Days of Our Lives Review: Lani's Big Lie

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I was thrilled that JJ finally had a real storyline and doubly thrilled that he was going to get the therapy he's needed since he returned to Salem in 2013.

But then Days of Our Lives followed up JJ's suicide attempt by a joke of a therapy session with Eric in which Eric addressed none of JJ's problems and instead talked to him about his issues with JJ's mother.

To make matters worse, JJ was inexplicably thrilled to learn Lani was pregnant despite still being so consumed with guilt over shooting her brother that he had quit his job five minutes before.

Lani Lets JJ Think The Baby Is His - Days of Our Lives

Meanwhile, Lani fretted over her knowledge that the baby is not JJ's and planned to quietly terminate the pregnancy without telling either man she was pregnant.

How could Days follow up such a powerful, important storyline around JJ's mental health issues with such an awful storyline that glosses over those issues and traps JJ in this loveless relationship yet again?

There is no love story between JJ and Lani, and there has never been. Their relationship began with Lani raping a too-drunk-to-consent JJ and then getting angry at him for not remembering the sex they had without his consent.

JJ started a relationship with Lani out of the mistaken belief that he had cheated, something which the show has never addressed, and Lani immediately began pressuring JJ for sex he did not want to have with her all the time.

The night Theo was shot, JJ gave Lani a surprise party, and then they did have sex, and the whole time she whined that he hadn't said he loved her six months earlier.

A month later, while JJ was struggling not to kill himself, Lani saw Gabi give him a hug while they were both clothed, decided that meant they were cheating on her and ran off to get drunk and have sex with Eli.

Eli, at least, was not so drunk that he was unaware what was going on and unable to consent to sex, but that drunken tryst didn't do Lani any favors either.

And now that it is resulting in a pregnancy, she is failing to tell JJ that he is not the father to hold onto him.

Their whole relationship has been nothing but Lani forcing JJ into a relationship he doesn't want, and a competent therapist would help him examine why he is allowing it to continue instead of walking away and being nothing more than a co-parent to this child he thinks is his.

Oh my God! You're pregnant? That's great! [hugs Lani] Sorry. I didn't mean to get carried away. If you have morning sickness, I don't mean to make it worse. It's just, I can't believe I'm going to be a dad.


In addition, having JJ be so excited and completely over his depression because he's having sessions with incompetent Eric does viewers who struggle with mental health issues a real disservice.

Days did a wonderful job of opening the dialogue about suicide with a powerful, moving, and mostly realistic depiction of JJ's struggle.

Then the show turned around and used JJ's therapy as a vehicle to push Eric and Jennifer's storyline. Nothing more, nothing less.

Eric has done nothing to help JJ, but JJ has magically recovered on his own and within a few weeks of his suicide attempt is no longer depressed and is looking forward to fatherhood with the sister of the man he shot.

This is not how mental health works, at all, and viewers who struggle with suicidal thoughts might wonder why they can't get over it as quickly or decide not to seek treatment because the depiction of therapy on this show suggests it's a big waste of time.

Also, it doesn't fit JJ's character at all to not have any mixed feelings about this potential pregnancy.

Even if JJ and Lani had an actual love story, which they do not, JJ should have a lot of anxiety, guilt, and self-doubt around this pregnancy.

JJ is held to a higher standard by Jennifer than his sister and fears disappointing her; in fact, that was a significant cause of his suicidal feelings.

Thus, even though Abigail had an accidental baby outside of wedlock, JJ should be worried that his mom will think poorly of him for not using protection and kick himself for "screwing up" this way.

Besides, JJ still feels that he is to blame for Theo's shooting and subsequent injuries, so why would he be happy that he is having a baby with Theo's sister rather than feeling like this is yet another way he's screwed up Abe's family?

Plus, he's prone to believing he's not good enough and most likely would be worried that his child would be better off with a different father.

All of these issues would make for a powerful story, especially in conjunction with JJ struggling with his depressed and distorted thinking in therapy.

Instead, the writers have chosen to go for cheap drama by having JJ be 100% excited while Lani keeps it secret that the baby is not his.

Lani Makes a Decision - Days of Our Lives

The way Lani found out about her pregnancy made her look bad, too.

I know that dizziness can be a sign of pregnancy, but by having Lani have no clue she was pregnant at all until she happened to faint because she didn't bother to eat made her look stupid.

I hate the fact that almost all pregnancy storylines are written this way on Days of Our Lives. It implies that women are unaware of basic sex ed, never think about birth control, and don't pay attention to whether or not they've got their period.

Granted, Lani is only two weeks pregnant, but she still should have thought this was a possibility when she woke up next to Eli and realized she had not used any birth control whatsoever.

If she were written as a woman who enjoys hookups and is responsible about her sexual choices, that would be one thing, but instead, she is written as irresponsible, selfish and forcing herself on a boyfriend who deserves better while everyone in town treats her as if she is none of those things.

That problem is not fixed by writing dialogue in which JJ claims that he loves her and wants to start a family with her.

It is fixed by addressing the issue of how Lani has been depicted since her return instead of assuming viewers are stupid and will accept anything they are told in dialogue even when it doesn't match what they have seen on screen.

An Unexpected Visitor - Days of Our Lives

Across town, Abigail wasn't faring much better than her brother.

I'm not sure whether I'm bored or disgusted by this Abigail/Stefan/Chad storyline.

Chad: We gotta focus on the task at hand, getting this fraud out of the board room... and the bedroom apparently.
Abby: Right.
Chad: So, why don't you just go be your charming self?

Stefan keeps flirting with Abigail while Chad is well aware that his rival wants to take his wife from him and sends her off to make him think there's a chance he'll get away with it.

I'm not sure what Chad has in mind, but this storyline screams sexual harassment to me.

I had hoped with the change in writers we would be done with these storylines where Chad's business plans include using Abby as a sexual object, but six months later here we are again.

Her scenes with Stefan are purely creepy. He keeps hitting on her, and she keeps saying No in a flirtatious tone of voice and asking him idiotic questions.

I could care less who is the CEO of Dimera Enterprises, but can we please settle it without glorifying sexual harassment?

I had been looking forward to Brady confronting Vivian, considering their history, but they should have kept it at bantering about throwing her in a coffin and then him threatening to throw her out of the house.

I don't know why I'm surprised that Brady choked Vivian and let her gasp for breath, then laughed about it. He's become a thoroughly awful character who has no morals whatsoever.

It was gross and didn't help my hatred of Brady.

But what was more awful was Eve flirting with Brady over it!

Her daughter was strangled to death. 

Eve was devastated by that murder.

How could she possibly be turned on by Brady doing the same thing to someone else that someone did to Paige?

Steve Can't Read a Case File - Days of Our Lives

Steve's struggles with his vision were a bright spot.

If done well, this could be an interesting, engaging story that is appropriate for his age group. A man like Steve would have a hard time dealing with a health issue that could interfere with his ability to work.

Spoilers suggest that his vision problems are not just the natural result of aging, but either way, so far this story has caught my attention.

I wish Steve would tell someone about his vision problems. Avoiding having to read and keeping what's going on a secret is not doing him any favors, and he is married to a doctor!

I'm hoping somewhere along the line Kayla does find out and reminds him of her struggles to hear and speak right before their first wedding. That would be a strong use of history to make the current storyline more emotional.

Jennifer decided to accept a date with Dr. Shah, the man who had helped treat Abigail after the fire.

Ethically, that's almost as bad as JJ's therapist wanting to date his mother. Leaving that aside, this guy is all sorts of phony, and I hope we're not going to have another story where Jennifer has to be rescued from a crazy person she dated a few times.

Meanwhile, across town, Sonny proved he was worthy of neither Paul nor Will after he begged Will not to divorce him and berated Paul for Will kissing Paul on New Year's.

I would love for Paul to move on with someone new and leave Sonny in the cold. He is almost as obnoxious as Brady, making their rivalry for the Titan CEO-ship almost as dull as what's going on over at Dimera.

What do you think about Lani's latest scheme, this whole Abby/Stefan mess, or any other storyline on Days of Our Lives?

Weigh in below, and don't forget to check back on Sunday for the Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.


Editor Rating: 2.0 / 5.0
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Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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