First thoughts on Ericole

I just finished watching Eric and Nicole’s whole story on YouTube.

(Well, as much as I could. There were some parts I couldn’t find. And, I admit, I skipped some of the elephant stuff. Forgive me if I get anything wrong here!)

The premise of the relationship is genius. These two have a history (when Eric was played by a different actor), and were each other’s first loves. He comes back to town when Nicole is at a low point — only now, he’s a priest. He is genuinely sweet to her when most people in town hate her guts. She gets a job at the church, and Eric ministers to his little lost lamb. She develops a crush on him.

As for how Eric feels for Nicole, that’s a little trickier. Here’s a scene where we start to see he is not as neutral and priestly as he wants to be:

What I love about them is the perfect marrying of opposites. Greg Vaughan’s Eric is intense, idealistic, and a little naive. Nicole is snarky, worldly, twice-divorced, and given to cleavage-baring outfits. (She’s also vulnerable and filled with self-hating doubts.) In heels, she’s a little taller than he is.

I read a comment on a message board recently that Eric is the “girl” in the relationship. This was not intended as a compliment, but this person was onto something. When they start to get together, former priest Eric tells Nicole he wants to follow the church’s teaching on premarital sex. (Her response, referring to their previous relationship:  “Aren’t we grandfathered in?”) This leads to some very sweet, very hot scenes where Nicole is trying to seduce him and he’s trying to protect his virtue:

(On a side note, Eric is the only soap character I’ve seen who sounds plausible saying “make love” instead of “have sex.” Last Friday is a perfect example:  “What about the fact that we almost made love?” I can’t imagine any other soap male making that sound so natural – and swoonworthy! – exactly what the character would say.)

In another scene, soon after the scene above, Nicole has just gotten very upset, and he tells her earnestly, “Sometimes, your emotions take me by surprise.” This made me laugh, and put me in mind of a Frank Kennedy timidly trying to handle his Scarlett O’Hara:

Sometimes Frank sighed, thinking he had caught a tropic bird, all flame and jewel color, when a wren would have served him just as well. In fact, much better.

(Of course, Eric is much hotter than Frank Kennedy, and I want him to keep his tropic bird, with all her flame and jewel color.)

So they had some good conflict going, with Eric and Nicole trying to navigate the difference between them, not only the sex issue but also not being able to marry in the church (those two divorces).  Naturally that was all too subtle for Days, and they had to blow them up over something much bigger – and stupider.

No, I take that back. This was actually a good time to blow them up and introduce a third party or two, when they were still working things out. Nicole’s shredding of the evidence that would reinstate him in the priesthood at least related to the issues they were navigating: Eric’s ambivalence about leaving the priesthood, and Nicole’s history of not trusting a man to love her. When Eric turned into Judgy McJudgerson, at first I could see it. Sometimes people who are intense and naive can become narrow-minded and judgmental. They didn’t execute it well – way too over the top, lasting far too long – but the idea of it could have worked.

But, those third parties – oy. It made no sense to put Nicole with Daniel – aka Judgy Judgerson, the second – after what just happened with Eric. As for Eric, instead of Serena, I think they should have given him his wren. Someone younger, sweet, virginal, a bit prim, and, above all, Catholic. She, unlike Nicole, would be fine waiting for sex until marriage. It’s what she’s always planned to do! Eric would walk her home and kiss her chastely on the cheek in front of her door, and on his way home run into Nicole for one of those “I hate you”/”I want to jump your bones” encounters. (The only thing they did right about the breakup.)

So, good girl versus bad girl. But, Eric would discover that the “bad” girl is a better match for him than the good one. But by the time he realizes it, she’s with someone else, someone who is the exact opposite of Eric. Someone laid-back, fun-loving, maybe a bit of an alpha male.

Then he has to win her back. Sigh. Could have been awesome.

They’ve still got a chance, of course, for the second half of this scenario.  I say cautiously — very cautiously — that I’m actually excited for this triangle with Daniel, with Nicole in the middle. They seem to be setting up Daniel as the “safe” choice, the person she thinks she should choose. She pretty much came out and said that today (7/7); that here’s a great guy (at least according to the show!) who loves her and is ready to commit. Why wouldn’t she jump at that?

(The other piece they should include, by the way, is why Nicole doesn’t trust that Eric could be that guy. I really wanted her to mention, in their discussion on Friday, that two weeks ago he was ready to move to Hawaii with Serena. That would suggest she thinks his profession of love — excuse me, “feelings” — was just the near-death experience talking.)

If they do it right, Eric will be the one fighting for her, eating his heart out that she’s with someone else. He does deserve it, after this past year.  And she’ll be resisting, insisting she’s happy with Daniel, but we see that if she could just admit it, Eric is the one she truly loves. And then, of course, plenty of soapy situations that keep throwing them together …

You’ve got a second chance, Days. Don’t screw it up again.

25 thoughts on “First thoughts on Ericole

  1. YES! That’s how to engage the viewers, keep secondary characters and leads interacting while moving the story line forward!!

    • I was so bummed there was no Nicole Eric interaction today. I’m fine with Daniel and Serena if they support the main love story. Thank goodness for the multiple flashbacks, lol.

      • I thought Daniel was now Jennifer’s great love since they had to kill Jack off to make it come true. What broke them up? Also, wanted to check if Stefano is still on? Wanted to be prepared for when Steve comes back. I’m Now watching the Benji sl. I haven’t really seen it since it first aired. Just saw the scene where Steve and Stefano meet for the first time. Steve is of course blustering that Stefano doesn’t scare he, I’m thinking he should considering what happens. Sorry MP to get off the topic of Nicole and Eric. I only know Eric as a little boy. Never saw when his character was on before or now. It seems maybe this might be worth watching.

  2. I honestly don’t know what broke up Daniel and Jennifer. I still can’t believe they brought Jack back and killed him AGAIN.

    Yes, Stefano is still on. His age is starting to show — but he’s still got the great booming voice.

  3. Jennifer and Daniel broke up because she didn’t trust him or something. Ironically, I think it had to do with the Eric/Nicole stuff. Daniel found out that Nicole shredded the evidence that would have proved Eric was drugged when Kristen raped him. Daniel told Jennifer, but I think he said he was giving Nicole a chance to come clean with Eric. Jen decided she couldn’t keep the secret and told Eric the truth. Daniel was mad because he felt that Jen didn’t trust him if she thought he would have kept that secret for Nicole. So, they split up. I never thought it would actually last, but I guess the writers had this storyline in mind.

    Back to Ericole. I totally agree that the writers have a second chance here and I’m praying they don’t screw it up again. When Eric and Nicole were working together in the rectory, every single one of my supercouple “feels” was activated and I was so enjoying the slow burn agony. This isn’t intended to be a direct comparison, but there were enough basic similarities with Steve and Kayla (only the genders are reversed) that I was in heaven. Then they screwed it up royally. I can only hope they learned their lesson and that, after a proper period of angsty Eric, Nicole trying to convince herself she doesn’t love Eric, and lots of eyesnogging, we’ll get a good reunion story. Not too soon, though. The angsty wait is always the best part. I just need to know that they are endgame and I really do think that’s the case.

    • That’s interesting about Daniel and Jennifer. It seems a trivial reason to break up, like you say, more like a bump in the road than a permanent breakup. But clearly this was the plan, so they needed Daniel for this.

      I agree that I think Ericole are endgame, that seems to be the setup (as long as the new writers don’t change things). I don’t want too quick of a reunion, either, like I said above Eric does need to eat his heart out a little. I just hope we just lots of interactions between them, lots of angsty eyesnogging, in the meantime. This plot of Eric and Serena to get Xander should give Nicole a chance to get in on the action too, I hope. And I’m sure Daniel wants to invite his good friend Eric over for dinner all the time.🙂

      • I also think the show was responding (far too late, but in light of the insanely-far-ahead production schedule, that’s how it goes) to the negative feedback about Daniel/Jennifer. And it seems like Melissa Reeves took a lower episode guarantee when she renegotiated her contract — notice how she went from being on 3-4 times a week to 1-2, and they keep having Jennifer take little trips out of town? — so maybe the stars just aligned to end that particular nightmare.

      • I have noticed Jennifer hasn’t been on as much. Her storyline is now just taking waaaay too strong of an interest in her children’s love lives. Such is the fate of a soap parent!

        The 4-5 month ahead thing is so crazy. They can’t change direction at all. I feel like Xander is turning out to be rather a popular character, and they got rid of him before we had a chance to really see him in action. As long as they don’t kill him off, I guess they could bring him back someday. What am I saying – even if they kill him off they can bring him back.🙂

    • Thanks Erica for the update on Danifer. I loved Shawn Christian as Mike Kasoff from AsThe World Turns back in the day. However, I never warmed up to him as Daniel. He just seemed to be such a womanizer to me. Always hooking up with his patients or patient’s relatives.

      I’m trying to get updated since Steve is coming back. I love MP’s posts on past and present storylines and characters. Please keep them coming.

      • I like Shawn Christian all right. I think he could be a good part of the canvas if they wrote him better. I agree he comes across as a womanizer (and a judgmental one), but no other characters on the show seem aware of that. Instead it’s all “Daniel’s such a great guy, a great doctor, a great friend.”

        That said, I am perfectly happy to have him be Mr. Simple in this story with Eric and Nicole.

  4. It’s slightly more complicated than that. Daniel DIDN’T tell Jennifer. She overheard Daniel and Nicole talking about what Nicole had done and why. And rather than reveal herself to them and do what she could to coax Nicole to tell Eric the truth, Jennifer went and ratted Nicole out to Eric (in, arguably, the worst possible way at the worst possible time, as he was waiting for Nicole to meet him so they could elope).

    Daniel was furious that Jen didn’t trust him to do the right thing where Nicole was concerned. She was jealous of Nicole’s friendship with Daniel and thought Nicole influenced him too much. Daniel felt that it showed a lack of faith in him on Jen’s part (which he was right about, but then, she wasn’t entirely wrong about him, either). And since it’s apparently against some sort of celestial law to question the trustworthiness of Daniel Jonas, he put himself and Jen on a pause, which he seemed completely fine with until she told him it was completely over, and then suddenly he was the injured party suffering nobly for his rebuffed love or somesuch thing.

    BTW, I have ALL the Ericole clips. Well,everything that’s out there. So if there’s one you’ve heard about but can’t find, let me know and I can upload to my YT page.

    • Thanks for that clarification, Paula! I knew that Jennifer was the one to tell Eric what Nicole had done with the evidence, but didn’t realize that was connected to Daniel and Jennifer’s breakup. Ugh.

      Actually, I just realized that the YT video I linked to in my post, the second one, just got taken down. I can’t find the scene anywhere else. So if you could upload it, that would be great! It’s the scene where Nicole tries to seduce Eric right before they go to Daniel and Jennifer’s party. March or April 2014, I think.

  5. Great post. It’s alarming to me how badly they fouled this couple up after a fantastic build in 2012-13. When Nicole started working at the rectory, she really felt primed for a redemption arc and a great love that was truly hers. They did an impressive job of creating a love story for her without sacrificing the edge in her character, and then… boom, it all went to hell. I *think* they might be aware of how awry it went, because this latest twist definitely feels like a reset back to that time. I hope they keep playing the added baggage of that, because as you indicate, it’s useful story-wise now.

    I love what you proposed for the quadrangle following Eric finding out that Nicole shredded the documents. If they hadn’t made him so bad/crazy, Vargas might’ve been useful as Nicole’s other guy during that time period.

    • Thanks! It’s amazing it was the same writers who wrote 2012-13 and 2014! Not only Eric and Nicole, but Sonny and Will too. They seem to be going in a better direction for Ericole, but Sonny and Will are still almost unwatchable.

      I like triangles best when they serve a purpose in a main love story, rather than someone being genuinely torn – that’s my supercouple era bias, I guess. Introducing a third who is a foil for the other point in the triangle often works really, really well. Especially in these “opposites attract” love stories, it can be useful to have someone around who is an easier choice just based on being more similar to the person in the middle.

      Oh, and I agree about Vargas!

      • TomSell were on SUCH a roll in that first year. Eric/Nicole, Sonny/Will/Gabi/Nick, and Brady/Kristen were very strong stories. I even liked how they spun that Nicole pregnancy into an interesting Nicole/Jennifer conflict (though I hated that Jack died and all the Dannifer crap that came spouting out afterward). But HOW was that the same regime that gave us… well, everything that’s happened since Sami and EJ left, at least? It just keeps getting worse and worse.

        I can enjoy both sorts of triangles, but I think the ones about a middle party genuinely being torn work best when the two choices essentially represent two sides of that character (which I guess is also a formula that works for the we-know-who’s-ending-up-together types of triangles). It has to very clearly be a story about the character caught in the middle, which means the writer needs to grasp fully who that person is, not just have him/her waffling based on plot machinations.

      • Agree that there has to be a reason for the one in the middle to be torn, and it should be something better than “He’s the father of my baby ( I think, but this is Salem!) and he loves me so I am going to grace him with my presence and halfhearted affection.” Grrr, that’s why Belle drove me mad!

        I like the way you put it – that in a more equal triangle, the two options should represent two sides of that character. That means the character needs to actually have sides.🙂

      • That’s why the Shelle/Phelle triangle never worked for me. Whatever the result, all it meant was “Who gets to win the grand prize of Belle limply cooing at him?” I didn’t get what either guy meant to her. Days FINALLY seems to be moving out of that very 50s-60s mentality that two people are obligated to be together just because they create a child. That was a viable plot device decades ago, but it’s not something you can hang a triangle on today (unless it’s a period piece, set in an incredibly conservative religious community, etc.). So at least we don’t have to pretend to buy THAT particular contrived premise anymore…

      • “Limply cooing” – heh.

        Shelle/Phelle was so painful to me. One of the first, best things Higley did was write off Shelle when she was HW last time. Wonder what her plan is for them now?

  6. OK I have to start watching Days again – I am enjoying reading these posts. I keep saying I am going to tape it to get ready for the 50th, but haven’t yet. I thought Nicole was hysterical (of course this is the first time I have ever seen her), but love how she says what she feels and is so sarcastic.

    • I’m watching mostly every day now, actually! Some parts are still really bad, but I am enjoying Ericole and Chad and Abby. I hope these are two couples that are still featured come fall.

      Nicole is a great character. I’ve always liked her. She is definitely snarky and sarcastic, and that’s a lot of fun. But Ari Zucker can really bring the angst too, so I always end up rooting for her even when she makes mistakes.

  7. I wish the writing and/or Jen Lilley could impart that same sort of rootability to Theresa, because there are strong elements of early Nicole in the character of Theresa. Of course, Nicole had a truly wretched, tragic past that created so many of her emotional issues. I have no idea what Theresa’s problem is – daddy was gone a lot and mommy spent too much time at work? Not exactly the same problem as “My father gave me drugs and made me do a porn movie.”

    Theresa’s just mean and entitled, and I don’t know why.

    • Yeah, they screwed up there. They could have done something with Kim’s mental illness to explain her upbringing, I think.

      I like Jen Lilley, at least I see potential in her. She’s got a lot of personality. And I would love to root for a Brady pairing, which I haven’t been able to do yet.

      I’ll be curious if the new writers do anything different with her.

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