People finding them trapped in impossibly dangerous situations with their worst enemies or the person they're trying too hard to deny their feelings for are standard soap fare.
Days of Our Lives has taken advantage of this trope in the past. Eric and Nicole professed their love to each other while trapped in Daniel's basement and Jack and Jennifer made love for the first time on an island.
The current castaway story, however, leaves a lot to be desired and seems like a mishmash of soap staples that should work but fall flat because there's no heart, soul or logic to them.
It's been going on two weeks but it seems like it's been two months. The sooner this story ends, the better.
For one thing, Gabi and Chad are still bickering about that stupid cursed amulet. I wish Gabi would throw it into the ocean already so that we wouldn't have to hear her insisting that it's cursed and Chad saying that people make their own luck ever again.
When Gabi is not whining about that, she's freaking out that they're all going to die, which is also not helpful or entertaining. It also is yet another example of DAYS writing women as incredibly weak and helpless.
Gabi has not done a single thing to assist in the rescue of herself and her friends, instead complaining constantly and having anxiety attacks every five seconds. This is not what I want to see out of a soap heroine, and if the show insists on putting her front and center she needs to get it together and do something real.
Chad: Jungle madness. Why does that seem so familiar?
JJ: Yeah, it does.
Chad: My father mentioned something about that. That's what Peter had, my brother.
JJ: And now that you mention it, I do remember that.
JJ: He tried to kill my parents when he was on one of his rampages.
Gabi: And then what happened?
Chad: Well, eventually he was cured but it took quite a while for him to recover.
JJ: Jungle madness. I never thought I'd hear those words again.
Paul contracted "jungle madness," a made-up illness that the writers dug out of the vaults from a storyline about 20 years ago, and in a delirious and violent state hit Gabi over the head with a rock.
Unfortunately, that resulted in Gabi now complaining she had a headache on top of everything else.
Despite getting knocked out and bleeding profusely, she seemed to be just fine, walking and talking normally. She had a lovely conversation with Chad about their children and gossiped with Lani about JJ.
It seemed to me that if one of the castaways was wandering around in a murderous rage and nobody knew where he was, gossiping about boyfriends and children should be the furthest thing from the others' minds.
The conversation between Gabi and Lani was particularly annoying because it reinforced the lie that her encounter with JJ was consensual and that he was to blame for his relationship with Gabi imploding after he told her about his rape. But at least it kept Lani from pressuring JJ into more sex he didn't want to have for the moment, so there's that.
There's a number of other problems with the jungle madness story, chief among them that it's unnecessarily cold and violent.
I'm not talking about Paul, either. Christopher Sean is doing great work switching the crazy on and off and has turned Paul from nice guy into creepy murderer, even if the story is not worthy of his talents.
But there's three cops on the island who are all insisting that the best thing to do is kill Paul before he kills them, and there's no reason that has to be the only option.
Since the cops all brought their guns with them, surely they brought their handcuffs too, and I haven't seen any evidence that Paul is so super strong that he would break the cuffs if restrained. Plus there's got to be strong vines on the island that could be used to help ensure he doesn't hurt anyone.
All the talk of Paul being an animal with super human strength is a little disturbing, especially since we've seen no evidence of that. Sure, he hit Gabi with a rock, but that doesn't take super human strength, unless she was on PCP when she did the same thing to Nick a few years ago.
Paul is a close friend of everyone on the island, yet nobody except Sonny seems to remember that or have any second thoughts about going to extremes. I realize the writers are going for some sort of Lord of the Flies vibe, since they made a point of mentioning it, but it just seems like more violence for the sake of violence's sake.
It also is a poor vehicle for building a relationship between Paul and Sonny. Sonny has become so unlikeable since he went into mobster mode and became obsessed with becoming the CEO of Titan that it's hard to believe he and Paul have any longevity as a couple, and his sudden switch to being the only person with compassion for Paul doesn't fix that problem.
There's also the question of why nobody suspected for a minute that Eli was the one struck with jungle madness. No one had seen Paul attack Gabi, and then Eli came out of nowhere claiming Paul was violent and needed to be shot. Eli sounded like he had gotten uncharacteristically violent too, and it would have been more believable -- and interesting -- for the other castaways to turn on him, only to discover he was telling the truth after all.
JJ [reading]: So a few days after we got married, Kyle and I packed up all the necessities and left.
Gabi: Wait, hold on. Why would they get married and then move to a deserted island? That doesn't seem odd?
Chad: All the resorts were booked in Hawaii.
JJ: It says here they wanted to go off the grid.
Lani: Well, then they definitely picked the right place.
Finally, there was some silliness surrounding the discovery about jungle madness itself. I spent most of the week wondering why no one was worried they could get bitten too. It's inconceivable that only one person in a whole group can contract a disease carried by mosquitos.
Plus, this is nit-picky, but I was distracted wondering how JJ knew about Peter's bout with jungle madness. When this story originally aired, Abigail was supposed to be about five years old and JJ had not been born yet. Even with SORAS the timeline doesn't work, because the newly-aged JJ is about five years younger than Abby, so at most he would have been a few months old when it happened.
Maybe his parents told him, but he acted like he had first-hand knowledge of the illness, which is impossible. I love that JJ actually had more than two lines and was allowed to admit he was part of the Deveraux family, but that bit of exposition on his part didn't make sense.
Jennifer: You too look very cozy.
Abigail: It's not what you think, Mom. It's just an arrangement.
Jennifer: An arrangement? What does that mean?
Abigail: If I tell you something, do you promise you can keep it a secret?
Jennifer: I know I'm going to regret this, but okay. I won't say a word.
Abigail: Dario is in a predicament.
Abigail: He's being deported, so I have agreed to marry him. Since he was technically born in Mexico, they want to deport him. If he doesn't marry a U.S. citizen, then they're gonna send him back.
Jennifer: And he doesn't want that?
Abigail: To go back to Mexico? No, I mean, why would he want that? His home is here in Salem, Mom. His brother, his sister are here. His job is here.
Jennifer: You are here.
Abigail: That is not why he wants to stay.
Jennifer: Are you sure about that?
Abigail: Yes, Mom, I am sure. And even if it was, does it make him a terrible person that he cares about me, that he thinks that my friendship is important?
Jennifer: Abigail, he looks at you as more than a friend.
Abigail: No, he doesn't, Mom. I have made it very clear to him that I'm not interested in a relationship with him. I mean, first of all, way too soon for me to even think about getting involved with anybody and - why are you looking at me like that?
Jennifer: Why do you think? Because I can't believe that you would marry Dario Hernandez so he doesn't get deported. I can't even imagine that he would expect that of you.
Abigail: Why, Mom? Why? We expect favors of each other all the time, or do you not believe in helping out a friend?
Jennifer: Yes, I do believe in helping out a friend, but this is not a favor. You marry someone because you love them and you want to spend the rest of your life with them.
Abigail: Yeah, Jennifer Horton, that is what you do under normal circumstances, but if Dario Hernandez doesn't marry a U.S. citizen, he will get deported.
Jennifer: I understand that. So you know what? Let's find him another U.S. citizen, because it's not going to be you.
Back in Salem, the news of the plane's disappearance slowly spread, but it wasn't enough to dissuade two people from entering sham marriages.
Abigail decided to marry Dario so that he can stay in the United States, blissfully unaware of the fact that he actually is not in danger of deportation at all.
If this was a real story about a character we cared about, it would be a topical storyline that could help propel DAYS to the top of the ratings. But viewers know Dario is lying to Abigail and many Chad/Abigail fans are angry that their couple was torn apart in such a contrived manner only for Abby to agree to marry Dario before the ink on her divorce certificate is even dry.
Abigail said all the right things about how immigrants who have lived here their whole lives and suddenly get deported are torn away from everything they know and sent to a country that is essentially foreign to them. But I felt like Dario's predicament made a mockery out of these issues, which often tear apart real families.
A fake deportation story involving a character that has never done a single positive thing on air and is widely viewed as an interloper in a popular couple is not the hot-button issue story DAYS needs or wants. Nor is it entertaining.
Plus, Abigail seems flighty and stupid. Jennifer was more than patient with her wayward daughter, explaining 101 reasons why this was a bad idea.
I applauded her pointing out that allowing Thomas to become attached to a man who she didn't plan to keep in her life wasn't good for her son. But Abigail was nonplussed and insisted that her friendship with Dario would be more than enough to make up for him not being a full-time stepfather to her child.
Why, why, why, do the writers have to make mothers of young children so selfish and unable to think past their desires of the moment?
I miss the days when family was the backbone of this show. Children used to be born to couples who wanted them, yet didn't always parent them appropriately. Nowadays, though, kids are only ever born accidentally to parents who seem to put everything but their well-being first.
Abby seems especially selfish, since her brother and her cousin Sonny were also on the missing plane but she only seems to be worried about Chad. Similarly, Kate is more worried about Gabi than about anyone else, but Kate has always been selfish so it's less of a surprise.
Kate also decided to enter into a sham marriage. The cold-hearted Mr. Shin took advantage of Chad disappearing in a plane crash to demand that the Dimeras appoint one of their own as CEO of Dimera Enterprises or dissolve the company.
Since Andre's well-documented mental instability put him out of the running, Kate offered to marry him so that she could be the CEO of Dimera Enterprises and save the company.
Andre and Kate are an entertaining pair, but this storyline seemed like a rerun since it began right after Abby cut off her mother from any more trying to talk her out of marrying Dario for similar reasons. It almost felt like the writers thought viewers wouldn't realize that they'd given two sets of characters the exact same storyline.
Finally, Jade hit a new low this week when she secretly taped Claire and Theo having sex and put it on Theo's computer as a surprise for Claire.
I was proud of Claire for pointing out how disgusting this all was, but I'm sure this storyline is far from over. Claire stupidly let Jade delete the video herself, which likely means it hasn't been deleted at all.
I'm glad at least Jade is shown to be a villain in this, but Claire and Theo were yet more victims of a sex crime and I'm not sure that will be acknowledged any more than all the other sexual assaults on this show have been called what they are.
There is so much rape and sexual assault on this show being labeled as consensual sex or as other, non-sexual crimes that I have to wonder whether the writers think that viewers all have dark sexual fantasies of this nature that they want to see played out.
What did you think of this short week of Days of Our Lives? Are you finding this island story any more tolerable than I am? Which story do you think hit a new low?
Weigh in below, and don't forget to check back in on Sunday for our Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion!