WTF Wednesday: Ericole

I’ve had scraps of this post saved in my drafts for quite a while, but WHIS reader Dylan‘s comment on yesterday’s The Hit List post inspired me to dig it up and finish it for publication. The comment reads:

I LOVED Eric’s original story with Nicole – with her working with him in the church, and her blossoming feelings for him.. That was really cool. And tying in Kristen and Brady made that storyline very compelling. But then the drugging/rape thing happened and I would not have minded, except that was dragged on for months (Eric flashing back, not really remembering, soap staring constantly), and then we had him accusing Nicole of the rape which was horrifying but brought out some great acting.. But then we had Taniel and Nicole hunting down Chyka, and then her hiding the evidence which totally trashed the story in my opinion. I guess it would have been OK if it didn’t end with Eric yelling at Nicole all the time and saying how he hated her.. It just didn’t work. There was nowhere to go.

(Thanks, Dylan!)

Episode # 12282

The build to Eric and Nicole getting together was terrific. Yes, they’d technically been together years ago, but so much had changed: Nicole had become a serious vixen and been through the ringer; Eric had joined the priesthood; a decade and a half had passed; and there was a new actor in the role of Eric. It really felt like a reboot on a pairing that had some history to play on. And it was one of the best romantic builds this show has done in years. There was no rush to have them decide they were in love just to plow ahead with outside obstacles (see: Brady/Melanie).

It still blows my mind that the show effed that up so badly. And that’s where the WTF of this post comes in for me: what was the plan here? What was anyone thinking? The story worked until a very specific point, and then it went completely off-the-rails. As much as I thought Kristen raping Eric was insane and kind of contrived, I felt it was worth it for the fallout. They handled Eric leaving the priesthood really well, and it didn’t feel perfunctory or obvious. Even Nicole destroying the evidence could’ve worked, if they had made it a minor obstacle overall. At that point, it still seemed like this was an Eric-and-Nicole story. But then it just devolved into months of him screaming at her, insisting he couldn’t forgive her, saying he hated her, etc. They not only trashed an incredibly promising couple, but they rendered a really likable recast horribly unpleasant.

I still do not understand how they had Kristen leave after having sex with TWO male leads and didn’t have her return pregnant or with a baby (especially if they were going to do this wacko sci-fi embryo-stealing story months later, anyway!). There was obviously potential in the baby being Brady’s, but there was SO MUCH in it being a Kristen/Eric baby, too. Marlena would have been the grandmother of Kristen’s son or daughter. That alone is story for years. Add in the fact that the baby was the product of rape. Have Eric be torn because, as much as he hates how the child was conceived, it also is his kid, and he can’t very well have it raised as a DiMera. Make Nicole work — perhaps using her journalism tools, I dunno — to get Kristen declared an unfit mother. This redeems her from destroying the evidence, and Eric forgives her. They get back together. Nicole immediately bonds with the baby, which allows the show to pick back up the thread of Nicole’s need to be a mother, but as much as Eric wants to be a happy family, he cannot stop resenting this child for how s/he came to be — to the point that even being around the baby reminds him vividly of his rape. Nicole tries to make him see the bright side: if Kristen hadn’t done something so vile, he wouldn’t have found this new family unit. And even though Eric wants to see it that way, it’s difficult. The tensions continue to grow, and it seems that Nicole might have to choose being a mother to this child over being with Eric.

Days of our Lives - Season 48

There. A story! A story that plays on their histories, contains conflict, tests their loyalties, and yet doesn’t require Eric acting like an asshole or Nicole being absurdly self-destructive or involve Daniel and Serena in any way. Actually, this wouldn’t have been a bad juncture to bring in a Serena-type character, a lover from Eric’s past who could represent a new beginning, free of the Kristen/rape baggage. And Nicole wouldn’t have to spend all her screentime apologizing to everyone!

So what the hell happened? Why did this incredibly promising love story get blown to smithereens? Was Serena the plan all along, or was this some kind of ‘save’ after they realized that they’d bungled the Eric/Nicole pairing and needed to redirect? I doubt we’ll ever have answers, but I need to know.

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10 Comments on “WTF Wednesday: Ericole”

  1. Dan Says:

    Regarding Kristen and the baby, I admit I’m surprised that Kristen didn’t return with a baby in her arms. With that said, I see the logistical problems of telling that story. Eileen Davidson is never going to commit DAYS for more than a few months ever again and thats not a story you can tell in pieces. Kristen giving birth to Brady and Theresa’s child is. I don’t necessarily like it, but I understand why.

    Eric and Nicole spun out of control. The only thing I can imagine is that some focus group/fan base bombarded Ken Corday claiming that Nicole was the Devil and should be punished for everything that she ever did. The writing for Nicole has a nasty slant to it that I haven’t seen since Crystal Chappell was around. Instead of rich, complex Nicole, we get Nicole the punching bag, which is boring and a waste of AZ’s ability. To go out of the way to have Eric forgive Kristen, but not Nicole, was a bizarre choice. The only thing I can imagine is the original plan was to have Eric realize that he was never made to be a priest, but then Sweeney left and they managed to land Archer so things changed. Still, it’s all a bit distasteful.

    I don’t mind Serena. If Eric was going to instantly fall in love with someone else, it should be someone he has a prior history with because I don’t see Eric meeting a random person and falling as quickly as he has. With that said, Serena is a hot mess and none of her stories have worked yet.

    • mykleraus Says:

      I think they *could* have done the baby thing with ED’s schedule. Kristen comes back and tries to use the baby as a bargaining chip to get the charges dropped. She gets the charges dropped, but Eric gets custody. She flees for the time being to plot her revenge or whatever.

      The writing for Nicole is so weird and nasty. And what’s strange is that the show obviously loves Ari Zucker. I don’t hate the IDEA of Serena, and I like Melissa Archer, but the tone of this is so wrong. If Serena had just been a woman from Eric’s past (he has so much offscreen time that it totally works), that premise would’ve been fine — but they’ve weirdly rushed them back into a romance AND kept things tepid between them. I’m not sure what story they’re trying to tell here.

      • Dan Says:

        But do you honestly believe that Kristen, who has wanted a child for years, would really slink out of town after losing her child legally?

        With Serena / Eric, I think they are trying to build a story to a point where Serena / Nicole will be genuine rivals for Eric’s affection, but they need Serena / Eric’s connection to come off as genuine in order for that to work. The only way to have said bond in the time frame the writers want is to have them constantly involved. I don’t think I would have minded the Nicole / Serena stuff if it all didn’t happen in the course of six weeks. If they could have stretched it over the course of a couple months, even played the Ted angle for a couple of weeks, I think the audience might have approved more.

        There is definitely hints that we are supposing to be rooting for Nicole. The payoff in all of this is that Serena is a liar and that Nicole will be vindicated. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping the pay off is to this entire elephant fiasco. The problem is not only did they make Nicole look like a fool in the build, they had everyone and their brother attack Nicole too. It isn’t pretty.

        I wonder if it was decided to end Nicole / Eric when the feedback started rolling in February when Nicole decided to keep mum about Dr. Chyka. Because it wasn’t really until the late summer/early fall that things completely went off the rails. The problem is the audience didn’t hate Nicole, they just hated what she had done.

      • mykleraus Says:

        I think they could’ve found a way to deal with Kristen. Or have her thrown in prison for a while until ED returns and Stefano magically gets her out. I’d buy that more than “Kristen creeps into the morgue and gives EJ a magical shot that will bring him back from the dead” or “an 8-week-old fetus can be extracted and implanted in another woman,” you know?

        I think this is going to wind up as a story of Nicole being vindicated, too,but the writing is SO off. I don’t want her near any of these people! What’s missing is that I genuinely do not believe this is a triangle. Eric doesn’t want Nicole, and Nicole shouldn’t want him. It’s one of the sloppier Tomlin-associated stories overall. I don’t know if they think they’re being surprising or what, but it doesn’t work.

  2. Dylan Says:

    Glad I inspired a post! I guess it will be up to Higley or whoever to pick up the pieces.. Eric has never been the brightest bulb but ever since the trip to “Rome”, the writing for the character has been terrible. I would hate for them to get rid of him without exploring his character further

    • mykleraus Says:

      Yeah, thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

      They’ve made Eric so hateful. It’s weird. It’s like they got stuck in that reaction mode and couldn’t get out of it.

  3. otherweb1 Says:

    Is it just me, or does Serena have fish eyes?

  4. otherweb1 Says:

    Here eyes are all bulged and fish-looking. They should have her trying to switch out a fish statue.


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