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Days of Our Lives Needs to Ditch Charlie and End the Problematic Rape Story ASAP — Plus, What’s Next for Ben?

days soapbox collage december 18

Jill Johnson/JPI

This week’s “big twist” wasn’t much of a surprise to most Days of Our Lives viewers, given that they’d been warily eyeing Charlie from the moment he first appeared. It did, however, create a heck of a quandary. In fact, we’ve got a few of those to discuss, including the no-win situation in which the show has put Ben. I have a feeling some of my opinions this week aren’t going to be too popular, so let’s just rip the bandage off and dive right in, shall we? 

Sorry, Charlie

I’ll say this for Tamara Braun and Mike Manning: The actors brought their A-games to the scenes in which the audience had their suspicions about the connection between Ava and Charlie confirmed. The dialogue was a bit wonky, largely due to the fact that the writers tried to drag out the reveal by avoiding having Charlie refer to her as Mom until the last possible moment. But overall, the scenes worked thanks to the intensity Braun and Manning delivered.

More: Meet Days star’s new real-life love

It was amusing to me that Charlie suddenly started sporting Clark Kent glasses a few days before his not-so-secret identity was revealed. But it also left me concerned about the next phase of this story… which is where the first of my as-advertised unpopular opinions comes into play. Because despite the fact that Charlie almost instantly became one of my favorite new characters upon his introduction, he’s now gotta go. 

Days charlie glasses JJ

“Do these glasses make me look smarter… and less sinister?”

I don’t care how adorable and appealing Charlie and Claire are — and make no mistake, they are. I don’t care how much I’ve enjoyed Manning’s performances — and make no mistake, I have. The fact of the matter is, Charlie is a rapist. There might be a temptation to salvage the character by sending him on a redemption arc, but it’s time for soaps to stop turning villains into anti-heroes. In 2020, perhaps more than ever, we need actual heroes.

Nope, Nope, Nope

Yes, yes, General Hospital‘s Luke Spencer was a rapist who went on to become one of the most iconic characters in daytime history. That was then, this is now. In the post-#MeToo era, it’s simply not acceptable for soaps to continue playing a trope they never should have trotted out in the first place.

I get the appeal of complicated characters. Good guys (and gals) who do bad things. But there are lines that, once crossed, can’t be uncrossed. There are a whole lotta General Hospital viewers who still won’t accept Franco and the whole “The tumor made me do it” defense. The Young and the Restless‘ Adam and Sharon may have killer chemistry (especially now that portrayers Mark Grossman and Sharon Case are an item), but for many viewers — myself included — the fact that he stole her newborn baby and allowed her to grieve that child’s “death” for months is a dealbreaker.

In what world could a woman ever fall for a guy who did that?

And please, don’t utter the words “It’s just a soap.” Because I also believe that argument to be in large part responsible for the genre’s overall ratings decline. Today’s audience — especially the elusive new viewers the networks desperately need to bring into the fold — want and expect more.

Rant over. At least on this topic.

Ben Needs A Hug; Any Volunteers?

Much like with Charlie, Days of Our Lives has a bit of a Ben problem. No, no, I’m not talking about the fact he’s a reformed serial killer (although feel free to see my previous screed on the whole anti-hero thing). In this case, the problem is that while sad, mopey Ben makes all of us want to hug him, he’s also… kind of a downer. A crazy-sexy downer but a downer nonetheless.

Robert Scott Wilson, Victoria Konefal"Days of our Lives" Set NBC Studios Burbank 02/3/19 © XJJohnson/jpistudios.com 310-657-9661 Episode # 13916 U.S.Airdate 08/13/20

“Ben, you can move on without getting dressed. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.”

Because the audience is fully convinced that Ciara is alive, they can’t even begin to conceive of him moving on. Instead, they’re simply waiting for her to return — whether played by Victoria Konefal (with whom we recently discussed all things #Cin) or a recast. So Ben needs to find a purpose. That’s not to say a new love interest — it’s clearly too soon for that — but something to do other than be sexy and sad.

Moving one half of a supercouple on when their partner exits is a challenge, to be sure. Harsh as it may sound, it would have been better had the soap just gone ahead and full-on killed Ciara rather than leave Ben (and viewers) in perpetual limbo. But the sooner he finds something to do other than grieve, the easier it will be for all of us to move on.

days ava kristen quote of the week JJ

Quote of the Week: “Just two gal pals out getting mani-pedis, stockpiling some weapons, kidnapping a few people and then mimosas!” — Sarah imagines Ava and Kristen’s weekend plans

Gwen’s Still At It

Gwen continued to be the smartest person on the canvas this week, easily manipulating people simply because they refuse to speak directly to one another. By not delivering a message and then whispering a few choice words in Chad’s ear, Gwen was able to once again stoke his jealousy. Similarly, she happened to be the one to answer the phone when Julie called on Jennifer’s behalf, thus managing to create more tension between Jack and his estranged wife.

I like that Kate and Jake’s secret affair is unintentionally causing problems in two relationships. Jennifer thinks Jack is sleeping with Kate, while Chad thinks Abby is sleeping with Jake. That’s right out of a classic Neil Simon farce, and I mean that in the best way possible.

That said, the fact that Chad is so easily convinced of his wife’s supposed infidelity is troubling. Does he really have that little faith in their marriage? Yes, it plays on the fact that she slept with one of his brothers and was raped by the other (a hot-button topic which sprung up this week anew). I’d buy Chad’s concern more if Gwen was also planting evidence that perhaps “Gabby” had returned. Chad fearing that his wife’s alter ego was “cheating” on him would feel more like a husband worried about his wife’s well-being than an insecure man letting his imagination get the better of him.

So what did you think of this week’s Salem-based action? Before swinging by the comment section to share your rants and raves, check out this gallery in which we count down the all-time best Days of Our Lives characters. Something tells me you’ll have an opinion as to who falls where on our list.

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