Archive for February 2016

That’s (Not) So Rave-in’

February 26, 2016

What in sad Party City hell was that rave?!

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I’m depressed just looking at the screenshot. And that’s only half the space! But don’t worry, there wasn’t any denser a population of partygoers or props in the other half. Did no one think to hang a few black curtains and tighten up the room? Twelve people in the Horton living room will look a hell of a lot more crowded than twelve people in the Grand Canyon. The staging was just so sad and ridiculous that it (almost) made me long for the days when The Gays played beer pong in the Town Square.

Speaking of the gays: what in the world was with Paul’s scenes on Thursday? His conversation with Lani seemed like a blatant “We have to meet these two people’s contract guarantees and need some other scenes to fill airtime” — which can sometimes be fun, if unlikely characters have a conversation and there’s a common thread or insight revealed. But the dialogue there might as well have been, “Hello, I’ve been asked to fill airtime.” “Yes, me too!” It struck me as strange that Lani knew who Paul was but didn’t seem to know that he’s gay. Did they not get that groundbreaking issue of Sonix in Florida?

I haven’t seen Friday’s episode yet, so I can’t comment on whether there was any payoff to — and by payoff, I mean, “content that made sense of” — Paul’s run-in with Random Emo Teen (Henry?). Nor can I comment on Joey smothering Ava in her hospital room, although I will say that if I’d been promised a rave and then gotten dragged to that grim affair, I probably would’ve turned homicidal, too.

It’s a Cruel, Cruel Summer

February 25, 2016

I don’t have anything against Marie Wilson, winner of this year’s Take a Female Alum From Another Soap, Put Her on Contract, and Fire Her in a Year award.

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But: UGH. Why is this necessary? In theory, it’s wise that they decided to tie her to an existing character by (apparently) making her Maggie’s daughter. But they’re just pulling a Lani here. “Here’s a random woman, but don’t worry, she’s related to someone you know, and it won’t be a big deal for them!” Um, great? I’m not one of those Sarah Horton or Bust people, but like, come on. You want to bring on a daughter for Maggie whose backstory is an open book? She has one! No need to do this ridiculous, convoluted rewrite about how Summer was adopted, but she knew her birth mother was a young farm girl who couldn’t keep her, and somehow Daniel intuited that Maggie had to be her mother? If this doesn’t even have to do with the eggs Maggie donated as part of the surrogate program, then:

  • Summer’s birth predates Maggie meeting Mickey.
  • Maggie didn’t donate eggs until after she and Mickey were together.
  • Summer would then be older than Daniel.
  • Brady said Summer was “30-35” (LOL, yeah right).
  • They just showed Daniel’s gravestone, and it stated clearly that he was 50 years old at the time of his death.
  • I just had an aneurysm.

Why is this necessary? Not to mention that this woman is so batshit crazy that her local bartender has to be responsible for making sure that she takes her meds and eats. Sounds like a winner! Let’s drag her right back to Salem — there’s no way this could go poorly.

And I cannot believe we’re still hearing about Daniel this effing much. These writers didn’t seem to give two shits about him between September and New Year’s, but now he’s hanging around like the stench of a particularly stubborn fart. I think we have established that Daniel was a good man. Now go the fuck away! How fitting that this was the week in which #DamnDaniel is trending — that’s been my life for years.

The Great Salem Un-SORASing Project, Part 4

February 23, 2016

Annnnnnd we’re back. This time around, in our quest to rewrite the 50-year history of Days of Our Lives with age-appropriate characters substituted for any who have been victims of SORAS (Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome), we’re tackling 1995-99. Previous installments of this headache-inducing endeavor can be found at the following links: Part 1 (1965-79); Part 2 (1980-89); Part 3 (1990-94).

I always knew that the decision to reposition Christie Clark (Carrie) and Alison Sweeney (Sami) as cousins Hope Williams and Jennifer Horton would cause trouble — primarily because the real storylines had a lot to do with the Brady girls’ involvement with two Horton men, Lucas and Mike — but I pressed ahead because it made the most sense to me to hand off such heavy story to a pair of Hortons who were the right age for young-adult storylines at that time. But as viable as I think that would’ve been in a perfect world, it’s also been causing me major stress, because we’re at the point now when one thread pulls another, and that pulls another. Since my goal with this was to stick as closely as possible to having the actors who actually appeared on the show acting out storylines similar to the ones that aired, I’m having to do some serious gymnastics to make some elements work. But I dug my own grave, and I have to lie in it while Vivian Alamain taunts me via walkie-talkie, so here goes.

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What Happened in Salem: Week of February 15th

February 21, 2016

It was a really uplifting and heartwarming week in Salem! (JK, everything was bleak and miserable and there’s no hope in the world.)

In yet another convoluted revenge scheme, Andre tried to hurt Hope by bonding with Chase over 1) their shared heritage of having homicidal maniacs for fathers and 2) Chase’s apparent bottomless pit of a stomach (though honestly, a teenage boy turning into an idiot for the sake of food is probably the most realistic thing ever depicted on this show). Andre also encouraged Chase to continue pursuing Ciara, but when he kissed her, she tried to push him away — so he forced himself on her.

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

Hello from the Outside

February 20, 2016

Now this is momentous! For the first time since Roman went to Hollywood, someone in Salem is in the actual outdoors!

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Okay, well, not in Salem. Maybe the rule is that you have to leave the Salem city limits in order to be someplace “outside” that isn’t just Astroturf, a bunch of potted plants, and a bench. I still think it’s insane that Brady just took off for L.A. like that (and got there in the time it took Nicole to run back to her apartment), considering that he just had a damn heart transplant, but at least they had Theresa worrying about his health. As for Nicole, she should be a better liar than that. Her excuse to Theresa was basically, “I’m going to take care of the one thing that would actually be of interest to you!” Why didn’t she just say she was going to help Chloe with Parker, or that her brother Brandon was sick or something? Idiot.

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And who did Brady find in Malibu besides… Dario Hernandez, randomly, with a new face? I was no huge fan of the first iteration of the character (for all six months he was around), but I liked Jordi Vilasuso in the role already just based on Friday’s episode. Seems a little strange that he didn’t give two hoots about the fact that Gabi had a baby or went to prison for murder, but I guess he is the son of a woman who couldn’t be bothered to visit for either of those events, so maybe it’s genetic.

I’m curious to know where this Summer thing is headed, but also: what a shitty statement about organ donation! “Yeah, your life will be saved, and you’ll be scar-free and able to travel within days, but you will also experience unbearable visions accompanied by a cheap-to-license adult rock tune that will surely drive you insane!” Great. In that case, I’ll just go ahead and sign a DNR.

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Friday’s show, on the whole, was pretty good. Belle’s talk with Marlena was long overdue — though I’m not clear on why Belle has felt so much pressure to be “the responsible one.” It doesn’t sound like Shawn was being irresponsible while they were abroad and in Maine. If he’d been a deadbeat who couldn’t pay the bills, or if Claire were some demon child, I might understand more, but all anyone asked of her was to be a decent mother and maybe work (which she seems to want to do)? Meanwhile, the Victor/Philip scenes were really strong. John Paul Lavoisier toned things down, and I really bought him as Philip, and Victor was just the right amount of vulnerable-hurt and stone-cold. I thought Steve and Kayla were sort of the weak links, surprisingly, though I appreciated that they had Steve decide to tell her the truth so quickly. I wanted Kayla to just shut up for five seconds to let him explain, and I think they could’ve gone deeper. Maybe Steve doesn’t want to say “rape” because he doesn’t want to trivialize what Kayla went through. But he could’ve been clearer about how severe the coercion was, and how he felt he had no other choice. Like a lot of the show right now, things are almost working, but there are crucial pieces of plot and depth being skipped over, and it’s doing no one any favors.

Head Writer Switcheroo

February 18, 2016

Hot on the heels of Days’ latest renewal comes word of another shake-up, this time (yet again) amongst the head writers. From Soap Opera Digest:

Co-Head Writer Josh Griffith has left the soap he joined in 2015 as part of a Salem overhaul and staff writer Ryan Quan has been bumped up to co-head writer, along with Dena Higley, who remains in her post.

I’m not particularly surprised that Griffith is out, given that it sounds like NBC had some strong conditions in order to grant a renewal. Makes you wonder if Higley’s leave of absence had something to do with working with Griffith, eh? There doesn’t seem to be any mention of Beth Milstein, who had stepped in to work with Griffith while Higley was on leave. The Griffith/Milstein material should be kicking in right around now — not sure if it’s officially airing yet (and if Ciara’s rape was their joint doing) — but it’ll be quite a while until the Higley/Quan work is onscreen.

As for Ryan Quan, who it sounds like is the first Asian head writer of a U.S. daytime soap ever, Jason47 has put together a press release on him. The broad strokes:

He joined “Days of Our Lives” on April 3, 2007 as the show’s writers’ assistant. He started doing double duty as a dialogue writer from September 2008-November 2008 and September 2009-March 2011. Quan has been doing double duty as both a breakdown writer and writers’ assistant since September 2011.

I’m a major advocate of promoting from within, especially on shows with this much history and this many moving parts. And I’m genuinely not enjoying the show (or even the vision for it) much at the moment, so I’m eager to see what this new combination of head writers plans to do.

Ugh

February 18, 2016

I was all set to make a bunch of jokes about Andre wandering around Salem with a bag of bagels, hoping he’d run into Chase so he could force-feed him, and then luring Chase to his hotel room to eat more. What is this, some deranged fetish?

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And I was also going to offer up praise for how well the Hope/Rafe/Andre thing is working. Hope and Rafe seem smart with this setup, and the past few months’ worth of story points are all being used interestingly. I know lots of people are upset that Hope is a “cold-blooded killer” and that they’re framing an innocent man, but… meh. I loved Stefano, but I’m a viewer, not a Salemite. He was batshit crazy, and he spent over three decades terrorizing Hope’s family for sport. Someone should’ve plugged him years ago. He raped Hope! I think they could’ve written the shooting better — if Stefano had overtly threatened Ciara, Shawn, Chase, and/or Claire, Hope’s motivation would’ve been clearer and a bit more noble, without just being able to claim self-defense. But I actually think this cat-and-mouse game with Andre is interesting.

Or I did. Until the end of Wednesday’s episode happened.

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I don’t even want to go back and get a screenshot of the final Chase/Ciara scene. I thought the directing and editing were effective in being terrifying, so I guess that’s a plus… but this just feels like another throwaway traumatic event in the endless procession of darkness that is present-day Days of Our Lives. We literally had scenes in the same episode in which a man keeps from his wife the fact that he was coerced into sex with a maniac — and then we have to watch a teenage girl be raped? No thanks.

I do believe there are ways in which a story like this can have value. If this were a story about campus assault, exploring the nuances of consent and enlightening people on how it isn’t such a black-and-white subject, I could see that being worthwhile television. Not pleasant to watch, perhaps, but important and engaging and relevant to contemporary society. But another instance in which a woman is held down while a man forces himself upon her? We’ve seen it. Enough. The list of people currently in Salem who’ve been raped or sexually assaulted are, off the top of my head: Julie, Marlena, Maggie, Kayla, Adrienne, Jennifer, Nicole, Hope, Eric, Steve, and now Ciara. That’s nuts. Not that a rape victim should be solely defined by her or his experience afterward (I think Kayla is a strong example of a character whose rape isn’t ‘forgotten’ but isn’t presumed to be the entirety of her identity), but sadly, it is something that will probably color the victim’s life in distinctive ways forever, and we don’t see that with most of the people named above. So why add another to the list, especially with the way they seem to be racing through plot points rather than thoughtfully playing out every beat?

I also feel, strategically, that it’s a waste of the Chase character and a strong actor. I don’t mind them making him dark or bad, but in a logistical sense, why go there with a character who has established connections but isn’t biologically related to three-quarters of the cast? The most we can hope for is a Nick-esque character who wreaks havoc for a while before being killed or tossed in jail. I don’t want to see him redeemed after this. I’ve read speculation that the reason they’ve emphasized Andre giving him food is so they can later reveal that Andre drugged him, but that’s sloppy and silly and offensive to rape victims.

Can we go back to everyone wearing hideous dresses I can make fun of?