WOW! Where should I start? The past week has been SO exciting that I don't know what to start with first!! I would be totally remiss if I didn't mention how fantastic the dialogue has been! I thought it was Dy-NO-Mite! I LOVED all of the conversations that happened this week. Not only was it some of the most "real" dialogue that we've seen on the show in a long while - the characters seemed to verbalize a lot of the things that the fans have been complaining about for a long time (like Mimi telling Belle not to run over to Shawn every time she can't get Claire settled). And the best part was that it was all so unexpected. I had so many moments of wondering to myself, "Did I just hear that?" That was great because it made the show that much more exciting to watch! Most of the week had me on the edge of my seat just waiting to see what would happen - or what would be said - next. I thoroughly enjoyed everything from the unexpected reveals (Tek blurting out the truth of Sami's blackmailing Lexie to Abe, Roman, Bo and John) to the normal everyday type of conversations (Steve inviting Billie to watch a game) to people getting their just desserts (Chelsea being accused of doctoring the file - along with every other 'bad' thing that has happened to the fertility four). I think it was about mid-week (when Sami told Lucas that Will was missing) that I realized that I was really enjoying watching the show again and I actually found myself looking forward to the next day's episode. For once; the show was not predictable and the storylines were actually interesting. Imagine that! I am totally thrilled by how much DOOL has grown in the past two weeks; it's almost like I'm watching a totally different show - but with the same characters. The thing that has struck me the most about the change in head writers, in terms of differences, is that the layers and nuances have been added back to the show again. The questioning glances, the knowing nods, the small verbal exchanges - the things that may be about nothing in particular but are so meaningful to the viewing audience because of the way they humanize the characters. A bunch of people sitting around at the Brady pub, drinking coffee and shooting the breeze is imminently more watch-able than seeing two people whispering about some tired scheme while pretending that the person standing behind them can't hear a thing. The added cohesion between storylines has also been a welcome bonus; even though Will's kidnapping wasn't front burner on Thursday and Friday - all related characters mentioned his disappearance (regardless of how ridiculous it was that Kate would hold a press conference about a car race rather than a press conference about her missing grandson). Yes Scoopers...I think its safe to say that we have a show worth watching again...and we have Hogan Sheffer and his talented team of writers (interim head Beth Milstein included) to thank for that.
All right then - let's take it from the top. I have been totally psyched about Sami's storyline. This past week has been one big ball of exciting for our gal Sal (I mean Sami of course; it just didn't rhyme as nicely). WHO could have predicted the end to Sami's most recent wedding fiasco? Not moi! But holy cow was that fun! I looooved that Sami tripped as she ran down the aisle after bailing on her wedding and my gurl just picked herself up and continued running out of the church! That was a truly funny touch. As you can probably guess, I was THRILLED that she bowed out all on her own. Well...okay; she was being blackmailed by "the voice" or "the glove" or whatever we're calling it this week but since when has that ever stopped her? Never before except this time! Nice! I loved the conversation between the two when Austin went to Sami's apartment to get an explanation for her vanishing act. Gawd but Ali Sweeney can act! I was so proud of Sami for telling Austin that she realized that he doesn't love her the way he loves Carrie and that she deserved better than that! Go Girl! Those scenes were great! Even though she was blackmailed in to dumping Austin - I think she actually believed what she was saying about realizing that Austin doesn't love her the way he loves Carrie. After Austin left - Marlena show up (finally) to see her daughter and the audience was treated to another great conversation as Sami explained her motivations to her mother. It was so refreshing to see a mother-daughter moment between the two as Marlena was sympathetic to Sami's situation and told her how proud she was of her for letting go of Austin. I thought the best part was when Sami swallowed her disappointment at hearing that her mother would be leaving town so soon after regaining her memory. I didn't blame her; after all, she's essentially been without a mother for almost two years. Marlena was thought dead (while being held on DiMera's dreadful island) for almost a year and then she had amnesia for another year. Sheesh! The poor girl needs some serious mommy-bonding and mommy-support time!
The scenes that truly rocked the past week were the scenes of Sami realizing that Will was missing. I loved that she initially wanted to keep the information from Lucas but once she saw his face, she couldn't keep it in and blurted out the truth to him within minutes. Yay! I loved the way the scene played out. The directing, acting and pacing were perfect! You couldn't help but sit on the edge of your seat as Sami stared wildly at Lucas after hearing that Will didn't show up at school that day. Lucas read it all over her face and he shouted at her to tell him what the problem was. I was shouting right along with him "tell him...tell him!". I was so shocked that she actually blurted the truth out! How refreshing! (I know...I know...I keep saying that!) Even Lucas's reaction was perfect. He immediately freaked out but then calmed down so that he could be supportive of Sami. He even said that - given how he's treated her in the past - he wasn't surprised that she was afraid to tell him. After that...everything came tumbling out; the notes and the calls she's been receiving from the mysterious Gloved hand. She hasn't yet divulged why she was being stalked but it's only just a matter of time before everyone else finds out; especially given that Roman, Bo and Abe know the truth. I just can't say enough about how great those scenes were. Well written, well acted - I couldn't have asked for more. I can't wait to see what happens next! A thought just occurred to me...will Marlena still leave town now that Will is missing? I'd like to hear her reasoning for that decision!
You know...it's funny that - whenever a character is set to leave the show - they always wind up getting better dialogue and scenes than they did in the whole time they were a part of the show. Austin's conversation on the roof with Carrie was a perfect example. And I really give Austin Peck his props for giving us some very passionate acting. I really enjoyed their conversation; it was very real. [I know that I keep using the word 'real' to describe recent dialogue but given how 'un-real' and ridiculous it had become in the last few years...I find myself constantly remarking on the difference.] My favorite scene was when Carrie suggested that they 'ease' Lucas in to the idea that she was leaving him for Austin. Austin replied "bad idea - when Lucas eventually finds out - he's not going to say 'oh jeez guys; thanks for easing me in to it'". LOL, that was fantastic! And SO true. What a great way to validate the stupid and vapid writing we've experienced over the last 2-3 years. Then, when Carrie mentioned that she was raised to believe that marriage vows were 'forever' and that one didn't break them for any reason. Austin said "excuse me but...you didn't seem to have a problem divorcing me". That was hilarious! Go Austin! Finally - the hypocrisy is exposed! Carrie even managed to cringe and grin a bit at his words. The final result is that Carrie agreed to tell Lucas that she was leaving him for Austin. Unfortunately...the minute they burst in to Sami's apartment to tell them; Sami was busy telling Lucas that Will was missing. They, wisely, decided to temporarily shelve their plan to rain on Lucas' parade until his son has been found. How considerate of them! LOL!
Oh me oh my...how I've enjoyed watching the "cops" act like cops!! The past week has seen our boys in blue actually following police procedure, discussing forensic evidence and generally making headway on the various crimes. Heck! They even found fingerprints on the file that was left in Shawn's room! Fingerprints!! My, My! How long has it been since we've seen the police actually find evidence? I'll tell you how long - it's been forever! How wonderful it's been to see Bo, John, Steve, Roman and Abe share their knowledge and discuss things openly. The whole situation with Sami and Lexie and both of their mysterious phone calls were brought out in the open between Abe, John, Bo, Tek and Roman. In one fell swoop; everyone was on the same page (except for Lucas, Austin and Carrie, but that shouldn't be long now). I have really enjoyed seeing these men get their damned brains back. They are sharing theories and finally coming to logical conclusions. They are no longer sitting around clueless about what is happening around them. We even saw them discussing evidence and considering suspects one-by-one just like real cops do. I do have one question though...why is John involved in the investigation into Eve's murder? Just because he was fake-dating her? Or because he was helping Bo get proof that he did not steal the DVD? Does being involved with the ISA automatically include you in every police matter? I think that DOOL should just go ahead and have John join the police force since he's always involved in solving every crime anyhow. Sure would make more sense than including him simply because he can get his hands on some nifty spy toys.
I LOVED that Roman decided to follow a hunch and caught Kate red-handed as she searched Eve's apartment for the missing 'Chelsea' DVD. Roman had the best line of the week when he confronted Kate after catching her snooping: "You always did talk too much Kate; and now you're going to jail". The smirk on his face as he said that was hilarious! Not so hilarious was when Kate snaked out of the situation once again. Seems that someone (most likely the Glove) replaced the DVD with a movie about a monkey. I'm not exactly sure why Roman couldn't arrest Kate anyhow since she did confess to him that she paid Eve for the DVD. I guess it would probably be a he-said-she-said kind of moment and being that they are former spouses...it is probably not enough evidence to get a conviction. Well; one can only hope that the Glove now turns his harassment and blackmailing in Kate's direction. She needs to learn her lesson about meddling in other people's lives and the glove is just the "thing" to do that.
So...interestingly - not only did the police find little-miss-good-deed Chelsea's fingerprints on the file containing Claire's paternity results - they have decided that she must be guilty of not only doctoring the test results but also of mixing up the eggs during the in-vitro fertilization process. Wow! That's quite the leap! And going on nothing more than Philip's theory. Hmmm...for any other character, this would seem unfair. However, given that it's Chelsea - 'nuff said. In my opinion, the misunderstanding seems like a good old fashioned case of "what goes around; comes around". Friday's show ended with a wonderful moment as Max told Chelsea that it was over between them! He said that he has defended her enough and that he no longer believes her. Can you give me an AMEN! It's about freakin time! Let's just hope he means it this time! Note to the writers...give the guy a girlfriend who he is NOT related to. I read (and you will too in a few more paragraphs) that either Mimi or Abby will be Max's next love interest. Either one is fine with me; although if it is Mimi...I guess that would mean a recast when Farah leaves the role. As for Abby, when she's able to stow the attitude for 5 minutes, she's quite a pleasant character and I think a relationship with Max would be a great storyline for her.
Steve and Billie - don't worry boys and girls...it's just a temporary detour on the road to Kayla and Patch's reunion. I have it on good authority (Steve Nichols blog on TV guide) that Steve's interest in Billie will only be temporary. Apparently, he will experience an attraction to Billie because of their common interests/personalities and also as a result of him feeling pressured by Kayla to remember their past. I hate to say it but; I actually enjoyed Steve and Billie's interaction at the pub this week. I really like Julie Pinson and I think she has done a tremendous job at making Billie likeable - despite the often-downright-crazy things that the character has done in the past. I don't relish the idea of Billie and Steve together (naturally) and if I had a say...I would rather see Billie hook up with Frankie. For 2 reasons; first and foremost because I love the character of Frankie Brady and I don't want to lose the talented Billy Warlock and secondly; because Billie and Frankie have chemistry to spare and could end up being a red hot Super-Couple. I'm sure that the fact that they have a real-life relationship only adds dimension to their interaction and chemistry. [Congratulations to the couple on their recent wedding].
For those of you who may not have read the new 6-page Soap Opera Digest interview with DAYS Head Writer Hogan Sheffer - here is an excerpt:
~Hogan Sheffer heard a rumor from his agent that Ken Corday was making a change in the writing staff. Sheffer felt that James E. Reilly had a lock on the job. When the job was offered, his answer was an immediate YES! Within three weeks, the deal was struck and he had moved across the country from New York City.
~Sheffer calls "DAYS" the best franchise in daytime with the most loyal viewer-ship. He says that when you mention "As the World Turns," people say, "Is that show still on the air?" But when you mention "DAYS," you get "Put Bo and Hope together again" or "Make Sami bad again." Sheffer said that after he got the job, many of his friends and relatives finally admitted to watching "DAYS" for years. He said Corday is lucky! He has checked out the show before, but has never been a regular watcher. The show sent him 20 DVD's to get him caught up with characters and the history of the show.
~Sheffer decided to start making changes by "grounding Marlena. She's an icon and should be the matriarch." He wants to make her a doctor and a real person again because so much revolves around her. "I don't write aliens and demonic possession. We're going back to emotional soap with a lot of story."
~Sheffer is thrilled to have Mary Beth Evans (Kayla) on the show. He admits having a "secret" crush on her that's really no secret. He used to tell her when she was playing Sierra on "ATWT." He says core audiences can relate to old romantic stuff and flashbacks, and Patch and Kayla can give that.
~Sheffer calls Sami great and says that "DAYS" has so many great characters -- it's just a matter of redefining them. Take Philip Kiriakis, for example. Sheffer had no clue that Philip has a fake leg because it has never been treated with the seriousness it deserves. He feels that Philip should be working his way toward being Victor. He should be distant and affected by all that has happened to him, but currently you don't see that. Sheffer says he will be setting up the younger generation to accept power from the older.
~He is reminded that "DAYS" is "THE supercouple show" and asked if he'll keep it that way. He says he's not interested in aliens and demonic possession, but he writes a fast-paced show that focuses on the emotional core that couples fit into. Sheffer said, "I love love love Bo and Hope, Sami and Lucas, and Abe and Lexie. We're going to be revisiting all of these couples again." He says there has been so much back and forth that it loses meaning because you're missing out on the angst and the longing, the ache for somebody.
~He says he thinks Darin Brooks (Max) is a stud. He's a really good-looking guy who makes the women in the crew swoon. So, Sheffer asks, "Why is he dating his nieces?!" Sheffer assumes it's because there are no more Hortons, just Bradys. He feels that is unhealthy. He knows Max is adopted, but still . . . "If I had an adopted brother and he was dating my child, I'd ice-pick him to death," Sheffer says. He feels Max is a guy who is destined for supercoupledom.
Sheffer admits he did some bad stuff at "ATWT," but he thinks one of the best things he did was to use the surrounding characters. He mentions Lauren Koslow (Kate) and says that she will become central to a lot of stuff. He will try to avoid repeating "ATWT" stories on "DAYS" because he doesn't want people comparing the two, very different shows.
~What about the gloved hand? Sheffer says it's just a soap trick. He says it just shouldn't be milked too long. He's working on exposing what that's all about. He wants the audience to know who's doing it first, and then he will let the story unfold. He says it's weird because there's no "romantic tilt" to it, yet it has upset some of the romantic pairings. "But the central story itself is kind of a shaggy-dog story, and it's just been going on way too long. And it's so confusing."
~Sheffer said his material will begin airing in October. Right now, his interim head writer, Beth Milstein, is at the helm and viewers are noticing big changes already. There is better cohesion, and plots are starting to make sense. Sheffer said one of the first episodes he watched was back in June. There was a scene with Abe and Roman (two cops) discussing their love lives instead of trying to catch the bad guys. He says that would never happen. His first order of business is to "hand the men back their penises, because strong men are better for the women." He says you can't have women doing whatever and the men just doing nothing. "So we're going to use the history, make the men strong, and let the women run amok," jokes Sheffer. "There's your formula."
~He said he has no plans to introduce any new families at this time. He has noticed an erosion of Hortons so that everyone is now a Brady and there is a lot of incest going on. One of his first tasks will be to find some Hortons who are in their late teens to early 20s. "But I have no desire to bring in my own family," Sheffer says. "I think that's despicable. I really do." Sheffer says it's hard for the audience to become quickly invested in new families, and the biggest challenge will be bringing back the audience and making sure they have faith in the show again. He says there will be no more year-long secrets. He wants the audience to be in on stuff before the characters are so the audience will be anticipating the characters' responses. "If I can bring the audience back, I'll be a happy man." He also says that humor is missing from the show. He wants to take Sami and Lucas back to when they were funny.
~Regarding Emmys, Sheffer said he likes winning them but hates the actual awards show. However, he would love to win an Emmy for Ken Corday since this is his family's show and it has been treated "neglectfully." So, what kind of town will Salem be on Hogan Sheffer's watch? "What you're going to see is a real town with real family connections again. I want to give it a real sense of a real place that's familiar to everybody, and where the audience tunes in and it's like putting on an old pair of slippers"
A few Highlights to look forward to:
Reader Feedback: Thanks to all who wrote in!
From Karen Stafford:"So, in comment to the comment from another reader......I can write a very long diatribe on why I believe Belle is irredeemable, but each to their own. Frankly, I think all FOUR of them are screwing up big time. I think, if Shimi breaks up (especially with a new actor coming in), the whole Shelle/Shimi thing should be trashed for a while. Shelle has been forced-fed on people for a while now. I've never seen a couple need so much pimping and cheerleading to be forced together. BUT, I'm not happy with Mimi either, but she at least has a conscience, which Belle doesn't seem to have."
From Linda:"Well! Thank God for "Hogan"! I was getting so tired of the guys on Days acting like the ladies on Days...always talking about their love lives...nooooo!! Real men do not do that! I want the guys to be guys! Also...the stories were so slow... a woman could have two babies by the time the truth was told. I want to see people work on Days! Jobs! Like a regular person with job problems love lives aren't all the soaps should be about... Jobs have glitches too that affect everyone's life...lately nobody did anything but hang around the hospital...This isn't General Hospital....Also...I am hoping to see Stephanie not be a love sick young person...No! I want her to shine and be a strong woman who does not need a man to succeed in life. I would like her to have her own clothing line on Days. And as for the people being cut & being replaced by new actors...this is a good thing. Sometimes people forget these are actors...not real Brady's or real Black or whatever their stage names are. Hogan has a good point too...there are way too many Brady's...I am sad in some ways but i want Days to get some awards. The way it was going that was never going to happen. I want to see realistic storylines with realistic endings. If anyone has seen the new show "Windfall" - nobody gets a break on that show everyone gets what's coming to them no magical ways out. Because that is how life truly is. I want to say Welcome aboard Hogan! Give me my Old Days...my mom has passed away but she loved the show...we watched it together and discussed it on the phone up and until her last week on earth. I don't think she would approve of her favorite soap the way it was going lately."
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