Warning: Major Casting Spoilers will be discussed in this week's edition of DAYS Two Scoops!
When I began Two Scooping, Salem was sadly a Nicole Walker-free zone. As I started in 2007, I kinda-narrowly missed covering one of my favorite characters -- ever -- played by one of my favorite actors -- ever -- as Arianne Zucker had left DAYS in 2006. Drats! Actually, I could have easily broken out the enormous and elusive "Double Drats!" for that one.
Still, I'll admit that when I began writing for soapcentral.com many hourglasses ago, I had a "Wish List." Amongst other items on it was a small swarm of former Salemites I always hoped to cover someday. They included, but were not limited to, Vivian Alamain, Kristen DiMera, and, of course, Nicole Walker. Well, the Soap Gods must like me for some reason (or I've paid them enough bribe money over the years) because I got to Two Scoop all three of these wildly interesting divas over the years. Hello, win!
Bittersweetly, Vivian came and went. Kristen came and went, too. And Nicole came again in 2008 and, as it was announced last week, will be going, too. Gulp. My heart's a little heavy, folks. I kinda think Arianne Zucker helped to hang the moon.
While it's easy to root for "good" characters or embrace ones that were born into one of the premiere families of Salem, Nicole was neither of the two. She wasn't always good. She wasn't always bad, either. She certainly was an outsider, though. And I'd say for a not-always-good outsider to weave their way into the core fabric of Salem is an astonishing task, and it was Arianne's endless talents that made that happen.
Be she bad, good, or often somewhere in between, Nicole has always been a cagy fighter who, for the most part, believed she would ultimately get a happy ending, even if she had to claw and scratch her way to one. Arianne created an endearing underlying layer of optimism, maybe even hopefulness, in Nicole despite what she went through or put others through in the quest for her "happily ever after." She also captured that "I think I can, I think I can" spirit but made it into more of an "I know I can, I know I can," and that kind of makes one believe you can, too -- albeit by less unlawful acts, of course. But the sentiment that believing is achieving was firmly there.
That's not to say Nicole's a saint or a role model, obviously. She wasn't. Brady talked about "horrible judgment." Well, Nicole knows all about that. But even when Nicole did horrible, terrible things, she did them because she believed that was her only way to win. Nicole was at root a fighter who longed to fit in and often attempted to by any means necessary. She was one of DAYS' best "gray characters," and in the hands of a lessor actor, wouldn't have ever worked out for nearly twenty years.
And like any character, Nicole has gone through highs and lows. She was part of several epic DAYS storylines. She was part of some not-so-epic ones as well. She had some pairings I loved. She had some pairings I flat-out loathed. But one thing remained true through it all -- I wanted the best for Nicole, and that was due to Arianne. She never, ever failed to entertain the audience even in Nicole's darkest hours. From superb to subpar storylines, Arianne was a consummate professional and never phoned in a performance. She was there to entertain to the best of her abilities, and, boy, did she ever.
Though I wish I could fling myself to the floor, grab her leg, and beg her not to leave (much like Kristen did to Brady after their first failed attempt at a wedding), I have nothing but sincere admiration and affection for Arianne Zucker and wish her the best to come! She is a class act on and off the screen. She has made twenty years of Nicole Walker a pure honor to watch. I will miss her endlessly but forever remain supportive of her choices and career. Thank you, Ari. Simply, thank you. And as William Walker told his daughter in the series premier of Brothers & Sisters and I'd like to echo to you, "Always bet on yourself, darling."
Let's talk about Nicole's latest shenanigans, shall we? She stole baby Holly. Did. Not. See. That. Coming. By that, I mean, yeah, that writing was totally on the wall. I'm just putting this out there -- Nicole knows that she doesn't get a free baby if she steals ten at regular price, right? Anyway!
Arianne and Nadia Bjorlin are crushing this storyline. Hands down: Crushing. It. And while Arianne really gets to emote what Nicole's going through with her normal brand of awesomeness, Nadia is doing an amazing job with the subtleties of her performances. She easily conveys that Chloe believes what she's doing is truly the best for Holly. Nadia is flat-out selling the hesitations, the mustering of strength, and the pain in Chloe's eyes while doing so. Both actors' strong performances make it hard to pick a side, but, ultimately, I want Nicole and Chloe to reconcile. THAT would be what's truly best for Holly.
So, with Sweeps swept away, now the drama has shifted from Orwell to stolen antiquities. DAYS meets Antiques Roadshow? Sure. Why not. Though I kind of feel that with yet another re-re-re-re-re-reboot looming, the next few months are going to be like that final week of school after testing is done, but you still have to be there just watching movies, signing yearbooks, and anticipating the beginning of summer vacation.
Full disclosure: Sonny's need to take control of everything Kiriakis isn't keeping me on the edge of my seat, but I'm not opposed to it, either. Though when Victor said to Deimos, "The boy is not happy," it made me want Sonny to flatten them all. Condescending much, Victor? Oh, wait. He actually is.
Speaking of Sonny's quest, I loved when Brady belted out the list of family who have been burnt by Deimos that only included Victor and Maggie. Um, how about Philip? You know, Brady, the guy who was blackmailed then later abducted, stripped shirtless, and drugged? Yeah, him. Poor Philip, three or four new faces and a leg later, and these guys still forget him. But I digress...
Wowza! Roman retired from the police force. In related news, criminals of Salem are now actually worried they won't get away with crimes.
Seriously, though. I respect Roman's decision, especially since it came with a side of Bo. It was a touching scene. I just wonder what's next for Roman. He was so front and center. Raines will have to work pretty hard filling that once a month check-in. Anyway, I want Roman to either work for Black Patch or take over the pub. Something tells me with his cowboy brand of swagger, he could dish out some good advice to patrons. Or...
Roman could be the one to coax Abby, err, Eric out of the attic, err, cabin so Jennifer can go back to fab reporter mode. That would be much better on multiple fronts. Give Ro Ro some screen time, give Jennifer and Eric some distance, etc., etc., etc. I dunno. I'm just not feeling Jennifer and Eric. Good acting, sure, but just, "Eh. Does this need to happen...again?"
I can't say the same for Anne and Lucas. They're pretty hysterical together! It's kind of nice to see Lucas be the object of someone's affection. And Anne certainly has a lot of, umm, affection for him. Besides, Adrienne has a pretty dimplicious fallback plan just waiting for her to give him that final rose. See, everyone wins!
A Tweet from Laurisa totally echoes my HOT this week. She said, "I could watch Nicole dump Deimos all day. Tell him, sister!!" That. So much that. And when Nicole championed herself and said, "I said to myself, girlfriend, it's time to draw the line," I applauded. You go, girl!
This isn't the NOTTIEST of NOTS, but you know that old saying about "doo-dooing or getting off the pot?" Yes. That. Kate and Eduardo have had the same "will they or won't they" scene for a few months now. Lauren Koslow and A Martinez sell the hesitations and heartbreaks of their roles so very, very well, but I kind of need some movement here. Right now, it's just a waste of talent with the rinse and repeat of it all.
LINE OF THE WEEK(S)
Gabi (to Dario on why she might not be a great life coach): "Well, because I'm an ex-con who got knocked up by her gay best friend, so who am I to tell anyone how to live their lives?"
TRUE 'DAT LINE OF THE WEEK(S)
Nicole: "Get lost, Deimos!"
Yes! First, Anne brought Lucas oatmeal raison cookies. Yum! Second, it was from Nana's Bakery. I firmly want to believe that was named after soapcentral.com founder Dan J Kroll's Nana, whose birthday was last week! Coincidence? I think not. And if you love hilarity, please tweet Dan and ask him to compile a list of "Things Nana Says." She's pretty epic (and a DAYS fan)!
In addition to the lovely lighter accents to the DiMera living room, I love that the Stefano portrait is looming in the background again. You can almost hear an opera score and booming laughter. Yes, please!
If I bring my own spoon, can I get in on that delightfully fun yet warm moment between Gabi and Dario?
Oh, RE: Lucas. I was kind of surprised he likes extreme sports so much since we just started to hear about it when he began dating Adrienne. Then I remembered. He's been married to Nicole, Chloe, Sami, and Carrie. At least three out of four of them are pretty extreme. Makes sense now.
I know I shouldn't, but I find it amusingly hilarious that Andre is Abigail's Jiminy Cricket. Err. Maybe Anti-Jiminy Cricket is more like it. Either way, he has her ear.
Marci Miller is a little drop of wonderful. Love. Her.
I enjoy that Jennifer and Lucas have a standing date for their meetings. Though seeing more of these two siblings together would be nice, too.
Abigail mentioned her friend Lindsay, who works for the Tribune in Chicago. Cool. But would it have been so hard for the writers to say "Morgan?" I miss that sassy Hollingsworth gal.
I swear Chad said on Wednesday, "Thanks for calling, E.J." Maybe that's just wishful thinking.
I think I may need to borrow Anne's "Fifth of never" line.
Does anyone know where to get a "No Place Like Hovel" needlepoint for Nicole's new place?
I wonder if Eric and Vargas ever ran into each other in jail? They'd have so much to talk about. In my mind, Vargas gave Eric that "spiritual healing" bird tattoo, which doesn't seem to be soaring too well with old sourpuss. Just saying.
Countdown to St. Patrick's Day -- will the Bradys actually celebrate like old times this year? Miss those parties. Oh, and let's bring back the Brady/Horton Independence Day picnic, too.
Do you ever wonder what the lobby of the Salem Inn looks like? I'm guessing it's painted light blue, with a desk, some bookshelves, and a potted plant, but nothing like Marlena's office, Kayla's office, every office in Salem. Nothing like them, I tell you!
Speaking of places that don't look alike, Eric's new Fortress of Solitude reminds me of Chloe's old place. You know, the one where she couldn't get out of the driveway because the floodwaters were too deep. Yep. That place.
And while on the subject of similar, did Rafe's kitchen get a slight redo? Like, was there a wall missing or something?
I'm glad for Abe and Theo that Lani's sticking around Salem, but I hope for J.J.'s sake things work out between them. Girlfriend can be a bit cray cray when it comes to men.
Brady, Brady, Brady. Come here *pats seat beside me* No, come here. Come. Sit. Relax. Now, let's lose the vests, bro. Go. Skedaddle. That's all. Love you! Buh-bye.
I'm not sure which is cuter: Kayla's reactions to Steve's romancing or how proud the Patchman is to be Mr. Kayla Brady-Johnson again. Either way, it's adorable.
Chad also scores some adorable points for telling Abigail he not only loves her but really likes her, too.
But, oh, Chad. You're the man, but...but...did "Reading to Babies" really need a lengthy explanation? My next idea for a DiMera charity is "Explaining Things to Chad." Though his brain might still be a little deeply frozen. There's that.
Hello, Rafe's bathroom! I think it's bigger than my first New York apartment. Well done, detective.
Deimos is so cute. He wanted his family to know that he's leaving town, but not to worry, he'll be back. Good move. I can assure you everyone was worried.
Eric all scruffy sitting in that isolated cabin, writing letters, totally didn't give me a Unibomber manifesto vibe at all. Nope. Not one bit.
Me-ouch! These catty comments were a little spectacular:
Gabi (to J.J. RE: his date with Lani): "Here's a little tip, try not drinking so much this time."
J.J. (to Gabi): "Hypothermia seems to have left you a little chilly."
Sonny (to Deimos): "My experience is beyond folding clothes in a Greek prison."
Kate (to Chad about Gabi in front of Abigail): "The girl is sharp. I'm sure she can give you want you want."
By the way, J.J.'s "hypothermia" line totally gave me Batman & Robin/Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze flashbacks. Don't give me the cold shoulder because I said that. #sorrybutIhadto
So, friends and fellow DAYS fans, that's Two Scoops for the week of March 6. As I'll be busy sneaking, I meant, bringing formula and diapers to my friend, uh, Wicole Nalker, Laurisa will be back the next few weeks to keep our fair Salemites thoroughly Two Scooped, and "That's a fact!"
As always, thanks for reading!
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