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Archive for July 26th, 2008

Like that Bonnie Tyler 80’s song of yore, the young women of Salem seem to be holding out for a hero, a big strong man to come along and give them guidance and purpose in their lives.  The concept of the hero has of course dominated soaps since the beginning and it’s a staple that will never go away and I’d never want it to.  The supercouples of Days have had many moments of the hero rescuing his lady from some sort of peril and that’s great, because we’ve also had the woman rescue the man.  Hope & Kayla have done plenty of bailing their men out of peril as well.  But somewhere along the way this concept has gotten completely lost when it comes to the young women of Salem.  They’ve all become weak minded, simpering little idiots who cannot function without their man.

Taking them on a case by case basis, we’ll start with Stephanie.  For what feels like eons now, Stephanie has been crying and whining because her “twu wuv” Max was being a moody prick.  When Stephanie first appeared on the screen, she was supposed to be this tough race car driving chick who could hang with the guys at the track.  Then we saw her with Jeremy, getting abuse and pretty much taking it.  She did verbally challenge him here or there but she kept forgiving him for his actions and letting him back in.  Then she was raped by Ford, which of course would be something that would change and affect a character.  She fell back in love with Max and they really did start out sweet.  Then the secret genius storyline played out and Max became an asshole to her and she just stood by and cried and took it.  She was being the “good girlfriend” as her grandmother put it, standing by her man even though he was shutting her out.  Ok, I didn’t like it but I could kind of understand it.  I think they took it too far, there’s being supportive and being a doormat and there’s a difference.  She was a doormat in my eyes.

Now Max’s super secret geniusness is revealed and he backed off from being such a dick about it.  He still has his moments of course, but he’s less prickish than he was in the recent past.  So you’d think that Stephanie would be able to revert back into form as well, but no.  She had a holy fit when she found out Max had the audacity to leave the country to find his sister without telling her.  She cried and acted as if she’d been left at the altar.  In fact, the way she and Caroline acted you’d think Max was a 5 year old who ran away from home.  It was very annoying.  Anyway, instead of doing something with her Max free time, find a job or attending classes or telling Chelsea she’s a moron, she instead takes off to join Max on the longest train ride through France that ever existed.  It’s like she could not comprehend of spending a moment without her twu wuv so she took off after him.  I guess it’s supposed to be some kind of grand adventure for Stax but right now it’s nothing but a big snooze.  She just looks weak and needy to me, like she can’t stand to be alone without Max.  And sadly, right now, she’s the best of the three girls in my eyes.

Moving on, we next have Morgan.  Who is this Morgan that’s been on my screen for the last few weeks and can we send her back from whence she came?  Morgan started off as a rather feisty girl who broke down the stereotype of the typical sorority sister.  I assumed she’d be vapid and bitchy but she was actually pretty sweet and stood up for her friends.  I liked her paired with Max and was a bit annoyed when they abruptly broke them up to go the way of Stax, but I wasn’t emotionally invested so I didn’t get too worked up about it.  Then they started throwing her into scenes with Philip and I was honestly intrigued.  They had a spark to them, she was confrontational with him over using her father in his dock wars with John and he seemed to be a little drawn to that side of her.  He’d watch her with these considering looks that got me excited for a potential slow burn love story that could have been filled with soapy goodness.

So what did we get?  Instead of that slow turn from distrust to wary friendship to solid friendship to romance, we went warp speed from distrust straight to twu wuv.  Where in the hell did that come from?  One day Morgan is challenging Philip about his relationship with her father and the next she’s throwing herself into his arms down on the docks looking at him as if he’s her knight in shining armor!  Words cannot begin to express my irritation with what they’ve done to this couple.  Suddenly Morgan can’t go anywhere with Philip there to hold her hand and tell her that everything is okay.  Now I get that her father is missing and that would be hard on anyone, but where’s the girl who was willing to fight Ford’s father with her sorority sisters?  Where’s the girl that stood up to Ford’s bully of a father in questioning?  This girl can’t open a package to her father without crying and carrying on.  The Morgan I liked would be more like the Morgan we saw again yesterday.  She burst into John’s house and refused to back down when EJ tried to get her to leave and wouldn’t take any shit from 3 men.

Of course that moment had to be more or less ruined by Philip showing up and jumping in front of her when the heretofore unseen and unmentioned Edward Vitale pulled a gun out and shot at her.  Philip dived in front of the bullet and of course now we will have the obligatory I love you scene between the two of them from his hospital bed.  I really did find these two promising but now they’re more or less ruined because Higley had to go light speed ahead without staying true to the characters on the screen.

Last and certainly least, we have Chelsea Brady.  When Chelsea showed up on the scene, I hated her.  She was a brat, spoiled, snotty, bitchy and just plain unpleasant.  I wanted more than anything for her to die in a fiery car crash with both her mother and her grandmother.  At the time Billie was interfering with S&K and then Bope and Kate was of course continuing her never ending war with Sami and sleeping with EJ.  None of these things endeared me to any of the characters, nor did Chelsea working her damndest to break up Bope because she wanted her mom and dad together.  Then a new writer came along and brought Nick Fallon to our screens and threw Chelsea in his path.  Nick fell in insta-love with her, but not the annoying kind, the cute crush kind.  Their relationship is a long story but finally Chelsea saw beyond Nick’s geek exterior and fell for him.  During this time, she became less of a brat and more of a headstrong young woman.  She still could do stupid things and act without thinking, but even when she did, she felt guilt and had consequences.  I gradually stopped hating her and really started liking her.  I saw her as a mini-Sami, hopefully without as many self-destructive tendencies.  There was even a time when it looked like the writers were going to establish more of a relationship between the two cousins which I would really like and still hold out some hope for.

But, good things cannot last, can’t even last more than year or so, before a new writer comes along and effectively assassinates the character of Chelsea.  Every single ounce of maturity is out of the window thanks to this new relationship with Daniel.  I don’t need to outline that story, I’ve covered my hatred of Chan in complete detail.  But besides hating the relationship, I truly hate what it’s done to the Chelsea’s character.  She’s back to acting like a spoiled brat, with the added bonus of being a whiny, needy stalker thrown in.  The opinionated, headstrong girl is gone and in her place is a malleable, agreeable young woman, at least when it comes to Daniel and what he says and tells her to do.  Chelsea, in pure stalker mode, decides to ask Grandpa Victor to get her a job at the hospital so she can be closer to Daniel.  Vic asks Daniel for help with that and Daniel pushes her into some OT job.  Chelsea then tells Daniel that he “knows her better than she knows herself” and she’s truly delighted with his choice.  I’m sorry, but that’s supposed to impress me how?  Chelsea doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life so Daniel can come up with something that is just perfect for her, even though she has made no pretense in the past to hating working at the hospital and didn’t seem to overly care for children either?  No, this is another case of her bending to Daniel’s will and just doing what he wants her to do because she must do it for twu wuv.

The sad fact is that none of these three young women, all of whom had potential at some point or another, can seem to exist outside of their relationships with their men.  They’ll follow them all over heavens creation and whine and cry when they can’t be with them.  I’m sick of seeing the women of Salem act like this and it’s especially galling because the head writer is a woman.  You’d think that she would empower her female characters but she does the exact opposite.  It’s gotten to the only time I truly look forward to the show is when I know that none of these three will be on.  The hopeful side of me still thinks that maybe some of these characters can be redeemed but the realist knows that probably won’t happen with Higley as head writer.  Meanwhile I’ll just flutter my hanky and hold out hope that some big strong man will come along to rescue me from this show.  Higley wouldn’t write my story any other way.

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