In Grief, Sami and E.J. Get Their Groove On
The “Days of Our Lives” reboot moved out of the beta phase last week. The show is truly good now. I am in awe of the major changes that the show’s new headwriters Darrell Ray Thomas Junior and Marlene McPherson have managed to make in a short time. Suddenly, Salem is a place where storylines are soap-plausible, the dialogue is top notch, and everyone involved with the show seems to give a damn. This week, Johnny’s (Aaron/Griffin Kunitz) disappearance was the catalyst for a series of events which finally brought Sami (Alison Sweeney) and E.J. (James Scott) together again in an ugly, passionate scene that was so perfect for their characters. Yes, Sami and E.J. finally had sex again.
The two characters, who have shared few scenes together over the past couple months, were brought into each other’s orbit as they frantically waited for news of their missing son. DOOL showed a new sophistication in its directing, as frequent shots of clocks showed viewers exactly how long Johnny had been missing, creating a sense of urgency. Johnny disappeared after a sniper shot at John during a Brady family gathering. John, blaming himself for putting his family at risk, decided to plead guilty to financial fraud, even though he was actually framed by E.J. E.J. realized that his criminal act made him responsible for his own son’s disappearance and potential death. It all came to a head on Friday when, thanks to an erroneous local news report, Sami and E.J. believed that Johnny’s body had been found.
They lashed out each other physically and emotionally.
Sami: Father of the year, E.J.! You’re father of the year!
E.J.: I’m sure your shooting me in the head was your finest moment!
Sami: I shot you in the head… Because of what you had done to Sydney! You forget how you kidnapped her, how you made me think she was dead?
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In classic soap fashion, Johnny was found, alive and well, just as Sami and E.J.’s rage turned to passion. The characters have always walked the fine line between love and hate. This time, for once, neither was manipulating the other. Both truly believe that Johnny is dead, though E.J. is still keeping a secret from Sami. This time, they are coming together out of genuine emotion. It gives me hope that DOOL will finally write a true love story — with tons of complications — for the potential supercouple that the show brought together in 2007, then squandered.
Should the ABC Soaps Follow “Arrested Development” To Netflix?
“Arrested Development” fans were elated Friday when it was announced that the cult favorite was being resurrected five years after its cancellation. New episodes will debut on Netflix in 2013. The parallels between this deal and Prospect Park’s hopes to continue “All My Children” and “One Life To Live” on-line are striking. All are shows that had a passionate fanbase but performed poorly in the ratings. Though it may seem like everyone you know is an “Arrested Development” fan, the show’s ratings should have gotten it canceled in its first season. It was only critical acclaim and Emmy awards that kept it going for three seasons.
Netflix reportedly outbid a couple of cable channels for the rights to the show. Prospect Park may have bitten off more than it can chew but it’s theory that the internet is the perfect place for canceled shows that still have a following seems to be borne out. I wonder if there is any chance that Prospect Park might be able to alter their business model and make a deal with Netflix. It’s got to be cheaper to partner with what is a defacto existing on-line network than to build one from scratch. Plus, Netflix makes it revenue from subscribers not advertisers. The company wants to create original programming because there are now so many other ways to watch movies and tv shows on-line for free that it needs to provide a reason for people to subscribe. I suspect a large percentage of soap fans already are Netflix subscribers and that many more would pay less than ten dollars a month for the chance to see new episodes of their soaps, as well as the rest of what Netflix offers. I doubt anyone will miss the commercials. It’s not a perfect solution. Prospect Park intended to make the shows available for free, and let advertisers foot the bill. In these tough times, not everyone can afford the additional monthly expense, but it’s better than nothing.
The “Arrested Development” deal also shows that other companies are having the same issues as Prospect Park in terms of nailing down the details of an on-line move. The combined powers of 20th Century Fox, Imagine and Netflix have yet to sign deals with any of the actors, decide how many new episodes will be made, or set a launch date. Sound familiar? Do you think it will be difficult to coordinate the schedules of Will Arnett, who is busy starring on “Up All Night,” Jason Bateman, who now has a major movie career, and the rest of the cast? I look forward to reading angry tweets demanding that Ron Howard give them answers a few months from now.