Bye Bye Baby

I was totally caught off guard when Jade had a miscarriage — it’s not where I thought the story was going.

I thought the miscarriage scenes themselves were quite good. Stephen and Mary Beth were excellent as always, and I thought James Lastovic did well also.

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The actress who plays Jade is hit-or-miss, but she was effective in those scenes, mourning the loss of her child and alternating turning to Joey for comfort and lashing out at him because he didn’t want the child in the first place.

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From the beginning, the only thing that was working for me this story was how it was affecting Steve and Kayla, and thinking about them being grandparents. All the other supercouples have at least one grandkid, now it was going to be Steve and Kayla’s turn! But it did nothing for me regarding Joey or Jade.

Let’s think of how this story has evolved so far:

  1. Joey decides to break up with Jade
  2. After we haven’t seen her for weeks, Jade suddenly turns up and tells him she’s pregnant. She holds it over his head like a sword, plays the victim.
  3. Joey says he’ll drop out of college, get a job, support her. His friends and family are wary and suspicious.
  4. Jade smirks and taunts everyone at Thanksgiving about her pregnancy
  5. Her dad throws her out of the house. Joey, Steve, Kayla ask her to move in
  6. Suddenly she softens, is glad to be part of a family, helps out at the pub, talks lovingly about her baby

This isn’t a unbelievable trajectory, that someone could change because of prospective motherhood, and from the kindness Joey, Steve, and Kayla showed her. But the way it played out there was no explanation for the change, or even much of an acknowledgment that there was a change.

As for Joey, I said before that this baby story would have been so much better if we saw him giving up something that actually mattered to him. If he had been in school pursuing his dream of being a doctor, or something (anything!), and he had to give that up, that would have been much sharper and more effective. As it was, he was giving up … nothing. He was living at home, going to school because his parents thought it was a good idea. Who cares if he loses that?

So, given all this, I am a little more intrigued by this story now that Jade has lost the baby. Maybe it will force Joey to evaluate his life, think about what he wants to do, and pursue it. And, even though I would be happy never to hear the name Ava ever again, I actually kind of appreciate his paranoia that losing this baby was punishment for killing Ava, because it makes the story more specific to Joey himself. I still wish from the bottom of my heart that this plot point hadn’t happened (at least not the way it played out — if he killed her in self defense, that would be different), but since it did, I’d rather they show ramifications from it.

I really have no idea how this is going to play out. As I said above, I hope it makes Joey step up and decide what he wants to do with his life. He could turn dark from this, but I kind of don’t see that happening. We already had angry Joey, so I hope we see grown-up Joey now (also, Joey with a haircut!) As for Jade, I could see her also deciding to turn her life around, but if anyone turns to the dark side, it will probably be her. I could see her lashing out at Joey, as she already has for not really wanting to baby, and also at his parents for the same reason. Her dad has already thrown her out, if she rejects Joey and his family too, it could get bad for her …

… just in time for a certain other angry teen to hit town?

Screencaps Joanie

Merry Christmas

I enjoyed the Christmas episodes last week. The Horton ornament hanging always brings tears to my eyes. I read a post from Jason47 a few years ago about how delicate and precious these ornaments are in real life, packed away carefully by the props department each year, and only brought out for the filming itself. I got the impression that everyone, every actor, director, producer, and crew member holds their breath as they are hung on the tree, especially the ornaments for Tom, Alice, Mickey, Laura, etc … all the old ornaments that are older than some of the cast members!  After reading that I find the ornaments ceremony even more touching, if that’s possible!

I also thoroughly enjoyed the Steve and Kayla comedy hour on Friday.

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I loved how Stephen and Mary Beth played the scenes slightly cockeyed, like Steve and Kayla had already gotten into the eggnog. The banter with Roman about the fruitcake was cute, but it was nothing compared to Kayla’s “gift” for Steve that she’s been taking harmonica lessons, and her demonstration of her skills with “Jingle Bells.” Stephen’s deadpan response was perfect, when she told him enthusiastically that now she can play for him all the time.

And of course, there were these outfits:

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Look at that red patch! I laughed out loud at Ari’s line, “I didn’t know Santa Claus was a pirate!” It was all so, so much fun.

And surprisingly, I was really blown away by the Chabby scenes. I haven’t been as down on Abby’s return as some people have. I certainly can’t say it’s been well written — Abby’s been all over the place and none of her “plans” about staying dead — such as they were — really made any sense. But I like it when things are stretched out and they make us wait, because that’s something that they don’t do enough anymore. The anticipation of Chad finally seeing Abby was heightened through the long wait, and it was nice to see that pay off in a big way (payoffs — remember those?).

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I particularly liked Chad’s mixture of emotions, part elation that she was back, part fury that she ever left. That carried through nicely through today’s episode, when he defended Gabi after Abby lashed out at her. but also seemed close to taking her in his arms a couple of times. I’m gratified to see that Billy and Marci seem to have a more intense, emotional chemistry, which contrasts nicely with the friendly, bantery chemistry he has with Camila. I’m leery of how this triangle will play out, but so far, so good.

I would say overall Thursday and Friday were a perfect pair of Christmas episodes. A wonderful blend of family bonding, humor, angst, and heartbreak. I can’t remember a pair of episodes I’ve enjoyed more. Today’s show wasn’t quite as good — too much Hope and the teens, which are the weaker stories — but it was great to see Charles Shaughnessy back, this time with the vets.

And how poignant was it to hear him say, considering Joe’s recent death, that Stefano might be alive? If only, if only. 😥

Screencaps Joanie and LizK

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”:

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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:

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

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

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

Screenshots Joanie and Luckynthestrong

Not another one

Someone sure loves baby stories, doesn’t she?

I really hope that Jade is lying about the baby, or there is some other twist so that Joey doesn’t end up a father before his twentieth birthday. I like James Lastovic but Joey has been written as such a dim bulb. If there was some career he was preparing for, something he was dreaming of doing, and this baby was forcing him to give up that dream, I might be able to muster up more interest. But he’s going to college (under protest), living at home, and not working. Steve is proud of him for “stepping up” but how is he stepping up? Offering Jade a place to live in a place he’s not paying for?

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There’s also the fact that he’s a murderer. I could maybe forgive that, but I can never forgive this hair:

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I will take the ring to Mordor, only I do not know the way.

Also, Jade’s smugness, and her taunting, about the baby at Thanksgiving drained any sympathy I had for the character (and I did have some). If she’s going to treat her baby like a meal ticket, why should I see it any differently? Grrr. Someone help me out here.

I am theoretically intrigued by this Abby/Chad/Gabi triangle — I like all three characters. So far, though, the best thing about it is the homophonic couple names. Chabby vs. Chabi! They sound so alike? How can we choose?? Abby’s talk about staying dead had me shouting at the TV, “What about your son??” Also, the fact that her own brother is with Gabi should put a dent in her certainty that Chad has “moved on.”

On Friday, though, they addressed the Thomas issue a little by having Abby freak out at her inability to comfort him, which added fuel to the idea that Thomas might be better off without her too.

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In general, Abby’s hysteria on Friday made her decision to stay in hiding a lot more understandable. I liked that Jennifer mentioned her pill addiction and Chad’s doubt about her ability to take care of Thomas. (Though she left out the whole custody battle — I’d like to see Abby’s reaction to that!) And I was surprisingly moved by Jennifer’s sense of betrayal that Laura kept Abby hidden from her. In general, I’ve been enjoying the Deveraux/Horton family interactions. Let’s hope the love triangle gets a little more interesting.

As for Adrienne’s big decision, again the execution of the story leaves a lot to be desired. I loved Justin’s big entrance (even without the necessary buildup) because it was soapy, and Adrienne’s collapse was fun to watch for the same reason, but the writing is so thin in between these events that it is hard to care. “I love them both,” she says. But what does she see in Lucas? What does she see in Justin? What are the stakes? Three times she has been interrupted right before she announces who she has “chosen,” and sadly this is all the suspense we have been given. Again the pleasure is coming from the family/friend interactions. Wally Kurth and Bryan Datillo have obviously been having a lot of fun with their juvenile sparring. And then there’s Steve throwing shade at Justin:

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What a look! I love Steve in protective older brother mode.

Aaaaaand … how great was this scene:

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Awwww.

Screencaps Joanie

Nouveau Deveraux

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

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(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!

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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

Wrong

My worry all along about Dena, as a writer for Steve and Kayla, is how she would write for Kayla, or really all of the female characters. She doesn’t seem to know what to do for the “good” women. She seems to enjoy writing for bad girls, like Nicole in the babyswitch story, or Ava (gag) in her first run. But her supposed heroines are often bystanders, dupes, indecisively drawn to two or more men, or gone temporarily bad (like when Hope was taking sleeping pills that turned her into a nighttime mugger who tried to kill Bo  — remember that story?)

So far, in this run, it hasn’t been that bad. I have enjoyed how she has written for Marlena, showing her as a doctor, a profiler, and someone willing to go toe to toe with Orpheus. The writing for Kayla hasn’t been as good as that, but I have enjoyed the scenes with Kayla as a doctor, particularly the scenes with Abe. And I have enjoyed watching Steve and Kayla cooperating and working together since this whole business with Orpheus and the other villains began. I appreciated that Steve and Kayla’s reconciliation seemed to happening (somewhat) slowly, and I really liked when Kayla contrasted her optimism that Steve would rescue her when Orpheus kidnapped her in 1986, to how she feels now. Even if it wasn’t exactly accurate (she thought Steve had been killed in 1986), the larger point was a good one: her earlier faith and naivete has given way to a realistic awareness that things don’t, in fact, always work out for the best.

So, I was feeling a little cautious optimism. Then came this week.

First, I did enjoy the scenes where Kayla helped Steve evade the lockdown at the hospital so he could go after John.

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It was fun to see her arguing with the hospital administrator, and to see them cooperating for John’s sake. Stephen and Mary Beth always add a little extra something to their scenes. This time, I loved Steve’s look when Kayla asked him if he could make out on the fire escape: it seemed to say, do you know who you’re talking to? And then of course their kiss — the way she grabbed him was really lovely.

But then, when Kayla told Adrienne about what happened, Adrienne said “You couldn’t talk him out of it?” And Kayla’s response … “I’ve come to accept this is who he is.”

Is this Dena’s understanding of what their problems are? That Kayla can’t accept who Steve is? She even told him after he quit his job at Blackpatch that it wasn’t about him changing who he is — that would only lead to him resenting her for it. Instead it was whether she could live with the danger that he always seemed to attract. AND another issue, which they haven’t come close to addressing, is trust. Can she trust Steve not to keep her in the dark, not to play God with her life and Joey’s life. They’ve never properly addressed what happened in Africa that made him run off, nor have they really hashed out what happened with Ava. All the pain that Kayla has gone through, and she’s the one in the wrong? I said recently that I was worried that their issues were being boiled down to, “Does Kayla realize that Steve is, in fact, a hero?” And that seems to be exactly what has happened.

Grr.

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