Posted tagged ‘Salem Style’

The Rainbow Connection

September 23, 2017

Did Andre and Kate reach some new terms in their sham of a marriage, or is he borrowing items from her closet without permission?

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Then again, Salem appears to be some kind of Gay Utopia, existing in a world in which a same-sex couple can not only get married in the Catholic Church, but must undergo pre-cana counseling (remember how many times we heard that in 2013?!) beforehand! Who is the archbishop overseeing this operation? Liberace?

Speaking of, it’s possible that this was the first time that three men have been shown in bed together on daytime TV.

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I mean, yeah, it was Sonny’s “nightmare” (more like a dream, AMIRITE??), but I loved the soapiness of opening the episode like this. It was an organic way of getting Will back onscreen and raising the specter of Will prior to the wedding. They’re playing lots of fun little pre-wedding beats — the dress shopping, the counseling, the bachelor and bachelorette parties — and the preview for this coming week makes it look as if the church is actually full for the ceremony. Half the drama and excitement of a soap wedding, or any event, should be the build-up and the teasing-out of the characters’ expectations versus what could actually go down.

Now let’s start taking bets on what kind of outfit Andre sashays into the church wearing.


My Hands Are Tied

August 31, 2017

The episodes this week have been kind of slow, but by the time they’re over, I always have a bunch of notes about things to mention and discuss. Which is definitely better than the not-long-ago Days when I’d wake up to the end of my DVR recording with drool on my face and no idea what I’d missed.

The whole Raines/Abe thing isn’t exactly popping for me. I don’t mind it, and it’s strategically smart writing because it’s repositioning a whole bunch of junk that Carlivati inherited, but, like… we know how this ends, and the journey there isn’t super-interesting. The Abe angle definitely helps, but all the angst over it is sort of blowing right by me because nothing that significant is happening and it’s all going to be washed away when the truth comes out in two weeks or whatever, anyway.

So I’ll just stare at this, instead:

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Casey Moss has definitely matured in the last six months or so — I buy him much more as a “grown-up” now — and that bit of facial hair is really working. I’m still a little thrown that a character who should be leading the show with Chad-level airtime and importance is playing cop beats and sharing a romance with an ill-defined C-list character, though. I don’t really mind Lani this time around, because she seems way more focused (remember all the absolutely random shit she was doing during her first run?!), and they’re “nice” together, but thinking that a couple might be cute and fun at a real-life dinner party isn’t the same as feeling compelled to watch them on TV. What’s really missing here is that we never had any kind of build or longing with these two; if they do want to invest in them, they need to undo them and then rebuild from the ground up to make it worthwhile.

Which is sort of what they’re doing with John and Marlena, in a sense.

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We’ve had them separated and then slapped back together for a few regimes in a row, but this time, it feels like the writing is trying to earn it a little more by showing what makes these two tick. I loved John coaching her on how to get out of the straightjacket, and I love that we’re actually getting to see Marlena upset about being locked in a damn mental institution with no way out, because THAT’S NOT A GREAT THING TO GO THROUGH. A lot of her recent crises have been played with a certain amount of huffing and puffing and then, like, she just sort of talks sternly and that’s that. And they also had her snap out of it when she was advising John about the specifics of the medication he’d been given. Very smart.

Also, back to Abe for a second: Salem journalism appears to be maintaining its usual standards of dignity and elegance.

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Is the Intruder a newspaper or a comic book?! Also, I’m taking that top bar as a shoutout to this blog.

Meanwhile, this idiot went jogging in the middle of summer in long sleeves.

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Way to ruin me actually being pleased that they had people dressed in something other than cocktail attire while hanging out at home!

It feels like the focus in their story has shifted to Nicole/Eric as the rooting couple, which I like in theory, except that we know Nicole is leaving, so it all feels pointless. And I don’t need Brady majorly thrown under the bus for this story, considering that he basically pulled a Deimos with that judge. Sigh.

I Believe the Children Are Our Future

August 23, 2017

Kayla must be really upset about Joey heading off to the slammer. She’s stooped to dressing herself out of Anjelica’s closet!

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I didn’t realize “dressing like a bedspread” was the trend for summer 2017, but okay. And that sweater (?) doesn’t even match the pink dress!

I got a little choked-up during that final montage of Joey saying goodbye to Tripp and leaving the apartment with his parents, intercut with Steve and Kayla stopping by the hospital to talk about when Joey was a baby (…nine years ago). I mean, it’s pretty weird to hold a family gathering to see your son/nephew/cousin off to prison, but the sentiment was nice, even though Eric, who just went through a similar experience, was a glaring omission. Although I still hate that Joey got saddled with this story, there’s the hope that time offscreen will ‘reset’ him and leave the show with a viable character related to a bunch of people. (BTW, I’m still bitter we didn’t get more JJ/Joey cousin time. I feel like those two would’ve had a lot to share.)

Boy, though, it’s not even two full years after this teen scene debuted, and, uh…


…they’ve really dropped like flies, huh? It’s absolutely insane. Chase came with so much built-in backstory and drama (and the added benefit of not being incestuously related to anyone!), so of course they made him a rapist. Ciara lost her father, was kidnapped, was raped, became infatuated with her cousin’s husband, got duped by another boyfriend… and none of it seemed to stick. Theo’s autism was barely used, and they made him the center of a tepid triangle that went nowhere. Claire was suddenly turned into an insufferable brat. Joey became a murderer and then had a relationship no one cared about with Jade, who had the potential to become a Jan Spears-type catalyst for this group but instead just kind of lingered around way after her expiration date and was written as a weirdo unfamiliar with normal human interactions. Just such a waste all around. It’s like nothing was planned, and they just kept having things happen because there was screentime to fill. There was such potential in launching a full-scale teen scene this way, in a way they hadn’t since the Last Blast crew (the 2004 and 2009 ones trickled in much more gradually), and they blew it all. And this failure to build up new generations has hurt the show so much. The current 20s/30s set is a clear reflection of this: it’s this cobbled-together group of people who have either had something work almost by accident, or they’re just random people who happen to be around and got plugged into that crew.

Given the spoiler-y news in the previous post (don’t click if you don’t want to know about an upcoming exit and a recast!), it looks like we’re in for what’s essentially a reboot of this whole college generation. Let’s see if Carlivati & Co. have managed to pull together something a little more substantial than what we’ve gotten with this crew of kids.

Time’s Up

August 19, 2017

Finally, justice is served. Joey is going to prison for his greatest crime: that heinous hair.

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Just kidding. He’s turning himself in for murder, which actually is not a thing a lot of Salemites do serious prison time for. Besides, if crimes against hair were actually punishable offenses in Salem, Nicole would’ve gotten the death penalty years ago.

All things considered, they’ve done a decent job shoring up this story given what a rocky foundation it’d been built upon. I think it’s weird as hell that Steve is letting Tripp anywhere near Kayla given that he had a scalpel to her throat a day or two ago, but other than that, turning the spotlight on Kayla and Steve for the denouement of this was really smart. This is a deep, fascinating conflict for them, and it’s really the only way to move forward with the character of Joey in a productive way whenever they decide to bring him back, presumably as a recast. Kayla’s voice and POV were sorely missing from so much of this, and they’ve backfilled it in a way that doesn’t seem totally ridiculous. I think Tripp can absolutely be salvaged, but I hope they don’t shy away from the messiness of what went down with him and Kayla. They tried to do that with Joey (and with Hope, and Rafe, and countless others), and it drains away natural drama and leaves us with this asinine elephant hanging out in the middle of the room.

Also, Kayla, if you didn’t want your son to go to prison for murder, perhaps you could’ve cooled it with all the bellowing outside the Pub about, “No one needs to know what you did to Ava! Ava Vitale! The woman you murdered!!!” Though perhaps she saw the budget allotment for extras and knew she was in the clear.

Speaking of murderers walking freely about town, I was feeling a little encouraged by the shift in tone between Andre and Kate earlier in the week. And when Andre showed up to visit Abigail, they had Julie aim her ire at him, which is always good… or should be. But the way she was ripping into him — “You always drag good people down into the mud!” or whatever — was insane. This isn’t some tawdry tabloid journalist. He murdered your husband. And grandmother. And aunt. And a bunch of other people (including himself). Yes, they wound up being alive, but this man is a dangerous psycho. Someone please start acting like it!

Lyin’ and Tigers

August 17, 2017

Well, this is certainly a bold wardrobe choice for a man who was once mauled to “death” by a tiger.

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What’s next? Maggie shows up in a blouse decorated with broken liquor bottles? Cassie Brady makes her return to Salem dressed up as a piñata?

At least he’s finally acting a bit like a deranged maniac. Those scenes of him threatening Kate were way more interesting than the forced food fight nonsense. This woman is an idiot who married a serial killer — now let’s see her deal with the reality of that.

I will say that, moron or not, I unapologetically love her blouse.

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It’s nuts, but Kate Roberts can pull it off. I would’ve said “her outfit,” but she’s wearing leather pants, which are completely inappropriate… not because of her age, but because it is the middle of August.

I also would like to talk about Abe, but not in a sartorial sense, because his style could best be described as “this man has maybe been wearing the exact same outfit every day since 1997 and I have barely noticed.”

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I love how they played the suspicion about whether he could be Dario’s secret partner. Without anyone saying, “I wonder what Abe’s up to!!!”, there were layers in various scenes hinting at it, and if you were paying attention, you could piece together what they were building toward. I still think that Abe is in on this — the very public arrest felt like it was done for show — and they’re all trying to trap the real partner (Raines? He seems more likely to me), but it’s a fun use of a supporting character, and there are layers to the scriptwriting that weren’t there a month ago.

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.