Quad Goals

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.

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4 Comments on “Quad Goals”

  1. Matthew Says:

    I absolutely loved the Jen and Brady scenes too. (Not to mention Jen had a great outfit for a change too.) Those scenes were extremely well written in the way they dug and dug for the psychological motivation of the characters.

    I’m glad they let the info come out over several scenes throughout the episode rather than a rushed confrontation. The pacing was perfect.

    The Jen and Eric scenes were great earlier too. The use of history with the donuts was a nice touch.

    Previous writers flirted with a Jen/Brady thing way back when. I remember them sitting in Horton Square talking about how they had each recently lost someone (Madison and Jack). They agreed to contact each other if they needed to talk to someone who understood, etc.

    It seemed like the start of a pairing, but then it got dropped.

    – –

    Same thoughts on Nicole’s two outfits. I was so impressed at first. Then… I’m sure the homeless people at the Horton Center would love to earn in a week or two what that dress cost Nicole.

    – – –

    Who exactly is running the Martin House?

    1) It got renovated for the town celebration.

    2) Doug and Julie bought it to run a bed and breakfast / rooming house.

    3) Kate bought it from them. She promised to keep all the long term guests. She threw them all out that night. Nobody ever called her on it.

    4) Kate lived there by herself. She eventually invited Andre to move in.

    5) Doug and Julie bought the place back from Kate. They immediately gave it to Eli.

    6) Voila! It’s magically a functioning bed and breakfast / rooming house again with multiple guests. (Kudos to production staff for actually having extras in background.)

    • mykleraus Says:

      I remember that exact Jen/Brady scene. It definitely felt like a chemistry test. But right afterward, she was back in the triangle with Daniel and Nicole, and they brought on Kristen. I also remember people losing their shit because “she’s way too old for him!!!!” (Melissa Reeves was 46 and Eric Martsolf was 41.)

      I really have no idea what’s going on with Martin House. Did Julie and Doug buy Eli a staff, too? Didn’t Abigail/Dario and Paul all move in before the changeover? So maybe they just… purchased it but whoever was running it before is still running it? I believe Kate sold it to someone before D&J bought it back.

  2. UnderYourWing Says:

    nicole should have not said YES to the DRESS…. so stupid for the job. why do they do this insane shit?
    lots of good stuff this week, though. dying to get down to the bone on dario and abi ect ect. abi belongs with chad. jennifer belongs with eric. dario belongs where he will end up.
    nothing about gabi and chad really makes any sense…..
    film at 11.

    • mykleraus Says:

      Nicole should be screaming “NOOOOO!!!” at 90% of the shit they put her in. Someone help this poor woman!

      This week has definitely been more engaging. Nothing dramatic, but there’s life to most everything going on.

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