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.
I made the move from GH to Days last July when Ron’s material started airing. I will try to help with your questions best as I can…
Who is Tate’s mother and why did she leave the smart, hot, and damaged Brady Black? – Theresa Donovan, Eve’s baby sister, is Tate’s mother. I haven’t yet pieced together why she left but Theresa is a “bad” girl so it may have been to escape charges or something of the like?
Why do so many fans hate Rafe? – I think mostly they hate him with Hope. At least if twitter is a fair sample to work from. But I get the impression he’s also fairly sanctimonious. And right now he’s in trouble for sleeping with Sami last fall when Hope and he had temporarily broken up (the break lasted about a day).
Am I supposed to like J.J.? He’s pretty annoying. – JJ has been through a lot in the last 6 months and was suicidal in December. They have him going pretty hard on the baby stuff but I’m sure that’s to make the fallout of finding out the baby isn’t his that much harder on him.
What happened to Jack? – All I know on this is he’s dead once more. I should probably by now have looked on SoapCentral for the how/when/why but I haven’t.
What are Jennifer and Eric doing together? Does that relationship make sense to anyone? – There’s essentially no one else on canvas to pair them with at the moment. Eric was involved with Nicole at the end of last summer but that ended because Ari left. As to whether anyone likes it, twitter seems split. Lots of fans are annoyed. But a lot also seem to enjoy them. I personally find it hard to get behind because for one thing they’re being written to have the same personality and I find that boring. I miss spunky Jennifer. I need more pep and some bickering and I might be able to tolerate them better.
Who lives in the DiMera mansion and does everyone know about that secret doorway or just Gabigail? – Chad, Abby, their son Thomas, Kate, Stefan, and Vivian live in the DiMera mansion currently. I think it’s somewhat common knowledge that the DiMera mansion has secret passageways or should be to everyone except maybe Stefan who is still new. I don’t know if they know about that one in particular.
And, what’s up with the real Gabi? Am I supposed to like her too? – I like her but I don’t know much about her past. She has a daughter with Will and apparently killed some guy named Nick a few years ago (it seems to have been self defense the way she has talked about it with Abby) but I don’t know much about her past storylines beyond that. My Days hiatus was a solid 10 years give or take. I’ve missed a lot.
Finally, does Days have a larger than average budget for manicures and nail care? – I have had similar ponderings but can only guess 🙂
Thank you for the wealth of information! Rafe seems boring so it’s hard to tell why he generates such anger online. I keep expecting him to do something interesting and he doesn’t. Maybe the wedding will change that.
You are absolutely right about Jennifer and Eric. The Jen I remember was hunting down clues and stuck in actual closets with Jack. If I looked, I’m pretty sure I still have their wedding on an old VHS tape in the basement! I need to spend more time with Jen and Eric before I give up on them.
Theresa is a big question mark for me. I love Brady so it would be great if she returned. Eve is fine, but I’m not sure she belongs with Brady.
I didn’t know Kate lived in the DiMera mansion as well. Vivian is a riot. Hmm. It just occurred to me that she interrupts Stefan’s life the way Spencer interrupted Nik’s. I think Carlivati likes to write for Tyler Christopher.
Thanks for clearing up Ari’s parentage for me. I wasn’t sure who her father was since she lives Sonny. Does Will have any interest in her at all? I realize he does not remember her, but you would think he might want to get to know his daughter.
Sooo many manicures on this show. They are almost distracting. Abby and Gabi sport a different color each week, Kate too. They’re hard to miss.
I’ve been enjoying Brady and Eve, but I have a big ole soft spot for Kassie so I might not be entirely objective. Jen Lilley is back filming at Days and should appear on screen sometime around May. I’m very curious to see what the chemistry is like between Brady and Theresa.
Kate was married to Andre at the time of his death. I guess it’s possible she might move out now that he’s deceased, but I get the impression she’s been tied up in the DiMera business and household for quite a few years now, even prior to marrying Andre. She treats Chad as if he were one of her sons, so she’s probably welcome to stay as long as she likes.
I enjoy Vivian a lot too! And I think they’ve done a good job with Stefan and Vivian’s relationship – not quite family, not quite friends, but something and tied together in their scheming.
Will has interacted with her a couple of times since he got back but we don’t really see Arianna much. She’s mentioned more than seen. He’s spent the last month in real time playing detective with Paul so there hasn’t been much opportunity for dropping in on his daughter. I think/hope we will probably see more of him bonding with Ari in the future?
Sonny was married to Will when Will died, so I think he and Gabi must have come to an agreement as far as Sonny staying part of Ari’s life after his death. I’m not sure if it was always the case but the few Gabi and Sonny scenes I’ve seen, they’ve been very amicable. Everyone seems to be like “more the merrier” when it comes to parenting Ari. Even Eli went to some daddy and daughter preschool event with her right before Will came back to town (Sonny was supposed to go but was in Memphis tracking down Will).
Well, I guess it takes a village when it comes to Ari! I would hope Will wants a relationship with her too. Who is Chad’s mother by the way?
fyi, on Steve’s son Tripp. Remember when Steve ‘died’ in the 90’s? Well, he was gone for years so the explanation was he was kidnapped and brainwashed by the Dimeras. He had his memories wiped so he didn’t remember Kayla and Stephanie. That’s when Tripp happened when he hooked up with some crazy woman.
Hello: I think I checked out before Steve died. Last I remember he left town with Kayla and Stephanie. I’m glad he’s back and they are together and it is convenient that he picked up another kid along the way! Thanks for the info!
Ari lives with Gabi not Sonny. Ari is the daughter of Gabi/Will. They were friends & dated in high school. Will was in the closet then & slept once with Gabi b/c he didn’t want to face who he was. Later on Will married Sonny so Sonny became her Step-Dad. Will “died” a few years ago. Sonny continued to be a father figure after Will’s death.
Paul & Sonny fell in love and were at the alter getting married when everyone learned Will might be alive. The family learned about 6 months ago that Will was alive & the hunt was on to find him. Sonny was very callous in the way he kicked Paul to the curb. Will has amnesia so he’s having to reconnect with people he can’t remember. Sonny expected they’d reunite but Will pushed him away, asked for a divorce is wildly attracted to Paul. This pleases me after the cold way Sonny dumped Paul.
I adore Gabi. Yes she went to prison for murdering Nick. Julie dislikes her because Nick was a Horton. Gabi & Nick were dating and he started being physically/emotionally abusive and controlling. Nick then started interfering & bringing Ari into it. Gabi killed him to protect herself & her daughter. Sami & Kate helped cover it up. FYI= Rafe is her big brother.
Thank you for helping me put the pieces together. All of this info helps a lot. Now I prefer Will and Paul together even more than I did before! Also happy to hear more about Gabi’s backstory. I’m not sure how I feel about her with Eli.