Christmas cheer

Maybe it’s the Christmas spirit. Maybe it’s that Steve and Kayla are happy, and I’m looking forward to Greg’s return. Maybe I’m just beaten down at this point. Whatever it is, I don’t think the show is any better, but I’ve been enjoying it more.

Depth, consistency, characterization, slow burn romance … we’ll never get these things with Dena, but occasionally she will hit on a soap plot that has a interlocking geometry to it that is satisfying. The first babyswitch story was like that, and this new one is starting to shape up and cohere a little bit.

I always wanted to like the story, because it’s the one that Eric will probably be involved in, and I’m still hoping Eric will somehow turn out to be the father.  But I also appreciate how much the show is focusing on Chloe and Nicole’s friendship. Female friendships aren’t often the focus on soaps, so this is refreshing.

nicolechloe

Some of the dialogue today was genuinely cute and clever, like when Chloe said ruefully she hoped this time she could have her baby in a hospital, and when Nicole reassured her that she’s done this before, delivering Grace is what started her on her fabulous babyswitching career.

I actually teared up a little when Nicole held her baby. I’m delighted that the baby is a girl, and I’m even more delighted that Nicole didn’t name the baby Danielle, or Danipalooza, or whatever.

nicoleholly

Now that I feel more (cautiously) hopeful that Deimos and Nicole aren’t going to be the rooting couple, I’ve even been enjoying Deimos again. His blase attitude with Brady regarding Phillip was kind of amusing: “yeah, I kidnapped Phillip and drugged him, what?” I could get on board with this characterization of Deimos: he genuinely cares for (some) people, but if you’re not one of those people, he’ll squash you like a bug if it helps him reach his goals.

Still, it’s annoying that no one calls him on it for more than a minute or two, so I really enjoyed Phillip’s parting rant, which also included Victor (another character who never gets called on anything).

deimosphillip

Phillip’s sendoff was actually good. It was a little abrupt, but his scenes with Chloe, the Kiriakises, and Kate actually hit some emotional beats. I really liked John Paul Lavoisier. I love Jay Kenneth Johnson, but John Paul fit well in the role. I can’t figure out why they got rid of him just when they finally got him away from Belle and gave him something more interesting to do. (And yet we keep Dario and Deimos …) I suspect the departure of Jen Lilley had something to do with it — Brady is at loose ends now, and I think they might try pairing him with Chloe. But they definitely left the door wide open for Phillip’s return, and if Jay Kenneth Johnson isn’t interested, I would welcome John Paul back with open arms.

Screencaps Joanie

Double D

Sorry for my long silence. I was in Chicago for work, and it took me awhile to catch up. I actually like watching a bunch of shows in a row — I have an excuse to fast-forward.

Oh, man, that’s sad, isn’t it?

Here’s another thing that’s sad:  Steve and Kayla have had one love scene in two years, but Deimos and Nicole are having a “bed-in”:

screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-3-41-09-pm

As close as I’m getting to posting a picture of Nicole and Deimos in bed together.

I can’t for the life of me figure out how Eric is going to factor into this. Is he just going to be a wrinkle on the path to true love that is Nicole and Deimos? I thought that Deimos was going to be written as more of a villain, and that doesn’t seem to be the case. Everyone is falling over themselves to make excuses for him, he’s supposedly helping Hope because he feels “bad” about killing Bo (ugh, don’t even get me started), and his snooping around about Chloe’s baby is being presented semi-sympathetically, because he’s doing it for Nicole’s sake.

Oh, and then Daniel swooped in from heaven above to bestow his blessing on Deimos. It’s bad enough that Deimos is the new Daniel, but now the two of them are double teaming us. I keep thinking it can’t get worse, but Dena always manages to plumb new depths.

On a brighter note, even though Steve and Kayla don’t have a story going on right now, Days is being generous with adorable scenes like this:

screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-4-06-17-pm

I loved the banter about how many times they’ve gotten married, and the album and invitation were perfect:

screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-4-30-26-pm

A stethoscope in the form of a heart, wearing a patch. Insanely cute. ❤

screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-4-22-32-pm

Good work, props department. Looking forward to Valentine’s Day!

Screenshots Joanie and Luckynthestrong

Nouveau Deveraux

Technically, that should be “nouvelle,” but that didn’t rhyme.

abbyjen2

(Look at that picture of Jack! Jack, who I met last weekend!!!)

I was quite favorably impressed with Marci Miller as the new Abby. I thought her scenes with Jen were very good. She connected very naturally with Jen and they gave off a nice mother/daughter vibe. She also really sold the whole “I faked my death so you could all move on” thing — not the easiest sell for one of your first scenes. And, family resemblance isn’t everything (see Brady, Ciara), but Marci’s striking resemblance to Melissa Reeves is a nice bonus.

She’s also got the “blink and let one tear fall down your cheek” thing down pat — always a good skill for a soap actress!

abbyjen

The big test will be seeing her with Chad.  They seem to be banking a lot on nuChabby, based on the general buzz, the frequent behind-the-scenes photos, and the constant cutesy tweeting between Billy and Marci. I worried that it was all being built up too much, because for me anyway, I won’t automatically ship a couple I like if there’s a recast — quite the opposite, actually.  Now, I’m not a Chabby shipper per se — I like them, but I was open to seeing Chad paired with someone else. I didn’t want to see Billy Flynn wasted just because Kate Mansi left the show. At any rate, I’m excited to see how it plays out.

Seeing Steve and Adrienne together is always something special, and this was a particularly good scene:

adriennesteve

I loved the banter about “the blues” being her “something blue” and Steve saying he was the “something old” and Adrienne cracking up and saying “at least you didn’t say me!” Such a cute sibilng vibe to these scenes.

At the (pitifully attended) wedding itself, the highlight for me was Steve and Kayla making googoo eyes at each other:

stevekaylaadriennewedding2

stevekaylaadriennewedding

I was on board for Justin’s big entrance, because it’s so soapy, but this is the kind of thing that calls for more than a couple of scenes (not even episodes) of preparation. I heard there was a cut scene where Adrienne was talking about the wedding and accidentally said Justin’s name instead of Lucas. That seems like a scene we should have seen, don’t you think? And a better writer would also have made more of Sonny being torn between encouraging his father to interrupt the wedding and the fact that he’s Lucas’s best man, his former father-in-law, and Lucas has endured so much loss in his life recently (as has Sonny). But instead it was just “Oh, by the way, Dad, you should totes interrupt the wedding.

Then there was Theresa’s exit this week. I actually have been drawn into this little arc against my will.

thrady5

I was so annoyed at the whole Mateo retcon, and I still don’t believe in a million years that Shane and Kim would help Theresa leave her son and go off with a dangerous man, no matter how powerful he was. But, I must admit it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a decent “I have to pretend to be a horrible person” storyline (a story which can be good soapy angst if done well), and this one actually gave Jen Lilley and Eric Martsolf some surprisingly good material to work with. I haven’t liked Thrady that much since Theresa’s redemption. But they had an interesting dynamic when Theresa was bad and Brady was a drug addict, and the angst they got to play this week reminded me of when I liked them.

And, I’m glad they gave a little hint that Shane might have another plan in mind, and he’s not letting Theresa go off with Mateo after all, in his last scene on Friday.

jeannieshane

Now can we get some scenes with Kim and Shane with Kayla and the rest of the cast, pretty please?

Screencaps Joanie

Suddenly I love you

I know I keep harping on Dena and her faults, but another one of her faults is how quickly people fall in (and out) of love. Last week Phillip announced he’s in love with Chloe. Okay. That was fast. And this week Sonny told Justin that he knows Justin still in love with Adrienne. That one makes more sense, but I would have liked more than two scenes and a couple of jealous glances from Justin before moving straight to “love.”

Sigh.

But of course the highlight of the week was Steve’s proposal. I really needed this. Their reunion happened fast (as I’ve complained about before), and it would have been nice to see some fallout from the whole “Orpheus locked Kayla in a coffin and set it on fire” thing — apparently everyone has forgotten about that — but this was very, very wonderful:

stevekaylaproposal

The dialogue was forgettable (“You’re sweet … that’s why I call you Sweetness”) but Stephen and Mary Beth delivered it with so much depth of feeling. And it was nice to see Steve’s uncertainty about Kayla’s answer.

And it was great to see them get a love scene, with an actual bed! Note the yellow roses in the background:

stevekaylalovesceneroses

And since I complained about this last time, I will give full props to the show for showing Steve setting all this up and wooing her so sweetly. I’ve been wanting to see that.

I’m off to Day of Days tomorrow! I’ll be posting some pics on Twitter over the weekend, and of course I’ll do a full write-up when I get back!

Screencaps Joanie

Sweeten the pill

DENA: Guess what? Steve and Kayla are getting back together!

ME: Yay!

DENA: But I’m going to do it in a way that you hate.

ME: Impossible!

ME: …

ME: Oh.

Dena truly is the monkey’s paw. It wasn’t just that Steve and Kayla got back together so fast. I expected that. It wasn’t that their issues were presented superficially. I expected that too.

It was that she seemed to be going out of her way to thumb her nose at Kayla fans who were worried about how she would write for Kayla. This is “I’ve finally accepted who he is” times one hundred. So many things! Marlena says it’s nice to see Steve happy again. (What about Kayla? Who cares!) Kayla says she wants Steve to go back to Blackpatch — she realized Steve shouldn’t give up her job for her. (She said that at the time!) She says she talks too much (wtf?) and they should try it Steve’s way (not talking, I guess).  Steve doesn’t have to go to therapy — she’s all done with that silliness. He just needs to watch sports … while she fetches his pipe and slippers, presumably.

I did like some of the dialogue. I liked that Kayla, when she mentioned he quit his job, said that danger came to them anyway. I am truly not against the idea that Kayla would or could come to the realization that you can’t banish danger from your life. I just feel that Steve should have come to a realization or two himself regarding playing God, regarding the cost of his decisions on other people, namely Kayla … and maybe have done some more heavy lifting in their reconciliation. (Couldn’t he have set up this romantic dinner?) I also liked when Steve insisted he was going to go to therapy, because he doesn’t want to screw this up again.

The sad thing is, I think this was Dena trying to write them talking about their issues. And according to some people, she’s not wrong. So what do I know?

Okay, so that’s the pill. But the she did sweeten it, and it was very, very, very sweet. I really loved the opening scenes, the fab four sitting around, reflecting on what just happened. It was refreshing to see everyone smiling, and Kayla teasing John and Marlena about their wedding date.

stevekaylacheekkiss

And no more headscarf! I love her hair like this.

Setting up their romantic dinner on the pier was absolutely perfect. I have so many fond memories of Steve and Kayla on that pier. I think the only thing that would have pegged my squee-meter more is the loft … or maybe the loft roof. 😀 I actually squealed when Steve called Kayla his “Lady in Red.” Nice use of history, Days! As always, Stephen and Mary Beth did so much with their eyes and their body language, showing how much these two love each other and enjoy each other.

kaylatoast

stevebeer

Watching them dance was so lovely. Days doesn’t do these romantic scenes as much as they used to, so we have to enjoy them when we can. And Steve was always a big romantic at heart, and I love to see that side of him. (Another reason why it would have been much better if he had set this up *cough*).

I’ll leave you with this. My awesome friend Liz clipped that beautiful dance, with one notable improvement. Check it out:

I’m melllllllting. 🙂

Screencaps LizK ❤ SnK

Salem strikes back

The adventure continues …

stevekaylassummit

Lots of fun scenes with our Fab Four. I love that the Salemites are working together in an active plan to strike back at the three villains. Marlena the profiler was particularly fun to watch. She also had a great moment with Deimos and Nicole, when Deimos was loudly (and obnoxiously) insisting Nicole not be involved. “You’re a very intuitive man, Deimos…” I gotta say, not one does shade like Dee.

I’m still baffled as to what is supposed to be going on with Nicole and Deimos. I keep waiting for a sure signal that he is a villain in this, and that their relationship isn’t something we’re supposed to be rooting for. I don’t get the sense that it is, but I don’t get the sense that it isn’t either. I mean, to me he comes across to me as condescending, overbearing, and controlling … but I guess I don’t have quite enough faith in Dena’s feminist bona fides to think that this is deliberate. Sigh. It would be nice to enjoy Nicole again. Right now, she’s coming across as a weak, easily manipulated mess. And what’s with all the making out on the couch? Make it stop.

I remember from her previous run that Dena’s Days can be difficult to blog about, because sometimes it feels like cotton candy — it can be fun to watch, but there’s no there there. But the Sonny/Paul/Chad scenes were a nice exception today. The conflict between Sonny and Chad was introduced too quickly and is now being resolved too quickly, but Sonny and Chad’s argument and subsequent hug was still fun to watch. I like it when Days focuses on friendships.

chonny

And I thought the conversation with Paul afterwards was very well done, when Paul apologized for his role in breaking up Will and Sonny and said maybe, if that hadn’t happened, Will wouldn’t have died. Sonny’s pain at Will’s death is obviously still fresh, but he is drawn to Paul all the same, and Freddie and Christopher Sean played that tension really nicely. I also think it is refreshing — after Will was the focus of the WilSon, at least the part I saw — to have Sonny be the one pursued. And Freddie was looking sharp in his Elvis pompadour and black leather jacket.

And to think I used to laugh at people who asked for more screen time for babies …

chadbabythomas

Get that kid a daytime Emmy.

Screencaps Joanie

Happy now

So I start my work vacation with the awesome news that Greg Vaughan is returning to Days!

gregtamara

Here’s a recent picture from Tamara Braun’s instagram that set off some speculation that he was back. “He shaved his beard! He looks like Eric again!” I try not to get my hopes up with vague things like that, but in this case it turns out the speculators were right! He is already filming and will be airing on January 17. Early release for good behavior? Can’t wait to find out!

(Eeeeee! Isn’t he beautiful!)

Anyway, I promised I would post about last week’s Days. I was excited to have Steve and Kayla the focus of the action of the three villains. Steve was in fine form, talking fast and cracking one liners and outsmarting the bad guys.

orpheussteve

I was not as thrilled with Kayla being bound and gagged and having almost no dialogue. It actually perfectly symbolized my fear of how Dena writes for Steve and Kayla: Steve being the center of attention, and Kayla a bystander, sidelined by injury. Last run it was a problem pregnancy, this time recovery from brain surgery. Also, the staging, or rather, not staging — of the climactic moment was bizarre, to say the least. We didn’t even see the shot that downed Steve. And Kayla told Steve that Orpheus said he was leaving her with Steve’s corpse like he was left with his wife’s. There is no way that chilling line should not have played on our screens.

But I will remain hopeful for better things. It’s been too long since Hope and Kayla have shared a scene, and I really enjoyed that. And Kim even sent a cactus. (That Hope didn’t seem to think much of. Hee.) With Joey being the one kidnapped (rather than Kayla), it will hopefully give Kayla a role to play in his rescue. And of course a chance for them to bond as they are doing so, and for the danger to bring them closer together.

stevekaylaaftermath

But imagine being Orpheus and carrying off Joey as your prize! That doesn’t make sense. I am a little disappointed that we are getting so little of the villain’s motivations. Orpheus’s reasoning and backstory especially should be explained. Their villainy, and their cooperation, is sketchily drawn at best. “We hate everyone in Salem.” Yes, and? It reminds of Andre/Tony’s reasoning for creating Melaswen. “He’s an enemy of love.”

Okay, it’s not that bad. But a little something more than what we’ve gotten would be nice.

I haven’t talked about Chloe/Deimos/Nicole/Phillip because I find Deimos and Nicole to be a complete headscratcher of a pairing. As a writer, why would you ship off Nicole’s two love interests (my Ericole love is well known, but even Danicole had fans) and pair her with a random new character? Let alone one who kidnapped and tortured Bo. I have nothing against Vincent Irizzarry — I like him, even still! — but Deimos is a train wreck of a character. He’s bad! He’s good! Everyone in town is in love with him! He’s the new patriarch of Salem! He gets more airtime than anyone else! Any one of those things would be enough to earn him with enmity of viewers, and he’s all of them. It pains me not to enjoy watching Nicole, who I have always loved. But between her constant references to Daniel THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE YES WE GET IT and this pairing, I’m hard pressed not to fast forward her scenes.

(But let’s hope Greg’s return changes this! Wheeee!)

But I have to say I kind of like Phillip and Chloe.

phillipchloe

I like the actor who plays Phillip — I know not everyone does — and I am enjoying seeing him get a little bit more airtime (and interacting with someone besides Belle). He was funny joking about Salem being the paternity test switching capital of the world, and the one liner about getting Caroline to do it was hilarious — since she was the one who switched Parker’s test results. More paternity test shenanigans has me rolling my eyes, but I will grudgingly admit it’s a bit of a twist to have the couple involved being the one wanting to switch the results … or however this plays out.

Screenshots Forever_SAFE and LizK ❤ SnK