Days of Our LivesSoapbox

Soapbox

Days of Our Lives Played Huge Beats in Several Stories Without Actually Moving Stories Forward — Plus, Why the Charlie Problem Is Getting Worse

Days soapbox january 15

Jill Johnson/JPI

As this week’s episodes of Days of Our Lives played out, I had to glance at the calendar to make sure we weren’t already in February sweeps. But upon reflection, I realized that the show had pulled a pretty impressive sleight of hand by playing several very big moments — including the awesome Gwen/Abigail showdown — without actually giving us the payoffs we’ve been waiting for. Let’s take a closer look, shall we? 

Confession Is Good for the… Whoops, Too Late

The Gwen/Chad/Abigail stuff played out in a very predictable fashion… and in a weird way, I mean that as a compliment. Chad had a crisis of conscience and, after a conversation with Kate, realized that he had to tell Abby the truth before Gwen had a chance to. So of course, Gwen was doing exactly that back at the DiMera mansion.

Gwen consoles Abigail on Days of Our Lives

The Kate/Chad scenes not only made sense but helped to drive home that she was, in a way, right to worry about his reaction to her relationship with Jake, whom he detests. Kate will also no doubt need Chad in her corner when Gabi returns next week, given that headwriter Ron Carlivati recently told us that the vixen has every intention of fighting for the guy she sees as belonging to her.

More: Remembering one of daytime’s best-ever soaps

A friend who doesn’t normally watch Days of Our Lives happened to catch the episode in which this all went down and texted to ask, “Is this show always this fun? That nanny chick is nasty! And these other two are incredible actors.”

The “other two” she referenced were Billy Flynn (Chad) and Marci Miller (Abigail), whose episode-closing confrontation was beautifully scripted and played.

More: What’s next for Chad and Abigail?

Just like that, the show had a new viewer. I’m pretty sure, however, my gal pal would have felt differently had she tuned in a few days earlier…

The Talk of the Town

How you felt about Tuesday’s episode likely depended on your thoughts where the Charlie story is concerned. Why? Because it was literally the only game in town. I’ve written about this before — whole episodes in which Days of Our Lives has focused exclusively on the rape story — and I admit I find it baffling. I can’t ever recall the show focusing whole hours on a single story — except perhaps during the Cruise of Deception — when there were so many others unfolding across the canvas.

Days charlie claire office JJ

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This is something that happens a lot over on The Bold and the Beautiful, the other show for which I write a weekly column. To be fair, the Charlie story encompasses a pretty big swath of the canvas, making it more of a traditional “umbrella” story, whereas Bold & Beautiful‘s single-story days tend to involve three or four characters spouting repetitive dialogue. That said, the danger is the same in both cases: If viewers aren’t interested in that storyline, the episode isn’t going to keep them tuned in.

And there are a fair number of fans who aren’t pleased with the Charlie story.

For those who are, however, it was a pretty good week as the walls began closing in on Claire’s boyfriend. The fact that he seems so sincere in his conviction that he is innocent (along with the whole “glasses on means sweet Charlie” gimmick) leaves me fearful the writers really might try and keep the character around, which is going to be a real tough sell for many viewers.

More: Days stars support redemption arc for two baddies

Vivian’s Revenge?

Now that Ivan has come forward to take the babies from Raynor, it seems pretty clear that Vivian was behind the twins being kidnapped. Why? To punish Lani for Stefan’s death. As the pieces fell into place, I couldn’t help but think, “Dang, Viv, do you have any idea how much goes into caring for two little babies?” But something tells me that Jake’s supposedly-dead mom doesn’t plan on raising them. Could she be intending to sell them on the black market, perhaps?

days eli valerie lani sketch JJ

Meanwhile, when Vivian does resurface (with a whole new look), I’m going to need an explanation as to why she’s played dead rather than bond with Jake, the son she didn’t even know existed until recently. Was getting revenge against Lani on behalf of Stefan really more important than getting to know his brother?

As the search for the twins intensified, Bonnie met with a sketch artist and wound up describing a woman who, based on the final results, looked an awful lot like Valerie. What could have been a really awkward and tone-deaf moment was completely saved when a horrified Bonnie said, in her own defense, “I know what you’re thinking! I do not think that all Black people look alike!” It worked because that was the conclusion they — and we — had drawn.

Random Thoughts

Chad is gutted on Days of Our Lives

• It occurred to me that Chad has a lot in common with Bold & Beautiful‘s Liam. Both foolishly leapt to conclusions and, rather than speaking to their respective spouses, jumped into bed with the last person on earth they should have. Now I want to see a crossover in which the two get drunk and admit just how moronic their actions were.

• One of the best ways to humanize a villain is to give them a friend who sees them the way nobody else does. That’s why I’m glad they’re playing the connection between Ava and Nicole. Sure, Ava is also friends with Kristen, but I’m not sure hanging out with a woman who is pretty unrepentant about having stabbed an elderly man in the chest is necessarily going to have the same effect.

• Brady and Chloe can insist they’re just friends until the cows come home, but I ain’t buying it. Heck, in Friday’s episode, they even wore matching colors. They’re that in sync with one another.

days chloe brady hotel JJ

What say you, Days of Our Lives fans? Do you think the show is going to try to redeem Charlie… and is that even possible? Can Chad and Abigail’s marriage be saved? Share your thoughts on the week’s happenings in the comments, then check out this photo gallery in which we revisit a classic NBC soap that we still can’t believe was ever cancelled.

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