Alright, alright. I'm back from Ejamiland. I've unpacked, I've displayed all the souvenirs on the mantle and I've hung all the posters up on my walls. Now I'm ready to get back to Days business. Or Daze business, as the case may be.
There's been a shift behind the scenes, and it's like the clouds have parted and we're finally seeing some sunshine. What a difference a few weeks makes, huh? The show is far from perfect, but it's been fun to watch again, on purpose, and that's been a long time coming.
Arianne Zucker and Greg Vaughan have been making magic out of a storyline that had much potential to go stale before it even came out of the oven. The whole forbidden love between a priest and a social pariah thing is about as done as teachers sleeping with their students (so nineties). But with two great actors, a bucketful of sexual chemistry, and a good script, it's like slapping a new coat of paint on an old set of garage doors.
I was a fan of Ericole 1.0, but sometimes Nicole's overt sexuality and cynicism (with years of abuse at the hands of her father to back it up) crushed Eric's wide-eyed puppy love like a bug. It was sweet and romantic on the short-term, but it was doomed to fail because, as far as life experience goes, Eric couldn't even meet Nicole halfway. Of course this is exactly why Ericole 2.0 is working. Eric still maintains that adorable flicker of faith in humanity, but now with fifty percent less naivete. When it comes to Nicole, he's no longer looking at her with rose-coloured glasses, and he's cautious about giving her the benefit of the doubt. Eric isn't being led around by his penis right now. I'm sure he'll give it a turn at the wheel eventually, but he seems to have his head screwed on a helluva lot tighter than Brady does these days. Mr. Black could certainly learn a thing or to from his half-brother.
Nick has improved by leaps and bounds, and all it really took was a heart-shaped pillow, Blake Berris' bare ass, and a pro bono shift at the Brady Pub so Caroline could sit down and share some bittersweet memories with Victor. It was nice being reminded that Nick does actually have a heart. It's just been buried under layer upon layer of several months' worth of one-dimensional writing. Showing a little of his fun side (pun intended) really makes a difference, especially since he's carrying quite a lot on his shoulders as the show's only real villainous threat right now (more on that later). If we can't even remotely understand his motivations now, there's no hope for redeeming the character later, and I want to keep Nick for as long as possible. Blake Berris is an excellent actor, and I loved Nick once. I could probably fall in love with him all over again if given the opportunity.
Speaking of falling in love all over again, I'm starting to fall back into deep smit with Chad. Not with the mooning-over-Abby nonsense, or how he's still inexplicably ingratiating himself to Cameron, but with the going-all-DiMera-on-Gabi's-wedding stuff, his friendship with Sonny, and his budding relationship with big sister Kristen. I'm looking forward to seeing what the writers have in store for him once Stefano returns. I hate the idea of him being stuck waiting in the wings until Gabi's big secret comes to light. I loved his all-too-brief scene with Sonny on Valentine's Day. When Brian came in to see him, Chad didn't throw any shade his way for not being Will. Such a small thing, but such an important thing.
Please don't let Brendan Coughlin slip through your fingers, Days. I find him incredibly charming, even when he's being an ass (which is most of the time). His awkward conversation with Sonny and a pregnant Gabi had me in stitches. His foot just kept leaping into his mouth and he kept spitting it out and trying to make another go of it. I have my fingers crossed that he'll pop up again soon now that he's supposedly the only other person who knows Will shot EJ so many moons ago. Like Eric Brady, my hopes are high, but my expectations are low. Give this guy a Jessie Spano who will call him out on his occasional bullshit so I can at least see him on double-dates with couples that desperately need some livening up if Days is going to insist on keeping them around. Couples like...oh...let's say...
ABIGAIL AND CAMERON
Could two people be more attractive? Could two people be more vapid? You'd think Abby was trying to keep Cameron from finding out she was once a white supremacist. Nope. She's a virgin. If Abby was, say, sixteen, and this was 1985 and the role was being played by Anthony Michael Hall, I might find this endearing. I don't, though. This is not a storyline befitting the Abigail who tried to destroy Carrie and Austin's marriage, and took on Nicole. I feel like we're just twiddling our thumbs with these two until Gabi's big secret comes out. Abigail is Jack Deveraux's daughter, for chrissakes. Instead of wagging a disapproving finger at Chad, she should be trying to sniff out what he and Sonny seem to keep hinting at but not telling her. She knows the wedding fiasco was a means of getting back at Gabi, but she seems perfectly content not knowing what triggered such an extreme reaction from Chad. Come on, Abigail. Back when Gabi was being "stalked", you were the only person in the state of Denmark who could smell the rot coming out of her mouth.
Cameron, Cameron, Cameron.
Okay, let's face it. The character is a dud. Nathan Owens is extremely handsome and, while he's inexperienced as an actor, he's doing the best he can with what he's being given, which isn't much. If he had come to the show playing an entirely new character, I'd probably be loving him right now. As it is, though, he's like a pitcher of refreshing cold water poured into a dirty glass. I'm thirsty, but I don't want to drink it. This golden circle thing is doing the man absolutely no favours. I'm supposed to believe a guy who brings a big ol' pink box full of peach cobbler to a girl's house is going to lose his shit when he finds out she's a virgin? Please.
KRISTEN AND BRADY
Is it just me, or does Kristen's diabolical plan suck? She's spent the past couple of weeks badgering Brady into agreeing to marry her so she can leave him at the altar. Why? Wouldn't that be giving John and Marlena exactly what they want? John gets a Kristen-free Brady back. Marlena gets to go back to her favourite pastime - telling people she was right. Eric and Sami's brother is free now to completely lose himself in some other woman's vagina. Everyone's happy. Brady is miserable, but when he isn't waist-deep in bedsheets and women, he tends to be anyways.
I also don't understand why Stefano is so down on Kristen's relationship with Brady. He should be loving this. John's son being caught under Kristen's thumb after Kristen spent so much time under John's is revenge at its sweetest. I love Kristen, and that's why I sincerely hope leaving Brady at an altar he was dragged to in the first place isn't the only thing the woman's got up her sleeve, because that's some pretty weak sauce. Speaking of sleeves, I'm sure a glamour puss like Kristen travels with more than one coat in her bag. She'd rock a teal bow-neck swing coat like nobody's business.
JOHN AND STEFANO
I'm sure "adorable" isn't what the writers were going for here, but too bad. John visiting Stefano in Europe was adorable. This is what's been missing since John and Marlena returned to Salem - John's personality. Here he was looking as though he was actually enjoying himself. I don't just mean the character. Drake H. just came alive in these scenes. I felt like I was watching a completely different person from the guy who was playing bridge and dusting the tuna sandwich crumbs off his black turtleneck last year. Joe and Drake looked as though they were as happy to see each other as I was to see them together. There was a very cool Sherlock/Moriarty vibe (finally) about them that I really dug. I'm a little afraid Marlena is going to ruin that dynamic when Stefano's back in town. She practically throws herself around John's ankles the moment he even thinks about talking to his favourite half-brother, and if she starts doing that again, it'll totally kill my buzz.
Wasn't Peggy McKay just wonderful in these scenes? I got all misty-eyed watching Caroline reminiscing with Victor, and it got me to thinking how badly I want to see her get her own love interest. If we're only going to get to see her on holidays, I want to know that the rest of the year she's got someone to go home to after ladling out bowl after bowl of chowder all day. I mean someone Sami hasn't given birth to.
Would they, could they, on a train?
Would they, could they, in the rain?
Would they, could they, in the dark?
Would they, could they, in a park?
They could do it here or there.
They could do it anywhere.
And I'll just stare, and stare, and stare,
And share, whether or not you give a care.
JENNIFER, DANIEL, CHLOE AND PARKER
The reason I didn't bother putting up a picture of any of the four characters mentioned above is because right now I intensely dislike all of them. The only person I'm finding even remotely watchable or rootable in this whole mess is Anne. Anne is the woman stuck watching everyone kiss Jen's highly under-qualified ass as she waltzes in and out of the hospital according to her "I need to know where and what Daniel's up to every waking moment of the day" schedule. I'm Team Anne. My t-shirt and button are in the mail.
Jennifer continues to be positively insufferable. Just when I was thinking she couldn't look like any more of an asshole if she tried, she doesn't try and still manages to become even more of an asshole after essentially telling Nicole that the real reason she reunited with Jack wasn't because she loved him, but because she took pity on him after all he'd been through, and wanted to keep the family together for the sake of the kids. Really, Jen? You, my dear, are an ungrateful, soulless, selfish, chicken-eating piece of crushed velvet-wearing trash. No amount of Nicole, Maggie, or Victor is ever going to sell me on you. The only person who still had a chance of managing that magnificent feat plummeted to his death last summer.
I don't recognize Chloe at all anymore. Like Nathan Owens, Nadia Bjorlin is doing what she can with what she's been given, as she always does, but this just ain't Chloe. I can't see Nancy's return miraculously changing her back into the beautiful, opera-singing ingenue she once was, either. I'm all for a character growing up, but I have no idea how the apple seed grew into an orange tree.
Why does Parker cry like a newborn and look like a three-year-old Philip Kiriakis?
Why are all these women throwing themselves at Daniel? Smell-O-Vision never caught on after Scent of Mystery. Is there a pheremone thing happening that has yet to be scientifically explained in an upcoming Days storyline? Seriously, what is it about this bowling pin that gets these women all in a tizzy?
BECAUSE I'M TIRED...
Because I'm tired (and it's 6 a.m.) I'm signing off, but I'll be back tomorrow to blog about Sonny, Will, Brian, shower and confessional fantasies, Rafe and Kate, Gabi and my wanting to use her face as a foot rest, Lucas becoming the town busybody, et cetera. I hope you'll join me. If not, I'm so sorry I ended this blog entry with Daniel, Jennifer and Chloe. God, am I ever sorry.