Well, everyone, we made it. We're ready to say goodbye to 2020. Okay, we've been ready to say goodbye to 2020 since March, but now we're here, and it is delightful. Never more than this year have we been so thankful for our online DAYS family. In a year where everything pretty much turned upside down, our tradition of watching DAYS and then gathering here to talk about it kept right on going. Tony and I can't thank all of you enough for reading, leaving comments, and keeping one little slice of normal chugging along.
And so, we're going to close out this year the way we've done every year for the past fourteen (gasp!) years. We're going to hand out some awards for the worst of DAYS.
Let's get a few reminders of the ground rules before we get started. Tony and I pinky promise not to select the same winners for the awards. You'll find this hard to believe, but he and I have an abundance of sass to go around! Also, no character can win more than one individual award. Again, Salem is rarely short on knuckleheads, so this was an easy rule to follow, as well.
Finally, we hand out all of these awards with the sincerest appreciation for the cast, crew, and creative team that put on a show nearly every weekday of the year. We joke because we love. Do not consider this a bad review -- more like an opportunity for improvement! Now, let's get to it!
New to the show or newly returned, they made a less than stellar entrance
Laurisa: Summer the Bummer
Let it be forever enshrined on the record that the entire Mother's Day disaster was entirely Summer the Bummer's fault. There are two layers of suck to this rotten onion. First and foremost, each and every thing Summer did was horrid. She showed up on the Kiriakis stoop to proclaim she was an alcoholic with three to six months to live -- all of which was Maggie's fault. Then, she went on to throw a toddler-style hissy fit when Maggie dared to turn her attention toward Sarah because Sarah had the audacity to go into labor in the middle of Summer's performance. Thus, Adrienne stepped in to drive Sarah to the hospital in Adrienne's car and not Maggie's. Adrienne's car got a flat tire, putting her on the road when Orpheus was, causing the deadly accident. I maintain that the accident might never have happened if Maggie had driven Sarah to the hospital in a different car with different tires. Thanks a lot, Summer.
Second, Summer grew into this monstrous she-beast off-screen. When Summer left, she was on good terms with Maggie. There was no indication Summer would dodge Maggie's calls, much less come back as a flaming tower of nonsense. I get that something drastic had to happen for Maggie to flirt with drinking again. But this drastic move made my head (and stomach) spin.
Tony: Bonnie Lockhart
When Chloe showed up at the Kiriakis mansion on Christmas Eve, Victor simply snarked, "Absolutely not." THAT is the exact same reaction I had (and still have, actually) to Bonnie being back in Salem. The fact that she returned as a best-selling author was downright laughable. Bonnie's brain is basically a blender full of Kardashians, Hee-Haw sketches, bad ideas, and booze that sat out in the sun too long. Or as a former coworker once said of another, "It's not pretty-pretty up there." So, sure. She's a literary gem, but at least she came back full of redemption. Oh, wait...
The Big Bon Bon continued to victimize Lucas, which was maddeningly played for laughs. What am I saying? It's always hilarious when a rape victim is bullied by their rapist. Hilarious, I tell you! Ugh. I hate her. So. Much. Though, too be fair, she eventually donated some money to the foundation named after her doppelgänger, you remember, Adrienne, the cancer survivor that Bonnie arranged to rot in jail so Bonnie could steal her identity. Adrienne, who's now deceased.
At least Bons didn't rely on Adrienne's widower to help her get settlement money when it turned out the super geniuses who gave her a book deal turned out to be shady. No way! Yep. I hate her. So, unless she's secretly an amnesic Adrienne or Adrienne posing as Bonnie to hide from some sinister force (maybe this Philly mob we've heard so much about this year), I want to wave buh-bye to Bon-Bon. Bye, girl. Bye. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. #bringbackAdrienne
WORST SPECIAL GUEST/ RECURRING CHARACTER
Laurisa: Eve Donovan
I worship at the altar of Kassie DePaiva. That woman is a national treasure. However, I have a huge block with Eve. I can't connect with Eve as a grieving mother when she was so, so terrible to her daughter when she was alive. When Eve admits she was a bad mother, I can get through it. But that happens so rarely that everything goes sideways for me when she's all, "You took my Paigey from me!" What's worse, we didn't actually get to see Eve's descent into madness. Instead, we got a scene where Chloe told Claire, Ciara, Hope, and Shawn about how her buddy had gone a bit off the deep end. Off-screen action as told through secondhand info for a character that's hard to connect with, anyway, didn't make for a great guest appearance this year.
Tony: Tamara Price
Marilyn McCoo returning to play Tamara again!? Yes, please! She's the best. I'm excited. I adore her. Huh. What's that? There's going to be some wonky excuse to get her off-screen nearly as soon as she arrives, only to have her as wonkily reappear and then disappear again? Oh. Okay then. That's disappointing, but we'll get to hear her sing, right!? Oh. Well. I guess I can hope that the next time she's in town, we get a more meaningful catch-up with Ms. Price, as her guest-starring stint could have been brighter.
WORST OF SALEM'S BEST
An established character who needs a tune-up
Laurisa: Nicole "Gladys Kravitz" Brady
Before we get ugly, I have to say that just typing "Nicole Brady" made my Ericole heart sing. I've been waiting so long for that couple to make it! But as happy as I am for Nicole and Eric, I have to scold Nicole. Like, a lot.
From the second Allie landed on her doorstep, Nicole took advantage of every win thrown her way. It's not that I'd expect anything less than that from my Nicole, but those wins came way too easy. Everyone accepted the narrative that Sami was the overprotective parent, even though, at the time, Allie told Nicole she'd stolen money to fly to a different hemisphere in hopes of concealing a pregnancy from a one-night stand. Nicole fluffed that anti-Sami argument every chance she got.
When we got to the adoption, Sami had an honest conversation with her ex-husband, and Rafe admitted Sami had nothing to do with his decision. Still, Nicole took advantage of Rafe's passive stance on the matter and presented a cable-media-style spin story to Allie. Finally, and worst of all, it truly bothered me that Nicole -- a victim of abuse herself -- cookie-crumb-led Allie to the realization Tripp had raped her, rather than stopping the conversation and calling Marlena right over. If this were anyone else's child but Sami's, Nicole would have handled it much differently.
Finally, Nicole blabbed Allie's secret to anyone who would listen. It was not Nicole's place to tell Kayla that Allie accused Tripp of rape. It's not Nicole position to decide Lucas, over Sami, should know about Allie's accusation. There was just a lot about Nicole that felt too superior and not enough relatable this year. Can we get this gal a martini, already?
Tony: Roman Brady
Over the years, we've praised this dude for his swagger and straight-shooting, sensible advice. That Roman love still generally remains intact, but he's getting his Alex North Memorial Award for being disrespectful to Hattie. He knew she thought he hung the moon. He knew she thought he was the bee's knees. And he knew she wanted him to be her one and only Mr. Roman. So, for Ro Ro to lead her on with a few kisses, some patronizing "you're swell" type praise, and vague responses to her direct questions about them having a chance together, well, that was not cool at all. I loved that Hattie eventually stood up for herself, but I would have loved it even more if Roman hadn't made it weird in the first place. I'm ashamed of you, Mr. Roman. We know you know better. Penance will be free Brady Pub fries for life, thankyouverymuch.
THICK AS A BRICK AWARD
A typically smart character acting kinda stupid!
Laurisa: John Black
This man makes his living as a private investigator. From what I can gather, it's a fairly comfortable living, too. Yet he had no idea he was living with Princess Gina for the first part of the year. He furthermore had no clue that something was off when Marlena stopped communicating with him. And for his final trick, Orpheus and Evan/Christian escaped when John turned his back on them. None of these things bode well for Black Patch's Yelp reviews. Yikes.
Tony: Lani Price-Grant
And one more time for the cheap seats in the back: Eli exclaimed, "Oh, my God, would you just stop about Kristen!?" Yes, sir. THAT! Just that. Old Selfie was so mind-numbingly stupid this year when it came to "bestie" Kristen that it felt like I lost brain cells while watching her scenes. As the fabulous Nell Carter sang in the theme song to her hit show, "Gimme a break, for heaven's sake!" We've seen Lani at her best, and this was not it. Or even close to it. I mean, I can admire someone sticking up for those they love, but she did so while not seeming to care that she was letting her entire house burn down around her as she continued to ignite seven-day candles in front of her Kristen shrine. It was disappointing and rather bizarre to watch such an otherwise interesting character's intelligence go down in flames. But, as Eli may say, "Deal with it."
The writers kept trying, but kept striking out!
Laurisa: Gwen Rizczech
I loved it when Gwen was Claire's buddy who would defend her against attacks. But everything else involving Gwen was maddening. I'd rather walk across glass than watch any more Gwen/Jake scenes. But even that was less painful than the Abigail/Deveraux/Jack/whoever feud. Putting a completely new character as the lead in an umbrella storyline did not work. Emily O'Brien is delightful, but even her magic can't make me connect with a flat character. And since Gwen had no backstory, we had to strip the other characters of theirs so they would work in her orbit. Jack had an affair with Kate. Chad became jealous and insecure. Abigail turned into a complete airhead. And every. single. thing. fell into Gwen's lap. She's the first character in soap history who actually hears what people are saying when she comes upon a conversation. And yet (at the time this column is due), we still have no idea why she hates Abigail. I know 2020 seems like the year where time is on a different schedule, but the pace of this storyline is painful.
Tony: Well-Meaning Bully Julie
How on earth hasn't the term "Karen" been rebranded "Julie." They must not have memes or cell phones capable of recording videos in Salem. Anyway. Maybe, once upon a time, the entitled, pushy bulldozer character was, um, entertaining, but that routine is tired in 2020. Very, very tired.
There was nothing cute or funny about the several times we watched Julie ungraciously boss Abe around, especially at the wedding. I loved when he clapped back! There was also nothing cute or funny about her equating Ciara's groom to a stray cat living under the porch. While we knew where Julie was trying to go with that story, it fell incredibly short and came off rather offensive.
Looking back, there have been countless other times when it has not been cute or funny to watch Julie "I won't take no for an answer" Williams bully people and it being excused by a "deep down, she's a very lovely person who means well" explanation. Sure. She may have great intentions, but, when others have treated Julie as she's treated them, well, then it becomes offensive, and they're terrible people. The nerve of them! Ugh. I'm honestly not mad at Julie, I'm just disappointed. And I certainly think it's time for Eli and Lani to have another chitchat with her about what it means to be "woke." Though something tells me that, somewhere, Julie is already asking to speak to my manager, sooo...
BROKEN RECORD AWARD
In case you didn't hear it the first five thousand times...
Laurisa: Allie, Nicole, and the Blame Sami Club
A few years ago, Victor had a great line. He said, "Even a broken clock is right twice a day." That's exactly the case about Sami's return this time. Last we heard of Allie, she was drinking so much that Lucas was heading to Europe to help Sami wrangle her in. When Allie shows back up in Salem, she's pregnant from a drunken one-night stand and traveling internationally on Grandma Kate's credit card. Allie claims this is all Sami's fault. Sami claims Allie is making poor decisions. Everyone believes Allie. And they keep believing Allie, scolding Sami every chance they get. Allie even abandons her baby, leaving an unofficial Post-It note behind, and people still blame Sami for this. Yes, Sami has a lengthy résumé of schemes and bad choices. But it was maddening to hear Allie, Nicole, Marlena, and pretty much anyone not named Lucas blame Sami for anything Allie did.
Tony: John and Marlena Celebrate Yet Another Anniversary
I've joked about this all year -- literally all year -- but, honestly, how many flippin' anniversaries does one couple need to celebrate? I love love and all of the flowery, um, stuff as much as the next jaded singleton, but sometimes it felt like "Jarlena" overload, especially when other couples deserved their time in the sun. So, annually observing one's current marriage? Of course! Plan a romantic reenactment of a first date just for fun? Sure. Why not. Go all out for the umpteenth anniversary of an unsuccessful for-whatever-reason marriage? Seriously, fools. Move on, "Jarlena," and let someone else get a free meal at the Brady Pub instead.
MOST REGRESSED AWARD
Things were going so well and then...
Laurisa: Jan Spears
She's much less entertaining in a coma. Dang it, John!
Tony: Chad's Unbrotherly Love
Chad has a huge heart. One only needs to watch a Chad and "Wilson" scene or witness those "everyday" moments between him and Abigail to appreciate how hard he loves. So, why is he being such an asshat to new brother Jake, instead of opening up said big heart to him?
We get it. It was cringy at first that he looks exactly like despicable d-bag, Stefan, but if Chad would take off his Hate Goggles for ten minutes, he would probably like Jake. There is something familiar about a pop-up DiMera who's not like the rest of the family. One who has more of a positive perspective. One who's a little goofy. One who's screwed up a few times but was generally a likeable down-to-earth guy. Yep. Jake is shades of Pre-Boston-With-Stefano Chad. They need to be locked in the secret room in the wine cellar until they get along.
Also, when was Chad every this boujee? His attitude toward Jake's "unsophistication" is disappointing. He certainly didn't have to pick up that banner once Gabi dropped it. Chad Peterson-Woods may not have had the same amount of bling as Chad DiMera, but, while D.A. Woods and Judge Madeline probably weren't swimming in their McDuck money pit on the weekends, they weren't struggling, either. Still, Chad was always humble. So, where did this come from, bud? It's so curiously un-Chad-like.
So, knowing how kind and warm Chad normally is, makes his uppity, unfair attitude toward Jake even more head scratching. I'm chalking it up to a mild case of lingering mind control. The Chad I've watched all these years wouldn't be such a, well, "Chad," otherwise.
MOST MISUSED CHARACTER
Too much or too little of anything is a bad thing
Laurisa: Stefano DiMera
You know what's so amazing about Stefano? That there will never be another one. So, we need to stop trying. We need to stop "essence-ing." We need to stop asking other actors to play the role. And we absolutely, positively need to stop asking Kayla to carry and give birth to a Stefaclone! I loved the way Stefano was written off the show. He's out there, somewhere, no one really knows. And that's a much better legacy for the big fella than these reboot attempts.
Tony: Lucas Horton
Breaking Bryan Dattilo news along with Lucas and Jennifer's delightful scene a few weeks ago, has me hopeful that next year will treat Mr. Horton much better, but, as it was, 2020 has done him wrong. He was singing alone in the shower instead of belting out solos center stage in several storylines. Sure, we got some Lucas time, but it often felt misused.
For example, he explained Sami's rape and the somewhat skewed version of how she shot Alan Harris to Allie. Yes. I can see why he did that, but we also missed an opportunity for him to open up about his own experience as a survivor. When he was -- and tell me if this sounds familiar -- blackout drunk and someone sexually assaulted him. It could have been such a powerful father and daughter moment as well as a chance for them to heal together. Instead, nope. Nada. That's just one of many times Lucas could have been front and center instead of on the sidelines, simply as a color commentator -- which he does amazingly, amazingly well, and that should certainly stick around -- yet we need to see more of his other sides, too, considering how deeply he's ingrained in the fibers of Salem.
THE ROMAN BRADY "WHAT DA HELL?" MOMENT
Laurisa: Marlena's Attitude Toward Hope
Marlena knows that Hope and Princess Gina are different people, right? Because the way Marlena threw attitude at one of her oldest and dearest friends seemed like she might not have gotten the memo. It was very confusing, since she didn't seem to reserve any leftover disdain for Steve, who was also a victim of Rolf's shenanigans.
Tony: A Sobering Sober Sex Suggestion
I seriously screamed, "What da hell!?" (or perhaps a slightly more scathing version of that) when Bonnie suggested that she and Lucas have sober sex so that he could see what he had missed the first time. Seriously, "What da hell, DAYS!?" Um, yeah. About that first time. She disguised herself as his girlfriend, Adrienne, and got away with having sex with him because he was nearly blackout drunk. That's called rape. The fact that she had sneaked into his room and was pawing him as she made such a preposterous proposition purely pissed me off. I'm well aware that DAYS is not a PSA, but attempting to play the "Humor Card" here was irresponsible and gross. Very, very gross, actually.
WORST LOVE LIFE
Laurisa: Justin Kiriakis
This man is a walking country song. First, the love of his life died and somehow stayed dead. Then, he started up with his former sister-in-law and was super sweet with her...so sweet that it had to be him who told her that her ex-husband still loved her. Of course, this confession happened at the altar of his own wedding in his family home. To really pick up all the wins, Justin finished out the year saddled to Bonnie. A "poor man's Adrienne" doesn't even start to summarize her, but that's exactly what it feels like when they're together. Justin is an absolute mensch of a man. He deserves better!
Tony: Eli Grant
He had to dump one duplicitous would-be bride at the altar when he found out she forced his once would-be bride to do the same thing to him, only to marry said once would-be bride and have about ten minutes of peace because of her picking one bad decision after another over him. Yep. He might have married the woman of his dreams, but she's become a nightmare. Poor Eli!
Laurisa: Brady Black and Kristen DiMera
There are many places to start with this pair. But, perhaps the vortex of their suckiness was this narrative that Kristen is the constant victim. You couldn't have missed it. It was the number one single off Brady's album. Anyone who had ears was attacked with this sob story. Was it wrong for Victor and Xander to swap babies? Absolutely. But at the end of it, Kristen and Brady ended up with a healthy little girl. Eric and Sarah nursed a child through chemo, only to find out she wasn't their child and that their real daughter died moments after birth. But, no, no -- Kristen was the one who really was wronged. And she had such a hard time, it's totally cool that she killed a woman and attempted to murder a man. Guys, she had a really bad day!
But the baby swap isn't the only reason Kristen is the victim. Would you believe that people still aren't over Kristen's past misdeeds and have the audacity to not trust her? Well, Brady will take care of that, too! Look no further than when Brady took Kristen to Marlena's home on Mother's Day and demanded John and Marlena make nice with Kristen. Not the right place, not the right day, not the right people, Brady! There's no stretch of anyone's imagination that thinks Marlena needs to give the woman who raped her son the benefit of the doubt. But Brady and Kristen aren't going to let little things like facts get in the way of their own narrative!
Finally, there's Brady on his own. He was so indignant that Rachel would have to grow up without a mother that he decided to go on the run with Kristen -- leaving Tate to potentially grow up without a father. And then, he was outraged that Eli dared to trick Kristen into confessing to a crime she actually committed because that meant the mother of his child had to go to jail! He was utterly befuddled that Eli would think of protecting Lani when Kristen clearly was the victim here! Gah! Enough with these two!
Tony: Jake Lambert and Gwen Rizczech
Let's take off our polite hat and get real for a moment. We all have those people in our lives that should come with a turkey timer. When you've spent the minimum obligatory time with them, a little red button pops up, and you get to leave. Alas, one must normally enter such situations with an escape plan securely in place. Upon meeting, you lead with a strong, "I can't stay long because I have to excuse excuse in the excuse." Or you sorrowfully state at set extraction point, "Oh! Look at the time. I'd love to stay longer, but excuse excuse excuse." If you've never used any variation of those to politely evade more time with someone tedious, you're sincerely a great person or, I'm sorry, very unlucky in several possible ways, but I digress...
The moral of that sordid story is that Jake and Gwen were those people. They were maddening and exhausting. It's clear why one wouldn't want to be around them, as they were either fighting or heavy petting, and, whichever they were doing, it only made one feel icky and uncomfortable, and you just wanted to fling yourself from the nearest egress.
They also simply brought out the worst in each other. Jake's jerky side came out to run laps around her and spew some serious snark, or he simply gave in to her suggestion to snog, thus giving her false hope by putting a bandage on the inevitable. Gwen became needy, lost all sense of self-respect, and thought of sex as a Magic Eraser to clean up all that was wrong between them. Oh, "Gwake," I'm glad your turkey timer has popped, and we never have to spend time with you together again. Cheers to that! Wait? Did Gwen pour this Champagne? Eek.
WORST STORYLINE DIRECTION
Wait...what did this storyline just do?
Laurisa: Kate and Jack's Affair
This was clearly a plot point created to prop the character of Gwen. Kate and Jack haven't shared an awkward glance, much less a full scene, in the past year, and they live in the same house. But we needed another something for Gwen to play with, so we're to believe that Kate is the type of woman who keeps Dear John notes from one-night stands and that Kate reads them to remind herself of how she's a good person. Yup, in addition to the weak plot point, we had to endure Kate speaking of sleeping with a married man while his wife was in a coma the same way other people do about adopting a needy family for Christmas and giving them a day of happiness. What did this storyline just do, indeed!
Tony: "Elani's" Herky-Jerky Wedding
Soap weddings are brutally beautiful. There's a reason any courageous couple must be yea-high to ride that ride. Salem ceremonies are roller coasters not for the faint of heart. Just ask anyone who's been stupid enough to think they'd get through their entire nuptials unscathed. Eli and Lani were no exception, despite the beautiful start of their day.
Though, while viewers were ready for one, maybe two, major dramatic pauses due to an uninvited guest or some other disaster, "Elani's" wedding went for broke. Those nuptials stopped and started more times than "Jarlena" celebrated a superfluous anniversary during this paragraph, and that's a lot. There was Tamara's attack of the vapors. Gabi showed up, too. Julie's jibber-jabber was distracting. There were actually more that I can't even remember now. Sadly, all of those were unneeded, as the big show-stopping wedding crasher was Louise Sorel's return as Vivian. Vivian! That was amazing. That's the big one. Everything else was gratuitous.
The mini subplots popping up, like Tamara's mysterious malady (I was worried about her!), and Val's now dating Eli's FBI mentor, Billy, who used to be a thing with Tamara, were also distracting. There was time to tell those tales earlier in the day or at the reception. Having them unfold at the ceremony was extra upon extra, especially considering that everything other than one (maybe two) anticipated bombshells distracted from such an historic event. A bittersweet event, in fact, as it took DAYS 55 years to showcase an on-screen wedding of two Black characters. I'm grateful that it finally happened, and while the show can't go back to fix the past, let's hope that it becomes more woke. At the end of the day, once every distraction ended, Eli and Lani had a beautiful, meaningful ceremony, but getting there was, well, brutal.
WORST STORYLINE RESOLUTION
Laurisa: Sami Leaves the Baby with Nicole, Anyway
I get it. I really do. Allie needed to stay in town, Nicole needed a storyline, and Alison Sweeney needed to go save Christmas or something on the Hallmark Channel. So, I'm not truly irritated that this is where we ended up with this storyline. But it was a tough sell that after finally scoring a well-deserved win, Sami would just leave the baby with Nicole, and Eric would get exactly what he wanted all along. Oh, well. At least we got that nice Sami/Allie hug out of the whole deal.
Tony: Ciara Weston's "Death"
For all the hype around this couple and the focus on their storylines -- the prison break, the reunion, the adorable proposal, and the sentimental wedding followed by everything "CIN" being blown apart -- Ciara's death was anticlimactic. Legit, I did love "CIN." They were an immensely interesting couple on so many levels, but even I got bored with the "psych!" it was just a dream stuff as well as the nearly episode-long fantasy sequences (though they do get all the bonus points in Salem for naming their imagined son "Bo" in each one. Everyone all together now -- "Awwwwwwww!").
Still, this storyline seemed to lose steam in the end. It turned into what felt like a weekly check-in rather than an explosive, emotional ending, which would have mirrored its beginning. It was repeated that Ciara was, but wasn't, but was "confirmed" Salem-dead for a few weeks in a row. Vincent kept adding to the story, but it remained the same (Ciara had "died"). Yet there was never a body, which means nothing on DAYS, really, as even when there is a body anybody can still bounce back from the great soap beyond.
*Sigh* I understand the limitations of filming due to the pandemic, and I'd never want to see anyone put in danger, but we didn't even get a memorial or a montage. There have been phenomenal performances by every player that participated in this plot, but, in the end, it's just eh. Anticlimactic. I won't even get into the fact that *whispers* Resurrection by Wilhelm will likely undo any death done by vengeful Vincent, so did it need to end the way it did?
WORST WASTE OF A STORYLINE
What should have been, but never was...
Laurisa: The Orpheus Dynasty
I was thrilled when George DelHoyo made a deliciously menacing return to Salem. I love his chemistry with both Drake Hogestyn and Deidre Hall. The soap gods smiled on me again when Kelly Thiebaud appeared as Orpheus' daughter, Zoey. Why was she in town? Oh, because she needed to get custody of her brother's kid. Yup! There's a son, too! Here, I thought we were going to get a real, fresh start to a crime family. This had to be the case because they recast Zoey to keep it going, right? Right? We may even get to test the chemistry between Rafe and Zoey, right? Right? Nope. The family disappeared almost as fast as they appeared.
Tony: Justin and Kayla Broke Up Too Soon
I'm saying this as a "Stayla" fan, so don't throw too many cyber tomatoes at me yet. If you do, please make sure they're diced, and you throw cooked pasta and parmesan cheese, as well, as I'm likely to be hungry when you read this. Anywho. On one hand, Justin and Kayla breaking up when they did was a dramatic, beautifully acted mercy kill for the couple. I mean, raise your hand if you thought for even a second they were "endgame." Don't be shy. Get 'em up there. Nobody will judge you. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Exactly. With that said...
On the other hand, Justin and Kayla's expiration date may have come too soon, given the current storylines revolving around Ava, Tripp, and Allie. Had Justin and Kayla married, and Steve stuck around Salem, it would have created deeper, different drama. Tripp and Kayla's relationship would have brought her back into Steve's orbit, creating tension -- will she cheat or stay faithful to her husband? When Tripp was finally accused, the division between Steve and Kayla could have taken an even uglier turn.
The dramas! Steve asking Kayla's husband (not former fiancé) to represent his son (Justin's nephew via his marriage to Adrienne) would have had more of an impact. Plus, who would Steve have on his side? Would Ava have come forward earlier? I'm not saying the eventual "Stayla" reunion wouldn't have happened, but a little more "Jayla" time might have been interesting and, perhaps, given them better footing with DAYS fans.
Laurisa: Tripp and Allie's "He Said/ She Said"
According to FBI data, roughly five percent of rapes reported are false claims. The big caveat there is that claims where there isn't enough evidence to prove are often labeled as "false." So, that number could be a bit inflated. Even if we take it for what it is, that means 95% of women who report a rape have been proven to be telling the truth. Ninety. Five. Percent.
And while almost everyone in Salem believed Allie when she accused Tripp, we all knew it wasn't true. Tripp has too much history with the show for them to make this drastic of a character change happen off-screen. So, the truly terrible rumblings of "she was too drunk" and "someone raped her, but he didn't" started to rear their ugly heads.
It's worth repeating again here -- I despised the way Nicole led Allie to this memory. Perhaps it was foreshadowing of how the rape survivor would be treated by the rest of this storyline, because that move showed no concern for Allie's mental health.
Rather than siding with the victim, Allie came across more like the villain. Rather than seeing Allie work through this, we got scenes of Nicole peddling Allie's secret around town like Nicole was a lost extra from Newsies. And rather than feel for Kayla as she relived her own survival story, we felt bad that she was putting Steve in such a tough spot. While all of that is accurate to what we now know was Charlie and not Tripp raping Allie, the problem is this whole exercise is exactly what we need less of in the world.
Don't get me wrong -- now that Ava returned from the dead and brought back a never-before-heard-of son to the picture, the storyline has mercifully glided back into the realm of absurd. So, it's enjoyable again. However, early on, DAYS danced out this crazy dangerous "she was too drunk" excuse as a way to tell a story. The problem is that that very same sentiment is commonly used to discredit an entire section of our population. This is a dangerous monster. I wish DAYS hadn't fed it.
Tony: Bonnie's Back -- Terrific
While I attempt to avoid selecting similar Salemites or storylines for more than one category, Bonnie's level of suckage makes the perfect bookend for my final selection. Sure. I've Alex North-ed Bonnie a lot so far, but believe me, there's more to loathe about her in addition to the further victimization of her rape victim and the fact this softer, remorse-filled Bonnie hasn't even apologized to him for that. Let's look at the other suck she's instilled in Salem...
While helping Bonnie with her court case and, more so, forgiving her proved how utterly lovely Justin is, it also made him look a little sad, too. Bonnie is not Adrienne. Vegan "cheese" is not cheese. In that comparison, there's only one cheap imitation, as vegan cheese is rather expensive. Sorry, not sorry, Bonnie, but actually sorry, Justin. I want better for him. I want Adrienne back for him. That'll be the one use of *whispers* Resurrection by Wilhelm that I'd happily rally around and not complain about its redundancy as a plot device.
Speaking of Adrienne, Jennifer has had a huge problem with Bonnie because of what she did to one of her best friends. That's swell, Jenny Bear. Though, question. Why would sexual assault survivor Jennifer day drink with the woman who raped Lucas? That's puzzling, especially considering that Adrienne was one of Jennifer's besties, and Lucas, not only her brother, was in a serious relationship with the fair Ms. Johnson. I'd have more patience with Jenny drinking with the Big Bon Bon had that been addressed. As such, yep. Puzzling.
I'd be remiss to not mention that "remorseful" Bonnie straight-up played games with Justin that even school kids would call lame and immature. She needs to grow up, really. I can't cough up any sympathy for her, as she knows when she's making a bad decision and does so, anyway. To rely on a cutesy "I'm trying to be a better person" excuse while she's actively doing damaging deeds means nothing. Hmm. If she's serious about turning over a new leaf, maybe she should check out that convent in Italy for a year or ten. Just saying.
Okay. I could go on, but I won't. Between her ongoing grossness toward Lucas and every other sleazy thing in between, Bonnie simply needs to take her book, her big ol' hat, and her big ol' mouth and head herself straight out of Salem, y'all.
And there you have it! The year 2020 is officially in the soap books! Thank you all so much for joining us on this crazy ride. Tony will be back next week to kick off 2021 -- a.k.a. the year that is not 2020. We look forward to hearing from you all. (That's a fact!) Happy New Year!
Laurisa and Tony
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