Days Needs a New Villain
At left: Joe Mascolo as Massimo on B&B,
former Stefano, DOOL
Days of Our Lives has always been campy. That’s one of the reasons we tune in -- we know what to expect. But lately, knowing what to expect is part of the problem.
When after months of rumors, the nine victims of the Salem Stalker, plus Victor Kiriakis, turned up on the island of New Salem, at first it was intriguing.
Not only was it great to see our beloved characters alive and well, but we were curious as to why none of them except Tony had scars from their gruesome and violent demises. We also wondered how it was possible for Victor to end up with the others, when he had been murdered in his bathtub by Jan and Nicole, and not a victim of the Salem Stalker like everyone else. We eagerly awaited clues for answers to these questions, and to learn who was behind their predicament.
So far, the clues have been disappointing: A shadowy figure following Kate and John with the apparent intention of getting them together romantically. Patrick’s mysterious boss and his not knowing Jack. And most recently, with the reveal that Tony sabotaged the other residents’ attempt at communication to get off the island, the fingers are starting to point in one direction -- Stefano DiMera.
And of course, as any well informed viewer knows, Days “lent” Lauren Koslow (Kate) to The Bold and the Beautiful last year, and Days has yet to act on its half of the deal -- bringing back Joe Mascolo (currently employed by B&B) as Stefano. There seems to be little doubt that Stefano will surface sooner or later either in Salem or New Salem.
Days head writer, James E. Reilly, is known for his off the wall storytelling. This is the man who wrote the infamous Marlena possessed by the devil storyline, buried Carly alive, and created Passions. If anyone is original, it’s certainly him. But this current story lacks suspense and is anything but original. Following on the heels of the buildup and hype leading to the reveal that Marlena was the serial killer, the aftermath has been a real letdown.
One can only hope that Reilly is leading us down this predictable path, only to surprise us with a twist that will shake everything up and lead us in an entirely new direction. That would be the Reilly we know and love.
To think that Stefano and/or Tony had anything to do with this nefarious plot is truly a slap in the face to all involved, viewers and actors alike. After all, how many times can one man rise from the dead, even if he is the Phoenix?
Jacob Young Takes JR to New Depths
At Right, Eden Riegel (Bianca, AMC) with Jacob Young (JR, AMC) from an episode that airs the week of August 9, 2004
Who can remember any of the actors who have played Adam and Dixie’s son, JR, on All My Children (with the possible exception of Jesse McCartney as a young JR a few years back)? None have left their mark -- until now.
Jacob Young is a revelation as JR Chandler. Sure, he had turns as nice guy Rick Forrester on The Bold and the Beautiful, and even won an Emmy as the slightly more complex Lucky Spencer on General Hospital, but he didn’t own those roles like he owns JR.
When Young debuted on AMC in September 2003, JR was still being written as a loveable, sweet guy. He was the very progeny of his mother Dixie, and not the spawn of his father, Adam. However, when JR learned that his adoring wife Babe had lied to him yet again, and that their marriage wasn’t legal, something in him snapped.
Thanks to Young’s masterful portrayal, viewers were able to detect the exact moment JR’s feelings changed, just by looking in his eyes. Ever since JR learned the truth, all of the light has gone out of his eyes, and all that is left is the cold, vacant stare of a man who no longer cares about anything except revenge. JR has morphed into Adam right in front of us.
Young’s own eyes are so powerful and expressive (or in this case blank and unexpressive) that references to them have been included in the dialogue. JR’s brother Jamie often refers to JR having a look in his eyes that means he is lying.
Young’s JR postures and preens like a bantam rooster strutting its stuff. He is the very essence of a boy trying to become a man by emulating his father. In a less capable actor’s hands, JR’s sudden transformation would not be believable. But watching Young’s JR with Adam, plotting and scheming to remove Babe from their lives in order for JR to have custody of Bess, is like watching a throwback to Adam having Dixie locked up in a mental hospital so he could have JR. Adam has always treated his children like just another business acquisition, so is it any wonder that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree?. The scenario is all the more plausible considering Dixie isn’t around to serve as JR’s moral compass.
Young’s scenes with David Canary’s Adam have been electric. The two actors feed off of one-another, gleefully chewing up and spitting out the scenery. They are co-conspirators in every sense of the word.
What makes this story all the more remarkable is that the viewer knows what lies ahead. We know that Bess is not JR’s daughter, and we eagerly anticipate the fallout when he learns the truth. The cocky boy-man will have his bubble burst, and in Young’s capable hands, JR’s inevitable anger and anguish will be nothing short of gut wrenching. Even though you find yourself rooting for JR to get his comeuppance, when the story switches gears to this pivotal point, we might find ourselves actually feeling sorry for him. After all, he is just a product of his environment, so who can really blame him?
And for this we have Jacob Young to thank for breathing new life into a role that was going nowhere.
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