Happy New Year, DAYS fans! Welcome to the Alex North Memorial Awards for the Worst in DAYS 2018. For the first time ever, Tony and I were faced with a bit of a challenge when selecting these, um, winners. Aside from a few missteps which we know are on their way to being corrected, DAYS was downright great this year! These last two weeks of episodes (which we'll be back in full force in the New Year to talk about) were especially tremendous!
First, there are a few ground rules and reminders for those of you new to DAYS or just bad at remembering things (guilty!). Tony and I pinky-ring swear not to pick the same winner. We also try to not award a character with multiple individual awards, so as to not focus too much on the bad. Stefan can thank us for that later. Tony likes Scotch. I like red wine.
Now, let's proceed with the awards -- a casual, loving motivation for our favorite soap to keep getting better. And if some of these folks don't listen, we'll stick Sarah on you. You've been warned.
New to the show or newly returned, they made a less-than-stellar entrance
Laurisa: Susan Banks
Something about Susan Banks this time didn't work for me. She held a scalpel to Sami's head but didn't ask about her grandkids. She made a big production about reuniting with her son, but I can count on three fingers the number of scenes Susan and grown E.J. shared. This version of Susan seemed aloof, at best, and legitimately dangerous at worst. When we last saw Susan, she was a broken woman who had a through line of grief and pain that the audience could sympathize with. This version seemed to be missing that component, and thus, Susan came across more cartoonish than, you know, your normal bucktoothed quadruplet who worships Elvis and now is apparently clairvoyant, too, should.
Tony: Stefan DiMera
Stefano having a pop-up kiddo is about as shocking as getting sand in your shoes at the beach. It's just gonna happen. It's a redundant Salem staple. But this time, there was a terrific twist! This surprise spawn was the product of an affair between Stefano "The Phoenix" DiMera and Madame Vivian Alamain. I should love (or at least love to hate) this guy. I should. I really should. He should be made of win with that gloriously ghoulish gene pool. Then I met Stefan. And he's the worst.
We can even start light with the irksome overuse of his name in the beginning. Hearing "Stefan Oh! DiMera" hastily became eye-roll inducing. Not to mention a tad soap sacrilegious. Fool, you gotta earn that name! Then came his insta-crush on Abigail. Raise your hand if you didn't see that coming. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? So, yep. From the beginning, he was annoying and creepy. And then it went downhill.
Stefan was heralded as this big, bad corporate shark that devours companies and makes fortunes. Um, I'm quite sure his mommy and Andre did most of the heavy lifting in the beginning, and he's shown little signs of that business savviness yet. Sami seamlessly outmaneuvered him in an amazing "Things change" moment, and he even let Chad get the best of him. Chad. I love Chad, but he's not known to be Mr. Businessman Extraordinaire.
Then, citing "it's different in Europe," Stefan -- the Matt Lauer of Salem -- decided to flash his junk to Abigail. Cool. So, the guy that likes to ogle his sister-in-law is also a sexual predator. Oh, and that was just the tip, as it were, because later, he quickly ditched his infatuation with Abigail and became downright obsessed with her alter ego once she developed dissociative identity disorder and put on a dark wig. Yep. He fell in love with someone who's not real. Not even a bit real. It was like the plot of Mannequin, only not charming and with no Hollywood Montrose for flair. Instead, it was just sad. Really, really sad. Even Vivian thought his feelings for "Gabby" were a bad idea. Vivian "I Buried Carly Alive" Alamain thought that. Yep. That says it all.
So, Stefan became so obsessed, in fact, that he researched the disease, but he chose not to help a mentally ill woman he once had a crush on in lieu of keeping her alternate personality around and, eventually, raping her. Yep. This sicko raped a mentally ill woman. There's a special place in soap hell for him.
All in all, it's been almost a year since we met Stefan, and we basically know his name was Sam, he was an orphan who had a teddy bear, and he probably has a button under his desk. That, and no one is more deserving of this year's award, as he held the title -- literally -- for the whole year. Con...con...congrats?
WORST SPECIAL GUEST/RECURRING CHARACTER
Laurisa: Eve Donovan
Kassie DePaiva is one thing. I will never tire of seeing her. But Eve had a pretty bad year. I don't remember Eve and Theresa hating each other so much before. Yet, in the process of adding her car to the Brady love train, Eve turned into one of the worst sisters ever. Not only did she have a hand in planting drugs on Theresa in an attempt to make Theresa lose any chance at custody with Tate, but Eve repeatedly brushed aside Theresa spending months being held as a sex slave. Her putrid comments of, "I know what you went through was terrible but..." Nope. No, honey. There is no "but" in that sentence. I'm also a little shocked that, as a mother who actually did lose a child, she was so willing to hurt another parent that way rather than push for Theresa and Brady to share custody.
Ultimately, the whole pairing with Brady was a big mistake. Eve coming into the Kiriakis fold as Deimos' widow was brilliant. She could have been to the Kiriakis family what Kate's become to the DiMera family. But, alas, she became an overzealous backup dancer for the Bradster. Eve and the fabulous Lady DePaiva should play backup to no man.
Tony: Mimi Lockhart
Mimi's a precautionary tale of why it's not always a great idea to accept every friend request from old classmates on social media. One would think she would have learned a thing or -- no, just one thing, really -- since the "Last Blast" era, but, as it turns out, not so much. Her return basically rehashed her not-so-greatest hits with the Big Bon Bon as well as one of her supreme solo blunders. While I understand Mimi had compassion over her mother's never-talked-about sacrifice, I'm glad Mimi never really unpacked as Bonnie took her on a guilt trip over and over and over again to the point of exhaustion. And Mimi fell for Bonnie's buffoonery each time. Each. Time.
But Bonnie wasn't the only buffoon. Mimi made bad all by herself, and that's the what-the-what!? moment we realized Mimi didn't even tell Rex about a pregnancy -- AGAIN! I just slapped my head and reached for more Scotch. Notwithstanding that was a selfish thing to do -- AGAIN! -- Mimi should have spent less time being a mean girl to Chloe in high school and more time learning about the birds, the bees, and STDs. Ugh. I just can't with her. So, in this case of this old classmate, if you dare to accept their friend request, it's best to occasionally click "like" on some random post of a cute kid we hope she told the father about, but avoid reunions.
WORST OF SALEM'S BEST
An established character who needs a tune-up
Laurisa: Kate Roberts
Despite being on-screen a lot, she wasn't driving a storyline of her own. Instead, Kate seemed to react to those around her, mainly because they were getting the upper hand on her over and over again. Gabi got the upper hand on her. Stefan got the upper hand on her. Ted got the upper hand on her. I never felt her connection with Andre. She betrayed Will and Sonny. She let Chad go without knowing his kid. It all seemed very...unKate-like since she didn't actually get anything out of it. I want better for Lauren Koslow, who has been one of Salem's secret weapons for years.
Tony: John Black
Really, dude? You blinded your best friend!? Okay. You blinded Bo's best friend, but I digress. For all the days of my life, I can't believe blinding Steve was the only course of action John "Mr. IS-A+ Agent" Black could have taken. And that's considering his vast resources (hello, Shane Donovan, Victor, Rafe's never-ending "I know a guy" connections, etc.) and, more so, since he and Billie were collecting illicit intel on the ISA director. Don't blind the Patch Man, John! Blackmail the director. Dude. Really.
THICK AS A BRICK AWARD
A typically smart character acting kinda stupid!
Laurisa: Commissioner Hope Brady
The Salem P.D. under Hope's leadership is the least effective police department I can remember. Were it not for Sami, Paul, Julie, and Chloe, no criminal would have been caught this year. I feel like a lot of that is because Hope let her personal opinions interfere way too much with her professional life. First, she didn't even think to check the security tapes on the Horton Town Square because she was way too happy to lock up Sami. Then, she was so obsessed with Ben that, at one point this year, she decided Ben planted evidence against himself just to make Hope look bad. *slaps forehead* Bottom line -- Hope was too good of a cop to be this terrible as commissioner.
Tony: Dr. Rex Brady
Rex was a sensitive "sexy nerd" long before "sexy nerd" was made trendy by guys with abs who throw on a Marvel T-shirt and some ironic hipster glasses, and slyly try to work in, "I'm such a nerd, bro." #posers. Anyway. Rex was uber smart. That was his schtick. So, how on earth (or whatever planet he actually came from) did Rex become a dumbed-down, insensitive bro-ish doctor who's a serial cheater and can't work a condom? Bad dog, Rex. Bad, bad dog.
The writers kept trying but kept striking out!
Laurisa: Andre and Kate DiMera
Lauren Koslow and Thaao Phenglis are vodka and caviar -- deliciously indulgent together. But Kate and Andre as a romantic pair just never really worked for me. They felt forced for the sake of being a plot point, which really didn't work for two characters as large as Kate and Andre. I'm not mad at the writers for trying, but this one was a miss.
Tony: Eli and Lani: Will They? Won't They? Do We Still Care?
Lamon Archey is amazing. Sal Stowers is sensational. Yet "Elani" is just kinda meh. They look stunning together, no doubt, but DAYS missed the mark on giving them a reason to bond and totally terminated their momentum through sporadic screen time. So, instead of a kickass duo of crime fighters fighting baddies together while fighting their mutual attraction in a somewhat front-and-center storyline, say, like helping to bring Stefan down, getting involved with Gabi Gate (Eli's ex/Lani slept with two of her beaus), or Gabby drama (Abigail being Eli's cousin), we basically got them bonding over a one-night stand and a dead baby once every couple of weeks. I repeat, "Meh." "Elani" deserved better. Much, much better.
BROKEN RECORD AWARD
In case you didn't hear it the first five thousand times...
Laurisa: That mean ol' Claire is just the #worst!
Let's be clear. There are people who've actually killed others walking around Salem. Yet from Hope to Ciara to Roman, the show tends to treat Claire like she's the puppy who just messed on the carpet. I really don't get it. Sure, she's much too eager for Tripp's attention. But I can't even say that she manipulated that situation, as Tripp planted that evidence all on his own, and Ben and Ciara legitimately fell for each other. Furthermore, in a show with so few female friendships, I desperately need Ciara and Claire to get back to the besties they were in high school -- back when Claire would round up a posse and kidnap the dude who victimized Ciara to teach him a lesson. Here's hoping them getting each other new ornaments will be the start of a friendship and the ending to this annoying refrain of "now, Claire..."
Tony: Yo Gabby Gabbing
Say it, Stefan. Say it one more time. I dare you. Say, "She was real TO MEEEE!" one more time. I have Ben, a chair, some rope, and a sizzling fire poker on standby. Oh, how I wish I could drop a bomb like Kate and tell him, "She's not real, dude. Not one bit," and then sashay out of the room. Ah, well. He wouldn't believe me, anyway, and would keep on keeping on with his delusional self. #gettherapyStefan
MOST REGRESSED AWARD
Things were going so well and then...
Laurisa: Julie's Insults
I totally understand why Julie would jump at the chance to get back at Gabi. And Julie's always been a bulldozer. But seriously, comments like "Chiquita" or "Chica Gabi" toe a little too close to the real-life racist line and seem utterly unnecessary when there are other things Julie can go after Gabi for.
Tony: Kristen's Bedding Brady Blackmail
No. Just no. Kristen is better than this. Actually, Kristen is worse than this but better at being worse at these kinds of thingies. We've seen Le Lady DiMera terrorize Salemites with an unholy finesse that would make Stefano wince then say, "Bravo, bellissima. Bravo!" So, no. Just no. Kristen is better than picking a pedestrian plot out of the trash that's been abhorrently used by Ava on Steve and attempted to be used by Theresa on Brady (just a few weeks prior). I'm not mad. I'm just disappointed.
MOST MISUSED CHARACTER
Too much or too little of anything is a bad thing.
Laurisa: Tripp Dalton
Lucas Adams is great. But Tripp was trapped on an island last year where his main job was to referee Claire vs. Ciara, save for the brief stint as Cin roadkill. Meanwhile, his dad was forced to leave town, and his cousin Sonny sure could use an assist from someone who understands how to deal with a small-time con man. I am in favor of Tripp and Claire's blooming romance. But I'd like to see him venture out of the loft every once in a while, too.
Tony: Lucas Horton
Let's not even get into the fact that Lucas was sent to look after his little lush. Valiant, sure. Still, Bryan Dattilo's exit didn't sit well with me, but at least Lucas got a goodbye. Swell. The biggest issue I had was the odd direction Lucas was taken in, or lack thereof. This is the same guy who used to take Adrienne skydiving and bungie jumping. It was a thing that he was into extreme sports, yet when his lady love, Chloe, was abducted, he had to phone a friend?
It's a soap. Things don't have to make sense. I mean, people bounce back from the grave all the time in this town, yet a physically fit guy couldn't be part of a rescue mission to help his damsel in distress? Well, Chloe took care of things herself, but Lucas at least could have tagged along to hold John's water bottle. Oh! And then Lucas became a bumbling baby daddy falling for Bonnie's ruse. Really!? Can we please give this guy a stocking stuffed with dignity next year for Christmas?
THE ROMAN BRADY "WHAT DA HELL?" MOMENT
Laurisa: Abigail Steals Christmas/Mental Health: A Matter of Self-diagnosis
First and foremost, the Horton ornament episode should be sacred. It's a time for love, miracles, and the best-tasting donuts ever. But, alas, this year it took a dark turn. Abigail showed up, reamed her mother in front of all their family, and then (inexplicably) marched upstairs to sleep under the roof of the woman she'd just humiliated. I just shook my head.
I'm in no way saying Abigail doesn't have the right to be mad. But like Gabi did with Abigail, Abigail is aiming her anger in the wrong place. From letting Abigail play dead in her attic, to giving her a job she's unqualified for, to taking her family in when Stefan kicked them all out, to helping raise her kid when her marriage hit a rough patch -- no one has waved the #TeamAbigail flag harder than Jenny Bear. Furthermore, Abigail just pretended to be in love with Stefan in order to reunite with her daughter. I would think she could see protecting your child sometimes means making very hard decisions.
Of course, this all stemmed from the true "What Da Hell" moment -- the infuriating and misdirected notion that mental health is something to be self-diagnosed. That's not how medical conditions of any kind work. No one should say, "Look, despite the fact that I've been limping around for the last week, my leg is definitely not broken, and I won't go see a doctor. You'd better believe me!" Nope, you take yourself to a professional for a diagnosis. Abigail's stance that her word be taken over any professional's word was the ultimate "What da hell?" moment for me.
(Oh, and have a seat, Julie. The only reason you "believed" Abigail was because she wanted someone to go after Gabi. That's like someone begging me to take their credit card and go shoe shopping while eating caramel chocolates. Gee, hard sell.)
Tony: J.J.'s Not the Father -- Shhh! Don't Tell Him!
Just like no one in the tightknit Horton clan cared to invite Will to the family's Thanksgiving feast at Doug's Place, no one bothered to tell J.J. he was not the father of Lani's baby. The old "he was in a bad place" excuse fell insufferably short and the excess of Salemites who knew simply looked callous choosing to let joyous J.J. continue to believe he was going to be a baby daddy. Yep, this tedious top-secret tidbit lasted so long, it went from a "WHAT 'DA HELL?" moment to a maddening mantra.
WORST LOVE LIFE
Laurisa: Brady Black
This may be the first time I'm giving the "worst" to someone because they had too much of one, but really, Brady. Be. Single. For. A. Minute. He had four "loves of his life" show up in 2018 -- Kristen, Eve, Theresa, and Nicole. At one time this year, he was dealing with the fallout of his breakup/banishment of Nicole by jumping into Eve's bed about three seconds after he hopped out of Kristen's. And don't think I don't see you looking at Chloe like she's Nadia Bjorlin! No, thank you, sir. You focus on getting a job and a non-hotel room home first, and then we can talk about your next soul mate. I mean it, mister!
Tony: Paul Narita
Paul. Just Paul. If you must ask why he won this "honor," you didn't watch DAYS in 2018. Let's hope the handsome, single, gay physical therapist who accompanied him back to San Francisco has never met Will. Or Sonny. Poor Paul. He deserves a win.
Laurisa: Rafe and Hope Hernandez
These two flat-out exhaust me. I understood Hope's reluctance to get back together with Rafe at first. But it's been almost a year, and I don't truly think they're in any different place, despite how much Rafe clearly worships her. His two lines all year were, "What can I do for you, Hope?" and "Can you let me out of your purse so I can get right on that task for you, Hope?" Look, no one can say that these two weren't given a fair shot. But we've kept this mystery meat in the fridge long enough. It's starting to stink.
Tony: Eric Brady and Jennifer Horton
DAYS was super courteous this year! Since most of the show was edge-of-your-seat, scream-at-the-TV exciting and fast paced, they scheduled in an ample naptime known as "Jeneric." Jennifer even provided homemade treats. Aww, shucks! Yep, this saccharine snoozefest was like a tranq dart to the head. The characters independently are fine, fantastic even, but together, they became that boring couple you always have an emergency escape strategy in place for should they corner you.
Mercifully, they didn't last long enough to get married, as I don't think I could have handled knotting friendship bracelets while watching a slideshow from their honeymoon to Green Mountain Lodge as they cuddled on the Horton sofa in matching cardigans, growing more excited for their 9:00 p.m. bedtime so they could say Waltons-like goodnights from their twin beds. You know that's how they would end up rolling. Besides, you know it was pretty bland, err, bad when Jennifer herself admitted recently that Eric should have never been more than just her friend. We agree, Jenny Bear. We agree. Now, can we get our year-plus back?
WORST STORYLINE DIRECTION
Wait...what did this storyline just do?!
Laurisa: Baby David Dies
I am the first to admit that Lani and Eli don't rock my world. But whoever thought that their storyline could get a boost from killing their child was wrong. Of course, James Reynolds continued his Everything I Do Is Amazing Tour and delivered some wonderful material as Abe grieved with his daughter. But this move was so unnecessarily heartbreaking, it baffled me. If Lani and Eli were endgame all along, why not keep them involved in each other's lives through David? Why not hold the paternity secret from everyone just a little longer to give Casey Moss some even better stuff to play? Why not give Sal Stowers a chance to dig into Lani as a mother and really give Lani some depth, rather than another half-started storyline? Why? Just, why?
Tony: Erole: Re-reunited and It Feels So -- KABOOM!
O-M-G, you guys! Eric and Nicole finally got together. It was great. For a hot second of doorway yearning and a future-planning minute. Then, oh, snap. Nicole brought her baby into an evil lair (still an honorable "What Da' Hell!?" moment mention). Then she blew up -- kind of like my "Erole" loving heart at that very moment. Why go there? Why the Tia Carrere -- why you wanna break my heart? *sigh*
WORST STORYLINE RESOLUTION
Laurisa: Anna Leaves Salem
Roman got the only real love interest he's had in a decade, and then, poof! it faded back into the fog. I don't care what throwaway line about Anna leaving Salem they gave us, Anna should still be here. The fact that she missed being a romantic foil for Hattie was soap blasphemy.
Tony: Los Fideos Blandos!
We heard about El Fideo before Theresa left. He's more powerful than Victor or the ISA. He's untouchable. He's "the Noodle!" Yep, he's that bad, y'all. Still, he had a laughable name, and Chloe ended up shanking the sucker within a few weeks. As far as memorable villains du jour goes, he was not that saucy. It would have been much more impactful had "El Fideo" turned out to be someone like Peter Blake or a not-so-dead Lawrence Alamain (he did like to keep the ladies locked up and eventually got shanked, too). Alas, we had a non-Lucas rescue mission, Chloe saved herself, and that's about it. The best thing El Fideo did was bring Theresa and Xander back into the fold. Other than that, El Noodle was kinda limp.
WORST WASTE OF A STORYLINE
What should have been, but never was...
Laurisa: Chloe and Stefan
There was a brief meeting between these two right when Stefan came to town, and I thought, maybe, just maybe, these two would be paired. Nadia Bjorlin and Tyler Christopher had an intriguing chemistry. Chloe has a sordid history with Stefan's mother and brother, giving Stefan a chance to explore his Alamain roots, as well. There's something delicious about Stefano's son being smitten with an opera singer. We could get the double bonus of seeing Stefan actually work if he had more scenes schmoozing clients at Chloe's bar. And, oh yeah, Chloe is real.
Tony: Abigail Not Knowing "Sam" (Stefan) from Europe
Abigail lived abroad for a time. She even had an Irish nanny that loved her so much that she gave Abigail a pot-o-gold, err, plot-o-land when she passed. She also lived in London. Now, considering that Abigail's no stranger to "the Continent," it would have been much more interesting had Abigail known "Sam" from Europe prior to Stefan slithering into Salem. Perhaps they had a brief but meaningful relationship. Maybe Abigail reconnected with her original bestie, Chelsea Brady, and that Sam guy broke her heart. Maybe Sam was a barback at the pub where Abigail worked in London. Something. Anything to give these two roots would have been better than Stefan's insta-crush on his brother's wife that he ditched when she became mentally unstable and put on a wig. Trust me, that doesn't mean I'm advocating another Abby/Chad/Someone Else love triangle. That got tired somewhere between Cameron and Ben, but giving Stefan some footing that wasn't a wrong foot would have made a much more meaningful storyline.
Laurisa: The Baby Bonnie Boom
Aside from Chloe, this entire storyline was a giant zombie of suck that claimed the brains of everyone involved. Kayla's medical credibility took a huge hit when her lab mistook a grandma and a half-uncle as direct biological parents. Belle flip-flopped from the by-the-book lawyer to an accomplice in fraud. Mimi and Bonnie assaulted every nerve I have by performing the same scene over and over. And even science had to give a huge side-eye to the idea of Bonnie having a baby.
Oh, well, at least we had multiple scenes where Bonnie bragged about raping Lucas and no one seemed to care! That was fun.
Tony: Blinded by My Bestie
This storyline has the ongoing charm of a cactus couch. No matter where you sit, you're going to get pricked. And it's going to hurt.
To be fair, the highlights of this storyline were watching Kayla give John hell and the inspiration to be a more forgiving person. I'm still not sure how Steve or Kayla found a way to give an "It's all good, man" to John, but go them. I'm not there yet. Obviously. But, oh, there were so many things wrong with the John blinding Steve storyline, I don't even know where to start, but a lot of it boils down to characters being written, well, out of character.
As mentioned, John is a resourceful man, and the real Agent Black would have never let things happen the way they did. At all. Amongst other miss-written Salemites, we later had to endure Kayla's lying when she had to turn to Stefan for that experimental bionic eye. I'll wait while you all roll your non-bionic eyes at that. I adore Kayla, and watching her lie -- and lie badly, at that -- hurt my Sweetness-loving heart. Well-meaning, sure, but Marlena also jumped in there a little too soon waving the "Forgive John" banner much like Jennifer did for J.J. when Abe was still attempting to process what happened to Theo last year. Plus, in the end, Steve decided to skip Salem. That's not very Steve at all. Yep, it was simply an unsweet low point for many characters.
Oh, we got a visit from Lisa Rinna as Billie, too! So much yay! Love her. And they wasted it. Boo!
While on the subject of abysmal exits of characters we'd like to see more of, how about Steve? Because of Steve's blindness and because he was given a bionic eye that someone -- wait for it -- hacked into and committed treason by using as a way to relay top secret info, that promptly placed Patch in prison. He lingered there while fans lingered in non-Patch screen time purgatory. But he's out now. Don't worry. He's just decided to stay away from Salem and his Sweetness until he can right this wrong. Oh, Steve, buddy. That might take a while, and we desperately miss you. Come back now, and we'll pretend this storyline never happened. Deal?
Happy New Year everyone! Thanks for spending the last 52 weeks (times 12 years) with us, and here's to more Two Scooping ahead in 2019!
Laurisa and Tony
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