Love Hurts

For as much bitching and moaning as I do about how stupid this show is and how we’re just treading water until the new writers’ material kicks in, I have to give credit where credit is due. And there are two setups, albeit slightly abrupt ones, that are really working for me.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 5.17.40 PM

No, Nicole’s hair is not one of those things.

However, the current Eric/Nicole/Daniel dynamic absolutely is. I’ve seen an overwhelming amount of commentary about how people are dying to see Eric and Nicole together, how Daniel doesn’t deserve her, how the Nicole/Daniel coupling is bland at best and an absolute suckfest at worst, etc. But, from where I stand, the show is actually doing this correctly. For once, they’ve crafted a story in which they seem to get what viewers want, but instead of just giving it to us, they’re creating suspense by driving us crazy by almost giving it to us, then pulling back so that we want it more.

As much as I want Eric and Nicole together, I’m actually understanding why Nicole is with Daniel at the moment. She wants to be married. She wants a family. (It was incredibly wise to emphasize the Parker angle: marriage to Daniel promises not only a husband, but an insta-child.) And just when I was about to rant that they’d blown it by having Serena spill to Daniel way too soon instead of having it come out at the wedding, they actually did something even smarter and had Daniel confront her, had Nicole be honest, and then had Daniel accept that! Now Nicole will be more convinced than ever that she “should” be with Daniel, because he actually forgave her for something, whereas Eric judged and berated her for months on end about shredding those documents. Meanwhile, Eric’s heartbroken but trying to do the right thing, and Nicole is repressing her genuine passion for Eric in favor of a comfortable life with Daniel. And there’s a real karmic justice in Daniel winding up in, essentially, the same role poor Lucas played in the Daniel/Chloe/Lucas triangle.

Is it perfect? No way. All this would play a lot more smoothly for me if we hadn’t endured months of Daniel basically acting like Eric 2.0 toward Nicole over every little transgression; in some ways, this story might work better if she’d quickly gotten together with Rafe, a nice guy without that same baggage. And Daniel proposing to Nicole was insanely fast. I’ve found that in present-era Days, there’s often one huge leap I have to make in order to buy what turns out to be an eventually worthwhile story — like that insane engagement between Philip and Melanie, who up until that point were in no way “in love,” but it was the foundation for a lot of great stuff with them, Chloe, Carly, Daniel, Nathan, and Stephanie. I’m choosing to regard this version of the Nicole/Daniel coupling in the same way, because I think it’s absolutely worth the longing between Eric and Nicole, as well as the eventual payoff we’re going to get. This is how you sell a soap couple — not by having them spill coffee on each other, snark for two episodes, and then fall into bed together.

The other setup that is really working for me is that of the Chad/Abigail/Ben story. It looks as if someone finally realized that there’s zero rooting value for Abigail and Ben, a perfectly nice, perfectly uninteresting guy. This story has echoes of the Eric/Nicole/Daniel setup, in that Abigail is clinging to Ben because she’s terrified of being with Chad DiMera based on his family history and the ways that he has treated her — but there’s no denying that she wants Chad. Again, we’re getting the longing and the character-based separation, which is such a treat in comparison to Daniel and Jennifer constantly breaking up with one another because they couldn’t be bothered to have a five-minute conversation about how Chloe/JJ/Theresa/Anne were manipulating them and creating ridiculous misunderstandings. Clyde is 100% more interesting to me as Ben’s underhanded daddy, screwing with the paternity test, than when he’s talking vaguely about “moving product” and “the trucking business” and whatever else. And they’ve wisely brought Hope in on Abigail’s secret, which finally adds something concrete to her and Rafe’s nebulous suspicions about Clyde. There’s a real opportunity here to pay off a bunch of lingering threads and to propel Abigail/Chad forward, and even though it’s taking yet another pregnancy to do it, I’m willing to invest if the storytelling stays strong.

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16 Comments on “Love Hurts”

  1. marypickford Says:

    Oh my gosh, totally great minds! 🙂 I agree about how sometimes on this show you have to make one leap and then you can enjoy the story.

    I already talked about Ericole at length, so I won’t go into that here. I am really liking Chad and Abby too. I was rolling my eyes at the WTD angle but it raises the stakes for Abigail perfectly. It’s not just about trusting Chad for herself, it’s for the baby. And Billy Flynn and Kate Mansi are kind of surprising me with how good they are! And Clyde is actually managing to sell me on the paternity results tampering without seeming ridiculous. He was really ominous calling Abby a little slut after their conversation the other day.

    • mykleraus Says:

      I feel the same about WTF stories — they really have to win me over, because I feel like it’s a lazy way of stirring up drama and they often have to contrive the setup in a way I can’t tolerate. But this one has, as you said, raised the stakes in a way that goes beyond “Which boy should I love?!”

      There’s some surprisingly savvy storytelling going on suddenly. I want to know who’s responsible!

      • marypickford Says:

        I love your typo – WTD stories often really are WTF stories too!

        I’m hoping it’s the new writing team that’s responsible, that means we’ll get more of it. 🙂

      • mykleraus Says:

        AHAHAHA. I didn’t even realize I’d done that!

      • otherweb1 Says:

        Grant it a lot of the transitioning has been awkward and outrage-inducing. But, either way, it seems we really do have a lot of GOOD stuff brewing. Abby/Ben/Chad, Dan/Nicole/Eric, Lucas/Adrienne/Justin(Kate). I’ll even give Kyle/Paige/JJ one thumbs up–if they recast True Obrien and bring back Bev, then I’ll give 2 thumbs. And based on what’s going down now with Derrek and what happened at Edge last week, I see Will/Sonny/Paul back on the upswing, with the added Paul/Derrek bonus.

        Also, could there be a change of direction happening for Eve/Jen? There fortunately hasn’t been any drink poisoning or mentioning of Laura Horton in a couple weeks now, so I PRAY someone struck that ridic SL and have something else in the works. And the hints that keep getting dropped about Rafe cutting in on Aiden and Hope has me intrigued. Brady/Theresa has fallen flat on me though.

      • mykleraus Says:

        I guess they dropped the Eve/Laura angle. The drugging thing was so lame. There are fun ways to do that sort of story — when Peter gaslit Laura, that was zany and fun and creepy.

        Brady/Theresa is not working for me. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to be rooting for.

  2. underyourwing Says:

    i have no clue what WTD is….. what the dick? want the dick? what to do? way to drive? so WWTD?

  3. Jamie Says:

    The insta-family makes perfect sense for Nicole. She never had a stable family and that’s all (well, that and money) she’s been searching for, so it would make sense for her to accept Daniel’s out-of-the-blue proposal. It will be interesting to see what breaks them up this time.

    I didn’t mind when Eric judged and berated Nicole for shredding those documents, cause that was a really shitty thing for her to do. She deserved judgement for that. The problem I had was when he accused her of raping him. That was going too far and went on for too long.

    There’s the nostalgic part of me that would love Nicole and Eric to wind up together, just because of thinking back on their early days when they first met and fell in love. I loved them together back then. Today, not so much. This Eric is just so dull and saintly, and just like Daniel, will always judge Nicole and try to change her.

    • mykleraus Says:

      Plus she’s had so many near-misses with becoming a mother. I’m dying to get Chloe’s reaction to Nicole being Parker’s stepmom, though.

      Eric had every right to be angry at Nicole for shredding those documents. He just spent so long telling her what faithless trash she was that it became annoying. It really hit its zenith when he would somehow speak with Kristen, HIS RAPIST, but not Nicole.

      I liked (well, “liked”) that he accused Nicole of the rape at first, because it showed what he really thought of her and prolonged that journey to be together, and it was resolved pretty quickly once Kristen’s video was shown.

  4. Erin L. Says:

    There is something nagging at me. In Thursday’s episode Will was telling the group that Ari has 2 nieces and a nephew that are older than her. Were they referring to Johnny Sydney and Allie? Because she is their niece. Not the other way around. For Ari to be an aunt she would have to have siblings with kids. Right?

    • mykleraus Says:

      I think the line was misspoken, yeah. I remember that coming out weird. They’re her aunts and uncle. Whether they’re currently 30 or 5, they’re her brother’s siblings, so they’re her aunts and uncles.

  5. otherweb1 Says:

    LOVE your analysis of things!

    OK, I CANNOT believe I’m saying this, but as of Friday’s episode, Danicaole is actually growing on me!!! Not sure if it’s because it’s actually getting “interesting” or if I’ve just been beaten into submission? I guess what’s really pulling on me now is Nicole. Her expressions and little gasps both during the proposal and when she fessed up to Daniel were so precious! Ariana is doing an insane job with it!!! She’s such a joy now to watch when they give her actual material to work with! I almost would re-watch the confession scenes a 2nd time, and that’s saying a LOT! And she’s just so siked about Parker … which you are correct, it brings in her mother angle big time! I feel so much more invested in her now, and can totally see the struggle she has ahead of her. And I totally just assumed that the secret would be revealed at the wedding, as usual, but thank god someone had the good sense not to pull the standard deja vu SL on us yet again!

    Now, in terms of Eric, man, what a contrast between him and Dan! Eric raged for a year over a lie, and Daniel forgave within 5 seconds. Albeit Nicole actually admitted to Daniel when he directly asked her … the first time he asked I believe. Whereas Nicole never admitted it to Eric. So this also is a handy way to show how Nicole is changing and has learned her lesson, which is great to watch. ALTHOUGH, she already had a sense that Daniel knew the truth, so maybe that’s the only reason she admitted it? AND, she had to be asked about it. Would she have told him on her own, without being asked, and without a suspicion that he already knew? So she has changed, but to what extent? I suppose baby steps is realistic.

    So I’ve got Nicole. What I don’t get is Dan or Eric. How could Eric rage on Nicole for a year, wind up getting duped again by Serena, then forgive Nicole, but still be raging on Serena?! I don’t get his motivation and what drives him to resent/forgive. And I STILL don’t get why Daniel is into Nicole. Especially when he has also always been so pissed that she’s a liar, but then all of a sudden he completely pardons her for lying again, BIG time, about the ONE MAIN thing that always stood between them??!! How does he switch from a man of high principle and truth to all of a sudden “Oh, so you almost slept with the guy you swore you didn’t love over me, AND you only tell me about it when I ask and you suspect I already know?” But like you said, if I can take that HUGE leap and just completely disregard Eric’s and Dan’s pasts and characters, then I’m totally onboard with this new trajectory.

    Re: Abbenchad. Holy crap, so Kate Mansi CAN act??!! Who knew?!! Again, you wouldn’t even have to pay me to rewatch her scenes last week!!!! It just sucked that Billy could not meet her there in the scene at Will’s. And I;ve said it before … she’s all up in Chad’s ass for his family, yet has no clue about Ben’s father? And we keep getting hints of Ben’s quasi-criminal past. As far as I know, Chad has never done anything against the law. And this whole paternity thing has me so outraged … the good kind of outraged because I will not be able to stand it when it turns out the baby is really Chad’s but everyone thinks it’s Ben’s! So here again, I am so motivated to root for Abby and Chad. Maybe this really all has been the work of the new writers, but it’s seemed crappy still because we’re just dealing with the awkward transitions?

    • mykleraus Says:

      No, I hear you on Daniel/Nicole. I don’t know that I’m actually feeling them as a couple or rooting for the, but I feel Nicole’s investment. It’s definitely a mental leap to go from what D/N were over the past several months — him berating her at every turn — to this incarnation of the couple, but at least I understand it now. AZ is really knocking it out of the park.

      You made a good point about WHY Eric changed his tone regarding Nicole. I guess what we’re to believe is that the near-death experience made him realize he had clung to bitterness and pushed down feelings that he can no longer deny, but it’s interesting that he’s only let her back in now that Serena turned out to be a ‘traitor.’ Hmm. I guess maybe the fact that Serena put his life in danger — as opposed to Nicole simply having done something selfless to hold onto his love — also changed his perspective a bit? They could definitely put that onscreen, because I’m totally inferring it here.

      Kate Mansi has done some really good work in the past, but she’s rarely gotten to be at the center of anything interesting. I thought she first really came alive when Abigail was obsessed with Austin. It was flimsy material, but she showed real signs of life there, and she was great during the EJ/Sami triangle. It’s a shame it took them so long to find strong lead material for her.

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