In these days of message boards, there often seems to be a race to see who can judge a storyline or new character first, usually from the opening day of scenes—and even before, for those who read spoilers. I generally like to keep an open mind, but I get caught up the madness too.
Such was the case for the Touch the Sky story. The story had many strikes against it from its inception. Two totally new characters (Jeremy, Jett), and a recent recast (Stephanie). Nearly everyone acting like either an asshole or an idiot. Max selling out his integrity for a couple of Linkin Park tickets. Stephanie bitching out her parents and endlessly acting like a sex kitten with smug fratboy Jeremy.**
The sight of Jett’s manly naked chest apparently rewired Chelsea’s brain, leading to an inexplicable series of choices that quickly derailed the best young couple on the show, Nick and Chelsea. Two new legacy characters were introduced (a Horton and a Carver) without giving either one any scenes with their respective families.
And the whole thing happened in complete isolation, and was given lots of airtime. Really, the whole thing unfolded like a textbook example of How to Alienate Viewers.
But though there were many, many ways the story could have been better introduced, the story itself is turning out much better than I expected. First of all, silly as they may be, I love the fact that these young people are actually employed.
And let me officially eat my words. I accused Trevor Donovan here of not having the sex appeal to play the charismatic jerk. It’s amazing what turning out to be an abuser and a smuggler—and probably worse—will do for a man’s appeal (what does that say about me?). Also, the writers have been giving Stephanie some good moments showing the extent of her denial about Jeremy and suggesting her confusion and vulnerability, and Shelley Hennig is making the most of it. She and Trevor were both incredible in the scene where he so casually held her head underwater in the hot tub and then told her he loved her. So, so creepy.
Above all, who would have thought I would enjoy Max so much in this story? It all goes back to the idea that all you have to do to make us admire someone is to show them doing something admirable. (I would like to think the show has figured this out across the board, but all I have to do is look at Shawn’s brilliant idea to go further into debt to buy Belle a huge ass ring to know that they’re still working it out.) Max’s determination to find out what Jeremy is up to, and to help Ilsa, is making me care about him for the first time since his trip to Italy with Kayla.
Last Friday (7/27), we got a nice cliffhanger when two thugs dragged Max away at gunpoint, and today he showed up at Nick’s hotel room beaten to a bloody pulp. (Surprisingly good job by the makeup department!) More Nick and Max, please.
Now—we have a possible DiMera connection, an undercover cop (no matter how inept), some mysterious cargo, and Ilsa the Enigma. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
I can’t say fairer than that, can I, Hogan? Now will you listen to me when I say you’re doing a terrible job with the Chick breakup?
** The raunchy dialogue for Jeremy and Stephanie did lead to an amusing series of alternate names on the TWoP boards for Touch the Sky airlines:
Touch the Skank
Touch my Ass
Touch my Thighs
Touch my Privates (that was my contribution)
before we settled on the elegant simplicity of the homophone Touch This Guy.