Why are stories better when characters get to be smart? Check out what Digest columnist Carolyn Hinsey has to say about what’s happening across the daytime dial.

It’s lazy to write a story that depends on characters being dumb, so the recent spate of A-listers acting smart has been refreshing.

B&B’s Finn studied Sheila’s severed toe (!), realized she was alive, and told Steffy right away. They went straight to Deacon who claimed ignorance. The next day…

Deacon (to Sheila): “Hit the bricks.”

Yes, Finn and Steffy shouldn’t have trusted Deacon to “find” the security footage proving Steffy actually saw Sheila and her nine toes, and yes, Deacon shouldn’t have helped hide Sheila from the police. But Sheila’s super power has always been convincing people to trust her so it’s not like there isn’t precedent for her recent escape. Most refreshing was this scene, when Finn and Steffy gathered Eric, Brooke, Carter, Liam and Hope at the office:

Steffy: “Finn and I have shocking news: Sheila Carter is alive!”

Steffy may hate Brooke, but she’ll still let her know when a psycho killer is on the loose and that’s smart, too.

I wish B&B would acknowledge Eric’s past marriage to Sheila. He fell for every one of her lies all the way to the altar, giving us that hilarious visual of the Forresters and guests (Lauren Fenmore!) wearing black to Eric and Sheila’s wedding because they were in mourning. An exchange like this would go a long way towards honoring the past:

Eric: “How can the police keep being fooled by Sheila?”

Steffy: “Hey, you married her.”

Eric: “Point taken.”

John and Marlena are going to get Kristen out of their house or die trying on DAYS, and I’m here for every moment of that story. Meanwhile, I had high hopes that Bonnie would be somewhat astute when catching her kidnapper.

Bonnie (to Xander): “You’re that horrible evil clown!”

Yes! Oh, wait. Justin and Maggie dismissed her suspicions as PTSD, Gwen convinced Leo to dress up as the clown and have a fake fight with Xander to get him off the hook, and Bonnie was all “my hero!” to Xander. Sigh.

Nicole is showing signs of wising up now that she’s seen former pious priest Eric bed three women this holiday season (Jada, Nicole, Sloan). Is there a bigger hypocrite on DAYS than Eric Brady? He blamed Nicole when Jada snuck off to abort his baby between the turkey and the pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, excoriated homeless Nicole for moving in with EJ, and then jumped into bed with that snake Sloan without so much as a “Hi, my name is…”

Nicole: “After everything we’ve been through, I’m devastated to see you behaving like…”

Eric: “What?”

Nicole: “Like you’re not the special man I thought you were. Compared to you, EJ is a saint.”

Give Saint EJ a spin, Nicole. If nothing else, it will drive Sami crazy.

Anna drove that crooked agent crazy on GH, besting him with help from Valentin and Martin and then setting her sights on Valentin’s father.

Valentin: “Now we can go after Victor.”

Anna: “Together.”

The Cassadines are breaking all kinds of laws. At some point, Mac and company are going to have to crack down or risk exposure to DCS (Dumb Cop Syndrome) which they suffered from for years thanks to matriarch Helena. Her grandson Nikolas clearly inherited the kidnapping gene, locking Esme in a turret after she had the temerity to get pregnant by him.

Liz decided to help Nikolas and there was no turning back. When Finn found the prenatal vitamins Liz had picked up for Esme, she hemmed and hawed until the story took a surprising turn.

Finn: “Are you pregnant?”

Liz: “I am. I am so sorry. I never wanted to deceive you.”

Until now. So Finn’s dumb, Spencer is kinda dumb, and Liz is backing the wrong horse, but I think it will all be worth it when Ava gets wind of Liz’s “pregnancy”…

Bad guys can be shrewd, too. It wasn’t that surprising when fellow psychos Heather and Ryan turned out to have birthed Esme, but give them credit for hiding it for so long. Unfortunately for the PC medical community, Ryan’s “illness” depends solely on a slew of doctors being very bad at their jobs which stretches credulity.

Heather: “Lover, you’re stuck in that chair.”

Ryan (rising from his wheelchair): “People tend to underestimate me.”

Heather: “I forgot you’re the master of shock and awe.”

And cleverness.

I’ve always found Y&R’s Phyllis to be clever, but she played herself with this vengeance scheme against Diane.

Diane: “Phyllis seemed nervous around Jeremy. Maybe she finally realized she’s playing with fire.”

Jack: “Is this war between you two ever going to end?”

Only when Diane fakes her death again. Despite everyone being warned about this big bad man coming to town, Jeremy made his way into Jack’s house and his office without anyone stopping him or calling security. That’s a lot of Jabot employees messing up with no consequence which makes Jack bad at his job, too — and even he didn’t call security.

Jeremy (to Diane): “You are here because of my goodwill.”

Jack: “How much will it cost to leave Diane alone?”

It doesn’t make sense that Jack blames Phyllis for “breaking Kyle’s heart” by chasing Diane away when she chose to stay away for 10 years, but credit Diane for fooling them all. She played dead for a decade, came back, and was all “Boo-hoo, I’m scared” and Jack came running. Pitting Diane against Phyllis, Ashley and Nikki was clever, but Y&R is doing that thing where they build the whole show around a new character — Theo, Tara, Ashland, now Jeremy who supposedly “forced” lying death-faker Diane into doing his dirty work in LA — and that is not.

Hey. It’s only my opinion.


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