Visiting Salem as a Port Charles Refugee
When ABC showed Genie Francis the door, I followed her out. I returned to General Hospital for one day to pay my respects to Detective Nathan West (I’m not a monster), otherwise I have not been back to Port Charles. Needing some distraction from Mueller’s Russia investigation and the NRA, I decided to visit Salem, home of Days of Our Lives, my cradle and college soap. Hortons, Bradys, and Kiraki continue to people the city and each family is so intertwined that writers must rely on family trees tacked on the wall to avoid accidental incest. I feel right at home in Salem with so many familiar faces and Ron Carlivati’s roller-coaster storytelling.
Part of my desire to return to Days came from NBC’s recent hiring of former GH headwriter, Carlivati whose pop culture references and witty dialogue always entertain. His go-for-broke storytelling fits nicely with Days of Our Lives, which featured a possessed-Marlena story shortly after my college graduation.
Since my departure from Salem, half the town has joined the ISA and the other half has been fathered by Stefano DiMera. I cannot figure out how John, Steve, and Billie all ended up working for the ISA. While I take comfort in knowing that John and his eyebrow are protecting our nation’s secrets, I question Billie’s international security prowess. As for Steve, as long as he’s still with Kayla, I don’t care what he does for a living. Much to my delight, one of evil Stefano’s many children turns out to be Tyler Christopher’s Stefan. Many thanks to Days for filling the Nikolas-sized hole in my heart that GH left behind.
The best part about returning to Salem has been meeting the next generation of Hortons and Bradys. From what I can tell, nearly all of the characters new to me are SORASed from original Salem families and then carefully paired with members of other key families so as to avoid the aforementioned incest. For example, Steve appears to have produced a son, Tripp, with a woman who is not Kayla, thereby allowing for a delightful pairing between Tripp and Ciara, the daughter of Steve’s former best friend, Bo Brady, also Kayla brother [still following?]. Silly as it is that Hope’s daughter and granddaughter are the same age, SORASing Ciara and Claire enlivens the canvas and gives the show a shot of youthful energy. By the way, Claire’s the worst.
Days delivers in the angsty romance department. Chad and Abby share amazing chemistry, though Abby and Stefan also send up sparks. Carlivati solves this dilemma by resurrecting the classic soap split-personality trope. Rather than Kate/Connie, Sonny, and Johnny on GH, we have Abby/Gabigail, Chad, and Stefan on Days.
This soap also features one of the best triangles I have seen in daytime between Sonny, Will, and Paul. While I have not spent enough time yet with Sonny (Kirakis, not Corinthos, please keep up) to draw conclusions, Will and Paul make an adorable couple.
The benefit of tuning in for the first time in twenty years is that I have no idea who is supposed to be with who so potential breakups, like the ones coming for Gabi and Eli or Lani and J.J. don’t phase me. Just don’t mess with Steve and Kayla, they’re non-negotiable.
While I have been able to suss out most of the plotlines, I have a few questions for the audience. Who is Tate’s mother and why did she leave the smart, hot, and damaged Brady Black? Why do so many fans hate Rafe? Am I supposed to like J.J.? He’s pretty annoying. What happened to Jack? What are Jennifer and Eric doing together? Does that relationship make sense to anyone? Who lives in the DiMera mansion and does everyone know about that secret doorway or just Gabigail? And, what’s up with the real Gabi? Am I supposed to like her too? Finally, does Days have a larger than average budget for manicures and nail care?
I can’t promise to stay in Salem forever, but I have unpacked. As for GH, drop me a line when Genie Francis gets a new contract and I’ll consider returning. In the meantime, I’m watching Days of Our Lives.