Sometimes it’s hard to say why I like certain characters but not others. I’m not talking about the leading men and women like Bo and Hope and Steve and Kayla, Sami, or even Nick and Chelsea. I’m talking about lesser players like Kate and Billie, or new characters like Jeremy or Stephanie. You might say it’s in seeing potential for the character or actor, but that’s not entirely it. I think in the end it simply it boils down to a visceral response.
For example, I see potential for Kate the character and Lauren Koslow the actress. I think Kate is underutilized as a sexy manipulative older woman character, always an asset to the canvas. I’ve seen that Lauren Koslow can do very well in an emotional, layered scene, and also toss off a mean one-liner. But … I just can’t care very much about her. If she were to disappear forever I wouldn’t shed one tear. With Billie/Julie Pinson, however, who is in the same boat (and worse), I perk up whenever I see her on screen no matter what she’s doing. I miss her when she’s not around, and it feels like a crime that she’s being so underutilized. I just like her.
I feel the same way about Stephanie. Now, I know she’s been getting plenty of airtime lately, but still she’s a newer character who has been played by two different actresses already. And the writing for her has been mixed. I can’t really say why, but no matter what she is doing, I just like her. I was naturally predisposed to like any child of Steve and Kayla’s, of course. But liking a character’s parents in itself is not enough (see Brady, Shawn D.).
Naturally I see more potential for her than what she’s been given. Her reconciliation with her father happened too quickly, after they went to such pains to create the rupture between them. The possibility that she was sticking by Jeremy in an attempt to capture what her parents had was something that was suggested, but then dropped. The abusive overtones of their relationship were also dropped.
Undoubtedly some of these dropped plot points had to do with the fact that Trevor Donovan left the show. But, they could have used their violent relationship to give Jeremy a more exciting send-off. Killing him in self-defense, sending him to jail for assault, running away together only to have Stephanie change her mind and turn back. Barring that they could still use the fallout from her dysfunctional relationship to shade her character now. Instead of suddenly mooning after Max like she’s never even heard of Jeremy, let her feel wary and distrustful of men, of long-term relationships, of love and lust in general. Show her trying to figure out what drew her to Jeremy and how to avoid making that mistake in the future.
Of course this rape story, which looks to be in the offing, could offer her a chance for a recovery story as well. I’m speculating that Cordy’s testimony will be discredited or insufficient (she doesn’t actually remember being raped by Ford), and Stephanie will have to be the one to step forward. A well-done rape story can be great drama, but I admit I wish Days hadn’t gone this route. With all the flack surrounding Ejami, is Days trying to prove it’s still socially responsible with a storyline that reminds us that Rape = Bad?
Uncle screwing aside, I am not opposed to Stephanie and Max. They have a nice chemistry, and I have been liking Darin Brooks more and more. But I am disappointed in how quickly Stephanie developed feelings for Max. Because she was so recently head over heels in love with Jeremy, for one. And, not to beat this drum again and again and again, but I’m still dying for a slow-burn love story.
(Of course I am still carrying a torch for the possibility of Stephanie and Phillip!)