Worth the wait*

*Just kidding. How long has it been? Three, four weeks? Too long.

Today’s show was really good, though, and not just for Steve and Kayla. Paul and Sonny’s scenes were stellar – I loved that Sonny talked about how he’d changed, become more cynical, more determined to go after what he wants. One thing that bothered me about the Sonny I saw (which was his late storyline) was his passivity, how he was always so Nice and Understanding that nothing got resolved. And I found Paul’s reasons for not wanting to be a detective surprisingly effective and moving.

paulson2

It was a nice character moment for Christopher Sean. I’m ready for a new romance on the show (one NOT involving Deimos) and I’m on board for PaulSon.

But let’s get to Steve and Kayla! Their scenes actually felt like a shift in direction. Stephen and Mary Beth have gotten some strong stuff over the last few months, and they’ve made the most of it. But there’s not denying the story felt stalled — Steve would profess his love and his desire to prove she can trust him, she would be obviously tempted but turn him away. That plus the fact of their disappearance for days and weeks at a time added up to a frustrating experience.

KaylaStevecouplestherapy

Today, though, it started with Kayla reaching out. (I would have liked to have seen the setup that Kayla alluded to, that Joey was the one who suggested couples therapy, especially given what happened with Joey later. But anyway.) I was surprised, but intrigued, at Steve’s reluctance. On the one hand, given how eager he has been to prove himself in any way he can, it doesn’t make sense for him to turn down the one thing she has asked of him. But on the other, his reluctance fits his character. He likes big, grand gestures, not the slow slog of getting up every day and putting one foot in front of the other to solve a problem. His arguments against therapy rang true – a lot of people see it as just sitting around and “complaining,” and his unwillingness to dredge up old demons is certainly believable.

The most interesting moment was when Steve got genuinely angry and threw the fact that he quit his job in her face. This goes back to the root of the problem — if Kayla can’t stand to be around the chaos and danger that seems to swirl around him, how much can he, or should he, change? Is that even what she wants? This is an actual, grown up, complex problem, and I think it’s fascinating. What I am hoping, though it might be too much to hope for, is that can be an actual both right/both wrong situation. Kayla could realize that it’s not the danger itself that bothers her, but his reaction to danger (he tries to hide it from her, to shut her out, to make decisions without her input). And Steve could realize that there is no big, grand gesture that will make everything all right, there are no shortcuts to winning back Kayla’s trust.

Personally, the last person I would want to see as a couples counselor is an old friend I had known for years, especially one who was possessed by the devil and was a serial killer and so on … but the pickings are generally slim in Salem when it comes to professional help.😀

Joey’s scenes with Jade were interesting, although (as with many things lately) a bit lacking in setup. We don’t know what Marlena told him, but it seems plausible that it was something like “How can you be ready for a relationship — especially with someone troubled — until you figure out your own issues?” But Joey’s take on it can be read, possibly, as what Steve is afraid of. Would a therapist tell Kayla that what she really needs to do is cut Steve out of her life? If that’s what Marlena told Joey regarding Jade, maybe that’s what she’ll tell Kayla regarding Steve.

The other moment that jumped out at me was when Steve told Joey to “be true to yourself.” This seemed an echo of his anger at Kayla from earlier — I quit my job for you, I changed who I am, and it wasn’t enough. Is he wondering if he should have done it? Is he proving Kayla right when she said, “You’ll resent me”? When Steve was late to the appointment, that was my first take.

But then the show threw me a curveball, when Steve remembered Kayla’s words about being afraid of what he would uncover in therapy. Was that a clue that there is something specific, a buried memory, perhaps? Or a general admission that he’s got more demons and problems than he wants to admit?  I have no idea, but I hope they pick it back up again.

PaulSon screencap Forever SAFE

Video channel update

Hi all!

So after my YouTube channel was deleted, I have decided to start a new video channel on Google+ rather than going back to YouTube. Here it is:

marypickford’s channel

So I think this is the way this will work: in order to avoid getting shut down again, I think I will share videos only to my “circle” rather than making them public.  So in order to watch what I post, please leave a comment on the public post I have there. I will add you to my circle!

Sorry for the extra hassle, but I think this will be best in the end.🙂

Days fun

Hey, everybody, I’m feeling good about Days this week! You know why? Because Mama Pickford is here! I don’t know if it was the break, or just having her to watch with, but I’ve been enjoying the show this week more than I was before. Plus, I’m looking forward to some of the changes coming up, which I’ve heard a little bit about — okay, the show won’t necessarily be better, but it might be … bad in a different way. (Hey, I’m trying to be realistic here.)

I’ll post more about the show this weekend, but this week has brought home to me how part of the fun (and sometimes, almost ALL of the fun) of watching a soap is the people you get to watch it with — and that includes all my fun blog readers and Twitter peeps. So I thank you all, because if I didn’t have you I think I would have given up on the show long ago.

More fun: one of Mama Pickford’s friends gave her some Days trivia cards from 1990, and we were testing each other’s knowledge. Lots of fun questions, many of which we didn’t know (what was the name of Liz’s cellmate when she went to prison for shooting Marie?), and some that we did. Who did Robin Jacobs’s first husband? What was Orpheus’s sister-in-law’s name? Who got Max to talk?

We got a kick out of this one: who were the wedding attendants for Roman and Marlena’s first wedding? A: Maggie, Marie, Kayla (played by Catherine Mary Stewart), Abe, Eugene, and … Chris Kositchek. Who as we know, is now Roman:

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Soaps are so great.

And … my husband doesn’t watch with me, but ever since he came in one days and recognized Vincent Irizarry from his LuJack days, we have a running joke that Deimos is his favorite character. He keeps teasing me that he’s going to start a Days blog too, and yesterday he sent me this:

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Needs work, I think.🙂

 

 

 

Miss Horton no more

Previous Jack and Jennifer post: On Trial

I’ve said many times, the bumbling, comedic version of Jack is my least favorite version. So, imagine my dismay that as soon as Lawrence’s trial wraps up — and I mean in the same episode — the show switches to all out comedy in the runup to Jack and Jennifer’s wedding, as Jack loses his voice with hysterical laryngitis. This is because he is so terrified, supposedly, at the idea of getting married. In hindsight, it is even more depressing, knowing that the downward slide will continue for many, many years.

But oh, there is so much to love here too. One running joke I really enjoy is that all the men in town keeping groaning at the idea of hanging out with Jack and giving him a bachelor party. Sometimes the show papers over all the conflicts for the sake of the Big Supercouple Day, and I thought this was a nice twist. And I really love that Jack asks Marcus to be his best man, as a tribute to Steve.

At the wedding itself, I don’t enjoy all the faux drama of Jack being trapped at a Wild West show, still mute and unable to escape, and then his dramatic entrance falling into a pool yelling and shrieking — though the “let’s get hitched” and kiss is very cute. But I really like the scene where Jack goes to talk to Jennifer before the ceremony (starts at 2:30):

This is comedic too, but it works — it’s more realistic and grounded in real emotion. Jack’s awkwardness is endearing and sweet. When Jo tells him (inaccurately) that Jennifer is “frightened,” and he needs to reassure her, I love his doubt at the idea of being the reassuring one. Then he tells Jennifer awkwardly that the wedding will go ahead, that there’s no stopping it, even if they both wanted to: “you got me?” When Jennifer says yes, he says “that’s your cross to bear.” Ha! And I love his final, vulnerable look at 4:29, like he’s realizing this is really happening.

UPDATE: here are the J&J wedding videos, now on Google+. They are private, I’ll have to add you to my circle so you can view them. Also, I can’t seem to embed the videos if they aren’t public — at least I haven’t figured out how yet!

Jack and Jennifer’s wedding

Jack gives Jen a letter

One thing I think they got right with this wedding is how they handled the vows, that Jack is not the type to spill his guts in front of a crowd. When Jen quotes her poem, he just says “that goes double for me.” That’s a very Jack-like moment, like his “ditto” earlier when she said she loved him. I also love when during the vows he calls her “Miss…” and then corrects himself and says “Jennifer.” I love her smile. Such a perfect moment.

Then, afterwards, there is a really touching and beautiful scene when they are alone, and Jack gives Jennifer a letter he wrote to her. It all fits them perfectly, since Jack is a writer and naturally feels more comfortable expressing himself in print. I like that the letter refers obliquely to his bad Jack days, that before he met her he was stranded in a “gray and soulless city,” and how meeting her was the key out of that city. Then she teases him about actually admitting to being happy, and something about his laugh in response makes my heart melt — it’s so sweet and boyish. And then what a perfect time for him to be able to finally say the words: “I love you so much.” After two and a half years and many trials and tribulations. Now that’s how you do it, Days!

The other thing that makes this so fun to watch is that EVERYONE IS THERE. Jo, Neil, Julie, Alice, Tom, Mickey, Kayla, Kim, Shane, Carly, Marcus, Roman, Isabella, Eve, Frankie … I love it. It’s also pretty amazing how Jennifer’s father Bill shows up, played by the original actor. What a treat for longtime viewers! Ah, for the days of big budgets and better stories!

Aaaaaand I have to post this little gem, from the reception:

Shane Donovan can vogue!

Here comes the Son

I wanted to take a moment to post because I’m heading out of town tomorrow for a family bar mitzvah. I am behind in my Days watching — I haven’t watched this week’s episodes yet, but I figure I’ll have plenty of time during the Olympics to get all caught up.

It was a very nice surprise to see Sonny again!

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I had heard the rumors he was coming back, but didn’t know when it would happen. I am excited to see what they do with Paulson. One thing this show desperately needs is a new romance worth rooting for. Rafe and Hope, Dario and Nicole, Deimos and … everyone? No thank you. I like JJ and Gabi, but we never see them. I detected sparks between Sonny and Paul before Freddie left, so I’m interested to see where they take them this time.

I liked that they first showed him with his family. I missed that with Belle and Shawn, for instance, when they came back — especially Brandon Beemer’s Shawn. They were just so eager to reintroduce the Shellip triangle, which was the worst idea ever … actually it’s nowhere near the worst idea Days has had, but still, it wasn’t good. It was like the show forgot he was related to everyone in town. Too bad too, because even in this stale, sketchy, underdeveloped story, I actually enjoyed what I saw of Brandon Beemer this time.

But back to Sonny. I think it’s a bit silly for him to come bearing a big check for Victor to rescue him from his financial woes — a crisis this is not (Victor might have lost a lot of his money, but he seems to be doing just fine). But I like that Sonny is plunging into the fray with Deimos, and I hope that he and Justin (whose evidence tampering seems to be coming back to haunt him) will continue to be involved in this story. I also really appreciated the scene at TBD with Adrienne and Justin, family members just catching up. I was glad to hear him talk about Will and how much he needed to be away from Salem, where everything reminded him of him.

So I’m very glad he is back, but I have an uneasy feeling about this latest round of firings and hirings. Can’t we keep a stable cast for more than six months, or is that too much to ask?

Show me

You see, Days? You see why we’re always asking for more cast interaction?

I thought today’s Steve and Kayla’s scenes were perfect.

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Especially since we hadn’t seen them for awhile (ahem) — and the last time we did, Kayla had that somewhat confusing reversal from what she told him in LA. I was willing and able to fanwank that reversal, but we sorely needed to see her confiding in someone what she is feeling. And Fynn, blank slate that he is, is the perfect person for her to confide in. He has no agenda, he’s not going to come back with an automatic “But Steve loves you” or “I think you should give him another chance.”

This was the key line: “If he could have convinced you that he’s changed, he would have already done it.”

What I loved about the Steve and Eduardo scenes is that they, in turn, addressed this exact question. First of all, I love when the show can find two people going through a similar situation and use a conversation like this to illuminate both of their thoughts and motives. Both men had dangerous jobs and left their wives in order to “protect” them. And (And they used Eduardo’s past in the later scenes too, when Kayla scoffed at Steve’s “safe” job working with an assassin. Nicely done.)

So what else could Steve do that he hasn’t already done? As Eduardo said, he’s “apologized, groveled, begged, pleaded, and promised.” People on Twitter have been saying this for months: Steve has done it all, what more does Kayla want? But the show managed to nail down the missing piece: as good as the conversations we’ve seen Steve and Kayla have (and there have been some good ones), words are cheap. What has Steve actually done since he got back? He’s gone off on one dangerous quest after another. Not the best way to allay her worries.

And, as an aside, we really need to hear more about what her worries actually are, because they have been somewhat simplistically reduced to “we’re too different.” That is a rather lovely mirror of what he used to tell her over and over again back in 1987, but I’d like to see the show make more of the trust issues, and fear of being hurt, instead of reducing everything to the adventurer vs. the homebody. But I digress.

So when Eduardo said that buying the bar was a way to show Adriana he was serious about sticking around, it was a challenge to Steve’s worldview — his tendency for grand gestures and outsize self-sacrifice. Kayla doesn’t want him to slay a dragon for her, in fact, that’s what’s scaring her off. So taking a job as a bartender is doing the opposite — as if the brave knight won the fair lady by staying in the castle and helping her clean out the moat. Is that something he can do, is it something that he should do? I like that I’m not sure, but I also like that he is going to try.

But of course, he shows up just in time to see Fynn making his move:

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Ah, jealous Steve. I love Steve in so many ways, but jealous Steve has a special place in my heart. I loved the quiet hostility when he said, “Oh, I’m not angry at her.”

Then, it was interesting how he told Kayla that by not flying off the handle it was a way of showing her he’s changed. Kayla’s skepticism that tending bar will be enough for him is warranted (and I loved the shoutout to his short stint at the men’s clothing store). And honestly I’m not sure if I believe it myself. I would like to see them eventually hammer out some middle ground between Steve changing who he is for her, or Kayla deciding she’ll take him on any terms. I’m not sure the show is sophisticated enough to explore these issues and come up with a layered solution, but today was a very, very good start.

And I did love the Cheatin Heart shout-out, including the peanuts on the floor! However … I don’t think Steve ever had to “drag” Kayla there.🙂

We don’t know what we don’t know

For all that I think the Shayla storyline is underrated, Kim’s role in it is probably the weakest link. This was mostly due to the fact that the show couldn’t make up its mind how much Kim was supposed to genuinely care for Lawrence. They wanted to retain sympathy for Kim, so she had to be seen as mostly just trying to get the goods on Lawrence. But they also wanted to show that Shane and Kayla (and later Jack and Jennifer) had reason to distrust her motives. It was all nicely messy, but sometimes it went too far and it was just confusing.

Then, after playing it coy about it for months, they decided they did want Kim to develop feelings for Lawrence, just in time to discover the truth about him during the trial. No doubt they thought it would up the drama quotient, if it wasn’t clear she would bring Lawrence down after all, and then if there was a big dramatic scene where she realizes the truth (which there is). I don’t have all the Lawrence/Kim scenes so maybe there is something in them that makes it work, but Kim falling for Lawrence during his trial for rape is the worst possible timing. Kim has to believe that Jen is lying, because Lawrence explicitly denies raping her. This makes me very, very queasy, given Kim’s own past.

The show also had another ball to juggle. How much does Shane care for Kim? Most of the time, it’s quite clear, to me anyway, that Shane has moved on from Kim and genuinely cares for Kayla, but that Kim can still push his buttons. This is how Charles Shaughnessy plays it, and I think it works best that way. If he was drawn to Kim too, it would make him look bad to be so entangled with two sisters. It would also give more fuel to Shawn’s arguments that if Kayla would step aside, Shane and Kim would get back together.

But, sometimes they couldn’t resist throwing a little curve ball.

Some background: it’s the middle of Lawrence’s trial, and Shane, Kim, Kayla, Jack and Jennifer are all cooperating to try to find more evidence on Lawrence. Kim has been tasked with finding a video that supposedly exists of Jen and Lawrence’s wedding night. Apparently Lawrence has a habit of keeping a camera filming in his bedroom (just like Fynn!). However, Kim sleeps with him instead, taking a moment to block the camera that she knows is there. Shane and Jack later break in and search for the tape, which they find is missing. Shane takes the tape from the night Kim was with Lawrence and sees enough to know they slept together. He doesn’t tell anyone, including Kim, what he saw.

Shane confronts Kim about sleeping with Lawrence

We see Shane’s ruthlessness here, his willingness to use Kim’s feelings for him to get the truth. He touches her face and says “old habits die hard” so he can attach a bug to her earring. This is a callback to how he used her when they first met, and is also consistent with how he used Kayla and her job at the lab, over the course of this case.

When Kim finds the bug and confronts him, it plays like a supercouple confrontation scene. Maybe that’s partly because Charles and Patsy have such killer chemistry and play off one another so well. But he definitely makes it about more than the case when he lists Victor, Cal and Lawrence, and says “Is there anyone you wouldn’t sleep with?” It’s like a punch in the stomach. Does he lash out like this not only because she slept with Lawrence but because he heard her mocking him earlier (“Shane who?”)? It’s not clear, but the juxtaposition is suggestive.

It’s very similar — maybe too similar, Days does love to recycle! — to the fights they had about Victor after Kim slept with him to save Shane’s life. That was a brilliant story for them because it touched on Kim’s insecurity about her past as a prostitute, whether Shane could really get over the fact that she had slept with so many men. And Shane in turn had to confront the same thing, especially after it was revealed Andrew was Victor’s child — which of course he wasn’t really. And of course this is when he still thinks Jeannie (I mean, Theresa) is Cal’s child, so there is that parallel as well.

I suspect that the show was keeping their options open about this, not so much here as for the future. This scene is about as close as it gets to suggesting Shane has real feelings for Kim in this period. After this scene, they use this event for awhile longer to create insecurity for Kayla (as you can see they did here) without suggesting that Shane is genuinely drawn to Kim. But I think they wanted to keep this card in their back pocket to potentially play later. I also suspect that the long term plan, if they had one, was that Shane and Kim would eventually reunite. But the churn going on backstage in 1991 and 92 — the revolving door of headwriters, Patsy Pease’s leaves of absence — makes it difficult to know anything for certain.