Monday, July 16, 2012

Law in the Afternoon

Every once in a while TPTB have me wondering if they still think I’m a senile old lady pushing ninety-nine who sits and watches her stories in the afternoon then heads off to bed when her eyelids are too heavy to safely continue her latest needlepoint, or the clock strikes 7pm – whatever happens first.

What is up with this disaster of a whodunit?  I thought the Diane Jenkins murder on Y&R last summer was handled badly.  Yikes.

Gorgeous promo. So much wasted potential.

In case you don’t watch Y&R, or you need a refresher, or you’ve repressed the memory of it, the Diane Jenkins murder last summer had a buttload of potential to be good, and some of it was.  Unfortunately, instead of taking advantage of the fact that Y&R did it first, leaving plenty of opportunity for TPTB at Days to learn from MAB’s mistakes, Days managed to cock up their own murder-mystery. And cock it up they did. Spectacularly.

In the days leading up to Diane’s murder, she managed to piss off just about everyone in town, obviously to give everyone motive.  Some stuff was ridiculous and clearly came out of nowhere because MAB was so damn excited to do this murder-mystery storyline that she totally jumped the gun.  She wanted a nice, long list of suspects to play with, which would have been fine if any one of them was supposed to be the actual murderer.  When you’re doing this sort of storyline on a soap opera, there’s a good chance that the person who committed the murder is one of four types of characters (not including those portrayed by recently fired actors).

- A character who has been on the show for a short time
- A character who drinks (and blacks out) or takes pills (that make him/her act out of sorts)
- A new character who hasn't appeared on the canvas
- An old character who is making a "shocking" return

Here’s how the night of Diane’s murder played out.  Diane, after having a final antagonistic one-on-one conversation with everyone in Genoa City, sent out a text to each person asking them to meet her in a dark, (almost) secluded area.  Everyone got the text at exactly the same time, and all headed to the meeting place simultaneously – some from the same location.  They all made lame excuses as to why they suddenly had to leave the person they were with (which was absolutely cringe-worthy to watch), then headed out.  Not one of these people ran into anyone else when they went to confront Diane.

Sound familiar?

I didn’t think it was possible, but Days almost managed to outdo all that stupid.  In this day and age, there’s no reason writers can’t give us a decent murder-mystery storyline.  What you don’t know, you can easily find in a book, on the internet, on television, or in a movie theatre.

The lead-up to the murder was just as clunky as Diane Jenkins’.  Stefano, who loved his adopted children as much as (and sometimes more than) his biological children, suddenly cut EJ out of his life and out of his will without so much as a paternity test to even confirm that what Alice said in the letter was true.  Suddenly, Stefano wanted to keep Kate from being able to get a job anywhere but Orange Julius.  Suddenly it was Stefano’s fault that Andre, a grown (and crazy) man trapped Lexie in the tunnels beneath the DiMansion.  Suddenly it was Stefano’s fault that Hope harassed him into opening Alice’s safety deposit box where she found the Alamania marriage certificate that stated she and John were married.  Suddenly it was Stefano’s fault that Will didn’t think to talk to EJ about being blackmailed, which lead to him losing his job and daily access to his number one crush.  Suddenly everything was Stefano’s fault.

So Bo, Hope, John, Abe, Marlena, Kate, Will and EJ all headed to the DiMansion to kill Stefano.  One by one they put on their finest black fineries and rain gear, headed over to the DiMansion, then stated the reasons they wanted Stefano dead.  There was a greater chance that they’d bore him to death than actually shoot him.  

So they show up and give him a little speech, realize they can’t do it (surprise, surprise), then leave.  That’s where it should have ended.  Instead, we have them all decide to come back, touch the gun Abe left behind with their bare hands, then leave again.  WHAT.

 Oy vey.

Here’s the thing – I’m tired of excusing that sort of silliness by saying “Well, it’s a soap opera. You need to suspend your disbelief.”  I have absolutely no problem suspending disbelief when it comes to some things, but there’s a threshold.  I’m willing to let the first string of visits to the DiMansion slide.  I’m not going to go easy on the second string, though.  There was no reason any of these people needed to sneak back into the DiMansion and touch that gun with their gloveless hands.  I don’t care if you had thirty-eight minutes to fill, if you needed the suspects to all make the same utterly moronic mistake to make the job of solving Stefano’s murder easier on Salem’s Keystone Cops, or if you think I took too long making a sandwich, causing me to miss all the suspects traipsing through the DiMansion living room the first time.

Speaking of the Keystone Cops and the powers that be thinking we’re all imbeciles…

What is going on with this investigation?  When Agent Spencer made his return (yay!), I was thinking writers had finally gotten a clue and decided to bring in an objective character who knows nothing about the victim or suspects outside of what he unearths over the course of the investigation.  Will I never learn?

From Roman questioning his brother and sister-in-law in the room Stefano was not only shot in, but was also still occupying at the time, to Roman passing the reigns of the investigation over to Rafe for fear that he couldn’t conduct the investigation objectively, to…Ah, hell.  Let’s just make a list, shall we?  If I’ve forgotten or overlooked anything, feel free to leave it for me in comment form.


Bo and Hope are questioned in Stefano’s study.  While Stefano is still sitting in the chair.  For some reason they’re both surprised and offended when Roman points out that because they’re suspects, they can’t work the case.  How many times has this happened, and how many more times am I going to have to watch Bo and Hope be shocked and appalled when they’re told they can’t work a case because they’re “too close to it”?

 Mrs. Shocked and Mr. Appalled.

They’re currently working on using the SPD’s very limited resources to find Melanie.  Mere feet away from where the murder they’re both suspected of committing is being investigated.


Abe couldn’t have committed the crime because Abe couldn’t have committed the crime.  How can we be sure?  Because Roman told us so.  Here’s a prime example of one problem with this show.  A newer viewer, one who doesn’t know who either Roman or Abe is, shouldn’t be expected to just take one’s word that the other wouldn’t kill someone.  Someone he was angry with.  Someone he threatened to kill.  Someone who gave him motive to kill.  I knew it was very unlikely that Abe went back that night and plugged Stefano because I know his character.  I’ve been watching this soap for eons.  I know how soaps work.  But a newer viewer may not. 

This man is not capable of murder. Just of showing up
at someone's place, wagging a gun in their face, and
threatening to kill them. That's not a crime, is it?
Wait...It is?

Abe’s gun was supposedly the one used to commit the murder.  Abe’s fingerprints were on the gun, as were the fingerprints of every other suspect.  Abe did not test positive for gun residue, but neither did EJ (the prime suspect).  Neither did any of the suspects (Will being the exception).  So how do we know it wasn’t Abe?  Because Roman told us it wasn’t.


We know John and Marlena didn’t commit murder because a) they’re all talk and b) they’re dicks.

John posturing for Roman by telling him Stefano deserved what he got and that he wished he was the one that killed him is a sure sign that John didn’t do it, despite all those threats he made over a game of bridge and a whole wheat sandwich while sequestered in the safehouse.  That’s how you and I were able to cross John off the list.  Why did Roman cross John and Marlena off the list?  Because they acted like a couple of stand-offish assholes ready to take back their friendship bracelets if Roman asked them or any of their relatives anymore questions.


Again, this isn’t good enough for newer viewers.  Hell, it was barely good enough for me.  I need to see (or hear about) some concrete evidence.

So what did Roman do after facing the wrath of Jarlena’s temper tantrum?  He handed the reigns over to someone who could be objective.


Okay, seriously. What the fuck.

I thought it was stupid enough when Roman made Rafe police commissioner in his stead on his first day on the job, but he had won me back for about five minutes in October when he fired him after finding out Rafe was feeding information to Carrie to get John out of that embezzlement pickle he was in.

Roman has made amendments to “Rafe can be objective” since first saying it.  Now it’s “Rafe is more objective.”  “More objective” and “objective” isn’t the same thing.  You’re either objective or not objective.  You’re either judgmental or not judgmental.  You’re either racist or not racist.  Rafe is not now, nor has he ever been objective.

 You either are a douche, or you aren't.

 Shouldn’t Agent Spencer be working this case alone given that he’s more than just sort of, kind of objective?  I guess that would have made way too much sense and would have taken away far too much screentime from Rafe and Roman.  Speaking of that - If Rafe is handling the investigation, why the hell are we still seeing Roman questioning EJ, overseeing his polygraph test, executing the warrant to search EJ's apartment, et cetera?  Roman needs a woman or an e-reader badly.


Wasn’t the CIA supposed to be closely monitoring this investigation?   Oh, nevermind.  That CIA thing was brought up way over three weeks ago.  Forget I mentioned it.


Roman questions Bo and Hope about the murder inside the crime scene.  Chad wants to know what’s going on, so Roman lets him and his melodramatics wander into the crime scene his father’s corpse has yet to be removed from, along with two suspects who heroically (they’re heroes, after all) take a moment to stand in the corner and smile smugly at the victim’s two sons. 

"Is that my father?" "Um...No. That's my...uh...lunch. I brown-bagged it today."

Meanwhile, at the police station, people are wandering in and out of the room housing the suspect board like it’s a public restroom.  At the very least, Ronan on Y&R had a sheet that he’d pull down over the board when someone popped into the room unexpected.  Sure, there was a chance someone would have caught a glimpse of it if they looked fast enough, but at least Ronan put a little effort into looking like he was taking his job seriously.  Come on, Days.  Really?

Will’s friend Neil shows up to give him an alibi, which is all very well and fine, but then Will was free to go in literally a matter of a couple of minutes.  Will spent more time trying to explain “gay” to Roman than it took to check out Will’s alibi and tell him he was cleared of all charges.

The polygraph test performed on EJ was absolutely infuriating to watch, more so because someone behind the scenes clearly understood how ridiculous it was playing out and let us know via EJ’s dialogue.

 I feel ya, EJ. Both kinds of feel.

Again, people were wandering in and out of the room while the test was being conducted, which EJ complained about more than once.  Rafe showed up late, and Roman was heckling EJ the entire time.  The man conducting the test said the results would be compromised if EJ couldn’t calm down, and instead of putting an end to the test, he went ahead and finished it anyways.  Later we saw the guy getting paid off, which would have been marginally more shocking if we didn’t think the test had been already compromised by all the aforementioned harassment EJ was on the receiving end of.


Based on a fucked up polygraph test and a box of bullets (minus one, because if EJ didn't hit Stefano with the first bullet and only bullet, it just wasn't meant to be) illegally obtained by a woman who is sort of, kind of not objective, the Keystone Cops manage to get a warrant.  This surprises no one, of course.  It also didn’t surprise us when Rafe was somehow able to use his x-ray vision to find the gloves taped to the back of the picture hanging on the wall, but bypassed the full-grown man in black sneaking around the place.  I guess the superpowers come and go.

No one had to show EJ the warrant before entering the apartment?  Oh, okay.  Wouldn’t the owner of the building have to be notified, though?  Wait…Who’s the owner?  EJ?  Oh.  Interesting.

So EJ supposedly hid the bullets in his cutlery drawer (because who doesn’t use an automated weapon to shuck corn off the cob?), then went to the trouble of wrapping his gloves up in a Ziploc bag and taping it to the back of a picture, instead of…oh, I don’t know…throwing them out.  Is that right, Roman?  Who wants to bet no one is going to check the bag or the tape holding it to the picture for EJ’s fingerprints?  Is anyone going to give a second thought as to why EJ was asking Rafe where he found the gloves, almost as though he had no idea where the gloves came from?  No, huh?  Colour me stunned.

Much like Gabi, this thing is doing little more than taking up space.

Lucas and Sami overhear EJ and Roman shouting and go to check out what’s going on.  Does anyone stop them at the door?  No, of course not.  Do they allow Lucas and that horrible cantaloupe-coloured golf shirt he’s wearing to waltz right in and start yelling and throwing around accusations?  Of course.  It wasn’t until Lucas comically made a move to clock Elvis in the pelvis that Roman decided to intervene.  Frankly, I would have liked to have seen what would’ve happened if he didn’t.  But unless Ian left an incriminating trampoline in one of EJ’s closets for Rafe to find, it wasn’t going to happen.  Drag.


I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been enjoying the show at all.  There are some things I just can’t get enough of.


Okay, yes – their conversations tend to go in circles.  But it’s totally worth it just to watch Will getting all gooey-eyed over merely being in EJ’s presence.  Whether or not Will and his adorkably goofy grin are up to something, I have no idea.  I just know that I love watching Days’ ambiguously gay duo in action.  More than that, I love being privy to the good time Chandler and James seem to be having in their scenes together.

 I’m holding out hope that Will will try to cock-block EJ’s re-burgeoning relationship with Sami, as he and his father once attempted years ago, except for entirely different reasons this time around.  I love that even though EJ is trying to fight it to some degree, he kind of has a friend in the kid.  When’s the last time EJ actually had a friend he wasn’t sleeping with or related to, let alone two?

Which, of course, brings us to…


Damned if I don’t love seeing EJ and Sami together again, and all that that entails.  Verbally sparring, eye-sexing, almost-kissing… And now that it looks as though they might actually be working together, I can cross something else off of my Days wish-it-would-happen-already list.  Why the writers took so long to capitalize on their chemistry continues to be beyond my understanding, and I know I’m not alone there.  There’s a reason these two still maintain such a vocal fanbase after six years of them never being given a real chance together.  Stefano and Kate made such a fabulous couple together, and you’ve got such similar dynamics in EJ and Sami.   

Just let these two be together, soap gods.  Let them work their combined magic for a while.  Why should Bo and Hope, and Marlena and John hog all the marriage stability?  Give it a shot, writers.  Try writing angst for a couple to overcome together for a change.  I had to watch Rafe fall out of a tree and eat away at Sami like she was a bamboo shoot for three bloody years, guys.  Give us a chance to see Sami in a relationship in which she can continue to cultivate her bad-ass self.


It’s hard to watch Lucas trying to compensate for that foot between the top of Lucas’ head and the top of EJ’s head by shouting and puffing out his chest, but this just illustrates for those who aren’t already in the know in a loud (and brightly-coloured) fashion that Lucas can be kind of an asshole.  Everyone has their failings, and this is Lucas’.  He gets fiercely protective and it manifests itself in the most undesirable way.  He gets up people’s asses, stops trusting that they’ll do the right thing (or often just what he thinks is the right thing), sticks his fingers in his ears so he can’t hear any further argument on the subject, then seems shocked when the person he’s been treating like a five-year-old does precisely the opposite of what he’s been trying to nail into their head.

A calm, cool and collected Lucas.

Would I have preferred if the Lucas who first rode into town months ago stayed with us for a while longer?  Yes.  When he first came back he was talking sense.  Talking – not yelling.  He knew right away that Sami still harboured deep-seated feelings for EJ and told her so.  He had a fiancée waiting for him back in Hong Kong he seemed committed to, and he handled Will’s coming out wonderfully.  The character was showing some real growth, and I had high hopes that TPTB would at least try to broaden his horizons a little bit by having him interact with characters outside of his mother, Sami, and EJ.

 Hold me closer, tiny dancer.

For instance, who wouldn’t have loved to watch Lucas gloating about Chloe cheating on Daniel with Philip after she cheated on Lucas with Daniel?  Come on!  That was one helluva miss, writers!  Especially when we all know how much Lucas loves to rub people’s failures into their faces.  Too easy.


The show has just been looking better.  I’d love it if a murder in Salem didn’t have the exclusive rights to rain.  Of course at times it was a little hard to hear conversations happening in the midst of it, but the rain was such a treat that I barely cared (and not just because it literally drowned out an exchange between Gabi and Will).  Hell, I don’t even mind not being able to see the rain.  If someone walked into the pub wearing a rain poncho and shaking water off an umbrella, that would be good enough for me.  It’s something different.  When winter rolled around, I missed falling snow.  I didn’t care that it was clearly Styrofoam or fibreglass or whatever the hell they use now.  It just sets the mood.  My Christmas needs snow, and my spring and summer need the occasional rain shower.

 The lighting in the DiMansion the night of Stefano’s murder was actually rather stunning.  What a difference all that strategic lighting made.  It really looked like a mausoleum in there, which, of course, was quite fitting.

The simulated sunlight seems to have improved, and I liked seeing the plants and branches in Lexie’s garden moving with the breeze.  I find that attention to detail like that really makes a big difference.  


So there are things that I’m loving about this show, and things that I’m hating.  The glass is half full, so that’s good, right?  We’re still in a far better place than we were this time last year.  I actually have some hope that Days will start getting their shit together, despite my not being completely onboard with TomSell’s return.  I’m hoping that at the very least they won’t attempt to do another crime storyline for a little while, at least until after they’ve watched a few episodes of early Law & Order (back when the show actually focused on both law AND order).  TPTB need to realize that even ladies pushing a century are up during the day and have access to a plethora of syndicated crime shows.  They’re no longer just limited to love in the afternoon.  We’re smart cookies, Ken.  Make the most of it.


  1. Great blog! Sums up my thoughts about Days for the last few months. But the murder mystery, yeegads. Days should not get into the murder mystery business if they can't even get the details & procedures right. They don't even have to do a lot of research. There are tons of primetime crime shows to choose from. Anyway, now that Lexie's death storyline is finished, EJami is now the sole thing that gives this show life to me. I've now become rather indifferent to EJ & Will's dynamic because they don't do much for me to begin with, they keep having the same conversations over & over (symptom of MarDar's regime TBH) & there are a million dramatic twists & turns they could take to make this storyline more interesting & keep it moving. I'm more optimistic about TomSell's return for the sole addition of Lorraine Broderick in their team of breakdown writers so we should see an improvement of the pacing of the storylines & some richer dialog. She was Agnes Nixon's protégée (the one who created AMC & OLTL) & she did a great job for the couple of times she was interim headwriter of AMC.

  2. I hope you're happy. It's almost 11 p.m. I'm sitting here alone and laughing like a loon. I hope my neighbors haven't called 911 asking for the men in the white coats to come and take me away.

    I don't think I will ever see Lucas and Roman again and not hear "Tiny Dancer". I managed to hold onto my drink at "CockWaffle" but I bloody lost it at "You are a douche, or you are not".

    But this one was the topper: "I had to watch Rafe fall out of a tree and eat away at Sami like she was a bamboo shoot for three bloody years, guys."

    I hope the writers don't have Will turn on EJ. He's lost all the friends he had and it would kill me to lose this one, too.

    Ej and Sami doing what they do best, I can't help but love those two crazy kids and I hope NBC/SONY/CORDAY have finally stopped fighting it and just jump on and let them ride it out to the finish line.

    One last thing, don't wait so long to write your next blog. You have been sorely missed.

  3. Excellent blog Diggy!

    I can definitely see the resemblance between the Stefano murder and the Diane Jenkins murder on Y&R in terms of faulty execution and poor writing. I will say though that Y&R had one very good thing that Days doesn't - Ronan. An investigator who was familiar with all the suspects but actually capable of maintaining objectivity. Days doesn't have that. Rafe is no Ronan. In fact, I think I just unintentionally insulted Ronan by comparing him to Rafe. Not even the presence of Spencer could tame down the smug certainty and focus of Roman and Rafe squarely on EJ. As a matter of fact, I think that smug tunnel vision is contagious because Spencer appears to have caught it since he started working with Rafe and Roman. Let's hope that despite all its flaws, the Stefano murder case works out to a much more satisfying conclusion than the Diane Jenkins murder on Y&R (I shudder just to think of Y&R's convoluted and downright ridiculous solution to the mess they created).

    The dynamic between EJ and Will has been entertaining me since January when Will showed up at EJ's door, attempting to blackmail him about EJ's hot and sexy indiscretion with Sami. At that time, Will nearly crapped his pants while he was doling out the blackmail and EJ struck back with his counter blackmail. It's been very satisfying to watch Will and EJ progress into this slightly uneasy quasi-friendship over the last 6 months. It's been tested more than once, yet survived and continues to be tested now that the balance of power has shifted squarely from EJ's corner and into the letter that Will holds (at least for now). This MAD (mutually assured destruction) dynamic and master/apprentice relationship is just fascinating to watch. The talent and charisma of both JS and CM have taken this duo far beyond what was scripted.

    The most dazzling diamond in the rough these Days is definitely Ejami. For anyone who wondered if James and Ali still had that smoking hot natural chemistry that brings any and all scenes between EJ and Sami alive, their doubts have been laid to rest. Their scenes have been fantastic! After so many cock-ups in the writing for Ejami and ill-advised attempts to placate their fans with poor, inadequate substitutes over the last 6 years, it's finally time to see them given a real chance as a couple and tell their story.

    I was rather hoping that you would mention one other good surprise that the past month has brought. Daniel and Nicole. Their recent fling has been delightful, dirty, and incredibly hot. How many other couples on this show can be so completely open and honest with each other to the point that they can label themselves as the "tramp and the man-whore"? Only Nicole has the "moxy" to ask Dr. Dan what his thing is with romancing so many of his patients? It is this "moxy" that has been sorely lacking in Nicole's character since she was removed from the Kiriakis orbit and thrown into one unsuccessful and backbone-destroying incarnation of Ejole after another. I can't wait to see how Victor reacts to seeing his ex-wife with his beloved godson/stepson. I'm already anticipating the snarky barbs that will be tossed back and forth between Vic and Nik. Here's to hoping that the Nicole of old - the one who's come out with Dan - sticks around. She's been sorely missed. Also hoping that this naughty version of Dr. Dan sticks around. The white-washed, hypocritical, self-righteous version that was crafted for his romance with Jennifer was unappealing.

    Anyway, now that I've rambled on with all the thoughts that you've provoked with your blog, I'll say again that it was a wonderful, thought-provoking read! :)

  4. Love your blog, but how do you keep up the EJ/Sami love? I used to be there with you, but after six years, somebody's got to develop some substance. I'm just not recovering from Sami really being all about Rafe during the Sami/EJ summer. And EJ, well . . . I saw EJ as this guy who had one chink in the armor, and that was his love for Sami, but the Taylor thing and throwing some guy in Sami's bed without even seeming conflicted about it and a year of nearly not ever sharing scenes with Sami shattered my picture of EJ. If the writing for him had ever been truly great in the first place, I could let it go, but it hasn't. I guess there must be some mad chemistry for EJ/Sami to still be garnering any support after never getting strong writing that truly took them somewhere in all these six years. I'm over them and am now understanding where people who complain that they've taken over the show are coming from. Just the sight of either one of them is starting to annoy me.

    Oh, and the murder mystery is so lame. I haven't actually been watching much, so your description lets me know it's even lamer than I realized.

    Enjoyed the read. Thanks.

  5. I'm pretty patient. I'm still waiting for your next entry.