Over the years, Days of Our Lives has had its share of campy stories.
There was the original devil possession story in 1994 and 95, the Melaswen story in 2006, and more recently a string of doppelgangers wreaking havoc with people's lives.
But on Days of Our Lives during the week of 10-11-21, the series hit a new low, with an animated devil face talking to Marlena through her cell phone that no one else could see or hear.
This possession storyline was goofy enough without that.
The devil has sounded like a jilted lover who is jealous of John from the moment it reappeared, and Marlena spent significant time arguing with it as it spoke to her on a tape recorder.
Even the redux of her iconic levitation, which was supposed to be shocking and scary, was ridiculous, with the devil speaking to her through a white noise machine while she tossed and turned in the air above her bed.
And then on Friday, as Marlena tried desperately to warn Ben that the devil had its eye on his offspring, it popped up on her phone, complete with a purple animated head that looked like it belonged in a Disney movie and an orange background that was supposed to be flames.
Seriously? Who thought this was a good idea and how high were they at the time?
The original devil possession story wasn't to everyone's liking. I didn't enjoy it. But at least it took itself seriously and was written as semi-horror.
This version is just so stupid that it made me wish I could get the brain cells back that I wasted on it. Every time that animated devil came up on Marlena's phone I was distracted by how ridiculous it looked.
This whole subplot about the devil wanting to possess Ben and Ciara's baby is annoying, too.
Ben and Ciara are back to the repetitive dialogue. I lost count of how many times Ciara asked Ben if he was okay, only for him to reiterate that if their baby developed any signs of psychopathy, they would get treatment immediately.
We. get. the. point.
If they're going to do this ridiculous reenactment of Rosemary's Baby, let's get on with it!
No need to have the same conversation over and over. That doesn't move the story forward. It just bores viewers.
The other problem with this story is that the writers can't seem to make up their minds about whether the devil speaks only to Marlena or not.
Ben can't hear it or see its silly avatar on Marlena's phone, but John continually says he hears voices coming from Marlena's room whenever she's arguing with it.
Yet John also thinks that Marlena's nightmares about being possessed are just bad dreams caused by Johnny insisting on making his movie.
And now that Johnny finally understood that this movie wasn't an important story that needed to be told, but a painful reminder of John and Marlena's past, Marlena quickly insisted on the movie being made after all -- why?
Isn't the devil worried that people will catch onto what's happening now if it becomes the star of a movie about the past?
And if Satan wants to possess Ben and Ciara's unborn child, why can't God stop the baby from being conceived, thus thwarting its plans?
Ben: Who was that?
Marlena: Nobody important. I came here to talk to you.
Ben: So you think I could be right that this is an omen?
Marlena: I was going to say it's a good omen. Everyone will be so happy if you and Ciara have a baby.
Devil [voiceover]: HA HA. ESPECIALLY ME!
Nothing about this story makes a bit of sense, even if you accept the idea that the devil has been waiting 25 years to possess Marlena again. It seems like each scene is more ridiculous than the last. Some viewers like that this story uses veteran actors, but this nonsense is a waste of their talents.
And to think we could have had a moving story about Doug having dementia instead!
Johnny could have made a movie that was a retrospective of Doug's life to try to honor him and help him remember and the vets could have all been used properly instead of for this ridiculous storyline.
There was some more compelling stuff going on in other, more realistic stories, though.
Johnny aggravated me by giving into EJ's blackmail. He could have told Chad what was going on and Chad likely would have covered Roman's investment and cut EJ out.
That might have been fun!
EJ is the ultimate busybody. He whined about Chad not being focused on Dimera Enterprises enough, but it seemed to me that EJ had too much time on his hands himself.
He messed with Chad, then went for a walk so that he could annoy Rafe.
I don't understand what Nicole found attractive about him, either. He was obnoxious, and she told him so.
Of course, Rafe shares part of the blame for that too. He kept responding to EJ's taunts instead of just walking away. Nicole had to stop him from punching EJ, even after EJ pointed out that would not be a good look for the police commissioner.
I hate the trope of jealous guys having to punch each other, and it was bad enough that Philip did it to Brady. Thank goodness Rafe listened to Nicole and walked away after all!
EJ: I admit, Rafe gets under my skin.
Nicole: And you enjoy getting under his.
EJ: Every man needs a hobby.
EJ and Nicole's conversation implied that Nicole is EJ's soulmate, the one who understands him and can get him to admit it when he's being an ass. But I don't think Nicole should dismiss Rafe and Brady's concerns that EJ abused her in the past so severely that she had to hide her pregnancy from him.
This is the same series where Ben's serial killer days are explained away as the effect of being unmedicated, so it's unsurprising that Days of Our Lives thinks EJ's past abuse of Nicole is no big deal.
Still, though, she should be a lot warier of EJ than she is and not allow him to control or manipulate her.
As she pointed out, he went about expressing his concerns, such as they were, in an appropriate manner. And considering how he ordered Sami around, I don't buy that he's merely looking out for Nicole's best interest.
As bad as EJ was, though, Philip was even worse.
Philip isn't wrong that Brady is also trying to manipulate the situation, but that doesn't give him the right to treat Chloe and Brady any way he wants.
He's hurled accusations at Chloe over and over, only to back off and apologize for being a jerk, and it's about time she left him have it.
Philip: I'm sorry I punched Brady. That was wrong.
Chloe: Apology not accepted. Not this time.
Philip: You have to see it from my perspective. Brady is trying every chance he gets to steal you from me. Why don't you see what's right in front of your eyes?
Chloe: I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE!
This is simply not an acceptable way to behave, and the cycle of abuse and apology isn't healthy for Chloe. She was right to take a step back.
And yet, Philip has a point too.
Brady regularly does things like invite Chloe out and discourage her from telling Philip ahead of time what her plans are, and any chance he gets he asks her to dump Philip and move in with him.
Chloe was standing up to Brady at the beginning of this mess, but now she just goes along with it and then gets mad at Philip when it ends badly.
She doesn't deserve Philip's abuse, but she also should set firmer boundaries with Brady. She should not be turning to Brady when she needs a sounding board about Philip's behavior. That's what Nicole or other female friends are for.
Chloe's next move should be to distance herself from both these men. They have both been mistreating her and she deserves better than being caught in the middle between the two of them.
Finally, we had some happier scenes as Abe and Paulina celebrated their engagement, even if they won't last.
This rush to the altar is silly and plot-driven. The whole point of hurrying up to get married is so that Paulina's secret can come out at the wedding and Abe can decide to cancel the whole thing.
Lani dumping Eli at the altar was bad enough -- why do we need to put Abe through this?
Since Johnny mentioned Celeste, it would have been nice if he'd also mentioned that Celeste pretended to be Lexi's aunt rather than her mother -- something that Abe lived through and which should give Abe some empathy for Paulina in her situation.
It's true that Abe won't be Lani's biological father once the secret comes out, but that doesn't have to change anything. He can still be just as close to Lani as ever and can be her stepfather rather than her father.
As for being upset that Paulina kept this secret, the people to be angry at are Tamara and Olivia, who are the ones who have insisted on it for 30+ years.
Either way, though, once it comes out, at least we'll be spared any more scenes of Paulina looking guilty while Abe talks about how great it is that she's honest with him nowadays.
Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics!
Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know what you thought of the devil's cartoon face, Philip and Brady's conflict, and all other things Days of Our Lives during the week of 10-11-21.
Eager for more DAYS chat? Be sure to check back on Sunday for the latest Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.
Days of Our Lives airs on NBC on weekday afternoons. Check your local listings for airtimes or watch on Peacock TV on weeknights after 8 PM EST/5 PM PST.