Longtime fans of Days of Our Lives sometimes joke about some of the crazy things you can expect when you watch this show.
Marlena always gets kidnapped by a crazy person, people elude the cops by wearing sunglasses or baseball caps, and DNA test results never come out right the first time.
Sometimes I'm not sure whether I'm laughing at or with these silly Salem tropes.
But one thing I do know is that the more often a story is repeated, the less entertaining it is. There's something about the second, 20th, or 200th rendition of a story that grates on viewers' nerves and makes the show feel predictable and uninteresting.
It's even worse when the same story is repeated with the same characters, and that's exactly what happened with Abigail's baby drama on Days of Our Lives during the week of 7-9-18.
Abigail's story completely erases the fact that she was raped in favor of yet another "Who's the Daddy" story.
While Abby herself doesn't seem to understand that she was unable to consent to sex with Stefan, Chad does. So it's ridiculous for Abigail to be worried that he'll be angry at her if he finds out she's having her rapist's baby.
The other person who is aware that Abigail's rape was what it was is Steve. So even though I loved seeing Kayla support Abby, I was disappointed that she didn't bring up the R word, nor did she try to talk to Abby about coming to terms with what had been done to her.
Instead, Kayla gave Abigail the same advice she gave Lani: don't cause yourself and your unborn baby extra stress by keeping secrets from your partner.
I was hoping she'd also add a reminder of what keeping that secret did to Abigail's brother.
You'd think Abby would be reluctant to lie to Chad about a pregnancy and/or the parentage of her baby after seeing JJ's heart broken, but apparently, viewers are expected to forget that story ever happened now that the baby's gone.
Kayla: Ben claims he was just trying to help her [Ciara].
Abigail: Of course he did. He's delusional and out of his mind. Who in their right mind would let him out of the santiarium? And I'm sure everyone is going around saying the same thing about me.
Anyway, the focus of the story during the week of 7-9-18 appeared to be a set-up for another DNA switch.
In a series of improbable and unrealistic events, a lab tech left the paternity test results unattended, seemingly not concerned that a patient was sitting in Kayla's office by herself while she put the envelope on the desk.
In a way, I can't fault DAYS for having these kinds of silly setups. The super unrealistic nature of things seems to be part of the culture of this show, and I don't bat an eye when doctors are specialists in every area of medicine or students fly through getting a complicated degree in two months' time.
There's unreality, and then there's contrived nonsense, though, and that's what this set-up seemed to be.
It's bad enough that the lack of security at the hospital allowed Will to steal a vial of serum a while back. A lab tech leaving sensitive info about a patient out in plain sight and making a point of telling a different patient what it went too far.
In addition, this is the third time Kayla having confidential files in non-confidential places was used as a plot device in as many months. First, Valerie got her hands on Lani's records because Kayla left them at the nursing station. Then Jennifer found Abigail's file on Kayla's desk while visiting her for an unrelated reason.
Kayla always makes a point of announcing she can't violate patients' privacy when asked, so can she please take a refresher course on how to protect patient data and stop being so careless?
Granted, this last one wasn't her fault, but she didn't seem at all concerned that the tech left the envelope on her desk while she wasn't there or that she didn't know where it was.
For all she knew, Stefan had come in and walked off with a paper potentially naming him as the father of Abby's baby!
It's beyond time to retire this silly plot device. Nobody should trust paternity test results that come from this hospital; in fact, they should presume that whoever the hospital names as the father is not related to the baby.
In this case, it's doubly annoying because we already went through this with Abby once. When Thomas was conceived back in 2015, she didn't know whether Chad or Ben was the father. Clyde changed test results to make it appear the baby was Ben's, while Ben lost his mind and began killing people to get revenge on Chad.
Fast forward to 2018 and Ben is in jail, accused of setting fire to kill Ciara in the same cabin that he set on fire to try to kill Abby and Chad at the climax of the previous story.
DAYS at least acknowledges the parallel in this case -- in fact, it's being used as a catalyst for a story about no one trusting Ben's redemption except Ciara.
But as far as Abigail goes, we don't need another storyline where she doesn't know whether or not Chad is the father of her baby. There has to be some other story that can be told about this couple other than Abigail having babies without knowing the identity of the father.
Gabi is not a sympathetic villain, either.
This whole thing about her five-year-old hating her is not true to life. Children that young may express raw anger, but it doesn't last for days on end like that.
Chad suggested maybe it's because Ari has been through so much, but if that's the case, Gabi should be taking her to a therapist, not running around town whining that her kid hates her and coming up with convoluted revenge schemes.
The way she's handling this makes her seem weak and unable to deal with her young child appropriately.
The stage is being set for Ari to grow up to be a spoiled brat since Gabi's response to her anger is to leave the house in tears and start planning revenge and nobody is bothering to tell the little girl that throwing things is not an appropriate way to express her feelings.
In any case, Gabi began having a ton of pain while worrying about Ari's latest tantrum, which led to her learning she has an infection in her uterus, and there's a chance she might not be able to have more children.
A chance. Not a given. And Kayla made that clear.
But Gabi decided that means she's definitely not going to be able to have more kids in a distant future when she is ready to start a family, so therefore she has to punish Abigail and Stefan.
Once again, this seems like a stranger who bears no resemblance to the woman who saved JJ's life. And Gabi's plans involve Abby treating Chad the same way Lani treated JJ, even though she was the only one to stand up to Lani on JJ's behalf.
I can't believe Gabi is this cold, calculating, and two-faced, pretending to forgive Abigail and then doing everything she can to ruin her life. Once again, just as Gabi was becoming likable, she went back to petty, obnoxious behavior.
I was shocked to find myself having some sympathy for Ben.
I still hate the idea of Ben and Ciara as a romantic couple. It makes no sense for Ciara to reject Tripp because she thinks all men will take advantage of her like her rapist did, then fall hard for Ben, and there's something disturbing about her falling for the man who killed her cousin's girlfriend and tried to kill two of her cousins.
At the same time, I'm passionate about criminal justice reform, and I like that this story touches on some of the unfair ways people are treated when they are released from prison.
I doubt that theme will be treated any more realistically than JJ's suicide attempt was, but still.
And Robert Scott Wilson is doing an excellent job portraying Ben's mood swings, self-doubt, and desire to be trusted again.
Rafe and Hope, on the other hand, have become even more obnoxious as this story progresses.
Hope seems to have decided that, regardless of the facts, Ben must be guilty of setting the fire. After visiting Ciara in the hospital and ignoring everything she said about what actually happened, Hope ran off to the police station to tell Rafe to use their police power to prove to Ciara that her opinion of Ben is wrong.
This was a total abuse of police power.
Cops aren't supposed to use their investigative and detention powers to interfere in their children's relationships. And while Hope isn't entirely wrong to have reservations about Ben, she has no right to try to force a confession out of him, especially not when her reason for doing so is to say "I told you so" to her daughter.
In addition, Rafe's refusal to give Ben his psych meds in order to try to compel a confession was all sorts of wrong. Rafe came off as a corrupt cop who didn't care what he had to do to get the confession he wanted, and if Ben had become violent because of being denied his meds, it could have caused a dangerous situation.
What's next? Changing the info on the fire department's report if it doesn't conform to Hope and Rafe's preconceived idea of what happened?
Meanwhile, Theresa and Brady's custody trial also devolved into something that had no basis in reality.
After Theresa's lawyer accused Brady on the stand of murdering Deimos, Eve decided that meant he was going to prison for murder no matter what. Brady told her that Nicole was the real killer, causing the two of them to go around in circles about whether or not to tell the judge that.
First of all, neither Eve nor Brady seemed aware that doing that would implicate Brady and he'd go to jail for obstruction of justice and withholding evidence -- not murder, but he still wouldn't be free to raise Tate!
Of course, this is Salem, where laws only apply when it makes for a good story, but that possibility was never even brought up, which was silly.
More to the point, there were no cops at Brady's door asking to question him about the murder, nor did the judge warn Brady that he was in danger of being taken into custody after she reviewed this testimony to determine if there was probable cause to hold him.
So there was no reason for Eve to worry.
And once Eve decided to get Victor involved, it led to a ridiculous story for JJ that is far too close to what happened in 2013 for comfort.
Back then, Eve was uncomfortable with the idea of JJ and Paige dating and hired a prostitute to seduce JJ. When he wouldn't cooperate, the prostitute took matters into her own hands and roofied him.
Eve felt guilty about this unintended consequence but kept up the pretense that JJ had taken drugs on purpose in the hopes it would turn Paige against him.
The storyline was dropped without warning in favor of Eve taking advantage of a randomly drunk JJ to sleep with him and ruin the relationship with Paige herself.
Later on, Eve worked with JJ's nemesis Cole, who attempted to plant drugs in his backpack in the hopes that Paige would think he was using, and JJ got proof that Eve was behind it.
Nothing ever came of that either because Paige found out Eve and JJ had slept together and totally forgot that she was worried about someone planting drugs on JJ.
This latest scheme involved a seemingly crooked social worker planting drugs in JJ's apartment so that the judge would think Theresa was using and award custody to Brady instead. But JJ didn't like that idea and told the judge the drugs were his when they weren't.
The result is that for the third time, one of Eve's schemes backfired and caused JJ trouble involving drugs that aren't his but that some people think are.
I'd like to see something a little more original. There are also too many holes in the logic of this story.
Let's start with JJ's history.
Jennifer inexplicably worried that he would return to abusing drugs simply because Theresa was living with him, even though he didn't use when she was forcing him to get some for her in 2013, nor did he use when Paige dumped him, when she died, or when he was at his lowest point and was contemplating suicide.
He also he never used anything but weed, and Theresa's OD was in part due to the fact that he refused to take anything stronger and she took it for him.
That giant anvil announcing he would soon be accused of using drugs was ridiculous and only served to make Jennifer look like an oblivious parent who had no understanding of who her son is -- again.
Theresa: Why didn't you tell me you were using again?
JJ: I'm not! I've been clean for years.
Cocaine use changes people's behavior as well as causing physiological symptoms. It was unbelievable that Theresa thought for a second that the drugs were JJ's when his eyes are clear, his speech and movements are not at all speeded up, and she was recently praising him for his mature thought process.
The judge doesn't know JJ nearly as well, but it was obvious he was sober when he stood up in court and announced that the drugs were his. That alone should have raised her suspicions.
Worse still, cocaine is illegal, as the judge pointed out, yet nobody called the cops when the cocaine was found.
Instead, the social worker merely reported the discovery to the judge, who then called an emergency hearing to announce she was denying custody and visitation to Theresa without any evidence that the drugs were hers.
It seems to me this whole matter could be resolved by ordering that both JJ and Theresa submit to drug tests and testing the baggie for fingerprints. The only one who touched it during the scene where it showed up was the social worker, so if their prints aren't on it that should be the end of that.
Instead, it seems likely that the judge will presume the drugs are JJ's based on nothing but his say so.
I'm curious as to whether he will suffer any legal consequences for admitting in court that he broke federal and state laws. If this story was written at all realistically, Justin would have attempted to have that self-incriminating remark stricken from the record and/or offered his services to JJ since he just confessed to a crime.
But nothing else in this trial has had any relationship to how legal proceedings work, so why should this be any different?
Finally, there was some more silliness in the Leo storyline. Will and Sonny discovered that Leo's car -- along with his body and the infamous rug that everyone keeps asking about -- mysteriously vanished.
All we need is for an alive Leo to show up and start blackmailing Will and Sonny and it will be a perfect repeat of Gabi, Sami, and Kate throwing Nick in the river in 2013.
In case anyone had any doubt where this is going, Will continued lying to Paul and pushing him away while spending lots of time with Sonny. I'm sure Paul will think they are having an affair soon and eventually it will lead to another epic heartbreak for Paul while Will and Sonny pick up their relationship where it left off.
This story also, for some reason, is a vehicle for Kate and Ted to get together.
I get that Ted is played by a handsome actor and that many people find French accents sexy. But I've had enough of sex for sex's sake, especially between people who started out hating each other and then jumped into bed for no reason.
Kate sleeps with men at the drop of a hat, but that doesn't make this relationship more interesting. It would help if there was more actual love in the afternoon so that the random hook-ups were part of the overall canvas instead of the only type of relationship depicted.
For example, if Steve and Kayla had scenes more often, it would help balance out the Kate/Ted type stuff. But they didn't even get any screen time together this week!
What did you think of Days of Our Lives during the week of 7-9-18?
What was the most unrealistic storyline for you, and did the unreality detract from your enjoyment?
Did you like Kate and Ted sleeping together?
Are you into this Abby baby storyline, or does it feel too much like a rerun?
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.