So Many Questions

Oh no! Does anyone know where Marlena is? Is she okay? Because I’m worried they killed her and used her sweater to upholster a bench at the new St. Luke’s Academy!

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And has anyone informed Maggie that her spa has been repurposed as a Catholic school? I was wondering where that place went. Not that Maggie remembers it exists, but still.

Also, could Kristen have come up with a more inappropriate dress for the opening of said Catholic school?

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What, were her assless chaps still at the dry cleaner?

Credit where credit is due regarding Friday’s show, though. Melissa Reeves looks terrific, and I really like this dress.

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And the most puzzling question of all: am I nuts, or were those Jennifer/Daniel argument scenes on Friday quite good? I completely buy this conflict. Jennifer can’t just disregard her son’s feelings, even if he’s manipulating her, but Daniel can’t sit by and be yanked around by this nonsense, either.

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15 Comments on “So Many Questions”

  1. Jayme Says:

    Jen has been workin’ some seriously good daywear dresses lately. The navy lace number she wore the day jj shoplifted (then got arrested, then released, then grounded, then went to school, then wrote a book, then painted the Ejami portrait, all in the same day) was good times too. Except for the tag in the back that you could totally see. It probably wouldn’t have bothered me as much had we not been forced to stare at it for 6 episodes.

    • mykleraus Says:

      More than almost anyone else on this show, Jen’s wardrobe/styling is either terrific or HORRIFYING.

      And is JJ trying to make up for all the classes he missed due to SORASing his way through elementary and middle school? I feel like he has 130 classes a day (which he skips).

  2. Dan Says:

    Is it sad that when a new set appears I wonder what old set had to die for it to exist? I hadn’t considered the Spa as I was watching infrequently during MarDar’s madness. You’re probably right. I was thinking it was some strange combo of Stephanie’s old apartment (those blue walls) and Java Café (the front window). Speaking of ridiculousness, MarDar, and the Java Café, how have you not devoted a whole post to your favorite name/no-name coffee house getting their liquor license? I mean really? Don’t get me wrong, I miss the Cheatin’ Heart dive bar atmosphere, but Common Grounds is now a coffee house/bar. Oh my. MarDar should have revamped Java into Common Grounds since they torched it in the story anyway.

    Christian and Reeves are both competent, and I love the way the directors have been framing some of their scenes lately like old school soap pictures. I still think we’ve inserted J.J. in Chloe’s role with a lot of the same awkwardness. I’m still not enthralled with J.J. the way the masses are, but I’m appreciating the work Moss is doing trying to humanize a character who is mainly a pain in the ass. I did appreciate Abigail calling J.J. out last week saying how horrified Jack would be about J.J.’s behavior after he insinuated Abigail didn’t miss Jack. Like Chloe before him, J.J. continues to toe the line of being snarky and genuinely hurtful.

    The Dan / Jen scenes were good. Dan is being douchy, J.J. is his typical self entitled self, and Jen is trying to navigate rough waters.

    • mykleraus Says:

      Oh, it could be the Java Café, too. The doors are definitely the doors from the spa — they have that weird shading on them that all the doors suddenly had in the MarDar era. But now I wonder if the spa was made out of the Java Café, which I don’t think we saw once MarDar took over. Right? It was MIA for a long while, and then they randomly mentioned that it had burned down.

      I find JJ so much more palatable than Chloe as a Dannifer spoiler, for some reason. I think because I buy that he’s genuinely pissed. He’s using Jack’s memory where convenient, but I think this all stems from actually missing his dad; I don’t think he’s a sociopath completely divorced from that emotion. And I find it easier to buy that Jennifer would twist herself inside-out to accommodate her teenage son than to believe Daniel would do the same for Chloe.

      • Dan Says:

        As I said, I wasn’t big on MarDar. I stopped watching after Day 3 of the HTS opening where nothing was happening, which really was representative of MarDar’s entire run. I don’t think we saw the pier, Java, or much of the hospital during MarDar.

        I didn’t have a problem with Chloe until after she left, and I could see how draining her story was on the show. It was very heavy, which I sort of like, but I could see why it didn’t work overall. To be fair, I had a similar reaction to Chloe’s prostitution story. My problem with J.J. is that I’m not convinced he is hurt by his father’s death. There are moments (alone with Adrienne) where I believe J.J. cares. In general, I find J.J. a self absorbed pot stirrer who deflects blame, which generates little sympathy from me.

        I will say I was impressed with J.J. and Jennifer’s last confrontation when J.J. learned Jennifer and Daniel had reunited. I felt J.J. really felt he was losing his mother to Daniel because Daniel hates him. Daniel does hate him and for good reason, but I felt, at that moment, J.J. was his own worst enemy.

      • mykleraus Says:

        The hospital was non-existant under MarDar, aside from one patient room and eventually a small hallway with elevators. I think it was a huge mistake to eliminate such a viable common playing area, although they did come in on the tail end of a period where someone had been hospitalized every single week for months and months, so I can see why they wanted to give those stories a rest. Once we had Melanie doing Botox injections at the spa just to justify never seeing her at work, though, it became insane.

        I do NOT miss the pier, except for jokes. It was so overused, and it never made sense why people were just randomly walking across the edge of a pier to get anywhere and everywhere they might be going. I’ll give MarDar/Greg Meng/whoever credit: the Town Square itself is a great idea. It’s a natural playing area for lots of interactions. And its original incarnation had some nice, separate areas so you could plausibly have two storylines going on there during the same episode. It got completely absurd with the gay beer pong/movie screenings/business dinners always being plopped there — but I have a feeling those were the things Marlene McPherson was referring to when she commented that they wouldn’t let MarDar tell their stories the way they wanted. Sorry, honey, that’s production! Point being, I’m a fan of the Town Square in theory, when used for normal Town Square things, and I really don’t like this new tiny version they’re using now.

        I’m a big fan Chloe apologist, but that prostitution story was terrible. It was dark and depressing without the psychological work needed to make something like that compelling. She needed a rest after that story. Her recent return could’ve been fine, but she seemed completely insane, and they didn’t spend enough time going into WHY she was so desperate to have Daniel back at all costs. I think she’s a valuable character, and we need another woman in the late 20s-30s range, but I don’t want Chloe the Deranged Whore, either.

      • Dan Says:

        I could go on and on about the Chloe the prostitute story, but I’ll leave it alone. I’m bitter that MarDar came in and dumped everything that was happening at that time. I would have tuned in for Kate being unmasked as the one behind the prostitution stint and Vivian learning her son was banging drug free Carly, but I wasn’t going to stay tune to have Maggie learn she had her eggs stolen and that Daniel was her spawn. And I loved Maggie!

        MarDar wrote televised fan fiction. Bland, boring, plot free fan fiction at that. They seemed genuinely thrilled to be writing for the returnees, but they gave them such awful material. They really needed to take a page from the previous regime and mix up the dynamics. Jarlena vs. the Dimeras Round 328? Ain’t nobody got time for that! The best had to be the Abigail / Austin Fatal Attraction plot. First off, that story should have been told with a new character, not Abigail. Secondly, if you are going to tell it with Abby, you touch on the history (Laura’s mental illness / Austin and Jen’s friendship / Austin donating bone marrow). Poor Mansi. By the time Lucas arrived, the writing of Sami’s vaginal merry go round got ridiculous with three men now vying for Sami’s Holy Grail and her White Knight changed depending on the day of the week. It hurts my head just thinking about it.

        For MarDar to complain about not being able to tell their stories was comical. When Brash and Cwikly were fired in 2003, the show cited that they told stories that were too expensive. It was clear this was a problem with MarDar. To tell Alamania in the manner of 80s caper, they would have needed more sets, which was fine when they were paying Kristian Alfonso and Peter Reckell peanuts. Also, they were terrible with episode guarnatees. It would appear Matt Ashford came back with a 1.5 a week guarantee. He appeared in 39 episodes in the first six months he was back and then 13 episodes in the remaining four. I’m sure Corday was pissed to pay Ashford out. Sans Will, none of the younger actors effectively which is why they (along with Maggie / Jennifer / Daniel) were so heavily used during the aftermath of the DAYSaster.

        I just can’t with MarDar. I had a nice little snicker when she and Elizabeth Snyder were quickly bounced from AMC. Not a bit surprising based on her DAYS work.

      • mykleraus Says:

        The AMC relaunch reeked of McPherson. Lots of pleasant interactions, but it all had this air of “Look! HISTORY!” — and there weren’t really any stories in evidence. I have no doubt that MarDar love Days, but that doesn’t qualify a person to be a headwriter (which is a much larger job than just sitting there writing whatever stories you want). I completely agree that their Days was like fanfic — and that isn’t a slam against people who enjoy writing or reading fanfic, truly. But it’s often written with a very specific intent, such as telling a story for one character or couple or resolving a dangling thread, and it isn’t done for the purpose of keeping something that is, above all else, a business enterprise viable for years and years to come. It absolutely felt like a list of “Here’s what some good stories would be!” without an eye toward execution.

        I had BIG problems with the end of Higley’s run, because it started to look like Higley’s OLTL: anonymous, all about random new people with “hip” names, and kind of dark and nasty. There were a lot of stories I’d liked to have seen grow out of that: Carly/Quinn/Vivian had major potential, as did a Chloe redemption. I think Higley got thrown off-track when she spent so much time setting up the Carly/Daniel/Chloe/Philip/Melanie/Nathan/Stephanie story and then lost 50% of the actors right afterward. EJ/Taylor was a disaster. Carly’s drug addiction was a cartoon. Chloe was suddenly a million miles away from her bff, Nicole. Something was seriously off in those last months.

        I absolutely get what they were trying to accomplish by bringing in MarDar, and I understand how their ideas sounded good on paper, but it was just so, so poorly done. I wonder what we would’ve gotten had Whitesell returned and Tomlin taken over for Higley in mid-2011.

      • Dan Says:

        I’m Higley apologist, but I’m also a realist. 2011 would / should have been a rebuilding year after losing Phillip / Stephanie / Nathan in one swoop. MarDar should have brought Stephanie back and had her make a play for Nicholas Alamain. And eventually, they could have phased Dario into another story or off canvas and brought in Nathan and built up a Nathan / Nicholas rivalry. The story would have written itself.

        E.J. and Taylor was a disaster. Natalia Livingston and Tamara Braun were separate, but equally, horrid as Taylor, a character I wanted to return for years. The only highlight of that was it put AZ front in center in her rightful place. Also, I think by the end the writing staff just gave up and enjoyed Taylor. She became so obnoxious it bordered on parody.

        Carly’s addiction was an interesting turn of events. I would have like to see how that would have played out. The relationship stuff there was great, but some of the ‘plotting’ was ridiculous. Carly + Abigail + Katarina von Leuschner = comedy gold.

        I had hope for Higley, but we’ll never know what she really had planned.

        In regards to ‘what ifs,’ I’ve contemplated what Tomlin could have done as EP at GL with Whitsell / a Culliton paired as head writers circa 2004.

      • mykleraus Says:

        I definitely think Stephanie’s absence left a way bigger hole in the show than any of us expected it would. She never quite clicked for me as a top-tier character, but she was a useful piece of the overall chess board. Even now, a recast would make a lot of sense and wouldn’t be that hard to pull off. (I keep hoping Chrishell Stause might turn out to be playing her.)

        Taylor, by the end, was one of my favorites just for sheer hilarity. She was such an entitled bitch, and they started writing to that in a completely over-the-top way. Almost nothing about either actress’s time on the show worked, aside from the unintentional comedy.

        Carly’s addition could have worked, and it did produce some powerful scenes, but I thought the “story” was awful. She just kept gobbling pills and taking naps and snapping at people. Where was the botched surgery, or the lapse of ethics in dealing with a patient, or the car accident, or anything that would have escalated the story? I got a lot of laughs out of it, but it was very, very bad and then ended quickly right when there was potential for it to go in an interesting direction.

        Something was really off-the-rails from spring 2011 until the time Higley was out. I’d be curious to know if Tomlin had taken a backseat by that point, and she was without the person who’d helped mold her ideas into actual functional stories.

        Tomlin and Whitesell/either Culliton at GL might’ve been interesting. Days circa 2009-2011 and late 2012-present feels very much like GL did in the mid-2000s, in the sense that it’s become smaller and the show has been forced to play up the interconnections of the cast. Luckily I don’t think we’ll ever have to deal with a Peapack-ized Salem!

      • Dan Says:

        I don’t see Stephanie’s place in today’s Salem. Most of her set is gone. They could reposition her now that Kayla Is back and Jeannie / Theresa is there, but I think it would be a hard sell without others in her age range. I’m thinking CS might be Chelsea if she is anyone because the setup makes sense (CS has scenes with Rafe and Kate) and Chelsea left town to tend to Billie after she was injured in the car accident and was looking into doing physical therapy permanently.

        I enjoyed Carly’s addiction, but it did lack that oomph. It looked like Carly had nearly killed E.J. while she was high on the job when E.J. was beat by Brady, but they never went there like I thought they would. Her addiction happened overnight, but I thought the powerful scenes outweighed the bad. I would have taken it further and made Carly out to be the b#tch most of Salem thought she was by having her pretend she was dying, when she was in fact high, in order to convince Daniel to marry her, but that would have been equally dark.

      • mykleraus Says:

        Stephanie would have to be re-established, for sure. I was actually really intrigued when they had FakeRafe hit on Stephanie, so I’d probably have her get involved with that older age group.

        I hadn’t thought about the physical therapy connection with Chelsea, but that makes sense! The prevailing thought seems to be that she’s playing Cassie, which is so random to me, but Cassie is also a total blank slate, so that works, too. I’m not dying to see Kate wind up in another love triangle with one of her descendants, though…

    • mykleraus Says:

      And I don’t even know what to say about this Common Grounds (or whatever the hell it’s called) plan. We could definitely use a nighttime spot… or a nicer restaurant, for that matter… but I love Sonny crowing about how “All our dreams are coming true!” The dream you never mentioned until it was in motion, you mean?

      • Dan Says:

        This really feels like the final stage of the Un-boot. Notice how only Deidre Hall remains on contract of all the MarDar era hires? The Spa is gone, Jarlena’s townhouse has gone, the Hospital is back, the supporting/recurring characters are back, and now we lose the current rendition of the coffee house. The only real fixture of the MarDar era is the Town Square, but it no longer host to Gay Pong and Family Fun Days. Its nice to have my show back 🙂

        I agree something more nighttime is necessary. The Cheatin’ Heart had been around since the mid 90s. It was mistake to turn it into a coffeehouse when they already had Java.

      • mykleraus Says:

        There’s a huge void — especially on a show that hinges so much on romance — without a spot like Chez Rouge. Someplace for people to get dressed up, go for dinner and/or drinks, and maybe dance on occasion. I like Chez Rouge fine, but if it’s seen as too stodgy, I think they could go with a place that’s more of a restaurant and lounge. We have numerous places that people can go for coffee or lunch (the Pub, Common Grounds, the Town Square), but not a single place where a nice dinner or a martini makes sense.

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