Part two of a two-part look back at the events of the past year in Salem.
One of the few really bright and shining stories this year was the love story of Sami and Lucas. We've watched these two over the last decade as they were friends, partners in crime, lovers, mortal enemies and back to friends and lovers again. Their romance started last year after Sami's flight through Tony's plate-glass door, but it didn't take off until 2004. As we watched, these two ever so slowly realized what we viewers have known for a long time–they're perfect for each other! No one will ever understand Sami the way Lucas does, because he was there for it all. He knows the way her mind works, knows how she feels, and even when he doesn't always like the things she does, he accepts her for exactly who and what she is. Lucas truly helps Sami be a better person. Sami and Lucas have run the whole gamut of emotions with each other, and loyal fans were finally rewarded when the duo got engaged. The rewards have also been reaped by their son Will, who is in heaven at the idea of having his parents together. And it really has been great to watch these three pull together as a family unit–seeing them draw closer together was a long time in coming, but I think well worth the wait.
We Are Family
Sometimes it takes tragedy to make you realize what you have. And so it was for Rex. When he first found out he was Kate and Roman's son, he was determined to keep it a secret and stay a DiMera. But as time went on he began to want to know his true family; especially after Roman's "death." As the year went along, Rex not only patched up his differences with Shawn and Philip, but bonded with Grandpa Shawn and began trying to build a relationship with Kate and Billie. That's what this show needs more of–family.
A soap just wouldn't be complete without feuds. And none this year have been as amusing as Julie and Bonnie's. Julie had Bonnie's number from day one, and Bonnie knew it. While the rest of the Horton clan was oblivious, Julie was trying her best to warn them of Bonnie's true nature. Whether the two argued over Mickey, Tuscany/Alice's, Patrick or who was to blame for the Christmas tree fiasco, those two were such fun to watch! In a year that was filled with dark stories their fighting gave us much needed chuckles.
Jen's Little Miracle
Last Christmas Jen found out she was pregnant–a gift in itself, considering we all thought Jack was dead. But early in 2004 we found out that something was horribly wrong with the baby. He might have been born with no immune system, no limbs, and horrible disfigurements. Worse yet, both the baby's and Jen's lives were in danger if she continued with the pregnancy. But the baby had become a bond between her and Abby, who blamed Jen for pulling the plug on Jack. And of course it was Jack's last gift. So despite the odds, Jen continued the pregnancy, and by some miracle, even out in the jungle on Captive Island, the baby was born healthy. Currently both mother and son are doing well.
When Patrick Lockheart first arrived on the scene, we were mistrustful. He seemed to be out to scam a pregnant, alone Jen, and she had been through more than enough. His secret phone calls and fake back injury didn't help, either. But over time he came to really care about Jen and Abby–and not, for once, in a romantic sense. Patrick has never once hit on Jen, he has never been anything but kind and courteous and protective over her. And because of that we came to like him. I, for one, love this character now–even after we found out he was working for the DiMera organization (he was blackmailed into it). Patrick has done a world of good for the Deverauxs. He delivered Jen's baby. He looked after and helped Hope. He helped the captives escape from the Island. Frankly, Jennifer and Abby would have been lost without him.
When head writers are changed, storylines are often scrapped without so much as a second thought. Over the last couple of years, DAYS viewers have missed the comic relief of Hattie Adams, the Marlena (almost) look alike, played by Deirdre Hall's real life twin sister, Andrea. When Marlena was discovered to be the Salem Stalker, her loved ones were in disbelief. In search of another explanation, John took off and came back with Hattie. Played by Deirdre Hall this time around (who, it seemed, was almost doing an impression of her sister's portrayal), Hattie nonetheless again provided us with plenty of laughs.
No matter what else is going on in Salem, we can always count on the traditional Horton ornament hanging ceremony for good watching, and this year was no exception. Even a fighting Bo and Shawn called a truce for the event, and watching Bonnie hang her huge, gaudy Horton ornament was hysterical. Thank goodness for this tradition.
Bonnie Gets Her Man
As 2004 progressed, we watched lying, scheming, money-hungry (yet still somewhat likable) Bonnie work over rich, grieving, clueless Mickey. She "cooked" for him, cleaned for him, made him over and told him everything he wanted and needed to hear. Her methods worked, and eventually Bonnie not only charmed "the Mickster" into bed, but also managed to get him down the aisle–mere hours before a very alive Maggie returned to Salem! Now the marriage is somewhat contested, being that Maggie's alive (and a double thumbs down on Mickey's behavior in the matter, as well as the year-ending threesome we were shown!), but when it comes down to it, Bonnie accomplished her goal, even if only for a little while. (And shame on Mickey's family, minus Julie, for not seeing her money-hungry claws coming a mile away.)
Goodbye Style and Elegance
After Maggie's death Tuscany closed (Mickey didn't have the heart to run it). It was reopened for Kate and Roman's wedding, but we all know how that turned out! After Julie and Doug came back to Salem, Julie offered to run the restaurant in Aunt Maggie's memory... But little did she know that Bonnie had already propositioned Mickey with a similar idea! Only instead of Tuscany, Bonnie came up with the idea of changing the whole concept of the restaurant–into a gaudy country western hoe-down named in "honor" of Alice! I, for one, agreed with Maggie's assessment of the changes: she fainted in horror after seeing what had been done to her pride and joy!
Nicole Gets Her Man
The once sweet and tender Nicole that used to exist around Brady long ago morphed into a plotting vixen, and this year Nicole really stepped up her plans to get Brady for herself. No longer content with "accidental" kisses and naked encounters, Nic swung into full trouble-making mode. First she hooked up with psychotic Jan to "off" current hubby Victor (more on that later), then continued coming onto Brady, despite his love and devotion for Chloe. When Chloe was horribly disfigured after a car accident, she let the world believe her dead, so as not to burden them (especially Brady) with the monster she thinks she has become. This was just the break Nicole needed, and she moved in on her man when he was at his weakest and neediest moment. Nicole was so hell-bent on having Brady at any cost, she even slept with him as he called her Chloe! Chloe's decision pissed me off, Brady's behavior disgusts me and Nicole is just pathetic. The real-life husband and wife team of Ari Zuker and Kyle Lowder do have chemistry, but I would have preferred this story better if their coming together had been a natural progression rather than a manipulated one.
Kate Breaks Her Word and Interferes
Roman's "murder" rung in 2004, which also happened to be the night of his wedding to Kate. As the happy couple talked about the promising life that lay before them, Roman asked Kate to try to maintain peace with Sami. They were family now, and these were two of the women in the world who meant the most to him. Kate agreed, though I think it nearly killed her to do so, but that's how much she loved her new husband. And for a while Kate tried valiantly, even in the face of Sami being at her worst. All that changed though when Sami and Lucas got engaged. Now it's like "what promise?" as Kate works her hardest to drive Sami and Lucas apart. While in the past fans have been all for Kate's interference in Sami's life (like when she uncovered Sami's lies that came between Austin and Carrie), "Lumi" is the romance that we have been waiting to see for the last decade! Also, Kate never seems to learn that interfering in her children's love lives only makes things worse in the long run. Thumbs down all around.
She's Baaaaaack... And the Chaos She Brings
Like Shawn and Belle didn't have enough to worry about with their loved ones being "killed" off left and right, who should walk back into the picture this year but Jan Spears. Now that her parents are dead, Jan decided to come back to Salem to pursue the "one that got away"and the closest thing to a friend she ever had–Shawn. She started out just stalking "Shelle" but quickly progressed to more vicious deeds. To get Shawn, Jan made a deal with Nicole to help each other: Jan would get rid of Victor for Nicole if Nicole helped her get Shawn for herself. So Jan threw a radio into the bathtub with Victor to electrocute him (the indignity of the great Victor Kiriakis being offed by this little twerp!). Then over the summer, with some help from a reluctant Nicole, Jan kidnaped Shawn and kept him as her love slave, handcuffed in a cage. Having left town after a huge fight with Belle, Belle came to believe (when Shawn didn't contact her and after Jan had his purity ring sent back to Belle) that Shawn had left her for good. Trusty, lovesick Philip was there to comfort Belle and try to help her move on... all of which Jan captured on camera and tortured Shawn with. Shawn finally escaped, but got into a motorcycle accident, which led to...
When Shawn came to after his accident, he had a form of amnesia in which he forgot the things that had actually happened to him over the summer, and remembered only what Jan told him. Also awakening with a seriously bad attitude, Shawn became convinced that Belle had cheated on him first and cut her out of his life. He's also distanced himself from his family and become engaged to Jan.
For years now we've watched Belle and Shawn get thisclose to making love. Last year they decided to wait until marriage (hence the purity rings), but after Shelle broke up, waiting went out the window. Shawn seemed only too happy to jump into the sack with Jan, while Belle eventually gave her long guarded virginity to Philip. Finally, in the throes of near-hypothermia and semi consciousness, Belle and Shawn made love–but Belle thinks it was a dream and Shawn thinks she thought she was with Philip! Argh!!
Sami Got What She Wanted–That Means Trouble In Paradise!
We love Sami, and we love to hate her. We root for her to succeed (sometimes), and yet we rail away at her when she does, because we know she will just find a way to destroy it. She and Lucas are finally happy (which took long enough!) and engaged. Even with Kate's scheming, we knew it was too good to last... And we were right. All of a sudden, Sami began daydreaming about her last husband, Brandon. And I'm talking some pretty steamy fantasies! Then, thanks to Kate, Brandon made a quick visit to Salem, and things got a whole lot worse for Sami. She realized that she is in love with two men, and things only became more complicated when it turned out that her and Brandon's marriage wasn't annulled after all. Brandon's gone now–at least in body. In mind, he is still in Sami's thoughts and dreams, and knowing our girl, this does not bode well for one of our favorite couples.
Billie Returns... As Does Georgia
I have no problem with the return of Billie herself: she is a great character who is being played by a great actress. My problem is the storyline TPTB have given her. A couple of years ago this character was brought back with the intention of her coming between Bo and Hope. But fans didn't buy it, and rather than force it on us, Billie was written out. Now in 2004, Billie shows up on Captive Island and runs into Bo. There are ‘accidental kisses' and close situations galore–all a big farce, so far as real Bo and Hope fans are concerned. So what do TPTB do, determined as they are to keep t his character around? They decide that Billie and Bo's stillborn daughter (whom we watched die!) is not so dead after all–she was taken and raised by the DiMeras and their people. This may turn out to be a good storyline at some point, but for now, it's so forced that I hate it. It's just an incredibly obvious plot device to try to put Bo and Billie together or at least quasi-together. Especially with all of Celeste's premonitions that Hope will lose Bo to Billie. Enough. Have it be a wild-goose chase and give Billie a romance with Patrick–they have great chemistry and that would cause conflict with Bo, which would annoy Hope (who would be on Patrick's side anyway). You don't need crazy stories to create drama!!
Stefano "Dies" Again
Yeah right–they expect us to believe this?
Rex and Mimi's relationship reads almost like a PSA this year. Early in 2004, Mimi and Belle had a conversation in which Mimi related how she wishes that she and Rex had waited to have sex so it would be more meaningful–that talk almost did more for promoting waiting than Belle and Shawn's purity rings did! Then the two almost got engaged, until they made the mature realization that they weren't ready yet. But then Mimi became pregnant and (convinced Rex didn't want a baby) had an abortion. What could have been a really powerful and informative storyline instead seems to have been turned into nothing more than an excuse for Jan to blackmail Mimi with. Where are the scenes of Mimi's intense regret? She's said she wishes she hadn't had the abortion, but we don't SEE it. It seems almost like she had a tooth removed from her body, rather than a creation of her and Rex's love. This story still has potential to blow up when Rex finds out, but when it comes to the emotional payoff, I think TPTB missed the boat.
The Serial Killer Storyline
This has been a story with plenty of ups and downs. In a move that was seen as gutsy by some and insulting by others, but was meant to get people to tune in, TPTB decided to have some of Salem's favorite and long-running characters brutally murdered by a masked killer. Whether you loved or hated this story, we all watched with bated breath to see who would be killed next, and just who in Salem was capable of such atrocities. Finally, in January we had our answer: it was none other than respected citizen Marlena. Ratings soared as viewers tuned in in disbelief that a main character (and one who wasn't slated to leave the show) was a cold-blooded killer. Only it turned out that she wasn't. Yes, Marlena THOUGHT she killed all her victims, but it instead turned out to be another DiMera plot to cause chaos in the lives of Salmeites. All the victims hadn't actually died; they were instead given drugs to simulate death (and Marlena was subconsciously implanted with memories of killing them), then brought to an island in the Caribbean where an exact replica of Salem existed. They were kept captive by mastermind Tony (why, we're still not sure) for months on end as slowly, more and more Salemites discovered the island. After months of perils, the island exploded and many of the victims made their way home. Though Tony was thought to be dead, he actually survived (big surprise) and managed to keep some of his victims hostage. He is currently holding them captive in a castle, forcing them to watch their lives in Salem continue without them. Will this saga ever end?
I am among the viewers who have not liked this story from day one. I thought the axing of actors so beloved was a huge insult, both to them and us. Yes, they're back now, but none of them knew that this wasn't a permanent deal when they were fired. And to have everyone be alive after all makes me feel manipulated by TPTB. To me, this was all a huge ratings stunt that worked for a short amount of time, but failed to sustain a long term ratings jump. The show is no better off than it was when this story first began, and has in fact alienated many long time fans by playing us. TPTB have once again blamed all the evil misdeeds on Salem on the DiMeras (nothing new there), and committed a cardinal sin among soap murder mysteries–once the audience was let in on the secret, the truth became so obvious that our characters were turned into idiots when they failed to see the neon sign pointing to the obvious. Now this story is just being dragged out, while again our characters are stupidly forgetting the obvious (that DiMeras never die).
Where this story excelled was in the performances of the actors. They were truly incredible, no matter what the story called for. And, even if I didn't like it, I do have to applaud TPTB for (at least at the beginning) taking some huge risks. For awhile, they really did create must-see, nail-biting television.
Wishing a safe, happy, and healthy 2005 to all!
See you in two weeks,
Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of soapcentral.com or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen, what has happened, and to take a look at the logistics of it all. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same view point.