"Am I making you uncomfortable in my current state of undress?"
I’ve seen the emperors naked, and it ain’t pretty.
I kept wondering if there was something wrong with me. Have I become so jaded over the past couple of years that nothing Days can do will ever make me happy? Is good stuff happening right in front of me, but I’m missing it because I can’t see for all the black clouds circling my head?
The writers and a select few actors have been tweeting how amazing the reset has been, how the sun’s finally come out again and ratings are soaring. Deidre Hall’s got the show spinning on the tip of her index finger like a Harlem Globetrotter and all is right with Salem once again. Interviews, articles and weekly recaps are all about how the show’s reset has been a huge success. We’ve gotten our Days back.
I realized that I just wouldn’t be me if I didn’t call bullshit, and I’m not the only one.
Sure, I almost got caught up in the spin. I’ll admit that the dialogue has improved. Horton Square looks great. Watching Melanie and Daniel pausing to catch their breath by Tom and Alice’s tree after a morning run, some pretty convincing, fabricated sunlight falling on their shoulders…Well, it’s just lovely. But endless hours of witty banter under a pretty tree does not compelling soap make.
As far as I’m concerned, that just isn’t enough to explain all the accolades TPTB have been giving and receiving over this reset.
The Brady Bunch Is Still Lame
I know the writers need to take some time to reintegrate the vets, so it’s inevitable that some characters are going to be pushed into the background for a bit while all that’s happening, but the vets have taken over the whole damn show. Actually, wait. The Brady Bunch has taken over the whole damn show - not a good thing, as the past couple of years have not been kind to them.
The Bradys’ actions have played a part in driving away many characters over the past while.
Chloe - As much as people want to blame Kate for what happened, let’s face it – Caroline Brady fucked Chloe over badly by switching the paternity results and not coming clean about it until the baby’s christening.
Carly - Kayla and Caroline couldn’t have been shittier to her if she’d shown up at Alice’s funeral dressed in a giant, foam donut costume playing the Price is Right fail music on a trombone.
Arianna - Not a hugely popular character, but her death at the hands of her brother’s misplaced loyalty and ultimate betrayal, Sami’s selfishness, and Will’s stupidity left a nasty taste in most viewers’ mouths.
Speaking of The Devil - Sami
The Brady who’s taken the hardest hit, of course, is Sami. After showing no remorse for shooting EJ in the head, she headed straight back to Rafe’s bachelor pad to indulge in some disturbing sex scenes as though nothing had happened. She screwed Kate (who’d been trying to help her) over by informing EJ that she was the one who’d told Sami he’d mentioned wanting to leave town with the kids during a drunken rant. She tried to crack both Arianna and Nicole’s heads open like nuts. As I’ve mentioned in the past, writers have tried everything to get us to sympathize with her – having EJ and Nicole show up at her wedding to take the children away, refusing to let her see Johnny after his cancer diagnosis, sticking Rafe in a car accident then replacing him with a doppelganger, and giving Sami a fistful of cysts – all to no avail.
Inserting Sami into three storylines without first making the character watchable and likeable again at this point is madness. Inserting her along with her dumb, over-exposed, hired goon of a husband is a decision worthy of a rubber room. I’m happy Sami is employed, but right now I don’t give two shits if she can’t juggle her invisible children and a job – something millions of women are able to do without the aid of an Igor or a Caroline (who, incidentally, is an elderly widow who manages to run her own business and still babysit three great grandchildren under the age of six).
Madison Mary Sue James
As you all know, one of the things I hate most about TPTB is that they never learn from their mistakes, no matter how recent those mistakes may have been made.
After the whole Taylor fiasco, TPTB decided to introduce us all to Madison James in much the same way. I won’t dwell on the Taylor aspect of it all, because I touched on that already, and who wants to read more of my whining. I will say this, though – you can’t introduce a character as the heroic foil for a beloved character on the show no matter how villainous that character may be. Kate is a beloved character. Some people hate her, but a lot more people adore her.
It's going to take a helluva lot more than twenty bucks, lady.
Madison sashaying onto the scene with wrinkle cream and hooker jokes didn’t win me over. I don’t know this woman, but I do know Kate. I could understand Brady’s animosity towards Kate after the whole Chloe thing, but I couldn’t figure out where the hell Victor’s viciousness was coming from, or Madison’s, for that matter. Sticking Sami in the mix didn’t help much, either. Kate hasn’t given Sami a reason to be nasty to her in eons.
I understand that the idea was to use SJB’s popularity to Days’ advantage. I’m sure they were hoping that if they gave her a strong, front-burner role, featuring her romantically with one of the show’s male leads no less, it would draw whatever gigantic fanbase TPTB thought she might have – a miscalculation already made twice in less than a year when TPTB tried to bring Natalia Livingston and Tamara Braun onto the show, pairing them romantically with James Scott.
Ken Corday (or the chimp who gives his interviews in his place) complained that he no longer recognized Days. It had been taken over by newer characters while legacy characters and fan favourites languished in the background. So what the hell were the writers thinking bringing yet another new character onto the show? You already have too much stuff going on.
You’re trying to get five returning vets re-established onto the show. You just got rid of two female characters – Carly and Chloe. You’ve got Nicole, a character who has been in desperate need of a new storyline with fresh faces for ages and has an established fanbase, just waiting in the wings. But what do you do? You bring on a new character.
This Ain’t No Castaway
I understand that the writers have to repair the damage done to Jack by the previous writing team, but having Jennifer and Abigail react so unsympathetically for so long makes no bloody sense. The guy was trapped in a cave in Afghanistan, fer chrissakes. Therapy first. Grovelling and cookie-decorating second. Throwing Jack into the middle of a triangle so soon after his arrival might not have been the best idea.
I think I would have preferred watching Jack, Jennifer, Daniel and Abigail dealing with their emotions separately. I understand that Jack “abandoned” his family (I think that’s debatable, but maybe I’ll leave that for another entry), but it’s hard to watch Jennifer and Abigail going on about how important family is when poor little JJ is all the hell the way in London dealing with all this crap alone.
Insert Advil advert here.
Jennifer has been fawning all over Daniel and fluffing his pillows like he’s the one who’s been hanging from the ceiling of a cave like meat from a hook for a year. Kate Mansi has been kicking ass, but I can’t listen to her yelling anymore. It’s like a knife in my head now, and I’m feeling less and less sympathetic towards her. Now I mostly just want to tell Abigail to get the fuck over it.
Not cool, Jennifer. Not cool.
Speaking of needing to get the fuck over it…
Lexie vs. EJ
Lexie, give me a break. So EJ is running against Abe for mayor. You’ve had your hissy-fit and I was okay with that. You told EJ you felt betrayed, blah blah blah. He apologized for not considering that his decision to run for mayor might affect his nephew, blah blah blah.
How this is supposed to traumatize Theo, I don’t know. Theo might get caught up in the ripples of his mother’s anger, but that’s about it. The way Lexie talked about it, you’d think that the kid was going to go into some sort of catatonic state Robin Williams will have to show up in Salem to crack him out of in a few years.
I’d probably have a helluva lot more patience for Lexie’s cosmic freak-outs if she and her husband tried to turn the smug dial down whenever they thought they’d managed to ruffle EJ’s feathers. Lexie – EJ isn’t taking food out of your kid’s mouth. On the off-chance EJ actually wins, the Carvers aren’t going to end up splitting a can of cranberry sauce while huddling with each other for warmth in their cardboard box come Christmas.
Ho ho hobo.
As far as I’m concerned, this is a small price for Abe to pay for keeping Rafe on the payroll and Sami out of jail after she shot EJ in the head and everyone and their mother covered it up. I haven’t forgotten that Bo accused Abe of only wanting to keep Rafe off the police force because he was up for re-election, after which Abe decided to let the whole thing slide. Yes. I know. It happened way over three weeks ago, but I was miraculously able to retain that memory nonetheless.
Sky Rockets in Flight: John and Marlena
John is innocent and Marlena is going to stand by him no matter what happens. I get it, dammit. John and Marlena are in love. I get that, too. John still kisses as though he’s got a flip-top head. Okay.
I’m not a fan of John and Marlena. If you don’t already know that, I thought I’d just mention it again because it’s important here. I’m not a fan of the couple, but I appreciate that people are happy to have them back so I am in no way complaining that they’ve returned. That being said, though, just because I have enough patience to sit through some strawberries and cream until a storyline involving other characters I’m actually interested in comes along, it doesn’t mean that everyone will.
The embezzlement story had the potential to be interesting to me at its inception, but the horses left the gate training themselves to ride unicycles. It’s badly-paced and there's just been too much of it. John and Marlena have had the same conversation about a dozen times now over the course of a month - between just the two of them, with Bo and Hope, with Roman, with Abe, with Sami, Rafe, Austin, and Carrie. It’s beyond tedious. People love John. Hurrah and huzzah. Next.
EJ & Nicole. Again.
Okay, I’m not even going to touch this one. Again.
The Quad That Keeps On Taking
First of all, I’m all for anything that really turns the brightness up on what a dick Rafe already is, and watching him take an icepick to Sami and Carrie’s fragile truce by planting the seed of suspicion in Brady the Elder’s brain while she’s too far away to actually find out the truth of the situation is pretty damn dickish. Rafe acting like a douche towards Austin with absolutely no proof that he was behind getting him fired (like the root of that little problem doesn’t go back to Rafe being an over-zealous moron), is pretty damn dickish.
Sami looks more pathetic than usual next to Rafe. Being afraid to come out and admit that she invited Austin to stay with them, letting Rafe believe, instead, that Austin begged her to sleep on their couch. Starting to cry when Rafe stormed out of the loft like a big, stompy baby after she dared to snap at him about losing his job. Slipping into the shower to ingratiate herself by soothing him with soap-play after he acted like such an asshole all morning. She looked absolutely pitiful.
The face of a woman who dares to make a good point.
I’m liking Austin because I’m all for anyone telling it like it is. When Rafe told him that he should just drop his assignment, Austin calmly explained that he takes his marriage to Carrie very seriously so he took an assignment that both provides for them financially and emotionally while simultaneously proving that he’s a grown-up who also cares about his job. He blinded me with sense – something you don’t find much of in Salem.
Still, after all of that, I could have done without the near-nekkid, Three’s Company-esque couch tumble. Rafe is (but shouldn’t be) dumb enough to think even for a second that something so stupid is proof that Sami is rekindling her obsession with Austin. I know they live in a labyrinth with extra rooms hidden behind bookcases and down stairwells under beds, but Sami and Austin know that the chances of Rafe stumbling in to forage for beer or whip up some omelettes are pretty great. This is stuff I’d (barely) expect to happen in the Abigail/Chad/Melanie triangle, let alone a storyline involving four people in the 30-40 age range.
Still. A part of me is hoping that the Sami/Rafe thing is finally unravelling. That thing’s been a knot in my back for three years now and I’m ready for someone to take a big, strong elbow to it. We all deserve one hell of an extended break from those two.
Because I’m tired…
Because I’m tired, and you’re probably sick of me, I’m going to stop here. There’s more. A lot more. But I don’t want to burn you out (if you’ve actually managed to put up with all my grousing today). There are some spoilers out right now that could prove to be very watchable if the writers have gotten the pacing right. Despite the enjoyment I derive from complaining about this show, I still want to one day be able to sit back and chuckle about the occasional misstep, rather than go on these long tangents. You know, like the good ol’ days. Hopefully those Days aren’t too far off.