A few reminders of the ground rules before we start. Tony and I pinky swear not to pick the same winner for each category. There's enough...er...love to spread around. We also only allow one individual award per character. We've all read those lists that are skewed toward one character, and that's not only not a great read, but it neglects a good chunk of Salem. Finally, this is all in good fun. We love DAYS, and even its worst episode is an escape into the fantastic world of Salem -- where every day is a good hair day! So, we hope the powers that be think of this as a performance review full of opportunities to make our fantastic show even better!
WORST DEBUT/ RETURN
New to the show or newly returned, they made a less-than-stellar entrance
Laurisa: Vivian Alamain
As I mentioned in the Golden Donuts, Robin Strasser is a pillar of soap history. Having her on any screen is can't-miss-TV. But Vivian's whole return felt rushed and downright sloppy this time around. For all of her faults, Vivian's schemes have always been carefully plotted. She has a collection of henchmen and do-badders at her disposal. Yet, this time, she was inexplicably held prisoner. Then, she shot Kate impulsively, at high noon, basically in the middle of the town square. Finally, her weirdo exit where she chalked up leaving her brain-dead son in a hospital bed as something he would have wanted her to do was too plot-point contrived for a woman whose constant has been her fierce love for her "boys."
Tony: Dirty Diana
Without a doubt -- Judith Chapman slayed her performances as Diana Cooper (the artist formerly known as Diana Colville). Her chemistry with Greg Rikaart was impeccable, too. Their abusive rapport garnered sympathy for Leo, which is no small task. When Diana would scold her son, I literally cringed. Heck, even with simply a look, Diana "Because I Asked" Cooper had Leo cowering like a frightened child and minding his manners around her, which, again, is no small task. Yes, Judith's spectacular skills are by no means in question. With that...
For anyone who remembered O.G. Diana Colville, Dirty D was an abrupt about-face. The original recipe was a tortured heroine and a far cry from "Mommy Dearest." Had she returned a little hardened by life but still closer to the Diana we knew, it might have resulted in a legit love triangle between Di, Doc, and John. As it turned out, Diana's sad story and savagery didn't spawn much sympathy, and we ended up with just another "Gal Goes Gaga for John" storyline, oh, which is totally different from Princess Gina going gaga for John. Wait a second...wait a second. I guess Princess G steals storylines as well as art, but I digress.
Sure, we got explanations like Diana was pushed over the edge of sanity by an abusive ex-husband. She even lamented that "We do what we have to do to survive in this world." That's sad. Sure. Still, not every female character in Salem needs to be morphed into a devilish diva. And, trust me, I love my delicious, diabolical divas, but I would much rather see that seat saved for the return of legit lethal ladies like Renée DiMera, Megan Hathaway, or Ava Vitali should any of them meet the business end of Dr. Rolf's rejuvenation needle.
Conversely, if Isabella Toscano ever finds herself a recipient of *whispers* Resurrection by Wilhelm and she's not the sweet Izzy-Bee I remember, I'm going to throw an Eric Brady-sized hissy fit.
WORST SPECIAL GUEST/ RECURRING CHARACTER
Laurisa: Melinda Trask
I've never quite settled in with this one-note character. (You guys, she's kind of grouchy. Did you know that?) But this year reached stratospheric levels of suck for this clunker. It's a shame that we didn't know about this husband before. That might have given the character some background. But that still wouldn't have made up for her being the worst. mother. ever. I'm not even talking about how long it took her to woman-up and realize that she might be able to put her law degree and political connections to good use to save her daughter from being deported. What really irked me is the way she hand-waved off Haley's (again, her own daughter) suicide attempt! It was a nuisance to her political ambition. She kicked her out of her home! Then she sat on this big secret while her child was made the poster child for a divisive policy argument. This was a cautionary lesson about what happens when you load too much plot on a character with such a flimsy foundation.
Tony: Jordan Ridgeway
I believe that Jordan believed she wasn't insane, but Ciara was right all along about Li'l Tammy Sue Nutjob. She was crazy, and I wasn't crazy about Jordan's guest stints because of that. They made me sad, as I liked Jordan 1.0. She was a clever, caring cat-mom with just the right amount of chutzpah. It was immediately jarring to see Jordan act so bizarrely. A car accident and a Kimberly Shaw-esque scar had something to do with it, we were told, but not really, because she admitted to killing her pregnant mother years earlier than said crash. It was confusing, and Jordan seemed to fall prey to yet another "Heroine" turned "Horror Show" personality swap.
Eventually, Jordan went to the funny farm and was unleashed a few months later with a "clean bill of health." Spoiler: That bill was still filthy. Several Salemites believed her, though. Oh. Hi, Detective Rafe -- I didn't see you standing there, buddy. Have another cupcake, copper. Anyway. From motive to dialogue, her pop-ins were muddled and massively redundant. Jordan, Ben, and Ciara replayed variations of the same scene for months. I'm also convinced that Jordan stopped by the second time just to be killed off, which really robbed viewers of a Jordan/Ciara resolution. Unless the "Time Jump" provides us with one later? Fingers crossed. Maybe. I dunno.
In any event, if Jordan does rise again, I'm hoping she reverts to clever, caring cat-mom with chutzpah and not kooky crazy pants. Arthur needs some stability, after all -- unless he was the one who strangled her for forgetting to set him up with copious amounts of catnip and springy toys while she was in the bin. Again, I dunno.
WORST OF SALEM'S BEST
An established character who needs a tune-up
Laurisa: Marlena "My Son's Keeper" Evans
Doc needs a hobby. She spent way too much of 2019 being involved in her grown son's love life. She let herself into Eric's apartment to bring him a birthday cake (because he's eight?) and ended up walking in on Eric and Nicole. She didn't hide her judgment, either, which was the most baffling thing about this whole situation. Marlena Evans should know better than anyone what it's like to have your soul mate come back from the dead. Yet, she was on #TeamSarah because...why? The added element of her openly campaigning for Eric to hurt Rex didn't sit well with me, either. Marlena should have enough respect for Roman to at least not actively push for hardship to come to his son. The whole thing just felt off for Marlena.
Tony: Hope's Loved Ones...All of Them
Princess Gina being around for over a year stretches the suspension of disbelief to its brink as it continues to puzzle the bejesus out of me how long it's taken for Fancy Face's loved ones to pick up that there's something royally wrong with her. Except Abigail. She was quickly wary. High-five, Ms. Thang. Rafe seems to be catching on...now. But really, gang? None of you earlier? I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed.
Let's look at it this way. If Julie's heart condition was an excuse for Princess Gina to perform as a worried, distracted Hope before, what excuse did she have after Julie recovered? Nobody questioned Hope's un-Hope-like behavior later? That makes me sad for Hope. She deserves better. I get that most of her loved ones were all preoccupied by various ailments and dramas over the year, but it's still frustrating and sad. Heck, even Julie doesn't escape some heat, as she's recovered, and she's the Horton watchdog. She was one of the first to spot Abigail's disease. She's trained her entire life for moments like these. C'mon, Jules!
Then there's "Hope's" roommates, super-duper ISA agent John and superty-duperty mega shrink Marlena. If any two Salemites should be able to smell shady, it's those two. John even remarked once about Hope's shade of lipstick. That kinda indicates he knows her well, or at least he remembers the Nighttime Hope Saga, but I digress. John and Mar Mar also both knew Dr. Rolf was in town, and they've both lived through Hope Princess Gina-ing before. Hello, Jarlena. Is any of this ringing a bell?
However, Jarlena didn't do dense on their own. Hope's other loved ones and the entire police force, some of whom she's worked with for decades, are all receiving a chunk of this award. So is the doofus who reappointed her commissioner (sorry if that's you, Abe).
So, please line up if you failed Hope, as I'll be handing out pieces of the plastic Alex North bust trophy Mean Girls-style, and everybody will feel like royalty tonight. Look at John Black. That denseness is amazing. And Ciara Brady, I mean, that unawareness must have taken hours. A piece for Rafe Hernandez, a one-time Hope fling. A piece for Victor Kiriakis. And a piece for Julie Williams, who fractured her heart, and she still looks clueless. A piece for you all!
THICK AS A BRICK AWARD
A typically smart character acting kinda stupid!
Laurisa: Detective Rafe Hernandez
Let's start with the fact that he accepted that David is Jordan's biological son because some random neighbor handed David over, and the state had papers to back it up. Rafe literally forged legal papers on behalf of a child before. He knows this stuff can be faked because he did it himself. But, okay, cool. Let's assume baby David rivals baby Yoda in the cuteness department, and Rafe was just that distracted. But I can't for the life of me understand why he was in a hospital bed before he even entertained the idea that Jordan was bad news. The gal lit another person on fire in pursuit of framing Ben. Is it that much of a stretch to think she'd do it again when her stance on Ben hadn't changed? No, big guy, it's not. Luckily, there's hope for Rafe in the new year, since he's starting to suspect Hope may be a few diamonds short of a full tiara. But, really, this guy needs to get it together.
Tony: Eric "What Tough Time?" Brady
Former Father Eric's job at the Horton Center is literally to console and counsel people. You know. Show compassion and understanding. Try to gain insight to their pain. Try to help them move forward. Oof! This guy must have been snoozing through the training videos, as I'm still staggered that he was dense enough to reply to Sarah, "What tough time?" after she admitted that she was having a, well, tough time post-breakup. You know, shortly after Eric dumped her and just a smidge past "She Dumped His Brother for Him O'Clock." Look, Sarah's hands weren't clean in all this, and what she eventually kept from Eric wasn't right. But she did love him at the time, and for Eric "King of Pain" Brady to be oblivious to her grief and casually dismiss it was dumbfounding for a character we've seen rival Maggie in compassion and understanding.
The writers kept trying but kept striking out!
Laurisa: Lani Price
Lani had every advantage given to her to be the plucky cop with a heart of gold. They even gave her the ultimate prop by making her Abe's daughter. But, unfortunately, DAYS has never followed through on Lani, putting her on the back burner for too long. And worse, DAYS seemed to turn a terrible blind eye to any weak choice she made, leaving viewers wondering if we're watching the same show.
Making her Gabi's nemesis just doesn't work on the scales at all. DAYS knows this, too. That's why they had to pair Lani with Kristen to resemble something that looks like a fair fight. Additionally, all her pain is predicated on her weak relationship with Eli. I'll never understand why Detective Price didn't record Gabi's threats or at least tell Eli what was happening. But she didn't. And if she doesn't care enough to fight for her own relationship, I have a hard time wondering why I should care about it, either.
Finally, her mean girls routine with Kristen is already getting tiresome. I felt uncomfortable watching them rip off their veils and declare themselves "free" -- as if a convent was their only choice after losing their men. When one starts to share Kristen DiMera's point of view, one needs to reevaluate some good ol' life choices. None of this is to say Lani doesn't have a right to be feuding with Gabi. But Lani fumbles every opportunity to help herself -- and that's not on Gabi, Julie, or anyone other than Lani.
Tony: Abe Carver and Sheila Watkins
Sheila and Abe were amazing in a "workplace comedy with a lot of heart" capacity. She was the rough-around-the-edges fish out of water adjusting to a professional nine-to-five setting. He was the strait-laced boss with little patience for buffoonery. Then, they changed each other. She learned that it's okay to trust people again and give them the benefit of the doubt if they're a good person. Abe learned to let loose a little. They eventually complemented each other well professionally and as friends, but the detour onto Romance Road was a wrong turn for them.
Perhaps it's because I was firmly buckled in aboard the Abe and Val fan bus and adored the charming chemistry between Sheila and Eli. Sure, they were longtime friends, but they were hilarious and heartwarming together, and there was potential for more. Maybe. But instead of examining the hardships of long-distance romances or exploring friends potentially becoming lovers, we got an awkward, almost-office romance, that, realistically, was a plot device to further point out Jack's jackassery at the time. And, I get it, Sheila, Abe is a great guy who looks like James Reynolds. There's a lot to love there, but still, the kiss was a miss, especially as it led to Sheila leaving town and Abe and Val cementing their breakup.
BROKEN RECORD AWARD
In case you didn't hear it the first thirteen thousand times...
Tony: Salem's Surplus of Comas
It doesn't matter if you're tired of hospital beds, bored with blue-painted doctor's offices, or simply hate the cafeteria's coffee because medical storylines are going to happen on soaps. I get that. I do. That's Daytime 101. Maladies can be great drama full of peril, character spotlights, and, if a cast is as talented as the DAYS cast, heart-wrenching performances that gut-punch the audience. Yep. I get all of that, but for the love of Dr. Tom Horton's stethoscope, can we please nix the excessive use of comas in 2020, err, 2021?
As it stands, well, lays, as it were, Jennifer's coma was the most successful one, as it brought us into an exciting new Salem, and, more importantly, it lasted a day. A day! Really!? Yes, a day our time, but a year in Salem time, and we got to watch Matthew Ashford amazingness. Yes, please. I'll Kenny Rogers the heck out of that timeline and hold 'em. As for the rest? I'll fold 'em, as the patients were the lucky ones who got to take a beat. We got some amazing performances, no doubt. We also struck gold with Doug appearances, the kickoff to Caroline's beautiful farewell, and a visit from Lucas (though the poor guy basically ugly cried a lot then got scolded, but, heeeyyyy, Lucas), but overall the overuse of comas was rather uninspired, especially because most of us didn't believe for a hot second that certain Salemites like Julie, Will, Kate, Marlena (again), etc., would cross over to the great Soap Beyond, and if they did, there's always the excessively exercised...
Laurisa: *whispers* Resurrection by Wilhelm Rolf, Miracle Worker Working Overtime
It's fine that DAYS has a supernatural element. I quite enjoyed the soapyness of the face-swapping. And I'll even happily accept a few back-from-the-deads. (Hi, Will!) But the Rolf trump card was overplayed this year. Nearly everyone returned, which made deaths like Stefan's all the more confusing. Oh, and he didn't stop there. Need some video footage altered? Call Dr. Rolf! Have a paternity test you need altered? Yup, Rolf-a-rino it is! How about your memory back? He can do that, too! Stubborn belly fat that just won't go away? Okay, they didn't outright say this one, but I'm betting it's the case!
MOST REGRESSED AWARD
Things were going so well and then...
Laurisa: Chabby vs. Gabi for the future of DiMera
Gabi vs. Abigail is an age-old battle by now. There are no undecided voters. There's no need to play it out again. But the addition of the Chad vs. Gabi stuff is especially maddening. He's apparently worked for a Gabi/Stefan combo for over a year and just now has problems with her running "his family" company? She could have fired him long ago but is suddenly worried about him? The worst part of all of this is that it wastes the best thing the DiMera legacy has going for it. Much like the Quartermaines on General Hospital, the DiMera heirs do not get along. Yet Stefano made family a priority. He loved all those brats, misfits, and broken toys in their own way. So, while we're watching Chabby vs. Gabi for control of DiMera, we're so far missing out on the shares that belong to Theo, Steven, Tony, Kate (she could have inherited Andre's shares upon his death), Peter, E.J., Johnny, and Sydney -- all of which could lead to much more interesting storylines than this tired love/hate triangle we're still seeing played out on our screens. Boo.
Tony: Jack's Return
A divalicious Eve swaggered into Doug's Place with Jack on her arm like a revenge-seeking baller. It was an epic entrance -- at midnight on New Year's Eve, to boot. This storyline wouldn't be solely "Jack Returns...Again!" it would be "Eve's Revenge!" too. "Oh, this will be juicy," we thought. "Jack's back! What could go wrong!?" we assumed. "Ring that bell. Let's rumble!" we cheered. Well. Cheer went to jeer when this storyline took a hard right turn into a cringe-worthy political plot that focused way too much on an unestablished character, characters acting out of character to shoehorn into the action, and way too much on real world affairs that many of us wanted to forget for an hour while in Salem. In the end, we got Jack 1.0 back and some amazing performances. There's that. Still, this storyline lapsed into something I would have voted "No. Next Idea, Please" on.
MOST MISUSED CHARACTER
Too much or too little of anything is a bad thing.
Laurisa: Haley Chen
Remember when Casey Moss and Thia Megia sat on a couch and sang together? That was great. Everything else surrounding Haley was tuuurrrrible.
Haley popped out of thin air for the sole purpose of filling a plot point, and that very action was what hindered her as a character. DAYS needed someone to show how immigration policy affects real people, a sentiment I personally agree with. These aren't faceless nobodies that can be turned into statistics. Why then, would this storyline invent a faceless nobody to be at the center? Think of how this storyline would have been different if Rafe was the one with the immigration problem. Even though I sympathized with Haley's situation, her presence on-screen exhausted me. It didn't help that she turned J.J.'s proposal down for ridiculously weak reasons, and it soon became clear that choice was all another plot reason -- to heighten Claire's jealousy. Sigh. Like I mentioned with Melinda, this character had too weak a foundation for all the plot she had to carry.
Tony: Lucas Horton
Good grief. This sorry sap seemed to be brought back to cry a lot and then get scolded. I don't even remember him actually leaving town this time around. I assumed he just crept out in the middle of the night to avoid being picked on some more. Really, though, I feel like every time Lucas has visited over the recent years (including this one), he loses in the end. He's been forever misused as a character, which is too bad, as Bryan Dattilo brings such heart to the role. He makes you want to root for Lucas. Alas, Lucas lost again. Drats. Now, can someone get Mr. Horton a doughnut and a gift card to that fancy day spa at the square? He needs a little TLC. And if Lucas visits Salem in 2020, well, 2021 let's hope he gets a victory lap instead of having the football pulled away from him in a Charlie Brown/Lucy kind of way. Aaugh.
THE ROMAN BRADY "WHAT DA HELL?" MOMENT
Abigail's complete miss on counseling Ciara about Ben
Man, Ron is usually so great about using DAYS history. So, it really bums me out that the Abigail/Ciara scene completely missed the mark. Abigail is, literally, the only other woman in the whole DAYS universe to fall in love with Ben. He supported her through some tough times. They had a real relationship. She's uniquely qualified to talk with Ciara about her feelings for this man, his temper, his history, and his demons.
But instead, we had Abigail (Abigail!) insisting that you shouldn't believe someone with a mental illness when they say they're okay. And we had Abigail saying that Ben going to work for Stefan is a dangerous move like she wasn't the one who just married Stefan and moved her toddler into his home. Sigh. There was enough hypocrisy to fill up ten Horton living rooms! Thank God, Abigail returned later in the year as a better version because this moment was a total misfire.
Tony: DAYS Fires Entire Cast and Is Canceled, but Not Really
Because I write an opinion column about DAYS, I'm the go-to guy amongst my loved ones for questions about the show. It's a fun role. I mean, I get to talk more about DAYS and help people!? Win/win. Laurisa holds the same role amongst her loved ones. Well, she's the go-to-gal, but you know what I mean. With that, one November morning, I'm bombarded with frantic texts that ranged from, "Is DAYS canceled!?" to "OMG, why did they just fire the entire cast of DAYS?!" to simply "WHAT?!?" with a link to a news article. I spoke to Laurisa. She had the same experiences all around. Within a few hours, things got crazy and sad and scary and, more so, downright confusing.
As it eventually turned out, thanks to some legit reporters and the amazing cast and crew of DAYS, things were cleared up. There was nothing THAT serious to worry about. It turned out to be a normal annual break and good news even came from it -- DAYS would be back, their hiatus would be longer to accommodate a shorter time between taping episodes and when they air, and a week later, DAYS got renewed. That initial bombardment of "breaking news" was an overly dramatic ride none of us had to take. The "journalist" who broke the initial story and those who jumped on it without all of the facts should be ashamed of themselves for fearmongering. Not cool, asshats. Not cool. I may be on a soap box for this, but don't mess with DAYS. And don't be a crappy reporter. Jack, Jennifer, and Abigail are all ashamed of you, too.
WORST LOVE LIFE
Laurisa: Tony DiMera
The man was blackmailed into marrying his own sister. This guy wins the award for worst love life and worst family life while we're at it! To top it off, we didn't get to see a Tony/Anna wedding, which is ripe with possibilities for fabulousness.
Tony: Chloe Lane
The lonely of us could argue that the Chlomeister had the best love life, as several studly Salemites clamored for her affection. At least she had someone, right? Oh. Let's look at those fellas. There's serial "You're the Love of My Life" specialist Brady Black, who was simply feeling a little lonely between soul mates. Bradytastic also felt the need to dabble in "Because I Know What's Best for You," which is always an aphrodisiac. Then we had Stefan, who, let's be honest, until last year was obsessed with a wig and had an imaginary girlfriend that was part of Abigail's broken psyche. Right! Mr. DiMera was also sleeping with Gabi while playing house with Chloe. Charming. Well, there were actual genuinely charming moments between Chloe and both of her suitors, but I simply wanted more for our former Ghoul Girl, especially as she was in possession of Salem's brain for most of the year, but, alas, a single Chloe was sent packing after those two boneheads blew things. At least there's some dimpled delicious hope for Chloe in New York City, perhaps. "Phloe: Part 20," anyone?
Laurisa: Eric Brady and Sarah Horton (with a side of Rex Brady)
For his part, Rex is the cautionary tale of why big plot points shouldn't happen off-screen. Everything we saw him do was correct. He asked Eric and Sarah all the direct, right questions. They repeatedly lied to his face. He fell all over himself to praise Sarah. But yet, I had to keep reminding myself that he'd slept with two other women (one being her sister!) and fathered a child. It was all tough to handle, since he was dealing with two knuckleheads on-screen.
Eric and Sarah were so obviously doomed from the start, it felt like any scene spent with them was a colossal waste of time. Every third word of dialogue was "Nicole." Her presence loomed large, even when she wasn't there. Plus, Sarah was willing to marry Rex as a backup because Eric said he didn't want her. That kind of complete lack of self-respect was tough to watch. Finally, the show kept trying to equate Sarah/Eric/Rex to Nicole/Eric/Brady, which is kind of like saying canned Spam is the same as salt-aged prime rib. Sure, I guess. They're both meat. But, come on. There's a huge difference there.
Tony: Tripp Dalton and Claire Brady
Technically, only one part of this couple was the worst. Hint! It wasn't Claire. Okay. Okay. Okay. Fine. Before I talk about why Tripp is as great as a boyfriend as John "Blind My Bestie" Black is as a best friend, here's the obligatory disclaimer one must make about Claire doing fiery, murdery things: fiery and murdery things are wrong; I don't condone them, nor would I encourage a young, mentally ill woman to throw another Salemite on the barbie. But you know what? Claire can snap and burn as many things as she wants, and that still doesn't make Tripp a good boyfriend.
Sure. Absolutely. Totally, even. A mentally ill C-Bear did horrendous things in the name of love, but in her literally bent mind, said horrendous things were done for the sake of their relationship. She never wavered in her affections for Tripp. In her mind, she was fighting for them. Her reactions were extreme, to say the very least, but Tripp shouldn't get a pass on the initial actions she was reacting to. What Claire did is something she'll have to live with once she recovers, but Tripp's treatment of Claire is something he'll have to live with, too.
For most of their relationship, Tripp took Claire for granted and ignored some pretty major red flags in the process. Unintentionally or not, he also took advantage of her willingness to make him happy. Yes, this is a tricky slope, as Tripp was attempting to help someone, but the extremes he took while trying to do so were totally unfair to Claire and hurt her deeply. I mean, he pretty much "surprised" his girlfriend with his fauxlationship with Haley and expected her to be totally, foam-finger-wavingly onboard. He even used Claire's ring as a prop to propose to Haley. Oh, oh! And he freakin' kicked her out of her own home so he could play house with his new pretend wife. All the while, J.J. was right there, throwing his hand up in a perpetual pleading of, "Pick me! Pick me! Please. Please. Please! I'll do it!" I get that Haley was jilted by J.J., but beggars can't be choosers and all, and they made more sense than Haley and Tripp "Claire Will Understand if I Put Our Relationship on Hold for Years" Dull-ton. Ugh. Claire's crimes certainly don't negate that Tripp put others' needs far above his girlfriend's or that he was oblivious to Claire's feelings. Oblivious? Or unconcerned? Maybe a mix of both.
Then, when Claire's disturbing deeds started to come to light, instead of trying to help or get help for his mentally ill girlfriend, Tripp co-set up a sting operation to get her to confess to her crimes. How about taking her on a drive to see Grandma Marlena, Tripp? Nope. And now Mr. Compassion's in med school. Eek. In the end, any which way you
slice burn it, Tripp was just as responsible for making their coupling go down in flames as Claire was. When a psycho pyro's friends get to say, "You can do better, girl," it's pretty telling.
WORST STORYLINE DIRECTION
Wait...what did this storyline just do?!
Laurisa: Stefan's Death
Gabi's grief was excellent soapy TV and may very well earn Camila Banus an Emmy. However, I'd trade those few scenes in a second to have Brandan Barash's Stefan back in Salem. The DiMera family needs a head, and Stefan could have been it. Right now, it feels like all of the best components of Stefano are split between three lesser parts -- the scheming (Dr. Rolf), the family devotion (Chad), and the crazed villain (Kristen). Stefan could have been all those things combined. Plus, Lani vs. Gabi is lame. I'd rather watch Stefan vs. Chad. Oh, and did I mention that we don't have Brandon Barash anymore? Boo. Just boo.
Tony: Lani Doesn't Tell Eli About Gabi's Treachery
What Gabi did to Lani was downright degrading and diabolical. No doubt. That's not in question. What Lani did with the damning information she had on Gabi was downright dumb, as "What Lani did" was nothing. Nope. Nothing. Not a thing. At all. I just wanted to scream, "Fight back, Lani. Fight! You're smarter than this!" I would have totally championed her if she'd decided to swing back, especially after what she did for Julie and her loved ones, but we got nothing. Nada. Not a thing. *exasperated sigh*
Sure, I get that Lani was concerned for Julie's well-being, but as a smart, kickass police detective engaged to a well-connected former FBI agent and at the time police commissioner, as the daughter of Abe "The Man" Carver, and as a close friend to Rafe "I Know A Guy" Hernandez, I can't believe her best course of action was to bow down to Gabi's demands and eventually run away from Salem to become a nun? Huh. Again, Lani is smarter than that. She could have used one of her aforementioned resources to shut down Gabi's phone, give Eli the 4-1-1, and live happily ever after. But, nah. She ran away and almost became a nun instead. Makes sense, especially since her religion has always been important to her, so much so that she planned to marry at St. Luke's -- oh, wait -- she was to wed in the town square by a minister who was ordained online. My head hurts trying to make sense of the direction this storyline took, and, sadly, it took down a lot of Lani's awesomeness with it.
WORST STORYLINE RESOLUTION
Laurisa: Leo and the Curse of the Evil Eye
So, that's is? Leo gives Will the evil eye and casts some weird Greek spell on him and leaves? He just walks out the front door? On a show where Celeste held court for over a decade, you're going to have to come at fans with something bigger than a curse if you want us to embrace the supernatural. Plus, Greg Rikaart's Leo was almost on his way to being the male Nicole -- and I mean that as a high compliment. Sure, he schemed. But he had a terror for a father and grew up hustling. The scene with John when Leo thought he was John's son proved Greg could pull real empathy from the audience when he needed to. So, that's why I'm wondering why so much potential just walked out the front door of the K-Mansion after -- again -- giving an evil eye.
Tony: Dr. Henry Shah: Crazy in Love
Uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh, oh, no, no. Just no. Let's be real. Henry Shah was Liam Frasier-lite. Violently obsessed with Jennifer after a few dates and died by being impaled on something sharp. It felt anticlimactic and unnecessary. It also felt like an easy out at the end of a long storyline. That's a shame because, after we learned his backstory, Dr. Shah could have been made into a layered character -- or at least a memorable longer-lasting villain. With masks on the table, maybe the real Dr. Shah was locked up and Peter Blake was impersonating him! Nope. Instead, Oh Henry went from "He Seems Nice" to "Norma Bates" in record-breaking speed. We got Jack 1.0 back. That was a win, but having faith that would eventually happen, anyway, made Henry's rushed decent into madness, well, maddeningly disappointing.
WORST WASTE OF A STORYLINE
What should have been, but never was...
Laurisa: Claire's Social Media Obsession
If done right, this story could be a timely cautionary tale of living your life for public perception. My heart breaks for kids like Claire, who grow up in a world where their validation is a social media share or like from a total stranger. I wish she was taken in by someone who understood social media was a part of her life yet helped her manage intertwining that with her real psyche in a healthy way. Someone like...gee...I don't know...a mental health professional or something?
But instead, Claire was made the nuisance on DAYS. It was very dismissive of the younger soap audience. Plus, it did a disservice to the older soap audience (*raises hand*) who didn't have a digital childhood and are therefore completely clueless about the depth of social media impact. "Oh, Claire, you just need to get off that Facespace thing and stop worrying about views" makes as much sense as fighting teen pregnancy by insisting on abstinence.
Tony: Ted Laurent Gets Aiden Shaw-ed
Perhaps this is more of a "Worst Waste of a Character" rather than "Storyline," but Ted's demise killed me a bit and, really, did affect many plots, too. Obviously Tricky Ted was involved with Hope, but also la famiglia DiMera, the Kiriakis clan, Theresa (at one time), Will and Sonny, Kate, Leo, Ciara, Ben, Jack, Eve, and even Dirty Diana, who knew him and his mysterious dead (or maybe not-dead) wife. That part is still a little fuzzy, but I digress. I'm just saying Ted had his fingers in many pies. He was well connected and had a lot more potential. No, he wasn't a great guy, if we're being honest. He was a scoundrel. A liar, too. But he looked like Gilles Marini and was rather charming at times. Teddy was also the first guy in a while to have smoldering chemistry with Hope. There was a lot of buildup around this guy and we were left with lingering questions from "Who was his wife!?" to "Could he be redeemed?" Alas, we'll never know, as he got Aiden Shaw-ed and thrown under the bus as an easy scapegoat.
Laurisa: Kristen rapes Brady
Kristen has committed this crime before. But back when Kristen raped Eric, DAYS acknowledged the crime out front. Yet DAYS completely whitewashed what Kristen did to Brady. I found that choice abhorrently irresponsible. Bottom line, Brady did not consent to sleep with Kristen. Yet Kristen slept with Brady. That's rape. At one point, Kristen herself even said to Brady, "I know when you slept with me, you thought it was Nicole." Yes! Yes, he did!
Yet for some inexplicable reason, the Salem P.D. didn't arrest her for rape, despite the fact there was physical evidence of both the encounter (the paternity test for baby Bristen) and the deception. Hello! "Nicole's" face got pulled off in front of a room full of witnesses -- including members of the police force!
What's worse is that they didn't need to have her rape him. The storyline where Brady gets closer to "Nicole" and notices little things that remind him of Kristen could have been done without them sleeping together. Brady might have even earned some brain points back for figuring out the whole thing using his actual head. But alas, not only did they let Kristen get away with rape, but she got rewarded for it, too. Brady ended up falling back in love with her, moving her into the mansion, and doting over her every need. I'm not one to think that every criminal needs to be put in jail, otherwise we'd have no cast. But having Brady want nothing to do with her would at least have been soap justice for this act.
Tony: Elections and Immigration and Chanting, Oh My!
Politically speaking, we're living in a very tumultuous time. From 24-hour news cycles to small talk at deli counters to Twitter -- it seems that every conversation that even becomes a little wee bit political quickly escalates into a charged Behar/McCain throwdown. While I fully believe everyone should be aware of what's going on in the world, make educated decisions, and be as respectful as possible when sharing opposing views, for an hour a weekday, I just want to watch DAYS and not think about political agendas, left or right wings, or hear hateful chants of "Send her back," or vile variations thereof. We've got real life for that. I just wanted escapism. I simply craved that time to bury my head in the hourglass' sand and watch my favorite show. I wanted my largest worries to be fast-forwarding my DVR too far after a commercial break or being annoyed by Brady for declaring "love of his life" status to a mop propped up against a lamppost. Great performances abounded during this storyline, but having it built on a character we knew little about, Salemites acting out of character, and a platform that resonates too close to home, well, I would not rush to the polls for this one again. Ever.
Happy New Year everyone! Thanks for spending the last 52 weeks (times 13 years) with us, and here's to more Two Scooping ahead in 2020!
Laurisa and Tony
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