I have a busy life right now. Two small kids, two jobs, one husband, and one house that still doesn't manage to clean itself, no matter how many times I order Alexa to do so! (Ugh, technology. Amiright?) So, I often write as much of my column on Thursday night as possible and then just pepper in the things that happen on Friday.
That is unless Friday's episode is so stellar that I have to tear up the column I'd written and start over. That happened this week. But I'm not upset at all. If we keep getting a bingo card of soap staples (doppelgängers, amnesia, and wedding interruptions, oh my!) each Friday, I'll be a happy scooper. I'll have no time to sleep, but I'll be a happy scooper. Let's go down the list to discuss all the soap gems we got this week!
As far as doppelgängers go, Bonnie's return felt incredibly forced. I have a feeling it's to get Mimi back to Salem, but we'll see. Despite producing some always-welcome Steve and Adrienne scenes, Bonnie burned through any amount of credit she had last time. I adore Judi Evans, but the mere sight of Bonnie exhausts me. I should automatically be sent two cookies and a Diet Coke just to get through an episode with the Bonster. I hope there's something more to it.
Doppelgängers number two showed up, and not reading regular spoilers, I wasn't ready for it. NuSusan is played by soap vet Stacy Haiduk. She is talented and lovely and deserving of oodles of credit for stepping into Eileen Davidson's...err...teeth for this role.
However, boy, she drew a rough assignment. Susan Banks is pretty much a caricature herself. So, it's hard to see any other actress doing anything but an impersonation of Eileen. (That's hardly a criticism, as Eileen is a beast and worth emulation.) But it's hard not to compare the accent, tone, and cadence of her speech to Eileen. She reminded me more of Lily Tomlin in Big Business.
But then the teeth came out, and Stacy got to sink her claws into a back-from-the-dead Kristen. This is the money role. Kristin's debut this time was so fabulously soapy and on point, I was sucked in immediately. I didn't have time to worry about how I felt about a different actress in the role because I was too distracted by the character saying the things that have been hovering out there for years. This is the payoff for the "never found the body" aspect of Marlena and Kristen's last confrontation. I loved it.
Next up is amnesiacs getting their memory back. I'm a founding member of the Chandler Massey is Awesome Club. This week made me proud. He sold Will's complete sense of being overwhelmed by emotion. Yes, it was terribly wonky for Paul and Will to have a conversation in the middle of the aisle...in the middle of a wedding...but it got Will off by himself so his memories could all come flooding back.
And then Sonny showed up. I don't know if it was the twinkling Christmas lights, the tux, or the pitch-perfect performance from Freddie Smith and Chandler, but the Wilson magic was back. And it was just lovely. I was so happy for Will as he remembered his life and all that's good about it. Sure, he's had troubles. But he's the "my dear" golden boy to so many people. He's got a life worth remembering.
And I really can't say enough about Chandler and Freddie. They were up against the juggernaut of Alison Sweeney's return and, oh yeah, the Jarlena wedding! (We'll get to that in a minute.) Still the editing back and forth between the two scenes didn't feel imbalanced, and that was completely due to Freddie and Chandler's performances. Bravo, fellas.
Okay, before we get into the wedding itself, we need to talk that dream sequence. It was ridiculous. From Abe's Steve Harvey-like officianting to Roman's mummy appearance to Roman calling John "Yo Ling Jr.," it was all sorts of crazy. Marlena's such a good dreamer that she even envisioned a B-storyline for her own nightmare, involving Steve and Kayla's secret! Go on, Mar! It was ludicrous. And that's part of what soaps are all about.
As for the actual wedding, I loved it! There's very little suspense surrounding the idea of Jarlena not being together. They're arguably the most notorious DAYS couple. So, I liked that the show gave them a good bit of time for the vows. Hat tip to John for working in "that's a fact." And sure, Marlena could actually fill up whole charm bracelets if she had one for each Jarlena wedding. But I'm always game to watch one. Jarlena weddings are a lot like pizza. Even bad pizza is still pizza and thus delicious.
And the returns! Oh, my gosh, the returns!
Alison Sweeney will never not be welcomed in my book. She's soap gold, as is Sami Brady. Sami's entrance was shades of Jack Deveraux -- covered in leaves and collapsing onto her mom's wedding aisle. Ali literally threw herself back into the role. Then, Sami stood in between Marlena and a gun! Who would have thought we'd see the day when Sami would want to take a bullet for Marlena? Welcome back, Lady Sweeney.
Not to be outdone, I clapped like a toddler who just got candy when Martha Madison and Brandon Beemer appeared. Both of them just keep getting better. And Shelle represents a legacy that the show is sorely missing. (We're missing that 30-something crowd on DAYS altogether, but that's another argument.) Not only did we watch these two grow up, but we invested in them as adults, as well. Sure, moving halfway across the world when your kid leaves for college might not be the most solid parenting decision, but darn it if Martha, Brandon, and Olivia don't sell their parent/kid scenes when Shelle tries to help Claire navigate young adulthood. I adore this pair and celebrate anytime we get them!
The fact that Susan tried to convince Will that he was straight always made me more mad than the whole convincing him he's E.J. thing. I'm surprised Will can forgive that so easily.
Kayla loses major matron-of-honor points for letting Susan stay at that bachelorette party. Dealing with annoyances for the bride is matron of honor 101.
I get Hope trying to protect her daughter. I really do. But it's increasingly difficult to like Hope right now, considering how flippant she is to abuse the police department and its resources for her personal agenda. If she wanted to round up Steve and John and go after Ben as a private citizen, have at it. But she just looks like a total bully opening and closing investigations as she pleases. The whole "I may not have concrete proof" line works way better on someone who's not a cop. Hope could take a page out of Shawn's parenting book and learn to express her fears but still trust her kid.
The John vs. Sami plot was strong...last millennium. But Sami's since named her son after the dude. Not only have they buried that hatchet, there are lovely flowers in bloom on top of that pile of dirt.
I didn't notice it until going through my notes for this column. But we went a week without the Stefan/Abigail/Chad/Gabi storyline. It was almost therapeutic.
Kate pulled a gun on Ted and basically told him to GTFO of Salem. Then, we didn't see him again. I don't think she snapped and shot him. That's more Hope's style. If Kate's going to teach you a lesson, it's going to be planned and executed with flair. Ted's alliance is always up for grabs. If Kate sees an advantage, she'll take it. I have a hunch that's what happened here.
It took us way too long to follow through on the "Kristen is alive" tease. Likewise, the "E.J. is alive" tease is following suit. I don't know what we have to do to get James Scott on the same plan Alison Sweeney has, but he needs to start joining her for these Salem check-ins. Sami shouldn't be left in limbo every time we see her. Do you think he likes fruit? I can take donations for a basket. Who's in?
The way Ben looked at Ciara when she told Hope to back off makes me utter the tiniest "aww!"
Roman and Sonny's scene was unintentionally (or perhaps intentionally) beautiful. It was important to have this scene before the Wilson reconciliation because it reminded the audience of the special place Wilson will always have on DAYS, regardless of their relationship status. Also, Roman's pep talks are highly underrated. We get far too few of them. I would like that corrected.
Excuse me, NuSusan. The phrase is not, "Rude, rude, rude." We don't have John walking around saying, "That statement is truthful." Sure, it means the same thing. But I will not put up with that kind of soap blasphemy in this Two Scoops.
LINE OF THE WEEK:
Dream-sequence Abe: "Can I get a motorcycle? A tape, maybe?"
Hands down, Shawn's motorcycle through the window during Phelle's wedding was my favorite wedding interruption. What's yours?
Delivery and exchange of the week:
Val (about Susan) "Who is this woman?"
Eve: "More wine?" *Val immediately holds out glass*
I want to be a back-of-the-head extra in scenes where a character has a double.
If someone can tell me where that Marlena 1999 wedding doll was made, I can officially have @Tony_S_Days's Christmas shopping done.
Drake's Deidre Hall impression was kind of funny. Good, too!
There are two people walking around Salem, carrying their discharge papers declaring their sanity. I'm honestly surprised it's never been more.
There are a lot of blondes in Salem. They were all at Marlena's bachelorette party.
It was amazing that Jarlena has hourglass centerpieces.
Kristin cackling in that fab red dress is a scene I won't forget! So, I loved that Kristen returned in red, too.
I've never understood the appeal of darts.
Doesn't Claire Bear represent a beauty company? I feel like that's a missed opportunity not to have her come and save John's face.
Missy Reeves pulled off a nearly impossible color. Jennifer's dress was gorgeous!
Man, I'm going to miss Christopher Sean. That dude's got charm for days.
I loved casual Abe at the bachelor party! We haven't seen him sans suit in a while.
Susan referenced Celeste, and I can't help but wish we had the real one back.
It's a terrible idea for Kayla, Abe, and Val to put their phones away. It's not a strong plot point, as Marlena is a doctor and would understand that some people need to be reachable at all times.
Whoops, Sonny! It wasn't an outdoor wedding. The Horton Town Square is enclosed.
Wait, Anna and Roman broke up? When did that happen?
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