I Took a Pill in Salem

Posted May 26, 2016 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

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Am I hopped up on painkillers, or was Jennifer hitting rockbottom a pretty good episode, even in spite of most of the “story” having taken place offscreen?

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Melissa Reeves definitely showed up to work, and there was something incredibly visceral about Jennifer’s simple need to make it to 6 a.m. without taking another pill. The use of Lucas and Julie added some real heft to the episode. (And I guess Doug was there, too, though he didn’t do much of substance.) This felt like a Horton family crisis, though Hope’s absence was glaring. I guess she has her own illogical love triangle and troubled, robotic daughter to deal with, but it’s still damn strange to me that she lived with Jennifer for weeks and hasn’t had anything to say about this apparently dire pill-popping.

But what really made it work was this.

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It says a lot that the actor and character who was most necessary to shore up this whole thing was Matthew Ashford’s Jack. He remains Reeves’s best scene partner, and reflecting on her history with Jack and what the loss of him meant went a long way toward finally giving Jennifer’s overnight addiction some context. It definitely felt like a retro-fitted explanation — frankly, for the past few months, I don’t think the writers gave much thought to what was going on in Jennifer’s head or whether she was actually in pain or why she kept taking the pills — but it set a lot right for me.

And look at how young and handsome Jack was back in the day!

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I thought Ashford looked better on Tuesday than he did during his last contract run, actually. He seems to have aged into his looks or something. It was just such a pleasure to have him onscreen, especially without any of the forced hijinks they’ve made Jack’s trademark during his last few returns. And how blessed are we that they went with Jack and not Daniel for this role?

Special shoutout to whichever writer had Jennifer finally remember that she was on the other side of this exact same situation with Carly not five years ago, and to whomever picked out that cute dress she wore to her first AA meeting. It even looked relatively comfortable and almost managed to banish my usual thought of “Don’t any of these people own sweatshirts?!” And all that dialogue about writing and the Spectator!

I’m not entirely sure where this goes next — I’m really burnt-out on watching recovering addicts struggle with their demons on this show — but this episode laid out a potentially interesting new path for Jennifer, as she navigates who she is at this new juncture in her life. Let’s see if they actually bother to put any of it onscreen.

What Happened in Salem: Week of May 16th

Posted May 22, 2016 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

Spoiler alert: Ciara’s acting did not improve. Meanwhile…

A serum miraculously cured everyone’s virus, mostly offscreen. In the aftermath, Adriana was offered a job as a nurse at University Hospital. JJ, who smoked weed and was rude to people in high school (okay, and slept with his girlfriend’s mother) had to prove to Adriana that he is worthy of dating Gabi, a woman who had her friend kidnapped and then killed JJ’s cousin. Adriana was upset when a bouquet of black roses were delivered to Rafe’s house, and Eduardo admitted that they were meant to remind him of someone he killed years earlier. Rafe was pissed at the danger and the reminder of Eduardo’s past as an assassin, all the while longing to be with his current girlfriend, whom he recently assisted in covering up a murder.

Check out the full recap to catch up on What Happened in Salem this week!

Checking In

Posted May 21, 2016 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

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If only the rest of Salem had the sense of Julie Williams.

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I realize that might sound like a crazy thing to say, considering the woman is bonkers (Exhibit A: the fact that her B&B hosts “high tea” at a single table in the foyer), but her reaction to Aiden was perfect. I realize these people encounter a lot of murderers and psychopaths and what-have-you, but they’re all so casual about it. I mean, Kate is practically begging a self-professed maniac to marry her after having known him for two months and knowing that he’s obsessed with another woman.

And don’t get me started on how Aiden was all, “I have to stay here! The Salem Inn is full!” You mean there’s not any other hotel in this city that boasts an international airport and various multinational conglomerates?

Other things not to get me started on:

  • Belle: She “broke up” with Philip about fifteen minutes ago and divorced Shawn like a week ago, and her daughter whom she’s neglected is giving her trouble, so obviously the solution is to go out, get drunk, and throw herself at her barely-ex-husband. She’s wretched.
  • Ciara and Chad: Good grief! You could see Billy Flynn working overtime to try and spark chemistry in their scenes on Friday, but he might as well have been acting opposite one of Stefano’s chess pieces. I’m hoping that the point of all this is simply that Ciara gets fixated on Chad because of all she’s been through, and Chad is appalled and has to push her away (shades of Abigail/Austin), because if he reciprocates in any way… yuck. She’s the barely-legal cousin of his recently institutionalized wife, and his nephew is in love with her, and she was raped not too long ago. And she might be a robot.

Nothing Makes Sense

Posted May 17, 2016 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

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JJ over here seems to be thinking exactly what I am.

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The virus storyline has produced some decent scenes — actual screentime for JJ and Gabi as a couple, fleshing-out of Adriana, that great Kayla/JJ moment, some good John/Paul stuff — but, like… what’s the point? Is this fundamentally going to change anything at all? A storyline like this is supposed to shake up dynamics, act as a turning point for relationships, that kind of thing. It’s basically just people worrying about people they already like, and quarantined patients freely wandering the hospital and intermingling with people who should be trying not to get sick, and Fynn flatly reading medical jargon off a Teleprompter. I guess they’re going to have Fynn be by Kayla’s side while Steve is searching for Joey, thus bringing them close together, which works (even though no one on Earth thinks this is anything more than a temporary obstacle for Steve and Kayla), but I feel like the writers maybe missed the part where a story is supposed to accomplish something aside from filling airtime.

Speaking of hospitalization: I think Chad might need to check in to Shady Acres or whatever it’s called, if this is how he imagines his wife coming home to him.

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Yikes. Is Abigail now splitting a wardrobe with this random P.I. Steve went to see?

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And apropos of nothing but kind of everything — who in the hell would keep the invitation from the wedding where the groom TRIED TO KILL YOU in an easily accessible living room drawer?

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What Happened in Salem: Week of May 9th

Posted May 14, 2016 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

After a bizarre and yet totally predictable explanation…

Aiden was hauled off to jail, where he told Hope his story, though he lied that Andre had switched him with the double much earlier. Roman, Rafe, and Hope — three people who have been kidnapped and replaced by DiMera doppelgangers — found it impossible to believe Aiden’s story about having been kidnapped and replaced by a DiMera doppelganger. A DNA test proved that he was the real Aiden Jennings, so the police were forced to release him.

Read the full recap to catch up on What Happened in Salem this week!

Friday Fashions

Posted May 14, 2016 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

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Nicole, you look awfully smug for someone who’s basically wearing a very fancy Halloween skeleton costume.

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Then again, it’s oodles better than how she looked a year ago, so maybe I’ll let her have this one.

In other style news, there’s a new trend sweeping Salem — and I’m not talking about Yo-Ling’s synthetic virus!

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I’m loving everyone in Hefty’s new CDC Chic Hazmat look for the spring. Bonus feature: the face masks are easy to remove, so that any time you need to get within five feet of a critically ill patient and deliver some heartfelt dialogue, you’ll have no trouble at all! That’s proper medical protocol, right?

Let’s end on actual non-sarcastic sartorial news.

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I almost let out a Marlena-level gasp at how hot Chad looks with his new haircut. God bless whoever is responsible for that (and it’s not like it was even bad before!).

Bird’s the Word

Posted May 11, 2016 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

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When I was a tutor in my college’s Writing Center, I remember my advisor telling us that there would be times when we finished reading through a paper with a student and would be gobsmacked by how bad it was, and we might need a moment to collect our thoughts, and if that happened, we could stall by saying something like, “Well… that was a paper.”

So, with regards to Monday’s episode: that was a show.

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I didn’t think it was uniformly horrible. Kudos to the production team for some outside-the-box work, and to the writers for the structure. I always appreciate when they play with the form a little; we get 250-ish episodes a year, and they don’t all need to look the same just because “that’s how it’s always been done.” These standalone-type episodes could be interesting once in a while if they can find the right amount of story to fill the 38 minutes of airtime. And credit goes to Daniel Cosgrove, who delivered some very strong work even without the benefit of actual scene partners.

What I don’t understand, of course, is why Daniel Cosgrove — who played, like, a third-tier character in Days history — received a standalone episode at all, or why this wackadoo retcon was deemed necessary in the first place. Aiden still almost went through with killing Hope. He lied to her, he changed her life insurance policy, and he put the pieces in place before backing out. That alone should make him a completely unviable romantic partner for her ever again, regardless of whether they’re legally married (which is only really a hurdle if Aiden gets manipulative with her, so maybe they’ll go there). On top of that, his son is in prison for raping Hope’s daughter. There is no world in which Hope is anything but a Marlena-level mother if she ever considers bringing Aiden anywhere near Ciara again.

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And then there are the actual issues in the writing. Another fucking doppelgänger? They had 38 minutes to explain how in the hell Aiden is alive, and while they took the time for scene upon scene of him in an empty corner of the soundstage talking to a dead bird (and I did think there was some interesting tension and cleverness in his escape, at least), they just glossed right over the fact that Andre enlisted someone to get reconstructive surgery and agree to commit murder as a back-up plan. Why wouldn’t he have just sent in the double in the first place? I mean, I know this is Andre, so every plan has to be 4,000 times more convoluted than it needs to be, but doesn’t this seem like a very intricate, expensive fallback? And they never, ever mention where the DiMeras get these doppelgängers. The only one I could remember that made any sense was when Stefano and EJ brought in the Fake Rafe, who had the backstory of having been an escaped sex offender who jumped at the idea of changing his face and identity to shack up with Sami rather than being on the run. And he wasn’t knowingly walking into his death! Who was this guy who basically marched into Hope’s house to kill her and then die? Who were all those people Andre planted in place of the not-dead Salemites who turned up alive on Melaswen? Are people answering Craigslist ads really that desperate?

I can keep going. Why was Aiden kept alive in the first place? Who was paying for that building and the guards and Aiden’s food, since the DiMeras went so broke that their mansion went into foreclosure shortly thereafter? If Aiden thought that Hope had been murdered, why did he go to her house? Why not go to the police station, where, yes, he’d have to defend himself, but presumably Roman and Rafe might understand, as they’re both cops who have themselves been replaced by DiMera doppelgängers? (I guess Hope is, too…) Why in the name of all that is holy does Hope — a police detective who has been repeatedly menaced by a parade of maniacs who have invaded her home and threatened the lives of both her and her daughter (but not her son, because everyone forgets they’re related) — keep a damn spare key on her porch?! And above all, why do I do this to myself?


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