It's possible nostalgia is making me overly generous, and it's also possible that General Hospital's horrific "Christmas" episode would make anything seem brilliant by comparison, but still: Days of Our Lives gives good holiday, right?
The Christmas episodes, much like most Days episodes these days, were totally enjoyable. Highlights:
* The Horton tree-trimming! I love those hokey little ornaments so darned much. (They even make me say "darned." See?)
(For GH watchers, let me help: This is a rare species, known as
Veteran Actor, genus Respected and Treated Well by Executives. Don't
be scared -- despite what GH has taught you, these people aren't here
to hurt you, and they are more afraid of you than you are of them.
Well, Veteran Actors on GH are actually more afraid of executives than
anything else, but I'm getting off-topic.)
* Tony's great speech to EJ about how he should treat Sami and how Stefano is a big fat jerk
"Why do you give him credit for barely meeting the minimum requirements for parenthood?" It's because of moments like this that I think Tony deserves the uber-awesome Anna.
* Hope in two adorable dresses, celebrating not only Christmas but her birthday and anniversary to boot
Plus, Hope and Bo being all supercoupley and adorable,
including Bo carrying around his own mistletoe like the lovable doofus he is. (Yeah, the fleur-de-lis necklace gift from Bo to Hope was just an excuse to pimp Kristian Alfonso's jewelry line, but I like her, so . . . pimp.)
* Phillip being all flirty with Chloe and her cleavage, and then being shirtless. Merry Christmas to straight women and gay men viewers everywhere! (Actually, straight men and gay women got Chloe and her cleavage, so....happy holidays to everyone!)
* Marlena being a demanding mother-in-law to Chloe and her cleavage. (I much prefer Marlena in the temperamental matriarch role than in the ridiculous teenybopper in love one, or god forbid, the demon-possessed loon or serial killer ones.)
* Stephanie telling Kayla about the rape. (Mary Beth Evans is fantastic, and she brings out the best in everyone she has scenes with)
Plus, Steve and Kayla walkin' around with all their chemistry and stuff.
* Bill singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas over a montage of various family scenes (In contrast to Tony Geary's Luke singing the same song on GH's Christmas episode -- oh, did I mention that Luke is comatose and is coma-dreaming that he's in hell, where he apparently becomes a lounge singer? Yeah, in case you don't watch, GH really does suck that much.)
* Max dressing as Santa, and Nick as his elf -- and Max doing the annual reading of the Christmas story to the pediatric ward. (Another great contrast to GH, which did away with the pesky tradition of Christmas-story-reading in favor of more mob crap, possibly because they had killed off the veteran actor who played the chief of staff who would normally have read the thing. Mothereffers.)
* Kids from the pediatric ward bringing up their various non-Christian faiths, which I like to think was a bit of an eff-you to Days' heavy-handed Christianity stuff in the past .
* Belle's public, bitchy rebuke of Phillip, which will hopefully launch Evil and Routinely Shirtless Phillip, whom I love already.
* The birth of what seems like a couple of good mystery plotlines -- who is Stefano's secret patient, now on the loose, and what happened to Brady? Was he smothered by Chloe's cleavage? These things happen!
* EJ's "prayer"
and James Scott's progressive inability to say "Samantha," which this week was so obvious that I had to rewind an episode a bit because I'd gotten distracted imagining EJ rapping: "Samanthurrr, it's get-tin' hot in hurrrr...."
There were some low points this week, however:
* John had better be dead. Really, truly dead. I don't want him and his 29 backstories back. I don't want a revival of the John and Marlena Horndog Routine. If they insist on brining Drake Hogestyn back, it had better be as another character.
* The return of extended flashbacks from just a couple of episodes prior. I may not have the short-term memory I once did, but I am reasonably sober most of the time so you don't have to tell me what happened yesterday. If you're going to insult my intelligence, at least have the decency to regularly flashback to scenes involving EJ or Phillip taking a committed stand against shirts.
* Ashlee, the "winner" of the latest season of I Wanna Be a Soap Star, debuted.
I was never that impressed by her -- er, I mean I wouldn't have been, if I had watched that show. If I had watched, I would still be convinced that Travis should have won and been cast as the new Eric (he even resembles Ali Sweeney a bit!), or Brady. Aaanyway, if I had watched the competition then I wouldn't have been surprised by her rather unconvincing performance as a psychic.
* What the hell is going on with Sami/Lucas/EJ and the effing vendetta? I can't follow along with when Sami is being genuine and when she's not, when she's messing with Lucas' head or EJ's, why she can now just leave a marriage that supposedly was the only way she could satisfy that stupid vendetta, why I am supposed to care about Lucas leaving town, whether Europe has made Will any less annoying, and so forth. I feel so clueless, but I'm too embarrassed to admit that I can't follow a show that is watched and comprehended even by elementary-schoolers. Is this what it's like to be Paris Hilton?
Since I apparently haven't done a Days post since Bill Clinton was president, I have a bunch of stored-up randomness. I had more, but I can't decipher my own notes. ("KR always skates but KJK so hot doesn't matter" WTF?) So anyway, in no order and with no guarantees of coherence or entertainment quality:
* The use of Colleen and Santos' twee Irish music soundtrack for Sami and EJ's story:romantic or creepy?I vote creepy.
* Lucas: The vendetta again, right? I don't want to hear that word ever again. Get in line, buddy.
* I actually said "NO!" out loud when Tony and Anna announced their "extended stay" abroad. Say it ain't so!
* I worry that Bryan Dattilo's brow is going to permanently furrow.
* I was not looking forward to her return, but it turns out that Chloe and her cleavage are bitchy goodness! I'm thoroughly enjoying her messing with Belle, throwing herself at Phillip, getting bossed around by Marlena, and giving utterly unconvincing stories about the whereabouts of her missing husband. Welcome back, Chloe and your cleavage!
* I was 1) totally not expecting that EJ had been faking his paralysis, and 2) oddly delighted when Sami flipped him out of his wheelchair
I was seriously surprised to see EJ walking. I totally didn't see that coming (despite having seen soaps before). At least not for another few months into the paralysis storyline. I am totally in love with the slow pan they did down his legs the first time we as viewers say EJ walking, BTW -- in case you weren't bright enough to pick up on the lack of a wheelchair, they wanted to make sure you were aware: Hot Man Walking!
P.S. James Scott, seated or standing, is still almost illegally gorgeous
* I'm over being grossed out by the fact that Max and Stephanie are sort of related. The actors have good chemistry and both characters have taken great turns toward likability, so I'm totally fine with this pairing.
Which probably means it won't happen.
* I believe Leann Hunley's eyebrows, like Kristian Alfonso's, might have magical powers.
* I am LOVING the sorority storyline, which I started out hating. Fortunately, I have been able to start liking it without having to give up my longstanding hatred of all things Greek-system related. Isn't it great when you don't have to let go of irrational negativity? I think that's one of the many joys of the holiday season.
That rug was awesome. I thought the sorority letters girls wear on sweats across their asses were stupid, but having a custom rug made with your letters is even worse. And worst in this context of course means "more awesome," because it led to this deliciously unsubtle shot of a very dead Ford sprawled out across the letters of the girls who made him dead.
* Are they planning Roman and Marlena, version 6.0?
Because...do not want. That would be the anti-sexy. I just don't want to see this version of Roman in a romantic pairing. Didn't we learn anything when he left Anna in a hotel room to go get his car washed?!
Seriously, the man ain't right.
* Speaking of anti-sexy, do Phillip's fantasies of Belle take the prize for this year's anti-sexiest?
or does that dubious distinction belong to Belle and Shawn's attempt at role-playing?
My vote is actually for Sami and Lucas' angry sex on the couch to take the title, because at least in the former examples there was some amount of unintentional comedy to dull the pain.
I am scarred for life.
* Did Lauren Koslow do whatever she's done to her hair on a dare, and is there anyway we can satisfy her debt to her dare-ee in some other way?
Because this isn't fair to us as viewers, to Clairol or whatever other company might inadvertently be associated with it, or to hair in general. With Britney's exploits, Renee Zellweger's latest cut [do not let Clooney's hotness distract you -- that cut is awful], and Rumer Willis, hair has had a tough year and I don't think it deserves this kind of treatment.
* I don't know who Stefano's mystery stalker is, but I love her already.
She's not only getting under his skin, she got Stefano to angrily utter "she-devil!" Love.
* I loved Lucas saying he wanted Ali to be like Billie, and him asking Billie to be Ali's godmother. Why don't they use Julie Pinson more?
* Dear stylist who did this to Kristian Alfonso's hair:
I'm not saying you're a bad person, but you did a very bad thing. If you ask for forgiveness and promise never to do it again, I think we can move past this without any additional punishment.
Sincerely in pursuit of good hair,
Screencaps courtesy of Days of Our Lives 2.