remember, Rex and Cassie arrived in a spaceship.
Does anyone remember Stella Lombard?
That's it for now, sports fans! We hope you enjoyed the look back. We'll be back next week to take a look forward and preview some of our wants, wishes, and rants about the future of DAYS. Until then, enjoy the Olympics, support the other soaps this week, and hurry back to see if Sami makes is off that ledge! And, if you have a chance, click here to share your favorite summer storylines with us!
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