Good Grief

Posted October 13, 2015 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television


Those were two incredibly painful days of television viewing.

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And I don’t mean that in the way I meant it back in May, when I had to force myself to watch 38 minutes of Serena muttering to herself about statues and Daniel telling Nicole what a piece of shit she is. The fallout from Will’s murder has been tremendously well executed — visceral, real, played out in excruciating detail. I could not do this every day, but it’s been compelling and so emotional. I wasn’t able to watch yesterday’s episode until nighttime, and I was in tears from the get-go, and then I idiotically watched today’s in real time (well, almost — I gave it enough time to buffer a good DVR lead, because I don’t really need to watch ads in which Alison Sweeney is shilling toothpaste when I know I’ll probably have to watch her peddling Nature Valley Granola Oat Clusters at Will’s funeral anyway) and was a complete mess, too.

Letting us see everyone find out in different ways was very wise. I know that I complained that we missed this stuff with Paige’s murder, but it’s much more powerful to see people learning that Will Horton — a character who has essentially grown up in real time on the show, who is connected to just about everyone on the canvas in some way, who is a young man and the father of a toddler — was viciously murdered. I was worried they might give short shrift to Lucas in all this, but they wisely didn’t. I love Bryan Dattilo and Lucas, but I actually thought he was a little fake and shouty in Monday’s episode — the dialogue did him no favors, with all the “Aw, man” and “Oh, no!” stuff — but he completely got me during that scene where he walked into the police station and hugged Marlena, and he was fantastic in Tuesday’s episode, fighting back tears and almost losing it at the mere mention of any little thing. (Also: it struck me as incredibly odd that they had Lucas in a red tie when he came over and found out about Will. It makes me wonder if the entire premise of this storyline was that they got a surplus of red ties, though that makes me wonder why we didn’t get a Club TBD Burgundy Shirt Killer earlier this year…)

And then we got Sami.

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I completely understand why they wanted her to return in the thick of this, rather than showing up the next morning, but it did feel pretty wonky how they backfilled that she was, like, planning to come to Salem anyway and had been in Chicago and also Will called her between when he left Sonny that message and when Ben killed him. It seemed they could’ve said that she was rushing home to see Caroline, who took a turn for the worse earlier this damn day, and got the bad news while making her connection or something. Logistical idiocy (which is par for the course anyway) aside, it’s so, so good to see her, even under such terrible circumstances, and it strangely does not feel at all like she’s been gone for a year. It’s an interesting choice to have Sami so stone-faced and in shock, given her well documented background of histrionics, while Lucas is continually breaking down. I’m curious to see what they do with this, but it at least feels thought-out, as opposed to just a bunch of rote crying and shrieking. And their scenes in the morgue were absolutely gut-wrenching, considering that we saw Will grow up onscreen, with these same two actors playing his parents from their teens into near middle age.

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What Happened in Salem: Week of October 5th

Posted October 11, 2015 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

The Red Necktie Killer struck again…

As the hunt for Chad continued, Rafe clashed with Justin and Eduardo over the value of offering a reward for the fugitive’s capture. Justin later softened a bit and admitted that he might have been pushing too hard for Rafe to arrest Chad. They were so busy discussing various methods of and reasons for arresting Chad, in fact, that they all missed the way that he was darting all over town — climbing through Abigail’s window, hanging out in the DiMera mansion — totally unnoticed.

Read the full recap to see What Happened in Salem this week!

All Booked Up

Posted October 10, 2015 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television


The other night, I might or might not have had a little wine and then gone on eBay to purchase cheap (like, one cent apiece!) novelizations of early Days storylines.


No, I couldn’t find #1, and yes, that’s driving me crazy. Someone gave me #7 as a gift last year, and I only recently read it, which fueled this mission. I’m going to read and review them here, probably in groups of a few at a time. Weirdly, there are no publication dates on the title pages, but the back covers all mention “the Hortons, Bradys, and DiMeras,” so I assume they were written and published in the 80s — but the stories covered, at least in all these, range from the outset of the show in 1965 through the late 70s. Wish me luck/better ways to spend my time!

Fit to Be Tied

Posted October 10, 2015 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television


Well, that was… unsettling.

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Will Horton is dead. Months ago, those words might’ve had me jumping for joy, given how tired I was of his stupid scheming and lack of personal responsibility and shitty journalism and poor acting, but now that it’s a reality… I dunno. On one hand, the execution of his murder was excellent. Guy Wilson and Robert Scott Wilson — neither of whom has ever done anything to convince me he’s a master thespian — both stepped it up, and the writing and directing were at first suspenseful and tense, and then brutal and terrifying. I could feel Will’s fear and his determination to keep the encounter civil long enough to make a break for it (though I don’t get why he didn’t just run instead of sitting on the damn couch), and it was incredibly effective to show how torn up Ben was during and after the act. It also adds definite gravity to this Red Necktie Killer (what a stupid name) storyline.

That said, I still can’t shake the thought that this is a horrible long-term decision. Will is the definition of legacy character. He’s a Brady and a Horton. He was part of the show’s (first, I hope) major gay storyline and same-sex marriage. And I can’t help but think that the rationale for killing him off had more to do with a bad recast and piss-poor writing than it did a need to end this character’s story for good, especially in such a final(-seeming) way. All Will needed was a move to downtown Europe, or downtown Africa, or to L.A. with Sami and his siblings, until it was time for him to reappear with a new face and some decent writing. The value of a legacy character isn’t simply “Oh, s/he has an important last name, so viewers will care” — it’s that those characters provide the next wave of story for the familiar veterans, too. Sami, Marlena, Kate, and Lucas have all benefitted greatly from Will’s young-adult storylines. I loved how Sami’s departure led to Lucas having a greater role on the show again, primarily because he was Will’s remaining parent. I hate that this will unmoor him even further. (Yes, he’s a Horton, but his Horton-ness has always played second fiddle to his Roberts status.) I’m not sure a few weeks of everyone wailing and shrieking in grief — especially when we’ve gotten similar emotions from Paige’s death so recently — will be worth it in the long run.

In fact, I can’t think of another character who was born on the show, grew up on the show, and was then killed off in this way. The closest is EJ, but he grew up offscreen and was SORASed so drastically that it isn’t quite the same. EJ as a character was always the adult version played by James Scott. Will was a kid we saw onscreen, at the center of custody battles and schemes and as a walking, talking preteen and teenager.

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But, like I said, the scenes were very good, and Gabi screaming in terror when she found his body at the end was the kind of scene you need to sell these storylines. So we’ll see.

Meanwhile, on the lighter side of things, there was plenty of typical Days idiocy to be had. It was stupid enough for Will to be playing Crumpled Paper Basketball in someone else’s apartment, but to have this be the second big plot point in a few months involving that dumb wire trashcan in Ben and Abigail’s apartment. Come on, you guys. Stop hiding things that you don’t want your lover to find in a see-through trashcan in the middle of the studio apartment you share! While we’re on the subject of that apartment, what is the deal with that godforsaken green-and-red flashing light outside the kitchen window? No wonder the two of them are always waking up in the middle of the night.

And then there was this.

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“My doctor just sent me the results of my test for the breast cancer gene, so I think I’ll go to the mall to open the envelope.” Yes, okay. Sure. I hope someone brings Marlena to Chuck E. Cheese to give her the news that Will is dead.

Talk It Out

Posted October 7, 2015 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television


You guys know the Bechdel test? It measures whether a film or television show features a conversation between two female characters about anything other than a man. And it’s alarming how many shows and movies fail this simple-sounding test. As I watched Monday’s episode of Days, it occurred to me that maybe we need a Bechdel-ish test for this show, too.

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I noticed that we went from a scene in which Rafe, Eduardo, and Justin argued over the merits and drawbacks of offering a reward for Chad’s capture to a scene in which Kayla, Roman, and Victor debated whether it’s smart or safe to try an experimental therapy on Caroline. And I was transfixed by the episode. It was really solid, engaging material — and people were having real discussions about real things, not just carrying on about True Love and various schemes to break it apart. Which is not to say that romance doesn’t have a place here; it’s a staple of the genre, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s so nice to have people discussing interesting issues instead of just racing from one bed-hopping plot twist to the next.

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For the first time in forever, I’d even give Josh Taylor as Roman a “pretty good” for his performance. It’s become a joke how irrelevant Roman is, but I loved using him as a strong voice in the debate over Caroline’s care. Who would’ve guessed? And Kayla’s mini-arc, from being completely opposed to the drug to coming around after that heartbreaking scene in which Caroline again didn’t recognize her, was very well defined. I love that this is all tying in with Steve’s search for Bo, too. Everything just feels so much less hollow, and it’s such a change from six months ago that I can hardly believe it. Despite some jarring shifts — the incredibly reduced airtime for Daniel and Will, the fast removal of several characters, the sudden frontburner-ing of Kayla and Steve — it actually doesn’t feel like a different show to me so much as the same show, now utilizing its strengths in much smarter and more interesting ways.

By the way, that was totally a chemistry test between JJ and Gabi, right? I didn’t hate it, and I definitely don’t hate the idea of shifting JJ up into the young adult storylines.

I promise to bitch about and/or make fun of something very soon. In the meantime, though, it’s a nice change to want to praise “my” show.

Black Friday

Posted October 3, 2015 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television


Friday’s episode, otherwise known as The Paige Larson Memorial Hour, sure had a lot going on.

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For someone I was, uh, less-than-upset to see bite the big one, Paige’s ghostly appearances didn’t bother me. I actually love how they’ve so wisely and sharply focused this thing on Eve. Her grief has felt incredibly raw and jagged, like every time someone has offered their sympathy, she is on the verge of absolutely losing it. I’ve seen Salemites lose their spouses and move on to a new lover in less time than this has taken — and that’s a compliment to the writing. And Kassie dePaiva has been excellent in basically everything they have thrown her way.

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I also really, really appreciated that we finally got to see JJ grieving for Paige.

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I’m learning, with this regime, that even when the pacing feels odd, the right beats tend to show up at some point. I get why Abigail couldn’t be there, in terms of filming issues, but I think they could’ve sacrificed one of the 4,000 episodes she’s appeared in recently to get her into this one — and think of the weird tension involved in Ben having to go to this funeral! I’m still irked that, especially with the anniversary coming up, Shane and Kimberly couldn’t make the damn trip to Salem for the funeral, but I assume Shane’s contract with the ISA mandates that he miss a certain amount of important family functions per calendar year. No wonder Eve and Theresa are so fucked-up, though!

That said, I’m mostly interested in how Paige’s death spirals out for the characters involved. I want to see how this propels Eve, JJ, and others forward. For an episode essentially featuring the “B-team” (as it seems to be for this regime), though, this felt very strong.

One thing, though: who does Justin think he is? At least let the priest finish speaking about Paige before you turn around to bitch at Rafe about arresting the suspect!

What Happened in Salem: Week of Sept. 28th

Posted October 3, 2015 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

While a bunch of Salemites (but not her grandfather) gathered to mourn Paige, the walls continued to close in around Chad…

Abigail snuck supplies to Chad at the cabin, and they said their umpteenth goodbye full of longing. Desperate to clear his name, Chad disguised himself as Indiana Jones and went down to the pier, where he managed to find the homeless man he’d fought with on the night of Serena’s murder. The man was reluctant to go to the police, so Chad snuck into the DiMera mansion for cash to secure his alibi. Stefano and André caught him, and after Chad just kind of accepted that he has yet another sibling, they all theorized that Clyde was setting Chad up.

Check out the full recap to see What Happened in Salem this week!


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