Monday, October 6, 2008

The Week of September 30th in Review

Unfortunately, I had to take a break from watching Days since Sami was nowhere in sight and EJ had been replaced by Zombie Dallas EJ, an abominable Austin clone. But with a new co-executive producer on board, perhaps things improved since then. Let’s see.


“You know, Lucas, you're lucky that we have the kids to consider. Otherwise, I might feel a little bit differently about that bullet you put in my back.” All the more reason to reveal that Ali is yours, Barely Gray EJ. Then you can give Lucas what he so richly deserves. And I don’t care that it is workout clothes, I’m not digging the 1986 a-ha shirt.

“It's my day with Ali.” Who switches off days in their custody arrangements?!
“Fine. Go ahead. You want to spend the day with a cranky baby, that's okay with me.” Can she repeatedly throw up on him too? But I do like your shirt, Sami. That’s a very nice eggplant.

“What's up with you?” Show, please do not have Barely Gray EJ here talk like I do. This is too casual for him.
“Crazy, right? I mean, who would want to hire me?” With your spotty career history? I wouldn’t.
“I have to say, I'm very impressed because you're using your initiative to go out there and get a job.” From “I would give you everything” to this. Massive downgrade.

“All right. Let's see what we got here. Education - good. Work history. Okay.” What work history? Remember when Sami was so poor she had to shower at Lucas’ apartment?
“What would you say are your skills?” Well, you were her boss at Mythic, EJ. You should know, although Sami should leave that position off her work history. Considering the SEC investigation that collapsed the company, it’s a bit like saying you worked for Kenneth Lay at Enron.
“What am I good at? I had great SAT scores. I mean, like the best in my class. I almost had perfect scores.” What the hell? First of all, if Salem really is in Illinois, you’d take the ACT unless you were looking to apply outside of the Midwest. Secondly, either way, you only take those tests if you want to go to college, and I really don’t remember you being interested in any of that. Third, no, you wouldn’t have almost perfect scores. Good or great, yes. But almost perfect? Not from someone who wouldn’t study.
“You're obviously very smart. You're obviously very good at taking tests. You did very well on your SATs. That's big. That's huge.” If she were eighteen, sure. Around thirty? It’s completely, totally, utterly irrelevant. No employer will care! I was stunned by this conversation topic. I cannot believe Days thought this whole discussion was appropriate dialogue for these two. What next, EJ asks Sami to the prom?
“I took four years of piano.” Arrrgh! Bad, Days, bad!

I just pretended they were humming “Enter Sandman” here.

“I can forge anyone's no time...with my eyes closed.” And that might have mattered back before scanners were invented.
“Why would someone hire me?” I wouldn’t. You have a job for a few months, and then something inevitably happens, and you get fired or quit. You are not a reliable employee.
“You're smart, you're very personable, you're organized, you're creative,” and “You're trustworthy, you're conscientious.” None of which are what should go in the skills section. Employers here are looking for specifics like “managed $0.6 million dollars from nine clients” and “written over 500 java applets.” Has anyone on Days’ writing staff ever looked for a real job? And clearly writing for Days does not count.
“Well, everybody fudges the truth on their résumé a little bit, darling.” Not a good idea, EJ.

“You have very sexy eyes. How about that?”
“Excuse me?”
“Oh, I think that should be on the list. Don't you?” Indeed! I loved EJ’s soft tone of voice here and the slight smirk he gave Sami. Highlight of the episode.

“I need my independence from the show’s insistence on doing every possible plot but Ejami.”

Damn right EJ gets the real baby. Johnny is so cute! And James is great playing with him.

“Samantha, hey, is everything all right?”
“Yeah. Yeah, it's fine. Johnny is looking forward to going to the zoo. You guys have a good time. I'll see you both later.”
“Okay.” Sigh. Evil EJ would have noticed she was lying.

Sami’s fainting was weak here, but we wouldn’t want Ali to hurt herself or her baby, so that’s perfectly fine.

Show, I am more than ready to pretend along with you that Ali is in the baby carriage, but when Lucas moves it around so that I can clearly see that it’s empty, there goes that whole willing suspension of disbelief thing.

What are you going to do next, Lucas, cut off a lock of her hair? Geez, it’s a bad 50s romance novel.


I liked Pelvis better when it was evil.

Just when I thought we’d never see Officer Chuck again, he’s back on the show! I should have known he’d still be honorably protecting Salem, but now he has a last name too. Officer Chuck Chatsworth…that has a nice ring to it. And he talked to Victor, Kayla, and Bo, oversaw opening and closing the jail cell, and even handed Bo an important file. Thank you so much, Days! Man, I could not be happier to see that TPTB have finally noticed Officer Chuck’s considerable contribution to the Salem Police Department. I can’t wait to see what he does next. Maybe he’ll assist in Trent’s murder investigation with FBI Agent Lance or something.

“Let me call you by the name off your chart because I can’t be bothered to ask what you’d prefer.”

It’s official. Ejole has crossed the line into anti-chemistry, the dreaded state of affairs where the combination of two characters actively repel you from watching them together. EJ’s on one wavelength, Nicole is on another, and the combination results in audio/visual feedback that painfully assaults the viewer. Is it any wonder the demo is still crappy?

In contrast, Lumi is actually much more tolerable to watch now that they aren’t slobbering all over each other. Will wonders never cease.

“Oh, that's just bloody marvelous! He cancels! Thanks for the notice, pal,” and “I was supposed to be taking Johnny to the zoo today. I canceled the whole thing so I could come down here and meet this idiot.” Barely Gray EJ, Evil EJ doesn’t have these kinds of problems for a reason. Minions answer to him, not the other way around.

“I guess some things just aren't meant to be.” Heh.
“I still don't know what went wrong.” So wrong it’s right, Sami.
“Well, it's pretty easy. It wasn't a what. It was a who.” Exactly. Rooting couple switch!
“I don't want to think about EJ. I want to focus on my life and getting a job and getting my life together so that I can take the twins and get out of that DiMera loony bin.” Yeah, good luck with that.
“It sounds like a good plan, but I think things are far from over between you and EJ.” The ratings have spoken!
“Well, then you're wrong, because I am taking control of my life, and that means no EJ - not now, not ever - and nothing is going to change that.” The demo disagrees.
“You're strong, and you're resourceful. Always have been. Just don't think you need a man to lean on, especially EJ.” Except that Sami’s always been written to need a man in her life.


Do I even need to say how much I miss Evil EJ?

“Nicole Walker. I assume you're here to see Junior.” Junior? So he’s Elvis Junior DiMera again?! Dammit, Days, who in the hell gets their middle name retconned twice in six months? And that’s a truly awful Dynasty dress on Nicole. I approve.

The more times we flashback to this, the better.

“You know, I had a wonderful time with Johnny today, but I'm a little bit starved for adult attention, if you know what I mean.” Then why are you hanging out with Nicole, much less having a date where your father or Sami can walk in at any time?
“Oh, I hope you don't mind. I took the liberty of talking to the chef. We are having a lobster bisque, followed by Caesar salad and duck de l'orange. I trust that is to your satisfaction.” But it’s Crowd Pleaser Thursdays at Domino’s!
“Afterwards, I thought we might take a little stroll down on the riverfront. There's that new jazz club that just opened up. Only been open a couple of months, but they seem to be getting some really fantastic musicians there. How does that sound?” Craptacular. You listen to jazz with Sami.

“I can't be pregnant.” I know! It’s like sex makes babies or something.
“Well, you got to do something unless there's somebody else. Is there somebody else? 'Cause God knows it wasn't me.” Woot woot!
“It was EJ, okay? Obviously it was EJ. He's the only one I've been with, and it was only-it was only that one time.” It only takes one time, Sami. Sheesh.
“I know about the one time. I don't need to hear about it.” I do!
“This is not fair. I mean, I can't believe this. I was gonna get a job and a life, and I was gonna get those twins out of that creepy mansion.” No, that wasn’t going to happen even in the original plot.
“Just relax, okay? You can still do all that.” Nope. Especially not now with the rewrites.
“Oh, really? Who is gonna hire me when I'm pregnant?” Well, it’s illegal for employers to ask that during interviews, but considering how far along you are, you won’t be able to hide it soon, so yeah, that’s a valid concern.
“What about Stefano? He's never gonna leave me alone if he finds out I'm carrying another DiMera heir.” Actually, dude’s been pretty decent so far with not kidnapping Johnny or Ali. Try him.
“You know what? Forget about Stefano. Concentrate on your present situation right now. You're having EJ’s baby again, so pick up the damn phone and call him and tell him!” Oh, I hate it when Lucas makes sense, and it’s still grating that I’m supposed to believe that Lucas would so cordial about the man he tried to murder.

“Hello, trouble. What's wrong with you, eh? Let's see-no bones broken. You're not bleeding, thank God. So what are you doing here? Are you sick? Samantha, hey. What's wrong?” From the moment he saw Sami, EJ lit up during this scene, smiling softly and touching Sami three times. Of course he loves her. Highlight of the episode.
“Hang on, sweetheart. What's wrong with you?” Aw, sweetheart mention!
“It is a big deal. I mean, have they done any tests? Do they know why this happened? Samantha, answer my question. What's wrong?” I liked how genuinely concerned EJ was about Sami here. James is so expressive with his eyes.


“You want me to get out? Fine. I will go back to my dinner, which, by the way, was a hell of a lot more fun than being yelled at by you.” Funny, looked like a lot of standing around to me.
“She's not my girlfriend.” Especially considering you just ran out on your first date with her.
“Oh, we want to call her something else, we could. I could think of buddy, friend, sex slave.” Sami, Barely Gray EJ is too chicken to keep you as his sex slave.
“Don't you understand, Samantha? All of this, this whole situation, this is your doing.” Actually it’s the writers who thought that after the ratings horror that was June and July, they could still do Ejole as a full blown obstacle couple. Idiots. It only took three weeks for the show and demo to tank, so here’s the start of the correction.
“Do you really think that I would be having dinner with anybody other than you if you weren't such a fickle and-” Aw, EJ wants to be with Sami.
“‘Fickle?’ I'm fickle?” As previously written? Yes.
“Nicole bats her eyelashes, and you come panting after her.” No, that’s you he does that for, Sami.
“It's not even just Nicole. It's any woman ever. Like we're all the same to you. Is that it, you shallow word the board won’t let me write? Replaceable, right? Dispensable. All the same in the dark, just put a bag over our head and-” You’re not the former editor of SOD, Sami, and EJ’s not a semi-popular soap star.
“Would you just shut up for one second, all right? Enough. Look, Samantha, look at me, please? They didn't mean anything.” Which means you do, Sami. You.
“Great, great, great! What, now we've gone ten steps back in our relationship?” Nope. This fight right here is part of reworking the storyline away from Ejole the obstacle couple back towards Ejami the rooting couple and rewriting both of your motivations for your actions the last several months (excluding the hospital disaster) as hurt and pain and not “OMG Nicole” or “OMG Lucas.” Snazzy, isn’t it?

“So I’m sorry about that whole ‘you’re the devil, and I hate you’ thing, Father.”
“It is as forgotten as the DiEmpire plotline, Elvis. And now that things are as they were before, you can get back to reviewing my Stefano/Marlena fan fic. I believe you will like how I kill John in this next one.”

“Any time the word ‘Samantha’ is used in a sentence, it is anything but simple. It is hideously complicated. Laughable, in fact. Frankly, I don't know why I bother. I don't know why anybody bothers” and “If she had one redeeming quality, what? Grace, wit, charm? I don't know-anything? You know, she doesn't even have a sense of humor. It's puerile at best, which would be fine if she wasn't so completely clueless.” Someone is a little too excited to be using’s word of the day in his sentences.

“Completely. Complet-well, obviously she's physically-she's very beautiful, I suppose, but outside of that, she's coarse. She's cold. I mean, if you saw-if you saw Samantha crying, tears running down her face, your heart wouldn't go out to her. Why? Because she doesn't have a heart.” Reason #357 that Evil EJ is the superior EJ personality.

“So, that is why you are hopelessly in love with her.” Right down to the very depths of his black heart.
“I'm not in love with her. Infatuated maybe, I suppose. I certainly found her very interesting. But you know what I've discovered? She just appeals to all the worst parts of me.” Actually that’s a real selling point. I much prefer the worst parts of you.
“Once you get out of that dense, Samantha fog, you know you find? Not much. You know, the only thing I get out of this relationship is something self-destructive, something masochistic.” Aw, did Emo EJ get his wittle feelings all busticated?
“You're gonna be my shrink? This should be good.” From your father who raised you and brainwashed you for decades? Yes.
“I'm simply telling you the truth, Elvis. You have a child with Samantha, the precious Giovanni, hmm? He's your son, your heir, and because you are a DiMera, it means everything to you, and that is the reason why Samantha is important to you.” Well, that’s not the only reason, but Sami has to overhear this part so she’ll freak out and leave.
“Because she is the mother of your little boy, huh? That alone bonds you with her for life. There is nothing more powerful than sharing a child.” According to this soap, anyway.

“So I'm never gonna have any peace of mind? Is that what you're saying?” I’m saying quit whining! Get your damn act together, and take her!
“Well, that's up to you, my son, hmm? It is very obvious that you and Samantha are meant to be together. Now, whether it is harmonious or inharmonious, that is your choice. You can either love her-simply love her-or you can go on fighting it. Which will it be, Elvis?” Option number one!

Direction change 1, Morgan 0.

“He was on a date. If he cared about me...he would stay away from Nicole.” You have to give EJ a reason to do so, Sami. Alas, her sucking isn’t enough.
“I don't want things to be different because of the baby.” Admirable, yet impossible.
“I'm not telling him tonight.” And in the original version of this plot, you never would.
“I don't like that Stefano's been hanging around.” It’s almost like he lives there.
“I need to think clearly and that is the last thing I can do when I'm stuck at that creepy mansion.” Creepy awesome mansion.
“We're not together anymore.” Yea!
“Yeah, I know. I got the memo on that.” Lucas, YOU BROKE UP WITH HER! You sent the memo!


C+. I freely admit there’s a lot to like as Gary has obviously reworked things in order to move us away from the cliff the show had been headed towards. I mean, I can actually watch it again as I do recognize EJ and Sami here, albeit the white with a drop of gray versions. Ejami still has magical chemistry, and the two sweet moments between them this week were lovely. Lucas is being Romanized, and Nicole is being shown as the barely there interloper she is until Lance comes to set his eyes on her. Stefano and EJ are back to being father and son. And the dialogue is slightly better except for that laughable resume convo. But it’s nowhere near perfect.

Seriously, show, you’re writing Ejami as a slightly darker and smarter Shelle. Where’s the evil? The intelligence? The acting like actual adults? What we have going on right now is a repeat of Shelle and Shallow except Sami is also pregnant. I mean, talking about SATs? Getting turned around by obvious ploys? Not being able to communicate with each other? It’s infuriating. I don’t watch this show to watch Ejami be good and dumb.

So knock off the golden couple crap. It’s 2008, not 1975. Watch Ric and Claudia on GH, Chuck and Blair on Gossip Girl, or even Evil EJ with his Samantha January 2007 to Mid-May 2007. That’s how you should write Ejami. Evil couple!!! Both EJ and Sami are villains and that would not and should not change as they come together romantically. I want smart Evil EJ and Evil Sami together happily screwing over people, not stupid Barely Gray EJ and Barely Gray Sami getting screwed by other people as they try to come together.

And no complaining about how to get everything rolling in that direction quickly. Simply bring Back Evil EJ. He’ll do the work for you as he doesn’t let minor details like Sami’s free will get in the way of his happiness or hers.