What happened?

My husband and I have a running joke about how little he knows about soaps, ever since he asked me if “Mick and Laura” were on Days of our Lives in the 80’s. (This is why he calls Steve and Kayla “Mick and McKayla.”) So imagine my surprise when he came in a few weeks ago, saw Deimos on the screen, and said “Is that Lujack?” It turns out he had a girlfriend in college who watched Guiding Light, and he watched it with her! All this time I never knew!

Ari Zucker is such a pro. I’ve seen her in some really bad storylines over the years, and she always tries to sell it and give it her all. But I wouldn’t blame her if she turned to the camera, peered through her black wig, and whispered in a Greek accent, “Please send help.” The faux flashbacks of her with two day players, one with a huge pornstache, shouting at her in subtitles, has been excruciatingly, laughingly bad. The only thing that would make it worse is John Paul Lavoisier and Eric Martsolf played Deimos and Victor. (Imagine Eric Martsolf in a huge Santos-style mustache!) Even worse was Deimos’s dream, where Helena came to him and scolded him for sleeping with Kate — although, admittedly, I do agree with her there.

Would I still rather watch Ari do this than coo over Daniel? A million times yes.

I actually genuinely like the idea of Nicole trying to get the goods on Deimos by romancing him. Has this story been told many times before? Yes, it has. Nicole/Xander comes to mind, which was just last year. But this time, everyone knows — including, so far, Deimos — that her motives are to take him down. I just hope they stretch it out longer than they did when Phillip was in a similar position (minus the seduction part) a few months ago. I can never figure out how Days will set up an intriguing premise (Phillip as a double agent) and then drop it immediately. I hope that doesn’t happen this time. In their clumsy way, they are setting up that Deimos is obsessed and haunted by Helena’s memory, which makes him ripe to be drawn to Nicole against his will. It’s not a terrible idea, Days! Don’t make it terrible!

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Yesterday, my husband came in during this scene, watched as Deimos pulled the oxygen tubes out of Victor’s nose, and said sadly, “Lujack, what happened?”

(I’m sorry I haven’t posted much lately, it’s been difficult to get inspired. I think I need to pull out my DVDs and post about Shayla again!)

Shadows

One of my my favorite storylines from Steve and Kayla’s first run is the first mini Jack triangle, when Jack was played by this adorable guy:

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It was a perfect time to introduce a rival for Steve, after Kayla tells him she loves him and he has rejected her yet again. He changes his mind and rushes over to the loft, only to have this handsome stranger answer the door. Handsome, personable, polite, wealthy – everything Steve is not.  Mr. Simple. And many of us Steve and Kayla fans have been hoping for another Mr. Simple character for Kayla since 2006.

Fynn would definitely not be my first choice in that role. He is such a Ken doll, and I’ve never liked him. But they seem to have toned down his “charming womanizer” side (gag) and are mostly using him as a doctor — which is good because everyone has been in the hospital this year. Although every time he spouts medical terminology I think of that “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV” guy. (Remember him?) It’s pretty laughable. But if they show that Steve looks at the young, smooth, brilliant (snort) doctor colleague, and then thinks about all the ways he’s let Kayla down, it could be good.

I reserve the right to take this all back if they muck it up and start treating Fynn as a serious threat, someone Kayla could really fall for. And if she really falls for him, I’ll go light myself on fire in Ken Corday’s office.

But, oh, this is a thing of beauty:

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Sexy, angsty Steve longing for Kayla. It doesn’t get any better than that.

To catch a Kiriakis

For the last few weeks it’s been difficult to get invested in the show — other than Steve and Kayla, who have had some great stuff! — because it feels like everyone I’m watching is leaving. I’m extremely invested in Eric, so good and bad I was riveted by that, but I knew it was ending. I’m invested in Chad and Abby, and the “Abby going nuts” story has been good TV, but again Abby is leaving, so I’m watching it as something that will end. I’m not inclined to invest in Belle, Summer, Lani, or Shawn, since the announcement that they are all out the door. So what’s left? Brady and Theresa have been wrapped up with Summer. Blah. Ciara’s rape. You guys know how I feel about that. Hope getting away with murder. Rope. Nope.

But it looks like we are finally seeing some setup towards a big story that will involve a lot of the cast. I love the idea of Brady and Justin (and Phillip, I hope) teaming up to take down Deimos. More Justin is always a fabulous thing, and Brady has long needed a story that develops his character outside of his romantic relationships.

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I’m guessing Nicole’s astounding resemblance to Helena will inevitably involve her , probably when she decides to use Deimos’s attraction to her to get close to him and help Maggie. (But no more Helena/Victor flashbacks PLEASE THEY ARE TERRIBLE.) I’m guessing that’s what all this Maggie/Nicole bonding has been about. Of course Nicole will do everything she can to help Daniel “the love of her life” Jonas’s mother. Gag — but you know it’s coming.

Hope seems game to go on a murderous rampage again, after she killed the wrong guy last year. Rafe will try to rein her in and inevitably fail and have to clean up after her again. Phillip has something to prove after Deimos made a fool of him last year.  And Kate siding with Deimos — even though it doesn’t make sense and I do not like seeing Deimos with her, to put it mildly — will pit her against her son and might lead to some interesting conflict.

So color me decently intrigued.

 

 

Goodbye Eric, part 2

I wasn’t going to post more about Eric’s departure, but his final scenes were really very good. I’m glad he got some decent goodbye scenes with (some of) his family. Brady was very busy, as we know, getting Maggie muffins and reassuring Summer about an adoption that happened more than forty years ago — super important stuff.

But I’m grateful Eric didn’t just disappear, with one line of dialogue a week later about him in prison, followed by no one ever mentioning him again. That second part will probably still happen, but at least we got some good farewell scenes first.

And they gave us a glimpse of what we haven’t seen in way too long: Greg Vaughan’s bare chest:

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It was only a glimpse, so this was the best screenshot I was able to get. So, let’s refresh our memories, shall we?

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Ah, happier times.

I’m very concerned about Jennifer too …

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… that she has such blurry memories of hooking up with Eric. Hypnosis might help.

I think it’s dumb that they have to say contrived things like, “I don’t want you in the courtroom. Let’s say our goodbyes now,” because they don’t have a courtroom set. But, all of the goodbyes at the station were very affecting. Of course Brady should have been there. Nicole wouldn’t come say goodbye, but some final scene between them, even just a silent exchange of looks, would have been wonderful (h/t friend of the blog Amber!).

Regardless, I think no other actor can top Greg Vaughan when it comes to crying. I love Stephen’s tears … it’s close! But I give the edge to Greg.

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Now I need a hug too. Sniff.

Goodbye, Eric. Come back soon.

Goodbye Eric

“Boss, we have a popular legacy character, a member of a core family. His parents are both on the show, his mom especially is one of the powerhouses of daytime.”

“Anything else?”

“He was in a very popular pairing, with a loyal fanbase. That actress is still on the show, and her character is currently unattached.”

“I don’t know, established couples are too hard to write for. There’s no story.”

“In this case, he just accidentally killed her fiance. Plus there are plenty of issues from their first love story that were dropped.”

“Okay, but can he act?”

“Yes, he’s a fantastic emotive actor, and he’s drop dead handsome to boot.”

“Eh … get rid of him.”

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Very angry now.

Days makes head scratching decisions all the time, but this has got to be one of the most boneheaded. Aside from Ericole, Eric is just a really good character. As a former priest searching for a new vocation, there are many stories that could have come from that. He’s one of those characters that is “good” without being boring or smug. Greg can play romantic, tortured, conflicted, sexy … he’s genuinely the whole package!

I am not one of those people who sees everything through the lens of Is It Good For My Couple?, so I feel pretty confident saying that they dumped Ericole for … nothing much. Nicole is drifting around aimlessly. She’s starting her business (and I’m all in favor of that), she’s bonding with Theresa, which I like. She’s mourning Daniel … eh, necessary I suppose, but that can’t last forever. She was an obstacle for Theresa and Brady, but not really. She had drinks with Dario a couple of times, now she’s suddenly a dead ringer for Helena, Deimos’s lost love. It all feels so ad hoc, like there is no real plan for her

Last summer Chabby and Ericole were the two things that were working really well when the new writing team took over. I have to admit it bothers me that Kate Mansi wanted to leave, but Chabby got the big supercouple story anyway (which is continuing even now, giving her a grand exit). Greg Vaughan, on the other hand, wanted to stay, but got nothing for Eric or Ericole. Why, Days, why??

I’m glad this exit story is giving Greg some interesting material, but in the grand scheme of his character it all feels a little random. He’s been in love with Nicole for his entire run on the show, so let’s give him a sendoff story with Jennifer! Also, it’s not getting nearly enough airtime. Greg is certainly playing the heck out of it, though. His scenes yesterday with Roman, Marlena, and Jennifer were all excellent. I liked how they managed to elide the silliness of Roman covering for everyone in town EXCEPT HIS OWN SON by having Eric insist that he doesn’t want special treatment and he wants to serve his time. Greg did a great job showing Eric’s fear, self-loathing, and determination to pay for what he did.

My favorite part was the short scene with Jennifer — though again, it was not nearly long enough! If I can’t have an Ericole scene (CAN’T YOU EVEN THROW US A BONE, WRITERS?), I’m glad it looks like Eric is at least getting some nooky before heading off to the slammer. I liked how Jennifer talked about being the good girl, who always does the right thing, and yet life still manages to kick you in the teeth. Eric certainly can identify with that, and the visual of the two goody-goodies slugging back wine and then kissing sloppily was golden. When they got up, I thought they were going to the bedroom, but instead they headed out the front door. Were they just so wasted they couldn’t find the bedroom, or has the bed shortage gotten so bad that people can’t even go to one offscreen? Or maybe Jen feels the best place for Horton Golden Girl to get laid is in the middle of the Horton Town Square. Why not?

Doubt

Great couple of episodes for Steve and Kayla!

At first I was upset that the charges against him were just going to go away. But I suspect the ISA’s “favor” to him will come with strings attached, so it’s really just a turn in the story rather than the story being dropped. And it was really what led to the crisis with Kayla.

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I loved the irony of that, that it was Steve getting out of trouble unscathed that brought things to a head. As she told Roman today, Kayla was ready to stand by Steve through the trial and everything that followed. But the fact that everything was dropped, and especially Steve’s reaction to that — that “it couldn’t have worked out any better” — was what really sent her over the edge.

This all works really well as a continuation of their conflict from last fall. They made it clear back then that Kayla was taking a leap of faith to be with Steve again, and he hadn’t necessarily earned his way back. So it would make sense that the issues that were unresolved then, would come back to haunt them now. It broke my heart when she said to him that she loved him and always would, that that wasn’t what this was about. I really appreciated that Kayla told Roman she didn’t enjoy breaking up with Steve — it showed she isn’t doing this out of anger.

I thought the Tina character was clunky, and way too convenient. But I kind of liked double Steve, serving as the voice of what Kayla’s worries, and showing Steve has taken her words to heart.

Overall, this is all a certainly a decently organic conflict for them, and who they are as characters. We remember the Steve we knew back in the 80’s, the tomcat who told her “I got nine lives, baby.” And it fits that Kayla as a grown-up professional, with a son who desperately needs help, would be risk-averse and keenly aware of her responsibilities. I do regret one thing, however. Back then, Steve kept telling her that they were too different to work as a couple, and one of the things he meant was just this difference — he lived on the edge, she was the middle class princess who wanted a settled life. One thing that became clear as their love story unfolded is that Steve wasn’t as drawn to danger as much as he pretended, and Kayla wasn’t as enamored of the settled life as he assumed of course she would be. So I do regret that their current dilemma is more of a stereotype of the bad boy/good girl difference than their original story was, which turned many of those stereotypes on their heads.

I thought the Abby/Chad/Ben scenes today were excellent.

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Kate Mansi is doing such a great job showing Abby losing her sanity, and yet not wanting to admit it. I like how she isn’t overplaying the “I’m fine, I’m fine” (too many actors do, to signal they’re not fine, but sometimes that makes it hard for us to believe the other characters don’t pick up on it). The moment when she saw Ben and was able to make him disappear was a perfect lead in to when the real Ben appeared. I love this twist — she’s having visions of him, AND he’s really there. It’s like that old joke:  just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

Cowboy love

Remind me never to get behind again. It’s too hard to get caught up again!

I still haven’t watched today’s show, but how I can I not post about Friday? Really wonderful scenes for Steve’s last night as a free man.

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“Take your time.”

The talk was about chili and beer and cornbread, but it was really a chance to let Stephen and Mary Beth do what they do best, show the connection between these two characters with their body language, facial expressions, and the way they play off of one another.

I’m glad there was some serious talk too, about Steve leaving, about what they’ve just gone through with Ava and everything that is unresolved between them. But Steve pointed out that tonight none of that mattered, he just had his last request for chili, beer, and the woman he loves by his side. I loved the undercurrent of pleading in his voice there, even as he tried to keep things light.

One of my favorite little character details from 1980’s Steve was the way he tucked his napkin into his tank top:

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Some things never change.

I loved their banter about the “western” conference and getting a little cowboy action. Then, a dance with a real song!

Then … they disappeared because THEY DON’T HAVE A BEDROOM.

But, this was sweet:

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Kayla’s last line, that she loved him and always would, was perfect. It didn’t promise forgiveness or say that everything was all right between them. It was just the truth, simply stated.