I want so badly to be hopeful about Days of Our Lives.
For months, the show has been nothing but a cesspool of misogyny, with rape and sexual assault treated as plot points and weak women clinging to a man for protection.
During the week of 4-17, Abigail declared her independence and told her mother that she didn't want anyone to find a job for her or take care of her. If only there hadn't been massive problems with the storyline up to this point, I might trust this.
But Abigail didn't leave Chad because she realized she was expected to play the dutiful housewife. She left Chad because she found out that Gabi wrote something meaningful in his high school yearbook 10 or more years ago.
Being on her own seems to be filler until she either gets with Dario or gets back with Chad, and that really cheapens the strength she displayed.
This Abby/Chad/Gabi triangle has been a mess from the beginning and it's hard to trust it's every going to be anything worthwhile. Every time Abby talks about making it on her own, I flash back to her belly dancing in exchange for a client doing business with Chad and I wonder if she realizes how far she's fallen.
It would also help if we'd seen this evolution on screen. Just as JJ went from being angry that Jennifer wouldn't accept his career choice to being a calm, peaceful, productive adult without any explanation, Abby went from being an insecure mess to a strong woman who is going to make her own way in the world overnight.
This isn't believable. Changing characters to suit the writers' whims -- even if the change is a positive one -- pulls viewers out of the story and makes them wonder what just happened and what the character will be made to do tomorrow.
Well, I just finished one project and I'm looking to get into something new. Hopefully something in one of the Salem News offices. Mm hmm. Yes. Yes, you can reach me at this number. It's Abigail Dimera... Deveraux. Um, my name is Abigail Deveraux.Abigail
Abigail's scenes with Jennifer were long overdue, though I wish we'd get to see JJ working through trying to get his mother to let him grow up.
It was a bit odd that she talked to Eric afterwards. I don't recall these two ever sharing a scene before, and I don't believe someone who is struggling as hard as Abigail is would talk to a virtual stranger, even if Eric is her mother's semi-boyfriend.
Julie: Sorry I worried you.
Doug: Well, you worried Hope too, until Valerie said that it wasn't a heart attack.
Julie: Well, I'm going to be fine.
Doug: I sat with you while you slept. You seemed very agitated. Did you have a bad dream?
Julie: More like a nightmare named Gabi Hernandez.
Meanwhile, Gabi and Julie's confrontation was meant to make viewers think Gabi is also a strong woman and root for her and Eli.
Here's the problem: Gabi has been one of the weakest characters on the show until a few days ago. All of last year, she disappeared whenever Julie showed up because she was totally incapable of standing up for herself or her relationship with JJ.
So it's a bit hard to believe now that she always defends herself and is totally unafraid of Julie.
Plus, while Julie went about it entirely the wrong way, she's completely right about Gabi, with a few exceptions.
Gabi has always been about what Gabi wants, other people's feelings and needs be damned. She has a long list of past crimes including attempting to move across the country with Ari despite the fact that it would mean cutting Will out of his daughter's life and mercilessly berating JJ for having been raped.
And let's not forget all that business with throwing Nick in the river instead of calling the cops when he tried to rape her.
Should Juile have faked a heart attack to keep her away from Eli?
Of course not, but the one telling lies and half-truths is Sonny, who made Gabi sound like an innocent victim and claimed JJ cheated on Gabi when he was raped.
The whole conflict between Gabi and Eli over Julie's alleged heart attack didn't make Gabi look strong, either. It made Eli look weak.
First, he was willing to totally write Gabi off despite his interest of five seconds ago because Julie said Gabi caused her to have a heart attack by yelling at her.
Then, he was totally willing to forgive Gabi based on Sonny's version of events, without checking with any of the people who Sonny claimed hurt Gabi.
Eli is an FBI agent and should be capable of figuring out the truth for himself rather than relying on what other people say. This story is clearly meant to prop Gabi, using Julie as the villain, but it's just more contrived nonsense so it doesn't work.
Making Abigail stronger doesn't make up for the sheer offensiveness of the Nicole/Scooter storyline, either.
Scooter attempted to rape Nicole, threatening to out her as a kidnapper if she didn't have sex with him. But he didn't go through with it because Nicole arranged for his wife to meet him at a seedy motel instead of her, wearing a French maid's uniform.
It seemed like this story was wrapped up in a hurry, leaving behind a ton of disgust and outrage on the part of viewers.
First of all, rape and lust are two different things. Scooter didn't want to rape Nicole because he wasn't getting any from his wife. He wanted to overpower and humiliate her, which is what sexual assault is actually about.
It's beyond time to stop suggesting that the key to stopping rape is to make sure the rapist's wife does her duty and gives him sex. Was this awful storyline really on the same show that once broke new ground by suggesting a woman had the right to say no to her husband?
Scooter trying to rape Nicole wasn't Nicole's fault and it wasn't Hillary's either. It was Scooter's. He chose to make threats and be lewd, and no matter what anyone else did or didn't do, that's on him.
If that wasn't bad enough, Jade suggested to Claire that the solution to her Youtube view woes was to make a sex tape with Theo, presumably without his consent.
It's almost as if the writers were in competition to see who could create the most perverted storyline.
Claire said no for now, and hopefully this won't come up again. I don't watch a soap to see the writers' personal sexual fantasies play out. I watch to see what happens to characters I care about, and lately that's hard to do because all we're getting is sex and violence.
Jade is also a bad news character that adds very little to Days of Our Lives. She has no redeeming qualities and bounces back and forth between being sweet and being scheme-y. There is no consistency to her character and nothing about her that is interesting.
After her plan to get Claire to make a sex tape went nowhere, she attempted to get Joey to care about her by overdosing again. Fortunately, Kayla had anticipated this and had switched the pills with placebos.
Jade and Joey had a big fight and Joey threw Jade out. Naturally, his new half-brother Tripp almost instantly agreed to take her in and she hugged him while he was wearing nothing but his boxers.
The less said about these two the better, and the same goes for Tripp.
Tripp is played by a more than competent actor, but his storyline is completely ridiculous. He loved Steve when he first met him, but ever since finding out Steve allegedly killed Ava, he's decided he's the devil incarnate and that Ava was a saint.
His behavior reminds me of JJ's behavior when he found out Jack raped Kayla, except for there was a reason to care about JJ. Plus, Tripp's devotion to this mother he never met borders on delusional since he won't listen to the millions of stories about her insane behavior he's been provided with.
In addition, there was never any need to tell Tripp that anyone murdered Ava. Ava was pretending to have leukemia. Why not go with that, and if they must mention a murder, claim it was a mercy killing?
What did you think of this week's Days of Our Lives? Do you think there's hope for Abigail or any of the other women of Salem? Which storyline did you find most disgusting?
Weigh in below, and don't forget to check back on Sunday for our Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.