Soap characters often turn to the bottom of the bottle when they are broken-hearted.
A good alcoholism story can be gripping, too -- there's a ton of drama in friends and family seeing the person they love gradually disappear and be replaced by someone unpredictable, moody, and possibly violent.
But Brady and Lucas both hitting the bottle over their broken hearts on Days of Our Lives during the week of 8-07-17 was none of these things.
First of all, Brady's alcoholism rears its ugly head so often that it's become a trope in its own right.
The usual pattern is that Brady takes 30 seconds to decide a woman is the love of his life, their relationship grows, something happens, they break up, and Brady drinks himself into a stupor until he's ready to meet the next love of his life.
All of which makes Brady seem like an overgrown teenager who doesn't know what real love is and thinks every woman he meets is the one and only that he can't live without.
I'm tired of this pattern. It makes me wish Brady didn't take up so much airtime, which is a shame because Eric Martsolf is a talented actor who could be enjoyable if given some different material.
And in this case, the reason for his heartache is utterly ridiculous.
Brady has convinced himself that Nicole and Eric are having an affair because he overheard some ambiguous stuff about a secret, and this week he did everything but confront her about his suspicions. Meanwhile, Nicole told a lot of stupid lies for a lot of stupid reasons and fed his paranoia.
When Nicole finally called Brady to try to straighten out this mess, he declined her call so he could drink.
This is the worst kind of drama because it's utterly manufactured, plus we've seen it a million times before.
For the past few years, Nicole has continually lost boyfriends to a very dumb lie that didn't need to be told, only to be verbally berated by them when she tried to apologize, while Brady has drank and drank over every disappointment in his love life.
I'd like to see something new for these two characters. Plus, it's only been 18 months or so since Eric started drinking over Nicole being with Daniel, and now Brady is drinking over the possibility that Nicole really loves Eric.
Nicole's one of my favorite characters, at least when written correctly, but does every man need to drink himself into oblivion over the possibility of not being with her?
Lucas: Did you just say that your heart belongs to Justin?
Bonnie: That's right.
Lucas: You're messing with me, aren't you? You're messing with me cause I've been acting so crazy jealous lately 'cause you've been spending so much time with the guy, right?
Bonnie: You were right to be jealous.
Lucas: You're serious. But just two hours ago in bed, you told me that no one has made you feel like I do.
Bonnie: Bet I did say that.
Lucas' slip was even more egregious.
Unlike most of the men on Days of Our Lives, who all seem to think alcohol is the solution to life's problems, Lucas has held fast to his sobriety through some very trying times over the last several years.
Most notably, he refused to drink over Will's death and recently told Anne not to offer him any because he is an alcoholic and intends to stay sober.
Yet a faux Adrienne broke up with him and he immediately hit the bottle with Brady.
I'm thrilled to see Lucas in a story, but this is totally out of character for him and I was extremely disappointed that things went in this direction. It especially seemed bizarre that Lucas would be more likely to drink over this breakup than over Will's death.
It reminds me of how a few years ago JJ, who was also steadfast in his sobriety, suddenly and randomly decided to get drunk just because it was a necessary piece of Eve taking advantage of him.
Having characters break sobriety for no apparent reason other than the plot demanding it is lazy writing, and on top of that it perpetuates a few myths about alcoholism.
For most alcoholics, the desire to drink or a slip in sobriety doesn't come out of nowhere, especially not for someone who has been sober for several decades like Lucas. There are usually signs that the person is in distress for a while beforehand.
Furthermore, the consequences of a slip in sobriety are generally more serious than shown on Days of Our Lives. In most cases, the person doesn't just return to sobriety as if nothing had happened or return to full blown alcoholism in a matter of seconds; neither of those is realistic.
Instead, there's usually guilt, shame, and a struggle with the question of whether or not sobriety is desirable or even possible.
I know it's a soap opera and therefore doesn't always conform to reality, but I think that when it comes to mental health issues, especially with something like alcoholism which is unfortunately very common in real life, it's important to get it right.
Treating this kind of issue unrealistically makes it harder for people who are struggling in real life to get the help they need as well as cheating viewers out of the very real drama that comes from a more realistic struggle with sobriety.
Of course, Lucas' problem was that he was the victim of a doppleganger who looks just like his fiancee, which in and of itself is totally unrealistic and silly. I'm finding that both Bonnie and Hattie's scenes with each other or with Anjelica are entertaining, but their part in her convoluted plan to woo Justin are not.
Bonnie and Hattie partying in the hotel room after their evil deeds were done for the day cracked me up. I especially loved Hattie whining about the clothes Marlena wears. Hattie really works best as a vehicle for satirizing Marlena.
I was frustrated, though, with these characters' interactions with their double's lover. John and Lucas both kept saying that they felt like they weren't talking to the same person that they had last time they saw them and it made me want to shake them.
I know that most people aren't going to think that their lover's abrupt decision to end the relationship is due to the person being replaced by a lookalike but in this case it was so obvious that I wanted them to see through the act.
The guys coming up with some crazy counter plan to beat the lookalikes at their own game might be fun. While the breakup scenes were well acted, I found them irritating because I felt like the men shouldn't fall for it.
I'm excited to see how John reacts to hearing from the real Marlena, though. He must be utterly confused by now! This should be fun next week, and hopefully be the beginning of the end of this crazy plot.
If anyone belongs in that padded room Marlena has found herself stuck in, it's Anjelica. Anjelica's plot makes less sense every day!
She wants Justin for herself -- who is single -- so there's no reason for all this subterfuge in the first place, but insisting Bonnie get together with Justin so that she can dump him and let Anjelica swoop in makes even less sense.
Doesn't Anjelica realize that Adrienne being with Lucas makes it less likely she will interfere with Justin moving on with someone else? And once "Adrienne" renews her vows to Justin, he's not going to accept her changing her mind any too easily.
Trying to follow the logic in this story gives me a headache, because there isn't any. I love the comic relief aspects of this story but I'd like to see it wrap up quickly.
Elsewhere in Salem, a totally unhinged Tripp wreaked havoc between Steve and Kayla even after he'd put his scalpel down.
Tripp broke into the on-call room and took Kayla hostage, insisting that she confess to murdering Ava. These scenes were tense and gripping. Even though I hated this storyline, I couldn't look away from its conclusion.
Eventually, Joey came in and admitted the truth despite Kayla trying to stop him. Tripp briefly turned his scalpel on Joey before giving it up and sobbing in Steve's arms.
I really would have liked to have seen this story end with Tripp and Joey both going to jail and Tripp getting the mental health treatment he needs. But that's not the way things tend to work in Salem. Only innocent people ever spend any time in jail, it seems, while guilty ones get away with everything.
Anyway, after this whole thing was over, Steve and Kayla had a huge argument because Steve refused to stand in the way of Joey turning himself in to the police for Ava's murder.
Kayla kept ignoring Steve's well reasoned arguments in favor of the idea that she didn't want her little boy to go to jail so therefore it was appropriate to keep covering for him even though it was destroying Joey from the inside out.
I was really surprised Kayla, who I always thought was big on accountability, saw it this way. I know Joey is her son, but actions do have consequences and protecting him this way makes no sense whatsoever. Plus, she seemed to be incapable of getting the point that Joey is an adult and it isn't her decision to make.
It was almost as if Kayla turned into the Jennifer of several years back, who denied JJ had any problems at all, made excuses for him, and generally enabled his destructive behavior until she was forced not to by his arrest for breaking a store window after suffering a nervous breakdown.
Kayla was right about only one thing, and that was that Tripp should suffer some consequences for what he did too. I wish Steve could have conceded that point. Both Joey and Tripp are his sons, and both Joey and Tripp did horrible things that they need to answer for.
Tripp overheard Kayla say he belongs in prison and attempted to run away before being talked out of it by Claire. I loved the conversation between these two. Claire has come a long way since she hid that letter Ciara wrote Theo!
Claire didn't seem to be doing much work during her shift at the restaurant, but these scenes, and her scene with Theo, were so good that I was willing to overlook that. I really like this improved, more level-headed Claire and her friendships with both guys were enjoyable.
I think a Claire/Tripp pairing (assuming Tripp ever gets his head on right) could be interesting. Though Claire and Joey are cousins, Claire and Tripp are not blood related and I'm curious as to whether this is going somewhere.
Abigail and Cha'ds renewed love story continued to be played just right this week.
Chad and Gabi talked honestly and for once Gabi chose to be unselfish and let Chad go instead of continuing to pursue him. Afterwards, there were some more emotional scenes at the hospital as Chad brought Thomas to see Abby and told her that he had to turn himself in despite her efforts to protect him.
I'm glad Chad wants to take responsibility for his actions, though all of these confessions based on fuzzy memories are getting ridiculous and Raines might as well lock up the entire town if that's all he needs to make an arrest.
From the flashback, it didn't seem to me like Chad did anything wrong except help move the body, so I'm sure we're still barking up the wrong tree here. I hope the real murderer is resolved soon so we can move on from this silly setup.
Gabi: I'm okay, really. I saw this coming. As a matter of fact, I told Chad that things have been different since the night of the party.
Abigail: After the Halo wore off, I just want you to know that nothing else happened between me and Chad.
Gabi: Til last night. I saw Chad by your bedside and I heard him say that he couldn't live without you. And that's when I knew that he didn't belong with me, Abigail. He belongs with you.
I enjoyed seeing Abigail and Gabi talk afterwards. It's become ridiculously rare for rivals to do anything but tear each other to pieces, so I was glad to see them renew their friendship and both be concerned for the other one.
Finally, Rafe was determined to find Dario before the Mexican drug lords that he thinks are after him did. Rafe's behavior was truly ridiculous.
First of all, Rafe used to be in the FBI, so it's beyond me why he doesn't just call Tim, the off-screen contact he always used to call regarding FBI matters.
Barging in on Eli was very unprofessional of both Hope and Rafe and I'm glad Eli stood his ground with each of these two, letting slip only that Dario's silent partner was here in Salem.
It's looking more and more like Commissioner Raines is a dirty cop, judging from his insistence on finding out what Eli has learned, including threatening Lani with an unjustified firing if she doesn't comply.
There are plenty of good reasons to fire Lani. Her basic incompetence and poor work ethic come to mind. But not divulging confidential info she has been ordered to keep to herself is not among them.
However, Lani's using Abe's position as mayor to get herself out of trouble should have been the final nail in her coffin. That was inappropriate, unprofessional, and unnecessary. Plus, Abe has more integrity than anyone else on the show and undoubtedly would not appreciate her behavior in this regard.
What did you think of this week's Days of Our Lives? Are you enjoying the doppleganger storylines or are they getting old? Do you think Nicole is worth drinking over?
Weigh in below, and don't forget to check back on Sunday for our Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.