If you needed another reason to adore Martha Madison, here's one. The Divine Ms. M-Squared recently Tweeted a quote from Socrates that seems fittingly brilliant as we dive into a new era of DAYS. Old Socs said:
"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new."
Yep. The dude knows what he's talking about, and I'm glad Ron Carlivati and his colleagues have their hammers in hand, building, well, rebuilding away. If last week was any indicator, the most recent DAYS do-over might make us "Love it!" again instead of "List it."
For starters, Ron's first official episode on July 19 flew by. In fact, the rest of the week did, too. I started each one on my DVR, and in no time, the end credits were rolling. It was refreshing. It's been a while since sitting through an episode of DAYS "Went by too fast!" instead of, "Oh, my God. It's only halfway through, and I got a page of notes bitching about things. Great."
Another major difference I noticed out of the gates is the show generally felt crisper. Scenes seemed to flow better. Dialogue was smoother, less repetitive, and left to run its course, not abruptly cut. The production value had a polished "primetime" feel. Even the actors seemed to shine more than normal, which indicates they're enjoying the new material and direction. The show felt tailored rather than patched together. There was simply a renewed sense. That was all refreshing, too.
I also found it refreshing that Ron didn't come in with a sledgehammer or sticks of dynamite. The past few reboots have blown up Salem (figuratively and literally on one occasion). They were a bit jarring. Ron's ease into DAYS makes me feel he'll have more solid footing. He doesn't seem to be erasing what was there; he's simply improving on it as he wraps things up and moves forward with his own vision.
Of course, one of the biggest obstacles Ron's facing is steering the DAYStanic away from the iceberg. The Higberg? Anyway. Not only do current -- let's say, "not spectacular" -- storylines need to be wrapped up, but his storylines need to be interwoven into the mix. During his first three days, we've seen the path to a Chad and Abigail reunion being carved, amping up vet screen time, the injection of some much-needed comedy mixed with all the drama, and a good use of the show's history (especially honoring Stefano's everlasting presence). It's a great start, but I'm eager for Ron to rid us of some clunkers to fully see what he can do with DAYS. Clunkers such as...
Tripp framing Kayla. This storyline needs a swift, merciful ending. We know as an audience that the "big reveal" will be Tripp discovering Joey fatally fluffed Ava's pillow. That's been the writing on the wall. All the stall tactics, Jades, and Nurse Shellys are just prolonging the inevitable, and it's not fun. It just feels like a waste of audience time and lazy storytelling. The Johnson house needs to implode and be rebuilt.
Also, let's find out who killed Deimos sooner rather than later, give that person a medal, and move on. Alive Deimos wasn't a major draw for most, so Dead Deimos certainly doesn't hold attention. Like, I really don't care who killed him. At. All. That person did most of us a favor.
As I see the end in sight for the Dario/Abigail/Chad/Gabi debacle and it seems to be wrapping up much better than it started, I'll move on to another mess...
Dead Dr. Dan. Call Ghostbusters because the dude needs to go. Seriously, there have been over a half dozen storylines spawned from his death, and none of them have worked. None. Of. Them. Add insult to the injury that Bo and Will get quarterly mentions and got the first ten minutes of episodes to hastily bury them, and it's time to call it. Dead Dr. Dude is exasperating, especially since "Dancole" were no "Bope" or "Wilson." They weren't even a "Bibbidi," "Bobbidi," or "Boo." Well, maybe a "Boo," but I digress.
Ultimately, it's been three days of improvement so far. I'm a bit of a realist when it comes to being overly optimistic. Last week was a solid start to a new DAYS. Will it last? Only time will tell, but just from the appetizers, my mouth is already watering for the main courses to come. Those "main courses" include a lot of amazing returns like Eileen Davidson, Alison Sweeney, Chandler Massey, Brandon Beemer, and, hello, Martha Madison! Granted, most of them returned at the beginning of the last reboot, but I have a feeling this one will work out better, as the town hasn't been blown up yet -- or torn apart by beloved characters' deaths on, say, what should have been a joyous celebration of DAYS. So there's that.
Breaking news: J.J. is moving out of his mother's house! I never thought this would happen as "A boy's best friend is his mother." Way to go, J-Pat! Maybe J.J. could inspire Brady to get his own place. Ha. Never mind. Brady will end up Grey Gardens-ing in the mansion.
More breaking news: John Black is back in Salem for good this time. If you need him, he'll be in Greece with Paul. Opa!
Seriously, though, I love the relationship between John and Paul. Drake Hogestyn and Christopher Sean genuinely sell it. More, please.
Right! Burying the lead. In Greece, John and Paul met up with Xander! He's back. I'm happy. Let's find a way to keep Paul Telfer around, okay, Ron? Anyways. I'm not convinced that Xander didn't journey to Salem to stab Deimos. I'm not even convinced that I didn't start a GoFundMe campaign to help Xander go to Salem to stab Deimos. In any event, I'm pretty sure that tape of Xander hanging out in his cell was either a recording or on a loop. That Greek police officer seemed shifty. Think, Agent Black. Think.
You go, Justin! He saved the Spectator for Adrienne and Jennifer. He's a swell guy, isn't he, Lucas?
It's been said that Anjelica doesn't have any more children. That makes me absolutely believe Anjelica has more children. Just who they turn out to be might be interesting.
Full disclosure: this Anjelica and Hattie team-up has me a tad anxious. It's not that Morgan Fairchild and Deidre Hall aren't hilarious together, because they sure were, like, epically hysterical, it's just that the caper they're trying to pull off seems a little out of their combined reach. Yes, I want Hattie to confront the hell out of Andre, but pulling the wool over John's eyes might be a stretch. Or if Hattie's successful, it may make Super Spy John look a little weak sauce. Hmm.
Oh, and Anjelica's "get" out of Hattie and Anjelica's Comedy Showcase is hopefully a reunion with Justin. You see, she's never loved another man like she loved him. Sure. Why not? He looks like Wally Kurth. I get that, Anj. Proceed.
Wait! Let's slow this roll for a second, actually. Hattie and Anjelica? A fun interlope as Ron's stories start to build. Sure! Hattie, Anjelica, and Bonnie Lockhart? Well, this trio has me concerned for purely selfish reasons. I don't fear the funny factor, as the show needs to lighten up a little at times (and replace the Horton sofa still), but Bonnie is simply one degree from Mimi, and after nearly two years of Dead Dr. Dan storylines and praising, I don't have steady enough nerves left to deal with Mimi's level of annoying should she return, too. Sincere apologizes to Mimi fans, but I just couldn't with that character. Bonnie without Mimi, I'll give it a whirl. If Bonnie ushers in Mimi's return, I will resume construction on my secret room that Kristen totally didn't give me the blueprints for last month when we met for espresso and window shopping.
It's official! Mama Hernandez knows about Rafe and Hope's engagement. The shocking part, you ask? She is happy for Rafe. If anyone else was surprised by that reaction, we're alike. And we're like Hope, who said, "I thought she wasn't a fan." It's a good thing for "Rope" that Adrianna had a change of heart -- and that Hope didn't understand Spanish before she did. Then again, that "Stay away from my son, bitch" vibe is kind of universal. Hope knew, but all's well that ends well, right?
Twist! Dario has a not-so-silent silent partner. Just who could this be!?
I totally don't think Chad killed Deimos. At. All. Kate is right. Dario's hacker dude would certainly know Photoshop. With that...
Does Abigail remember Sonny is her beloved cousin? Although I adore her gumption going after Dario and wanting to save Chad -- and Marci Miller has been flawless -- it seems like Sonny's going to be collateral damage to keep Chad a free man. That should make the holidays fun once Sonny gets out. He'll be like, "Hey, Abs, remember that time you could have cleared me of murder chargers but decided to sit on it to protect your ex? That. Pass the candied yams, beotch." So either Abigail is suffering a relapse of the mental issues she had when she left her family by faking her death, or she really is kind of a beotch. Either way, I want better for Abigail as her seeming lack of concern for Sonny is sticking out like a sore thumb amongst her general awesome upswing.
Gabi and J.J.'s comebacks of, "I danced with J.J./I danced with Gabi" sound a little innocent compared to "I made out with someone I'm secretly hot for," "I made out with the ex who accidentally killed my fiancé because I thought he was my fiancé's ghost," or "I renewed my wedding vows, pledged my love, and kissed my ex-spouse." They're coming off like the coworker who calls themselves an alcoholic because they're "so bad" -- they had two white wine spritzers at last year's holiday party. Right. Stay in your lane, kiddies, and call me when you can keep up with Ke$ha.
Cheers to the entire cast and crew of DAYS as well as loyal fans who stuck by the past few years! We made it through the darkness and are back into the light. Let's raise a gold-rimmed glass of something bubbly and wish Ron Carlivati and his colleagues the best of luck as they navigate us back to Must-See TV. Mazel tov!
In celebration of a new era of DAYS, this week's "NOT" will be preempted because, well, let's face it, the past few years of Two Scoops have basically been giant NOTS. Don't worry, though. Neither Laurisa nor I is going soft for long. A Two Scoops-sized, snark-filled NOT will return next week at its regularly scheduled place and time. Until then, enjoy Higley not ruining your favorite character and go have some chow-duh at the pub!
LINE(S) OF THE WEEK
Andre (to Abigail): "What you're saying is that you need an expert computer hacker. Why would I know anybody like that? [pause] Because I do!"
Kate (to Lucas and Chad, regarding the person who hacked Countess W): "I need a pick me up. Let the revenge start!"
EXCHANGE OF THE WEEK
Claire: "You didn't seem too upset by what I did."
Marlena: "I raised Sami."
DAYS TWO SCOOPS SUMMER SERIES
Last month, Laurisa and I gushed about some of our favorite Salemites that helped us get through the past few rather dismal years of DAYS during the premiere of this year's "Summer of Sunshine." For part two, we're tackling some of the places we'd like to run and hide in during said dismal DAYS. These places brought -- or generally brought -- smiles to our faces. Join us as we go "Walkin' on the sun!"
Ironically, in the "Summer of Sunshine" series (part two), we talk about Rafe having magical powers to create ever-expanding homes, but I think Dario has the same skills, too. His office seemed to grow a corner for Abigail and Theo to hide around last week! The Hernandez brothers would make a killing secretly expanding New York City apartments for people. Watch out, Property Brothers!
Then again, Dario might not be available for ten to twenty. And Rafe might be busy for a while, looking up the meaning of "proud." Whoops.
Spidey Senses are tingling. Does Victor have something to do with Deimos' death? It's starting to appear that way. Maybe.
Truth! Nearly every line from Anjelica and Hattie's scenes could have been listed as "LINES/EXCHANGES OF THE WEEK." Morgan and Dee were super.
Watch out, Anderson Cooper. There's a new silver fox in town. #John
Thaao Penghlis was brilliant at the beginning of Thursday's episode. His entire scene had a very Shakespearian vibe to it as Andre spoke of Stefano. Well played, sir.
I'm not mad at Steve; rather, I'm disappointed. His "Botox" blow to Anjelica seemed a little under the belt. More so, unclassy. He's better than that, even when defending his sister to a crazy pants. Go high when they go low, Patch Man!
You can tell that Greek police officer wasn't that important. His office wasn't the blue one.
Jordi Vilasuso was on fire last week! Sinister Dario is a lot more interesting than pouty, whiny Dario.
Eli and Lani are lucky. If I ran into someone and spilled coffee on them, they'd probably be all, "Watch it, idiot!" instead of giving me googly eyes. Another reason soap life is better than realty.
Yep. Thomas gets it. Did anyone else notice the looks he gave Andre and Kate? Smart kid. Though I'd probably be a horrible parent, as I'd still let Andre and Kate babysit nonetheless.
Ha! Someone called 9-1-1 because the pub ran out of chowder. Carlivati made it a joke. Higley would have had Eric drunk drive, kill all the clams in the world, and no one would ever have chowder again.
I liked Valerie's bell-sleeved blouse. Swanky, Ms. Grant. Swanky.
Actually, Salem fashion was fun last week! Floral prints were the rage. Work it, ladies.
You know John means business when he breaks out the, "That's a fact."
Hearing Theo say "Uncle Andre" took me off guard for a second. I'm not sure why. I have it narrowed down, I think. It was either the respect for Andre's role in the family or that Andre has been Theo's uncle, cousin, second cousin, maybe brother in a parallel dimension, and I'm pretty sure niece at one point. Oh, soap family trees.
Speaking of Theo, he and Chad have a weekly chess match. I feel like I did know this but maybe didn't at the same time. Either way, more Theo and Chad time is a plus in my book.
Ding, ding! We have a winner. Marlena mentioned there will be a monthly girl's night out for Salem's little Sex and the City foursome of Mar, Kate, Kayla, and Val. This is also a plus in my book.
Well, damn it, O.J. Simpson's still preempting DAYS. What is this, the '90s? As if.
So, friends and fellow DAYS fans, that's Two Scoops for the week of July 24! If you hear clanging, that's because Laurisa has bells on, ready to Two Scoop next week. And it's been a while since we've both looked fully forward to Two Scooping, and "That's a fact!"
As always, thanks for reading!
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