How far is too far when it comes to contrived plot twists? Check out what Digest columnist Carolyn Hinsey has to say about what’s happening across the daytime dial.

Contrived plot twists are a soap staple, but they fizzle when they go too far.

DAYS killed Stefan DiMera, donated his heart to Julie, then killed Jake DiMera so his heart could be given to his twin — and that’s not the most contrived part.

Kristen (to Dr Rolf): “Please tell me you’ve made progress getting Stefan to forget his feelings for Gabi.”

So we’re to believe that a heartless Stefan (literally) survived four years in the basement with only a magic bathing cap to keep him alive and now Dr. Rolf is going to brainwash him into loving Chloe so convicted criminal Kristen can “be a family again” with Brady and their daughter?

Kristen: “I’m going to be with Brady, and Stefan is going to be with Chloe, and everybody is going to live happily ever after.”Dr.

Rolf: “Everybody except Gabi Hernandez.”

A.k.a. the only person with real feelings in that messed-up pentagram. Characters donning masks, being brainwashed, etc. are no substitute for genuine feelings, which are the heart of all good soap stories. Stefan and Gabi were fun, and it was smart of DAYS to flash back to their courtship to remind us they are a money couple. But the double whammy of his resurrection and brainwashing strains credulity even with the crazy chemistry of the main players.

That said, DAYS is wringing some dark humor from this twisted tale — like EJ and Tony comparing notes on Ava’s mental state and Kristen cracking wise about her dead brother after Stefan escaped.

Kristen: “Did Gabi see him?”

Dr. Rolf: “I was able to get to him before he could reveal himself to her. Ava did see him but she believed she was hallucinating her dead husband, Jake.”

Kristen: “Then we dodged a bullet. Unlike Jake.”

That’s funny.

Phyllis and Nikki’s plot to oust Diane from Marchetti on Y&R is funny, too. It’s a little unbelievable that Phyllis would sell her dream hotel just to get revenge on Diane (by working at Marchetti) but they’ve played it like the manipulative Diane is an imminent threat to everyone they love, so it works. Nikki’s been a riot, purring insults while innocently insisting she has no agenda.

Nikki: “It’s easier to ignore you than engage. I have a full life.”

Diane: “Something is clearly afoot.”

Nikki: “Not everything is about you, dear.”

Every “dear” is laced with sarcasm, especially when Diane tries to guess what her enemies are up to.

Nikki: “You can forget about your conspiracy theory. Nobody is thinking about you.”

Jack (entering): “Are we interrupting?”

Nikki: “Not at all. I’m just finishing my lunch at my table for one.”

Me-ow! I could watch Nikki insult Diane all day. And for the record, Talia printing a bunch of facts about Diane is not a hit job. It’s journalism.

For plots that didn’t work, see the limp resolution of Ashland’s murder. One cop cannot decide to drop the charges against his own brother-in-law and father-in-law. No discussions with superiors, no lawyers, no pesky courthouse appearances. Worse, that poorly constructed resolve undid Chance’s history as a solid military man who always does the right thing.

Nick: “I’m afraid we may have compromised the most moral man in Genoa City.”

And at what cost? We don’t need any more compromised Newmans roaming Genoa City.

Compromise is the Cassadines’ m.o. on GH, especially when Uncle Victor is pulling the strings. Nikolas having sex with Esme was farfetched (he had been Ava’s lapdog for months) but it gave us Ava throwing Esme over the parapet, which was not — Katherine Bell, Julian Jerome, Brad and Ava herself met the same fate. Kudos for having Anna hold her own against Victor because we know The Divine Devane yields to no one.

Victor: “Valentin has family now. Families close ranks when the situation demands it. Doubt our loyalty at your own peril.”

Anna: “Is that a threat?”

It would have made more sense for Valentin to tell Anna that Victor kidnapped Charlotte so they could battle him together, but her cat-and-mouse with his father works, too. So does the unholy alliance between Anna and Lucy to pump Victor for information.

Anna: “Exploit his attention. You have all the assets to be my … asset.”

For forced, please see the insta-romance of Carly and Drew, which doesn’t work because Drew is a pale imitation of the complicated men Carly falls for: mobsters Sonny and Jason. GH dropped Drew’s violent side (he previously assaulted Nikolas, Shiloh, Franco, Valentin, Andre and Jason) and now have him squatting at the Q mansion like some kind of unpaid “manny” to Leo and Wiley while his own kid (Scout) grows up across town without him — and he never visits Oscar’s garden (sniff!). You know what would work? Drew and Sasha. He’s a rescuer and boy, does she need it.

We need rescuing from that Ridge/Brooke/Taylor love triangle on B&B. Brooke demands Taylor leave Ridge alone while Ridge orders Deacon to stay away from Brooke and it’s all so high school.

Ridge (to Deacon): “You’re bad for Brooke. I don’t want you in my house, the house I share with Brooke.”

The house they share when he isn’t nuzzling Taylor at Forrester family parties Brooke wasn’t invited to. Some day B&B will let these A-listers grow up and learn from their mistakes — but today is not that day.

Ridge (seeing Brooke and Taylor covered in paint): “Really?”

Brooke: “She laughed at me.”

Taylor: “Oooh, I laughed at her. This fight was about you. It always is.”

How do I define contrived? Two grandmothers trying to settle their rivalry over a man by having a paint fight.

Hey. It’s only my opinion.




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