Days of Our Lives: A Very Salem Christmas Review: Alternate Reality Fun

It’s a very Salem Christmas for Days of Our Lives fans, but if you’re looking to avoid spoilers until you watch it, I suggest you save this review for later.

First off, this Days of Our Lives holiday special is on Peacock Premium, not the free version (at least not yet.)

Being a huge Beyond Salem fan and hoping we get more of these soapy special events, I rushed for the Peacock Premium Annual Membership. (The year seemed like the best deal.)

I don’t tell anyone else what to buy. There are so many streaming services out there now that they can be overwhelming and expensive. I will say I didn’t regret this purchase as Peacock Premium has a lot of old TV favorites to go with the movies and new content.

(For example, my husband is already gorging himself on The Rockford Files, I watch Miami Vice, and then there’s the first three seasons of Yellowstone. So Peacock Premium ended our month of January.)

But let’s get to our review …

The Set-Up: Will Horton has a script due at midnight, and he hasn’t written a word. He’s about to blow it up until Sonny convinces him that they can do it within the few hours they have on Christmas Eve.

Writing a Christmas movie - Days of our lives

As a writer, I’m a little bothered by Will’s nonchalance for missing a deadline, but I digress …

The fantastic version of Will from Christmas to Salem is surprisingly sweet and just twisty enough to keep things interesting.

For starters, Roman died because there must be a tragic story. He passed away years ago over Christmas, which is why Sami and Marlena (Roman’s widow) now run the Brady Pub.

In this version of Salem, Sami is gentle, kind, and empathetic. She thinks before she speaks and does not fly away. But what really bowled me over was that when evil Nicole punched Sami, Marlena came to his defense.

Someone reminds me of the last time this happened in regular Salem because I’m drawing a blank.

Ugly Christmas Sweater - Days of Our Lives

John Black is married to Kristen and they run the Salem Inn wearing matching ugly Christmas sweaters.

It was my least favorite part of the story. I’m not sure what made me cringe anymore. John begging Kristen’s attention or Kristen’s sexcapades with Brady behind her husband’s back.

Brady is an arrogant jerk, who I’m still trying to decide if it’s different from normal Brady or all over the nose.

The only advantage was his Love Actually-inspired flashcards. The one who said, “I know I’m hot,” made me laugh out loud. But Brady sleeps with his father’s wife, eats all the Sweet Bits samples, and chats with a gift-loving Gabi.

Speaking of Gabi, not only is she a nice human too, but she works with her best friend, Nick. Yes, Nick is back and in love with an unconscious Gabi.

Nick and Gabi Are Best Friends - Days of Our Lives

He’s not a mean, abusive Nick, or a zombie Nick, and again, I remember how much I miss Blake Berris.

As Will points out, Nick was once a nice guy until the show decided to tip him over to the dark side. I’m more than a little worried that they’ll take the same turn with Philip in the real Salem.

There are other mismatched pairs in this Salem as well, like Tripp and Chanel. However, I love it when Johnny calls Allie over to yearn for his best friend’s beau, but then admits he’s having the same issue, which leads Allie to ask if he’s also in love with Tripp.

Now there is a twinning that I never considered.

But the main plot has to do with Paulina, in full Cruella de Vil fashion, including hair, kicking all the businesses out of Horton Square to build her new big box discount store. Enter his new assistant, Leo Stark.

Paulina tries to ruin Christmas - Days of Our Lives

Personally, I love Leo, so I was excited to see him be a part of these Days of Our Lives specials again. Paulina continues to call her Mary, which is a funny tribute to Jackée Harry’s 227 days sitcom.

Leo plays the unexpected hero and he stares at Xander, who, even in an argyle waistcoat, suspenders, and nerdy glasses, is still the hottest thing of all versions of Salem.

Xander: Is there anything I can do for you?
Leo: I want to answer that in so many ways.

I enjoyed the photos of Caroline and Shawn Brady and the Tom and Alice Horton plaque shown as Alex gave his heartfelt speech on why Horton Square is important to Salem.

Back at the Brady Pub, Sami hates Christmas. Her father died on Christmas. Lucas took off with Chloe Lane over Christmas. And Nicole comes to parade with her husband EJ and their daughter Sydney, reminding Sami Grace, the girl she and EJ lost years ago.

Sami Hugs Sydney - Days of Our Lives

It’s a beautiful piece of Days history in play here that pulls just enough on the sensitive chords to make it feel like a Hallmarky holiday movie.

That’s until Sami finds out Sydney is truly hers and lashes out at Nicole for stealing her child all these years.

And what kind of horrible mother was Nicole in Sydney to practically blast the child for joy upon finding out that she and Nikki are not biologically related? Ouch!

Meeting the nicest, nicest EJ with the nicest, kindest Sami feels like a foreshadowing of regular Salem (probably minus the nicer, nicer parts), or maybe that I read too much about it.

Of course, if we’re talking about foreshadowing, there’s always homeless Eric sleeping under that bench. Can Eric be far behind in the real Salem?

Leo Stark hosts the Talent Show - Days of Our Lives

Then we come to the real fun.

Will and Sonny in drag are very good. I think it’s the literal beards that don’t work for me. But I still can’t get past Chad in drag! Who knew Billy Flynn could be transformed into such an incredible woman?

And then there’s the best part about this vacation special. The Santa group striptease. Take all of the sexiest men in Salem and have them dance their stockings to their vacation-inspired boxers to save Horton Square.

It’s funny and sexy, and most of all, everyone from involved actors to audience actors looked like they were having a hell of a time.

So if you’re looking for some campy, soapy fun mixed with holiday cheer and Marlena without those devil eyes, then A Very Salem Christmas is the vacation special you won’t want to miss.

Hit this SHOW COMMENTS button to share what you think of A Very Salem Christmas. Did you like it? Did you hate him? Want to know more ? And don’t forget to check out all of our Days of Our Lives coverage here at TV Fanatic.

C. Orlando is a fanatic television writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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