Deconstructing DOOL: A slow week and Stefano’s payoff
Salem Shenanigans from July 13 – 17:
This is Matt, formerly of SOF’s “Matt’s Musings” filling in for Christine this week. Have no fear, she will return for the next installment of the blog. Many of the stories that dominated last week were pushed aside (until Friday). Not that I’m complaining about getting a bit of a break from Will, but, and I’m sorry to be a sourpuss, it felt like a filler week in many respects. There was a lot of a little happening slowly. The major plot development was Nicole packing up to move in with Daniel. And it felt a lot like watching someone pack. Rather than the flashbacks we’re usually treated to, we got a great deal of repetitive dialog.
Ending or going nowhere?
It must have been all that time Eric tried to remain placid as a priest, but now when the rage and frustration unfurl on his face, it’s like the earth splitting open. If Eric furrows his brow any more, it’s going to become identical to the waves of his sleek helmet head of hair. He and Nicole argued about his feelings all over town for several episodes. She tried to be blunt, which provided a nice contrast to the other repetitive argument she had all week…
Serena vs. Nicole.
While I generally have a soft spot for characters unleashing a few clever insults, this starts to wear down when – for days and days running – we’re given little else. I get that Nicole and Serena hate each other. Once and awhile it’s nice for a nasty quip. But whenever I see them, that’s all it is, stretched out for what feels like a long time. If people are going to spar verbally, it needs to ratchet up and have somewhere to go. But their fights don’t. They’re just blandly choreographed and repetitive. They even recycle each other’s insults (see below). Still, there were some nice bits. It’s good when someone calls Nicole out on being a lousy journalist. It’s even better when it’s someone who is as lousy at it as she is, like say Serena. Not content with just policing the world with her power as a tabloid reporter, Nicole proceeded to give Abe advice on how to do real police work. This was followed with some more irony as Serena proceeded to do what Nicole would do and attempted to record an incriminating conversation with Xander since the police can’t get any evidence. Now all they need to do is listen to an ethics lecture from Will and it will be perfect.
The otherworldly one.
Last week in Deconstructing DOOL, Christine joked about whether or not Ben was gaining physic abilities. There’s certainly something otherworldly about him. Why do I always feel like Ben is a contestant on a reality TV show like “The Bachelor” rather than a fully fledged fictional character?
Double J, Salem's apostate of skeeviness, continued trying to convince Paige to stay away from Kyle. This annoyed her. He tried convincing Kyle. This annoyed him and brought Paige back to get annoyed again. This was all meant to give psychological depth to his choice to go undercover and her desire for revenge. But it's another of those plotting devices that makes the story feel like a Road Runner cartoon done in extreme slow motion. You know what's coming: the payoff is in how fast it happens and happens again. But on "DOOL," there is no payoff and then there's no payoff again.
Wilma wipes out.
Eve sashayed around the Salem square dressed like she's going on a Flintstone's themed cruise. Her plan to drive Jenn over the edge by drugging her drink failed because the Horton is picky with her smoothies. Maybe she needs to get some revenge advice from the sadly underused Kate...
Taking out Master Tate's trash.
Theresa's plot to get rid of the nanny panned out pleasantly fast. I like that they placed so much attention on the fact that a diaper in the trash is the only material evidence for what has been happening in this story. Maybe all those drugs permanently warped his senses, but Brady couldn't tell milk from baby wee. It might be best not to try reading too much into that.
Besides the fake baby excrement and the pregnancy test left in the trash, one other plot point got dumped on the floor this week. Hope realized Dr. Dan wanted to marry Nic by knocking the ring box onto the floor. She thought Daniel was rushing. He'll have to if he wants to get wedding photos before he has to shave again.
And a little romance.
Aiden celebrated his anniversary with Hope in the week's only attempt at romance. They went pretty over the top with it, but it was still nice. I like them together, in spite of the fact that the writing for them has been mild at best and dull as dishwater at worst. But it was a nice bit of sorbet in a week that felt like three courses of oatmeal.
And some heartbreak.
Adrienne and Justin finalized their most recent divorce this week. It was sad and, though their scene was nice, their whole break up was one of the more unusually rushed plots. When you have that much emotional history to mine for gold, you have to wonder why the writers don't try harder.
The big reveal.
Stefano wants Chad to marry Abby so he can get his hands on a piece of Irish land she's set to inherit. What's on the land is a mystery to everyone in the world but Stefano. He must have followed a rainbow there or something. Does this mean we get to take another trip to the emerald isle and radically re-write the show's history? What do you think is under that land? Vote in Soaps.com's Days Poll: What's under Abby's future land?
The return of Philly K.
The big news for the week has been that Philip Kiriakis is coming back to Salem. "One Life to Live" alum John-Paul Lavoisier was selected as the recast. As numerous viewers have commented on the board, getting Jay Kenneth Johnson back would have been ideal. But beggars can't be choosers. Philip is exactly the kind of character the show needs to have back in the fold since he intersects so intimately with so many characters. Hopefully this isn't just another anniversary return that will fizzle out in the new year but a sign of where longer term storylines are headed.
This is just my daft opinion. We'd love to hear yours! Feel free to leave a comment below.
Best lines of the week:
Serena, "What superpower do you have Nicole? A gold medal in catfighting?"
Serena, "You are to journalists what Kim Kardashian is to thespians."
Nicole, "I can prove you're a medical journalist just like Paris Hilton is an actress."
Serena, "Your analogies are lamer than your reporting."
Kyle, "I promise nothing but non-skeevy fun."
Jenn, "Abigail knows how imperfect parents can be."
Photo credit: Howard Wise/JPI
- Matt Purvis