Last year I wrote an article for the Advocate about why Will and Sonny might be the most important couple on TV (read it here), and at the time, I had no idea how quickly they would become one of the dullest. In fiction, happiness is a bore. Angst keeps us watching/reading/listening. In the world of soap couples, angst typically comes in the form of a life-threatening illness or a third party.
I figured Days would eventually throw a spanner in the works, but I was starting to wonder if Will and Sonny might end up living happily ever after indefinitely, as both are young and healthy, and for a while, both appeared to be the only gay men living in Salem. I didn't see how anything/anyone could possibly break them until cracks in their newlywed bliss slowly started to show. Ambition, distance and unanswered messages will do that to a couple.
Trouble in Will and Sonny's romantic paradise actually began brewing even before the arrival of Paul, a major-league baseball star who happens to be Sonny's ex. The show nicely set the stage for what was to come by slowly establishing friction in Will and Sonny's marriage almost from the moment Will decided to temporarily move to L.A. to write a screenplay based on the life of his mother, one Sami Brady. Out of sight, out of mind! Who didn't see that coming?
Ah, yes, Will, the guy who thinks it's perfectly OK to ignore his husband's calls and leave his messages unreturned because he's too busy to talk. (Memo to Will: We're only too busy to do the things we don't want to do.) I've hated the Will-is-suddenly-an-A-list-writer thing from the very beginning, but it's nice to see that unlikely development finally being put to good use.
As soon as Will moved back to Salem after being fired from the Hollywood gig, and his editor Zoe met with Paul to discuss Sonics doing a story on him, it was obvious that Will would be the interviewer. When his boss advised him to lose his wedding ring and keep his own marital status a secret while interviewing Paul, I thought it was only a plot device to keep Paul from knowing that Will is actually married to the one that got away from him.
But Days had far steamier plans. That Christopher Sean (the actor who plays Paul) sure is an excellent find. He's as convincing playing the womanizer as he is at making us believe he's a gay man (as much so as Chris Carmack, who's playing a similar story arc on Nashville). He's beautiful, he's sexy, and damn, he can really act. From the moment, he and Will met, it was obvious to me that Will would eventually drop trou for him. How could he not? Not only is Paul sex on a baseball bat, but the actor has mastered the art of soap seduction.
Yes, the character is kind of annoying. I hate the way he answers questions with questions, and I've yet to see any evidence that he's much of a deep thinker or even particularly interesting once you get him out of bed. (Although it might just be the non-sports-guy in me, his ball obsession -- pun intended -- is textbook lame.) But how could Will possibly resist his art of seduction?
Frankly, the biggest mystery is what Paul sees in Will. As played by Guy Wilson, who always sounds like he's holding back a sob, Will might be the most unlikable/infuriating character on Days right now (just a tad more tolerable than Robert Scott Wilson's violent, lovesick Ben), but this is just what his character needed.
I've never bought the show's attempt to sell this early twentysomething guy as a brilliant writer, but even if he is, he's a terrible journalist. No professional I know would ever allow a story subject to read the article before it goes to print and give him or her final approval of it. (Memo to Days's scribes: Check out the hatchet job that smarmy Rolling Stone writer recently did on Rayna James on Nashville to see how celeb journalism is really done.)
Oh, and they certainly would not jump into bed with said subject, even one as tantalizing as Paul. Derrick the hot gay bellboy is better at his job, and he keeps letting people into the rooms of hotel guests. Zoe would so fire Will if she found out about any of this, especially the story approval promise!
I hate Will more than ever now, but I love that he and not Sonny was the one to cheat. For one thing, it's a nice nod to his family's history. His grandmother cheated on his grandfather years before Will was born, permanently scarring his mom Sami. Then just a few years ago, Will walked in on Sami cheating on her then-husband, Rafe Hernandez, with EJ DiMera. That actually ended up being the main catalyst for Will's short-lived bitchy-bad-boy era, which kicked off his coming-out process.
Now with Will cheating on Sonny, it completes a kind of trifecta of marital infidelity -- grandmother, mother and grandson. It also brings some much-needed drama into a marriage that had quickly grown stale. The fact is that Will got married much too young, and considering how sexual men are, it makes even less sense for a gay man to marry the first man he has sex with than it is for a woman to do the same. Of course, at some point he's going to want to sample other goods. It might have been more realistic for him to meet "the other man" at a club or on Grindr, but this so much juicier.
I also love this cheating story because it's not a straight love triangle (not "straight" as in not-gay but "straight" as in traditional). The interloper doesn't realize that the cheating spouse is married, and the cheating spouse has no idea that the interloper and his now-cuckolded husband were once in love. Can romantic drama get any soapier? There are so many revelations to come! As storyline twists go, it's a daytime first, but then it's not really a scenario that could ever play out with a straight couple!
The only thing missing from this story is Sami Brady, whose portrayer, Alison Sweeney, left the show at the end of last year after her character moved to L.A. with Will's younger siblings when Hollywood stardom literally knocked on her door. When the truth comes out and shit starts to hit the fan, an important beat to play will be the idea that Will may have inherited an unfortunate legacy from his mom and grandmother.
Not having Sami physically be a part of the story will drain that angle of some of his power. I want her to be the one to support Will and help him put together the shattered pieces of his life, mostly because she loves him but also because she's been there.
Frankly, I want Sami back full-time. The show needs her. I'd rather watch her watching paint dry than sit through another scene of Abigail and Ben telling each other how wonderful the other is and making disgusting kissing noises. But even without Sami, this is such a promising storyline. It's the only one on Days right now that's not a chore to sit through due to the absence of Sami, EJ and Kristen DiMera.
After months of making me drowsy, Days if finally must-stay-awake-for TV again, and it's all because of three gay men (four if you count Derrick). I'll have more of them, please!