Adrienne! Adrienne!

So the highlight of my week, and maybe for all of Days 2007, was Adrienne and Steve today (5/4).

It’s incredibly amusing, and so Days, to have an actress playing one role for a number of years, and then have her come back six weeks later in a completely different role, and not expect the audience to bat an eye. I have to wonder what the people who aren’t familiar with the Adrienne character must have thought. I saw one post that said, “Hey, look, it’s Bonnie Lockhart on Prozac and a bad wig!”

There was also some curiosity (okay, snark) about how quickly Adrienne was able to get to Salem. Adrienne is supposed to be living in Texas, last we heard, and she appears about five minutes after Kayla calls her. I was thinking that perhaps Adrienne would say, “Actually all I had to do was change my voice a little and put on some trashy clothes and no one recognized me! HA HA! Salemites are the stupidest people on earth!”

I heard that Judi Evans enjoyed playing Bonnie, and it must have been a nice change of pace to play the comic relief. She’s such a fantastic crier, and both Beth Raines on GL and Adrienne Johnson on Days (I never saw her as Paulina Cory on Another World, so I can’t comment there) were suffering heroines. The sweet sufferer is the hardest role to make rootable and sympathetic. Often they just come off as weak and pathetic. It’s terrible, but sometimes I just want to slap some of these characters (Belle last summer, for example) to get them to buck up a little.

Still, it must have been wonderful to be able to play against Stephen Nichols again, instead of Farah Fath (Mimi) or Brody Hutzler (Patrick). Both Judi and Stephen were fabulous today. I felt the connection between them as soon as Adrienne laid eyes on Steve. And seeing Steve “wake up” and start to connect to Adrienne, to see her hold him the way he held her after Duke raped her (intentional reference by the actors?), to see the joy and pain of their reunion … well, I haven’t been so moved by a scene on Days in a long, long time.

Also, the use of history was very good, and wonderfully specific. Adrienne showed Steve a bracelet which matched a necklace Steve had (both were gifts from Jo), which he gave to Kayla for Christmas in 1986. (Back then, seeing the bracelet was how Kayla figured out that Steve and Adrienne were brother and sister.) Adrienne told Steve the same story she told him then, to convince him that she really was his sister. The story involved him helping a pigeon with a broken wing, which was symbolic back then of the help he would soon give Adrienne.

They only made one error, which is that Duke never abused (not physically, anyway) Steve or Billy—only Jo, their mother. This is small but somewhat significant, because it’s crucial to Steve’s character that when he tried to kill Duke at age five, he was trying to protect his mother, not himself. Still, they got so much right, I will allow this one error. How great was it to see that bracelet again? What if after the necklace mention, they had cut to Kayla in the car and shown her holding it? Too cheesy?

I’m more and more convinced that the Dimera brainwashing specifically tried to wipe out Steve’s feelings for Kayla and Stephanie. This wouldn’t apply to Adrienne, and would explain why she was able to reach him. Once she reached him, realSteve’s feelings for Kayla (unkillable, of course, sigh) would bubble up for a moment—hence his statement “If there’s a Kayla, maybe I’m not one of them.”

I’m also going to beat the dead horse of my theory that this storyline was supposed to follow the Billie/Steve triangle without the intervening Steve/Kayla reunion. These are the reasons I came up with this theory to begin with: their reunion felt sudden, without much buildup. It followed so closely on the quarantine storyline that the pacing was strange (Thanks, esp, for this one). We were left with no real reason for Steve to have been with Billie all that time. A few hints were dropped that his interest was inexplicable to him (he said to Hope in quarantine: “I can’t get this Billie woman out of my head.”), but these weren’t followed up on.

Now I’d like to paint this scenario: After the quarantine storyline, there follows a period when Steve is with Billie but drawn to Kayla. He keeps recovering bits of memory, but doesn’t have the feelings to go with them. Then he starts having flashbacks of the torture and having episodes of violence. Billie is freaked out and can’t deal with it. She calls Kayla, who (being Kayla) tries to help. Kayla is the one who commits him to the hospital. In this way, Steve’s extreme anger at her at the police station and determined rejection of her afterward makes more sense, because he wasn’t in love with her five minutes before. He escapes from the hospital and goes to Billie, but she’s scared of him now. He tries to fool Kayla as we saw in the cabin, but that also makes more sense because he faked his feelings for her in quarantine too. (In fact, it would take care of almost all of the motivation problems that Steve has had for the last two months.) Other characters’ advice to Kayla that this isn’t Steve and she needs to give up would have even more weight, because she wouldn’t have been with him in 16 years.

Steve’s escape from the hospital to make sure Kayla is okay after the accident would have been extremely significant, because it would be the first sign since the quarantine that he feels anything for her. And the moment today when Adrienne is able to reach him, Kayla actually says, “He’s remembering her!” which would be more exciting if he hadn’t fully gotten his memory back. And when Steve says, “If there’s a Kayla, then maybe I’m not one of them,” it would have been a major, major breakthrough.

19 thoughts on “Adrienne! Adrienne!

  1. Wow, MP. For the first time ever, this whole thing makes sense. I really hadn’t thought about it as one big storyline without the reunion in the middle. But, when you lay it out like that, it does make sense. It certainly addresses most of the motivation questions that we’ve had and there only a couple of pieces that don’t fit (which easily could have been put in AFTER they added the reunion).

    Had they done it this way, I think some things would have been much better. Of course, that would have risked the wrath of those who wanted S&K back together RIGHT NOW. However, once theyd decided to change it, then they should have make the changes consistent or inserted new stuff to provide the necessary motivation. Sigh.

    Anyway, you’re spot on with the glowing praise of SN and JE. They were amazing today and I knew JE had her “A” game as soon as I saw the “my big brother is my hero” look in her eyes when she first approached Steve.

  2. I’m completely torn, because your theory makes so much sense, and I do love the angst. The many many visits Kayla made to the mental ward would have had much more tension this way, and even the stupid pizza party stuff might have been meant to show Steve’s sense of humor and his fight coming back.

    But I didn’t think that the reunion just served to placate the hardcore S&K fans. The rest of the audience still didn’t know why they should care at that point, and those scenes were the best argument they’ve gotten to date. They weren’t just being told what these characters had in the past, they were being shown who they were to each other in the present. I think we need that island of normalcy for reference now. And it wasn’t just about S/K — we also saw Steve connect with Bo, with Hope, with Stephanie. Her goodbye dinner is one of my favorite “new era” scenes.

    I think the execution since then has been questionable, and I don’t really know why they couldn’t reformulate the dialogue in the intervening months. But I’m beginning to think that the idea of the rewrite was smart, even if KC was the one pulling the strings. (Shocking, I know. *g*)

    I’m on the “JE rocks!” train today.

  3. Another great post Mary!

    I really want people to accept Adrienne because I felt Bonnie was a complete waste of her talents. Not because she didn’t play her well, but when the character sits opposite a talking dog…that’s just wrong on so many levels.

    I still haven’t seen today’s scenes yet (can’t wait) but I have always adored the Steve/Adrienne sibling chemistry. I really am looking forward to it.

    My favorite role of JE is Paulina though. If you are curious, the following is a start of a great series of Paulina who has had enough of her husband Jake’s blackmailing of her! (They had a love/hate thing going on):

  4. I guess the reason I don’t think Steve was supposed to be with Billie long is that Hogan, in his fall interviews, said Steve would get his memory back and the story would go in a different direction from there (I’m assuming the torture/brainwashing reveal).

  5. Well, who knows? I was just putting this theory out there. But it didn’t have to be long that he was with Billie, just a few weeks more, before getting crazy enough to be committed. Steve could have gotten more and more of his memory back in those weeks, only “without the feelings that should go with them” as he said in the quarantine storyline. SN even referred to that in an interview (getting his memory of Kayla back but curiously without the feelings) and the way it turned out there was only about a week where that was the case.

    Obviously this is a cdh (you’ll have to pry it out of my cold dead hands, TM Paula) scenario for me!

    I watched that Jake/Paulina clip, Tripp—yowza!

    esp, that’s just the right phrase for the look she gave Steve. “My big brother is my hero.” Sigh. I love these two.

  6. Watched today’s show and I loved the Adrienne scene. Mary, I agree, the part where Adrienne said that Steve and Billy were both beaten by Duke stood out to me too, especially given if it were true, Billy was so young he’d have significant brain damage or something. However, I immediately forgot that when they brought up the bird scene! During that moment, I noticed he used the name “Jo” instead of “Mama” which was an interesting choice. The Steve we knew and even the one today would refer to his mom as Jo more than “Mama” but I took that scene to be he was reliving it a bit and it seems like he would call her “Mama” at that moment. LOL; I”m probably reading more into it.

    As for the Billie stuff, I hear what you are saying and part of me sees it was probably cut short but there was a lot of outcry from the S/K fans over her being shoehorned in. I think any more of that and many would have bailed. I can’t blame them only because it was so one-sided and we were getting no Kayla perspective, not even her thoughts on how she felt seeing NickNotSteve with Billie weren’t conveyed enough. Then you add in the fact Hogan (who I usually stick up for) said specifically in an interview the Q scene would be some kind of romantic beginning to reuniting them but instead Kayla was unconscious through most of it and we had Steve standing at the window of very sensitive microphones longing to be with Bilie. It was very disheartening.

    Not to say that I couldn’t have put up with Billie in the story more…but I just was so irritated by her continued presence with no balance from Kayla’s side to show she was her own character and not merely a hindrance to the Steve/Billie pairing, I’m still glad it was cut short.

    LOL course, I say that because I continually see a particular banner on the board that shall not be named which was made to upset the S/K fans with Billie in there. So forgive me. LOL.

  7. I hear ya, Tripp, and I was certainly getting annoyed by the lack of Kayla POV. I just think that if they were going to cut Billie short they should have done it much earlier, and if they were going to stick it out as long as they did they should have done something more with it. The show made such a big point about Steve getting the necklace for Billie when Kayla was suffering behind him, and a lot of fans were particularly mad about that. Many of the Hogan-haters refer to that moment as a reference for their hatred, still.

    But if they had made the torture and brainwashing explicit soon after getting out of quarantine, and made it clear to the viewers at least that that was why he was with Billie, that would have placated some fans—well, me, anyway. And maybe, just maybe, if there had been some sort of payoff, it would have given fans some faith that Hogan knows how to tell a decent angstful story (that’s assuming he does, ha). Of course if NickNotSteve the Asshole had turned right into Steve the Different Kind of Asshole (especially if it then got stuck in a holding pattern like we’ve seen) then people would probably still be pissed, so … shrug. Let’s just say, speaking for myself, that I like dark, angstful Steve and Kayla storylines, but only if the motivations make sense. In my hypothetical scenario both the Billie storyline and the current one would be better character-motivated (IMO, of course). But the current one could have been tweaked to make more sense, regardless, there’s no doubt about that.

    Regarding the reunion: there certainly were some great moments in December, as lska points out. But they felt a tiny bit … unearned. Not the Bo and Stephanie stuff, but the Steve/Kayla stuff.

    Anyway, who knows? I need to stop obsessing about what’s going on behind the scenes.

  8. I wanted a bigger pay off for sure too. And the whole necklace thing was weird but part of me thinks that was just a MacGuffin to simply put Steve and Hope in some scenes (or that’s what I was telling myself) together. I really think the important thing about the necklace was just how NickNotSteve didn’t really get into the significance of it. He didn’t tell her what exactly to get or what it should look like. I was hoping if it came up again how the necklaces in the past he gave Kayla always were sentimental, his mother’s necklace, the anchor necklace. I believe there was another one too.

    I think another worry of the mainstream S/K fans and I think this includes me was the longer we went on with NickNotSteve and Billie, the high the chances they would sleep together. I know, it isn’t really Steve sleeping with Billie and maybe they could have done this moment where NickNotSteve freaks out and HATES being with Billie (I somehow dobut it though) but in the end…it is Steve physically sleeping with another woman over Kayla. Steve and Kayla are precious to many fans (me included) because they never did cheat on each other, even when estranged.

    Sigh, I think the brainwashing was an interesting dynamic to go with even if Billie remained there…but the point to me of having a person be brought back with Amnesia is to watch him or her fall back in love with that “twu Luv” again. Sure, it was one sided since Kayla was insisting she loved this man…but that could have played into the angst as well since NickNotSteve might want her to love him for him and not simply because he looks like her former husband.

    I need to stop obsessing behind the scenes too. It drives me nuts.

  9. I guess the reason I keep harping on this is that I feel like this storyline, dark as it is, could be/could have been a slowly-fall-in-love again story. As opposed to the reunion scenes, which were nice but so sudden: “we’re in love again, yay!” I think that slow reconnection is what I felt cheated of, too.

    But yeah, definitely would not have wanted Steve/Billie sex. I think that could have been avoided, though.

    ::stops beating dead horse::

  10. Waaaah! I love your scenario, MP (with some tweaks, like giving us a much more dynamic Kayla POV in the earlier storyline), and now I’m kind of bummed it didn’t happen that way.

    I do think that what we’re seeing from Steve now in the hospital really informs a lot of his behavior as Nick Stockton. Obviously, the effects of the brainwashing/torture lingered in his subconscious. There was a line in his big confrontation with Kayla and Bo at the police station that caught my interest, and I think it plays out a bit in what’s going on now: “She gave up on me! She’s putting me away!”

    It’s like all he can see is abandonment (like his mother leaving him at the orphanage, like Britta leaving him at the hospital in Stockholm, like Bo leaving him in the hospital in Miami, like Britta leaving him in that apartment he’d rented for the two of them) and that’s what his tormentors are playing on.

    That’s why Kayla’s dogged refusal to listen to people telling her to let go is so important to their storyline. She’s the one who never, ever willingly walked away.

  11. You know, i may have to watch every single clip since the return just so i can build up to the return of Adrienne, which i totally enjoyed and to see Steve and Kayla get to this point.
    So much emotions, I love it!!
    I am loving DAYS once again!!

  12. The abandonment issue is such an important one for Steve, and they could really bring it out more. A comment by Kayla to Stephanie, “Too many people have walked out on him in his life.” Or a sinister torture scene/flashback with EJ or Dr. Evil (forgot his name!) telling him over and over again that Kayla has given up on him, and after the way he treated her, it’s no wonder, etc etc. They could really exploit this “artificial” plot device to tap into some internal conflicts.

    daggerrose, the show has really picked up! I’m really looking forward to the rest of sweeps. Someone said on another board that it’s so nice to have the characters’ motivations to talk about once again, instead of speculating on the motives of TPTB!

  13. ITA on the abandonment issue. I was hoping that once Steve’s memories returned, we would see him struggle with the fact that one of his worse fears (his daughter growing up missing one parent) were true though through no fault of his own.

  14. Responding to bits of several posts…

    I never understood why the necklace was such a sticking point for some fans. To me it seemed that when Steve started taking care of Kayla in quarantine, a lightbulb went off in his head. Like, “Oh, you’re supposed to do nice things for the people you care about, and I care about Billie, so I should probably get her something, huh?” Very mechanical. If he had been programmed to deflect his emotions away from Kayla, Billie was the receptacle for all of that. Poor guy was so confused then, almost as much as now.

    ITA that the December stuff felt somewhat unearned. The buildup to Steve remembering could have been better developed, and they didn’t necessarily need to hop into bed as quickly as they did. (Though we are talking about Steve and Kayla here.) I like the interpretation (from TWoP maybe?) that it was a false reunion because it happened so quickly and overlooked so many issues — issues that promptly popped up and tore them apart again. I’m really hoping we’re going to see some slow reconnection/rebuilding now.

    I really like your theory. But the idea that we would have gone nearly a year without even a glimpse of Real!Steve just feels wrong, because I miss him so much on screen!

  15. I like the idea of December being a “false” reunion. It was so sudden that they were all happy, Stephanie too, just this little insta-family. You’d think Stephanie would have had all kinds of issues with her dad. She wouldn’t have had to be hostile, just feel strange. And Steve didn’t seem to feel any lingering strangeness or guilt, like Tripp says, for his worst nightmare (being a bad father, or rather a non-father) coming true. Maybe, as you say, we’re going to see that slow reconnection now, for Stephanie too. Thats what I’ve been crossing my fingers for.

    I did love seeing the real Steve Johnson in December, though, that’s for sure.

  16. Even in December, it felt to me like it wasn’t quite Steve. I just couldn’t believe that Steven Earl wouldn’t be grovelling to Kayla a lot more about what he’d put her through. He really seemed to be putting a lot of questions aside.

    I think it’s very telling that they were living at the Salem Inn and that he didn’t put his wedding ring back on. I think his subconscious knew and was afraid of what was coming. So either the writers were very deliberate or I’ve fanwanked it enough to where I’m comfortable with that interpretation.

  17. julianscat, in further support of your point, Kayla said to Hope once in December that she didn’t want to rock the boat because she was afraid she’d wake up one day and her husband would be gone again, and that she thought Steve was in denial about his past and didn’t want to face it.

    I’m liking this idea of a planned (by the writers) “phony” reunion, and the Steve we’ve seen since February as a continuation of Nick Stockton. His sudden switch in February seems less sudden if I think of it that way.

  18. I think there’s something to the idea that “Steve” is still Nick Stockton at the moment, just with Steve’s memories. And it kind of supports my theory that Nick Stockton actually fell in love with Kayla before the memory return but was driven by a whole lot of demons in his subconscious not to act on that love. Once he had Steve’s memories and the context of what he was feeling, he felt more at ease acting on those feelings, but he still held something back because deep down, he knew he wasn’t right inside, and that something bad was coming.

    I think Billie was always primarily a pressure valve, an outlet for the things he couldn’t–didn’t dare–share with Kayla for fear of hurting her. His choice to endanger Billie by using her to get away, when he had Kayla hostage at the hospital and could easily have used her, seems to bear out that theory.

    Although I wouldn’t mind a little more explicit verification for the fans who still think he’s got some sort of torch lit for Billie.

  19. I really, really like the idea of Steve using Billie as “pressure valve” (not for Billie’s sake, who I like, but talking about motivation). Your point about who to take for a hostage is well taken.

    The writers could easily make this explicit, and I wish they would do something with the Billie triangle, even in retrospect.

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