JJ has long been shoved into the background for no reason at all.
He is a legacy character -- the son of a supercouple and the great-grandson of Tom Horton. Yet he is often written as if he is not even part of the family. His connection to his father's brother is never acknowledged and his character rewritten to fit into a career path that doesn't fit him.
This week on Days of Our Lives, he finally got a story, but it's a horrible one.
JJ's story is, basically, that he was so upset over Abigail's "death" that he drank until he blacked out. When he awakened, he was naked and there was a note from someone thanking him for an amazing time. Therefore, he and everyone around him has concluded that he cheated on Gabi.
There are so many problems with this that it's hard to know where to begin. Storywise, it's contrived and ridiculous. JJ getting drunk is not, no matter how many times he says it, in character for him at all. It's something that happens whenever the writers want someone to have sex with him who has no business touching him.
It also happened entirely off screen and JJ showed no guilt, fear, or remorse until his near-death experience, which again is out of character because JJ's default mode is not, as he claims, screwing up, but endlessly feeling guilty if he does the slightest thing wrong.
And finally, the story itself is not the story of a man who cheated. It's the story of a man who was sexually assaulted.
The description he gave of the event sounds like the cold open of an episode of Law and Order: SVU. And even if it didn't, even if there wasn't a television series on the same network that deals with sexual assault on a weekly basis, the fact is that when a person is so drunk they can't remember what they did the next day he or she is unable to consent to sex.
JJ doesn't even know if he actually had sex or not. And it doesn't matter if he did because he was unable to consent.
To suggest otherwise does harm to the many people -- of any gender -- who are sexually assaulted in this or any other manner. It sends the message that men cannot be sexually assaulted, that it's okay to have sex with someone who can't consent and that the victim of this type of assault is to blame.
It's especially disgusting because this is the fifth time in the last few years that this show has treated sexual assault casually and the third time it's happened just to this character.
First, JJ was roofied at a party and a woman took his shirt off and took a suggestive picture without his consent. Nobody ever suggested that there was any issue with this other than the fact that JJ had to prove he was innocent of cheating.
Then, JJ came over to Eve's house after drinking four beers. Eve had sex with him and nobody suggested that was anything but consensual even though then, just like now, JJ was drunk and his assailant was sober.
And now this egregious storyline.
In between, Ava warned Steve that if he didn't have sex with her she would kill Kayla, which resulted in Kayla breaking up with him for "cheating" and Chase's rape of Ciara was nothing but a plot point used to ensure Hope and Aiden didn't get back together, with no real consequences for the characters.
Rape and sexual assault storylines are part of soap operas, but they ought to be handled responsibly. This is the type of social issue storyline that shouldn't be treated as a plot point nor should everyone involved in the storyline have the same point of view about what happened.
Classic JJ. Something bad happens, go and get drunk.JJ
Oddly, not only has every character thus far been trying to convince JJ that confessing to his "crime" is the way to go, but nobody seems particularly bothered by the fact that he was drinking when this happened except for him.
Jennifer's non-reaction to this is strange, considering that she recently began going to AA herself and her brother is an alcoholic too!
She never suggested JJ go to a meeting with her, she never suggested he see a counselor, she never even suggested he give Uncle Lucas a call. She just told him a million times to confess to Gabi.
And then Gabi and Sonny threw JJ a welcome-home party that includes beer and neither Jennifer nor JJ was at all concerned about that.
Theresa: It is the only way you can possibly move forward in your relationship and it's the only road that can possibly lead to... freedom. Freedom to love without guilt. And on that note, my sermon is finished.
JJ: Theresa. I want that freedom.
Regardless of what happened, JJ clearly needs some help dealing with things. He's back to self-hating mode, seems very depressed, and admitted to a major slip with his sobriety.
The responsible thing for the mother he is confiding in to do would be to gently suggest maybe it's time for him to see a therapist. That should be his first priority, not his relationship with Gabi.
JJ's talk with Theresa was emotional and it was wonderful to see these two finally forge a connection. They've both been reformed for a while and both know what it's like to have the whole town distrust that they've really changed.
They should have been friends for a while and if we had to have a cheating story they should have mistaken bonding over their status as former hellions for something more.
Anyway, it seemed like JJ used Theresa as his therapist, admitting how angry he is at himself and how much he wants freedom. It was just another sign that he really could use some help that he's not going to get because the writers are so determined to make him the bad guy in this.
Gabi's behavior throughout this whole storyline is also problematic and makes the couple unrootable. Jennifer claimed that Gabi never left JJ's side but that's a complete lie. Gabi seemed to spend the minimum obligatory time with JJ before getting on with the business of flirting with Chad.
This week, while JJ was at home pouring his heart out to Jennifer, Gabi took her flirting with Chad to the next level. She kissed him while pretending to be his girlfriend to stop a client from sexually harassing him (yet another example of how casually this show takes such issues).
Gabi and Chad purposely left the kiss out when they told JJ the story. They then continued flirting in front of him and Jennifer. Jennifer did not appear to have any reaction to that even though she has been hounding JJ to tell Gabi about what happened in Miami in order to save this relationship.
Chad bought Gabi flowers and they were flirting again when JJ interrupted because he wanted Gabi to come over so he could confess.
Sorry, but JJ is not the bad guy in this at all. He is not the one who is constantly trying to make something sexual happen with another person right in front of his partner. Theresa's right -- he needs freedom. One of the things he needs to be free from is this terrible relationship.
He also should be getting a ghostly visit from Jack. His father, who is super important to him, managed to show up to stop Jennifer from using and to stop Abby from killing herself in a fire.
The fact that JJ gets no otherworldly help from his father just underscores how the writers believe he is not actually an important part of the Horton/Deveraux family.
Meanwhile, the reason Theresa was so upset when she ran into JJ is because she has decided to keep it secret that her abusive ex is bothering her. Instead of telling Brady what's going on, she has chosen to return to life in Mexico with this ex, supposedly so she can investigate him.
This is another horrible idea on an infinite number of levels. It amounts to Theresa giving in to an abusive person's demands, her family enabling her in doing that, and Brady being left in the dark for no reason.
Theresa is pretending to have relapsed in order to get Brady to dump her and is frustrated that he still loves her. Presumably the cocaine she took at the end of the week was meant to ensure he ends things with her, but I wasn't convinced she wasn't trying to kill herself because of this situation.
Theresa, too, may have to have sex with Mateo as part of this dubious plan. At least that particular non-consensual sexual encounter will likely be off-screen. But what kind of message does it send viewers to have someone throw her life away and return to an abusive situation?
Deimos took Nicole back after she destroyed her friendship with Chloe in order to be with him. Nicole really should know better. Unlike Theresa, she's had lots of experiences with abusive relationships. It's sadly ironic that Chloe is now considering not telling Nicole that she is the actual mother of the baby because of Nicole's ridiculous choices here.
Once again, abuse is being glorified on this show, and it really needs to stop. Viewers are tired of seeing Nicole bounce from one dysfunctional relationship to another, constantly begging for another chance with someone who treats her horribly. Deimos should be trying to get her to come back to him, not the other way around.
Thankfully, there were some happy scenes this week too. Steve proposed to Kayla and they are going to get remarried. Hopefully there will be no resurgence of Kayla's hematoma, which seemed to have impacted her memories of why she loved Steve. These scenes were sweet and romantic and this couple still has chemistry after all these years.
Their son finally got enough of his brains back to break up with Jade. However, Jade is now claiming she is pregnant. Whether any baby exists at all remains to be seen but hopefully Joey won't end up tied to Jade permanently.
Abe is finally ready to come home from the hospital. Theo is likely right that something is going on with Valerie Grant. I wish they had left Abe and Maxine as a couple, but it is interesting to speculate on what Valerie's secret is.
And finally, Lucas and Adrienne are ready to get married. This whole storyline seems a bit arbitrary. Most of their relationship has been off-screen, and now Justin randomly wants back in just as they're about to tie the knot.
Adrienne and Jennifer's decision to buy the Spectator is far more exciting. Jennifer seems happier and more fulfilled, even if she is still addicted to giving her son bad advice and not allowing him to make his own choices.
What did you think of this week's Days of Our Lives? Which storyline did you think was worse -- JJ's or Theresa's? Is there a story you particularly love or hate?