Sunday, October 4, 2009
The Destruction of EJ DiMera
Once upon a time, a tall, mysterious stranger arrived in Salem wearing nothing but a towel…
And proceeded to turn Salem on its ear.
But sadly, everything has changed in a year and EJ DiMera has been robbed of his mystery and finesse by a team of writers bound and determined to iron out all the qualities that made his character unique.
The one attribute the DiMeras possess that Reilly and those who copy him never manage to get quite right is their complexity. It’s a family made up of people who are flamboyant, take risks and push the envelope of society’s rules to get what they want, even to the point of blatant disregard for morality but always with their sense of irony intact, and intelligence and a great deal of style. Fostering any character such as that takes attention to detail and whoever is responsible for the writing on this show since last September either doesn’t care, or is clueless as to what made EJ fascinating in the first place.
He’s not any longer. He’s ordinary and in the world of soaps, that’s a sin that ought to get a writer chased from the building.
The only flashes of personality EJ shows now are the ones I see when he’s allowed to be angry. Otherwise, watching him is as fascinating purely from a physical standpoint and as gorgeous as James Scott is, that’s just not enough day after day, especially when I remember what fun it was to have him entertain me just two years ago. The plot may have been crazier and not all that well executed but the dialog was sparkling in comparison, as was the personality of every DiMera on the canvas. Now they’ve been whittled down to three (not counting Sydney who has more personality than any character on the show, and it’s not exactly a coincidence that she manages that without any help from the writers.)
As THE DiMera left, EJ has been as thoroughly stripped of his personality by Higley, as Tony was in the 90s by Reilly. Both characters have gone from being strong forceful men to being walked on by everyone in their lives, especially the women. EJ isn't proactive any longer. He reacts. He doesn’t take intuitive. He’s not going after anything he wants the way he did when he first arrived in town. This man who was willing to go to almost any lengths to win the woman he loved married his current wife after revenge sex in an elevator produced a baby, one that’s been dead for almost a year now.
When the baby switch began, I kept hearing how wonderfully ironic this would be. Elvis, the product of a plot to help Kristen hold onto John was going to have to face being duped in the same way. And if this was the Elvis who arrived in town a few short years ago, the Elvis who mowed down everyone in his path to get what he wanted and did so with a style all his own, I’d cheer this storyline on, but he’s not.
There is no tragedy in this situation for EJ. In fact, this version of Elvis deserves what’s coming to him. He practically begged Nicole to lie and deceive him, not to mention made it possible with stupidity so blatant, witnessing it makes me cringe in embarrassment.
This was supposed to be the story of man so blinded by his own hubris, his fall would be entertaining to watch because of it...not merely because of his rage and grief...but because he brought it on himself with his own pride. In other words, the situation that was handed to Nicole instead, and personally, I wouldn’t have a problem with that if the writers bothered to remember that the person who needed to end up in that spot was the one whose personal history began mired in the same situation.
And before I’m accused of having agenda, I’ll say upfront, I’ve enjoyed Nicole from the minute she showed back up in town and I don’t even mind her with EJ. What I mind is how EJ’s character was sacrificed to drag this out for more months than was necessary.
It was EJ whose character flaws born of his own conceit should have landed him in this mess, not Nicole’s, and sure as hell not a monumental lack of awareness. After months was watching him ignore what was right in front of his nose, I’m supposed to believe that now he's recovered his brain? This EJ is worthy of nothing but pity and no DiMera ought to be reduced to such a position. That kind of character assassination is criminal.