For one brief shining moment…

I felt as if a daytime writer actually walked through an entire scene and wrote dialogue that not only made sense, but anticipated an audience member’s reaction to what had just taken place. DAYS’ is slowly developing a great friendship (if not real relationship) between Sami Brady and Rafe Hernandez, one that extends beyond her role as a protected witness, his as her protector:

In a more recent episode, Rafe learns that ‘Hilda’ (referenced at the beginning of the above clip) had recently visited Sami and was found murdered shortly after the visit. He also finds out that Sami left protective custody one afternoon while he was sleeping. His furious and exaggerated response was to tell her that between Hilda’s visit and her leaving the safe house she’d just signed her own death warrant, and that she probably led the killer back to their location. Oh yeah… good times.

The dialogue, and the emotion, was almost cartoonishly heavy, for daytime. My first response was, ‘geez, what a way to make her feel safe, Agent 99 (“Get Smart” fans will get the reference). Sure enough, it was Sami’s vocalized response too! She asked Rafe if he learned to talk to a witness that way at The Academy. She let him know that he’d frightened her and turned what she thought of as an innocent excursion into a nightmarish moment.

His response to her fear was what you would expect and hope for; less cartoonish, more responsive to her needs and an attempt to communicate his concern for her in a way that made it clear how he really felt about her (at least in a way that the audience understood even if she didn’t get it). Color me stunned.

It says a lot about how much small things matter, like dialogue that hits you where you live, that’s reflective of what you’re thinking as a viewer. It’s gratifying to watch a show and hear characters utter dialogue that express what you’re thinking and feeling. Rafe and Sami often seem to have a style of banter that’s familiar to fans who’ve watched old school romantic films and miss what feels like ‘true’ romance – a connection that’s emotional, and sometimes cognitive, more than it’s physical. It’s evident in the way partners talk with one another.

It’s that level of interaction,the give and take between partners, that’s missing in great romantic relationships in daytime. ABC’s Robin and Patrick (GH) have it. So do Maxie and Spinell (GH). Dorian and David (OLTL). You get it to some degree with ex partmers Carly and Jack (ATWT – when he’s not ripping into her and treating her like a child). DAYS’ own Jack and Jennifer were masters of the verbal give-and-take. Very few current daytime couples, outside those listed above, have the level of connection through dialogue that even comes close to the magic of old school romantic wit (or even sheer romanticism) like that of Hepburn-Tracy or even Hepburn and Grant:

I saw that in Sami and Rafe, and I liked it. I like that theirs is a relationship/friendship built on something other than an immediate physical attraction. The writers are giving them time to really get to know one another. It’s a nice change of pace.

As much as I loved the Film Noir scenes DAYS aired late last year, I wish Rafe Hernandez had been around then, or that the writers had saved the scenes until now. This storyline was made for Noir.

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