This is Not a Joke

Posted August 20, 2016 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Uncategorized

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I mean, not outwardly.

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There have been at least five of these in the last decade. And while I appreciate the effort… maybe don’t make decisions that lead you down roads that require “saving” your business so frequently? At any rate, I read the article, and while I won’t link to photos or reprint large chunks because Soap Opera Digest probably needs the sales (I considered buying it and I haven’t bought an SOD since at least 2005, even though that was my jam back in college when I was a very sad person), I’ll put some commentary behind the cut to spare those who don’t want to be spoiled/don’t want to be driven insane…

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WTF Wednesday: The Perplexing Existence of Andre DiMera

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

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It’s yet another period of transition in Salem, but one thing that doesn’t seem like it’ll be changing anytime soon is the presence of town villain Andre DiMera. His portrayer, Thaao Penghlis, recently re-signed with Days for another two years, ensuring that Andre will continue to maniacally swan around town like some kind of psychotic Liberace.

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But here’s the thing about Andre: despite having been an on-and-off presence on the show for over three decades, this stint is really the first time we’re experiencing him as himself. Due to some largely nonsensical retcons, most of what we watched of Tony DiMera over the years turns out to have been Andre all along. Here’s a walk down memory lane of the timeline of the lookalike (via plastic surgery) cousins and kind-of-maybe-brothers, whose confusing history involves a hell of a lot of bodies that were later not accounted for…

1981: Count Antony DiMera arrives in Salem as the estranged husband of Liz Chandler. His criminal father, Stefano, soon follows. Tony winds up involved with Renee Dumonde, who is revealed to be Stefano’s daughter… which winds up not being an issue (for now) because Tony’s mother, Daphne, in turn reveals that he wasn’t Stefano’s biological son. But the couple’s happiness is short-lived, as Renee is murdered by the Salem Slasher.

1984: Tony is suspected of being the Slasher, but it turns out that he’s being held captive and has been replaced by his cousin, Andre, who’s had plastic surgery to look just like him.  Tony’s name is cleared, and Andre drowns in quicksand on a tropical island (for real).

1985: Tony’s marriage to Anna ends when he vanishes from Salem, having been blackmailed by Emma Marshall or something equally confusing that must have driven fans insane at the time.

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Back to the Start

Posted August 16, 2016 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

I had this fantasy of using this two-week hiatus from the show to do all kinds of fun, creative posts that wouldn’t just be about recapping current action, but honestly, the show has been so exhausting and such a chore to keep up with lately that I’ve been grateful to have a break. But, in the spirit of remembering why we subject ourselves to this often-torturous experience, I thought it’d be fun to open up the floor for some audience participation. So:

When and why did you start watching Days?

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For me, it was right around the start of 1997 — in fact, it might’ve been New Year’s Eve in Salem. I was a freshman in high school, and I’d seen bits and pieces of Marlena’s possession and the adventures in the sewers of Paris, which were all the rage amongst the middle-school set. But I happened to flip to NBC at the tail end of an episode in which Sami was screeching at Austin, and he put his car in drive and accidentally reversed, slamming her into the wall. It was both incredibly dramatic and unbelievably hilarious, which I’d come to recognize as the magical combination that would keep me fixated on Days for the next two decades.

I immediately got on the phone with a friend who was a devout viewer and got her to explain the entire Sami/Austin/Carrie storyline to me, which led to a recap of John/Marlena/Kristen, Bo/Hope/Billie, Kate/Victor/Vivian, and Jack/Jennifer/Peter. Then I got my hands on the 30th anniversary coffee table book and was fascinated by the extensive, insane history of the Hortons, Bradys, and other Salemites. And in the midst of all this, this was happening:

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The spring and summer of 1997 were the tail end of James E. Reilly’s first run as headwriter, and that meant all his big stories were reaching crescendos. The Marlena/John/Kristen triangle, with the added element of wacky Susan Banks, was the centerpiece of the show at the time, and it was glorious. I don’t think I’ll ever derive pure pleasure from a soap story’s climax the way I did from that Elvis-themed wedding and the reveal of Kristen’s secret room plot. That August brought Carrie’s takedown of Sami at her wedding to Austin, complete with the truth about Will’s paternity and that sisterly punch heard ’round the world.

In retrospect, there’s probably a good reason that 14-year-old me was so drawn to these stories. Sometimes I still get nostalgic for 90s Days, but it’s pretty glaring now how dumbed-down the writing was. Reilly tried to recreate the same vibe on Passions and his second run on Days (2003-2006), both of which were cartoonish disasters. But there was something that really did work about this period in Salem: clear stakes, regular twists and turning points, and a sense of what we were supposed to be rooting for. I can recognize a lot of faults in the writing from this time period, things that would drive me bonkers now — history was ignored, offscreen characters were almost never referenced, people spent absurd amounts of time recapping their plots in excruciating detail aloud to themselves — but there was an energy that I still wish could be recaptured.

How about y’all? What was it that sucked you into Days and won’t let you quit?

What Happened in Salem: Week of August 1st

Posted August 9, 2016 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

Days slid into its two-week Olympic hiatus with some stuff that could, in very boring circles, be considered “cliffhangers”…

A hotel clerk was able to tell Brady and John that a middle-aged woman with a British accent had checked into the hotel alone and then checked out with a baby shortly thereafter, so Tate’s  kidnapper will either be revealed to be Tilda Swinton or Tamara Braun doing a British accent. The whole crew had the brilliant idea to shuffle Caroline over to the room where Tate had been held in order to stimulate the visions that she hasn’t had in months.

Check out the full recap for a refresher on What Happened in Salem last week!

Promo: After the Olympics

Posted August 7, 2016 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

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For the next two weeks, while NBC airs the Summer Olympics, we get to check out the disastrous infrastructure in Rio instead of that in Salem (zing!). But they’ve released a promo for what’s to come after the break and, well, it actually looks sort of good?

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Spoilers, obviously — but I’ll put my commentary behind a cut. You can watch the video here, since NBC’s embed code is giving me a headache.

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Strangers in the Night

Posted August 5, 2016 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

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It was weird how Chad had a nightmare that they recast Abigail with a drag queen.

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I kept rewinding to find out what the hell was going on there. Did they pitch Melissa Reeves’s voice up? Did they literally just grab some guy off the crew and tell him to “do a girl voice”? If Aiden somehow had a way of accessing Chad’s subconscious — okay, let’s be real, Andre could probably do it with some old screensavers — this whole thing would probably make Jen’s case a slam dunk.

Meanwhile, Nicole continues her transformation into Kate Jr.

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At least Kate was able to get Deimos to fuck her in a bed. Don’t go for second-best, baby! Put your “love” to the test! No matter how hard they try or how good the actors’ chemistry is — Zucker and Irizarry are nearly managing to sell something that isn’t there — I just cannot fathom this as a legitimate pairing. Why would a vengeful, psychotic man want to be with, let alone change for, someone who talks about Daniel Jonas this much?!

This foolishness aside, I’ve found this week infinitely more watchable than a lot of what we’ve gotten lately. Sonny’s scenes with Paul and Gabi were great, and instead of rushing through them, they let the characters sit and talk through things. We actually got to see Paul find out that Gabi’s with JJ! Gabi/Marlena was much needed, too, and even the hooey about inducing Caroline’s visions kind of worked for me. Kind of.

Court Jesters

Posted August 3, 2016 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

Tags: ,

You know what I couldn’t wait to do when I had my spleen removed and could barely walk or sit comfortably? Shimmy my ass into some skinny jeans!

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Sweatpants, people! They will change your life! I swear, if DJ Wear did nothing but produce comfortable clothes with elastic waistbands, they’d make a killing (and also be making exactly the sort of clothing that it sounds like they’d make), because clearly no one has introduced the people of Salem to such things yet.

Issues of common sense aside, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Monday’s episode. This entire Jennifer vs. Chad legal battle is full of holes — In what way has Chad behaved like an unfit parent? Does Jennifer’s recent addiction really not matter at all? — but the character drama on Monday kind of made it feel worthwhile. I love that they’re actually stirring up Hope/Jennifer conflict via Jennifer’s desire to have Aiden represent her, and they even attempted to sidestep the whole “There are only two lawyers in town” thing by having Jen run through the other possibilities she considered. (Though I’m fairly certain none of those other attorneys were locked in a cage with a dead bird for six months, but hey…) And the fact that they had Aiden resist Jennifer was interesting to me. The Hope/Aiden pairing in terms of romance should be dead and buried, but it’s wise to use it to complicate other matters. And I was going to say that it would’ve made more sense for Jennifer to use Belle and for Aiden to represent Chad, both because of Andre’s pressure and because he’d hate the idea of a single father wrongly having his son taken from him, but I can also see Aiden secretly wondering if he’d sent Chase to live with more stable relatives, then he wouldn’t have turned out the way he did. So it’s actually kind of layered and interesting. Go figure! The fact that they even bothered to play out these scenes is such a sharp contrast to how things would’ve played in January of this year, when they would’ve suddenly had Jennifer show up in court with Aiden, saying that she cleared it with Hope offscreen. Oftentimes, the getting-there of these situations is as worthwhile as the climax (or moreso, since the climax will probably be an offscreen hearing), and I’m relieved to see them actually let these beats breathe.

This custody lawsuit setup reminds me of some of the leaps I had to make during the 2008-2011 Higley run, where an abrupt- and/or rocky-seeming foundation nevertheless made for engaging story that allowed for lots of different characters to interact. I’m getting the same feeling from Chloe’s sudden pregnancy, predicated on the idea that she would have unprotected sex with Deimos, a man who only hours before had confessed that he’d lied to her, used her, and was generally crazy as a bedbug; as much as I don’t need to see Chloe and Nicole fight over another man, it does promise to create lots of ripples for Chloe, Philip, Deimos, Nicole, Dario, Kate, and a slew of others who’ll be pulled into the mix.

And then there’s the fact that Philip actually got emotional about how Claire was once his daughter! (I’ll disregard Belle being a total callous bitch, per usual, with her, “LOL, that was years ago, get over it.”) Could we be on the precipice of an improved Days, at long last? Or am I just desperate to be able to tolerate this thing I spend five hours a week watching?


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