Now You See It…

Posted January 11, 2018 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

Tags: ,

Oh no! Some dastardly individual replaced Steve’s one working retina with the filter they use to shoot all of Marlena’s scenes!

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Wait, that’s not what was going on here? Oh…

I’m doing my best to stay spoiler-free on this one, so I really have no idea where it’s going, but I like the potential dawn of something new. Sort of a weird choice to parallel Steve’s blurry vision and dizziness with Lani’s symptoms of her six-day-old pregnancy, but at least it showed some attention to crafting an overall episode instead of just slapping random scenes onscreen until they’ve filled 38 minutes.

But even someone with Steve’s wonky vision could’ve picked out this continuity error.

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And then, half an episode and maybe 30 story minutes later…

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If these people had any actual business sense at all, they’d jump on whatever hormone allowed Chad to grow an entire beard in the space of a single episode and get that shit on the market ASAP. But no, more important to focus on a poster board of Gabi posing next to a salad from Wendy’s.

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WTF Wednesday: The Many, Many, Many Children of Stefano DiMera

Posted January 10, 2018 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

Tags: ,

We’ve long known Stefano DiMera to be the man with the most potent sperm and the most active offscreen sex life (as well as the greatest resistance to death) ever to enter the Salem city limits. The recent arrival of Stefan O. DiMera brings the total number of Stefano’s progeny to eleven — nine biological, two adopted, almost all of them retconned into existence, with their arrivals spanning 37 years. Here, in the order in which they were revealed to be DiMeras, are all of Stefano’s children.

1. COUNT ANTONY (TONY) DIMERA

First Appeared: 1981
Most Recent Appearance: 2009
Mother: Daphne DiMera
Major Love Interests: Liz Chandler, Renee DuMonde, Anna Brady DiMera
Current Status: Deceased
Story Highlights: Came to Salem to find his estranged wife, Liz. Fell in love with Renée, only to learn they were half-siblings — until Daphne revealed that Tony wasn’t really Stefano’s biological son, but the product of her affair with a gardener. Following Renée’s murder, Tony married Anna, but he mysteriously disappeared in 1986. Though Tony apparently returned in the 1990s and the 2000s, it was later revealed that André DiMera (a cousin who’d had plastic surgery to resemble Tony) had been impersonating him during both stints. In 2007, Tony was found on a tropical island, where he’d spent over two decades. He returned to Salem and reunited with Anna, only to be impaled and die in the midst of a corporate war between the DiMera and Kiriakis families.
Trivia: Was the first DiMera to appear on Days (even before Stefano himself). Was introduced as a biological child of Stefano’s, though that was later said not to be true. Reversals of his paternity have been hinted at so many times that it’s now unclear whether or not Tony is a biological DiMera or not. And no, I don’t have any idea where he got that “Count” title from.
Chances of Rising From the Ashes: phoenix4 (out of five possible DiMera Phoenixes) Sure, he died onscreen, but his portrayer, Thaao Penghlis, is currently on the show as André, who also died onscreen, soooooo…

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Philece Sampler as Renée and Thaao Penghlis as Tony

2. RENÉE DUMONDE

First Appeared: 1981
Most Recent Appearance: 1983
Mother: Lee DuMonde
Major Love Interests: Tony DiMera, David Banning, Alex Marshall
Current Status: Deceased
Story Highlights: Discovered that her older sister, Lee, was actually her mother and that Stefano was her father, meaning that her great love, Tony, was her half-brother (except maybe he wasn’t). Was murdered by André during his reign of terror as the Salem Slasher.
Trivia: Was married to Julie’s son, David, and miscarried his baby after a horseback-riding accident.
Chances of Rising From the Ashes: phoenix3 A year or two ago, she would’ve gotten one Phoenix; Renée has been gone a long, long time. But reviving a character like this is very on-brand for current head writer Ron Carlivati, and it’s precisely the sort of role he would cast with a big-name refugee from another soap. Plus, she has connections to André, Julie, Marlena, Chad, Stefan…

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She’s Got the Look

Posted January 9, 2018 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

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Gabi, uh, Chic, you say?

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Is that the word we’re using for “I went through the luggage Anjelica Deveraux left behind”? Cool, just checking.

But Jennifer — don’t look so troubled!

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Sure, it seems like Eric isn’t into you, and your son is struggling to piece his life back together, and your daughter seems to be permanently sleepwalking, but you win Most Improved Hair of 2018, and it’s only the second week of January! That’s something to celebrate, no?

Who’s Zoomin’ Who?

Posted January 8, 2018 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

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“Roman, dear! I think I left that urn full of Tony’s ashes in your bed…”

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Anna certainly seems less crazed than the last time we saw her, huh? I guess when you’re lugging a thermos full of Deceased Husband around from country to country, there’s nowhere to go but up… even if up is apparently sneaking into Salem to bang Roman. This was all random as hell, but also very Ron Carlivati; I remember him doing this sort of thing with veteran and tertiary characters at General Hospital, too. I don’t mind it, as it sort of broadens the world and makes Salem seem like more of a community where stuff is going on beyond the 25 or so people we see all the time. I’d love if it tied into something else or had greater significance, but I’m not sure it will.

Nitpick, because that’s what I do: the scenes between Anna and Jennifer were pretty effective in that “a misunderstanding keeps a budding couple apart” way, so I liked that, but these two don’t really know each other, do they? Anna left Salem not terribly long after Jen showed up as a teenager, and I can’t imagine they had much occasion to overlap back then. They’ve really never been in town at the same time since then. Jennifer left town before Anna came back in 2007. When Jen returned in 2010, Anna was somewhere between keeping Sydney for EJ and yelping at Calliope in front of a beach towel in the tropics. It isn’t that I wouldn’t expect them to be aware of one another, but unless there’s some tie I’m completely overlooking, it would be more of a “You’re Anna DiMera, aren’t you?” thing.

Somehow, the concept of Roman getting it on managed not to be the most nausea-inducing element of recent episodes.

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Stefan blatantly having Abigail walk in on him naked was… Look, the Golden Globes were last night, and the overriding theme of the night was putting an end to sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood. Meanwhile, the new CEO of DiMera Enterprises was giddily exposing himself to his about-to-be employee and sister-in-law. I know that the #MeToo movement was merely a twinkle in society’s eye when they shot this back during Obama’s first term or whatever, but the timing made it even grosser than it already was. Usually they have the sense to play these things as “Oops, my towel fell off” or the person barges in without awaiting an invitation, but this was blatant. Abigail had no reasonable expectation that she’d be walking in on him butt-naked, and he made no move to cover up. Not cool. They already introduced one new DiMera (EJ) with tons of potential and almost immediately went too far by having him rape his primary love interest, one of the show’s legacy heroines. Let’s maybe not do that sort of thing again?

Stefan’s O-DiMera wasn’t the only thing getting exposed in that mansion, as it turns out.

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The turn between Vivian and Andre at the end of Friday’s episode came as a very welcome surprise. Andre functions so much better as a villain than as some sort of misunderstood eccentric. It doesn’t seem like they’re leaning as fully into the backstabbing as it initially seemed, but this is progress, and he’s double-crossing the people who keep bending over backwards to “accept” him. That should change his positioning for good, especially in terms of Abigail always being his champion. Then again, Kate could hit Thomas with her car and back over him while cackling, and they’d probably all let her slide by the following Monday, so it might not even matter.

What Happened in Salem: Programming Note

Posted January 8, 2018 by mykleraus
Categories: Uncategorized

I’ve been debating this for quite a while, but as of the beginning of 2018, I’ve decided to suspend the What Happened in Salem weekly recaps indefinitely. Since June 2011, I have written a recap for every single week of this show — that’s six and a half years. The combination of detailed recap plus humor has begun to feel stale to me, and it’s actually hampered my blogging a bit, because if I don’t get to the Friday episode until Sunday, I have to get the recap done, and then it feels like I’m spending a weekend day rushing to complete work instead of just catching up on the show and posting thoughts when they feel ready organically.

I’m certainly open to reviving a weekly recap in another format at some point, but I need a break, and the top of the year feels like the right time to make a change. In the meantime, I’ll be posting otherwise as normal, so you can continue to expect 3-4 “regular” posts each week. Thanks for all your support!

New Year, Who Dis?

Posted January 5, 2018 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

Tags: ,

It’s been over two years, so we are way past due for another individual to be dragged out of the woodwork and established to have been fathered by Stefano DiMera.

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I’ll just say upfront that I don’t hate the retcon needed to create Stefan (Stefan… O, as everyone is apparently going to call him, with one eyebrow raised, until eternity) nearly as much as I feared I would. What concerned me most is that Vivian was going to turn out to have this other kid she’d known about all along and just never mentioned, as happened with Quinn, but they got around that by establishing that she’d been told that the child she conceived with “Rudolfo Meradi” (a.k.a. Stefano DiMera — I’m glad they utilized that established history) was stillborn. What I don’t for a second buy is that Ivan was the one to take away the child and tell her that. If she were already powerful enough to have a manservant, she could’ve handled a kid, no? And they kind of played off the whole, “Oh, Ivan did this” without giving us even a glimpse as to the hellfire Vivian no doubt would have rained down upon his bumbling ass the second she found out. They could/should have pinned this on her brother, Leopold, who was the one behind sending Forrest/John away, or on their father, and it would’ve gone down much more easily. But at least I’m not being asked to buy that Vivian was allegedly pregnant during a time she was onscreen or that Stefan should be younger than Philip or any of the typical fuckery that comes with these rewrites, so… fine.

It also takes a special kind of lunatic to find out, as an adult, that your biological father was a known crime lord and promptly change your name and leave your entire life behind — but that’s exactly what “Sam Maitland” apparently did when he rechristened himself “Stefan Octavius DiMera.” And just like with every retcon kid who appears in town, I’m sure we’ll hear nary a peep about anyone or anything from the preceding 40 or so years of his life. Side note: “corporate raider” is one of those terms that people in Salem toss around the way normal people say things like “grocery store” and “laundry,” huh? I truly could not care less about any of this foolishness surrounding who gets to control DiMera Enterprises, a company that is less stable than Bitcoin and run entirely out of a tackily decorated living room. I don’t understand what they do besides talk about “the deal” and “the merger” and “Mr. Shin,” and I don’t really care, so I don’t get why Chad or Kate or Andre does, either. Go take some of your ridiculous wealth and buy some investment properties and shut up.

All that said, the infusion of new energy is welcome, and Vivian is such a ridiculous ham that it’s a hoot having her around again. I like Tyler Christopher in the role of Stefan already, and there’s clear potential with him and Chloe — though less so with him and Abigail, which seems like where they’re going to go in the immediate future. But we’ll see. If he can finally be the one to put Kate and her random, Madonna from 4 Minutes hair (…and face) in her place, even better.

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How can this harridan stand there and threaten Kayla again when approximately 20 minutes ago, she was facing legal charges because of inciting a break-in that got Theo shot? Oh, because she never, ever pays for anything. Forty percent of this show is just everyone doing gymnastics to keep Kate from actually facing repercussions for the illegal, demented shit she pulls. And for all the squawking about not letting Vivian anywhere near the DNA results, Kate — another very biased, invested party — just marches out of the hospital with the damn envelope? Not to mention that I don’t for a second believe she wouldn’t have ripped that thing open the minute Kayla handed it to her.

Whew. I need a nap or a shower or something. And it appears I’m not the only one.

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I love Ciara’s Hangover Hair. In fact, it’s the thing I love most about her… which isn’t a tough competition, because everything else about her is grating and crazy-making. They’re playing her and Claire as Sami and Carrie circa 1997, without  doing the legwork that was done to build such a nasty feud between those two. All this over… a letter that Claire hid when she and Theo were already together?

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Meanwhile, Theo’s trying to figure out why he has to go to South Africa and not Downtown Africa, where everyone else was really keen on going for a few years. I’m dying to know what went down to make them scuttle Kyler Pettis so quickly. They were using him a lot, and then Theo gets shot, spends weeks in a coma, and wakes up to be told he’s being sent off for a clinical trial. Plus there’s the fact that he posted his exit scenes online months in advance, thereby spoiling a ton of stuff. Something has to have happened here. It strikes me as incredibly false that Abe would send Theo to another continent on his own, but maybe they’ll say that Celeste or Brandon is going with him. Normally I’d be a little sadder about his departure, but it seems like the first step in getting Ciara and Claire to stop shrieking about him, so I’ll just volunteer to give him a lift to the airport instead.

Best & Worst of 2017

Posted January 2, 2018 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

The sands have moved through the hourglass for another year, and as we flip over that old tchotchke to embark upon 2018, it’s time to reflect upon the things that stood out in the past twelve months. Once again, looking back over this year means evaluating the work of two different regimes: Dena Higley and Ryan Quan were co-head writers for the first 7-8 months of the year, before Ron Carlivati, backed up by Quan and Sheri Anderson,  swooped in and started making changes in mid-summer. Also worth noting is that I decided not to name Best Couple/Triangle (which isn’t to say that none worked decently, but nothing for either of those stood out to me as “best”), and I’m tired of talking about Hope/Rafe, so I stayed away from Worst Couple, as well — though Kate/Andre probably could’ve given them a run there, too. All that said, here are my picks for the highs and lows of 2017…

BEST WEDDING: Sonny/Paul and Chad/Abigail

I believe there were six contenders this year: Steve and Kayla remarrying at Club TBD, Chad and Abigail’s aborted vow renewal, Andre and Kate’s waaaaacky wedding in the Blue Room, Abigail and Dario’s quickie green-card wedding, Bonnie’s failed attempt to entrap Victor, and this double wedding held at St. Luke’s. Look at that list and tell me you don’t see a clear winner. (The Steve/Kayla one was cute and had some nice moments, but it wasn’t exactly high soap drama.) While both the Sonny/Paul and Chad/Abigail engagements were rushed to get to the ceremony, and it never made any sense that a gay couple was getting married at St. Luke’s, this felt like a real soap wedding. We got the build-up of bachelor(ette) parties, the scenes of people getting ready, the last-minute legal complications, and finally, the chaos of Ben Weston interrupting the proceedings — which opened the door to the search for Will. For an event that also served as the debut of Ron Carlivati’s original material, this made for a big, exciting turning point and a taste of what the latest new Days would feel like.

WORST TRIANGLE: Abigail/Chad/Gabi

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It’s actually rather impressive what a bungled mess this was. It’s a Salem tale as old as time: Character A is presumed dead, Character A’s spouse finds love again, Character A turns up alive, and the spouse is torn. The original Hope/Bo/Billie triangle was an excellent template for this. And yet, this past year, Days managed to make all three parties look bad and neither of the potential pairings rootable. Abigail only lost her husband in the first place because she faked her own death. Chad, theoretically the victim of that, immediately reunited with her but then kept slipping off to profess his feelings for Gabi. And Gabi — whom it seemed like the writers were working overtime to protect, largely by having Abigail push Chad toward Gabi over and over — somehow came off as a hypocrite. And then they doubled-down on it by having Abigail idiotically marry Dario. If Chad had just stayed angry at Abigail for her original deception, then committed to Gabi, only to realize that his love for Abby was still stronger than his anger toward her, we could’ve had a very effective triangle. Instead, we got a wishy-washy mess that ended with a whimper when Chad and Abigail abruptly reunited, with their issues not at all resolved. And don’t even get me started on that insane belly-dancing sequence.

BEST NEW CHARACTER: Eli Grant

This is not what I’d call a wildly competitive category, and he hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, but there’s a lot of potential in Julie’s grandson, Eli. I know it upset a lot of people that they killed David Banning offscreen, but he hadn’t been seen since the early 80s, and frankly, we need 30-somethings more than we need another late 50s/early 60s character. Of all the retcons to create new kids for established characters and families in recent years, slotting in a child for David and Valerie Grant is far from the most egregious. He’s easy on the eyes, he’s a law enforcement officer who isn’t completely corrupt, and he has an easygoing chemistry with many other characters. My biggest complaint is that they haven’t utilized Eli or his portrayer, Lamon Archey, nearly enough — not with his Horton relatives or in any kind of dynamic romantic storyline. I hope that changes in the coming year.

WORST RECAST: Morgan Fairchild as Anjelica Deveraux

This was really a recast in name only, but it still qualifies. What was the point of bringing back Anjelica Deveraux after two-and-a-half decades if it weren’t going to be about introducing her and Justin’s son, Alexander? They used her link to Justin as ostensible motivation for going after Adrienne, which turned into a plan that was convoluted eve by Salem villain standards: having Hattie take over Marlena’s life in order to recruit Bonnie to take over Adrienne’s life so that she could dump Lucas, reunite with Justin, and then dump Justin so he’d be heartbroken enough to give Anjelica a second look. What?! Yes, the character was caught right in the middle of the writer transition, but it’s never a good thing when you can practically see the puppet strings being pulled from the writers’ room. Add in the facts that Morgan Fairchild never looked comfortable onscreen, Anjelica’s death was little more than a plot-point hijink, and they never bothered to give her any interaction with Jack’s family, and it’s no wonder this was a big old failure.

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