It feels like an eternity since I've traditionally Two Scooped, and all I have to express is a loud, Lucy Ricardo-sized sob. Not only have we recently lost Victor, but now we've lost our "Calliope," too. The amazing Arleen Sorkin passed away on August 24, and, friends and fellow fans, I'm heartbroken.
I suggest we honor Arleen by putting on some dazzling, extravagant headgear and sipping something as sparkly and bubbly as she was, while we remember her in this week's column. I'll wait while we each raid our closets and cupboards until we all find something sensational and stupendous. Something supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, even!
Now, one could say I have a few loves of my entertainment life. I was born into watching DAYS and raised in Salem since 19 -- Whoa! Did anyone else hear that loud noise!? What was I saying? Right. Let's just say I remember the '80s.
I was devastated when I believed Marlena had been strangled. I cried when the original Roman (Wayne Northrop) tumbled off that cliff during his scuffle with Stefano and eventually ended up in Bo's arms. I know exactly why we still call Hope "Fancy Face" and Kayla "Sweetness." The Patch Man was the coolest cat ever. Tom and Alice were the grandparents we all wanted. A certain Phoenix was the scariest mofo out there! And if you wanted silly? Oh, there was none sillier than a hilarious jester with a heart as big as her, named Calliope Jones, played to pitch perfection by Arleen Sorkin.
I think being a youngster when Calliope's era of DAYS aired made my adoration of the character even more fierce. To me, Ms. Jones was just fabulous. She was an adult with the exuberance of a child. So cheerful and full of life. I could relate to her. She was like my silly sherpa into the wacky world of Salem. More importantly, her character (along with Eugene) taught me that daytime could be both dramatic and funny. Now that I could get behind!
Some newer viewers might not remember Salem's original loveable fun-to-laugh-with couple, Calliope and Eugene. Arleen Sorkin and John de Lancie had an unmatched charming and comedic chemistry. You could tell they entertained each other and us along the way. Both characters hold a special place in my DAYS-loving heart to this day.
So, I mentioned earlier that I had a "few loves of my entertainment life." There's DAYS, of course, but I also grew up a huge Batman fan. I swooned over the comics, cartoons, reruns of the 1960's onomatopoeia-filled "Pow!" "Bang!" "Bonk!" Batman television series, eventually the Tim Burton movies, AND Batman: The Animated Series starring legends like Kevin Conroy; Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill; and our very own DAYS supernova, Arleen Sorkin, who voiced a character inspired by and created entirely for her known as Harleen Quinzel.
Yes! DAYS met Batman in the most Sorkin way possible. It was an epic win, thanks to Arleen. Her Harley Quinn was the start of something spectacular that's still not slowing down. From Margot Robbie to Kaley Cuoco and soon Lady Gaga, Arleen lit the flame that's still burning brightly in Gotham to this day.
In fact, Joker: Folie à Deux star and general superstar Lady Gaga should not only thank Ms. Sorkin for starting Harley Quinn mania, but also appreciate her gallant fashion sense. From bees literally on her bonnet to a feather in her cap, from a "Hollywood" sign to the Statue of Liberty, Calliope knew how to sport a chapeau to complete an ensemble. And most of those ensembles were already memorable and out there in the best ways possible. Or as the Backstreet Boys might sing, "And that made her larger than life."
While Calliope might have been colorful and zany, brash and bold, a little laughably loud at times, even, Arleen played her with such heart that the character was easy to love. I certainly did. And my DAYS and Batman-loving heart is a little achy from her loss.
It seems like we've lost a lot of daytime legends in the past year or so. From DAYS alone, we lost our John, of course, last November. We said farewell to Quinn Redeker, Salem's original scoundrel named Alex. Cody Longo passed far too soon. And now we must say goodbye to Arleen. All I can say is thank you for the memories, the laughs and love. Simply thank you, Ms. Sorkin.
Through the heartbreak of late, something special has been happening -- loved ones are coming home to Salem just when we need friendly faces the most. Last week, Philip returned with John-Paul Lavoisier stepping back into the role (more on that in a bit). Lucky Alex got the hug when brother Sonny came home (Zach Tinker, you've been missed, good sir)! And hello, Jen Lilley! Theresa is back. We don't know why Jeannie-T's ventured to town just yet, but seeing Jen was another shot of happiness I needed to cheer me up.
Oh! And two more shots of pure casting bliss are happening next week. I was spoiled, but don't mind one bit. It's a homecoming for two of my favorite Salemites ever. I. Can't. Wait!
Thankfully, even more bliss happened last week to combat the boohoos. DAYS got Van Dyked. That is, the one, the only, the legendary Dick Van Dyke! I instantly put on a happy face. It was a jolly holiday from all the mourning. A Two Scooper is as lucky as lucky can be. Okay. I'll stop. For now.
The first thing I noticed is that the entire cast (even the background actors) seemed like they were trying their best to suppress smiles. I'm lucky I didn't have to. I was grinning from ear to ear. Dick just radiates joyfulness. And whoever decided to first pair him with Mary Beth Evans provided us with a pure pleasant overdose. I can't think of two entertainers who bring so much sunshine to the screen. Well played, Team DAYS.
Mr. Van Dyke is playing a "mystery man" with a bit of amnesia who's searching for his son. I'm in! Just like Jada and Officer Silver, as well as the staff of University Hospital, I was completely charmed by this mystery man and his story. It seems reminiscent of both Tommy Horton Jr. and a certain John Black. And Black Patch is on the case. That's a double "Hmm!" Though I think I have the same thought as everyone else I've spoken to. That is, a John Black history re-re-re-re-re-re-revision.
Even if John becomes John "The Pawn Roman-Not-Roman Forrest-Not-Forrest Alamain Father Black RoboJohn Ryan-Not-Ryan Brady Maybe-John Robicheaux Yo Ling Mystery Man's Son" Black, I won't mind. The one thing that's been consistent about Agent Black over the years has been his past's inconsistency, but above all, John's remained a joyful presence in Salem, an optimist through it all. Him being the son of a charismatic mystery man who puts on a happy face? That tracks.
Speaking of "tracks," Philip showing up made Chloe stop in hers! Though you know what? Philip knows what he did was bad, y'all. Just ask him. He snapped at the Chlomiester, "I know what I did, Chloe!" It had the same tone to it as when Napoleon Dynamite demanded Fat Lard Tina "Eat the food!" That is, a lot of it just seemed unintentionally comical and a lot insincere. At least it didn't last long. Brady let him off the legal hook, thanks to Belle and Chloe, and now Philip's free to feed Tina or whatever.
Also, just watch John's breakdown of Philip's return while speaking to Brady. It's pretty accurate. And hysterical.
Look. I still think RACH3L is a "Stefaclone" of the old Phoenix himself and will likely slay all of Salem someday. Traditional "slay." Not as in "Slay, girl. Anyway. That tyke is terrifying, but it's scarier how her family treats her. She's literally a pawn. It's hard to watch.
Actually, while watching Rachie scenes, I just wonder when John Quiñones will come out of the shadows and question Harold and other DiMera staff in a What Would You Do? style. That girl (maybe clone) needs to be rescued, rebooted, and reprogrammed, or else we're going to end up with the lovechild of Veruca Salt and Lizzie Borden on our hands. I don't know if Dr. Rolf has enough *whispers* Resurrection by Wilhelm left to clean up that eventual mess.
Also, can we get a child psychologist in town to help Marlena? She'd need a team to tackle Rachel's issues at this point. Plus, Alex could use a new love interest, and one that's a mental health professional would be even better! Maybe Morgan Hollingsworth became a doctor? She also has a past with Philip. You know. Just putting things out there.
Swish! Chad for the win. His advice to Alex was A-plus. Stephanie thought so, too. I hope a corner has been turned here and this triangle dropped. With Victor's death dominating storylines right now (as it should), the Kiriakis heir is in a position to move on and get involved with familia drama where he can don a shirt.
While I one-hundo think "Stabi" needs a hobby, I commend them for their sleuthing skills. Like, if the Salem P.D. wants to up their success rate, they should think about hiring these two, but I digress.
Stefan summed up this snoozer of a storyline in one swoop. He said of Gwen and Dimitri's marriage, "Maybe time was short, and she was, well, there." Nailed it! He also figured out the Leo thingy. Someone please get this gumshoe scumbag a commemorative plaque to hang up at the Popo Palace!
Despite Gwen's apparent lobotomy, she still could have Googled "Madonna birthday secret concert Reykjavík." No Madonna concert could be concealed that cunningly. I know you don't expect your bestie and bridegroom to be banging on your honeymoon, but sheesh. She's busted. Somewhere up in Soap Heaven, Ghost Abigail is laughing her halo off at how stupid her spiteful sis has become.
More so, I can't with Leo, Gwen, and Dimitri. Like, really can't. At least the boring Tripp, Wendy, and Johnny love triangle had the good graces to only show up occasionally. This tedious clunker is chewing up screentime. It's not even a real love triangle, as the characters haven't been around each other long enough to establish that. More like a "Somewhat Like Triangle." Elliot Ross must be day drinking to think otherwise. The only love was between besties Gwen and Leo, but that's been pretty blown to hell.
I very much enjoyed the scenes between the Patch Man and Abe! At least we don't have to worry about this Salem friendship ending. Their straight talk was splendid, and I love that Abe's being treated with respect. There's no interloper here. Just a beloved guy going through recovery with the support of, well, everyone. This storyline started and is continuing because everyone loves Abe.
Hearing Marlena tell Shawn, "You are family. I love you beyond words," was very nice to hear. I feel like they don't interact warmly that often, so, yes, that was nice. Very nice.
Brandon Beemer was brilliant throughout Shawn's scenes last week! Just the way Shawn held his service weapon. That subtle action of the barrel being pointed inward was heartbreaking. Martha Madison, of course, was marvelous, too. "Shelle" really needs to be front and center. It's maddening that they're not when we have two such amazing actors in the roles. Nevertheless, this is far from over, I fear. Shawn still seems forlorn. I have a feeling that he's -- as it were -- putting on a happy face for his wife. This has mine etched with concern. Stay strong, Sailor Man.
I enjoyed John reminiscing about his past with Victor! The John vs. Stefano showdown often overshadowed his relationship with Victor, but he certainly had a deep one. From "The Pawn" to Isabella, they were connected for worse and worser with splashes of better in the forms of Brady and Izzy-Bee.
At this point, wouldn't it just be easier to start a support group for those who feel guilty about the way they left things with Victor? I think if we cleared out Horton Town Square, there might be enough room. Maybe.
Rest in fabulous peace, Ms. Arleen!
Not the "NOTTIEST" of "NOTS," but I was looking forward to Jada becoming the commissioner! She didn't. That's disappointing. Boo. Thank goodness I still have on my happy hat and a few sips of bubbly.
LINE(S) OF THE WEEK
"It's like you have this ongoing performance art schtick where nothing out of your mouth sounds remotely sincere." Sonny to Leo.
Between that line and his other zinger about Leo's lover having the "correct number of nipples," Jackson paid tribute to Victor in the best, most Victoriest way possible. With sarcasm and snark! Well played, Sonny Bear.
Everyone drink! John stated, "That's a fact." Love it.
Elia Cantu's face said it all when she was sharing scenes with Dick Van Dyke.
Hearing John and Brady call Belle "Tink" will never not be cute.
I will also never not love John and Steve day drinking. I think it's hilarious. Rafe should join them and leave the commish job to Jada. Just saying.
I forgot about Rafe managing a nightclub!
Philip's description of his European villa-like mental institution only made me madder at him. You poor thing, you. I bet the oil wasn't heated for massages to make one really contemplate what they did wrong.
Rafe cleans, cooks, AND makes mad margaritas!? His stock went up a bit.
Also, I like Jada's room, but why don't she and Rafe spend more time at his house? I repeat, "house!" It would totally stop the awkward Talia moments and he has that amazing bathtub! Win-win.
Another winner was Alex and Sonny looking through the photo album. I enjoyed the transition from the pages to our screens. Victor through the ages!
I hope we get some Victor and Isabella flashback next week. Oh! I mean, boooo. Maybe another visit from Ghost Izzy-Bee!?
Eric Martsolf's interview with Dick Van Dyke is must-see, um, streaming! It's inspiring and informative. More so, it's fun, and both men are so dang charming.
Do you think at any point someone will bring up the fact that Rafe was once Shawn's stepdad? Based on experience, he is a great one. Johnny and Ciara both still love the guy. I guess he didn't spend that much time with Shawn, but still, family be family.
It's official. Gwen has something to hold over me. She came up with my life's mantra and the perfect title for my autobiography when she said, "All I want now is a nibble and a nap." God I'm hungry and tired all the time. This totally tracks. One doesn't need to be Celeste, darling, to predict pub fries and a nappity nap are in my future! And sometimes, I do nod off sitting up, so, yeah. Party on.
So, friends and fellow fans, that's it for September 4! I'm glad you donned a spiffy chapeau with me as we laughed, cried, and repeated. Next week seems like it'll be another case of laughter and tears, but through the sadness, we get to remember the beautiful moments shared with those who are gone and embrace new ones with those loved ones left behind. Yes, life is certainly worth celebrating.
With that, I'm off to prepare myself! I'm going to strategically map out my coffee table so while I'm watching DAYS, I can effortlessly reach for a snack, a drink, a tissue, or my phone to text Laurisa when I begin to blubber and/or cheer upon seeing some special faces returning to Salem. As always, thank you for reading, and "That's a fact."
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