Float like a Butterfly

In general, whenever you put together two characters who don’t usually interact, you’ve got my attention before they even open their mouths. I loved seeing Sami having a heart to heart with John, and Hope bonding with Chelsea, and Steve making a deal with EJ.

But these are all major characters, most of them with a big storyline of their own, crossing over to other major characters. There is another type of character, who has nothing but atypical interactions (that is, conversations outside their usual circle), for the simple reason that they don’t have a usual circle. These “floaters” range from legacy characters like Maggie who serve as sounding boards, to Andre Teh Evil who was responsible for everything that went wrong in Salem. In between there are work-related floaters like Lexie the Doctor of Everything—down to being in charge of the file room at the hospital when Chelsea was doing her community service. (Hire that woman some support staff!)

Many characters will go through a floating phase when they are between storylines, being chemistry tested with potential romantic pairings, or just being tried out for leading character status. This is usually temporary, not permanent: they are usually eventually pulled into the loop of their own storyline, or else they fade into “sounding board” territory and/or leave the show. But these phases can be a lot of fun.

All this brings me to my favorite floater: Nicole, played by the delightful Arianne Zucker. She has been a breath of fresh air to the show. I’ll give props to Higley: I think the way Nicole has been reintroduced has been a work of genius. She was introduced with a mini-storyline of her own: she is trying to get a big divorce settlement from Victor. This serves the purpose of giving her her own point of view and a protagonist’s role (compared to, say, Chloe’s reappearance for the Salem High reunion—yawn), but doesn’t make the mistake of putting her at the heart of a major story that could alienate viewers resentful about screentime issues. This little mini-storyline has provided a convenient pretext for her to interact with Victor, Phillip, Chloe, Sami, EJ, John, and Ava, and establish her character as a snarky gold digger with a refreshing tendency to call people on their bullshit.

Now, we have started to see glimmers of vulnerability peeking through the persona. James Scott has that soap actor’s gift—the ability to bring out that little something extra from his co-stars. I noticed the first flash when Nicole told EJ no one had ever loved her unconditionally except her dog. Yesterday’s (6/2) drunk scenes were delightful, when Nicole was obviously enjoying getting EJ to spill his guts, but also seemed sympathetic to the schemer-in-love. She also displayed that vulnerability again when she pointed out that scheming for love had left her where she was: alone.

So, it looks like Nicole might soon be spun into her own storyline as a complication for EJami. I can only hope that doing so won’t take her away from her current role as the floating bad-girl truth teller. But if what has happened to Sami and Chelsea is any indication …

7 thoughts on “Float like a Butterfly

  1. Nicole has become my favorite character, partly because many of the characters we’re supposed to take seriously are just too badly written, but mostly because she’s been awesome with the truth-telling, she’s fun, and AZ has been doing such a fantastic job. Up until two days ago I wanted her to remain a “butterfly,” but having just watched Monday’s episode, I now want her to get a real story, with or without EJ–I could go either way on that one (I don’t care who they end up with as long as EJ/Sami/Lucas in any combination ends completely, oh, and as long as Nicole does not end up with Lucas.)

    I completely agree that Higley has done a great job with Nicole so far (which is why I’m a bit apprehensive at the idea of Nicole getting a bigger story, heh). It’s why I’m much more tolerant of the (many) things she’s doing badly–even though she’s contuing the ruination of my favorites that Hogan started, there’s now genuinely good stuff going on in other parts of the show.

  2. lascuba, you’re in my head again (except Philip is still my favorite character). Love Nicole? Check. Don’t want her with Lucas? Check. Want EJ, Sami and Lucas to all go their separate ways? Check. Fearful that if Nicole gets her own storyline she will be “redeemed” and lose her truth-telling abilities and thick skin? Check.

    AZ proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt the other day that she can pull off dramatic moments too. I thought she was so good with EJ, genuinely interested in what he was up to, thinking how she could use that to her advantage, pointing out the flaws in his reasoning (i.e., doesn’t he think Lucas also thinks he’s fated to be with Sami? Both can’t be right), and analyzing her own life and where her methods have gotten her, i.e., nowhere. (I do love her comic moments, too, my recent favorite being when Ava asked her if she was married to Victor and she wryly said, “That’s my hubby!”)

    A lot of people have said they don’t think AZ can do romantic or sexy, but I for one have never seen that, and it’s rare that she’s gotten the real opportunity (when I was watching) to show off what she could do in that regard. Even if that were true in the past, it may not be true now, and I think her chemistry with every man on the show she’s come in contact with has ranged from good (John) to intriguing (Philip) and smoking (EJ). I would love to see Nicole in a romantic/sexy storyline with any of the current young men EXCEPT Max and Lucas. I would be happy to pair her with EJ, Philip or Nick; any one of those three would work for me. Of course, if she could break up Chelsea and Daniel, even though I don’t wish Daniel on her, that would be ok too. . . .

  3. Thanks, SanDiegoinExile. I fixed it.

    I am worried that Nicole is being fated for Lucas! And though I want EJami, that is too high a price to pay, in my opinion. I am probably in the minority in that I loathe Dansea, but I like Daniel. So I am open to Nicole/Daniel. I like her with EJ, too, so that would be my second choice if EJami doesn’t work out.

    And yeah, I’m dreading the inevitable “Nicole is reformed by love” story.

  4. Paxton, Philip has definitely become my favorite male character by far. Not sure how that happened, since I couldn’t stand him during the tween years and his obsession with Belle and Claire prevented him from ever going beyond, “Eh, he’s ok.”

    MP, I don’t hate Daniel either. Right now the only thing that prevents me from truly liking him is the “surfer” lingo and the Chelsea thing. I’d have no problem seeing him chem-tested with Nicole. At the very least, we’d finally get someone calling him out on his ridiculous speech.

  5. Don’t scare me by saying Nicole is fated for Lucas. I can’t see how or why that would happen: why would he want a woman who married him strictly for money, cheated on him, and who he doesn’t like or trust? Granted, the Lumi history is toxic and that’s part of the eternal infernal EJ v. Lucas debate, that at least Sami and Lucas treated EACH OTHER like crap, not just one of them dishing it out as opposed to EJ. But still, I see nothing to suggest Lucas wouldn’t still have bitter feelings about Nicole.

    I just can’t take the thought of wasting Nicole on Lucas, yet again. That relationship would be utterly unbelievable to me.

  6. Don’t listen to me, Paxton, it’s probably just my paranoia talking. I’m at the point where I see so little value in having Lucas on the show at all, that I am racking my brain to figure out what they plan to do with him.

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