Well, the biggest news of the week, other than Sami and Lucas’s engagement, was Chelsea finding out that Nick is “Dr. Shane Patton” or LonelySplicer, the internet guy who romanced her and inspired her to be a better person. She confronted him about it, and they had it out.
I wasn’t wild about the LonelySplicer storyline. We weren’t able to invest in their internet romance, because we saw so little of what they were talking about. We saw Nick mooning after Chelsea without being able to see why he was smitten with her. Chelsea’s investment in LonelySplicer seemed more about manipulating Nick to help her find him than a true attachment to the man. And above all, we didn’t see Chelsea and Nick interacting enough. But, I’m willing to forgive the storyline if it can be a leaping off point for Nick and Chelsea, if it forces Chelsea to acknowlege that there’s more to Nick than meets the eye, if it corrects the power imbalance between them by allowing Nick to hurt Chelsea in some way. And I’m hopeful that this is exactly what has occurred.
It has been so long … too long … since I watched an emotional “breakthrough” scene between a couple on Days and felt the writing, the acting, and the chemistry between the actors all come together and click into place. That magic moment, that is, where it all happens for the first time. Back in 1987 it was that fight between Steve and Kayla where Kayla ended up yelling that she had a heart of her own and would give her heart to whoever she wanted. For Nick and Chelsea it was the confrontation scene this week. When Nick said he started this LonelySplicer stuff because he just wanted to matter to her. And Chelsea said that he made her fall for someone who didn’t exist, a figment of his imagination.
Now, it’s way too early to start calling Nick and Chelsea a supercouple (or put them on the level of Steve and Kayla—talk about pressure!), but there are certain elements that I’m seeing with Chick that, to me, are essential to a successful soap couple.
1. Character distance. Rich girl/poor boy, good girl/bad boy, fictional romances are all about the coming together of opposites. How they bridge the distance is your story. In this case we’ve got the bad girl and the geek.
2. Separate, well-defined characters. Both Nick and Chelsea are well-rounded, developed characters, even Nick who has only been on a short time.
3. Good actors. On a soap particularly, sometimes you have to rise above mediocre material. Rachel Melvin and Blake Berris are two of the best actors in the younger set.
4. Chemistry between the actors. I felt it with their banter on the plane, but I really felt it in their scene on Wednesday when she confronted him about being Shane Patton.
4. (optional) An unexploded bomb. Many soap couples have them. I don’t know if they’re necessary, but it saves having to come up with an obstacle later. In this case it’s a biggie: Nick lost his virginity to Billie! I was thinking that during their confrontation, Nick should have said, “By the way, as long as you’re already mad at me, I slept with your mother!”
5. Forced by circumstance to interact. If Chelsea gets a job at the lab, we’ll get to see them bickering and forced to work together.
6. (bonus) Redemption story. Chelsea, with her troubled past and her longing for a family, is a prime candidate for a redemption story. Poor Chelsea got kicked in the teeth twice this week, since in addition to the LonelySplicer reveal, Bo rejected her for her dealings with Patrick a few months ago. (I won’t go into it here, but I was incensed at this development. It must be plot motivated, because it certainly isn’t character motivated. No way would Bo believe Patrick Lockhart over his own daughter.)
In other news, how can I love the character who tortured Steve? It’s wrong. But I love EJ. I even love him when he’s tormenting Steve, like when he implied that Steve would hurt Kayla, and said “That’s the game, Steve. Let’s see if you’re good enough to play, eh?”
They’re going in a very interesting direction with EJ and Sami. On Thursday (2/15), they were playing their scenes for laughs, which after the rape I never would have thought possible. EJ was trying to trick Sami into revealing whether she’s pregnant or not, by offering her champagne or trying to smoke a cigar or making a toast to “your child …. I mean Will, of course.” I could almost hear him thinking, “Ah, a worthy adversary at last.”