Deep Soap: ‘Days’ Kills Off Its Most Promising New Character

by | July 21, 2010 at 10:30 AM | Deep Soap

Jessica Tuck (Charley Gallay/Getty Images)

Jessica Tuck (Charley Gallay/Getty Images)

Madeline Dies Too Soon

Madeline (Jessica Tuck) was the most interesting new character to turn up in Salem in ages.  It is disappointing that ‘Days of Our Lives‘ opted to kill her off, particularly in such a stupid way.  I suspected that an actress with as many recent primetime credits as Tuck, who works far more regularly than most of the recent “big name” actors who have appeared on the soaps, would not want to make a longterm commitment to daytime.  But she was so good. I was fascinated by her retconned backstory with Kate (Lauren Koslow) and Stephano (Joseph Mascalo).  It seemed like the set up for a longterm rivalry, with Kate and Stefano able to blackmail her because they knew she prostituted her way through law school, while she knew of Stefano’s involvement with the death of a state senator. Tuck put so much more into Madeline than I suspect was on the page.  She played Madeline as the smartest person in the room (which isn’t always saying much in Salem), a tightly wound repressed WASP who cared more about appearances than anyone else, a woman who clearly married way, way down because it suited her agenda.  Tuck was the perfect age for romance with many of the shows leading men.  Her job as a judge provided natural ways for her to interact with the shows cops and lawyers.

Alas, all of this potential was squandered in one of the stupider soap deaths in recent memory.  Chad (Casey Diedrick) found out about his mother’s call girl past.  I would think a kid who had gotten in trouble for drugs and knocked up a girl might have had a little sympathy.  Instead he turned into a judgmental prig and called her a whore.  He also displayed a shocking lack of knowledge about educational costs, suggesting Madeline could have put herself through law school by working a menial job, instead of making the logical suggestion that she take out student loans like every other law student in America.  Her death itself was laughable.  Chad lightly shoved Maddie away and she went tumbling down a flight of stairs, even though it did not seem like he shoved her hard enough to throw her off balance.  She died off-camera in the hospital, only to have Lexie (Renee Jones) reveal that she actually died from a brain aneurysm. The next twist in the story was heavily foreshadowed with Chad commenting that the annoying neighbor on ‘Empty Nest‘ never acted like his father.  The odds seem high that Chad is yet another son of Stefano DiMera.  It would explain why he is as tall as E.J.  This would be a much more interesting plot if Madeline was alive and had to deal with the repercussions of her deception. Granted, Lexie does not have a 100% accuracy rate with declaring people dead and an off-camera death usually inspires me to think, “pics or it didn’t happen”.  So I hope Madeline will turn up alive and well six months from now. Anything else will be thoroughly disappointing.

Erica Kane’s Surprisingly Boring Blog

SoapNET has decided to make the most of Susan Lucci’s lengthy summer vacation by debuting a blog and Twitter account allegedly written by ‘All My Children’s‘ Erica Kane herself about her trip to Paris.  This is a great idea.  But, so far, I don’t think that the execution lives up to the promise of the idea.  ABC has had its soap characters “write” before.  ‘General Hospital’s‘ Robin used to have a blog.  During the 1990s her “diary” about her relationship with Stone was a bestseller.  GH’s Carolyn Hennesy (Diane) is writing a book from Spinelli’s point-of-view.  Erica herself even “wrote” her own self-help book Having It All back in 1997. I am somewhat ashamed to admit I own a copy, but in my defense it is truly hilarious.  With advice like, “Whether Waterford, or those little cartoon-adorned jelly glasses, or — like myself ,Lalique — we are all vessels waiting to be filled.” and “Engagement rings are like all major purchases. They need to be upgraded regularly.” the book perfectly captures Erica’s voice.

I wish the ghostwriter who penned that tome were in charge of the blog and Twitter feed.   Since she is a “celebrity,” Erica’s blog could be a perfect parody of real celebrity blogs and newsletters like Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP, with clueless advice about “affordable” $500 T-shirts.  I want Erica to blow her stack online about being kept waiting for five minutes at a restaurant.  I want her to Twitter crazy vows of support for Lindsay Lohan, offering to be her NA sponsor after she gets out of jail.   That would be entertainment.  Instead, Erica Tweets things like “Paris = c’est magnifique!”  How generic.   Her blog is a little better, with Erica recalling some storylines from the 1980s and a tip to a common blogging tradition, shilling products, as Erica recommends Fusion sunscreen, but it could be so much funnier. Also, there is an inaccuracy.  Erica says she isn’t sure she’ll like horseback riding, even though she has been shown riding on the show before. There’s even a photo of her riding in full British regalia in her book.  Come on, ABC.  Fans have been making fake online profiles for characters for years.  Some of them are really good.   I expect you to be as entertaining.  I’ll give you a couple of ideas:  Erica’s attempts to visit the Musee D’Orsay are thwarted by striking workers who are immune to her claims that strikes do not apply to Erica Kane.  Erica and Jack have brunch with Carla Bruni and Nicholas Sarkowsky and, thanks to a translation error, manage to cause an international scandal involving alleged partner swapping.  Come on, anonymous ABC online employee, this is going to be the most fun project that you ever have.  Make the most of it!