Last week wasn't the show's anniversary. Nor was it the kickoff to a Sweeps month. Yet, with nearly ten hours of accumulated airtime, it was certainly a celebration of all things DAYS, and this Two Scooper couldn't be more smitten with all the entertainment if I tried.
The show itself saw a solid week, and Beyond Salem was simply DAYS at its best. It was a tremendous throwback to the "Big Hair" era of action and adventure, love in the afternoon, campiness and corniness balanced with exactly the right amount of heart and self-awareness, and everything soapy in between, but with a modern twist. It was fun and exciting. It was nostalgic yet fresh. It was all that fabulousness, plus the week ended with Sweet Bits finally opening so we can have pastries while watching all the drama in the square and the return of the marvelous Marci Miller as Abigail. Say it with me, "Yes, please!"
Like, I'm honestly trying to wrap my head around the abundance of love Team DAYS put into last week. It was clear the actors were having a great time going "beyond Salem." Smiles were barely contained at times. It was pure joy to watch the fun they were having with the scripts. And "fun" really is the key word here. We're living in a time where the real world continues to be a daunting place at times, so to be swept away to a safe space for an hour (or ten) with characters we adore played by actors we adore even more, well, it was pure magic.
It was also clear from those scripts that Ron Carlivati and his team love what they do. If that wasn't clear already, of course. The episodes were dripping with adoration for the characters, the actors, and the fans. You could tell Ron was proudly holding Beyond Salem up Simba-style over his head while everyone eagerly celebrated the undertaking.
The special is also totally trending, and I'm thrilled for their success. Ron and his writing team, including the ever-awesome Ryan Quan and the talented newest addition Jamey Giddens (whose love for all things soaps is legendary) deserve all the accolades. I also hope this streaming excursion brings people to the everyday party devoted DAYS fans have been privy to all along. The Salem-verse is a wonderful place, everyone -- dive in! We long-timers will help you navigate.
The deep dives into the history books had me grinning like a fool the entire time I watched. Hearing names like Faversham, Von Leuschner, and, of course, Alamain inspired many exclamations of, "Oh, my God!" As did the mentions of storylines like the "Virtual Garden of Eden" and the Princess Gina saga, and even memories of Maison Blanche were recalled as Billie spoke of her friendship with Kristen and Jennifer.
Yet Beyond Salem was more about the journey, than the destination. The plot was simple but effective. Six gemstones were stolen from a museum. The good, the bad, and the ugly fought to gather them all first. But that's the simple version. The complex one is this...
There once was a golden statue dripping with gemstones called the "Alamainian Peacock." The stones were swiped in 1991 from a museum in the Kingdom of Alamainia by Hope, who was Princess Gina-ing at the time. So, yeah, the entire saga was set off by Stefano, who was controlling Hope, in the land of Vivian and Lawrence. That's not a bad start (and a nice nod to the Phoenix and Fancy Face).
After that, we journeyed to the present and caught up with our various groups of globetrotting Salemites. It turns out the gems were desired by both the Alamain family and the Von Leuschners (yes, like Carly and Frankie)! Both clans believed they belonged to them. Twist! The golden peacock was also updated with digital magic. Once the gems were returned, it would communicate with a satellite, which could set off laser beams to destroy cities across the world, including Salem! It was controlled, of course, by a peacock app. Amazing!
The plan was thwarted by not only our heroic Salemites like Billie, Shane, John, and Marlena, but by Leo Stark (yes, that Leo!), who couldn't keep his paws off the real emerald, which meant the laser couldn't function. He sort of saved the DAYS-verse. Okay. I'm not doing any of this amazingness justice. You had to be there. So, go! Seriously. Don't wait. Watch it now if you haven't started already. Or watch again.
Anyway. I'm like a dog off a leash. Blissfully barking and wagging about everything that appeared on-screen. Let's try to hit some more highlights before we land back in Salem.
Let's talk that opening! Well. Openings. Plural. First, we had a spin on the original hourglass credits. Deidre Hall echoed Macdonald Carey's famous lines, the music was a little jauntier, and gemstones sifted down amongst the sand. It was the perfect twist on the original. Kind of like making your Cosmo with tart cherry juice instead of cranberry, but I digress. It was delicious, and having Deidre ushering in the special made it, well, special.
The subsequent title sequence was like a marriage of the second Sunset Beach intro and a blues-like Melrose Place tune, with a red and yellow Baywatch speedboat zooming through for a cameo. I only wish they'd ended with a shot of Steve playing his harmonica before fading to black with one of his laughs. Maybe next time.
All the reunions were made of warm and fuzzy! I really can't pick one (or even ten) that were the best. They all made me gush and exclaim, "Aw!" The combo of seeing old faces and watching characters (and actors) reunite on-screen made me misty several times.
Okay, reuniting with Eileen Davidson's "Sister Mary Moira" and Kristen (KRISTEN!) was a major highlight. Please note, I don't mean that in any way, shape, or form as a diss to Stacy Haiduk, who is absolutely fabulous in the role, but Eileen's version holds a very special place in my DAYS-loving heart. We go back years. Simply seeing her step into those stilettos one more time engulfed me in said warm and fuzzy feelings. Love. Her.
Since we're talking reunions, Adrienne Frantz (and her real-life hubby Scott Bailey) appeared as super horny Sophie Faversham. To me, Adrienne will always be the first Tiffany Thorne on Sunset Beach. Seeing her on-screen again was such a fun blast from the past. Oh, Tiff, you've come a long way from stealing backpacks on the pier.
In other reunion goodness, I was so excited to see Christie Clark and Austin Peck. She's like the cool older cousin you don't get to see a lot but who makes your day when you do. Austin is just hysterical. I feel bad that I never noticed his humor the first time around, but every time we catch up with him now, he keeps me in stitches.
It was great to see Chandler Massey again, too! I missed that man. And Zach Tinker was a terrific recast! I immediately found that he captured Sonny's inherent sweetness perfectly. I sincerely hope we see more of him in the role!
The great Greg Rikaart didn't miss a beat, stepping back into Leo's lecherous loafers! He is just too much in the best-worst way possible. Leo also certainly led us to lands we didn't expect to see -- Chad and "Wilson" in drag!? Hilarious.
Of course, Lisa Rinna rocked her return as Billie. The fun she was having was infectious. It was nice to see Billie in a storyline where being Bo's second choice wasn't a thing. Sure, her luck with ISA partner Kyle Graham (actually Demetri Von Leuschner) didn't end well, but she got a date with a handsome lord who invited her to his castle, so things are looking up. Also, I adored her line, "It's not worth the paperwork." Indeed, Billie. Indeed.
Charles Shaughnessy appearing as Shane and Drew was a double treat! Is there ever enough Shaughnessy? The answer is "No. There's not."
Let's gush for a moment about the regular characters that appeared on the special! Marlena and John were as magical as ever. Tony and Anna enchanted and entertained like only they can, with Anna nearly stealing the show with her hilarity. I adored that Abe got some down time in Miami with Paulina (and her house!). Eli and Lani kind of rule. They're turning into relationship goals. They're best friends and lovers, and they can kick some major bad guy booty, all the while doing it with style and humor. CIN sizzled! And, of course, Chad visited Sonny and Will in Arizona...
While I wish I had the word count to go on about every actor who shined (and they all sincerely did), I probably added a few laugh lines to my face because of Billy Flynn's performances. He was simply the best. He brought the laughs and the heart. Seriously, the love for his job and the people around hm is so clear. It's heartwarming. And that's such a gift for viewers.
All in all, Beyond Salem was like a group hug for everyone that DAYS has touched over the years, yet there was also a promise that we haven't seen the last of the good times. In fact, in addition to hoping we see more content like Beyond, I'm holding Chad and "Wilson" to their pledge of more "Bro Weekends." Again, "Yes, please!"
And just when I thought I couldn't love Beyond Salem more, the ending with all the pictures was, well, picture perfect. I'm fully confident in saying life was imitating art as those smiles were dripping with love for one another. And I couldn't love it more!
A little more praise for Carlivati and company? Sure! I love that Doug and Julie are getting a front and center storyline again. Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes are, well, legends. They deserve the spotlight to showcase their talents. Their enduring passion for their craft is inspiring, to say the least.
That said, my threshold of sad has been reached for the year since January. I'm super nervous as to where this storyline might be headed. I'm going to join Julie in Denial Land for as long as I can. I have also already acquired a case of Kleenex and crammed tons of comfort food into the pantry. I'm not ready for this, damn it, but I will be prepared.
The "where this might be headed" seems to be a dementia storyline. DAYS does tackle real-world issues frequently. This might be the case. They also did a similar storyline, though largely off-screen, with Caroline. I'm still recovering from that.
Still, Ron loves to trick audiences and pull from the history books. Is Doug's recent forgetfulness because of a disease, or does he have a case of the doppelgängers? Once upon a time ago in the late '70s, Doug did have a look-alike named Byron Carmichael. Has he returned from the great soap beyond with a vengeance? Is the real Doug locked up somewhere with Sami? And what would Byron want!? Yep. I have so many questions, and that's what led me to debate the direction of this storyline. Ron loves twins, revisiting storylines, and major twists. So, dementia or doppelgänger?
I'm cheering that Chloe lowered the boom on Brady and Philip's chauvinistic malarkey. She. Is. Done. With. It. So are we, Chlomiester! So are we. I hope the writers continue in this direction of wokeness, and I wouldn't blame Chloe if she directed herself away from both of these fellas. Heck, even a former serial killer comprehends that relationships should only survive on equal footing. Brady. Philip. You guys need to grow up and take notes from gents like John, Doug, and Ben on how to respectfully treat the significant other in your life...even if you're both stuck on the same significant other.
Speaking of "CIN," while on their way to New Orleans, they had a bit of a chat about babies. They put a pin in it for now, but during their talk, did anybody else find it foreboding that Ciara said, "as long as you're the father." The "you're" stuck out to me. Maybe I've been watching soaps so long that everything becomes suspicious, but when it comes to paternity in Salem, you never, ever know.
Oof. Well. In the spirit of Billie's words, at least with the wedding not happening, Justin was saved a mountain of divorce paperwork. There's that. Right, bud? Soap gods bless his big heart that he thought the Big Bon Bon had changed, but, yeah, well, we all saw this coming. Bonnie's always been a walking red flag. Sorry, Dimples.
Asking for a friend, is it too soon to throw a "Goodbye Bonnie!" party? I mean, another one, since apparently Victor didn't invite us to his personal celebration of her downfall. In lieu of gifts, donations can be made to the "Find Adrienne Fund." She must be out there somewhere, right?
Still, I count my soap blessings. While Adrienne is one of my all-time favorite characters and Bonnie is, well, Bonnie, we get to watch the tremendously talented Judi Evans. She never ceases to amaze me, regardless of the character she's playing. I've been in total awe of her since 1986!
I love Abe. I love Paulina. I'm not in love with them talking about marriage, though. It not only seems too soon, but I'm already heartbroken for Abe. There's no scenario where his heart doesn't get broken then stomped on then shattered and dragged across a glass-covered floor Die Hard-style by the secret she's holding. He'll lose his lover, daughter, grandkids, and access to that amazing Miami mansion all in one bombshell. That's a lot of beachfront property loss. Whoops. I mean. The loss of a lot of loved ones.
Sure, Abe will go on loving them, but it'll change. Auntie P should spare him and give him a sharp Harry and the Hendersons sendoff, but I don't think she's selfless enough to let him go. Then again, I can't blame her. Abe's a good man. So, Mr. Mayor, it looks like I'm going to have to share my Kleenex and comfort food-filled pantry with you and Justin soon enough. I'll make you a Netflix profile, too, and start adding breakup movies to your queue.
Call it a hunch, but I strongly suspect we haven't heard the last of Allie's friend "Katie from High School." Her name's been brought up a lot. That's usually a sign. Maybe she's merely an example of Johnny's player past. Maybe. Still, if "Katie from High School" strolls into Salem with a little Giovanni (or Giovanna) in a stroller, I'd say we've all been warned.
My feeling, at the moment, on the entire Johnny, Chanel, Allie, and Trip quad is pretty much, look, I'm here for the pastry samples. I like you all. It's delicious drama. Figure it out and keep the sweet bits coming in the meantime, as I'm famished from my flights.
Gwen. Gwenny. Gwendolyn. Just tell Jack already. Stop stalling. The quicker you tell him, the quicker he kicks you out, and the quicker you can go stay with Xander because you "haven't got anywhere else to go." I'd say that's a helluva consolation prize. Plus, Xanimal may get back in Jack's good-ish graces and can help rebuild the bridge...again.
I enjoyed Chad reminiscing about his sports website, the coffee shop, and the club. More so, yes, Chad! Following passions is how we learn and grow. Keep on preaching the good word, my friend. Also, maybe take E.J. on a spin around a racetrack for old time's sake. It may remind him of his wilder days when he was more like Johnny. He might even crack a smile.
Meanwhile, we're not exactly done traveling with at least one of our favorite Salemites. Chad went to Boston to see Abigail! After such an incredible week, seeing Marci back on-screen was the perfect cherry to this soap sundae. Welcome back, Ms. Miller! I'm looking forward to more "Chabby" adventures and to see Abby's reactions if Chad shows her pictures from his trip to Phoenix.
Thank you and congratulations to everyone at Team DAYS! Just when fans thought the show couldn't get more fabulous, you went beyond. Cheers to more wonderful weekdays in Salem, and the occasional excellent adventure!
It's a total miss that Austin didn't get to perform in drag and use the name "Austintatious."
LINE OF THE WEEK
Anna (to Tony): "Stop being calm. It's totally inappropriate."
EXCHANGE OF THE WEEK
E.J.: "Who the hell are you?"
Gwen: "I'm Gwen."
E.J.: "I don't care."
Chloe said of Brady and Philip's chauvinistic tactics, "You're laughing at me, not with me," and "It stopped being funny two decades ago." Preach, Reverend Chlomiester. Preach!
Okay. I'm disappointed in myself. It took going Beyond Salem for me to remember that Anna is Noah's grandmother. She's Nana Anna! And Kate's the other grandma. He is set.
Leo stating that the lack of jewels "makes it look like all other peacock statues" was amazing. Though most of his color commentary was.
I blame Austin. He didn't give Anna a budget. I'd say half a million Euros was fair in that case.
Okay. One nitpick. There is no way I believe that Billie is that far out of the Salem gossip circle. Her mother is Kate, and she has several siblings still in town. Still, if she is, maybe she should come home for the next long weekend and catch up with her kin.
Maybe two nitpicks. Austin and Greta are both decades older than CIN. How drunk did the ISA think these partygoers would be?
After all these years, John calling Carrie "Pumpkin" still gives me that above mentioned warm and fuzzy feeling.
I'm with Ben. I'd be calling it the "purple pin," too. My knowledge of gemstones is basically "Oh, that's shiny!" "The necklace Old Rose threw in the ocean." "Like Jem's earrings!?" And the "Infinity Stones." I guess I can now add peacock rocks to that list. Woot!
Shawn's natural impulse to roll his eyes at the mere mention of Philip's name is everything.
Then again, Belle didn't hold back, either, when she called him "an idiot" amongst other things as Philip rage-emailed Brady. At this point, he kind of deserves to get duped by Boris and Natasha. I mean Jake and Gabi.
Wowza. I can't believe it's been ten years since Abe lost Lexie. I miss her, too, Mr. Mayor.
If Tony would turn out to be Greta's father, and the princess returned with hopes to reignite things with Austin, that would mean Tony's daughter and Anna's would be fighting over a man. This might be another spinoff idea! Drama in DiMera Land, perhaps.
I especially enjoyed the quick reunion between Billie and Chad. I'd almost forgotten about their Countess W connection. Again, more warm, fuzzy memories.
"Go out more and have fun" really is great advice for "Wilson." I think the last time Will went to a gay club was Unicorn Highway back when he was trying to figure things out. Sonny owned a club, if that counts. Yep. These two should celebrate life more often. They deserve it. I also hope we get to witness the fun!
Was I the only one waiting for a Phantom of the Opera-like crescendo when "Lot 36" was announced?
Steve and Kayla's stolen moment of sweetness was a much-needed palate cleanser to all the chaos. More, please!
It was nice to see Brady and Nicole being besties commiserating and sharing ice cream.
I mean, yes, Ben deserves that shade from Shane, but that did look like it stung. RIP, Paige.
Okay. We've found it! The one thing we can all agree with Gwen on -- Doug is good people. There. Whew. I knew we'd all reach common footing sooner or later. Though I'm super jealous she gets to share midnight pints with the charming Mr. Williams, while I get to sip day-old coffee and talk to a life-sized cardboard cutout of our boss in the Two Scoops breakroom. I swear, the eyes follow you wherever you go. Anyway...
It's so bizarre to remember E.J. is half Banks. That side of the family is a bit, um, zany. He is not.
Now that we've caught up with Will, know what's what with Johnny, and all things Allie are on the table, when do we get to reunite with Sydney!?
Xander said, "A million dollars is a lovely thing to look at." I'm sure it is, my friend. It's probably similar to the feeling I get when I look at my jar of laundry day quarters.
Sonny sneaked in the white pants one more time before Labor Day was over. Yes. Clothing etiquette should still be a thing. Nicely played, Sonny D.
"I guess that would make it the Miami sound machine." Yes, Eli. Yes. All things yes. Hysterical. I adore you and would do anything for you.
Jack said, "Cool off." He was a few ice puns away from beating Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin. Chill, everyone. I meant that as a compliment.
One can say a lot about Bonnie, and you'd probably be right, but she's certainly not slow at getting gussied up for her wedding! I didn't know a bride could get ready THAT quickly. It must have been Kayla's help. That's it.
Speaking of Kayla and dresses, I loved her blue wedding wear. Very chic, Sweetness.
It's sort of sad that hearing, "You're not a terrible person, Xander," is a compliment to him.
Eli wins the most adorable dad contest by calling Jules "Salem's Angel" and Carver "CC," short for "cute and cuddly." Though, "Elani's" love for their babies is generally super adorbs.
Shawn comes in a close second in that dad contest. The way his eyes light up when he talks about Claire is sweet. And if the second-place dad gets mozzarella sticks as a prize, that's not a bad thing.
There was a lot of name-dropping on Beyond Salem! A Gloria Estefan cameo would have been fun, though Auntie P versus Rosie O'Donnell would have been a blast.
I'm not going to lie; a Vivian cameo would have also been incredible. Again, maybe next time.
Do people actually confuse Roman and John "all the time"? I can see people calling John "Roman," since he was for a time, but why would people call Roman "John" unless they're trying to be mean and make Roman remember he's not Mr. Mar Mar Evans. That one had me confused.
Billie stating to Kristen, "I love you, but this behavior is not okay with me," was epic.
A half-shaved Xander slayed me, but I was done when he asked, "You guys don't exfoliate?" If loving this guy is wrong, I don't want to be right.
I don't know why Kayla speaking her texts was so adorable, but it was.
It's beyond fair that weddings make Justin nervous.
While I give him points for self-awareness, when E.J. said, "I'm just in a mood," my immediate reply was an exasperated, "We've noticed."
I did not laugh at all when Xander and Gwen were not trying to chuckle then eventually cracked up over Julie's time as a Juliesicle. Nope. I didn't. Not even a lot. Well. Maybe a smidge. Maybe.
I'm a bit surprised the ISA kept the gemstones in a dime bag.
Yes, Eej. He is "cool, fun Uncle Chad." And you can be cool and fun, too.
Since Will spent large chunks of his life with Carrie and Austin, it's weird we never hear them speak of each other or visit.
I hope the next time DAYS goes Beyond Salem, Xander gets to tag along.
If I visited Auntie P's mansion on Star Island, I don't think I'd ever want to go back to Salem. That place was beautiful!
One must really replay Will and Leo's back-and-forth during the last episode of Beyond Salem. Their banter was hilarious. From Will's zingers about taste to Leo calling Wilson "Bert and Ernie," I was nearly on the floor.
Reformed or not, somewhere in South Africa, Claire spontaneously screamed when Ciara gushed about pretending to be a princess.
I love that Jake is "PA Proud!" Pennsylvania is my home state, too. Let's go red things up then grab some hoagies, yinz guys!
So, friends and fellow DAYS fans, that's it for September 13. As I've been to the Kingdom of Alamainia, to Arizona, down to Miami then around to New Orleans and Zurich, and back to Salem, I'm not sure which time zone I'm in anymore. So, while I recalibrate and unpack, Laurisa will arrive next week with an all new Two Scoops and some free samples from Sweet Bits! As always, thank you for reading, and "That's a fact."
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