Defending Days of Our Lives’ Sami Brady
Let he or she without soap sin cast the first stone — or slap.
Sami Brady Reed Walker Roberts Hernandez Dimera is just that kind of woman.
She’s the Days of Our Lives anti-heroine that the show’s fans love to hate and the show’s other characters love to hate on even more. Never mind the rapists, serial killers, and psychopaths currently running amok in fictional Salem, U.S.A. I wouldn’t be surprised if the citizens of the small Midwestern town blamed Sami for the global warming that makes it possible for them to walk around sleeveless year-round.
Sami and I go way back. She’s the reason I became a regular viewer of the daytime soap in 2004. At the time, her portrayer, Alison Sweeney, was pregnant in real life with the first of her two children. Her pregnancy wasn’t written into the show, and they did a horrible job hiding it.
My first most-memorable Sami moment arrived a few weeks after I starting watching. She looked about 13 months pregnant as she delivered an extended monologue to her drugged and passed-out ex-husband Brandon in his hotel room, explaining why her fiance Lucas was the only man for her.
All the while she was getting drowsier and drowsier. Unbeknownst to her at the time, Brandon was unconscious, thanks to her wicked mother-in-law-to-be Kate Roberts, who had arranged for her to be drugged as well so that she would pass out in Brandon’s bed, where Lucas would find them and assume the worst. Engagement off!
As I watched Sami make her case to the sleeping beauty — er, Brandon — my heart broke for her. Not only did I know what was in store for them both, but Sweeney looked like she might go into labor at any moment. I was in love.
Over the years, I’ve watched Sami go through trial after tribulation, many of them of her own making, and I’ve remained firmly #TeamSami. I was as ride-or-die as ever last week when she showed up at the church just in time to stop her mother Marlena Evans (the legendary Deirdre Hall, who reminds me so much of my own mom) from marrying John Black, the love of her life.
It wasn’t that Sami was still holding a grudge against John for stealing her mother from Sami’s father, Roman Brady. They’d worked through all that messy stuff years ago. She showed up at the church, barely able to walk after being held captive for weeks and drugged by Marlena’s arch nemesis Kristen Dimera, in order to stop Kristen from killing her beloved mother after she and John were pronounced husband and wife.
Through a series of twists that could only happen on a soap, Sami ended up with the gun belonging to Kristen, who promised to tell her the whereabouts of her presumed-dead husband EJ Dimera (Kristen’s brother) if she’d shoot to kill John Black and rob Marlena of the chance to be a grieving widow. (They hadn’t yet been pronounced husband and wife.)
As Sami pondered her options, barely able to stand, let alone form coherent sentences or thoughts, I could feel the peanut gallery passing judgment and preparing their “Sami, you evil bitch who never thinks about anyone but yourself” speeches. Then her twin brother Eric body-slammed her, and the gun went off. Bride down.
Had Eric not tried to play superhero, the congregation probably would have been able to talk Sami off the ledge. But then Marlena wouldn’t have been shot in the chest, and all of Salem couldn’t blast Sami once again for once again doing the unthinkable.
After that Friday cliffhanger, I was dreading the new week of Days episodes all weekend. In the previews, we saw Sami’s sister Belle bitch slap her for being the world’s most horrible person, and her aunt Hope laying into her for sleeping with Hope’s then-fiance Rafe (Sami’s ex-husband) last year while he and Hope were on a less-than-24-hour break.
As I watched Monday’s episode, I realized that the problem is not how Days head scribe Ron Carlivati writes Sami, but how he writes the way everyone (minus Eric and Rafe) reacts to her. She’s grown so much more than many viewers and most of Salem give her credit for, but that growth always gets forgotten in each latest Sami shit show.
When I first became a full-time Days viewer in 2004 after decades of only sporadically tuning in, Sami was an obnoxious brat who did only think of herself. I loved her anyway, but I groaned every time she did something ridiculous in order to get a man or keep one.
Though she remains a piping-hot mess, that self-centered Sami who only looked out for number one left the building many storylines ago.
She spent years going up against homophobic Nick Fallon in order to protect her gay son Will. When her ex-sister-in-law Gabi (Rafe’s sister) found out she was pregnant (with Will’s baby) and when Abigail Devereaux thought she was pregnant with Sami’s then-fiance EJ’s baby, Sami was the one who assumed the big sister role to both of them and did everything she could to support them. Her character had hardly any ties to either young lady at the time, and she wasn’t even aware that Gabi was carrying her grandchild yet!
Sweeney left the role of Sami in 2014, but she’s made semi-annual short-term returns since then. The first, in 2015, was to grieve Will, whom everyone thought had been strangled by Ben Weston, a serial killer who has since become one of the show’s romantic leads.
Her return last year was also all about Will, after Ben interrupted another wedding to reveal that Will hadn’t died, after all. Yes, she went to extreme lengths to get Will back and then get him back to normal (like breaking Ben out of the loony bill to recreate Will’s “murder” and hopefully jog her amnesiac son’s memory), but there was nothing “I’m only thinking of myself” about anything she did.
Even after Will rejected her and she sought comfort by sleeping with an equally forlorn — and just-dumped (by Hope) — Rafe, she was the one who told her ex-husband to go back to Hope and make things right. How was any of that thinking only of herself?
For those who say she doesn’t care about family, huh, what? She loves and supports her gay son. Her relationships with him, Roman, her grandmother Caroline, and Eric are some of the best things about each character.
She’s fiercely protective of her other three children, and no matter what Salem thinks about EJ (personally, I kind of despised him, too, though I enjoyed James Scott’s portrayal of him), she stood by her man in sickness and in health, til death did he depart.
Hell, she’s spent most of her four years offscreen searching for him pretty much everywhere, except hell. Why is irrational “I don’t know anybody else” soap love a character flaw only when Sami is deep in it? No-one is calling out Hope’s daughter Ciara for choosing serial-killer Ben over her mother! And Marlena’s number-one priority has always been John, with her children distant runners-up.
Sami has great relationships with her exes. She’s the one who finally convinced messy AF Lucas to go to rehab last year. And let’s not forget that time she walked in on a Stefano Dimera henchman about to cut off Rafe’s penis as he lay in a hospital bed, the victim of a vicious attack that had been meant for Nick Fallon. Sami was the one who shot the would-be castrator dead and ended up imprisoned for it. Was she only thinking of herself then, too?
Stop the wedding
And that brings us back to last week. Sami moved mountains (or looked like she had) to get to her mother’s wedding to stop Kristen from killing her. She even made herself a human shield, standing between a heat-packing Kristen and Marlena in front of all the wedding guests. How selfish.
She was clearly drugged out of her mind, in no shape to win the mind game Kristen was playing after tossing the gun to her. The wedding guests watched it all unfold. They saw Eric jump on her, causing the gun to go off. Yet, here we go again. It’s all Sami’s fault. That girl thinks of no-one but herself.
If the talented Carlivati is not going to let the other characters grow and evolve in how they react to Sami, I’m going to need him to at least let Sami stay in badass character at all times and clock Belle and anyone else who assaults her, physically or verbally.
I love Belle, and Martha Madison nailed the character’s rage, but a catfight is good only if both cats get to fight. I’m tired of some stupid guy (yep, Eric, again) always pulling one of them back and ruining all the fun.
Every great soap diva needs a worthy adversary, but one good soap slap almost always deserves another.