Too Blessed to Be Stressed

Posted November 23, 2017 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

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Will: I’m thankful that Roger ‘fessed up to Susan’s lies so that I could stop pretending not to notice boldfaced evidence that something about my life was very amiss.

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Marlena: I’m thankful that I got my townhouse back just in time to have a guest, because it would’ve been awkward to tell Will he’d have to sleep on a bench in the park.

Kristen: I’m thankful that Susan got tossed in the hospital so that I could walk into her home solely to caress some letters on the wall in order to illustrate a monologue intended solely for myself. And also to be alive, I guess.

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(I really have no idea why she was in this location, but it was a nice shock, and they threw in the heavy implication that EJ is actually alive, so… go November sweeps!)

Sister Mary Moira: I’m thankful that they remembered I exist!

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Arianna: I’m thankful that I’ve grown up in a town so messed-up that, even as a four-year-old, I could walk into a house and see the “dead” father I only know from photos and not find it traumatizing or even that weird.

Lucas: I’m thankful that my son is resting in peace and that no one has had a reason to inform me otherwise!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Let’s Get Physical

Posted November 23, 2017 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

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Brady, I’m going to offer you some Thanksgiving advice: get a grip.

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I mean, technically, he did, but he came awfully close to crossing the line by striking Eve. Eric Martsolf did a great job of playing that moment as Brady losing it reflexively because Eve smacked him but then coming to his senses and overpowering the instinct. I saw a lot of appalled comments that Days would even air something like this, but it didn’t bother me in that regard; this was supposed to show Brady continuing to lose control as he spirals. They did a nice job of positioning his (somewhat irrational) rage toward Eve as the outgrowth of his anger with Kristen, Theresa, and Nicole, too.

But it also made me think about the “rules” of soapdom — and society, to a degree. Eve slapped Brady first. Yeah, he made a cruel remark to her, but she wasn’t in physical danger. There’s an understanding that, under no circumstances, should a man hit a woman. Presumably this has a lot to do with the generalization that men are larger and stronger than women, so it’s an “unfair fight,” and also with a more old-fashioned sense of chivalry. But there’s a double standard. If Eve had just slapped Brady, no one would be calling for her head. Sami and Susan hit one another very recently, and we’ve watched plenty of men have fistfights. I’ll admit that I even cheer when a female soap character gets in a slap sometimes. It isn’t something I’d encourage in real life, but it feels dramatically satisfying. Am I a hypocrite for that? Not that I’m advocating that Brady should have hit Eve or that it should be okay, but it’s an interesting double standard to note.

We’ll see where they go with this next — there was no follow-up on Wednesday’s episode — and I have a feeling it was meant to show their “passion” to set up an eventual transition into being lovers, which is all kinds of problematic. I think we can all agree that it was a bit shocking that Brady raised a hand to her and good that he stopped himself. But is the slap an outdated soap trope? Should it appall us when anyone at all does it? And what was in that pumpkin pie I ate that made me need to write a thinkpiece about this?

 

What Happened in Salem: Week of November 13th

Posted November 20, 2017 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

Things in Salem got dark, while the lunacy in Memphis continued…

Sami, Sonny, and the absolutely pointless addition of Rafe were stunned to realize that not only does Will have amnesia, but he believes himself to be Susan’s son: EJ DiMera! Sonny tried to appeal to him with a kiss, which went about as well as most times a frantic stranger walks into someone’s workplace and kisses him in-between shouting and yelling. Sami got herself tossed in jail for punching Susan, which unfortunately delayed her rescue mission but fortunately got her one punch closer to a round of free bail on her literal Get Out of Jail Free card. After Will started asking questions like “Why don’t we have the internet or newspapers?” and “Why did I get such a funny feeling when that man kissed me?”, Susan decided they should skip town, but Sami caught them at the house before they could split.

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

Another Actress Returns

Posted November 17, 2017 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

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I think we all knew this was coming at one point or another. And here it is. Details behind the cut…

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Wake-up Call

Posted November 17, 2017 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

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“Chad, are you awake?”

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“Because I just realized I forgot to wash my face and still have on all the makeup I put on today to sit around the living room yakking about our relatives.”

At least now they have something new to talk about.

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I’m a little surprised that they had JJ remember actually seeing Theo’s face — because that means that he saw not just a young black man, but Theo Carver, someone he has known since birth (literally, since college-aged Theo was born over a year before adult man JJ). Getting into the racial politics here, or making the subtext the text, feels really questionable to me, not just because it’s an incredibly sensitive issue and this is Days of Our Lives in 2017, but because there are all these extra character layers that muddle things. JJ knows that Theo is autistic and not prone to violence (the scanner being mistaken for a gun helps somewhat on that front). Abe, who has shot and paralyzed two young men during his own police career, would have a different understanding of JJ’s side of things than a non-police black father whose son was shot by an officer. I don’t know, lots of the scenes are working on their own, but I remain wary that they’re wading into waters that are going to get very murky when the actual character drama might be enough to sustain this thing.

One thing I continue to enjoy: the way that we’re getting to see the ripple effects. Valerie’s scene with Kayla about whether she did enough in the operating room, and how this is different because of her emotional investment, was a great beat to play. The Kate vs. Tripp stuff was surprising and fun — Lucas Adams is so much better than most of what he has been given so far, and this makes me want to see him tangle with the big kids instead of sitting around that loft listening to Claire’s royalty-free ballads. And if we don’t get some Abigail/Chad drama out of this, it’ll be a real missed opportunity. That’s an organic chance to have them do something other than make kissy faces and put Gabi awkwardly on the spot, and it’s sorely needed.

The Son Also Rises

Posted November 15, 2017 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

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Let’s say you’re torn-up over the tragic death of your adult son. What do you do?

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If your answer is “Plot to kill the son of the woman you [somewhat randomly and irrationally] blame for your son’s death, and when someone conveniently gets to him first, call a mad scientist to bring him back so you can take advantage of his amnesia and let him pretend he’s your dead son,” then… you’d fit right in in Salem’s version of Memphis! Susan’s whole plot is beyond ridiculous — if this is even Susan, which I have my doubts about, but also it doesn’t matter, because it appears to hinge on things like Will never Ewe-Searching the name “EJ DiMera,” or Susan not caring that while she has a replacement EJ, the woman she blames is out there with Johnny and Sydney, her actual grandchildren. There’s actually a very weird disconnect with how “Sami and EJ’s kids” aren’t explicitly regarded as Susan’s grandkids… which also lends some credence to the theory that this isn’t really Susan.

Anyway, Sami and Susan’s fighting has been nothing short of delightful, and while it’s really icky that Will now thinks he was once married to the woman who is actually his mother, this is a fun mess for the characters to clear up. I’m still not sure why Sonny — whose energy throughout much of that reunion could best be described as “ordering a Quarter Pounder Meal on a random Tuesday” — didn’t pull out his phone and show Will, say, photos from their wedding or something, but I did like how they paralleled their kiss with the one Sonny planted on Will back in 2012, before they were together, down to Will pushing him away and saying, “What the hell is wrong with you?” I’m also a little troubled by the implications of how they’re handling Will’s sexuality, but I suspect the character has just been told he’s straight and hasn’t had the opportunity to explore his doubts, and they’re going to basically play a Coming Out 2.0, which does up the drama.

I’m going to stop poking holes in this now, because it’s an entertaining setup and I’m enjoying the scenes on a day-to-day basis, and I really just want to continue to do so.

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Back at home, we’ve embarked upon a story that made me even more nervous in concept, though it seems to be playing out in a sensible and safe way so far. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Ron Carlivati originally pitched Theo’s shooting as a police violence/Black Lives Matter story, only to have it whittled down to more of a family drama as it became clear through development that that sort of story wouldn’t really make sense with these characters. Frankly, I’m relieved. Days hasn’t done much in the past few years to prove to me that it’s equipped to tell a story like that, and JJ knows Theo and his family too well for a story about institutional bias and racism to work well. What we’ve got, though, is the potential for some messy character drama that ropes in a lot of people. Casey Moss has long deserved something meaty, which he hasn’t really had since his affair with Eve came out, and Sal Stowers suddenly seems like she knows what she’s doing. Pitting Jennifer and Abe against one another because of their children is pretty classic, too. I’ll be curious to see where this goes, but I’m cautiously optimistic.

What Happened in Salem: Week of November 6th

Posted November 13, 2017 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

For maybe the second time in history, something related to DiMera Enterprises actually proved interesting. Meanwhile…

Following Susan’s claims that Rolf hadn’t been able to bring Will back from the dead, Sami decided that she wanted the grave exhumed, after all. Rafe stood by her and offered support in the most Neanderthal ways that he knows: by creepily flirting with her while throwing shade about his fiancée having a job that gives her actual power. They were shocked to receive word that Will’s grave is empty and were luckily able to use the new teleporting machine, which the Salem PD purchased with money it should be spending on an HR Department, to head back to Memphis ASAP.

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