Archive for July 2017

What Happened in Salem: Week of July 24th

July 31, 2017

As every story raced to get itself over with so we can move on to new material…

Abe was upset to discover that Theo is working for DiMera Enterprises, so he confiscated his laptop, which was apparently the only computer on Earth with the ability to hack into Dario’s devices, so Theo wasn’t able to delete the incriminating photo of Chad. Dario negotiated a deal to be placed in Witness Protection if he gives up his “silent partner” and used the photo of Chad to manipulate Abigail into going with him. Chad was appalled that a woman who faked her own death and abandoned her infant would leave town and abandon her toddler, and he and Abigail had a blowout argument. Abe decided that the week was almost over and he’d stalled the plot enough, so he gave Theo the laptop back, and Theo got word to Abigail that the photo was deleted.

Check out the full recap to find out What Happened in Salem last week!


Thirsty Thursday

July 28, 2017

Finally, a Salem style trend I can get behind.

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If we needed any more proof that Ron Carlivati was officially in control, these scenes — plus Chad keeping his shirt off to argue with Gabi the other day — are it. I really have no idea why all these guys have been fully clothed all the time. Did anyone even take off their shirts on that damn island?!

This entire Tripp/Kayla revenge plot is probably the biggest snooze on the show, partly because it’s happening in such a vacuum. I know lots of people loathe the continued mentions of Ava, but that part, I don’t mind; she sucked, but using her specter as a villain is fine by me, especially since it motivates Tripp in a fairly believable way. I just wish there were… more to this. I want to know more about what medicine means to Kayla and what losing her career would mean. I wish they’d shown us this “Nurse Shelly” a few times earlier in the story so that we’d seen some of these red herrings planted and might actually care if she goes down for framing Kayla. Imagine if Hope really had suffered some adverse effects from Tripp manipulating the charts, and there were an actual board hearing where she had to testify against Kayla. And I get what they’re going for with Steve being Kayla’s hero, but can she be a little proactive in wanting to salvage her career and reputation? She’s just kind of going along with this. Give me some meat here!

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I get that they’re basically just re-establishing everything and clarifying motivations and stakes before what I assume is a big blowup coming soon, but… meh. For what this story could be, it’s so limp. I did think the anniversary celebration between Steve and Kayla was well done (and a nice love letter to their longtime fans), but that more or less existed outside this story completely.

Gabi looks cute, though!

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With the lipsticks and the mascara brushes, this dress could be corny, and it would be a bit silly on a woman in her 40s or 50s, but I think it works here. Plus it isn’t another skintight, midriff-baring number, so… things are looking up until the next time Nicole befouls our screens!

Quad Goals

July 26, 2017

A week into Ron Carlivati’s tenure as head writer, the big, noisy headline is obviously the tale of Anjelica and the Doppelgängers. And while I’ve expressed, er, reservations about that story potentially not making a lick of sense — Anjelica had three decades and this is the clearest plot she could conjure up?! — it’s definitely bold and injecting a fresh energy into the episodes. But there were other stories already more solidly in motion before Carlivati’s arrival, and I’m genuinely impressed with what he’s doing with two of them. It just so happens that those are two quadrangles: Jennifer/Eric/Nicole/Brady and Dario/Abigail/Chad/Gabi.

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First of all, how charming were Eric and Jen together? Even if you think Jennifer should only ever be with Jack or Eric needs to wind up with Nicole or just that it’s a mismatch in terms of life experience, it’s tough to deny that there was real chemistry there. I was so delighted by them that I almost managed not to lose my shit at how Victor’s old sofa is now in the Martin mansion; meanwhile, I’m pretty sure the black leather couch at Club TBD is from Daniel’s old apartment. Can we not sell this shit on Craigslist to fund an IKEA run? It’s beyond distracting.

Anyway, I thought it was wonderful how they let Eric and Jen crackle together, but their conversation also pushed her to confront Brady over what she viewed as manipulating her in order to keep Nicole for himself. And while she wasn’t totally in the wrong, she was then slapped in the face with the news that Eric and Nicole kissed. It was a very smart way to break down those scenes and keep twists coming via characters receiving information that would mean something to them. If this is the sort of storytelling structure that Ron is going to bring, great. It actually felt like someone was taking care with how information came out and what it would mean in the context of those scenes.

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I was also prepared to praise the show and Nicole for having her come back from playing in the garden with Tate looking like she does above, because that’s how normal people dress while at home playing with their (lover’s neglected) children, but then she went upstairs to get ready for “work” and came down looking like this:

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Where is she doing community service again? The Hoochie Center? I have no interest in shaming anyone for being “sexy” or being confident in her body, but everything about “body-hugging, purple, off-the-shoulder dress” sounds 1000% inappropriate for community service, especially in a location that works with the underprivileged.

The other mess of a storyline that has quickly taken on an actual shape is, as I mentioned above, the Gabi/Chad/Abigail/Dario quad. The big problem with this story hasn’t been that “Chabby” can NEVER be apart — it’s that the focus was all over the place. Chad and Gabi suddenly had this retconned history that made them seem “meant-to-be” even though there was real, substantial onscreen stuff that they could’ve worked through. We watched Chad and Abigail get the supercouple build for a year, only to have Abby come back and seem like the interloper in a new relationship. She should’ve felt that way, but we shouldn’t have. I’ve been more of a defender of Higley than most (especially in 2009-11), but one thing she always struggled with was the “math” of soap writing. She would create a couple, tell one story with them, and then completely shift to another pairing when that secondary coupling should’ve been an obstacle in the larger story. I thought it was interesting when she went for Lucas/Chloe, but as soon as they got together, they changed the root-for couple to Chloe/Daniel, and then not long after they settled in, Chloe had an affair and we were moving on to Daniel/Jennifer. It’s a really strange way to tell soap stories, and I don’t think it works. It felt like that was what was happening here. Over the past week, it’s become very clear that Gabi is the “if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with” chick, and Dario is now clearly an obstacle to Abigail/Chad, and one that’s going to force Abigail to make some tough decisions and face her feelings for Chad. That’s much more streamlined storytelling.

And on top of all that, I watched Tuesday’s episode at 11 pm and managed to stay awake until it was over! Things are definitely looking up.

What Happened in Salem: Week of July 17th

July 24, 2017

Anjelica’s grand plan wasn’t the only thing to take a sharp left turn…

Armed with her newfound knowledge of Dario’s shady activities and her newfound acquisition of common sense, Abigail went to Andre for help. He called in DiMera Enterprises’s newest tech specialist, Theo, a college student who got the job because he’s a relative who fixed Chad’s computer once. Together, Abigail and Theo quickly figured out Dario and Myron’s thefts from Countess W and Titan. Abigail decided to confront her husband instead of passing along this information to one of the many law enforcement officials she counts among her relatives (whom, to be fair, are basically all under investigation for murder at the moment), and Dario turned the tables by revealing a photo implicating Chad in Deimos’s murder — which he threatened to release if Abigail turns him in.

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

It’s the Ron of a New Era

July 22, 2017

New head writer Ron Carlivati’s name started appearing in the credits this past Wednesday, but I decided I would try and reserve judgment until his first (partial) week played out. As anyone I’ve ever dated will tell you, this is not one of my strong suits, but… I made it!

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“So, Doc, whaddaya think?”

I’ve read a lot of comments online from people who are disappointed that it wasn’t instantly a brand-new show. Is that a realistic expectation? I don’t think so. I get why people were hoping for it, given how lifeless and un-engaging Days has been for months, but he still inherited Dena Higley’s canvas, with the characters she chose to write for and the stories she had in motion. Given that, I’m encouraged by what I saw this week. There was definitely a new energy, a zip, to the breakdowns — look at the way that the Hattie reveal played out. They led us on for a good half-episode that it was Marlena conspiring with Anjelica before flipping the script and showing that it was actually Hattie. That felt playful and actually dramatic. And there were sharp shifts in a bunch of other dynamics: Abigail suddenly grew a backbone with Dario; Gabi definitely feels like the third wheel in her triangle; Dario is unequivocally a baddie now.

That said, it ain’t perfect (and I wasn’t expecting it to be). Like, uh…

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What in the hell kind of plan is this that Anjelica has cooked up? Let me walk through this: she’s still in love with Justin, a man with whom she had a child three decades ago, and for some reason, she’s just getting around to going after him now. So she enlists Hattie, a woman with a striking resemblance to Marlena, to recruit Bonnie Lockhart, a woman with a striking resemblance to Adrienne, the love of Justin’s life. Presumably Anjelica plans to use Bonnie to take over Adrienne’s life and push Justin away. Thing is, Adrienne is engaged to another man, so in theory, she isn’t an obstacle at all. They tried to skate over this in the dialogue by having Anjelica tell Hattie that Justin and Adrienne will always be connected, but this is more convoluted and nonsensical than me trying to get a straight answer out of Anthem Blue Cross on the phone. Meanwhile, Hattie is participating in all this because she desperately wants to be with Roman Brady — who, by the way, is often the target of these plots (like that socialite who needed to be set up with him at Hope and Aiden’s Broom Closet Gala) and perhaps has some really active offscreen sex life — and, in order to land Roman, she needs to… impersonate Marlena, dump John, then get with Roman, which will involve pretending to be Marlena for the rest of her life even though she hates doing so. Maybe it would be easier to just be herself and go after Roman? My head hurts.

This doppelgänger thing could get old really fast, and I hope it’s just a “fun” fix for whatever dull-ass Anjelica/Adrienne story that Higley was in the midst of telling. But I’m optimistic based on some of the changes that we’ve seen so far. My biggest complaint over the past year hasn’t so much been the stories they were attempting to tell so much as the boring, illogical ways in which they were telling them. Like, there’s a world in which an Abigail/Chad/Gabi triangle totally would’ve worked after Abigail faked her death, but they’ve mostly ignored the compelling issues there and instead leaned on some fake history between Chad and Gabi. The show isn’t suddenly going to have the production value of Game of Thrones, and there’s going to be some necessary re-establishing of things that feel played out to us (Marlena/John conflict over ISA missions, Adrienne and Justin’s continued bond despite her engagement) in order to set foundations for Ron’s stories, so I can deal with all that. But I have my fingers crossed that things will be interesting and surprising, and that maybe I’ll have reason to root for some of these people instead of wanting to see them all set on fire.

More Returns Coming

July 18, 2017

Thank god there are things going on behind-the-scenes… and we won’t even have to wait that long for the show not to be a snoozefest anymore!


What Happened in Salem: Week of July 10th

July 17, 2017

The investigation into Deimos’s murder continued to be handled about as well as every other legal case in town…

After Sonny insisted upon confessing to Deimos’s murder, a crime he doesn’t actually remember committing, he was booked. JJ was released from police custody and instantly became huffy that all the other cops who are technically still suspects are allowed to keep investigating, so he just tagged along to further taint various crime scenes and chains of custody. Signs (well, mostly the fact that he is the only person left on Earth getting his porn from the magazine stand instead of the internet) pointed to Xander having been holed up at the Salem Inn on the night of Deimos’s murder, but Greek authorities confirmed that he is still locked up there.

Read the full recap to find out What Happened in Salem last week!