Deep Soap: Two Soap Stars Join ‘Days of Our Lives’

Eileen Davidson (CBS)

Eileen Davidson, Greg Vaughn Joining “Days of Our Lives”

Eileen Davidson has confirmed that she will be reprising her role as Kristen DiMera on “Days of Our Lives.”  Her return to Salem was rumored from the moment her departure from “The Young & the Restless” was announced.

She finally spoke about her move to The Hollywood Reporter saying, “I’m thrilled to embark on this new adventure at Days and excited to revisit Kristen and who knows who else! ” Kristen, last seen in 1998, was Stefano’s evil daughter who had one of the show’s most memorable exits. She was sold into white slavery. Kristen started out as a sympathetic character, but evolved into a villain thanks to her obsession with John Black. Davidson played not only Kristen, but Kristen’s hillbilly lookalike Susan, who also fell in love with John, as well as several other lookalikes, including a man. The character of Susan recently appeared in several episodes played by a different actress.

Bringing Kristen and Susan back now makes sense. Kristen would logically have inherited a lot of money when Stefan died, though, as his foster daughter, the biology obsessed Stefano should not favor her over E.J. Susan is E.J.’s mother. Davidson will first appear on October 11. It will be interesting to see how the over-the-top characters of Kristen and Susan, who were very much signature characters of the show’s James Reilly era, will fit in to the current, more realistic incarnation of the show. It will also be interesting to see how Davidson who looks like she is in her early forties though the actress is fifty pulls off playing the mother of the SORASED,  now thirty-something E.J.

Greg Vaughn (ex Lucky “General Hospital” and ex-Diego “The Young & the Restless”) will also be joining the show. “Days” has not announced who he will be playing, but rumor has it that he could be a recast for Sami’s (Alison Sweeney) brother Eric, last played by “Supernatural” star Jensen Ackles. Soaps in Depth reports that Vaughn will be a “holy man” when his character first appears. Do the Irish Catholic Bradys finally have a priest in the family? Vaughn and Sweeney will get a head start on developing their on-screen chemistry when they star in the Hallmark channel movie “Two In,”which id disappointingly not about two people who fall in love while working to rid the world of sentences that end in prepositions.

The Unseen Gay Bar is the most Happening Place in Salem

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Salem is happening right now. The drinks are flowing, the sexy men are flirting, the D.J. is spinning and the alibis are plentiful at The Spot, Salem’s gay bar. There is only one problem. Nobody has ever seen The Spot. All of the action takes place off-camera. Viewers are left to imagine whether The Spot is a theme bar dedicated to celebrating the 1990s website The Spot, which was the first commercially produced online soap, or an homage to the airport parking lot company. Is it a huge dance club or a run down dive? Is Thursday night Drag Night? What are the Happy Hour specials? It is whatever you want it to be, your own imaginary Studio 54. We do know that Will (Chandler Massey) is a frequent customer. What we don’t know is whether he is making platonic friends with all of the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog models who drink there or is he hooking up with them? Why are there so many hot, young gay guys in Salem, a town so conservative that Will’s visit to The Spot was described by the local paper as a “gay drama,” have a happening gay social scene while its heterosexual residents have only the lame options of The Brady Pub and The Cheating Heart? It’s a mystery. But The Spot sure seems like it would be a lot more fun to watch than most of what we are actually seeing. It’s no secret that “Days” has a budget problem, which is why there are so few sets on the show. But it also seems like “Days” is scared to show its gay characters being, well, gay. Having a young, attractive gay man talk to his grandmother offends no one. Even showing him in a blackmail/mentoring relationship that sure seems to have a sexual component is safe because plenty of viewers will not pick up on the subtext Showing Will flirting with other men, well, that risks upsetting some of the show’s older, more conservative viewers. Though I think if a show is going to do a storyline, it needs to commit to it fully, I can understand the producers’ caution. “Days” is frequently the lowest rated soap among key demographics, and cannot afford to lose any fans.

So I suggest a compromise. “Days” should create a web series centered around The Spot. Given the popularity of Will among online fans, it is bound to get a lot of viewers. Seeing Will, Sonny and all of the random gay guys that pop up whenever the story calls for it in an environment where they can have fun instead of worrying about the town’s homophobia. Gay audiences, who have discovered prior gay soap storylines via YouTube, will embrace the web series. It would get major coverage on non-soap oriented gay sites and might inspire some new viewers to check out the rest of the show. “Days” viewers who are not interested need not watch it. This would require Sony ponying up a small amount of money to produce the webisodes, but it would more than pay for itself as a promotional vehicle for the show. It would also be a great way to test out potential new cast members that could move onto “Days” if they proved popular. I hope that “Days” will quit teasing us and let us see this mythical, gay Shangri-la soon.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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