Groundhog Day

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What storylines are you tired of seeing? Which ones would you see over and over again? Tony and Laurisa discuss it all in this special Olympic-break edition of DAYS Two Scoops.

The column that dropped on Valentine's Day 2022 dealt with love in Salem. Well, while we're still on the February Olympic hiatus, we thought we'd observe another of the fine February holidays -- Groundhog Day with Punxsutawney Phil.

This is the February holiday where we wait (im?)patiently to see what a rodent will do with the rest of our winter. Some may say we're doomed to repeat our past. Others would say, "Bring it on! We love winter!" (Note -- I'm one of the latter people. Sorrynotsorry, I love the snow!)

Either way, this column is dedicated to those storylines we think the groundhog would see his shadow on and those he looks forward to seeing again each year.

Things we're tired of repeating (Yup, Phil saw his shadow here)

1. Who's the daddy?
Yes, this was a staple in soap history. However, with all the development in the medical and health care field, this plot device seems entirely silly in today's age. First, birth control is much more available to both men and women. Insurance covers it, and there's less shame about buying it over the counter. It's taboo for people not to have it.

Second, fetal care is much more advanced now. In most cases, paternity can be determined via a non-invasive blood test. So, there's no need for the protesting of drawing amniotic fluid or waiting until the baby is born.

2. Character masks
Kristen is crazy enough to think using the Nicole mask to get close to Brady is a good idea. Though, as soon as Kristen lured Brady that way, this campy element went very dark -- and preposterously silly. Masks with voice-altering technology for fooling casual acquaintances or friends in public places? Sure. But it's hard to believe that this magical mask can come in any version and magically transforms every element of your physique, including height and weight.

Additionally, it lets characters be lazy. Why bother to dig up blackmail when you can just pull a mask out of a bag? This reminds us of when Michael Scott's improv teacher on The Office had to make the "no gun" rule. As soon as that's brought into the mix, the storyline stalls.

Finally, its prevalence has been so great in recent years that other characters look absolutely stupid when they don't ask this question immediately. Xander should have known right away that it wasn't Sarah. Jake, yeah, you probably should have figured Kate wouldn't make such an (excuse the pun) about-face.

3. Revictimizing sexual assault survivors
This isn't so much a storyline in itself as much as it is a proof point/insult used in other storylines. And it needs to stop. It's grown terribly putrid in today's era where we are trying to push the norm to believe women, or at least not tease them for being sexually assaulted.

First, Nicole never ever needs to be made fun of for "her" porn star past. Nicole's father drugged her as a child and forced her to make an adult movie. This is child abuse, sexual assault, child pornography, sex trafficking...do we need to add more to that list?

Second, people need to shut down the criticism of Sami for having twins from different fathers. E.J. had a gun to Sami that night. This wasn't a case of Sami sleeping with two men because she's too ditzy to remember who she was dating at the time. Oh, and she was trying to (and did!) save Lucas' life.

4. Out-of-character behavior
We can handle a retcon or two. That's a soap stable, especially when it comes to ages and timelines, but we'd rather DAYS start to focus on blank slates rather than bending an established character just to add a twist to a storyline. We see this on the daily with such head-scratchers as Maggie becoming a mogul (or the entire Summer the Bummer saga) and the dumbing down of characters to prolong a plot (Steve becomes a Bonnie {!!!} fan, Xander has no idea that "Sarah" could be Kristen in a mask when he worked for Kristen while she was in a mask).

Or even Jordan Ridgeway's last few stints in Salem. They were a far cry from the meek-turned-formidable Tammy Sue we could root for. We liked Arthur the Cat's mom, Jordan 1.0, just fine, please and thank you.

Of course, returning characters don't escape the OOC issues, either. Another example? Sure! Instead of having a character like Diana Colville turn into the cold, calculating (and a little crazed) Diana Cooper, maybe create a new character that's cold, calculating (and a little crazed) or bring back one that has always been known to be the aforementioned C's. Bending a likeable and/or balanced character to fit a short-term narrative has long-lasting effects. That's why so many fans have issues with the old "OOC!"

Instead, bring back some blank slates! There's an entire "Tommy Horton Jr." branch of the family tree to re-explore. Benjy Hawk's DiMera linage would surely leave a mark, as would Tyler Kiriakis coming back. Speaking of, Sonny is seriously his parents' favorite, but he still has three brothers that we hardly know. Folks like Joy Wesley, J.T. Reiber, Harold Wentworth, Morgan Hollingsworth, or even Mia McCormick, to name a very few, could add some freshness to storylines without changing things we already know or changing an already known character into someone we don't recognize.

DAYS has such a rich history, and the current writing regime is amazing at mining it. So, we say stick to that and stick a pin in changing personalities as a plot point.

5. Back from the deads (At least, put them on the backburner)
We're thankful DAYS has slowed down with this, but, like selecting bed linens or wine, one has to be extremely choosy about when to bring a character back from the dead. Killing off a character to shock us only to revive them a few months later is lame. Having a literal warehouse full of them and showing us who they are is just irresponsible behavior. While a GOOD resurrection can revive a storyline or character that was gone too soon, it's been used too much in Salem to have an impact of a death.

Furthermore, it stings all the more when a should-be-resurrected character, say, like Adrienne, still remains dead and gone. We're conditioned to believe these folks will rise again. When they don't, we feel like the rules of the game changed.

We're all for back-from-the-dead, but we need this one treated with caution and restraint. In turn, this also means to think through the real ramifications of killing characters off. They should mean something, rather than just thinking that there's always a Dr. Rolfe loophole in case things don't work out storyline-wise

Storylines we'll do again and again (Phil sees spring!)

1. Framed for a crime
Nothing is juicier than when the audience is in on the crime from the beginning and we're watching our beloved characters put it together. If it's someone we know is innocent right away, we usually get Black Patch on the case, some awesome Detective Shawn Brady work, and Marlena in all her doc excellence.

If it's someone who could have done it, and probably deserves to pay for something, anyway, we're in for a grand rescue scene. Lucas and Ciara rushing in to save Sami and Ben, respectively, from execution on death row were fantastically soapy.

Plus, this usually means we get a bonus helping of another favorite scene -- trials! We'll always take Belle, E.J., or Justin in lawyer mode. A dirty judge that leans into another umbrella storyline. And there's always on-the-stand drama.

2. Whodunit? (...to one who had it coming!)
Charlie Dale, Deimos Kiriakis, Duke the Bear...what do they all have in common? We were ready to see them go. Usually when this happens, the killer has a way out of it, too. Jan was, well, Jan. Nicole was drugged. Ava was doing the Lord's work. You get it.

We love seeing our characters band together to solve a mystery. When we don't know who the killer is, there's never a shortage of suspects! It's fascinating to work through the crime with them. And the end result is always satisfying -- we lost some dead weight and had fun doing it!

3. Holidays
The Horton Christmas and reading at the hospital is a long-held tradition. The Brady family Fourth of July made appearances here and there over the years. And Ron has well established Halloween as must-see-DAYS TV. Let's keep these going! Can we find out how the DiMeras feel about Easter? The Kiriakis family was made for New Year's Eve. And, for the love of all things, Brady Pub is ready for a St. Patrick's Day celebration?

They bring characters back to the canvas, or at least give us updates about them. We get group scenes and sets that we love to see again and again. Finally, this is the biggest element that connects us to our friends in Salem. We spend every day with them. It's nice every once in a while to see them doing the same things we are -- even if it's just hanging up ornaments on a tree.

4. Ancient family secrets
We jump up and cheer when writers reach back to DAYS lore and craft a storyline from it. Hidden paternity secrets (Bo and Victor) and family medical histories (Abigail's DID) all are fertile fields for storytelling. In the beginning, at least, the first part of the Possession: Repossessed! was amazing!

Looking forward, we know there's a child still out there from Tony's two decades on DiMera Island. Or maybe some Salemites could revisit the Island of Ernesto Toscano or track down Alice's secret bank account. We're also sure the tunnels under Salem still hold more secrets. Oh, you know Stefano had a secret base filled with his files of secrets just ready to be dug up. Let Black Patch and the Spectator dig into some cold cases! Abigail could discover the works of "Norm De Plume" and publish them, not knowing they're the words of her very own great-grandfather (and her son's namesake), Tom. Maybe Calliope Jones could return and get some help tracking down Eugene Bradford from space and time. Now that Salem time jumps, has a multiverse with TWO Kristens, and has streaming specials, anything is possible!

5. Unlikely Alliances
There are friendships and forged families in Salem that make us happy! Jack and Xander are one. Kate, Sami, and Gabi ganging up to be bosses is also a brilliant showing. We lived for the moment Anna told Abigail that Gwen was up to no good. Nicole and Abe scenes will never not make our hearts happy. Ben should go to battle for Marlena's soul, as she's saved his time and again. So much of soaps is about blood and romantic love. Let's hear more from the groups who have neither but stand the test of time, anyway!

6. DAYSaster-Like Events
Yes, it's a bonus entry. But it seems fitting, since there's always more DAYS good than bad these days!

The current writing team is amazing at the umbrella storytelling! They seamlessly weave several small plots together into these huge, encompassing events, but we also like big events to start with like a DAYSaster, or a Loretta sinking. We know budgets are tight, but we also know how brilliantly the blast at CIN's first wedding was handled. So, we have faith the crew can create big on a budget.

That's all for this week, DAYS fans! Thanks to those of you who stuck around during these very special columns. We may miss our friends in Salem, but we're glad we could still gather at Soap Central here! (See #5 above!)

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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.

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