The Alamaniacs

Previous Jack and Jennifer post: Mock Wedding

Hi all, I’m back!  Not sure if anyone out there will still want to follow along with me, but here goes!

So much to catch up on, where to start?

Well, we’ve got a big umbrella story set in an (unnamed) European north African country  that apparently contains only one house and a population of, um, about three:  Lawrence Alamain and Lawrence’s dad Leopold, and a henchman named Gregory.    When our troupe of heroes arrives — Alice, Bo, Carly, Kayla, Shane, Jennifer, Jack, Julie — the population more than doubles.  Oh, and Frankie is there too, I mean … Francois von Leuschner.  Turns out he’s actually royalty, and Carly’s brother, and he was just pretending to be a street kid from Salem.   It’s best not to think about it too hard.  Just put the up the ever-useful Wall of Retcon and move on.

Umbrella stories are always fun, and one of the best things about watching these old storylines is watching Days pull out all the stops for one.  Check out this cool intro scene, where we see Lawrence’s mansion for the first time.  The music, the location shooting … it added so much to the show.  I love it.

The “Road to Hell,” indeed.  (And check out Alice coming along for the ride in disguise  — priceless!)

Plot-wise, I give the storyline a C-minus, especially after they get to Lawrence’s mansion.  There is a lot of ridiculousness, a lot of contrivance.  But, I’m pretty forgiving when it comes to the plots of these umbrella stories.  Yes, it’s a bonus if the plot is logical and organic to the characters’ issues.  But how often can that happen with a story involving so many people?  If they can weave in some interesting, atypical character interaction, some good romance, and some  angst, I’m happy.  In this story, we’ve got a major character’s death (Steve, sob!), problems and angst for a major couple (Jack/Jennifer) and adventure and buildup for a newer couple (Bo/Carly).  We’ve got them testing the waters for Shane/Kayla (close your eyes, S&K fans!), we’ve got fun veterans mixing it up with the younger crowd (Alice, Julie), and a delicious new villain.  All in all, very good.

So what about that new villain?  I never saw him back in the day, so this is my first encounter with Le Lawrence.  Rewinding a bit, here is an early scene of Lawrence in action:

Jack, Jennifer, Lawrence

This scene is a perfect example of the funny, zany adventure storyline — yet layered with emotion — that is Jack and Jennifer’s specialty.   Their banter is delightful as they argue about whether Jennifer will accept his help or not, especially her look when he says “How stupid do you think I am?”  (Hee.)  We also have a moment where a more serious emotion breaks through, when Jack grabs her and says what if she gets hurt or “worse” gets married?  What will he do then?  I love the look that Jennifer gives him, the frustration that he is showing this emotion now, after their breakup, and I love that she calls him on it.  Why couldn’t he say this to her when she “was” in love with him?

And even though I generally don’t care for the more slapstick-style humor, some of it here is pretty inspired, I admit:  Jack’s outfit, and his “Scandinavian dialect,” and Missy Reeves breaking character a little as she cracks up at it.  All wonderful, classic JnJ.

But in the middle of all this, we have Lawrence.  What makes him really terrific is how kind he seems for most of it, with just a slight undertone.  He is disarmingly sweet when he comments  on her “nervous gesture” and how he knows it so well … because he watched her way back when, and memorized every gesture.  Wait a minute, that’s not sweet, that’s a stalker.  And he sounds sooo reassuring when he says not to worry, the relationship won’t be consummated until their wedding night.   But right before he leaves, he says  “the kiss can wait … but not for long” (and the music suddenly kicks in, uh-oh) and the undertone becomes overtly ominous.  Very scary.

All this, of course, foreshadows the rape.  But for right now, what Lawrence, and Michael Sabatino, does is introduce a darker note.  This is not a comic villain.  That darker tone doesn’t always turn out to be good thing for Jack and Jennifer, as I’ll talk about later.   But here, I love the unexpectedness of it, how suddenly, the stakes are much higher, the danger more palpable.  That’s the mark of a good villain.

Of course, because Lawrence is young and handsome and this is Days, we know he will get reformed and paired off in the end. But we all know how that turns out …

Coming up:  some of those interesting character interactions I mentioned, including an outstanding Jack/Kayla scene!

Next Jack and Jennifer post: Apology

12 thoughts on “The Alamaniacs

    • Hi Jillanne thanks for coming by! The password protected posts aren’t real blog posts – just my cataloguing of events on my Dvds. I stopped doing it because I realized it was confusing people, but old ones are still there. Sorry about the confusion!

  1. Yay!! MP is back blogging!!

    I agree about Alamania – although I do think it’s supposed to be North African-ish, as opposed to Europe. Like you, I find the overall plot to be nothing special, but the character interactions and umbrella story make it work enough to be entertaining.

    Can’t wait for more from you.🙂

  2. Welcome back MP! I appreciate your dropping me an email to let me know the blog is active again. You’ve been missed!

    The Alamania storyline was one of my favorites from the latter days of the supercouple era, and showcased Jack and Jennifer at their peak as a couple. Yeah, there’s enough holes in the plot to fill all the cheese in Switzerland — but I don’t care. Adventure, romance, sinister villainy, disaster and heroic perseverence (I may argue in an upcoming post how this storyline represents Jack’s “heroic quest”) — DAYS just doesn’t do fun like this anymore!

  3. Thank you, Gary! Or should I still call you “GnuHopper”?🙂 You’re welcome for the email. Since you were so kind as to drop me a comment or two during my hiatus asking if I was ever coming back, I figured it was okay.

    I’m looking forward to hearing about your take on this as Jack’s heroic quest. Makes a lot of sense, and it goes back to that scene with Steve and Jack at Steve’s deathbed, when Jack was asking for his help and Steve was saying he could do it on his own. And now he has to …

  4. Ahh, nuts!! So… I’ve read everything??
    Time to start rereading! I love your blogs, you should write a story or more!!
    Thank you! !!

  5. So glad to see you posting again, MP! Yes, there are times when a well executed, tight plot is a thing of beauty, but generally for me (especially with soap opera), it’s not about the plot. I’ll be happy if I get human characters I can care about with some emotion I can believe, good dialogue, and some working through interesting relationships. Changing Frankie’s identity was lame, and I think they could have found a way to bring him in without doing so, but yeah, whatever. That’s the sort of soap stupidity I can deal with. Just don’t make people act out of character. Yeah, Alamania doesn’t seem European to me either, though when DAYS recently made the bizarre decision to send characters who had never had much at all to do with Alamania there (and called it Alamania, though that was never the actual name of the place), I guess they placed it in Europe, and it didn’t look at all like it had.

    • Ha, I can’t believe they called it Alamania on the show! Originally it was an ad lib by Matt, wasn’t it?–but just an aside, a sly reference to how the country had no name. Not intended to be serious.

      As Erica points out above, it seems the original intent was north Africa. There is a reference in the scenes from the embassy ball to the “Desert Fox” and the attempt by Hitler to conquer Egypt.

      • I think you’re probably right about Matt calling it Alamania as a joke. I think I remember Julie calling it Lawrenceland.

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