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.

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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.

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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).

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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

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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

Second Day of Days

I spent the second day of my weekend in LA with my family doing tourist stuff, but then it was time for an evening with Stephen and Mary Beth! The event was a performance and fundraiser for a nonprofit group called One World Stage & Screen, which provides classes, coaching, and mentorship for young actors.

Mama P and I got there just in time to go into the theater. The performance was a short two-actor play called Annapurna, by Sharr White. I wasn’t familiar with it, but I did some googling and found that it has been performed all over, including a run in LA starring Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman.

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Thanks Liz for the photo!

It was a “dramatic reading” rather than a staged play, meaning Stephen and Mary Beth had their scripts throughout, and there were no props. Here is the plot: Emma (Mary Beth) comes to visit her poet ex-husband Ulysses (Stephen). She finds him living in poverty and squalor and dying of emphysema. Over the course of the play, we learn that Emma left Ulysses 20 years before, suddenly, in the middle of the night, taking their 5 year old son with her. She has just now left her second husband, a “nice” guy who has just beat her up, partly because she couldn’t get over Ulysses. We learn that Ulysses was a heavy drinker all through their marriage and afterwards (but has now given it up). The son, now 25, has just discovered that Ulysses was writing to him over the 20 years and plans to come see him. That’s why Emma is here. She also heard that he was dying, and wants to “see him out,” as she says. By the end of the play, we hear what drove her away that night 20 years ago, and we see that their bond has not broken in spite of it all.

The play was a good choice for Stephen and Mary Beth. Ulysses is dying, bitter, concealing old hurts, but still has a raffish charm. Emma is bitter too, blaming him for the past, and yet still drawn to him in spite of herself. I enjoyed the play on its own merits, and it was thrilling to see Stephen and Mary Beth live, working their magic, playing off of one another. However, my mind also drifted several times to Steve and Kayla, since there were some interesting parallels. First, since I feel that Kayla’s point of view gets short shrift these days, it was nice to see both of these characters able to express their hurt and bitterness. When Emma talked about being married to her “nice” second husband and how there were always three in the bed, made me think of Kayla’s marriage to Jack, and the way he snapped too. All in all, it was a Steve and Kayla story if Steve were a little less redeemable and Kayla a little more bitter.

It also made me think of how Steve and Kayla might have turned out if Steve had succeeded in pushing her away permanently, and they met again 20 years later. How would their lives have turned out? Would Kayla marry and have a (long-term) loveless marriage, and Steve slide into despair and self-destruction? I found that very intriguing to imagine as I watched this story unfold.

After the play, there was a reception. On the way there I saw Kate Mansi, on her way out. Later I also saw Christopher Sean. There were rumors that James Lastovic was going to be there, but I never saw him. At the reception we chatted with friends, including Erica and Lysie from Daytime Royalty, who pumped me for information on Greg’s event the day before. Then Erica discreetly pointed out that Matt Ashford was standing right behind me, talking to Mary Beth’s family. Like all actors, Matt looks super skinny in person, and he was wearing a suit jacket and pants with a t-shirt, and had a bulky fanny pack around his waist. It was a … unique look.

I was super excited to be so close to Matt, but I didn’t want to be an annoying intrusive fan and interrupt his conversation. Mama P had no such compunction, and she went over and grabbed him and said she wanted a picture of him with her daughter. (Thanks, Mama P!) Matt said, “Oh, why don’t we step over here?” and before I knew it I was on the red carpet with Matt and ten or more people were taking our picture.

Matt, trying to make small talk, asked me how I enjoyed the performance and I stammered something and said, “I’m sorry, I’m a little starstruck.” He laughed and put his arm around me and my mom took this picture. What a sweetheart!

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Afterwards I jumping up and down with excitement and everyone was teasing me about it. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to talk to or take a picture with Stephen and Mary Beth at the event (you could pay extra for a photo, and we didn’t spring for it). But I do have to say one of my most thrilling moments was right after I stepped away from Matt. Stephen spotted him and came up to give Matt a big hug. Seeing the Johnson brothers hugging might have been the highlight of the whole trip. I only wish I had been quick enough to take a picture.

The next day we were on the plane home. How soon til the next Day of Days??

EDIT: Jess, who was taking pictures for DR, just tweeted a few more pictures of Matt and Mama P and me. How did I not notice that Matt is wearing a James Joyce Ulysses shirt? Did he do that in honor of Stephen’s character? And just the fact that he owns a t-shirt for a classic novel seems so … Jack. Awesome.

 

Two days of Days

I’m back from an amazing two days in Los Angeles.

We had a late start on Saturday and headed over the CityWalk around ten. My friend Erica had warned us Friday night that Drake wasn’t going to be there this year, and Mama P was very, very sad about this. (The word was that he didn’t want to answer eight million questions about his injury, which I can understand.) So I let her pick the autograph line for the morning session, and she went for Galen, Kristian, Brandon, and Vivian. Kristian doesn’t usually come to Day of Days so this was a special treat. The line was long and Meredith Scott Lynn (Anne) came by and talked to fans, signed autographs, and posed for pictures while we were waiting. She told us it was her mom’s birthday and several people in line scolded her for not calling her. So she called her on FaceTime and the whole line sang to “Happy Birthday” to Meredith’s mom. When we got to the signing table Mama P and I got pictures with Brandon and Galen, but not Vivian or Kristian, which I think might mean we’re shallow. I have to say Galen and Brandon are both drop dead handsome in real life. Of course I’ve always thought they were handsome, but in real life it’s about 1000x more intense, and they both have such beautiful eyes. Sigh.

Kristian was looking gorgeous:

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This was her look when Mama P said she was sorry Hope was going to jail. She said, “Am I?” No idea what that means, but I’m passing it along.

We ran into some Twitter friends (and got a very, very cool Steve and Kayla-themed swag bag, including a Shenanigans t-shirt and mug! Thanks, Tamra!), and everyone was buzzing about the fact that Dena and Ryan Quan had been spotted wandering around. They didn’t seem to be engaging with anyone, just observing. We speculated they were paying attention to the length of the different autograph lines. I saw them in the afternoon and I smiled at them and tried very obviously to catch Dena’s eye, and she ignored me completely, so I don’t think they were hoping to be recognized.

In the afternoon we waited in Stephen and Mary Beth’s line, who were sitting at a table with Wally and Judi. This was a very, very long line, which I was delighted about for their sake (especially since Dena and Ryan walked by, all the way to the end of the line). It was by far the longest line in the afternoon session.

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Stephen and Mary Beth were beautiful as always, but I have to say Wally and Judi were just glowing. I love Judi’s hair like this! And Wally’s dimples must be seen to be believed. I asked them if it was significant that they were at a table together, rather than Judi being with Bryan Datillo. Of course they didn’t tell me, but Wally said there is lots of story coming up. I had them sign my Shenanigans t-shirt from my cool S&K swag bag, and Wally seemed really struck by it, and said he had very fond memories of Shenanigans. I didn’t talk to Stephen and Mary Beth much (Stephen was signing autographs and checking his phone at the same time, lol), but they posed for a picture with us.

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They showed a Day of Days video greeting from Ari Zucker and Missy Reeves. It didn’t say anything meaningful, just “Hello and keep watching,: but I was glad to see it after finding out Ari wouldn’t be at a signing table. I am guessing that Ari wasn’t there because of what happened with Trump and the Access Hollywood tape.

At the end of the day the cast assembled again on stage, and they brought out a few special guests: Vanessa Williams, Marci Miller, and … Greg Vaughan. Whee! Greg got a big round of applause. The cast took questions from the audience. Based on my experience this year and last year, these tend to be a bit strange. You can watch it on the Days Facebook page, but for me there was just one notable moment. Someone asked Vincent if Deimos and Nicole were getting back together, and he said yes (my heart stopped for a second, but turned out he meant with what just aired recently, not what they were shooting). He said the story will take a lot of twists and turns. At that point, Greg took the mike and said things weren’t going well for Nicole and Deimos so they had to bring him back. He was joking around, but I thought it was a very promising thing to say.

Then they showed the Day of Days promo, which I’m sure all of you have seen. I was not particularly impressed — a lot of it has already aired or already been spoiled, and it seemed to cover just the next few weeks. The promo last year was a lot more exciting.

After that, Mama and I had to run back to the hotel and jump in the car to race to the Greg Vaughan event.

There were about 25 people there. Greg took questions and talked for several hours. He told stories about his life and Queen Sugar, which he’s very excited to be a part of. Regarding Days, he said they had been trying to get him back for several months before he actually started, but he was busy with Queen Sugar. He said the calls started soon after his last episode aired, and his feeling was, “Hey, you had me.” But, they worked with his schedule and let him have input in the story and he feels really happy with how it’s gone so far. He is back long term, but Eric might have to be sent off for a couple months when Greg needs to film Queen Sugar (assuming the show is renewed again — can’t believe it’s been almost a year already!).

As for storyline hints, he said they brought him back because “Nicole needs a little spice in her life.” He said Eric comes back a changed man, and his story leads him to interact with almost everyone in the cast. He was really happy about that, because in his last run he loved aspects of it (like the challenge of playing a priest), but he felt he ended up too much “in a box.” He said his interactions with others are more on Eric’s terms now, almost to the point of Eric being “narcissistic.” He gained ten pounds and bulked up to play post-prison Eric, and has a shaggy beard. I asked if we got to see Eric in prison, and he said no, we see him right after he is out. He said he and the producers talked a lot about how Eric gets out so soon, since he was sentenced for five years — sounds like it will be a bigger story than just an early parole. After he said that, we asked if maybe Eric escaped, or if it turned out he wasn’t responsible for the accident after all.  At both of these suggestions he looked mysterious and said maybe, maybe not.

I asked about Ericole, and he said, “It’s a journey” (which cracked me up because he has used that line before). Someone else asked about Jennifer, and he said they do cross paths but “it’s not by choice.” He made it sound like they are at odds. He mentioned several times that there is a lot of hostility, certainly from Nicole, and possibly from other people too. A lot of intense, emotional scenes coming up. He talked about how quickly they have to film and how serious a work environment it is — except Ari and Eric Martsolf, who are always a blast to work with, they make him laugh.

He mentioned the Day of Days promo and how he asked to add a little clip to one of the stories in the promo, it would have fit perfectly. But the producers said it was going to far ahead.

He told a really funny story about how he went camping in the woods in Oregon and accidentally burned his face trying to light a hot tub that ran on firewood. He had to be rushed to the hospital, 150 miles away. He joked that when he gets injured it always seems to be in the face, and his mom says he needs to take better care of his “moneymaker.” Mama P shouted out that it obviously didn’t hurt his good looks, and he laughed and said that his skin peeled off and it was like the best chemical peel he ever had. He got back to the Days set, and Billy Flynn, who had heard about the accident, was appalled because “You burn your face off and you’re better looking than before!”
He said his eyelashes and eyebrows were singed off and he had to take pills to try to make them grow back faster! (Rogaine?)

Then he took us off in groups of 4 or 5 and posed for pictures, signed autographs and chatted with us.

Our group was first and I was first in line (I only knocked over a couple of old ladies, promise). He hugged me, and I told him I had heard he gave the best hugs. This was meant to be more of a compliment than a hint, but he seemed to take it as a challenge and wrapped his arms more tightly around me, in order to live up to his reputation. He ended up hugging me four different times! He was so sweet and attentive, I can’t begin to convey it, like he had all the time in the world and all he wanted to do was hang out with us. ❤ ❤

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Next time – Day two and Stephen and Mary Beth’s event!

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