My husband's birthday was last Friday and I bought him a smoker. If I'm lucky, he'll use it to make his amazing smoked pulled-pork. The thing is a work of beauty. He brines the whole pork shoulder in a mixture of salt, water, and molasses for eight hours. Then, he slow smokes the pork over apple wood chips for twelve hours, during which time he periodically sprays the shoulder with a mix of apple juice and brandy. And although it takes nearly 24 hours to make, it's well worth the wait.
Of course, we could just get some pulled pork from the grocery store, dress it up with a little liquid smoke, and call it a day. But why? Seriously, why? Why would we settle for a second-rate imitation of something that we know we can make better? It just seems foolish to rush to the end product when we know that the work is worth it.
I can't say the same about the writers of my beloved DAYS. They rushed through a lot of character development this week and opted for cheap plot tricks. I am not a happy scooper. Don't get me wrong, I'm still drinking the DAYS Kool-aid. The problem last week was that I had to mix a little vodka with it.
RAFE and SAMI
I'm not going to get into too much of a rant about the Safe reunion, mainly because I'm not fond of the taste of vomit in my mouth. But, anyone watching the shows could see that the writers plugged too much nonsense into what was supposed to be a romantic victory for Safe.
I've got bigger bones to pick.
My first problem is that I didn't feel bad for Sami and Rafe. I grew entirely too angry watching them prance around Salem like they were victims. I call BS. Sami and Rafe never let E.J. know that he had a child. Rafe even forged documents so he could adopt Sami's baby, knowing full well that she was E.J.'s daughter. How they think they are in any position to judge E.J. is beyond me.
But, my main problem is that Sami Brady -- a character that I've watched for almost two decades -- was reduced to being a desperate, stupid, silly woman with no brains at all. She decided that spending the night with the Old Spice Man is more immediately pressing than planning a future with her kids and figuring out a way to get her children through the hell that she's personally put them through.
Then, she accepted a marriage proposal from a man less than 24 hours after ending her engagement to another. I'd like to think that Safe's engagement means that Sami is plotting ahead to ensure that Rafe won't be able to testify against her even when he uncovers the truth about who shot E.J. But I'm not hopeful. That move would mean that Sami would be considering consequences more than five minutes ahead, and we know that these writers don't want Sami to think for herself.
Finally, and most putrid of all, Sami literally took a break in between rounds of sex with Rafe to shoot E.J. in the head. Is she so desperate for love that not even attempted murder can calm her libido? Gross.
STEFANO and KATE
If I wasn't so skeptical to trust the writers, I might have bought the angst between Kate and Stefano. She's always been one to fight for her family -- especially when someone else poses a threat to them. So, sure, Kate would certainly want to keep Ali and Will from losing their siblings. But, I couldn't shake the feeling that the fight was all for the sake of the plot.
The plot point, of course, being that Kate needed to preach about the dirty disrespect that comes when spouses keep things from each other. She must do so to the point that Kate sounds like such a complete fool that I had no choice but to yell back at my television, "Shut UP! You're keeping Stefano's SON from him for no good reason at all!!!"
On the very bright side, Lauren Koslow finally got something to do other than stand around and look amazing. She got to act -- and she ran with it. I rarely feel that Lauren gets the kudos that she so richly deserves. The woman has successfully played opposite of John Aniston, James Scott, and now Joseph Mascolo. Lesser actresses would have let their character slip into supporting status. But, Lauren holds her ground. It's one of the things that makes Kate so delicious to watch.
NATHAN and MELANIE
Really? Looking into her eyes let him know that everything would be okay? REALLY?!?! Even after a bottle of wine and a Meg Ryan marathon, I would still giggle at that one. These two need something better to do than repeat this same stinking pattern.
How about having them go to other free clinics and actually meet someone there who is in need of help? Why don't the two of them help keep an eye on Chez Rouge while Maggie's gone? Since Melanie just reconnected with her biological father, what about Nathan finally deciding to look for his?
I get that they have to stay connected so Melanie has somewhere to turn when she finds out Philip cheated. But can they at least do it in a way that entertains me? Pretty please?
I love Peggy McKay, and I think she did a fine job with what she was given. But the writers would do themselves a favor to remember that there is a difference between whiny and feisty. When Caroline called her own grandson dumb -- and meant it -- she got a first class ticket on the annoying train.
Why didn't Caroline bother to bring up the terrible things that Stefano has done to Roman, Hope, Marlena, John, and Steve (just to name a few)? This feud isn't about Sami. In fact, Sami's gotten off easy in the grand scale of Stefano DiMera Terror. I get that Caroline is mad, and she has every right to be. But, use some of the show's facts instead of making Grandma Brady sound bitter and vindictive.
Quick programming note -- it wasn't ALL bad. My inner Grinch took a nap for at least 15 minutes and I was able to enjoy parts of DAYS.
Maggie told Brady to get a real job -- that he picks for himself -- and move out of Victor's house. I'm sure that she also meant to tell him to shave his grief beard, but we just didn't see that part yet. As much as I love the connection between the Kiriakis boys, I completely agreed with Maggie. Brady needs to develop some other aspect to his character. The nice guy who gets run over by women usually doesn't fare too well. Just ask Lucas.
Once upon a time, Brady was a music producer and a talent manager. What if Brady reopened Doug's Place and scouted new talent at open mic night? What if it turns out that Chad is a killer singer for some new group? (Bonus points for getting Casey Diedrick's real-life band on the show.) Their newfound friendship could become even more important when Chad learns he's Stefano's son and needs someone else who knows what's it's like to suddenly be told that you're a DiMera.
I felt bad for E.J. It's not because I'm a fan of James Scott and his brilliant acting. It's not because I want Safe together about as much as I want a cheap-wine hangover. And, it's certainly not because I understand why E.J. wanted revenge on Sami.
I felt bad for E.J. because I actually got to watch his character deal with the guilt over what he'd done. I've been watching it for months now. I watched him get disgusted with himself for not being able to see his scam through, and I watched him resent the day he ever thought the scam was a good idea. I watched him accept the fact that he was second choice to Rafe and wait for Sami to come around. I watched the genuine joy in him when he was with his family.
The writers let me see all that. And it made a difference when the house of cards fell right on top of Elvis. This is the one bright spot in the whole plot that should be repeated in all other aspects, wherever possible.
Vivian's still moving forward with her plan to burry Maggie alive. Underwhelmed would be an upgrade for my current emotion towards this recycled storyline. Maybe Maggie will find a secret passage underneath the Kiriakis vault that ends up in the hanger that holds Rex and Cassie's spaceship. Some kind of twist has to be coming.
As one of the few people on the planet who doesn't want Carly tarred and feathered, I was glad to see her get some time to be the good guy. I loved her telling Bo that she's okay with stepping down, if that's what he wants. At this point, I'll be ticked if Bo continues to string her along.
Arianna's days on DAYS are numbered and it's a damn shame. She seems to be the only one who has any sense in the whole town. I'm a firm member of her camp. I don't think what E.J. did was right by any means. But Sami and Rafe are hardly blameless in this whole thing. So, I appreciate that she hesitated joining in on their pity party.
I'm a little surprised by how freely Stephanie volunteered the names of the people involved in the paternity swap. Dr. Daniel "Miracle Worker" Jonas and Philip "Mini-Titan" Kiriakis are very well known people in Salem. Ian seems like a nice enough guy, but he's probably going to at least mention that juicy gossip to his Dungeons and Dragons party at some point.
I LOVE that Nicole is bunking with Daniel and Chloe. I haven't been so excited for a set of roommates since Jack, Janet, and Chrissy. Like Tony mentioned last week, this storyline needed a little schemer expertise, and Nicole is just the gal for the job. She has no loyalties to anyone in this story except for Chloe, so she'll be all kinds of on her side.
But, what I was pleasantly surprised with was how well Daniel fits into Nicole's storyline. I like these two as friends. The fact that Daniel can actually speak as a responsible authority on death was a great use of characters. Nicole needed a reality check and I was glad to see Daniel give it to her.
For the love of all things soapy, these writers need to pick a couple and give them a fighting chance. I'm not a Safe fan at all, but I could have sworn that after the hack job they did with Ejami, Safe would have been safe for a few weeks. Instead, Sami lied to Rafe twice before accepting his proposal. And, Rafe, who championed putting E.J. behind bars for months, dismissed the news that E.J. had threatened his star witness. These two are over before they even start. Why treat a fan base like that?
LINE OF THE WEEK:
Nicole: "I am designing my own witness protection program, and it involves margaritas and cabana boys."
Can I please look like Lindsay Hartley in that purple dress? Or as good as faux-preggers Nadia Bjorlin did in hers?
How come Stephanie had three wardrobe changes and Ian was still in the same blue shirt?
Will called Lucas! Better yet, someone remembered Lucas!
I loved that Nicole poured herself a drink and then took one from the bottle.
Nothing says "Happy Birthday" like a hot pink stripper dress! Maybe Chloe can pair it with a nice pair of see-through platform heels.
Did anyone else catch that Nicole's dog, Pookie, is no longer with us? NOOOO!!!
And now I will turn things over to my partner Tony. He's the calmer, more logical one out of the two of us and his calming words will be a welcome change of pace from my grumpy grumblings. In the meantime, I'll start taking deep breaths, counting to ten, and moving on to next week. Bring it on, next week! I can handle it. I'm a soap fan. I was born tough!