Drake Hogestyn
Bring it on, Nielsen!
For the Week of April 14, 2008
Other Two Scoops for the week of April 14, 2008
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Even though John may not act the same, he still loves Marlena, he wants to protect her, he respects her, and most importantly, he's committed to making their relationship work.

Do you know what three little words upset more TV fans than anything else? "To be continued…" It's an old producers' trick. There the big-wigs sit, perched on their throne of advertising revenue, masterminding a plot to hold our attention hostage by preying on our (often times) unhealthy obsession with our favorite TV shows. All we want to know is if anyone survived the "Moldavian Massacre" but noooo…we have to wait until the next show airs. We might suffer, but those sneaky producers strategically place such TBC-ed episodes right before an important viewer count, mainly season premiers or sweeps weeks. As a faithful TV viewer, I hate this trick. So, imagine my glee to discover Days is taking a different approach to getting viewers to watch during May sweeps. Their trick is simply putting out good shows to get buzz around the awesomeness of their product. Fans are engaged and storylines are interesting. I'd venture to say that Days has never been more ready for May sweeps. And this fan is ready to see those Nielson ratings go up!

Hot dog, this is one heck of a love story! John shows up at Marlena's office and offers up his head for some shrinkage (not laundry, or the other kind). Marlena tries to hypnotize him to get him to remember the old John. It doesn't work. Marlena is crushed, but kinda sorta so is John. Here in, lies the potential for an awesome love story. Not only are we going to get to see John and Marlena fall in love again, but they are going to fall in love twice. First, new John will continue to fall for Marlena. Then, he'll have to convince her to fall for him.

With no disrespect intended, there was a lot of tarnish on the "Jarlena" supercouple trophy. John was becoming way too predictable (fly in on a bag of money, save the day, wash, rinse, repeat) while Marlena took first prize in the "Damsel in Distress" pageant (she was the high scorer in both the swimsuit and whining competitions). I am enjoying this reincarnation of John and Marlena so much more than the pre-brainwashed version.

For any fans who may be struggling with the new John, maybe it would help to think about it this way: is your significant other the exact same person now that they were the day that you married them? I mean really, exactly, the same. Chances are that they've changed. In real life, these changes are the result of major events such as the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, or perhaps even a new job. But we're in soap opera land, and these changes are the result of a kidnapping, resurrection, and brainwashing. Even though John may not act the same, he still loves Marlena, he wants to protect her, he respects her, and most importantly, he's committed to making their relationship work. The cornerstone of their relationship is still strong. I'm sure John's competition with the Kiriakises, connection to the Bradys, and ultimately that disc with his memories on it will all be addressed in upcoming storylines. But, for right now, John and Marlena are looking pretty happy.

AVA, STEVE, and HOPE…er…KAYLA…who ever
It's the classic love story. Boy meets girl. Girl turns boy into a mobster. Boy leaves girl. Girl goes crazy, kidnaps boy's wife, and forces wife to watch girl seduce boy. Somewhere still lying in a comatose state, Jane Spears is thinking, "Wow! Why didn't I think of that? This Ava lady is a genius! Drat you, stupid cage idea!"

Personally, I sat back on my couch and was amazed by the level of torture that Ava was ready to unleash. It doesn't look like Steve and Hope are going to be able to escape since their first attempt failed miserably. It also doesn't look like Ava's doctor is making any progress with her as she's able to fool the good doctor into thinking that they had a good session. So, it looks like viewers better get comfortable for a few more shows at Castle Vitali. I'm not thrilled with the pace of this story. But, I am glad it is involving the veteran characters. The acting is still top-notch, but the storyline needs to move along and have Ava find out who Hope is already! The fact that Ava tracked down Stephanie but still doesn't know that Hope is not Kayla is getting comical at this point.

BO and (the real) KAYLA
Kayla sneaks into Bo's room and gets the story about Ava, Steve, and Hope. In a stroke of genius, Bo calls Victor, who comes to the room and gives them the low-down on the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Vitali family. Apparently no one leaves the family alive (which makes me wonder why Steve is still breathing) and the family is the hardest core mobsters this side of the Corleones. Victor leaves and warns Bo not to get involved with the Vitalis. After this warning, Bo and Kayla put their joint braincell together and decide that the best thing to do is to go after Steve and Hope alone!

From the files of whiplash resolution, it looks like both Bo and Kayla will get a clean bill of health before they embark on "Mission: Mobster". While it seems a little kooky that Bo and Kayla can go from being in life-threatening pain to being released from the hospital in the same day, at least the release will make me feel better about letting Bo and Kayla go rescue Hope and Steve. After all, if Salem Hospital pronounces Bo and Kayla healthy, they'll certainly be fine.

When Nicole barged in on Sami and EJ's dinner at Chez Rouge, we got a lightning fast history lesson on all things bad girls. Sami tells EJ that Nicole dumped Eric to take a $5 million bribe from Kate to marry Lucas. According to Nicole, Sami is the reason that Lucas is an alcoholic (which is odd because I thought that alcoholism was a disease that ran in the Horton family; at least that's what Lucas said when he found Will was drinking) and ultimately Sami is the reason Will is in Switzerland living with Austin and Carrie. So let me get this straight, Nicole knows that Brady is missing, Will is living in Switzerland, and that Sami had twins from two different dads; but, she has no idea who EJ is? For realz?

Anyway, I haven't read any spoilers in a while. So I had no proof that EJ would become Nicole's lawyer. I just had that sinking feeling in my stomach that Nicole would want EJ to handle her litigation (among other things). At first I was actually a little ticked that EJ took Nicole's case. There's really no one else that needs a lawyer? Not Chloe? Not John? Heck, what about Paul Hollingsworth? Nope. Just Nicole. But then something dawned on me. EJ could absolutely use this situation to his advantage and win major points with Sami. As far as I can remember, Sami has been the "second choice" girl. She's played second fiddle to Carrie, Lexie, and even Nicole before. But, EJ might just be able to keep Nicole close enough to supply him with enough opportunities to put Sami first. Sure, he's put Sami before his own father, but I think that if he continues to show Nicole that Sami is more important, it will go far with Sami.

As for Sami, Nicole will present a real challenge. I laughed when Sami threw the drink on Nicole. It showed that Sami's saucy side is still in tact. While I do NOT want to see this side of Sami permanently, there's certainly nothing wrong with having a multi-dimensional character. I'm ok with Sami being spunky as long as she doesn't regress into the scheme-a-holic that she was before.

With all that said, I fear that the introduction of Nicole into the mix is yet another move that is going to tick off Lumi fans. We've already seen Sami marry to her rapist; but now we have to watch Sami compete for her rapist's attention. I have no idea what will happen when Lucas comes back, but the fact remains that Johnny is EJ and Sami's son; and, Sami will fight to keep Nicole out of her son's life. This can only mean that Sami will have to distract EJ somehow.

I have to be honest. I had a really hard time scooping this section. I'm really conflicted over this storyline's direction. I love all three of these characters, not to mention the actors. It seems like Alison Sweeney and Arianne Zuker have to be great friends in real life. Even though they were arguing, they had a fun, playful chemistry in that scene. But, I just am really irritated at the thought of Nicole being involved in this storyline. (I think that Nicole has way more potential in the Brady Black storyline.) Despite how much I love watching all three of these characters, I just don't get it. I hope that the writers have something good planned here.

Our favorite songbird, Chloe decided to "hide" from the Austrian authorities in the mansion of one of the world's most powerful and well known businessmen. While hiding at said mansion, she answers phone the house phone; obviously because she has been giving out the number of said hidden mansion to people who wish to contact her and can not reach her on her cell phone. Then, our favorite dumb-bell decided to answer the doorbell. Standing behind door number one were two Austrian officials (or people pretending to be officials), direct from their shopping spree at Accents "R" Us, ready to pick up Chloe for questioning.

I really like Nadia Bjorlin, but can someone please explain to me why Chloe was brought back in the first place? She hasn't really done much yet. Like my partner in crime, Tony, I relished every second of the Nicole/Chloe food fight. But, now that it's over, I'm kinda over Chloe. She's actually the "lite" version of all the great catty female characters on the show. Gold digging man manipulator: Chloe ranks a far second to Nicole. Career girl with a mysterious past: I'll take Kate Roberts any day. Got rid of a man and no one can prove it: three words- Dr. Marlena Evans. A good match for Phillip: enter Miss Morgan Hollingsworth. Seriously, unless Brady is on the Titan jet back to Salem, Chloe doesn't have a lot to do right now.

I'm not going to mention the psuedo-incest. Nope. Not one word about how Caroline agreed to let her son off work so that he could go on a date with her granddaughter. Not even gonna think about how Stephanie is able to successfully recognize both Roman and Bo as her uncles, even though she wasn't raised around them. (Note: Stephanie's use of the words "uncle Roman and uncle Bo".) And, I won't even bother to mention that Max and Stephanie went on a date to Shawn Sr's grave because they both needed to mourn the loss of the same family member. What I will mention is that this relationship needs to STOP RIGHT NOW! YES, THIS IS ME YELLING AT TPTB TO FIX THIS storyline. PLEEEEEASE. I'M GETTING REALLY MAD. Ok, I've stepped away from the caps lock, took a sip of wine, and I can concentrate now. Please forgive the outburst. Here's the crux of the matter: If the kids in charge over at Days want to over look the family history, fine. Because this week I have another reason that this couple needs to head for splitsville- Stephanie and Max are boring and they make each other do bad things.

Quick recap of this week- Max is currently doing community service because he went along with Stephanie's plan to hide a corpse. Stephanie, who apparently has a complete lack of self awareness, showed up at her widowed Grandmother's pub and started sulking over how she hasn't seen Max enough (to a woman who has just lost her own husband.) Really Steph, not cool.

Here's the final kicker, I actually genuinely like both Max and Stephanie individually. Did you notice how good quick Stephanie out-stubborned her mom? Ha! I loved seeing Sweetness Jr. give her parents a taste of their own medicine. And, I think Max is so sweet in all of his scenes with Caroline. I like any scene where Max or Stephanie exudes that endearing combination of Brady family charm and guts. Unfortunately, as long as they continue dating, we have to ignore the fact that they are both members of the Brady family, therefore ignoring the best quality about either one of them. It just doesn't make sense to continue this relationship.

If Chelsea was one of my girlfriends, I would sit her down with a pint of Ben and Jerry's and tell her that she needs to dump Nick. Not because Nick did anything wrong, but because she's clearly not into him anymore. The longer that she spends pity dating him (which is exactly what she's doing right now) she's just going to become increasingly…well…bitchy towards Nick, which he doesn't deserve. Honestly, this is a very natural course for relationships in college. Having eyes for another guy does not make Chelsea a bad person. She doesn't owe Nick anything. For the record, he doesn't need to stay with her either! They're both young, still immature, and this is the time in their lives when they need to break up and move on.

However, even though I am fully advocating a Chelsea/Nick split, I am not in favor of Chelsea going forward with Dr. Dan. I just don't feel that warm and fuzzy about the good doctor. I get that he's cool. He surfs, drives the latest eco-friendly car, and was somehow able to convince the Swedish government to fund a green hospital. Great! But, something is just not right with that guy. Bo warned Dan about Chelsea's crush and Dan immediately agreed to go on a date with her. Then, Dan patronized Nick by saying how cool it was of Nick to question the coffee date motive. If the writers are serious about putting Dan and Chelsea together, they at least need to get Dan in some scenes with people his own age and display how socially awkward Dan is with his peers. This move would make Dan seem genuinely comfortable with Chelsea rather than seeming like the Big Bad Wolf in disguise.

Very few actors have the capability to evoke a physical reaction out of their audience. Just like France Reid has the ability to make me involuntarily smile when she's on screen, when I watch Thaao Penghlis and Leanne Hunley I find myself just waiting to laugh. I know that their storyline is pure fluff and just filler in between John-bot and crazy Ava, but I would argue that never before have two actors done more with so little. This week we found a use for those internship cameras. Tony found out that Anna still misses him. Anna finds out that Tony asked Kate out to dinner. (Sure, he can claim that it was a business dinner, but I don't buy it.) It all resulted is a very awkward phone call and a not-so awkward dinner.

I say not-so awkward dinner, because Anna and Tony got the best relationship advice- from John! John called Anna out when she tried to make Tony jealous by flirting with other men. Then, he told Tony to shape up and realize that Anna is a great woman. Simple, right? Unfortunately for these two, no. We all know couples like Tony and Anna. They are that incredibly passionate duo that can be insanely competitive or blissfully happy. That's just who they are. And, it works for them. Does anyone out there really think that Tony and Anna won't find their way back to each other? I am sure they will. If nothing else, when Stefano wakes up Tony will need Anna's support. Two pig-headed people are always better than one.

What the heck was Kate wearing around her neck? That many ruffles should be illegal on one shirt. I kept hearing Jerry Seinfeld whine, "But I don't wanna be a pirate!"

Anna's list of ways to get your man back:
1. Playing hard to get (a standard, she says)
2. Not returning phone calls (to get the guy to show up at your door with flowers and Chinese take out)
3. Dating someone else
4. Slashing tires (ok, that one was Steph's suggestion)

Isn't there a little professional conflict when Tony is going to represent both Titan and Paul Hollingsworth? Wasn't it Phillip, c/o Titan Shipping Empire, who was the one who exposed Hollingsworth's little blackmail blunder?

EJ and Sami were having a discussion about how much money they don't have, while standing in the middle of Chez Rouge wearing formal attire. Gotta love soaps!

From a practical standpoint, this writing on the John storyline is genius. Normally I consider myself on step ahead of soap storylines (yes, I know that isn't saying much) but this one caught me off guard. Imagine if you were a soap writer and you had an actor (Drake) who was not happy with his character anymore and wants off the soap. The problem is that you HAVE to keep him around for fear that viewers tar and feather your whole family; and, the actor is so synonymous with a role that there's no way you could get away with having him play anyone else. So, you have to find a way to change every characteristic about the character, but still keep him married to the same woman and interacting with the same characters. Guess what? The writers did it on this one. Proper credit should be given to Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn who handle this twisted storyline so well.
I don't really like the fact that Bo isn't letting the police get involved with Hope's disappearance. He's a …whatda call it…oh yeah….a police officer! He's given the speech to Sami a gazillion times about how she shouldn't take matters into her own hands, yet he's ready to go after Hope by himself. Sure, he's always been creative with the law before, but to flat out ignore everything that he's built his career on seems dumb.
Phillip, seeing Nicole heading over to Sami's table worries, "Maybe I should tell Maggie to hide the crystal."
I'd like to invite you all to join Tony and me in the first annual: "Take Your Friend to Salem Day"
April 21st is my best friend Jamie's birthday. She is the one who got me started on Days. In honor of her upcoming birthday, and in light of how uber-awesome Days has been (and it will only continue to get better through May sweeps), I'd like to encourage readers to introduce Days to a friend over the next two weeks. Maybe it's your lunch break friend at work (turn on NBC during those breaks). Maybe it's a family member who you can't find anything else in common with- but want to try. Or, maybe it's the significant other- which will give you a chance to learn something about the other person. I just think it's time to raise our Days flags and spread the gospel of Brady- or at least share the laughs and crazy drama in Salem. Check out my blog or Tony's blog for more details. If you would, leave us feedback about how your Days sharing went.

Happy viewing!

Need more Two Scoops? Head over to read blogs by Laurisa or Tony for more ranting, raving, and all-out randomness

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