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 Two Scoops: March 7, 2011 columns
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Kate Mansi
The sun will come out...tomorrow
For the Week of March 7, 2011
Considering that Jack is able to regularly update his blog, yet doesn't stay in communication with his family, Abby has clearance to be ticked.
I'm terrible with directions. Before the miracle that is GPS, I was one of those girls who had to rotate the map so that the way I was going was facing "up." Having to go somewhere that I'm not familiar sent me into severe panic mode. So, when I would successfully arrive at my destination (after no less than three wrong turns and a moderate amount of tears), I would be over-the-moon happy with myself. That particular flavor of relieved poured over me last week as I watched my favorite soap finally escape the scary ghetto where storylines go to die and finally get back to the street where great stories are only a day away.


CHLOE
For being the cheating harlot that she is, Chloe sure has a lot of good people in her corner. I kid, I kid! Despite how much I know about her misdeeds, I, too, feel bad for Chloe. It goes back to when I first met her as the social outcast that was never good enough for anyone. Maybe she's never really outgrown that feeling. Maybe I like the fact that the most beautiful actress on the planet plays this insecure character. But, something about the Nadia/Chloe combo has been working for me lately.

I like that social services took Parker away from Chloe, for two reasons. One, it will force her to get help, and I'm holding out hope that Salem will hire a new psychiatrist ASAP! Two, it forces Philip back in this storyline where he belongs.

I visit soapcentral.com daily, hoping to read news that Philip has been recast. With Jay Johnson's upcoming departure, I have my fingers and toes crossed that a new Philip is on the way to keep this storylinepalooza rocking.


ABBY
Welcome to Salem, Kate Mansi. This bubbly combination of Busy Philips (Laurie Keller, Cougar Town) and Kristin Alderson (Star Manning, One Life to Live) has come at the best time. Jennifer was getting dangerously close to having no storyline.

As much as I'm a fan of Jack and Jennifer, I'm a bigger fan of Jennifer being happy. And casting her as the constant Jack apologist, while noble, is a misuse of the character. So, if it takes her adult(ish) daughter coming to town and throwing some tough love Jen's way, I say bring it!

This version of Abby is MUCH different than the shy girl we saw crushing on Max a few years ago. But I think this version works. Three years away at college changes everyone. I know that I changed a lot between 18 and 21.

I also appreciate that the writers are addressing Abby's own anger with Jack. She said that Jack hasn't contacted her. Considering that Jack is able to regularly update his blog, yet doesn't stay in communication with his family, I'd say that Abby has clearance to be ticked.

Most importantly, I appreciated that the writers balanced out Abby's know-it-all-at-21 attitude with her clueless meeting with Chad. I liked their encounter. Of course, it was complete with the, "I didn't like that girl" comment from Johnny, so how can you really lose? You can't. All things involving Johnny are awesome.


HOPE
Let me just start by saying that breakfast with Jen, coffee with Julie, and lunch with Bo sounds like a perfect day. Fitting, for the amazing direction that Hope is heading. Sure, I thought Julie's suggestion that Hope read books and spend time with friends was a little too Eat, Pray, Love for me. But, I appreciate that in Hope's first few days out of the slammer, she realized that she can't so easily point her finger at other wrongdoers now that she has her own dirty past. Ahhh…self-awareness. You're almost as impressive as the vest with a feather-flocked collar that Kristian Alfonso rocked.


TAYLOR, E.J., and NICOLE
E.J. told Taylor that he hasn't thought about their meeting at all. If he'd watch DAYS, he'd realize that it's virtually impossible for anyone to forget their meeting because the producers insist on showing that damn scarf flashback every other second. Ugh! I wish I could have some of what E.J.'s having and forget this whole mess!

E.J. and Nicole are another train wreck. I wish that the producers would realize that the only way E.J. and Nicole will work is if they are both equal, scheming shysters. I don't want to see Nicole go all doe-eyed dippy over the possibility of falling in love with E.J. again. It's costing her that delightful Nicole spunk. Even her wedding night "seduction" consisted of looking at pictures of herself and talking about other women. I'm pretty sure guys aren't into that.

That leaves the last leg of this triangle, and thankfully, it has potential -- Taylor and Nicole. Taylor was on-screen for all of about ten minutes a decade ago, and in that time, we only learned that she's not Nicole. Now that Taylor is back, I want to know more about her. Is she really as pro-Nicole as she seems? It doesn't make sense that she would turn down a job at Titan because of what Victor had done to Nicole, yet Taylor's okay with walking up to Nicole's husband and confessing her feelings. What's the real deal?

As for Nicole, she's never been one to trust someone that didn't somehow further her own agenda. Even her friendship with Chloe stemmed from the fact that both Chloe and Nicole hate Sami. Nicole's thrown her own mother under the bus before. The fact that she's ready to have pajama parties with Taylor and gossip about boys seems like a big step for Nicole. I want to know more about the Walker sisters.


MELANIE
There was a point last week when Philip asked Nathan if he was happy -- not in a bad way -- but just happy that Melanie lost Philip's baby. Nathan's too good of a guy/weenie to say, "Yes," so I'll man up and say, "YES, I am! OH, OH, PICK ME!" Since this pregnancy was nothing but a plot point from the beginning (and, in my mind, a cheap trick at that), I am so relieved that I no longer have to stress over it.

Plus, we got some great performances out of the talented cast. Molly Burnett shined when conveying a stoic Melanie, when we know Mel is really broken inside. Jay Johnson did an amazing job of giving Philip depth -- from hashing it out with Kate to stepping up and being the friend that Chloe needed. And Shawn Christian got a chance to play Daniel as helpless, a feeling Daniel is entirely unfamiliar with and I loved seeing him experience.

Mel gets extra credit for apologizing to Chloe, mainly because she felt remorse before she suffered the miscarriage. So, her apology was simply amazing. Not amazing in the "Mel for President" way. Amazing in the "Soap Characters Just Don't Do That" way. Maggie would be proud of her young Padawan.

I'm not even going to spazz too much about the drastic change of heart Melanie had over Parker. She told Philip that Parker was a constant reminder of Philip's affair. That was way harsh, Ty, but very true. No matter how much she loved Philip, she couldn't get past the idea of mothering the child that Philip had with Melanie's father's wife. It's the more believable sentiment (that she should have had from the beginning), so I'm going with it. I feel like Melanie is back on track now.

FAFE and SAMI
This is the one storyline where I'm still feeling lost. I'm just not into making Sami look like a chump. She's not following her instincts. She's not taking charge of the situation. She's listening to everyone else's bad advice. Thus, she's not interesting. And now that it appears Sami is going to use some sort of stupid sex therapy with Fafe, I am very scared.

I also didn't buy the writers inserting Stephanie into this storyline, considering that Sami and Stephanie are not close at all. Just few weeks ago, when Sami learned that Steph and Nathan had split, Sami's response was something like, "Oh, shoot. Bummer. I'd really like to help you through this, but I've got my own leading storyline to get back to so…text me…later…okay?"

Furthermore, in a land where siblings often marry the same men (See: Carrie/Sami/Austin/Lucas), it was strange for Sami to get all huffy over Fafe hitting on Stephanie because she's her cousin.

Anyhoo…the MRI on Fafe's brain didn't show anything (hehe!) and Sami seemed sure that her love would heal Fafe. I don't know how long Fafe is going to play along, and I don't really care to see too much of them.

Galen is still shinning in this material, and I enjoy Fafe and E.J.'s banter much more that Rafe and Stefano's, but I'm not even sure how long that entertainment will last.


RAFE and STEFANO
Somehow, this feud went from E.J. vs. Rafe to Stefano vs. Rafe, and, in doing so, opened up a lot more possibilities. E.J. still has to walk the line of redemption. He's still new enough to the show that there are a collection of fans (myself included) that get a little tickled when he flirts with the good side.

Stefano? Not so much. He's the evil, mustache-twirling villain of Salem, and we love him for the incorrigible bastard that he is. So, if Stefano wants to inject Rafe with some sort of amnesia juice, why not? I loved that Stefano put a pawn on Rafe's jail cell. Stefano's the only man in Salem cockier than Rafe is. Thus, I have a feeling that Rafe is faking his amnesia because it's his out to best Stefano. Like Wesley in The Princess Bride, I bet Rafe has spent years working up immunity to that certain type of drug.


LOOSE ENDS:
Chandler Massey has proven to be a talented actor. Please, writers, give him something other to do than blush over some lame earrings. Has Will met his new cousin, Parker, yet? NO? Okay, send Will over to the mansion and let him interact with his Uncle Philip. If he runs into Victor and they commiserate over what a poor decision-maker Chloe is, well that wouldn't be bad either.

I love the chemistry between Jennifer and Daniel. We haven't seen him with someone his own age, and that could be very interesting. Yet, I feel like both should take care of that slight problem, you know, the one where they're both MARRIED to other people, before they start getting too friendly. After that, we can discuss proper double-date ideas for Victor, Maggie, Daniel, and Jennifer.

Nathan is breaking my heart. He's a righteous dude with awesome genes. But, I'm reluctantly realizing that Mel's just not that into him, and it's time to have a self-respect intervention with doc Horton. If Nathan was a girl who kept going back to some guy that repeatedly kissed her and then walked away, we'd be screaming about self-respect. I'm all for the hero who's shamelessly in love with his leading lady, and I don't think Melanie is intentionally stringing Nathan along, but she's not ready, willing, or able to give him what he wants right now.

Parker's last name is officially "Kiriakis." It was brief, but fun to see Philip get bent out of shape over not being given legal rights to his biological child. He should be thanking his lucky stars that Daniel is too busy saving lives to rent a boat and a hooker, and go chasing after Philip in the Pacific Ocean.

The DiMera siblings were on fire last week. Lexie figured out that E.J. and Taylor scarfed down a moment together. (get it?) And, Chad joined E.J. and Johnny for the most adorable 21st birthday celebration ever. More DiMera kids, pleeeeeaaaaase!


RANDOM THOUGHTS:
Do they really make $600 nighties?

This just in: Brady is dead to Victor. Somehow I don't see that lasting.

Should Johnny really be sitting with his hand on the cappuccino maker?

MAN! Kate got back to the wedding fast. She was at the hospital in one scene and in the next scene, she's at the Chez Rouge bar with a martini. That's my gal!

Can a person really call in and order an MRI like it's a pizza?

I loved Jen's initial reaction, "Oh, I need to feed you!" when she saw Abby. Mothers never outgrow this instinct.

Fafe's rebuttal of "She's like family to me!" would have held much more water if Stephanie didn't have a history of dating family members.


LINE OF THE WEEK
Taylor: "I could get used to wine that's not out of a box. Well, I could get used to it; I just don't think I could afford it." See, Taylor, when you speak my language, I'll like you so much more.


HOT:
Brady and Taylor are kind of magic together. They aren't forcing anything, yet both characters are infinitely helping out the other. Their banter over E.J. and Nicole was awesome. I chuckled when Taylor asked Brady for $20 cab fare and his keys so she doesn't have to pay for his trip home again. It was nice to hear Brady accuse someone else of being too positive. (And be right!) And, it does this DAYS fan good to hear Taylor be sarcastic rather than the bright-eyed, naïve Care Bear that I still haven't exactly grown to love.

NOT
I get that Stephanie is still hurt. But, she's making an art form out of putting her own feet in her mouth. I don't care that she didn't know about Mel's miscarriage before Steph launched into a hate-laced monologue. The fact of the matter is that if Steph would handle herself with a little more class, she wouldn't have such exact knowledge of what it feels like to be an a-hole.


And with that, we can all take a collective deep breath because we've made it out of Sweeps! (In one piece -- holla!) Tony will be back next week to (hopefully) continue the "we got here after being lost" party. In the meantime, I leave you with a few questions. Where would you like to see Victor take Maggie on a date? Are there any volunteers to help cheer up Nathan? If an amnesia drug really exists, why do more people in Salem not use it? And, do you think you'd ever get tired of being introduced as, "The doctor who saved my life"? Me either.


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.
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