Putting It Out There

Posted August 26, 2016 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Uncategorized

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Ciara looks the way I felt watching her try to emote.

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I’m a big fan of being patient and letting young actors learn and blossom, but those scenes of her confessing her love to Chad were absolutely painful. There was one particular line — which I was sure I’d misheard, so I rewound twice — where she said, “You probably think I’m some naive girl who’s in love with his boss!” His! Upon replay, I could see the actress realizing she was saying the wrong word, pause almost imperceptibly mid-word to correct it, and then just let it happen. Her speech patterns for much of the episode did not resemble any I’ve encountered on this planet, let alone conjure actual emotion. Meanwhile, you had Billy Flynn trying to pretend he had an actual scene partner and doing his best to get blood out of a stone. Hire this man for the next Avatar, since he’s clearly capable of convincingly acting against a green screen.

This story was ill-conceived to begin with, and I thought they’d cut it off at the knees when they randomly had Ciara living back at Hope’s place. With any luck, this was just a way to wrap up the dangling thread and shove Ciara back into a more age- and sense-appropriate triangle with Theo and Claire, or off a cliff, or whatever.

On the other side of Chad’s story, we had Belle acting so decent and likable that I was worried I’d flipped on the wrong show. How is it that the character (and actress, honestly) does such a 180 whenever they get her out of romantic or sexual scenes? Her compassion for Jennifer felt complex and real. I did burst out laughing when she declared to Chad, “I have no patience for self-pity!” Excuse me? This from the woman who spent the top half of 2016 boo-hooing over how her daughter (whom she was neglected) hated her, her husband (on whom she cheated) wouldn’t just forgive her, and her boyfriend/ex-husband wasn’t happy being strung along and wanted an actual commitment?!

Meanwhile, Jennifer was able to clean herself up in time to go address the local Chamber of Commerce.

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Seriously, have you ever seen such a fancy AA meeting? Normally these types of social issue storylines are supposed to induce people to take action in their own lives, but I feel like the folks struggling with addiction who watched this episode (of the 36 total viewers) probably thought, “I kind of want help, but I don’t want to get dressed up and give a damn TED Talk! Where’s my vodka?!”

Like We Never Left

Posted August 25, 2016 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

Tags: ,

Annnnnnd we’re back.

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If I were bringing back a show after a two-week hiatus and hoping to recover some seriously lost ratings, I… might’ve made a choice other than opening with a lengthy scene of two senior citizens reflecting on how their marriage is back on track. But I get what they were going for. This felt a bit like a declaration that the nastiness and darkness of the past year might be over, that they remember romance and family are important, and that they’re going to get Maggie out of that damn chair ASAP.

Of course, they had to go and ruin that goodwill within half-an-hour by having Maggie and Nicole sobbing together over f*#@$ing Daniel. Enough! This bastard has been dead since New Year’s! Nicole just found his damn hospital ID lying around that godforsaken apartment? Spoilers for 2025: Nicole finds some of Daniel’s fossilized toenail clippings behind the toilet and rushes them over to Maggie, who throws her phone out the window mid-conversation with Melissa to sob over them.

Meanwhile, Jennifer relapsed. If you’re gonna spend your afternoon in a pill- and booze-induced haze, I guess you might as well do it in a motel room furnished with a bedspread from the Willy Wonka For Loehmann’s collection.

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Kassie DePaiva Reveals Leukemia Diagnosis

Posted August 24, 2016 by mykleraus
Categories: Days of Our Lives, Soap Opera, Television

Tags: , ,

Kassie DePaiva (the most recent Eve Donovan) revealed on her personal website today that she’s been battling leukemia since earlier this summer. From her statement:

During the 3 week July hiatus I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and have spent 6 of the last 9 weeks in the hospital. I will continue treatment over the next 3 months. My prognosis is good, I will not likely need a stem cell/bone marrow transplant, and we expect a complete cure.  I consider this just a bump in the road. I have amazing prayer warriors, family, and friends that have been extremely supportive and life affirming throughout this.

I normally try to keep casting news hidden as I would with spoilers, but for anyone who’s seen the preview photo of Theresa in a wedding dress, it shouldn’t be a huge shock that DePaiva is set to reprise the role of Eve soon. What’s surprising about her statement — aside from the news about her health, obviously — is that it sounds like Eve’s return was planned as more of a permanent thing. Given how silly her firing seemed, what with Eve 2.0 finally hitting her stride last year following Paige’s death and Eduardo’s arrival, I’d say that’s a good thing.

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She also sounds very optimistic about her prognosis and her chances of returning to work, which is great. She’s a mother, a wife, and a talented actress who’s given her all to more than her fair share of uneven writing in her three decades in daytime, so here’s hoping for the absolute best for her and her family.

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!


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