Days of Our LivesSoapbox
Days of Our Lives Cranked Up the Romance and Drama While Teasing a Shocking Couple That Will Never Actually Happen
Image: Jill Johnson/JPI
Sometimes, all you want is for your soap to pump up the romance and give you an escape from the madness of the world. This week, Days of Our Lives did exactly that as couples risked it all to be together. Plus, it sure started to look an awful lot like someone in Salem might have a big old “Kill Me” sign taped to their back. Are we gearing up for a juicy murder mystery? And brace yourselves, because I’m gonna address a bit of inappropriate chemistry that will probably have some of you wanting to throw the cactus from a couple weeks back at my head! Read on as we talk about this week’s hottest plots… and at least one character who needs to learn when to keep his or her mouth shut!
Crime and (No) Punishment
I’d kinda sorta feel sorry for Melinda Trask if the idea of her being allowed to prosecute Kristen weren’t so absolutely ludicrous. Why ludicrous? Because Melinda has been pretty open about the fact that she blames Kristen for Haley’s death, which would give any attorney grounds to have her removed because of the massive conflict of interest. And why — aside from that — would I feel sorry for the D.A.? Because we all know that stabbing Victor is not the crime that will finally see Kristen punished. As has been pointed out by nearly everyone on the canvas, she’s done far worse things to pretty much everyone in Salem!
That said, Days of Our Lives somehow has managed to get some pretty strong material out of this situation. First, there’s poor, unlucky-in-love Brady who yet again finds himself tying his romantic fortunes to a woman who is nothing but trouble. (Lord, is this boy a glutton for punishment or what?) When the two of them talked about grabbing Rachel and hitting the road, we knew it wasn’t going to happen… and yet somehow, Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk roped us in by ramping the romance quotient up so high that we didn’t just believe they’d do it, we wanted them to — anything to be together!
Better still, the situation roped in Lani and Eli. Now, we all know that old trope that marriage is the kiss of death for a soap couple. But headwriter Ron Carlivati used Lani’s unconventional friendship with Kristen to create a believable wedge between Eli and his wife. Sure, you had to suspend a bit of disbelief to accept that Lani would be so devoted to her fellow almost-nun that she’d bend the rules to the point of breaking (and somehow blame her husband for not being willing to do the same). But by the time Eli was debating whether to bury the evidence proving Lani helped Kristen escape custody or risk having his twins born behind bars, we were all in.
When (Good) Girl Met (Bad) Boy
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Sarah and Xander work for me in the exact same way that their housemates Maggie and Victor do. This week, after Sarah found out that Xander had used Jan, of all people, in his plot to push co-CEO Philip out of the corporate picture, she uttered a simple line which really hit home, perhaps because of these complex times in which we live: “I need you to care passionately,” she said, “about being a decent person.”
Her next words simply but beautifully cut to the heart of why this type of story works. “I need you to know that if you do go back to your old ways — if you go back to being a man who lies or cheats or, for example, switches a mother’s baby with another one — I will not put up with it ever again!” she declared. “It will be over between us!” And therein lies the crux of the story: Can this man who has spent his life on the wrong side of the moral tracks truly change in order to hold on to the woman he loves? That, kids, is my idea of good soap opera.
Ready to Fling That Cactus? Here We Go!
I fully admit to being the type of viewer who is constantly looking at the chemistry between certain characters… whether it’s meant to be there or not. In my mind, every day is a new opportunity to spot a pairing you never even thought of before and speculate wildly about its potential. If you think soap writers don’t do this same thing, you haven’t read enough articles in which one will admit, “I never even considered the idea of the characters hooking up until I glanced up at the screen, saw a random scene and said, ‘Hmm… I want to see more of that!'”
But even I was stunned to find myself watching Hope and Ben’s scenes this week and thinking, “Gee, if they found proof that Ciara really is dead, I could totally see some grief sex taking place.” Now, we all know that with Kristian Alfonso set to leave the canvas in less than two weeks, that’s about as likely as me stepping in to play Ben should Robert Scott Wilson and his abs ever dare to leave the show. But I saw what I saw, and I said what I said, so… hurl those potted plants at will.
Murder, He Wrote?
Speaking of things I watch for when tuning in to my favorite soaps, I tend to see whodunits lurking behind every corner. I suspect this comes from years of watching my all-time favorite soap, The Edge of Night, where murder plots were more common than weddings. But danged if this week, I didn’t find myself channeling Whoopi Goldberg and saying, “Jan… you in danger girl!” When I turned to my best friend and co-worker Charlie with my theory, he didn’t — as he so often does — laugh it off. In fact, he took my random thought and ran with it in a way that would make any conspiracy theorist proud. Think we’re crazy? Read this story and then tell me Jan shouldn’t consider buying a one-way ticket outta town before it’s too late!
Quote of the Week: “If I suggested we acquire the sun, you’d argue that there were far better sources of solar energy!” — Philip of his working relationship with Xander
• Anybody else think it’s time for Sheila to come back and save poor Abe from having nothing more to do than babysit Rachel? Heck, Lani is already trying to lock him in as the primary caregiver for her yet-to-be-born twins!
• For years, Days of Our Lives has been known as a show where people talk to themselves aloud… a lot. Like, way more than happens on other soaps. Sometimes, it’s simply done as one of my least favorite forms of exposition. But often, it’s used to create a mid-episode cliffhanger. “Uh-oh,” we’re meant to think, “did that person just overhear the wildly incriminating thing [insert character name here] just said?” The answer is almost inevitably no. Over the past week or so, that’s happened twice with Gwen. First, Jack and Jennifer walked in to find her expounding about her plot to destroy Abby. A few episodes later, the object of Gwen’s disdain walked into the same room to find her still muttering aloud about her own schemes. Gwen, as my mom used to say, “Use your inside voice.”
• I’m going to do something I rarely do here: I’m withholding judgment on the Tripp/Allie story until it can play out a bit more. I know that there are more than a few folks out there who are wary of the tale’s trajectory, given that Days of Our Lives has a sometimes troubling record when it comes to how stories about inappropriate sexual behavior are concerned. So let’s table this conversation until next week, when we’ll hopefully have a bit more clarity.
Until then, that’s my take on this week’s action in Salem. What was your favorite (and least favorite) moment of the week? Hit the comments to sound off! And make sure you don’t miss any of the spoilers, features, interviews or casting news that comes down next week by signing up for the free Soaps.com newsletter!