Part two of a two-part look back at the events of the past year in Salem. This week, our columnists discuss the worst that Days of our Lives had to offer in 2009.
Sometimes the truth hurts. But not as much as it hurt to watch parts of DAYS this year! (Ba-dum-ching!) Unless you were shoved in a morgue drawer for all of 2009, you had to notice that certain parts of our beloved soap weren't as bright and shiny as usual. That's where Tony and I come in! Never let it be said that we are too blinded by love not to speak up when characters behave like tools.
Yes, some parts of DAYS were excruciatingly painful. And just like the award's namesake, there are some characters and storylines that should never have been unleashed on nice viewers like all of us. But the good news is that we all went through it together. So, team up with us one more time to look back on the ideas that fell just short of greatness.
A few behind the column stuff that you should know. First, Tony and I made every effort not to choose the same "winner" for any category, as to spread the "love" around. Second, characters can only win one individual category from each of us. (Rafe and Dr. Dan can start putting together our gift basket now. I like wine. Tony likes ice cream.) Finally, this is all in good fun. We all know that at the end of the day, Tony and I will be watching every minute of DAYS no matter how cranky we may sound. Speaking of which…let's get started!
WORST NEW CHARACTER
Tony: Father Matt
Even though I'm playing Chicken with hell for my selection, I have to confess that I feel the good father turned out to be not-so-good Danloe Roadkill. Like most of the storyline, he left me rolling my eyes and screaming "Come on!" at the TV. He was a priest, yet basically okayed Chloe's affair with a shoulder shrug, a hearty belly-laugh, and a mantra of, "Well, you gave your marriage the ol' college try." Really, Father Matt!? Really
!? I must have dozed off while watching DAYS between January and September because I don't remember Chloe ever doing "all she could do," as he once suggested. Now, I'm not saying he should have dammed her to an eternity in hell, but I'm pretty sure a priest wouldn't pardon an affair - at least without some major penance (and a suggestion that Chloe pick up some penicillin for whatever Dr. Dan probably gave her). All that I'm saying is that Father Jansen wouldn't have let that slide on his watch.
Part of her storyline was to illustrate the dangers of drunk driving. Personally, I think she did more to discourage the youth of America from being such a busybody gossip. It didn't help that Mia, Chad, Tad, Gabi, and Will are all surprisingly likeable characters. Kinsey stuck out like a sore thumb when she shared scenes with her fellow Salem High classmates. I couldn't help but smile when we finally got the shot of Kinsey in the hospital, neck brace and all, rendered incapable of stirring up trouble. It's the same happy feeling I got when Gollum finally fell off that cliff. That jerk shouldn't have been trying to butt into other people's business either.
WORST "SPECIAL GUEST STAR" CHARACTER
Tony: "Airline Passenger"
It broke my '80s-loving heart that Edie McClurg, better known as the secretary from Ferris Bueller's Day Off
and Mrs. Poole from the sitcom Valerie
-- later known as Valerie's Family
and known even later as The Hogan Family
-- didn't have a scene with Josh Taylor, who played the sitcom's patriarch, Michael Hogan. Boo! Instead, she sat beside Kate and annoyed her. Karmic justice for Kate, but I didn't feel all that special after her guest stint. At least we eventually got a subtle shout-out when Cleveland's Chief of Police, "Officer Hogan," shared a scene with Roman. That made up for it - a little.
Laurisa: Dr. Craig Wesley
Not only did Craig appear without my precious Nancy, but Chloe was unconscious during his entire stint on the show. Furthermore, he shared zero scenes with Brady and hardly said boo to his old friend, Lexie. Good thing he was there to tell off Lucas, though! Because if there's one thing we need in Salem, it's someone else thinking that they can make decisions for Lucas.
Tony: Meredith Hudson
While I'm all for the crazy and kooky, I thought Meredith's return fell incredibly short. She knocked Rafe around. She walled him up. She knocked him around some more and tossed him in the river. Excuse me while I absolutely do not snicker about all of that for a moment.
Now, I aced Soap 101, so I get that I'm supposed to buy a straight-forward revenge plot - her sister died and she blamed Rafe. But there were too many unanswered questions left for my taste. The reasons were never revealed why she wanted revenge in the first place. How did Rafe supposedly kill Emily? Why did Meredith think that? What changed Meredith's mind if they'd all been so close before Emily's death…so close, in fact, that they shared a super-special spot in the woods!? Her return and revenge should have been a vehicle for viewers to learn more about Rafe's past. Instead, it was a Baby-Swap stall-tactic that did little for either storyline.
Laurisa: Justin Kiriakis
Wally Kurth is dimply delicious and can certainly pull his acting weight with the rest of the Kirkiakis players. Plus, the idea of Justin coming back to defend Daniel was all kinds of exciting. Unfortunately, Daniel's trial never happened. We never got to see Justin in the courtroom. We never even got to see Justin inside the Titan office. Instead, Justin had to play the role of go-between for Bo and Hope. And, it left me wondering how much it really does bother him that he always has to be comforting his cousin's wife…
WORST VETERAN CHARACTER
Tony: Abe Carver
Mr. Mayor made me raise an eyebrow several times this year -- and not in a good "John Black" type of way. I believe he was simply stressed-out about his duties, but more often than not, he came across as mean and ornery -- and not in the good "Victor Kiriakis" type of way. Yet I wouldn't have minded seeing that crankier side of Abe if
we saw more of him to explain it. As it was, Abe seemed like he had multiple personalities. And it was jarring.
Generally speaking, I think it was missed storyline potential. Try this on -- a new mayor struggling to find solutions to problems he inherited during a huge economic crisis, all the while dealing with rule-bending cops, an autistic son, and a wife whose father is his sworn enemy. That could have been interesting. Therefore, I suggest the writers either pen Abe some more airtime next year or spoon-feed him some Activia to correct his irregularity.
Laurisa: Sami Brady
I shudder with terror when I realize that Sami's transition into Marlena 2.0 is nearly complete. The lovable lunatic that I used to enjoy is now a shrieking wimp who can't make a move without a Roboman by her side. I'm dumbfounded. Sami's never needed anyone's help finding out a secret before. Sami's never let her guard down when it came to Nicole before. Sami's never been so lax when it comes to pursuing what she wants. Sami's never been reduced to a prop for a half-baked character. Being too stupid and clueless to start conflict doesn't mean that Sami has "matured." It just means that the writers have made "me angry."
THICK AS A BRICK AWARD
(Typically smart characters acting, well, stupid)
Tony: Dr. Daniel Jonas
It's actually scary how unaware Dr. Douche is. He's a brilliant surgeon, no doubt, but he's pretty much a dense dimwit and general failure as a human being. And no matter how many ways the writers tried to spin it, he was wrong for going after a married woman. Yet the character never acknowledged that - not even remotely. He had no remorse. He honestly believed what he and Chloe did was right. He blamed things on fate and on Lucas, but never took responsibility for his actions. I think that's kind of lame, especially since he's all about "manning up." But in his mind, I guess that advice only works when said to his lover's husband. Not cool, Dr. Duh, not cool at all.
Laurisa: E.J. DiMera
Really, how many excuses was this guy supposed to take? He can't sleep in the same room with Nicole because the temptation to hit the sheets with her will be too powerful to overcome. Shady doctors make house calls when everyone in the house is in their jammies. Brady just always happens to be hanging around at the exact moment Nicole has one of her hormonal pregnancy moments. And Nicole and Stefano always have secret heated discussions in the living room over a "present" for E.J. Riiiight. Just once, I wish E.J. would have asked a follow-up question. My suggestion: "What the hell are you talking about?!?!"
Tony: Men in Suits
I'm not going to argue that a soap stud in a nice suit is not drool-worthy, but I think DAYS needs to take a step away from all the jackets and ties. Besides, men are always dressed for the office yet are never shown working. But seriously, daytime has always been a vehicle for women's fashion trends, and I absolutely get that. But there's a fashion-loving population of men who watch soaps, too. With that said, I don't want to see E.J. running around in an aubergine ascot or carrying a man-purse, but a little more variety would be nice.
Laurisa: Melanie Layton
Here's the thing -- these particular powers that be need to get a grasp on reality when it comes to age differences. For the record, I think Molly Burnett is sensationally adorable. But, putting her in purple boots and a two-toned purple cheetah print sweater set is not doing her (or anyone over the age of 4) any favors. Since Philip is always dressed for a board room meeting, the resulting couple looks like what would happen if Mr. Big tried to date Polly Pocket.
MOST LIKELY SCAPEGOAT
(the character who gets blamed for … well … everything)
Tony: Gabi Hernandez
While there were others who were blamed for things more frequently, poor Gabi barely made it out of the starting gate before being blamed for helping Nicole. At one point, I thought a few Salemites were going to chase her to the bell tower with torches and pitchforks. Granted, she garnered some apologies later, but if that were my introduction to Salem, I'd take Ari's advice and go back to where I came from. Stay strong, Young Hernandez!
Laurisa: Dr. Charlotte Taylor
Sure, she didn't get blamed for a massive number of things. But, she got the granddaddy of all blame-taking assignments. When the news broke that Drake Hogestyn and Deirdre Hall were let go, fans knew that the writers would have to do some FAST tap dancing to get John back to being a non-jerk so that Marlena would take him back and they could ride off into the sunset together. Someone had to be the bad guy. So, was there any doubt that the unenviable job would go to the beautiful blonde Dr. Taylor? The once-helpful doctor took a hard right turn into psychoville where the crazy-in-love broad suddenly tried to take John - dead or alive - away from Marlena. And with that, she became the most obvious scapegoat in 2009.
(the writers keep trying, but keep striking out)
Tony: Stephanie Johnson
On paper, I should love Stephanie. She has Steve's courage, Kayla's charm, and Caroline's feistiness. But that's on paper. On-screen, Steph is a bit of a hot mess. Mostly, it's her indecisiveness and that ugly and somewhat hypocritical self-righteous streak. I can't handle that…at all. It's maddening and cancels out any moments of awesomeness the character might otherwise have throughout the year. And, ironically, Stephanie did have her awesome moments, but unfortunately, the writers didn't seem to know when to stop petting the rabbits. They petted and petted and petted and ended up squeezing the life out of Stephanie, and what was left was the gunk nobody wants.
Laurisa: Rafe Hernandez
In the absence of John Black and Steve Johnson, it's obvious that the writers are trying to recast the rebel-with-a-cause role. So, I know that the writers want me to like Rafe. And he's going through all the motions. He told Sami that Nicole switched babies, and encouraged Will to give Sami a break. Yet, Rafe just irks the living hell out of me.
Despite the fact that Rafe is willing to do these grand gestures, he can't do little things like tell Sami that he had a sister -- a conversation so common that I've had it with my dry cleaner, Rafe doesn't bother to have with the woman he "loves." Furthermore, he can't do big things like explain to his girlfriend where he disappeared to for weeks. Most rational, thinking people would see that as a deal-breaker.
The problem is, once the shiny newness wears off a character, the viewers need to be left with some sort of core to the character. We won't just care about him because he's sleeping with a leading lady. Right now, the only thing that is consistent about Rafe is that he does things, 100%, on his own terms. If we knew why, Rafe could be very interesting. But since the writers didn't develop that part of his character, Rafe comes across as a wannabe hero who is really just a big bully.
BROKEN RECORD AWARD
(In case you didn't hear it the first five thousand times…..)
Tony: Philip Kiriakis and Stephanie Johnson
This is a case where it's hard to blame one and not the other. The Stephanie-induced rounds of "I will always love you, but I can't be with you" had the same maddening qualities as being a lifeguard at a public pool and hearing, "Marco!? Polo!" for eight hours straight. Of course, Philip's contributions weren't any better. He enabled her to keep the cycle going by trying to win her back with the same old song-and-dance schmooze-fest. I enjoyed them as a couple while they lasted, but all the subsequent reboots were hard on the ears.
Laurisa: Nicole "You're doing it for Sydney" Walker
She used that excuse so much it should have no elastic left in it. There are scuff marks all over it and I'm pretty sure the left heel is broken. She used the excuse so much that I think she may have started to believe it herself. And while I loved nearly every minute of Arianne Zucker in the role, Nicole's constant delusion that she was actually doing this for the betterment of a helpless child was a bit maddening. She did every single thing for herself. Nicole wanted E.J. Nicole wanted to best Sami. Nicole wanted a family. Sydney was just a means to an end. I half expect Sydney's first words to be, "Yo, lady! Leave me out of this!"
MOST REGRESSED CHARACTER
Tony: Lucas Horton
For a man who's been repeatedly burned by his mother, I can't for the life of me figure out why Lucas was initially dead-set against the idea that Kate could have such killer ambitions for Chloe. No one wants to believe a loved one could be a killer, but, geez, he acted like Kate was
Mother Theresa or something. In fact, he pretty much led a chant of, "My mother could never do that!
" I believe Teenage Lucas would have been that naïve, but that denial coming from Adult Lucas, who's seen his Mommy Dearest's devastation firsthand, made the character look like a chump. And let's face it - even as early as the end of January, Lucas had already cemented the victory for Salem's Biggest Loser. He didn't need to be sucker-punched by that nugget of stupidity as well.
Laurisa: Philip Kiriakis
Think about it this way: Philip is a former Marine who served two tours in the Middle East where he saw battle so bad that his leg and his face were blown off. Philip has an ex-wife. Philip saw one child through a life-saving liver transplant. Philip has another child who he gave up for adoption after going cross-country to find him. Philip is the acting CEO of one of Salem's most powerful companies. Philip rescued his ex-fiancée from being held hostage by a mentally disturbed man. Philip just proposed to a 19-year-old simply because he thinks, with her, he won't have to try to grow as a person. Which sentence seems out of place?
MOST UNDERUTILIZED CHARACTER
Tony: Roman Brady
Since Shawn Sr.'s death, the Brady family has been missing a patriarch. In fact, Salem in general is missing a straight-laced father figure. Unfortunately, the Incredible Invisible Mickey doesn't count, even though he's married to Salem's newest go-to matriarch, Maggie. Sorry, Mick, Salem needs a flesh-and-blood man to fill the role. I nominate Roman, who could have had a lot more to do this year if he'd been given the chance. He's been a pillar of the community for years. He's fought crime and corruption. Heck, he was strong enough to survive Sami's teenage years. That alone should prove he knows a thing or two and could easily dish out his own brand of shot-from-the-hip "fatherly" advice. But, alas, Roman was sidelined and popped up about as often as Punxsutawney Phil. Next year, I hope he gets to put on the patriarch pants and help Salem's unfortunates, because Maggie can't round up the crazies alone.
Laurisa: Caroline Brady
The show took grand steps to solidify the heads of the major families in Salem, not just as figureheads, but as real, on-screen characters with storylines and everything! We saw Victor running the Kiriakis men. We watched Stefano risk everything to keep the DiMeras united. We proudly cheered as Maggie picked up the Horton banner and ran with it. And we fear the wrath of Kate should any of us decide to screw with the Roberts clan. So, why is it that the Bradys -- who still outnumber any other family in Salem -- don't have that kind of a visual leader? Caroline is seen once in a blue moon. Right now, her claim to fame is watching the twins six out of seven days a week. I'm thinking the show could do more with her.
MOST OVER-UTILIZED CHARACTER
Tony: Chloe Lane-Horton
Nadia Bjorlin is never an imposition on the eyes, but I can't say the same for her on-screen alter-ego. I think the only time I enjoyed Chloe this year was when she was in a coma. Wait! I can't even say that because even her coma included steamy, panting Dr. Dan fantasies. And that was part of the reason why the Chloemeister captured this award. There was just way too much of a not-so-good thing. I didn't buy "Danloe." I didn't buy Chloe's newfound religious streak and park outings with God. I didn't buy that Chloe was ever even remotely confused about her feelings, as she seemed more flat-out guilty over her lust-filled Dr. Dan daydreams than conflicted about which man she wanted. Yes, there was a lot of stuff I couldn't buy, but the writers kept inundating us with Chloe Coupons in the most aggressive sales campaign I've seen since Bed Bath & Beyond. Unfortunately, I couldn't shove Chloe into a coupon drawer and forget about her until I needed some moderately priced bedding. Drats!
Laurisa: Dr. Daniel Jonas
When he's not curing Kate's cancer, he's smooching Lucas' wife. And, when he's not sleeping with Chloe, he's breaking the news to Sami that Grace has bacterial meningitis. And, when he's not coping with the loss of a patient, he's searching for proof that Kate poisoned Chloe. And, when he's not being framed for murder, he's enlisting Brady, Melanie, and Nathan's help to save Chloe's life. And, just when I thought he was getting a rest for a while, BAM! He's old buddies with Carly. Of Course!
WORST SHOCKING "WHAT THE &%$#?" MOMENT
Tony: See-You-Later, Steve and Kayla!
I ate at Chipotle the other day. This morning I did laundry. And I have to return a library book. Oh, and by the way, you know Steve and Kayla? You do! Well, they're gone - they moved to some third-world country. Now, let me tell you all about my new shoes…
And I think I just gave Steve and Kayla's non-exit exit more attention that the writers did. Although I don't think I made my example casual enough. Come to think of it, I'm actually surprised the news wasn't mentioned even more unceremoniously in a text message. Sadly, I can't even tell you on how many different levels this hurts.
First, you don't kick a superstar super-couple to the curb and then casually fade them out like fans wouldn't notice. Guess what? We did - and we didn't like it! And it was as ill-timed as it was unceremonious. Stephanie had mega drama going on. Kayla was still recovering from a gunshot wound - one inflicted upon her by her best friend. And, as Laurisa mentioned to me, there's the "little" fact that Baby Joe "I had so many health problems I couldn't come home from the hospital until I was 12" Johnson hardly seems ready for hut living. All in all, it was a vicious crime against Steve and Kayla fans, but unfortunately, the suspect is still at large (and in charge).
Laurisa: Daniel passing judgment on Lucas
Daniel telling Chloe that Lucas filing for annulment was the "first mature decision Lucas has made in months" was totally bogus. I love Shawn Christian, but Daniel needed to shut his stupid cheating mouth about anything having to do with Lucas. We all know that Daniel lives by his own book of "Morals by Daniel Jonas: An Alternative Interpretation of Questionable Mate Choices". But, I really thought Daniel was smart enough to just be thankful that Lucas let Chloe off the hook so easily. I was wrong.
Tony: Dr. Daniel Jonas and Chloe Lane-Horton
I've seen more meaningful relationships develop between two strangers in line for the restroom at a nightclub just before last call than I did develop between Dr. Duh and Ho-E. "Danloe" walked like lust. They swam like lust. And they quacked like lust. So, I'm fairly sure it was lust and not the "true love" the writers desperately wanted us to believe it was. Sadly, the writers could have just went with a straight-out "I'm hot for you, I know it's wrong, but come here and let's do it!"-type approach. That would have been more believable, and much less insulting, to the viewers.
Laurisa: Nicole Walker and E.J. DiMera
Nicole and E.J. were a debacle of epic proportions. This good-looking, vertically gifted pair should have been scorching hot. Instead, they were a cold flop. And never was this flop more evident than this year, when Nicole had better chemistry with EVERYONE but E.J. She had better romantic chemistry with Brady. She had better comedic chemistry with Dr. Baker. She had better scheming chemistry with Stefano. And while that left Nicole with a heaping pile of awesomeness, it meant that all E.J. could do was sit there and look pretty. Good thing James Scott has that down pat.
(They either died or departed, but their farewells were less than stellar)
Tony: Tony DiMera
DAYS monopolized the "Mishandled Exit" market this year. For example, there were John and Marlena, and Steve and Kayla. But those can be somewhat excused as far as on-screen exits are concerned. "Jarlena" got re-married and left together. Not under ideal circumstances, but better than nothing…which is exactly what Steve and Kayla got. Therefore, I can't consider their send-off the worst because they didn't have one. That leaves Tony!
If you thought I was annoyed last year when he and Anna married off-screen
, you can only imagine my level of annoyance that Tony died without Anna by his side. That was one nasty sucker punch to the junk on the writers' behalf if there ever was one. I mean, it was bad enough that Tony became Baby-Swap collateral damage. That was the deep, painful wound, and Anna's absence was the salt being ground into it. Fans didn't even get one teary-eyed farewell or vintage Tony-and-Anna flashback. Nope, nothing…and that was just cruel for longtime Thaao, and Tony and Anna, fans.
Laurisa: Max Brady
I get that Emmy Winning Actor Darrin Brooks wanted to try his hand at something else. But, I don't get why TPTB chose to send off the character at a time when he had real promise. Max had just started a relationship with his sister, Melanie. He just got accepted to medical school. And he just started to reconcile that his intelligence is the direct result of DNA he unfortunately shares with '08 Best Villain, Trent Robbins. I think a recast could have worked very well in this situation.
Instead, Max had these bizarre scenes with both Bo and Melanie for the sole purpose of pointing out that Max wasn't proposing to Chelsea, but he was just taking their relationship to another level. I gotta say that the "move to a different country to help your girlfriend/niece take care of her invalid mother" step is a pretty big deal. That's like saying, "I'm trying to lose weight, I'm just going to eat better and exercise more and see what happens."
I DIDN'T GET IT AWARD
(Umm right. What just happened and where did it come from - not sure)
Tony: Broken Bope - Hope's Head-Scratching Hissy-Fits!
So, Hope revealed she still has unresolved issues with Bo over Zach's death. Keep in mind, that's AFTER they had another child together - a child he was willing to help her raise even if it wasn't his. That's AFTER Hope and Chelsea completely made up and bonded. That's AFTER she held an around-the-clock vigil for him when he nearly died from rare and mysterious pancreatic problems. That's AFTER she stood by Bo when he hid evidence for Philip. Heck, that's even AFTER they had a vow renewal. Now - all those "afters" later - we're supposed to believe she was secretly resenting him that entire time? Riiiiiight. I just don't get it.
Laurisa: Stephanie's Anti-Kiriakis Stance
Stephanie just couldn't bring herself to marry the man she says she'll always love because she couldn't be a part of his family. Hmmm…strange. She had no problem with Lucas, Bo, Brady, Justin, or Kate. She was a-okay with taking a job working for Titan - the Kiriakis family business. And she seemed to forget that her own aunt/ex-roommate, Adrianne, is the happy mother of four Kiriakis men. Clearly, by "family," Steph just meant Victor. And who can blame her? It's not like Victor has ever done anything for her. Nope, it's not like he helped her, Chelsea, and all their friends out with that whole Ford Decker thing. Yup, it's better that Stephanie stay far, far away from any and all things potentially evil. Duke Earl Johnson's granddaughter must uphold her fine, family reputation.
WORST STORYLINE RESOLUTION
Tony: The Danloe Saga, Staring Lucas Horton as The Biggest Loser
Of all the ways the Danloe Saga could have ended, the writers seemed to pick the one that utterly destroyed any awesomeness that was left in Lucas. The guy was simply pathetic by the end of a storyline that should have yielded sympathy for him. I mean, really, Chloe cheated and lied, Maggie kept quiet, Dr. Dan lied and succeeded in stealing his wife, and his mother's evil acts are too numerous to list. But LUCAS was the one who had to "make amends" with everyone. What the frick is that all about!? Not only that, he fell off the wagon, had to go to rehab, and the first thing he did upon getting out was to yell at Chloe and have to apologize - again!
Laurisa: Rafe's Secret
Apparently, it was such a humdinger of a past that Arianna made reference to it the second she learned Rafe was dating Sami. It was so large that Sami and Rafe broke up multiple times over it. It was so powerful that a seemingly normal woman went completely cuckoo and tried to brick Rafe up in a wall over it. It was hidden so deep that Stefano DiMera himself could only get part of it. Yet, it's not important enough for the writers to tell us what it is. Instead, they expect us to ignore that they ever brought it up. Sorry, chumps. Just because Sami is foolish enough to forget about it doesn't mean that I am.
WORST WASTE OF A STORYLINE
Tony: John Black Gets His Memory Back
I see this differently than John and Marlena's exit. The exit was atrocious, but what we missed out on after John got his memory back because he was shipped to Lugano makes things a lot worse. Here are some of the things we never got to see: The John we've "known" for twenty-plus years deal with being a DiMera. That alone would have been huge! Also, we didn't see John confronting Stefano for torturing him and erasing his mind. We didn't see Stefano being brought to any kind of justice. We didn't see John dealing with "RoboJohn's" shenanigans, such as sleeping with Ava and becoming a heartless tyrant. Nor did we see John's reaction to being a Brady. We didn't get a chance to learn anything about his past between being adopted by the Alamains and becoming Stefano's pawn. Nope, nada. Instead, we were left with a quick "see ya!" and a lot of unanswered questions. What. A. Waste.
Laurisa: The Kent Family
I thought that Wes Ramsey's portrayal of a guy interrupted was pitch-perfect brilliant. He was part Lenny from "Mice and Men," part Dauber from "Coach," and part Jason Morgan from "General Hospital." And I like all those guys! Then, TPTB thought enough to bring in soap vet Gordon Thomson as the deliciously daffy Walter Kent, which lead me to believe that the writers would do more with the Kent family. Perhaps they could explain how a DiMera mole happened to get so close to the Kiriakis family. Or maybe there was more behind why Walter mumbled something about Owen not living up to his brother's standard. Sadly, none of that happened. Owen vanished into thin air. Supposedly Walter is still running the funeral home in Salem (which has to be a booming business since people in Salem have at least 3 funerals each!)
Tony: John and Marlena - The End
No matter how it's spun, John and Marlena's exit was a hasty spit in the face to fans (and the actors). Now, I'm not going to be a hypocrite. I will admit that I never worshiped at the altar of "Jarlena." I enjoyed them for the most part, but they weren't always my cup of tea. But with that said, I've always appreciated the iconic presence of the characters, been thankful for the attention they brought to DAYS, and, of course, been wowed by the talents of both Drake Hogestyn and diva-licious Deidre Hall. Therefore, I was shocked and appalled by the speedy Storyline Express
which ushered them out of Salem along with Sandra Robinson, a soap veteran in her own right, who was also hastily written out.
A majorly convoluted, nonsensical backstory, rushed goodbyes, hurried nuptials, and a notable absence of core characters hardly seemed right. But then again, hardly any aspect of it was right. You see, Dr. Charlotte Taylor hated Doc Evans because her father was Marlena's college mentor - sometime before 1976, mind you - and Char was crazy jealous of that relationship. And because of that, she tried to kill Mar-Mar, but John (literally) stepped in and took the needle full of crazy. That nearly killed him, and left him paraplegic, but subsequently brought his memory back -- thus sealing a light-speed reconciliation for John and Marlena. All of that action was without Sami present (and a less-than-stellar mention that "she'd understand" Marlena's departure), but with Roman having a front-row seat for one last twist of the knife. Um, right, there's not enough wine in a bottle to make sense of this one, and that's why it's my selection for Worst Storyline of the Year.
Laurisa: Bope's Separation
Want me to sit through Bo's visions? Fine. I like Peter Reckell so I'll play along. Want me to watch little Theo, Ciara, and Tracey terrorized? Okay. I know it's make-believe so I'll deal with it. I actually enjoyed Nick Stable's performance as the unstable (hehe) Dean Hartman. BUT, if I thought for one second that all that good drama was going to lead to Hope turning into a blubbering, jealous, irrational jackass, I would not have gone along with any of this.
I still haven't figured out how at the end of the day Hope is justified in moving out and taking Ciara with her. When Ciara's therapist suggested that a hostile environment could be bad for Ciara, I firmly believe she was hinting that Hope and Bo should remove the hostility, not remove Ciara! Then, they had to go up and drag out Zach's death and throw that in Bo's face one more time, which seemed down-right cold on Hope's part.
Finally, and most egregious of all, did the writers really think that Crystal Chappell needed help getting attention from viewers? Did they really think that we'd only notice her if she was shoved into a love triangle? Puh-lease! Carly could have returned to Salem to sell plumbing insulation and we'd still watch her. The love triangle is a huge mistake. I can't help but wonder about the awesome storyline that would have been if Bo and Hope teamed up to help Carly. Oh well. Carly/Hope vs. Vivian probably wouldn't have been that interesting anyway.
We'd like to thank you all for joining us on this bumpy trip down memory lane. As always, characters are encouraged to study these notes, and email us for further suggestions on how not to suck. Tony and I are glad to help. It's our civic duty and all.
Seriously, we'd like to thank you for laughing and joking with us for another year. Please keep the feedback coming, as we love to hear from fellow TV junkies. We hope that you all have a safe and happy New Year. Let's all toast to a successful 2010 in Salem! Cheers!
Until next time, please be sure to check out the other year-end Two Scoops columns for other soaps. Over the past two weeks, all of the columnists have been reflecting on the best and worst of 2009. It's definitely a fun read -- even if you aren't familiar with all of the soaps!
Plus, feel free to head over to the soapcentral.com message boards and join in the discussion about the highs and lows of the year gone by. And, if you're feeling prolific, start your own blog and offer your own take on the Two Scoops' best and worst edition. If we like what you write, you might just see your comments posted here!
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.