Ejami vs. Lumi

Probably the most contentious subject among Days fans right now is The Rape, and the implications for the future of Samantha Roberts on the show. EJ or Lucas? Shippers on both sides have sharpened their weapons and plunged into the fray. As I was browsing through a message board recently, I saw this succinct and forceful thread title:


and, striking a more plaintive note:

“What makes Jack’s rape of Kayla forgivable but not EJ’s rape of Sami?”

For the Lumi side we have this little gem of a character analysis:

“Time to Stop Pimping Rapist Murderer Torturer Psychopath EJ!”

I have been staying away from this topic on my blog, mostly because I feel it is being done to death elsewhere. Also, it is a rather strange feeling for me to feel so at sea about something that so many people are so certain about (on both sides), and are so passionate in their certainty. There are two basic issues here: the pairing issue and the rape issue. Let’s take the pairing issue first.

Who’s hotter, Bryan or James? Who’s the better actor? Is a new coupling better for Days right now, or is it better to protect all couplings that have a significant fanbase? What is the storyline potential for each pairing? Who does Ali play best with? Given Sami’s history, what is true to her character?

In terms of storyline potential, putting the rape aside, in my opinion the Romeo and Juliet possibilities for a DiBrady pairing outweigh the fun-with-Nick-and-Nora possibilities of the Lumi pairing. I would also give the “new couple over old couple” edge to EJami, because Days has too many established pairings. Everything else comes down to personal preference. This is where the show itself needs to take a stand, though I’m not sure I have much confidence it will do so.

Looking for guidance from the past, a potential parallel, perhaps, was the undeniable chemistry between Steve and Hope when Steve first came on the show. It’s clear, watching scenes from that time, that they were flirting with the idea of a triangle between Bo, Hope, and Steve. But in the end, they made Steve and Hope friends and paired Steve with Britta and then Kayla.

Another parallel from the past is when Roman Brady first appeared. The show had a popular couple in Marlena and Don Craig, but in the end they split them up for good and paired Marlena with Roman. So is Lumi more like Bo and Hope or more like Marlena and Don?

Regarding the rape, you have to wonder what made the show choose to go in that direction. Other than proving EJ is EEEEEvil and giving us a WTD scenario (which apparently is now settled with Lucas being the father? That can’t be!), there was really no reason for it that I can see. The consequences for Sami, and for how Sami and EJ relate to each other, have been presented patchily at best. Different characters take turns shouting at EJ, “You raped Sami!” or some variation thereof. That seems to be the limit of showing the actual ramifications of what happened.

To answer the question posed by the thread title above, the reason that Jack’s rape of Kayla was forgivable is that it was dealt with properly on the show. We saw Kayla suffer, we saw her recover. We saw Steve feeling torn between Kayla and Jack (still mad about that), and the way he finally stood by Kayla and washed his hands of Jack. We saw Kayla make the difficult decision to press charges, and we saw Jack convicted and given a suspended sentence. We saw that Jack still held a torch for the woman he raped. We saw him deny that it was rape at all, and we saw him change his mind. We saw Jack’s eventual remorse. We saw Mary Beth and Matt Ashford always be awkward around each other, even after a peace had been reached. (I love Ali, but I do feel she dropped the ball there. I never felt that Sami had an instinctive revulsion toward EJ, a shrinking from being touched by him. The writing is more at fault, but that would have helped.) That’s how you redeem a rape. So it’s not something to introduce lightly.

(As a side note, there is something particular about rape that is more morally repugnant to soap viewers than other types of crimes. EJami shippers like to point out that Lucas let Sami sit on death row, and in fact let her be executed [she just didn’t die], for a crime that he committed. But though that’s a rotten thing to do, it doesn’t have the same resonance with real life that makes rape a stickier issue to deal with.)

But that’s irrelevant now, because like it or not, it happened, and we’re stuck with it. And the show is stuck with the fact that, in addition to the diehard Lumi shippers who would never support a EJami pairing, there are now fans who abhor the very notion, in principle, of pairing a victim with her rapist (I have harbored feelings of that sort myself, though I am also on principle opposed to stories being off-limits because of the supposed “message” they will send).

I am inclined to say that since Ali and James both generate chemistry very easily with costars, it almost seems a waste to put them together. Let Ali stay with Bryan, who doesn’t share that quality but does have good chemistry with Ali. I would suggest that the show tinker with their writing for Lumi, making them more partners in crime. Stop trying to turn Lucas into an alpha male and make him the sneaky guy who finds the twisty indirect way to get things done. For James Scott, let’s cast someone new for him. But not right away. Here was my take right after the rape, and I still think it’s a viable option:

The only wrinkle, from a writer’s perspective, is the pressure to give “EJami” a whirl because of their chemistry. This might have been possible last fall, to have Sami temporarily with EJ before reuniting with Lucas, but after the rape the die is now cast. You can’t have it both ways anymore. But all is not lost for the EJ/Sami chemistry. EJ is a delicious villian, and needs to stay on the canvas and be given a complex backstory, a tangled-up relationship to his father and brother, and feelings for Sami he doesn’t know what to do with. An EJ/Sami baby, or a plot by Sami to bring EJ down, or both, would give Ali Sweeney and James Scott plenty of wonderful scenes together. It would be EJami, the dark version.


11 thoughts on “Ejami vs. Lumi

  1. You have perfectly captured my feelings about the whole thing. I don’t think that EJami is the only way to go, no matter how wonderful their chemistry (see Hope Brady and Steve Johnson). Nor do I think it would have been a bad way to go had the rape not happened.

    But between the rape, the strong feelings on the part of Lumi fans that their couple have earned togetherness (something I don’t really dispute), and the way that James Scott has chemistry with even inanimate objects, I’m not inclined to think that the only good pairing is EJami.

    So I’m willing to see where they go with EJ quite apart from Sami.

  2. Ah, a voice of reason. I hate to sound like I’m parroting Paula, but I have wondered why on earth people are so hung up on EJami? I watched a tape of the tango and it seemed very obvious he was manipulating her at the start. It’s hard for me to get behind a pairing like that. Besides, just because one has chemistry with an actor doesn’t mean you have to go the romantic route. (EJ/Steve anyone? Loads of chemistry. . .but, no). Throw EJ into some different mixes. Besides, my fave Sami/EJ scenes are the Best Enemies Forever ones.

  3. Now I’m going to parrot Paula and Emily, because I’m with you on this too.

    There are so many people they could pair EJ up with, and there’s a big difference between redeeming Jack but never ever pairing him up with Kayla, and trying to redeem EJ by putting him with Sami. And they could do something interesting in tinkering with the Sami/Lucas relationship as you’ve mentioned.

  4. Well, I suppose I qualify as an EJami person becaues I don’t abhor the idea of them getting together at some point, even if I should.

    My lack of an issue with a potential EJami pairing somewhere down the line has a lot to do with the fact that I just think the writers were beyond stupid in doing the rape story. Even if they were never going to pair EJ and Sami, it was beyond dumb to go down that road.

    So, part of my position is simply based on pure stubborness. If TPTB can do absolutely idiotic things for no good reason that I can see, I feel free to ignore them and/or retcon them. I realize this makes me a very bad person, but I yam what I yam.

    That said, I don’t want Lucas dead and I’m not going to scream bloody murder if they keep Lumi and do something entirely different with EJ. As long as whatever they do is interesting and/or entertaining, I’m good. But, I’m not going to pretend that the EJami idea bothers me either. My ticket to hell’s been punched a long time ago anyway. 🙂

  5. I wouldn’t scream bloody murder if they went with EJami. I also can’t argue that the rape was a writing mistake (unnecessary even for the WTD story), but I tend to think that we’re stuck with it now.

    Because the show hasn’t really “committed” to the rape, it’s left up to the viewers how seriously to take it. To use Kayla and Jack as an example again: when I heard the rumor that JER was thinking of putting Kayla with Jack last year, I had a visceral reaction at the WRONGNESS of that. Twenty years later! With Sami and EJ, I don’t feel that same way. Though I admit sometimes I see them in scenes together and I start thinking about the rape. It’s distracting.

    I am dying to see EJ in some romantic type story, because of all the hotness that is James Scott. He’s seriously selling his obsession/love for Sami, the way he looks at her and talks to her.

  6. MP, I was nodding my head in agreement up until the last paragraph. While I have no problem with EJ being paired up with someone else (as long as it’s not Belle,)I am vehemently anti-Lumi and I am already screaming bloody murder because I’m pretty sure that Lumi is endgame. After the rape, I would have been completely against EJami if Lucas weren’t Sami’s only other option.

    There have already been in depth discussions on TWoP about the characters of Lucas and Sami and why their pairing doesn’t work for a lot of fans, so I won’t go into that here. I will say that I want greater things for
    Sami, and I see her relationship with Lucas as a major step-down for her. It’s like if they had paired Hope up with Bart instead of Bo in the ’80s (or pairing Steve with Calliope). It wouldn’t have elevated Bart/(Calliope) to hero status, it would have lowered Hope/(Steve) to being part of the supporting, comic relief couple.

    Another problem I have is with the show overall and tptb’s refusal to break up any couple that has developed a fan base, no matter what opportunities present themselves. There’s no drama in that, and it’s killing the show.

    But I’ll resign myself to Lumi if we get EJ out of their orbit and into a hot love story of his own.

    Sorry for the long post.

  7. lascuba—there have been a number of interesting discussions at TWoP about Lucas and Lumi. I can’t get on board with the Lucas hate, but I do tend to agree with some of those criticisms.

    You made a really good point that Lucas is a supporting player while Sami is a leading lady—I think there’s a lot of truth to that. Especially since HS has really turned Sami into one of the major players on the show now. I think different writing would help, playing to BD’s strengths. But I get annoyed too at the way TPTB are so afraid to break up any established couple. To use another example from the past, Jen and Frankie were a successful teen pairing, but after awhile they were broken up. Then Jen got together with Emilio and then Jack, and Frankie got together with Eve. (A fact which was conveniently forgotten when they brought Frankie back and made him be in love with Jen all those years—please.)

    I would say that Pete and Melissa were even more popular than Jen and Frankie, but they were broken up too in favor of Lars (gag). Maybe that was a mistake. But I think TPTB recognized that they had run out of stories for Pete and Melissa.

    TPTB already have the challenge of creating new couples when everyone in town is related to one another. Having all these established couples on the show leaves even less wiggle room—and, I would add, especially when the fanbases of those couples are so fanatical and exacting.

  8. I’m not vehemently against EJami. If they can make it work, I’d be fine with it. My issue is with the idea that EJami is the only option.

    I’m not anti-Lumi, but that may be because I don’t think Sami is the great white (or shades of gray) hope for Days. And I totally get the argument that TPTB has kowtowed to the couple fanbases too much (although don’t mess with S & K!). I would normally even agree with it, especially from an artistic standpoint.

    But from a business standpoint, with the show on the brink and trying to find enough ratings to make it viable for another network, or even for NBC if they decide not to go out of the soap business after all, I totally understand treading softly around an established fanbase. I think if Days were consistently pulling 2.7-2.8, it might be a very different story.

  9. I know, Paula, it’s hard. I actually have a lot of sympathy for Days in that regard. Now, of course, EJami has a large, vocal (if new) fanbase too, so which one to please?

    This is where I blame the previous writing regimes too (it all comes down to Corday, though, he’s the master of the ship). There is serious structural damage to the show, and it’s a big factor in the lack of possibilities for new romances (It doesn’t help that Hogan isn’t the best romance writer, at least not so far). The topheavy cast, all the incestuous ties (from years of WTD storylines), the dearth of viable characters in their twenties and thirties, and most of all, the breaking of the bond of trust between TPTB and the viewers. That’s partly why fanbases are so hard to please now, I think, so ready to judge a storyline before it even gets started.

    Oh, and lascuba—now I can’t get the picture of Bart/Hope and Steve/Calliope out of my head! It’s wrong on so many levels!

  10. Totally totally think Lucas is whiny and EJ is everything a women could want. Sami has changed EJ into a better man. If God can forgive anyone, than EJ can be forgiven. Sami raped Austin, so Sami has forgiven EJ. There love story can be endless. The Dimera/Brady Duo is a must and they are the only couple on the show that has the potential to be the next super couple of daytime. The facts are pretty clear there are more Ejami fans than Lumi fans

  11. LOL, Joy, I wrote this awhile ago. I now hate Lucas with the fire of a thousand suns. I am perfectly happy with EJami now that they finally talked about the rape.

    More than anything, I just wish TPTB would pick a direction and just tell a good story. I hate the way they keep going back and forth.

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